Rode Hard & Put Away Wet!

  1. As a veteran Med/Surg nurse, I ought to know better than to EVER mention the fact that tonight's shift is going better than last night's.........but I forgot, however briefly, that the nursing gods have a twisted sense of humor, and the karmic retribution that followed was swift and severe.

    I'd had a horrendous shift Thursday night---indeed, the worst I've had in months---and I was definitely NOT looking forward to the next one. Then I got called off from 3-7 yesterday, and thought I was home free.......only 4 1/2 hours, and we all know you can do ANYTHING for 4 1/2 hours, right? Especially when the first three of those hours go smoothly.....I had complex patients, but I was able to get their assessments and meds done in a timely fashion, and even some of the little extras I like to do for my patients at night to make them comfortable, like fetching warm blankets, offering herb teas and pain meds, etc.

    That's when I made the fatal error of saying out loud to a co-worker, "Oh, tonight is sooooooo much better than last night!"

    It wasn't 5 minutes after this that my alcohol-withdrawal w/seizures patient went into full-blown DTs. This gentleman, a skinny, fortyish fellow who had actually been quite appropriate and even polite when I'd assessed him at 2130, suddenly came off the spool and began cursing at staff, climbing out of bed and yanking at his IV lines, swearing there were bugs all over his arms and that we were experimenting on him for genetic engineering purposes. The aide and I couldn't physically stop him by ourselves, and he was headed for the exit so I called a Code 5 (violent/aggressive patient or visitor) and within seconds we had about 12 people in the room.

    Wonderful........but I don't believe I've ever seen such an incredible display of strength as I did last night, when this 120-pound man fought off eight fully grown adults, including an enormous security guard named "Tiny" who's about six-foot-six either way you look at him, a takedown team of four ER staff members experienced in this sort of incident, the nursing supervisor, another security guard, the CNA, and myself, for over an hour. I'm pretty strong myself, but it took every ounce of muscle I had just to hold down one shoulder while the takedown team worked to get four-points and a vest restraint on, and even then we couldn't let go because he'd start biting and grabbing fingers (he almost crushed two of mine before I got loose). I must have given him 12 mg of Ativan during all this, and it didn't touch him......I've never seen anyone fight like that, not even the 400-pound ETOHer I took care of a few years ago who literally marched his bed across the room while in four-point leathers.

    I finally got out of there after writing several pages of progress notes and an incident report, debriefing with the involved staff and the supervisor, and making sure all my I's were dotted and my T's crossed (I hope, anyway.... ). The adrenalin rush lasted until about three AM, when I finally fell into a disturbed, restless sleep. Now I feel like I've been rode hard and put away wet, as my father used to say: every muscle in my back, shoulders, and arms aches as if I spent the night rowing a boat, and I'm so tired all I want to do is sit around in my pajamas and doze like a kittycat. And all the way home last night I was thanking God that nobody got hurt, and especially for the fact that I never had to go through something like that myself.

    As much as I dislike taking care of alcoholics who come in to be detoxed, only to go back out and do the same thing all over again, I know that there isn't that much of a difference between us. Maybe that's why I hate dealing with them........they could be me, or I could be them, if it weren't for some really good timing on the Lord's part over 12 years ago when my then-infant son developed pneumonia and I realized how easily I could have lost him had I not been sober the night his breathing went bad. Heavy stuff.

    At any rate, I'm deeply grateful to have the rest of the weekend off. Think I'll take that little snooze now............
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    About VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN Guide

    Joined: Sep '02; Posts: 26,973; Likes: 44,759
    RN and blogger extraordinaire; from OR , US
    Specialty: 20 year(s) of experience in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych


  3. by   Baby Catcher
    I'm glad everything turned out ok. Enjoy your weekend off.
  4. by   jnette
    Wow. A rough night, indeed ! Get cozy comfy... LOOOOOOOOONG warm bubblebath, lavendar candles... flannel jammies, perhaps the pitter patter of raindrops on your window pane...

    (((WARMEST HUGS YOUR WAY))), Wonder Nurse ! :kiss
  5. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Sounds like quite an experience, but you were up to the challenge. Have a nice rest, a hot soak, and a good meal! :kiss
  6. by   sharann
    EEEEEKKKK! What posessed you to utter those fateful words?YOu indeed p.o'd the nursing gods of sadism
    You sure had a helluva night there. Glad you weren't injured(beyond your senses anyway). Now, what do we NOT say next time...?
  7. by   meownsmile
    I agree what a night. And those nursing gods can read our minds, we dont even need to say it outloud sometimes. I also agree about taking care of detoxing alcys. I will promise the moon and the stars to avoid having to take care of them, especially as the first arrive. The smell of the alcohol metabolizing off their breath makes me physcially ill. That is just about the only thing in nursing i have ever found that really physically nauseated me. I will manage a wide open incision, trach bleed anything but the alcoholic sleeping off a drunk. They dont even have to be an "alcoholic", just the smell of them makes me sick. And yes, my teenagers know they cant get anything by me either.
  8. by   VivaLasViejas
    Thanks, you guys! I'm afraid I'll have to substitute a hot shower and bayberry-scented candles (no bathtub, alas!), but I did take a nice nap, and am lazing around in my PJs, enjoying the fact that I am NOT working tonight.

    It's at times like these that I have to remind myself: "I LOVE my job, I LOVE my job, I LOVE my job".......... :chuckle
  9. by   Spidey's mom
    Marla . . . isn't it a wonderful feeling knowing you don't have to work? Stay in your pj's and relax.

    I'm really tired and I didn't have a bad day at all but still just want to climb in bed however my husband has been looking forward to seeing "Miracle", the movie about the USA Hockey team so off we go . . . . and we are taking the toddler. :chuckle

  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Bless your heart!
  11. by   RNPATL
    Wow, sounds like you had an ordeal. Nice job and take a break ... you certainly deserve it. By the way, my Dad use to use that phrase also.
  12. by   VivaLasViejas
    Hope you enjoy your movie, steph!

    That reminds me, the Summer Olympics are being held this year in Athens, Greece. I've always loved the pageantry of the opening & closing ceremonies, the drama of the competition, and danged if I don't cry every single time they play the National Anthem for our gold medal winners........

    In the meantime, I'm luxuriating in the warmth of kith and kin (two of whom are fighting like junkyard dogs as I type this) and thanking Heaven I'm here at home, snug as a bug in a rug instead of trying not to get killed by an out-of-control patient! I swear, sometimes I think I'm getting too old for this sh**........
  13. by   warrior woman
    Glad you're okay babe. Take it easy, and remember to never talk about a slow night again!! Guess you learned your lesson!!
  14. by   Agnus
    God bless and sleep tight sweeti. You earned it.