From the Other Side of the Bed Rails - When the Nurse Becomes the Patient - page 9

I had an interesting experience today. I walked into a hematology/oncology office ......... but this time as the patient. It’s strange how much different it feels when you, the nurse, suddenly... Read More

  1. Visit  cpilny profile page
    Quite a few of my 25 + years in nursing were spent in a Cardio-Thoracic surgery and interventional Cardiology. I've done my share of sending patients off to surgery for CABG's, Angioplasty, etc. Most came back, recovered and went on with life, and some did not.

    Imagine my surprise when I needed a triple by-pass, and 2 years later an open repair of a Thoracoabdominal Aortic Aneurysm!

    I will tell you all that it was humbling to find out first hand just how weak and vulnerable you are after 4 hours on the operating table for a by-pass. Walking just 20 feet or so without support was almost impossible (and here is the guy that badgered his patients to move, cough and deep breath).

    The Aortic repair was a miracle, as I caught the 6.8 cm Aneurysm and asked my doctor about it, otherwise it would probably have killed me. The 11 + hour surgery and 6 days in ICU was and entirely different experience. I now have a new perspective on many things, including hallucinations caused by medications (let me say that they seem very real to the person having them).

    So, Kudos to all the nurses in ICU every where that do such a great job day in and day out keeping their patients alive, after the surgeons have performed a near miracle and repaired damage that was once irreparable.

    Kudos also to an old friend and nurses aide with years of experience in her field who said to me 10 days out from surgery "Lord you smell terrible, if you get an order from your doc, I'll find a shower chair and scrub you down good". That shower made me feel like a human being again.

    I guess the moral of this is.......Doctors are important, Nurses that really know their business are important, but so are those who realize that the simple things in life (a shower when you are smelly) are also really important.

    And, don't forget that while we know that getting up and getting moving are so very important to recovery, it does not make it any easier to do, so Be Patient with your Patients.
    GrnTea, tnbutterfly, and dlatimer like this.
  2. Visit  tnbutterfly profile page
    cpilny.....thanks for sharing your story. I hope you are okay now. Sorry you had to go through these major surgeries, but it did give you a different perspective. Were you hospitalized in the hospital where you worked? If so, did you have co-workers taking care of you?

    Yes.......we all need to remember to be patient with our patients.
  3. Visit  TDub profile page
    These stories have made me feel less alone and a little braver... I am currently waiting for results on a sinus bx. I cracked a tooth; when it was pulled the dentist discovered a growth on the root that had destroyed an area of my upper jaw and perforated my sinus. Since then, it seems as though I am moving underwater and feel slightly stoned and disassociative all the time.
    The chances of actual cancer must be very low but all I can think of is how it will kill my mother, my husband and brothers, my kids, my dog even if I die. I'm only 51 and still have a lot of plans.
    I think being a hospice nurse makes me think of all my patients' worst scenarios and really, I'm overreacting. I hope I'm overreacting.
    GrnTea and tnbutterfly like this.
  4. Visit  tnbutterfly profile page
    Hello TDub.

    Thanks for sharing your story. How scary. I don't think you are over-reacting..... You are reacting.....just as other people would, as our patients would. The only difference is you. It is only natural to think about things. We all play the "What if" game. Except it is not a fun game. We imagine all sorts of outcomes, and the negative possibilities are magnified by our knowledge as nurses.

    Please keep us informed of your situation. This is a good place for you to come and vent, express your thoughts and feelings as you go through this process.

    I pray for a positive outcome for you.
  5. Visit  tnbutterfly profile page
    Moved to General Nursing Discussion.
  6. Visit  GrnTea profile page
    i was having a newly-discovered surgical treatment, the first one ever done in this hospital, by a physician who was new to the or staff. i didn't want a general (i really hate generals) so i had a spinal, at one point i caught a 7-beat run of vt on my monitor, and i started to vomit. i was scared to death that i would aspirate, could feel this in my pharynx, because of course i was flat on my back and couldn't turn to the side. i gurgled something to the anes and before he could say anything the circulator snapped at me, "why don't you just lie there and have your surgery??" it was stunning. never in my wildest fantasies would i ever say anything remotely like that to a patient. i was so upset i didn't even go back to that doc for a postop check, followed up with my own physician instead.

    a good story, though, for balance: i had to have a d&c which scared my poor sweetie to death. my gyn came out of the or to see him and the very first words out of his mouth were, "she doesn't have cancer." husband didn't hear another word after that but he really didn't need to. i love that doc.
  7. Visit  tnbutterfly profile page
    Oh my word. What a scary experience for you, GrnTea!!! And how rude was that. Shaking my head.
  8. Visit  pitapita profile page
    I think anytime a nurse is suddenly put into the role of patient, it helps them to empathize more with those they work with on a day-to-day basis. A little empathy does wonders both for the patient's psyche and the nurse's level of patience!

    - Pita
  9. Visit  tnbutterfly profile page
    I agree....empathy is a characteristic a nurse needs to possess. And what better way to learn it than to be in a patient's shoes, or rather a patient's bed just once.
  10. Visit  umcRN profile page
    I am a 24 year old ICU nurse of almost three years. I was recently hospitalized for a brain tumor & crainiotomy to remove it. It was an enlightening experience for me to be the patient, especially for major surgery and an ICU stay. For the most part though nurses didn't treat me any differently, they still explained, comforted and were present for me. The only people who seemed to take my being a nurse for their advantage were the anesthesiologists. They explained things to me in "our" terms prior to surgery but since I seemed relatively calm they didn't give me any sedation prior to going to the OR, in fact I was being strapped down to the table before being given anything either! And no reassuring words or soothing voices from anyone as I was put under, just a mask placed over my face which I can remember fighting a little because I started feeling claustrophobic and unable to breathe, and I remember the anesthesiologist holding it on my face not even looking at me but communicating over me with someone at the foot of my bed. Ugh. That would have to be my only bad experience of my time there. The nurses and other doctors were wonderful and though I only had a 2 day stay after surgery I made sure to go back with a thank you card and goodies for all the nurses.

    I have actually been blogging recently about my experiences, mainly to keep friends and family in the loop. I have a new found interest in spreading awareness about brain tumors, especially because I work in a peds cardiac ICU and have had no experience with anyone with a brain tumor until now.
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Jan 21, '12 : Reason: Blog link removed
    tnbutterfly likes this.

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