Monday, March 22, 2010

Lessons Learned

I learned something today. Maybe this is something that I've always known, but taken for granted. Or perhaps it is something that I push out of my mind because it's not completely relevant in my life right now.

My day started with taking care of an incredible cute, but incredibly feisty toddler with an acute upper respiratory infection. She definitely did not need the PICU, but because the general floor was full, she was hanging out with me for the day. This did NOT make her happy!! All day she cried "I'm done, I'm done!!" and "I wanna go hooooome...." And I don't blame her. When I get sick, the last thing I want is people putting a mask on my face to deliver a neb, or taking my temperature every one to two hours, or pouring nasty medicine down my mouth! But literally ALL day long "I'm done, I'm done" was what she cried....screamed....begged.

So finally, at the very end of my shift, I was able to discharge her home. I walked them down to their car about 4 blocks away and still she cried "I'm done, I'm done!" As I closed the door to the car and they drove off, I smiled thinking "I'm done! I wanna go hooome!!" And so I did!

But here is the lesson that I learned today. This patient's mom sat with her ALL day long, wearing an isolation gown and mask. She barely ate (even though I brought tons of snacks and water/juice for her)....and "held it" for so long by the time she told me she was going to the bathroom I wasn't sure she'd even make it! And despite all of the patient's protests....all the cries...all the screams....this mom sat there and consoled her little one. She was SO patient. So gentle. When most people (myself included!) would say "Seriously?? You're fine! They're not hurting you! Be quiet!" This mom just did just the opposite! And when I closed the car door to the screaming child, I was able to say "I'm done"....and I was. I could get in my car and go my comfy bed (and this blog!).

But a mother's work is never done. No matter what kind of day this mom was having, it was all put aside for her child. And the patience that it takes to be a mom is something I can only dream of having in quantities enough that my child doesn't despise me! Because truly the job of a mom is tireless, patient, loving, compassionate. So thank you mom.....and to all mom's out there....who do what you do with such dedication, such finesse. You have taught me a lesson today.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Whoever said....

"TGIF" CLEARLY never worked in a PICU on a Friday. And lucky me, I work every Friday thank you grad school! Fridays are always fun in the PICU....never enough staff, always too many patients, frequently opening up a unit to hold our "overflow" patients, nurses being stretched in ways many think not humanly possible.

YUP, I'm not exaggerating....ask any PICU nurse...Fridays are not fun!! If it's not our weekend to work, we'd say "TGISS" (Thank goodness it's Saturday...AND Sunday!!) Which is why I write my "Friday" post on Saturday....I was Just. Too. Tired. last night! After waking up at 4:40am to fit in a quick pre-work workout, then standing on my feet from 7am- 7:45pm, the thought of doing anything other than collapsing on my bed as soon as I walked in that door at 9pm was unfathomable!

But here is the quick play by play of my Friday:
1.) I walk into my assignment as the night nurse just smiles and laughs....on closer inspection she has sweat on her forehead, hair so frazzled it's barely in the ponytail, and something green on the bottom of her shirt (I'm just going to assume she brought green kool-aid for dinner so i don't get grossed out trying to figure out what it REALLY was!)

2.) I got the pleasure of meeting parents who upon entering their child's room found liver transplant paperwork on the bedside table. This child was not here for a liver transplant....but the liver transplant APN still felt the need to just merely drop it the patient room....for the parents....without speaking to them about it! Great!! I know nothing about this....but who gets to explain this away!! That perhaps, in the future, your child may need a liver transplant! And this was NOT a mistake...this child may need a liver transplant....great way to find out (for the parents, and myself!!) Oh the Joys!

*NOTE TO SELF: As a future APN, DO NOT...EVER....just leave paper work regarding a life changing surgery for parents to paruse through. They will not appreciate it....they will freak out...they may have an emotional breakdown with the bedside nurse caring for their child at that very minute. Point taken!

3.) And finally, I got the pleasure of changing the diaper of a 4 year old who pooped a tennis ball....or quite possibly a baseball (whichever is bigger). Poor thing (the patient, not the poop)- it was big, round, hard....just like a ball (the poop, not the patient). No lie....and what's worse, as I went to weigh it (yes, we weigh our poop) that ball-o-poo almost rolled right out of that diaper....lucky me I did a little dance move and caught it. Nobody was as excited as I was to have that poop in my hands...or in the diaper...whatever! I just pictured it rolling across the room....down the hallway! Now that would have made for a perfect Friday!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Adventure has Begun....

For awhile now, my friends and family have told me, "You really need to write this stuff down." And by "this stuff," they are referring to the many stories that I come home from work telling. Sometimes I come home from work in a great mood after a fun and lighthearted day. Other days, I spent the entire hour+ drive home crying. And still, on other occasions I come home ranting (ie: this doctor said this, that parent did that, etc.).

So this is my attempt at "writing it down." To share the many adventures that I go through daily being a PICU nurse, a graduate student and many times a home health/triage nurse to friends and family : ) I hope that you enjoy this journey of mine. I'm sure along the way there will be many laughs, lots of rants, possibly some crying....but I hope that you find as much passion and joy along the way as I do!

So who is this nurse you are "Adventuring" with??? I have been a PICU nurse for the past 5 years and have loved (mostly) every minute of it. I am blessed to work in a place that has all kinds of patients (from the demographic to patient diagnosis). This means that I am constantly on my toes, learning new things every day. And when that code button goes off, PICU nurses truly spring into action.

I am also blessed to be going to school online!! I love school....but I LOVE school on my couch, in my PJs, in front of the TV more : ) I just finished my last final of the quarter yesterday which officially marks the half-way done point!! I know that come this summer when health fairs and clinicals begin, the true schooling will start. But until then, I will continue to enjoy soaking up little morsels of nursing goodness as it comes along (however few and far between that sometimes seems!). And when I graduate (August 27, 2011...and counting!) I will be an Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Translation: ummm, no idea yet....still deciding what it is I want to do with that....but hey, I guess that's part of the adventure!