Nurse, Heal Thyself!

It starts off innocently enough: some staff member will inadvertently track in a germ their kids picked up on the playground, or an admission comes from the hospital with bugs on board....but no matter how it begins, the thing will spread throughout the facility faster than a rumor and sicken residents and staff alike. Nurses Announcements Archive Article

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Nurse, Heal Thyself!

This year, we got a double whammy: at the same time we were under siege by the norovirus, a nasty little upper-respiratory specimen arrived on the scene that promptly attacked those who hadn't yet contracted the double-ender. So whoever wasn't puking and pooping was sneezing and wheezing........including yours truly.

Now, I have a stellar immune system that has served me well throughout middle age; I haven't been truly sick in several years, even when all those around me are dropping like flies and I'm the only one left to wade through the barf and the piles of Kleenex while tending the stricken. I had no reason to believe it would be otherwise this time either, even though both my son and my sister at home were ill.........until last Saturday, when I started feeling exceptionally tired and my throat became a bit tight. However, I dragged myself through that shift and the next despite the development of a heavy head cold over the ensuing 24 hours, thinking privately that if I had to come down with something, this was far better than the puke-and-poop version.

Ever been wrong? It happened to me.

Monday, my first day off, I slept until 4 o'clock. In the AFTERNOON. When I finally woke up, I felt like something the dog found under the house, dragged across the yard, chewed on for awhile and then re-buried. My chest was on fire---never a good sign for an asthmatic such as myself---and my lungs sounded like a rusty bellows. I was achy all over, my head felt like an overinflated balloon, and I couldn't get warm enough despite having a fever. I also noticed with some astonishment that I suddenly had no strength......my iPhone slipped from nerveless fingers as I tried to text my distress to someone who might care that I was dying.

I don't remember much about the rest of that day---probably because I slept through it---but by the next morning I knew I was in trouble. When I can't lie down without feeling like I'm drowning, when I can't walk across a room without becoming so short of breath that I break out in a sweat, it's time to go to the doctor. Only this time, I didn't wait several days before surrendering to the inevitable, as I did when I was younger and still had that illusion of immortality. I crawled up the stairs and asked my dearly beloved to take me to the urgent-care center.........in my pajamas and fuzzy slippers. I didn't even bother to put on a bra, brush my hair, or clean my teeth.

Of course, I knew what I had, and being a tightwad Republican sort, I really hate spending good money to have someone with a little more education tell me what I already know. But in order to get to the stuff that makes it all go away, one does have to go by the rules. Turned out it was a good thing I went in when I did, because I was heading into pneumonia and the asthma exacerbation was doing a number on my peak-flow measurements...the number in question being about 50% of my norm. A nice long nebulizer treatment brought the numbers up to an acceptable 75% of normal, so I was able to go home on a combination of doxycycline, prednisone and a nice bottle of Phenergan with codeine cough syrup. (An ode to Phenergan with codeine shall follow at some point; it's the elixir of the gods!)

While I still have a way to go before I'm completely over this, I managed to miss only one day of work, which is phenomenal considering how ill I was. And as always, it makes me wonder why I used to be so foolish about taking care of myself---or, to be more accurate, failing to take care of myself. I was never the heroic martyr type, who ignores all her own needs while tending to those of others, but I really didn't treat myself well. I ate all the wrong things, didn't take my medications as recommended, got too little or too much sleep, subjected myself to too much stress.....and all too often I let myself suffer for weeks with an illness like this, rather than obtain the advice and medicines I needed to get better. At 51, I don't bounce back as quickly as I did at 21, 31, even 41; I have to give myself every advantage I can, because I don't have the time to waste being slapped around by a microbe when there are good times to be had.

What was it my mother used to say---"too soon old, too late smart"? Only it's NOT too late, and I'm just going to keep getting smarter and stronger and wiser.........as soon as I can get through the day without having to take a nap.......

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

I'm a Registered Nurse and writer who, in better times, has enjoyed a busy and varied career which includes stints as a Med/Surg floor nurse, a director of nursing, a nurse consultant, and an assistant administrator. And when I'm not working as a nurse, I'm writing about nursing right here at allnurses.com and putting together the chapters for a future book about---what else?---nursing.

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The Creeping Crud has all of the residents laid out and half of the staff. Including me.

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

Creeping crud slowly went through my office...only to strike me on vacation while driving 1700 miles to New Orleans. Quick use of Muccinex DM, sudafed and Halls wild cherry drops survived the virus week. Worried my 81yo Dad traveling with me would get it and spoil trip.... never caught it.

He did complain I was trying to give him pneumonia staying out late at niight for several Mardi Gras parades as 40 degrees out ---- that HE dragged me to---- got him cup of coffee and he defrosted only to clean the streets of NOLA for Mards Gras beads. Have 2 crates full in car trunk to bring back to Philly.

Specializes in NeuroICU/SICU/MICU.

This post couldn't have come at a better time. I'm a senior nursing student with a heck of a nasty cold, and I spent all afternoon feeling sorry for myself because I had to take a day off my preceptorship. The moment I decided to call in sick, I felt a ton better. I shouldn't feel guilty for taking care of myself. :up:

argh. yess @ our snf/rehab we got a really nasty poop/puke bug a while back. EVERYONE was on the CL/compazine protocol and when i got it, i literally wanted to die. now im strictly rehab & have been fortunate enough to dodge any other bugs.

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

Me, I'm just sick and tired of being sick and tired........it's been a week and a half now and I STILL feel like death warmed over. All I do on my days off is sleep; I stagger through my shifts like a zombie, and I think I've coughed up everything but my shoes. I even lost 11 pounds in a week despite being on prednisone, which usually makes me insanely hungry......oh, well, at least I know it'll pass and I'll feel good again. Someday.

Specializes in telemetry, med-surg, home health, psych.

You post sure struck a nerve with me........I have always "nelected" myself but have taken care of family, pts, etc......

2 weeks ago I caught the "bug" : respiratory and head congestion...kept thinking it would get better and have been doctoring myself with sudafed (the old good stuff !!) cough med with codeine and BOXES of tissues....I think stock in Kleenex has risen in the past two weeks......

everyone at work seems to be just getting over it or are out sick....we are all running on empty with low staff, to say the least......

But, this too shall pass.............I have been trying to take better care of myself : vitamins, eating right, etc. etc........as we age, it takes longer to get over these things........I am 57 ..........and still plugging, just a little slower for now till I am back 100 %

Stay healthy all........

As every nurse who's ever worked long-term care knows, there comes a time each winter when some gnarly virus sweeps through the building and brings it---almost literally---to its knees. It starts off innocently enough: some staff member will inadvertently track in a germ their kids picked up on the playground, or an admission comes from the hospital with bugs on board....but no matter how it begins, the thing will spread throughout the facility faster than a rumor and sicken residents and staff alike.

This year, we got a double whammy: at the same time we were under siege by the norovirus, a nasty little upper-respiratory specimen arrived on the scene that promptly attacked those who hadn't yet contracted the double-ender. So whoever wasn't puking and pooping was sneezing and wheezing........including yours truly.

Now, I have a stellar immune system that has served me well throughout middle age; I haven't been truly sick in several years, even when all those around me are dropping like flies and I'm the only one left to wade through the barf and the piles of Kleenex while tending the stricken. I had no reason to believe it would be otherwise this time either, even though both my son and my sister at home were ill.........until last Saturday, when I started feeling exceptionally tired and my throat became a bit tight. However, I dragged myself through that shift and the next despite the development of a heavy head cold over the ensuing 24 hours, thinking privately that if I had to come down with something, this was far better than the puke-and-poop version.

Ever been wrong? It happened to me.

Monday, my first day off, I slept until 4 o'clock. In the AFTERNOON. When I finally woke up, I felt like something the dog found under the house, dragged across the yard, chewed on for awhile and then re-buried. My chest was on fire---never a good sign for an asthmatic such as myself---and my lungs sounded like a rusty bellows. I was achy all over, my head felt like an overinflated balloon, and I couldn't get warm enough despite having a fever. I also noticed with some astonishment that I suddenly had no strength......my iPhone slipped from nerveless fingers as I tried to text my distress to someone who might care that I was dying.

I don't remember much about the rest of that day---probably because I slept through it---but by the next morning I knew I was in trouble. When I can't lie down without feeling like I'm drowning, when I can't walk across a room without becoming so short of breath that I break out in a sweat, it's time to go to the doctor. Only this time, I didn't wait several days before surrendering to the inevitable, as I did when I was younger and still had that illusion of immortality. I crawled up the stairs and asked my dearly beloved to take me to the urgent-care center.........in my pajamas and fuzzy slippers. I didn't even bother to put on a bra, brush my hair, or clean my teeth.

Of course, I knew what I had, and being a tightwad Republican sort, I really hate spending good money to have someone with a little more education tell me what I already know. But in order to get to the stuff that makes it all go away, one does have to go by the rules. Turned out it was a good thing I went in when I did, because I was heading into pneumonia and the asthma exacerbation was doing a number on my peak-flow measurements...the number in question being about 50% of my norm. A nice long nebulizer treatment brought the numbers up to an acceptable 75% of normal, so I was able to go home on a combination of doxycycline, prednisone and a nice bottle of Phenergan with codeine cough syrup. (An ode to Phenergan with codeine shall follow at some point; it's the elixir of the gods!)

While I still have a way to go before I'm completely over this, I managed to miss only one day of work, which is phenomenal considering how ill I was. And as always, it makes me wonder why I used to be so foolish about taking care of myself---or, to be more accurate, failing to take care of myself. I was never the heroic martyr type, who ignores all her own needs while tending to those of others, but I really didn't treat myself well. I ate all the wrong things, didn't take my medications as recommended, got too little or too much sleep, subjected myself to too much stress.....and all too often I let myself suffer for weeks with an illness like this, rather than obtain the advice and medicines I needed to get better. At 51, I don't bounce back as quickly as I did at 21, 31, even 41; I have to give myself every advantage I can, because I don't have the time to waste being slapped around by a microbe when there are good times to be had.

What was it my mother used to say---"too soon old, too late smart"? Only it's NOT too late, and I'm just going to keep getting smarter and stronger and wiser.........as soon as I can get through the day without having to take a nap.......:yawn:

BECOMING A NURSE ISNT DAT SIMLPe...hehhe...sometymz am afraid of bein sick for ma father always telling me dat i have no rison to have an illness for i am a nursing student..he thought i cud cure my self...one tym i suffered from dysmenorrhea and i make a call to my mom..they are away from me for i am living in a boarding house every school days...i cant take the pain andi have no medicine wd me..my mother got thre at my bhauz after an hour...wen da pain had alredi gone..hehehe...anyways,ryt now ihave always my meds wd me..