Thursday, November 17, 2016

Most days the ER is chock full of frail elders accompanied by family members whose mission is never, ever to let their  mom or dad die.  Nobody wants to say goodbye to a parent.

Even if it means doing unspeakable things to keep them alive.

To be clear, "alive" is not the same as "living".  Something everyone should think about.

So it was cool to have 91 year old ex nurse as a patient with all of her marbles, a sense of humor, and a cool daughter who was happy to let me be her mom's nurse.

Over 70 years ago (SEVENTY!) she went entered "nurses training" as it was called.  Now, nurses are "educated".  Think about that while you and ponder why endless courses in nursing theory is absolutely relevant to caring for patients.

There were some surprising similarities in our history.

 "I worked as a secretary for a couple of years, then got bored.  If I had gone straight out of high school,  I would have been finished with my training in time to serve in the War in some way, but it was over before I finished."

My plan was to finish nursing school and join the military (Navy was my preference), and go to Vietnam.  The war ended in my first year of school.

"I worked in a Veteran's hospital for awhile.  Those guys worked really hard to get themselves on track.  It wasn't easy".

I worked in a rehab right out of school.  Then I married a Vietnam veteran

"Of course when we were in school, it was the students who staffed the night shift.  There was no way they could have functioned without students.  God I hated night shift"

Me too.  As a student I worked as an aide at night, or "sat" as a private duty.  I could study or read while rich geriatric patients slept.  The night nurses were all young and mostly new grads.  They were cool.  They warned the students when the dreaded night supe was near.  She was mean.

"The only thing I never, ever wanted to do was work in maternity.  All those screaming women, vaginas and crying babies, no thanks"

My sentiments exactly.

I helped her up to the commode.  When she was ready, I rearranged her things that so that she could get back into bed. "Wait, I have to put on these godawful granny panties".  Note that they were granny panties, not Depends.  I loved her.

Of course many of these older adults are quite funny. I had another 90-year-old who, after being transported for being lethargic (note: she had already been given her nighttime medicines including sleeping pills)  suddenly awoke and demanded food. "What is there to eat around here?" She asked .

Me:  "well I can go and look and see what there is in there kitchenette. I might be able to find you some pudding".

Granny:  "Pudding??! Pudding is not a friggin  meal!"

Run for it, Marty!

One of our docs is deadly slow.  He has one speed.  He cannot be rushed.  He cannot be compelled to move at any other pace than that which he sets for himself.  There is no emergency that cannot be handled at a steady rate.  I have never heard him raise his voice, become rattled, sweat, bark at staff, or handle any issue without careful thought and consideration.

We do a lot of protocols when its busy anyway, even more when Dr. Glacier on.  Although you gotta love him, he is brilliant, loves to teach (be it medicine related or any one of millions of interesting factoids).  His lack of speed is not the most admirable quality when the patients are piling up.  The other docs kind of resent this practice and have a tendency not to pick up charts as quickly when one of their number is seen as not pulling their weight.  Thus resulting in a lot of waiting as the charts are racked.

Auntie is particularly annoyed by this.  As the resource/charge she becomes frustrated when departmental flow is at a standstill and dispositions grind to a halt.

Auntie directed yet another ambulance to park their haul to a hallway bed for the third time in 10 minutes.

"If he moved any slower he'd be moving backwards!", she fumed.

Which is what makes time travel possible.