Friday, May 30, 2014

Make Mine Fried, Please

An older lady with dementia had been parked in one of my rooms for the entire day when I took over her care.  Because she had a habit of reporting that her care givers beat her, which turned out to be the dementia talking, she had pretty much burned bridges everywhere and now she had no place to go.  Her estranged elderly husband was willing to take her, but there was a small matter of a restraining order to be dealt with first, which was some big misunderstanding according to the many parties involved.  Somehow the restraining order was vacated by a judge in record time.  Gotta love small town America.

The poor wandering lady had been fed, watered, toileted, walked, sung to, chatted with and entertained.   She was kind of entertaining herself as she kept up a steady stream of consciousness.  Every few minutes she asked where her husband was, and that she was tired of waiting.  Mostly she talked nonsense, but once in awhile she seemed to make sense, even if momentarily.

"Have you seen my bird?"
"No, I have not.  Where did you see it last?"
"I had it here, it was in the bag when I came here"
"What kind of bird, can you describe it?"
"It was a green bird, with blue feathers and small red feet,  I fed it some birdseed.  Do you have any chocolate?"
"I have some Lorna Doones.  Your bird sounds pretty, was it a big bird or a small bird?"

She indicated the size with her hands.

"Oh, about the size of a chicken?"

"Yes, like a chicken".  She fiddled with her bracelet, folded a washcloth, and placed the kleenex box on the center of the table.  She sighed loudly.  "I've been waiting hours and hours! Is my husband coming?"

"He said in about a half hour.  It shouldn't be long now"

Another big sigh.  "He should come now!  He is taking too long, if he doesn't come soon……
I will kill him like a chicken"

Me: "I didn't hear that"

The social worker in the next room actually giggled.
But props to her for getting the wheels of justice turning to get the lady a safe place to go.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dirty Secrets

I had some fun with the infection control nurse, a pompous and self righteous D-bag,  who harangued us with the usual hand washing stuff.  I asked about disinfection of things like stethoscopes, and she rather snidely told me that, of course, they should be routinely disinfected, before launching into a lecture on precautions, MRSA, and disposable stethoscopes.

I was bored.  So I started it.

Me: "Mmm-hmm.  What about ID badges?  Do you have any policy on disinfecting those?  I mean, they are at chest height, in the sneeze and cough zone, dangle onto patient's skin, onto sheets, they go to every patient room and are never washed or disinfected…it seems to me they would be just a germ farm".  I pointedly glanced at her ID badge, on a nylon lanyard, which was covered with 27 pieces of flair.

Blank stare.  She was gob-smacked.  "I've never thought of that".

Yeah. ID badges are filthy things.  Think about it.  Along with watches, rings, bracelets (which I never wear to work) and neckties on the men.

Name badges are mandatory.  It goes everywhere the nurse goes.   It gets touched 150 times per day because they always flip around so that my various passwords are showing instead of my name.   It gets handled and scanned for glucometers and to enter/exit certain areas.  It is used for the time clock.  It goes into the bathroom, the poopy patient's room, and the cafeteria.  Into.  Every.  Patient.  Room.

Yesterday I had a horrifying thought.  BWOM hospital issues clip-on visitor badges, which are never, to my knowledge, washed or disinfected.


Just so you know, I do bleach-wipe my name badge every day.  Always have.  Always will.  
And now you will, too.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tao of Scrubs

I have 3 different colors of scrubs.  Navy, black, and the standard ciel blue.  I have no pink, lime green, or tiger stripes.  My scrubs do not have cute rainbows or unicorns on them.  If that is your preference, power to you.  It's not mine.   I choose to be simple.  If I wear black pants, I wear a black top.  Sometimes I mix it up and wear the ciel with the black, or navy with the ciel, but that is rare and only if I have laundry issues.  I used to have one scrub jacket that commemorated winter, but no holiday stuff.  I am frequently called on this.  "Where is your holiday spirit?"  "Don't you have anything orange and black?", (or red, white and blue, you get the picture).  Again, no.  For ME, I just don't feel like a woman of my age can be taken seriously while wearing teddy bears.  Someone once mentioned to me that when doing CPR, people can look down a scrub shirt and see your boobs, so I generally wear a long sleeved shirt of a different color underneath no matter the season, which can be considered a slight holiday nod.  Actually I just hate for my arms to be bare because of the old lady jiggle.

I find it interesting that the staff in different facilities have widely varying preferences in the variety of scrubs they choose….provided they are fee to choose.  I think it is enormously detrimental for nurses not to be able to choose what they wear to work unless the hospital plans to purchase and launder them.  Then I wouldn't care so much, but I think it is bull shit to be required to wear a certain color or style so the idiot public can differentiate between nurses and non- nurses, especially since my name badge identifies me as a nurse.  Also because the badge "RN" that I am also required to wear is the size of a dinner plate.  One size does not fit all.   At one time a co-worker at the Bait Shoppe was rabidly advocating for all the nurses to wear teal colored scrubs; I  shut her down with a curt "NO".  To this day I have no idea why it was so important to her, unless it was because I hijacked her idea to get  fleece vests with the company logo on it.  I did this because I have narrow preferences for vests and, selfishly, wanted to get what I wanted.  It worked out well because nurses decided on one color, the secretaries decided on another, and the X-ray techs still another.  I liked that we chose our own without a fight.  We could wear them whenever and with whatever we wanted to.  Plus they were a good deal at the time.

BWOM nursing employees are free to choose what they want.  They are a stylish bunch.  There is lots of pink, lots of bunnies.  I have seen all manner of the latest styles with these gals.  A couple of the nurses seem to change their nail polish to go with whatever they happen to be wearing.   Boss Lady shows up everyday in plain boring ciel scrubs even though I have not personally seen her do any patient care in awhile, although she is ready to go when called upon.  Which is great.  Most bosses just wear their business attire with a lab coat thrown over it, although why they are compelled to do so is puzzling since they never, ever touch humans.  I find a white lab coat with heels and hose is insincere somehow, but if that is what you want to wear, fine with me.

Sometimes the match thing can get out of hand, though.  I have to say the the prize for most color coordinated attire in the At Work in the ER category is Newchelle.  Always with a matching set of scrubs and jacket.  Prints, stripes, bright colors, she has it all.  If there is a set of scrubs in any color of the rainbow, she has them.  She has earrings to match all her outfits and seems seems to put all of her money into accessorizing her look with colored or patterned  clogs or tennis shoes.  Lately she has been taking her look to a new, and perhaps, more obsessive level.

She has several different hair pieces with colored barrettes or headbands, one with a big fat flower on it.  WTF.  I think we will be seeing more of the flowers, just a hunch.  She can be counted on to wear a coordinating lanyard for each outfit.

Yesterday her pens were the perfect shade of fuchsia to match her pants and shirt.

I don't want to know if she had matching underwear.  It is disturbing enough.