Sunday, August 16, 2009

Unicorns and Rainbows and such.

I write a lot about nursing, and have written some about rivers, mostly because that's what my life has consisted of.

But now I'm gonna write about Unicorns.

Since I was a kid, I loved Unicorns. And now that Burning Man is coming up, we have actually created the Unicorn Ranch, which is a place for special hard-to-find people to be found. Maybe. If we like you.

It definitely will be serving pink fizzy drinks.

Watch for updates on our awesome camp. My sister and I are painting the artwork for it, so we're having fun with that. Will is getting an extra dome, and we have trampolines.
If you live in a cave, and don't know what Burning Man is, go here:

I can't explain it to you. For those of you who know, but haven't been, you need to come.
For those of you who know it was better next year... I can't wait to give you dusty hugs!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Adventures in Big Emergencies.

Yesterday was actually pretty good, sorta. I missed a cardioversion which went on just after shift change (8:00pm), but I was exhausted. The ER is either going to kill all love and sympathy I have for humanity, or make it grow, or both.

The morning was pretty mellow, basic, a few definitely emergent-but-not-life-threatening things happening, and then all of a sudden, things heated up.
Within an hour of each other, we received a stroke patient, a patient having a bigtime cardiac arrhythmia, and then someone who was pretty septic with dangerously low blood pressure, out of it, and was pretty much circling the drain.
3 patients, three real emergencies. Ready, GO!

Sigh. When starting an IV on my cardiac patient, I didn't put the best pressure on his vein, so he bled a little bit (not a lot), but a little. His BP was really REALLY high, too. And he was scared.
And I will tell you this:
If you're a new nurse or a nursing student, listen to me carefully:
ALWAYS give the patient the call button before you leave the room. Even if they don't use it, they cannot be (as) upset with you if they have a way to get in touch with you.

Someone who was doing a test told him when he asked for one of us (literally 2 minutes after he had been stabilized and when we had just finished drawing blood and left the room to send it) that he would be lucky if someone actually came. First of all, that attitude is BULLSH*T, and secondly it's not true.
So he peed in the bed instead of calling and asking for a urinal or a bedside commode.
If he had the call light, he could have called for me or another nurse. So, that's the call light issue. Oh yeah, and this patient was relatively young.
I guess later he also figured out I was newer and was upset - apparently about the blood that leaked from his vein when we were getting his IV in. On the up side, I noticed that his O2 sat had dropped when he told me he felt confused, I figured out, "Oh hey, maybe it's because your oxygen is low and you need just a little bit. Sweet." On the down side, later that day, I also watched communication breakdown happen with him (and with me! I love it when people make major decisions about a patient and don't tell the nurses). It was a recipe for disaster, but the patient is okay, and that's what counts, right? Sigh.
Part of me felt like, "Wow, I totally understand how this person is frustrated," and the other part of me felt like, "Um, we just saved your life. We have 4 other super acute patients and I'm doing my best to chase down the doctor to make sure you're ok. Couldya throw a thank you in there somewhere?"

Be good to your hearts, folks:

Our stroke patient had a whole 'nother story as well, but that one involved a good catch by me: "Wait a sec, we can't give this med- the blood pressure is sky high but the heart rate is under 60, we need a different one...." and some love towards the folks upstairs to get them to admit our patient with a super high BP.
The one circling the drain- well, when we get people that sick, our ER will drop nurses to 1:1 ratio, so that we function like a mini-ICU until people get stabilized. That works really well.

So, I still feel slow, my skills are slowly coming back to me, and for the most part, I'm getting it. It's week 4 for me in the ER, so I'd hope so. I'm glad I have another 20 to go before I'm considered a full nurse.