With all the war talk and other serious things going on at the moment I think it may be time for a little humour and laughter to enter the website. You may have noticed I have posted a couple lately and will try to continue. I wrote this little story a few years back - hope you enjoy it.
Bits 'n' Bytes 'n' Beds
I recently returned to beside nursing after many years in an office. To make things even more complicated for myself I have come form a regional centre to the big smoke and started doing agency work. The basics haven't changed but the Technology!!!
The thing that has been the biggest bump in my learning curve has been the beds. I am used to the old fashioned manual wind-up/lift-up bed but someone went wild and crossed a computer engineer with a mad scientist. Their fiendish plot is to wreck their revenge on the medical profession by driving all the nursing staff insane and inventing THE ELECTRIC BED!!!
Lets look at the bed rails for a start. Now I personally have always viewed bed rails with a wee bit of suspicion because, in my experience, the really determined confused old darlings often look on bed rails the same way that Sir Edmund Hillary looked on Mount Everest. Believe me it doesn't slow them down but it does give them an extra 18 inches to fall from.. Now in the old days we didn't have much trouble with the bed rails they were simple affairs that clipped to the side of the bed and as long as you weren't in a hurry, held the bars level, kept your tongue between your teeth and muttered a prayer to Murphy the god of medical equipment everything was fine. But the bed rails of today! I now know what happened to all the redundant animal trappers Green peace put out of business - they went into the business of designing bed rails. Those things will trap anything. CVC lines, arms, legs, ventilator tubing, even, in extreme circumstances, testicles (that poor wardsman is still not talking to me.). That is when you can actually get them to move.
I will concede that the controls for bed rails should be hidden from the really crafty old dears determined to escape but it shouldn't take three boy scouts and an orienteering guide to find the rotten things. Often when you do find a knob that looks like it might belong it has nothing to tell what you are supposed to do with it. One time I found one of these mysterious knobs on the side of the bed and thinking it had something to do with the rails I started to manipulate the thing. Isn't it amazing anytime you are struggling with a piece of equipment a crowd appears from nowhere and all the suggestions fly - Try pushing it", "try pulling it", "try pushing AND pulling it.". meanwhile you are muttering under your breath "I am, I am" and keeping a fixed grin on your face. After ten minutes the bed rails are still in place but some weird structure has popped out from under the bed - it could be a bedside table but it looks more like an umbrella stand designed by Escher.
One patient handed me the controls and asked if I could help her get more comfortable. I looked at the control - a cross between a VCR control and the remote launcher for the space shuttle. I (in desperate hope) offered to rearrange her pillows but she was adamant - she wanted the bed altered. I stared at this control, It stared back. The makers had carefully put little symbols on each button. Unfortunately they looked like some mad archeologist had added all his favourite pictures. I am reasonably bright but what does g or y or t mean? There was nothing else to do but to grit my teeth and experiment. Now children and fellow nurses please hear my warning, never but never experiment with the hand control of one of these electric beds. After ten minutes it resembled a pretzel sandwich. The bed was folded in ways that I didn't think could be achieved and the patient was in a position usually only reached by a very, very drunk contortionist. There was a positive outcome. The patient maintains that she got more spinal manipulation in 10 minutes than she had in 10 years of going to the chiropractor and now her back now feels a lot better.
The danger doesn't stop there. One very deaf, near blind old lady got a hold of the control of her bed and began punching buttons wildly trying to get the buzzer to work. The bed began moving up and down with such speed that it started to "hop" around the ward. By the time the power cord had pulled from the wall two nurses were trying to hold it off with chairs and the night supervisor was completely cornered meanwhile the patient was still hitting buttons shouting "Goddamit ! I only want a Goddam Bedpan!"
All I can say is if the electric bed is typical of the evolution of medical equipment then I am seriously considering naked Cactus skiing - it would be safer.