November 8, 2008
Nursing goes far into my past so many funny things have happened during the course of time trudging up and down long halls serving my patients. The one hilarious happening that always stands out in my mind, reminding me of some Laverne and Shirley episode, began like this.
The evening shift started out like many others in the 1960’s, overwhelming tasks and two of us to care for 18 orthopedic patients, mostly men, many in traction and confined to bed. But lo and behold two sweet and willing sixteen year old candy stripers arrived to lend a hand. Never having seen either of them before I watched as they seemed to know exactly what they were doing. They went about preparing a small cart in the kitchen with ice, water, plastic bags, juice cups, crackers and such. As they set off down the hall to begin passing out fresh water, snacks and collecting the garbage, we were pleased to have the additional help.
I went about setting up my 4 PM medications as the girls worked their way from room to room. As I began passing out those meds, following the same route behind the girls, I found my patients in great humor and most could hardly contain the laughter that brought about a spark to their long days in the hospital. Those days most of these men had urinals nearby or lying on their bedside tables. It took awhile for the guys in the first room to get out the story with tears of laughter rolling down their cheeks. It seems they had a hard time keeping a straight face as they interacted with the cute young ladies as they proceeded to pass fresh ice water, offer snacks and empty the trash in the room and bathrooms. The problem being they were filling their urinals with ice water!
As I made my way down the hall from room to room, each room was the same, filled with laughter, really making everyone’s day far from ordinary. No one said one word to the girls criticizing their tasks. Rather than spoil the fun, I who have always been ready to perfect things, bit my tongue until their tasks were done. I took them aside in the kitchen while they were cleaning up to point out their error. They were highly embarrassed of course, but next time they came they did a great job. I didn’t make them go back into those rooms to correct the situation, we took care of that. Who would have thought such a thing could happen? Let alone bring such joy into painful dreary days in the hospital setting. I assure those men probably talked about that day for the rest of their lives. It was better than watching Laverne and Shirley. Not sure what ever happened to those candy stripers, maybe it turned them off on nursing as a career. Hopefully they turned into great nurses and have carried with them that evening experience finding as much humor in the situation as we did.
Respectfully Submitted by:
Carol, RN, BSN
Last edit by sirI on Nov 10, '08