Well, so often I read stories of funny things that patients have done. I mean, we do deal with them at their most vulnerable moments. But, I do think that that, in turn, gives us, as healthcare providers, our own sense of vulnerability. Having said that, I will admit I am a clutz. I define the word. I am not graceful in any sense of the word and I have accepted this.
So, there I was, working a typical 12 hour shift in a small hospital ER when a call came in about an attempted suicide. Another nurse came from the floor to help me. I was about 8 months out of school and was working with a rather intimidating doctor,
so I needed all the help I could get. We prepared the room with what we would need and shortly thereafter the patient was wheeled in on a stretcher with his eyes closed, still breathing (and I think a little upset to find himself in this situation). :zzzzz We moved him to the cart and I began asking him questions. The ambulance crew reported that he had taken his full bottle of atenolol--which the label read "25" pills on the side and it was filled about 3 days prior. The patient's BP and pulse were, of course, on the low side, but holding steady. I was then informed that the patient's wife was in the waiting room and I proceeded to let her in and explain what was going on.
At this point, the second nurse was on the phone with poison control and I was preparing to initiate another IV to administer medications while the first IV was bolusing the patient. The second nurse hung up and came over to start the paperwork (charting, consents, etc). :typing She located herself on the patient's left side, while I, on the patient's right, was searching for another site for an IV. The patient's wife was to my left (at the head of the bed) talking with patient and crying.
On a side note, I'm a big believer in wearing comfortable shoes and had been talked into buying these "swiss" orthopedic clogs that added about 2 inches of height to me, but had no strap on the back. I had found out, the hard way, that if I got to walking too fast that I would just kick them off. So, I learned to watch my step and kept wearing them nevertheless.
Anyway, I decided to put the siderail down on the cart so that I could get a better vantage point to start an IV on this patient (who was still stable at this point). I leaned to my right towards the end of the bed to release the locking mechanism on the side rail. But, for some unknown reason, my left foot began to twist inwards, thereby leaving me no support with which to hold myself up--having been leaning to my right anyway, I proceeded to fall in that direction.
I found myself desperately trying to cling to gravity, as well as the anything within my reach. What came into my grasp was the exam room curtain. This slowed down the descent, until I realized that the curtain was movable. I fell.
The curtain opened. The wife of the patient reaches for me "Oh my god are you ok" (and for just a minute, had stopped crying long enough to let out a little giggle). :chuckle As I was getting up, I looked across the bed to the other nurse, who was looking at me over the brim of her glasses. She would have looked genuinely concerned, had I not seen her shoulders bouncing from laughter as she continued to chart. The doctor, who had been standing in the doorway, witnessed the entire event. He never said anything, but wore a smirk on his face the rest of the day.
The patient never responded to this and in the end--was sent home. At the end of the day, all that was hurt was my pride.