Yesterday morning I woke up and had fully planned to take advantage of the Friday off....getting a great workout in with a BFF, a massage, catching up some great new projects I have planned for the house!!!
I even posted this status on FB: "trying to suck every last minute of having a day off today before working 4 in a row...in nurses language = AGGHHH!!!!"
And then the phone call came (in the parking lot of the gym, nonetheless!). Whenever I see my work number on my cell, I kinda cringe! So I decided to let it go to voicemail in case it was something I needed to consider first! And it was quite intriguing.
It went something like this: "PICU Nurse, this is XXX manager- wanted to see if you could come in today...ANY time today...for any 12 hours...you can make them. AND I'll take you off tomorrow!"
Hmmm, come in Friday on MY terms....and get off Saturday!? Which also conveniently breaks up my 4 days in a row (hello, waking up at 5 am...standing on feet for 13 hours, and getting home at 9pm 4 days in a row...NOT fun!)
So I called back and made a deal...I would come in around 1 ("1-ish" were my exact words- hey if it's on MY terms, I'm not promising anything too specific!! These opportunities do not come along frequently!)
BUT I would NOT be staying for a 12 hour shift....I could stay until 11pm (which is the normal time a shift ends anyways). And of course, I would not be coming in Saturday to make up the 2 hours that I'd be missing.
In no less than 0.0001 seconds, my manager said, DONE!!
So I got my workout in (but had to cancel my massage...boo!) and then headed off to work!
Now anytime PICU nurses are called in extra (especially when it means we are taken off a weekend shift!) you can only expect BAD things!!! Our census and acuity would be HIGH!!! Our staffing LOW LOW LOW!!!!
But coming into it with the mindset that it's just gonna be bad always helps!! Helps me to take a deep breath and know that I can only do the work of one PICU nurse. And hey, if the situation always gets too bad, not enough hands, patient not doing so well, the code button is bright green in every room....on 2 of the 3 walls!
So in I walk at 1:35 (hey, traffic was bad, and I did say "ish!"). I was going to be an extra set of hands until 3pm when I would be put into an assignement. As I walked around asking nurses (there were 22 on...we needed about oh, 30 if you asked the ones that were there!) if they were ok, they all gave me an exasperated look, like "DO I LOOK OK??"
Ummm, nope....moving right along : )
Just kidding....I helped!!
However I had to stop right in my tracks when I came across this patient: a 17 year old developmentally delayed, half deaf, mostly mute, girl with a trach (permanent breathing tube in her neck) semi-attached to her ventilator was jumping on her bed....gown thrown on floor....diaper shredded beneath her...poop dripping all over...and trying to pull out her trach! She was making sounds and doing sign language because she was NOT happy!! Her ventilator was beeping off...as were ALL her monitors because she had effectively jumped off all her cardiac/oxygen leads!!
So why was she unhappy?? For one, who wants to sit in a poopy diaper...and for 2, she has this obsession with babies!! If she hears one crying she will sign OVER and OVER and OVER "baby" and "crying".
OK, so I'm not sure if it is true sign language, but it's her language... and she's what we call a "frequent flier" so I've gotten to know it over the past 6 years! She makes a cradling of a baby motion...and then draws tears on her cheeks....good enough for me!
So while her nurse was in the room across the hallway (oh, about 6 feet away) sweating profusely in her isolation gown, gloves, and mask, trying to calm one crazy mad baby who was also flailing in bed, I took charge of miss "shredded diaper-poopy bed-with my breathing life support barely hanging by a thread on my neck" patient!
She didn't seem too concerned with the show she was giving all families and employees walking by- and let me tell you, developmentally delayed teenager does NOT mean physically/maturationally delayed!!
So once I cleaned up the crazy mess, and reassured her oh, about 500 times that yes, the baby is crying...but yes, the baby was ok...she seemed to settle down!!
The rest of the day was certainly crazy busy, and I took care of a really sick baby with a really sick heart, but hey it's just what I was expecting. Adventures such as this can be expected on "Please come in whenever you want" desperate Fridays.
It's the other adventures that always throw us PICU nurses for a loop...but it keeps us laughing!! And THAT is what keeps us going! That is what keeps us on this crazy adventure that we call PICU nursing!