Turkey in the Bra

Most nurses have to work half the holidays.  It’s a fact of life.  That means, you’re also working with a lot less help on those days, not always the best situation.  Patients need the same care as any other day. Since Bud and I were both nurses, we just planned our celebrations around the holiday, not a bad idea, anyway, since our many siblings had other family to visit.   One Thanksgiving, I was the only nurse working in the hemodialysis unit, assisted by a technician.  I made sure my patients knew when they were scheduled, so their family could have an uninterrupted visit, hoping not to cut a family visit short.  It’s a bad idea for a patient to eat a heavy meal before a dialysis treatment, so I always encouraged them to have no more than a light snack, to avoid a vomiting episode.  Patients who eat a large meal are very likely to throw up during their treatment.

The patient I had scheduled for one o’clock just couldn’t resist the delectable Thanksgiving Dinner his family had brought from home.  He had turkey, dressing, green beans, and pecan pie.  After a preliminary conversation and pretreatment assessment, I asked if he’d had a snack before coming.  “Oh yeah, I had a little bite of turkey.”

I got his treatment started and all was well for a few minutes, then the truth came out about his hearty lunch, literally.  He started heaving.  The whole menu was presented, dessert first, since it was on top.  Pecan pie is not appealing the second time around.  Turkey and dressing came up next, followed up by green beans.  He filled his own lap and the blanket covering him, with plenty to spare.  As I cleaned him up and got him into a fresh gown, he served up seconds.  This time it was turkey,  green beans with a few bits of egg.  Fortunately for him, I caught most of it in a towel.  The rest splattered me. He felt much better with his stomach empty and went right to sleep.

I always had extra scrubs in my locker for just such an occasion. While the technician watched the patient, I ducked into the staff bathroom.  I peeled the disgusting clothes off, trying to avoid getting the mess on myself.  I scrubbed myself, but didn’t have a fresh bra.  I swabbed the drenched one the best I could with a washcloth, and put on fresh scrubs over my bra.   I knew I smelled sour, but there was nothing else to be done.

We finished his treatment, uneventfully.  Hours later I got home.  The kids told me I stunk.  The dog agreed.  He couldn’t leave me alone, burning to investigate the intriguing aroma. I couldn’t wait to shower. When I peeled off my bra, turkey and green beans tumbled out.  They’d left an imprint.  Bud was repulsed.  The dog was entranced, gobbling them right up.

Right in the Mouth

I never expected to be the kind of mother who’d hit her sweet child in the mouth but I was, totally unintentionally! I was a registered nurse on call for emergency acute hemodialysis.  One Sunday night, I got a call just about the time the kids were headed to bed.  I told Bud what was up and headed for the car.  Unbeknownst to me, my young son, John, had also heard the call and thought it would be fun to scare me.  Just as I settled in my car for the drive, somebody screamed and grabbed me from behind.  By reflex, I slammed a backhand connecting with teeth.

John yelled for sure that time, as shocked as I was.  He hadn’t taken the fight or flight response into consideration, never expecting his mother to attack.  We both felt awful but I didn’t even have to discuss not pulling that stunt again.

 

 

“Help, I’ve fallen and can’t get up!”

Help! I've fallen and I can't get up.

Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.

Please don’t read if you are easily offended.  This is nursing humor.

My husband I are both retired RNs so we frequently spot errors in commercials.  The other evening, one of those frequent “Help, I’ve fallen and can’t get up!” commercials came on.

Bud watched the poor woman intently for a moment and said, “I know damn good and well she didn’t fall.  She didn’t piss her pants.”

He knows whereof he speaks, having worked on a physical rehab floor for more than twenty years.

Green Bean, Ewwww!

EWWHolidays are rough on people who work in hospitals, since you’re getting by with minimal staff.  One Thanksgiving, I was performing dialysis on a patient not too long after he’d had his traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  I knew exactly what he’d had because he got sick and hurled it me.  By this time, I was a seasoned nurse and always had extra scrubs stowed in my locker.  Without gagging, I brushed off the bigger pieces, swabbed myself with soapy towels, generally sprayed myself with disinfectant, changed clothes, and got back to work, pretty much good as new. Continue reading

“Do Not Disturb!”

honeymoonHad a hilarious complaint from a patient when I was a nurse.  The doctor came out of a room saying the patient’s wife wanted us to give her a “Do Not Disturb” sign to put on her husband’s door.  We kept disturbing them when they were trying to have sex.  Didn’t take us long to get that sign made.  You can believe they weren’t disturbed any more than necessary!

If Men Had Babies

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Daddy loved going to doctors and taking medicines.  He walked through one morning as Mother’s friend mentioned she was seeing Dr Bert Mason, praising him to Mother. Upon hearing this recommendation of a doctor he had no experience of, his ears perked up.  Pondering Shirley’s recommendation as he went about his business, he did a total body assessment, trying to determine what imperfect body part might be most in need of attention.  Like most people over forty, at any time he could likely zero in on problem or two.  His knee was cranky, uncomfortable in foul weather.  Seasonal allergies were an ongoing problem.  Indigestion was a common visitor.  Maybe he should see Dr. Mason. He made a note to have mother call for an appointment when he got back in the house.

Two weeks later, they hurried in to the doctor’s office.  He settled in while Mother registered him.  They were the first ones to be seen after the lunch break.  As they waited, a couple of patients joined them.  In less than five minutes, the nurse called out, “Billie Swain?”  He was surprised to be called Billie, but followed her into the bowels of the clinic.  As Mother waited, the room quickly filled with patients.  Before long, Mother notice a commonality.  The patients were all women, mostly obviously pregnant, or nursing newborns.  Realizing there was nothing to be done, she settled back, looking forward to Daddy’s reaction to his visit with Dr. Mason, M.D., OB/GYN.

Within minutes, Daddy slipped out the door in the rear of the waiting room, signaling as he made his way out the door, hoping to escape notice.

Nursing Slip Up

I was reporting back to a doctor on his agitated emergency room patient I had just been caring for.  Meaning to say, “He was really bucking and fighting.” I got tangled up and said “f–cking and biting.”  Trying to recover before the doc reacted, I snapped back,” but fortunately I didn’t get bit!”

” Who in the Hell is Michael Jackson?”

Sometimes life serves up some incredibly sweet moments.  About twenty-five years ago ,I mortally embarrassed both my high school children with no effort or planning on my part whatsoever. I was a dialysis nurse at the time. I had worked all night the night before.  I had gone to bed about four that afternoon, knowing I was going to be called back.  At eight-thirty in the evening the phone at my bedside rang.  Jolted out of sleep, Continue reading