I came home last night from my nursing shift crying in the car. I don’t often cry at my nursing gig, but it was a tough shift, and the car ride was just enough to clear it out of the system (haha, maybe.) Jeremy was on the couch (probably playing pokemon go) and I sighed and relaxed my body into the crooks of his and I said that I both loved and hated it at the same time. My shoulder ached the whole shift – bursitis, torn rotator cuff? I have no idea. I wore myself out. There are no more traveling nurses on the unit, they decided to lose revenue on 8 of the 30 beds instead of paying 4x my salary to staff those beds. As a result, I’m back to being friends with everyone working and the unit is quieter with 22 patients instead of the usual 30. It meant that with my one unstable patient who was constantly getting out of bed and wobbly and upset – I could not administer enough benzos to calm them – it was not only me on the case, but my charge nurse was in the room all day managing calls to security and both floor techs (not only the one assigned to the patient, but also the other tech who had his own patients, but is always kind to me) and the other nurses when they passed by were in/out of the room all day until I finally transferred the poor patient mid afternoon to ICU to manage the crisis. Of course, through this, I had 4 other patients coming/going and having their own needs and medications. I managed two surgical preps, four discharges and two admissions yesterday. Then at about 6:30 pm (being very weary and achy), I had a very stable post surgical patient who I carefully and kindly assisted to the bathroom and back under the watchful gaze of their adult child and then stepped out to take a phone call just before giving their parent some Tylenol regarding another patient’s prescription snafu upon discharge to a skilled nursing facility, and the child walked out into the hallway and yelled at me for not adequately taking care of their parent and told me to disregard the phone call implying their parent was more important. Honestly, a shock to me because I very rarely get accused of this – usually only from drug addicted patients – almost never from patients or their family members. I pride myself on the quality of care I provide – above and beyond usually. (If you press me on this, it is because I’m trying to pay it back/forward – if/when I am gone, and if/when Edda is still alive, I hope that G*d will look down on me and see the care I gave to perfect strangers and will put someone in the direct path of Edda to provide the care that she needs, that she won’t be lying in her poop all day or go without meals waiting for someone to feed her. Though I totally would understand if someone is coding or bleeding out a few doors down and you know, you gotta do that first.) Usually these things don’t throw me, but I was really done being kind for the day. So I got a callback number on the phone call to finish it later and returned to my patient trying to not cry, gave them the Tylenol, some anti-nausea medication and IV antibiotics and then tidied up the room and set the blankets straight and looked at them both and told each that if they needed anything to please call me and I’d be happy to help and by the end of that, I could tell that the child was apologetic for yelling at me. This is the tough side of the shift, but there were also some really beautiful moments as well. Hugs and well wishes and good lucks given to other patients and laughs between colleagues that I love love so so much.
We were in the lunch room for a few moments (while a family member was with the agitated patient) talking about what would we all do in case a nuclear missile landed on the White House. I think most of us would just prefer to be wiped out upon impact instead of slowly dying of the radiation poisoning, but given that we are about 20 miles from the White House. Though all of us groaned at the thought of not being at home when it hit. What if we were here? At the hospital? I want to be home with my dog. I was like – there is no running – can you imagine all of us on 495 at the same time? Impossible.