We had ordered pizza. Hours prior. As I entered the break room the sight of cold, shiny cheese confronted me, and honestly, I had never seen anything more lovely. It hit me at that moment that I was very close to crying. I wanted to eat that badly. I just wanted to eat. And even though I microwaved my hours’ old lunch (if you can call it lunch that much after noon) I still savored it with ferocity. Well, maybe not savored. More appropriately, scarfed.
So without further ado, here’s five things I said today as a nurse.
1. I have got to eat. It’s called hangry, y’all. It’s this place between hungry and angry that most people never arrive to because once they start getting really hungry they eat. As a nurse, though, you realize you’re hungry, but then you check blood sugars first. And then you help a coworker change a soiled bed. Then you give pain medicine. Then you, well, I think you get the point.
Nurses typically go straight past hungry and don’t even get to collect $200. What does end up happening is they eventually reach a precipice of starvation mixed with equal parts rage and hysteria. This is why if you visit a hospital unit or floor you might come upon a nurse huddled in a corner ravenously devouring graham crackers and jello. Watch out; they bite.
2. I should really go pee. Like I knew I had to pee an hour or two ago, but then I got distracted. For real, nurses are absolute experts at bladder training, and I would be interested to see some case study results of how the allowable volume of nurse bladders increase over time from entrance into nursing school through retirement.
There’s always just that one more thing. I’ll go to the bathroom, but first let me chart this one thing. Well, while I’m in the room let me go ahead and change that dressing. And while I’m at it I might as well take out that IV that won’t flush. Oh look, it’s time to give lasix. Hey, wait a minute. I gotta pee!
You know what’s better than documenting patient care? Performing patient care. Or is it just me?
You know what’s worse than charting? Learning to chart on a new system. There’s so much gnashing of teeth going on around here I thought the apocalypse had come and gone.
4. I feel like I’m forgetting something! When it’s super busy there’s no magic time out button. It’s not anything like the old “Calgon, take me away” commercials, and considering that if one thing goes wrong fifty things will go wrong, a busy day can easily slide into a bad day. Chaos is as familiar as your favorite flannel jammies, but nowhere near as comfortable.
The particularly agonizing thing about bedside nursing is that if you forget something someone could die. But try not to stress out, okay?
Who hasn’t gone home with that persistent thought of, “what did I forget?” If you’re like me you’ll wake up in the middle of the night (or day for you night-shifters) and think, oh crap! That’s what I forgot!
When the bedside gets crazy (cause it always gets crazy) you will feel like you are missing something vital, and it will kill you. I pretty much felt like I was falling behind the eight ball all. Day. Long.
5. I can’t do this anymore. If you worked today and said “I can’t do this anymore” just know you’re in good company. You’re one of hundreds of thousands of bedside warriors, wellness champions, and angels of healthcare who uttered the exact same surrender of defeat.
But then you know what happened? They stood up tall and carried on. They did “do this” more because their patient needed them to. And that’s what I did too. I guess, though, it wouldn’t be a typical day if I didn’t say at least once, “I just don’t think I can do this anymore.”
Cheers! Here’s to doing it again tomorrow!