The Invisible Nurse

26 Feb

The invisible nurse that reports for duty when short staffed. 

 

I Will Always Be ICU New

19 Feb

Lieutenant Diechler on 10 August on discharge from hospital after recovery from bullet wound to abdomen received at Hatcher’s Run in March. From Circular No.6, Surgeon General’s Office, Washington, 1 November, 1865. Tinted lithograph.

It is the three year marker walking the the intensive care unit street. It is a complex mapped obsession of knowing the patient, untangling needs, and anticipating what will happen next. It is persistent vigilance at the bedside.

Sleep All Day

18 Dec

This work is hard.I know what the book tells us: eat right, exercise and care for self.  I was never good at doing what the book reads.

Wet Your Eyes

10 Dec

The eyes are complicated things, I still don’t understand the anatomy and physiology. I don’t understand how a camera works either.

I do know that these shutter lids wet my eyes even with the dry eye. Apparently the glassy end of shift red dry eyes try to compensate with tears like lake reflections in the water of a busy shift– but they are still dry.

I do not like eye drops but I love eye wash.

Your Head in My Hands

9 Dec

The frontal lobe assault! It is that frontal lobe you know, that fucking personality driver! I can do anything for 12 hours.

The flame without love is just a wick.

3 Dec

This space for the case of the new nurse does not apply anymore: from telemetry to the intensive care unit; I hardly know what to write about anymore. I read popular science to get away from nursing science. I wonder why it is so hard to prime the CCRT cartridge without getting air bubbles and alarms. There must be a missing step or maybe I didn’t snap the lines hard enough; maybe I didn’t tap the cartridge hard enough.

 

I might be back with a fire. A fire to extinguish the lonely flame in this world without lovers.

Image

Don’t Wreck!

21 Aug

traffic_jam

Get me through this traffic. My patient wants to get home.

I figured out that critical care nursing is like defensive driving. Defensive driving is defined as: driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.

We are nursing to save lives, time and money, in spite of the conditions around the patient, the reactions of a sick body, and others.

Getting the sick patient in an ICU bed is like merging a highway through a tollbooth. One lane is coming from the ER, one lane is trying to get in after decompensating on the floor, and one lane is trying to get in post-operatively from the recovery room.

The charge nurse is collecting tolls, and patient tracking is trying to direct traffic. The urge to move patients sometimes causes road rage.

The nurses are driving and we can’t give the middle finger to those blocking the box in the intersection when the light is green because we are too busy preventing a ten-car pile up on the side of the road.

It is not just about the movement for us. There are illnesses out there just waiting to cut us off. Sepsis is weaving in and out of traffic with it’s fast yellow car. It’s a high-speed chase and the bad guy ARDS is coming up on us in its blue sedan full of old school metal just waiting to ram us into the ditch. The dump truck filled with gastric content just flipped the bend and spilled the belly juice into the perforated bowel. The landscaper’s truck is spraying our windshield with the tiny rock clots of DVTs, and emboli are everywhere. The drunken sports car made out with the telephone pole and now we have a head on collision with bloody brains. Sometimes we get stuck in a bottleneck; this one-mile per minute stage two pressure ulcer is going to get worse.

We keep driving and nursing. We look ahead and see the crash before it happens. We drive to prevent accidents. Sometimes we have to take detours. Cruise control isn’t really an option. It’s a good thing we know our way around.

My Dad always used to tell me: Don’t crack my truck up.

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