Wednesday, October 07, 2009


In my last flight interview I was asked... "What stresses you out?" I answered without pause... "Being in charge." I don't enjoy it even though I am told that I do a decent job. Being charge at a Level 1 Trauma Center... esp. when diversion is considered a sign of weakness is like a combo of air traffic controller, ultimate fighter ref and psychotherapist all rolled into one. Most nights I am able to keep it together, control the flow and check most attitudes at the door. Last night was not such a night. Well, I take that back... the latter half was pretty freakin good.... it was the first that sucked my will to live.

For example.....

There are some smells that stick with you. Coffee, cinnamon at Christmas, burned hair/skin, the coppery smell of blood AND.... TAAADAA... the funk of a scrotal abscess that has been festering greater than 2 weeks in the pants of an unwashed crackhead who cannot for the life of him keep the hands OFF the twig and berries. GROSS!!! There was some discussion whether his breath or balls smelled worse. I think urology found out quickly that they were getting the short end of this deal.

Also.... the moon MUST be full. I can't tell from looking because it has been too busy for me to even go outside at night to see. The psych patients have literally come in droves and have overflowed the normal "psych zone" and are now in the hall, down the hall and around a corner. Today as soon as I got report one such patient decided to enlighten us all with the info that 1) he was a teacher and when he gave blood Obama was elected president 2) we can't keep him here and 3) we had better give him his fucking pain medicine or he was gonna whoop our asses. I figured we could stand about a foot out of his reach and do whatever we wanted.... he wasn't leaving. Paralysis is a bitch like that, huh?

I think the closest I came to actually fucking someone up was a 45 year old dialysis patient who was late for her dialysis, had chronic neck pain and wanted her Percocet refill, dammit! She raised holy hell that the MD was only going to give her Tylenol, she didn't want her blood dawn and she NEEDED 3 mayos for her turkey sammich. When she demanded that the Medicaid cab ride take her somewhere other than her home address she was escorted out by her resident and some of the University's finest.

We also came up with a brilliant idea. Had to send an extra fluffy resp patient home (to cont smoking her 2 packs a day!) via ambulance for the O2. A complete waste of time in my opinion. Our solution... have her put her head out the window on the way. 55 mph should afford at least 5 of PEEP! Hell, have the driver speed up and slow down and she is on Bi-level!!!!

Finally, OMAA.... we got medieval on the only real sicko of the night.... Hep C, Liver CA, varices, SOB and vomiting over 2L blood PTA. We were dressed, draped and ready to rock and roll. He had 2 lines, 4 liters of NS, EKG, CXR and labs in the 20 minutes from arrival until shift change. (My nurse refused to place an NG... and I had her back 100%.... the attending could do that... we don't drop NG tubes in someone with bleed fuckin varices! Give me a break!) I had to explain to the stupidest charge nurse in America why this was a RED patient. I would question if she was truly that fucking stupid, but yes, she is.

So yes... please let the chief flight nurse AND the educator and whoever else that wants to know. Being in charge fucking stresses me out!!!


Blogger battynurse said...

So maybe I shouldn't have read this while I was eating breakfast. Although I seem to have a stomach of cast iron.
It sounds like you do pretty well with being in charge even though it stresses you out. It would stress me out too.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL...I know that the night was stressful for u J.G. but, that was a lol funny story about the scrotal abscess! I would not have wanted to be there when they drained the abscess, eewwww. I am a student nurse and your blog enlightens and keeps it real at the same time.

10:58 PM  

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