Thank you for your encouragement. I am completing my second week in school, and I'll have to say the RNs in my life have been real champions.
Last week my wife asked me to look in on my mother in law, because she was having increasing swelling in her feet, breathlessness, sleeplessness and a tummy ache. It scared me when I saw her, because she was pail, weak, crying, and making crackling sounds from across the room. Mind you, this girl just quit bowling last year because her average went below 150 and it made her mad. SHE IS 85 years old!
I took her vitals. Her pulse was around 115. It was hard to count because of irregularity. Every blood pressure reading (waiting 5 minutes between) was high but different every time, so I didn't trust my skills. (I'm a recent CNA) She had a blood pressure machine and at least it had a hard time too because of the irregularity. It had to read 4 times before it settled on 130/100. She had been sleeping sitting straight up and leaning over a table for several nights and hadn't had a BM for 6 days. (She hadn't told us because she knew her daughter would insist on Dr's visit.) I couldn't read a pedal pulse because of the edema. But when I let go, my finger impression stayed. She felt like memory foam. And I could hear only occasional gut sounds. She didn't want to go to the hospital, but had an appointment the next morning, and she promised to go. I sure didn't want to play doctor, so I wrote a report for my wife with my observations (now I learn that's called an assessment) and it clearly stated I was concerned about possible A Fib, CHF, and impaction. I wish I had put her in the car and took her that night! I'm still kicking myself. My wife went with her the next morning. He didn't have admitting privileges, so he set up x-rays and set appointments 2 and 3 days out with a cardiologist, and a gastroenterologist. We didn't make it to those appointments though. Before she made the first Dr's appointment, her feet started WEEPING water! Enough to SOAK a towel!
Our daughter checked on her while I was in school. She put her right in the car and headed for the ER. (Wish I'd have done that on Sunday) Our daughter didn't give her options, just a command presence. I have to remember that one. Sure enough, it was all true. They pulled 14# of fluid off her that afternoon and evening, and got the heart slowed down to around 100 but not back in rhythm. It took two days of enemas and dulcolax to get her bowels going by Sunday morning. But when I got there Sunday morning, I noticed a mental status change and reported it to the nurse immediately. My wife brought things from home to help orient her and I got her a newspaper. She wasn't improving much, so I insisted the Cardiologist be called. Nobody liked that. When he came, he said he would put her on a schedule for a MRI. He suspected a CVA. I couldn't believe it. We suspect a CVA and we're going to get in LINE for a MRI?????!!!! As my daughter says, "NOT!" I threw a fit! Anyway to make a long story short, she WAS having a stroke. I stayed in the room and tried to help calm her. The noise of the MRI had made her very agitated and combative. She thought we were trying to kill her! Some of the nurses were getting tense by then, because I wasn't waiting for anything anymore! Every time they made a decision, I said, "Why?" Bless their hearts.
When she got back to telemetry from the MRI, one of the young RNs asked me to leave the room. The rest of the family was outside. I'll never forget what the older charge nurse told her. "Leave him alone. He's one of us. He's a nurse." I said, "A wanna be." She said, "No, you're a nurse." I felt bad for being so assertive earlier.
A lot more happened that night. You wouldn't believe all of it, but I'll never forget it. I won't bore you. It wasn't about me. I need to be reading! But my 2nd Mom is in Rehab working to get as much back as she can. My Mom #1 passed away just 7 months ago in the room just a few yards away across the hall.
This I promise. I WILL TRUST MY INTUITION AND FIGHT FOR MY PATIENTS FROM NOW ON WHETHER I MAKE IT THROUGH SCHOOL OR NOT! Whether I'm a student, a LVN, an RN or a layman, I'm going to advocate for my those that need me. Honestly though, I don't know if I can take all the drama. You can imagine what my reading comprehension has been like this past week. My teachers keep saying, "Keep going. One foot, then the other." I'm 53 years old. God tugs me to those books. And I remember someone already called me a nurse. But we'll have to see. I'm like a new colt on wobbly knees.
But whether I become a "real nurse" or not, I will always admire those of you who stuck it out. I thank God for ALL nurses. EVEN YOU GROUCHY ONES!
A New Start