Doctor My Eyes.....Register Today!
A descriptive---but by no means exhaustive---list of some of the visual "treats" nurses get to see that I'm sure the public would gladly go the rest of their lives without even knowing about.by VivaLasViejas Guide Jul 31, '11
For better or worse, I have decided that a nursing career is essentially an unending series of full-moon weekend nights.
All of you who've been doing this for any length of time at all know exactly what I'm talking about: that free-floating weirdness we really can't describe, or identify, but which we spend a lot of time dodging because we don't want to get any on us. It tends to peak during the full moon, especially during hot summer evenings when the booze flows freely and the crazy and the stupid get amped up; but it can happen at any time, and anywhere. And after a while, it all becomes....normal.
I had this discussion just the other morning with my son, who works nights as a medication aide at my assisted living facility. For all his youth, he takes his responsibilities seriously and does his best to appear unflappable, but he was obviously rattled by the experience of doing the last routine check of the night on our resident Munchausen's patient......only to find the 55-year-old sitting on the floor without a stitch of clothing on, practically folded in half and performing an act of, shall we say, autoerotic stimulation (and NOT in the usual fashion, if you catch my drift).
Oh! the humanity! I think Ben's still assessing the damage to his psyche (not to mention his visual acuity after his corneas melted). But the incident got me to thinking about all the traumatic, ugly, obscene, funny, and downright absurd things we health professionals see during the course of a career, and I've got to say there's probably a hundred and one that have burned themselves into my own memory. Unfortunately, they have this annoying tendency to pop into my mind's eye at THE most inconvenient times, like now....when I'd really rather go to sleep for the night.
I can't forget:
.....The patient whose toes resembled Raisinets. I was working my very first nursing job in a SNF, and when I went to unwrap the bandage, two of them dropped off the foot and right into my gloved hands, prompting a rather unprofessional (and almost overwhelming) urge to blow my groceries. Only the presence of the CNAs saved me, and only because I didn't want them to know how green I really was!
.....The 80-something telemetry patient whose 40-something girlfriend snuck in after visiting hours. The tele nurse called the floor to ask me to go check on him since his rhythm was doing some crazy stuff on the monitor. I went in to see if he was OK, and.....well, not to put too fine a point on things, they were going at it hard and heavy. 'Nuff said.
.....The LOL who ripped a catheter out of a confused patient who'd been yelling all night, apparently disturbing her beauty sleep, and strolled down to our nurses' station with the drainage bag and tubing still in her hand. "NOW he's got something to cry about!" she said with a gleam of triumph in her faded blue eyes.
.....The grimly determined expression on the face of a grandfather who'd just been diagnosed with stage III esophageal cancer and decided he didn't want to be a burden to his family. He informed me very calmly that he intended to kill himself. I begged him not to. He promised me he would think about it. Three days later, I read in the newspaper that he had shot himself in the head the day after being discharged from the hospital.
.....The litter of kittens, complete with the mother cat, that an asthmatic patient's family had brought in to "visit" her. (I wound up taking one of them home, a little sleek black kitty who's still with us over a dozen years later.)
.....The new parents who couldn't read or understand the instructions that came with their infant's car seat. The grandparents were just as useless; Grandpa even came in to see the baby with a beer tucked in his back pocket. I had to install the seat myself in their borrowed vehicle, put the baby in it, buckle her in properly.....and then send her home with this illiterate, dysfunctional family.
.....The elderly diabetic with Stage IV decubs on her coccyx, right heel, and both greater trochanters, whose son and daughter-in-law had neglected her so badly while she lived with them that the hospitalist made them stay in the room and watch as a surgeon performed sharp debridement at the bedside.
.....The nineteen-year-old primigravida, with multiple piercings and tattoos, who jerked her hand away when I tried to start her IV because she "hated needles".
.....The hilarity that ensued when said nineteen-year-old primigravida was also found to have dyed her hair "down there" to match the bright blue streaks in the dishwater blonde locks that grew on the top floor.
These are but a few of the scenes that have amazed, disgusted, angered, and otherwise entertained me over the years. What are some of yours?Last edit by Joe V on Jul 31, '11
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VivaLasViejas. (Jul 31, '11). Doctor My Eyes...... Retrieved Thursday, May 23, 2013, from http://allnurses.com/showthread.php?t=598471
- Jul 31, '11 by Bbo.WAll of this occurred last night. It was a VERY long night, and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry on the way home, so I did both!
The LOL who came to our locked dementia ward after breaking a hip, then dislocation of said hip. She wanted to go home and to prove she was fit to do so, she jumped up and down and bounced on the bed. The amount of bruising was unreal by morning, as was her refusal to wear the braces to keep the hip stabilized. She refuses to walk during therapy, but is more than happy to when she is sundowning at 2 AM. Do therapists work at 2 AM?
The LOL w/ dementia and a colostomy bag-she removed the bag and spread the contents all over herself, then came out into the hallway and asked me if I thought the "lotion went bad-it smells funny". Wow.
- Jul 31, '11 by kessadawnThe parent who insisted on sleeping nude in her 4 year old's hospital room, stating this is how they do it at home. Sorry sister, you are not at home, put some clothes on.
The father asleep on the little couch at the bedside, curled on his side, facing away from me, who needed me to cover him with a sheet all night so I could stop his butt from smiling at me.
- Jul 31, '11 by Ivanna_NurseIll never forget the young paraplegic who was taken care of at home by his mother...She ran out of money and dressings and began to use duct tape to hold his necrotic, decomposing bottom together. No wonder he was septic.
The man who was trached, awake, alert, long term with Nec Fasciitis- he had multiple wound vacs to his bilateral legs. When he knew it was time to change the dressings, he would silently cry. So did I, I learned the value of pain control and comfort.
The pregnant woman who put herself into DIC and HELLP syndrome because she didnt think dealing with kidney stones was really necessary. After an anoxic hit, she still doesnt even realize the magnitude of what happened, but her family's face said it all.
- Jul 31, '11 by doomsayerThat was wonderfully well written. Thank you!
Around the age of twelve, I was able to do a ride-along during a 24 hour shift for the ambulance company that my mother worked for under the auspices that such things were allowed as part of the Boy Scouts "Explorer" program. Wishing so much to be the student of nursing I have now become, I was elated to do this! I had a little jacket, my own mag-lite, even a stethoscope. Boy, was I a pro!
Well, to make try to make a long story short- old hippie biker guy with long hair/beard is assaulted in his home during a robbery- phone lines are cut and so is he. He has multiple lacerations, the most stunning of which is right across his throat. He drives himself to the nearest greasy spoon diner with a pay phone outside to summon the ambulance. I sit quietly in the side seat as we bring the man in.
After a word with the doc, my mother asks if I would like to stand near the wall and watch from a distance while the stitches were being done. The doctor remarks on how close the ear-to-ear cut on the mans neck narrowly missed the trachea, and that the scant hyoid bone may have been the only thing halting the blade.
Old hippie biker says, "yeah, well- what I am worried about is...will it leave a scar?"
Doc says, "Afraid so..."
Hippie says "Good! I can't wait to show the boys the scar from when I was the bad mf*er that survived getting his throat cut!!"
Never forget it!
- Jul 31, '11 by nerdtonurse?The day I'll never forget was the day the toughest nurse on my floor said I was "hard core" -- we had a guy spontaneously rupture an esophageal varice -- we knew something was going down when the we heard a CNA scream. We all go pounding into the room, and the guy is literally erupting blood like a volcano, and we've got Lake Esophagus forming in the floor, complete with chunks (food/tissue? Didn't stop for a biopsy). The nurse in front of me skidded to a stop and I took a look and said, "Gee, you don't see that everyday."
The guy lived only because the OR team was in house for an emergency appendix -- the appy got tossed into the PACU and varices boy went straight from his room to the OR, doors open all the way. They replaced his esophagus with a section of small bowel, and from the look of him postop, the doc did a "splash and slash" opening. About 2 months later, he died from yet another drinking bout, 4 days after finally getting out of the hospital.
- Jul 31, '11 by txredheadnurseProbably the most horrific traumatic injuries I ever saw were as follows:
Man changing a tire on a semi when the tire exploded shooting the rim right across the top of his head. The prison doc accompanied me out to the area of the accident. As I stood slack jawed at the sheer amount of gore and tissue strewn about I heard a quiet eep followed by a thud behind me. The doc had fainted at the sight before us.
The young soldier who was sideswiped while fixing his car on the shoulder of the road. His ass was literally ripped off. It looked like gigantic jaws had taken a chomp out of him. He never passed out either at the time of the accident, during the trip to the ER and I have never seen anyone come out from under general anesthesia so rapidly. His pain was so horrific all he could do was moan and weep non stop for days. It was a blessing when he got air evacuated to a larger hospital.
- Jul 31, '11 by sweetnurse63I remember a male patient in his sixties asking for me to help him piull his underware up while he was in the bathroom only to be faced with the embarrassment of seeing his (genital) hanging down which was (i'll put it this way), surprisingly long in length. All i could do was turn my head the other way, hurry up to help him and leave. A minute later, a pca came to me and said, "wow, I feel like i have just been flashed"!!!! we both laughed so hard but i could not help but wonder if this patient had a hidden agenda.
There was another time when a patient asked me to hold what looked like a small earring for him, only to realize a couple seconds later that i was holding his tongue ring with dry food around it and then he asked me to put his long hair in a ponytail. what we nurses are asked to do will never cease to amaze me!!!!
- Jul 31, '11 by DizzyLizzyNurseThe most horrible thing I ever saw was in LTC. This absolutely adorable LOL has a necrotic foot. Her entire foot was black and full of holes.
I have never smelled something that disgusting. I felt so bad for her. I'm just glad it didn't hurt her. I still get the creeps when I think about it. She has since passed away.
- Jul 31, '11 by deokayI think we've all probably had the LOL who carried her F/C bag around insisting it was a purse (I'm just thankful that she never tried to open it to look for her wallet).
And my favorite memory of all... My first attempt at applying thigh high TEDs on a 95 yr old ER admit at 2 am. I was in my last year of nursing school and working as a tech on Med/Surg. By the time I finished, I was practically in bed with her and we were both laughing so hard that we were crying and couldn't talk. 22 yrs later, I can still see her sweet face laughing at me...