It's been an interesting couple of weeks in the old ER, rotten shifts and yet strangely awash with genuinely sick and unnervingly pleasant patients. I've had a tear in my eye more than once because a few words of kindness from patients have been thrown my way... Maybe I'm going soft in my old age. Tell me some of your stories, here are a few of mine.
I had an altercation with an ICU registrar during an emergency I responded to on one of the wards and was feeling decidedly unappreciated. Back in ER, I took over workup of a nursing home pt. in resus with some sort of compromised sepsis. I assumed he was demented /non-verbal or delirious and he had been doubly incontinent. I catheterised & collected bloods and then gave him a quick bath while chatting away to him about utter rubbish. As I was leaning across to finish buttoning his gown he whispers "You're very kind". 3 words, instant tears. Annoying really, I just wanted to be angry all day.
Unloaded patient into resus looking very ordinary - collapse / abdo pain / diarrhoea, bedside USS=Ruptured AAA. I just kept the morphine coming and called his son. Vascular surgeon blusters in after CT (without even introducing himself) saying "Okay, we need you to sign a consent form....." At this point, no one has even told the patient officially what is going on. "Um, doc, the patient isn't sure he wants go forward with the operation so you need to explain what's going on and discuss it with him". I am saying "best of luck" after getting him onto the operating table and he puts his hand on my cheek and says "what is your name?" then kisses my hand and says thankyou. Sigh.
Triaging a lady miscarrying at 13 weeks, starts sobbing at the desk so I stop asking questions and take her to a bay in acute. She keeps apologising to me for being upset- "I'm sorry but this is the 2nd time this has happened and....." so I go in for the hug, then I start to well up. We chat for a little while, I head back out to triage and a few hours afterward a man comes to the desk asking for me. He has come to say thankyou to me for looking after his wife and being so nice, that she was sorry she didn't get a chance to say so herself. What can you say to that?.
Lady patient unloaded in acute with chest pain. Her husband is grinning at me and says "You don't remember me do you?". "Well, your face is familiar". "You looked after me 4 years ago when I was having a massive heart attack". "Oh jeez...Was I nice?". "You were amazing F__N (remembered my name), everyone who works here is". Love it.
That's what I love about nursing, I sleep well at night because of patients like these.