Hearts and Entertainment
Here's a story about a wild-and-crazy Saturday in a skilled nursing facility when staff and patients alike combine to keep each other off-balanced, confused, and rolling on the floor laughing. We are the proud. We are the strong. We are.......the Weekenders.
It all started with the guy in room 156, who pulled the oldest trick in the book and still got a newish nurse to buy it.
We've had an epidemic of respiratory infections in the building lately, so everyone who's got issues has to wear a mask outside their room; or in the case of staff, they have to wear a mask period. So when "Mickey" got back from dialysis, he was still wearing his, and as the aides were helping him into bed he asked to see the nurse.
I heard the story this way: Sherry, who was orienting with Remy, the charge nurse, went in to see what Mickey wanted. In a voice muffled by the mask---and roughened by a cold---he asked her something that sounded like "Are my testicles black?" Of course, being new to the facility and having only a couple of years' RN experience under her belt, she peeked under his gown, blushed a little, and said, "Um, nope, they look fine, they're the normal color." Whereupon he yanked the mask off and yelled "No! I wanted to know ARE MY TEST RESULTS BACK?"
Her face was crimson and her expression sheepish as we laughed at this most basic healthcare humor on which we've all been raised. Just about that time, the lady in 216A called out to me: "Viva, what's all the laughing about? It sounds like you guys have a comedy club going on!"
I was still chuckling when I went in to try to explain it to her in......well, patient-appropriate terms. Both she and her roommate burst out laughing as well, and the good feelings generated by our mutual amusement seemed to infect the entire hall. The aides and I were calling out good-natured insults to one another, and then the treatment nurse, Candie, got into the act and we bounced one-liners off each other until our bellies ached.
A short time later, the first of my three admissions arrived. She was an alert and cheerful woman who'd had a CABG a few days before, and she clutched a heart-shaped pillow to her chest as the CNA and I reached down to help her out of the wheelchair. Unfortunately for all three of us, the first thing she did upon rising was to emit a loud, trumpeting sound from the general region of her posterior, waking up the patient in the window bed.
"Well, hell, THAT sure isn't going to make me any friends," she quipped, causing my already overstimulated funnybone to kick into high gear. Just then Candie showed up to do a skin assessment, and all it took was one look at each other to break us ALL up. It was one of those things where you kind of had to be there to fully appreciate the humor of the situation, but trust me......it was hilarious!
Things settled down for a time after that; but then, my second and third admits came within minutes of each other. Now, all of you who've read my articles and posts for a few years KNOW how quickly I become discombobulated when there's too much to do at one time, so as you can imagine, it didn't take too long before I was utterly confused. One patient had had a left total knee arthroplasty; the other had a right total hip replacement. One patient was diabetic; the other was not. But both of them had the same antibiotic allergies (sulfa and PCN), similar kinds of medications, and their names were almost the same (one was "Jane" and the other, "June").
I was fumbling through the paperwork on both admissions and beginning to lose my happy thoughts when Candie entered the nurse's office and sat down to chart. I should mention that we are both in our mid-fifties and really starting to worry about whether we are developing dementia, or if we're just a pair of space-cases.
Great, just what I needed: another distraction. But after hearing her story about driving off and leaving her purse in the employee parking lot the day before, I was able to let go of some of the stress of my day and tell her MY story about squeezing the contents of a fish-oil capsule all over the med cart a couple of weekends ago.
Of course, I got it all finished up eventually, and I went home that evening feeling I'd actually done a pretty decent job of keeping three different charts and three different patients straight---which for me is nothing short of miraculous! But better than that, I had that wonderful satisfaction which comes only from working with a team I trust, on a shift I'm comfortable with, in an atmosphere which allows us all to be who we really are.
We may be the misfits of the facility---I mean, what normal person likes to work on weekends?---but we have a pretty darned good time of it since there are no "suits" to tell us we really should shut up and be serious.
In the meantime, I only hope Sherry will learn to fit in with our happy little band. The look on her face when Mickey pulled that circus-stunt joke was priceless, and if she doesn't have a sense of humor underneath those new-kid-on-the-block jitters, she'll never survive. After all.....we are the Weekenders!Last edit by Joe V on Oct 8, '13
About VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN Guide
Joined: Sep '02; Posts: 26,652; Likes: 43,181
RN and blogger extraordinaire; from OR , US
Specialty: 20 year(s) of experience in LTC, assisted living, geriatrics, psychOct 8, '13Sorry to be a killjoy but I find this story disturbing, not funny. If I understand correctly, a resident tricked a nurse into looking at his genitals. This is called Indecent Exposure-the crime of displaying one's genitalia to one or more other people in a public place, usually with the apparent intent to shock the unsuspecting viewer and give the exposer a sexual charge (The Free Dictionary.com). Then you all laughed at her humiliation which could be characterized as a hostile work environment, depending entirely on how the employee took the prank. If she dreads coming back to work because of this and similar experiences then that would qualify. I also have a problem with your statement that if she doesn't like getting pranked at work, she won't fit in. Being the butt of jokes at work is not required, and has no place in the professional work environment. Perhaps there's something I'm missing here, but no one likes to be laughed at.Oct 9, '13Quote from nurse2033I read this entire story as satire since that joke's been going round for years now I wouldn't read too much into itSorry to be a killjoy but I find this story disturbing, not funny. If I understand correctly, a resident tricked a nurse into looking at his genitals. This is called Indecent Exposure-the crime of displaying one's genitalia to one or more other people in a public place, usually with the apparent intent to shock the unsuspecting viewer and give the exposer a sexual charge (The Free Dictionary.com). Then you all laughed at her humiliation which could be characterized as a hostile work environment, depending entirely on how the employee took the prank. If she dreads coming back to work because of this and similar experiences then that would qualify. I also have a problem with your statement that if she doesn't like getting pranked at work, she won't fit in. Being the butt of jokes at work is not required, and has no place in the professional work environment. Perhaps there's something I'm missing here, but no one likes to be laughed at.Oct 10, '13My first job was similar to what you describe. The comraderie was unique. No other place I've worked ever clicked like that one.
Your post made me think of things I haven't thought of for a long time.
Maybe that's why I enjoy what you write so much.Oct 10, '13As always you put a smile on my face and a LOL that my kids want to know "what's so funny?". Thanks Viva!
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