Thursday, February 02, 2006

Rivers of Poo

These have been three very very bizarre nights at work. Are the planets in a weird alignment or something? Is Mars in the house of Uranus or whatever? Two days ago, the hospital had five Code 199's (Code Blue = Cardiac Arrest) within a few hours. To give you an idea, most days there's only one, if that. On our unit alone, day shift had an unexpected death, a code 199, an emergent intubation, then a code on our stem cell unit downstairs, a death downstairs, and another death at the very start of night shift. That's more than sometimes happens in a month.

Here's one for the List of Things You Do NOT Want to Hear in Report: Pt is received four liters of Golytely. Golytely is an electrolyte solution, often given to a patient the day before he or she is to undergo a colonoscopy or similar Cleans you Out. There is nothing "lyte" about it. And four liters is a lot. Combine that with the fact that the patient is getting tube feeds and hasn't had a bowel movement in over a week, and you're not in for a pleasant night. First of all, my genius hospital assistant showed me the wonder of a cannister connected to wall suction. However, I will never forget the sound of suctioning stool off the bed. But, that was over a liter of stool into the suction wand that didn't end up on the floor or worse: on me. And we all know Rule #2 of Nursing: The only thing worse than poop is when it's on your pants and it's not yours. But perhaps my finest moment was as I spooned the stool off the bed into a tiny clear plastic container to send it to the lab. There's something about a white plastic spoon and well...I just kept repeating to myself, "I am a highly trained professional. I have valuable skills. I have an expensive education. Ah shit...the suction's clogged again..." Seriously, rivers. Nonstop. Continuous. Oozing. Tonight my love for double-gloving really paid off. And yes, if you are still reading this and aren't running screaming "Groders!!" then I will admit that there was digital disimpaction involved as well.

I am a highly trained and skilled professional. And don't forget the mask with face shield, people.

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