Saturday, January 24, 2009


Don't we as women tend to pride ourselves on multitasking? Don't we all secretly sneer at men's inability to multitask? Okay, I know that's a general statement there, but come's USUALLY true.

Alas, sometimes my multitasking becomes too much for my feeble brain to handle.

I've started working on Fridays. It's a quick, easy shift: 9am-2pm. Easy peezy lemon squeezy. One quick note, I seem to miss lunch on these short shifts because it never seems time yet, then it's time to go....

So, I show up at 9. My first patient is there. As soon as I have him ready, the doctor is ready. We do his procedure, I wheel him to recovery. I do one set of vitals....Hmmmm, there's an update on the schedule at the desk. It seems my next patient is here. I didn't even know I had a next patient, considering this guy has to recover until 1pm (it's only a little after 11.) Another nurse is recovering her patient, mine is stable, so she agrees to babysit him.

I thank her, glance at the new patient's name "Hernandez." I remember her. No habla ingles. I speak a little Spanish. Usually enough to get me into trouble. She remembers me. She refuses to believe I can't communicate with her more than I can, so she talks nonstop. And expects coherent responses. While I start her IV. Get her vitals. Fill out paperwork. Take her to the back for her procedure. She continued to talk.

*I feel compelled to say, yes, I talk nonstop too. But I'm talking nonstop to people who's primary language is English. So, if they get a headache from me talking, it's due to annoyance, and the strong desire that I would shut up, not because their brain is turning into scrambled eggs from trying to do a million things, and translate.*

We arrive in the procedure room. The doctor is ready. The radiology tech is ready. My patient is talking, praying, talking, praying. I'm scrambling to get her hooked up to all of my equipment, help them with sterile drapes, do the time out (a quick pause where everyone verbalizes who the patient is, and what we're doing), and start administering her sedation. She's still talking....I give her the meds. She's still talking, asking questions. Wait a second....Why is her oxygen saturation 76%? Crud. I forgot to hook her up to oxygen. I dash around like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to untangle oxygen tubing, thread it through and around all of the equipment, under the sterile drape, and put it on her. And I'm still listening to her talk, and trying to make coherent answers to her and the doctor. What I want to say to her is "Cierra la boca por favor y respira del nariz." or in English, "Close your mouth please, and breathe through your nose." Disclaimer: I'm not sure of the spelling of the Spanish sentence. No criticism please...thank you. I was feeling very frazzled. You see, my Spanish is very sketchy. I have to think about what she said, change it all to English in my head, formulate a reply in Spanish in my head, and then try to answer her. E-gad.

Seriously, the actual procedure was only 15 minutes. But by the end, I was more exhausted mentally than after my 2 hour procedure I'd done before her. Then, when I wheel her to recovery, her son, my hero, my translator, is GONE!! I don't know where. She says I told him he could go to work. NO I DIDN'T! My Spanish is sketchy, but I KNOW I didn't tell him that. She fretted and babbled while I tried his cell phone. No answer. I thought maybe he wasn't answering because he didn't recognize the number. I called another son to see if he could get him. No answer for him either. She frets and babbles. I call another son, she talks to him, and bemoans the irresponsibility and untrustworthiness of her children....I continue to recover her (not that she needed recovery, she never went to sleep), my other patient, and try to admit yet another patient. I was ready to scream. Ummm, I know this is TMI, but did I mention Aunt Flo showed up in the middle of all of this? And she was here the first week of January! I know I didn't send her an invitation. What the heck is she doing here?

Lo and behold, here comes her son...My hero....He was sheepishly apologetic. He'd went to grab lunch and stopped by the gift shop, and his cell phone didn't ring. Oh well. He showed up. He got her off of my back. I felt so relieved to wheel her out. I felt kind of guilty. She is sweet as can be, and just loves all the "enfermeras y doctores." Even though she has had to come see us once a month since she received her dialysis graft 9 months ago, and her last repair only lasted one day. I was still glad to see her go. I will see her again soon enough.

I was so glad when I noticed it was 1:50. I punted all responsibilities to the other nurses, snarfed down a sandwich in 5 minutes flat, and headed out the door. No more multitasking for me. No thank you. I went home and stared into space for the next few hours.

1 comment:

Becky said...

You poor thing. At least the day went fast. I know how you feel in a way. My son talks non-stop but at least it is in English... still there are times when I don't understand him.

I sort of informally tagged you. Hope you are well rested.