So, for any of you who are behind, I had to stay at the hospital due to a recent blizzard here in Oklahoma. You can catch up here and here.
I entered into Tuesday morning tired and bleary but resigned to my fate of staying at the hospital at least one more night. Possibly two.
They gave me a five dollar voucher for the cafeteria for breakfast. I opted instead to eat a packet of oatmeal that I found in our break room cabinet. I had no idea whence it came or who's it was. There is a relatively good chance it was mine...However there is an equally good chance it was not. I really did not care. I was stuck there, and the others weren't and I was going to eat that oatmeal. I knew if I went to the cafeteria I would load up on junk I didn't need....
As far as I can tell the oatmeal did not give me food poisoning.
I spent a relatively uneventful morning stocking bays and fiddling with paperwork and auditing charts.
Because there weren't any DOCTORS there for me to do actual work.
Yes. No doctors. No physicians assistants...Oh! That reminds me! I must rewind to Monday night. I arrived at my department expecting to be alone. I had been unable to find my pager at home, so I figured I'd left it at work. I went to the back to hunt it down, expecting to be alone...I about jumped out of my skin when I rounded the corner and someone was there! One of our PAs was there.
And she was not happy about it. She let me know how displeased she was that two of her partners had put off 4 procedures for her to do the next day and "I live out where the chickens and hawks nest together and there is no way I will make it in tomorrow, and I'm your PA tomorrow."
"Well, that's interesting. The call crew is required by the hospital to stay until the storm is over, or roads are clear, or whatever. The others haven't gotten back here yet."
"Well, sweetie," she replied in her most syrupy voice, "you can bring these patients down here to help me do them in the department instead of at bedside if you want something to do."
"Well, quite frankly, I've been informed I will only be paid 8 hours a day, unless we add an emergent case in the evenings. So I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to clock in at 7pm to do procedures with you."
And she rolled her eyes and repeated that it would be easier for her and give me something to do...
I found myself strangely unmoved.
Fast forward to about 10am Tuesday. I get a fax that says a patient needs a temporary dialysis catheter stat. I find that very exciting as I have no doctor or PA to place said catheter. I have already been informed that our PAs (all four of them) are snowed in at their houses, can't get down their streets, and the call doctor is completely booked at another hospital. And, apparently the other three doctors are snowed in at their houses also...
Fortunately, the ER doctor had agreed to do any lines that we needed done. We just had to bring them down to his department, as of course they can't leave the ER unattended or understaffed...
Guess what? This patient was on a ventilator and multiple drips and his labs looked like his demise could happen way too easily for my own comfort! I called his nurse and she informed me that he had been a full code shortly before...
I paged the ordering physician to be sure he was aware of the situation and how we were going to get dialysis access for his patient...
He called me back in less than 30 seconds..."Interventional Radiology, this Andr.."
"Andrea? What are you doing there?"
"Well, sir, the hospital required that the call crew come in."
"I thought none of your doctors or PAs were there," he answered.
"Well, no they,"
And he interrupted me again, "That just doesn't make sense! Now, what did you need?"
I instantly found favor with him as he was sympathetic to my plight...I explained my plan and made sure he was okay with me taking his patient off the vent, bagging him down the hall to ER and getting his dialysis line in.
"Yes. He needs it now."
Cool. Just so we're all on board. God was good, and we got the patient down to ER, the line put in him and delivered back to ICU without a single mishap...
And that was the most exciting thing that happened all day long patient care wise.
Actually, it was the only patient care I did. I ran down 4 flights of stairs to help the tech in MRI to discover she didn't actually need help. So I ran back up 4 flights...
I ran down 3 flights of stairs to check on something random in the Nursing Office...I ran back up 3 flights of stairs.
I ran down 2 flights of stairs to get lunch. I was planning to use my voucher to get a cup of hot soup. Did you know they prepared corn chowder or chicken noodle as their soups of the day? Are you kidding me? WHERE IS THE STEW?! I WANT CHILI!!! And on Wednesday when I went to get lunch the soup was Cheeseburger chowder! I had never even heard of such a thing! I suspect that with the bad roads they were desperate for supplies as more people than ever were eating every single meal there. I bet they just browned some burger and threw it in Tuesday's rejected corn chowder!
Returning to Tuesday:
Well, I did field some calls about add ons and discussed with the doctors if they were urgent and scheduled them for the following day. But let's be real: Those weren't keeping me hopping.
My friend Shonda showed up around 5pm. She was starting her call the next day, and the hospital picked her up so she could be there to start the day bright and early.
She immediately wanted to order takeout. Strangely, we could not get a single restaurant to answer the phone or agree to deliver in what had now become a ground blizzard. Doesn't the food industry want to make money?
We all trudged down to the cafeteria. Taking the stairs, of course...
Now that I've listed my trips up and down the stairs, hows about I tell you what I ate Tuesday?
Chicken strips with gravy
Fountain Dr. Pepper
Fried Bean Burrito
TWO snack bags of Lays Original potato chips
Chips and Salsa at about 10pm...
I swear I was eating like I did in high school all over again. Only I was doing it with the knowledge that my metabolism and digestive system were not prepared for such an onslaught. The good news is that after our supper settled I made Shonda go walk the tunnel with me. We have an underground tunnel that connects the main hospital to Bone and Joint and also to Behavioral Medicine. Seven laps equals one mile. I made Shonda power walk it with me, and I made her do lunges with me down one of the stretches two times. She refused to do it every lap...
We then ran up the stairs (okay, not really, our legs were a tad trembly) and went to forage a mattress for her from the broken bed graveyard.
We had decided that come what may, we were sleeping in the bays of our own department. We work here dang it! We deserve it! Imagine our surprise and dismay when a pack of people came dragging linen in to sleep in what was now fold out chairs. Thankfully, they had apparently found 7 of those to be used in place of the pool floats they had provided them the night before!
After getting Shonda all set up, we decided to use our powers of mind control to see if perhaps the surgery people would let me use their shower if I promised to keep it top secret and not tell a single soul, I pinkie swear and will be eternally grateful and significantly less smelly...
Especially after all of those stairs and lunges!
Apparently my mind control skills are better than I thought...
Or I really did stink so bad they were eager to get me clean and deodorized! Can I tell you that I never knew using a public shower could be so blissful? I pilfered a pair of surgical scrubs and headed back down to settle in for some HGTV....
Where I consumed entirely too many chips with salsa. We then headed to bed. I actually slept much better on Tuesday, considering I did not wake every time a stretcher rolled down the hallway...
That is until 3am. I started coughing.
I was afraid to wake my roommates. I went to get a drink, tiptoeing in the break room so as not to wake Jeff...
I kept coughing...
I grabbed my blankets, and went to the itsy bitsy couch in our lobby.
A lobby I had sworn I would never sleep in, as it was unlocked, had a giant cherry paned picture window that took up the entire hallway wall, and all of the people sleeping in our department were using the lobby as their path to their beds...And any Tom, Dick, or Harry could come through looking for a warm place to stay...
I finally fell asleep sometime after 4am.
And I slept through four random strangers (okay, hospital personnel, but I did not know them at all) walking by me to go back to work, Shonda leaving to shower and returning to blow dry her hair...
Until she woke me up at 6:35.
I was a wreck.
By the time I left work at 2pm on Wednesday I was a mess. I realized that due to a vomiting child on Saturday night, restlessness knowing I was going to have to stay at work on Sunday night, hospital noises on Monday night, and coughing on Tuesday I had slept only maybe 18 hours.
And, no I did not do much patient care. Other nurses had arrived by then, and they caught on rather quickly that my decision making skills weren't the best. Of course, it was pretty obvious when they would ask me a question, and I'd just stare blankly at them...
And when I told them I took the stairs (of course) to the cafeteria and didn't understand what was going on when I walked to where the cafeteria should be...But of course it wasn't.
Because I was on the wrong floor.
I made it safely home. And I spent Thursday having good times with my family.
So there you have it.
Adventures in camping at the hospital.
What about you? Did you have an exciting week? Do tell!