Friday, August 1, 2008

Magnesium and Bananas, Oh My.

It's the little victories that rock my world.

Today was awesome. NB, readers, I'm going to be writing more and more about my clinical experiences, and be assured that they all comply with HIPAA. Identifiers have been changed to protect patient privacy.

Okay, now to the good stuff:

Today I felt like a nurse. We (my nurse and I) had 4 patients, 3 of them a bit more intense than others, and the other one was being discharged (of course, we got one to replace her, a pre-operative transplant patient).

Our patient being discharged was a cancer survivor. I say survivor because that woman has moxie, and said to me, "Failure isn't an option. I've got way too much to do in my life." Rock on. When she refused a cocktail of electrolytes before she left the hospital because it would have kept her there another 2 hours (after she had been there almost a month), I saluted her. Her NP said, "Just make sure she knows to eat some bananas and chocolate."
No problem.
Her energy and enthusiasm made my morning. She'll be back for more treatment, but not for very much. Sweet. I'd go home asap too. Hospital food sucks, and having home around is sometimes the most healing thing to have.

Those little victories keep me going.

The short version of today: assessed a distended abdomen, caught diminished lung sounds, discovered people had been taking blood pressure on someone with a fistula on the lower arm, in a place where the cuff was too small... remedied that by taking it on a lower extremity, changed a central line dressing using sterile technique, rinsed a lot of commodes, talked with the rounding team of docs about getting better/different antidepressants for a pt who really needed them (and when I came back from lunch, psych was there! They rock!), took out a Foley, did a bladder scan, researched a 5 page MAR for another HIV+ transplant recipient, got a pt to laugh who hadn't laughed in 3 weeks. Oh yeah, and changed a colloidal dressing. Took a few blood glucose levels. Saw a patient with a pancreas transplant. How cool!

I took a very short lunch.

The long version of today? I gained people's trust, identified a female patient's discomfort with having male nurses deal with her perineal area and alerted the nursing staff to that - which they were happy to accommodate (which made me happy), hunted down the all-important lip balm, charted correctly (huge accomplishment), followed C. diff precautions (had an ET moment... Eliott), and got a very distant patient who has huge failure-to-thrive potential to be more engaged, aware, and tried to give her a goal.
She's the one I made laugh. I hope it works.
That's all you can do, you know?

It's interesting. I wrote about what an *honor* it is to participate in patient care. I mean, truly- think about it- you're helpless, you can't pee, you can't get to the bathroom in time, you're puking, you feel like crap... and you're vulnerable.
And there's this person there to help you out.
I'm that person.
I feel honored to be trusted with those: the most vulnerable moments. It's not about "cleaning poop" (although I certainly went through waterfalls of it today- not kidding), it's about knowing that the patient trusts me to be there in a pretty dark hour. And not judge.

If you've ever sat up with a friend who is 1) way too drunk or 2) way too high on whatever or 3) in the middle of a high-drama breakup, you can get some understanding.
It's sorta like all of that at once, and then add fear to it.

I feel so grateful to be able to sit here, sipping on a cocktail, writing my blog. I come away from my day with appreciation for the little things. No matter how tired I might be after a shift, I could still go back. We're only at 8 hours on the floor right now, but that's going to change in September.

For future MEPNs, and to myself 2 years from now: what I do daily is awesome. I like raw humanity. If you shy away from that, you run the risk of having a difficult time, no matter what nursing program you go into. Remember that honor. Always remember that honor. You have the opportunity to help someone in a way that nobody else can. As a MEPN, you might feel helpless, but you know what? Nobody else has spoken to that patient you just spent a half hour with, because nobody has time. Nobody else took the time to listen to fear, anxiety, to let that patient tell you about her dogs, his trip to a foreign country.
Or maybe you speak a language that the nurses don't speak, and because you speak Mandarin/Spanish/Russian/Thai/Swahili you can connect with that patient in a way that nobody else has time to, and you give them a glimmer of understanding of what the hell is happening.
I am taking full advantage of my student status. Look stuff up. Educate yourself. Ask questions.
Okay, that's my rant/rave.
I worked with an awesome nurse today, and I hope I get to work with him again. By far, a naturally easygoing person with infinite compassion and highly intelligent. Great combo.

Oh yeah, and learn to let go at the end of the day, if you can. And good luck with that.


the veggie paparazzo said...

Great post. How wonderful for those of us who get care from someone who cares like you do!

Jaxon said...

While doing some research on this topic I came across a very interesting article "Calf Injuries and Magnesium Deficiency." I would suggest reading it, as it offers some very interesting information on the correlation of poor health and magnesium deficiency. There's another really important article about magnesium as an alternatives to Lipitor called " Magnesium and Walking Will Always be Superior to Lipitor. Check them out if you have a chance.