Monday, March 22, 2010

Heart heart heart, Obama. Heart heart heart.

This RN loves you.

This morning I'm thinking of my coworker, Sasha. She's worked at my hospital for a long time--20, 30 years? First as a CNA, then an LPN, and then as an RN. She paid her taxes and took care of her health and raised a couple of kids.

Recently, she had a stroke. A big one. We don't know how much ability she will regain with time and rehab, but she won't be able to work again. And her benefits are through work. Her kids don't make enough money to support her, and she's not retirement age. She may or may not qualify for public assistance, and even if she did, then what?

Call me crazy, but I don't think something so arbitrary and personally devastating as a stroke should also cause financial ruin and lifelong struggle for an entire family. I hope Sasha slept a little easier last night.

And while we're on the subject:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Funny, that.

The other night I missed a fabulous show at the Fillmore because I had to be at work instead. A friend updated his facebook that he's "superstylin with Groove Armada..." Yeah, showoff. So I replied, "I am sooo jealous, I really wanted to go, but instead I'm at work saving lives or something."

That night, I had a patient who had been admitted to the hospital a few days prior with abdominal pain, had had the painful thingy repaired, and transferred to us from ICU to finish recuperating. She was doing fine, until she started hollering about how much pain she was in--unusual for her. (She's one of the few patients I've ever seen who uses the 1-10 pain scale appropriately.) I was assessing her pain when she said, "It's the same kind of pain that made me come here!" Her physician happened to be sitting at the nurses station doing some charting, so I said to him, "Did you hear what she just said? She says she's having the same pain as before."

So we run a bunch of stat tests which show that the patient is bleeding internally and thank god we all took her complaints of pain seriously, because if we hadn't she would be dead now.

That morning, as I was in bed falling asleep, I thought to myself how strange it must be to have a condition that, if it recurs, you know you will probably die. Then I had the strangest nurse anxiety dream I've ever had: I had a pulmonary embolism at work, and I was trying and trying to get to the ER for treatment, but you know how bad dreams are, and no matter what I did or who I talked to, I couldn't get to the ER, and meanwhile my chest pain and shortness of breath are getting worse, and I'm thinking, "If I don't get help for this soon I will probably die!" So then I was at work again, and I called up this doctor I'm friendly with and said, "It's Birdy, listen, I need a personal favor! I think I'm having a PE..." and I described my symptoms. He said. "You need to be intubated! Stay where you are, I'll be there in two minutes." At that point, luckily, I realized it was a dream and woke up. Whew.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Who knew I would enjoy studying so much?

I'm learning all sorts of important things studying for the PCCN exam. Today it was that "adequate blood pressure does not imply adequate perfusion."
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