June 5 marks Cancer Survivors Day. For many people, just the topic of cancer is difficult. Chances are, you know someone who has battled with it, and it’s quite possible you have lost friends or family members. We’re taking a moment to remember our lost ones as well as celebrate the people that have overcome cancer. Every year, there are new discoveries and medical advances, and we are all looking forward to the day when cancer is something more people can win against. Here are some fantastic stories from survivors about facing cancer and how nurses helped them:
I was lucky as far as the cancer goes- lumpectomy and two lymph nodes, but margins and nodes were clear. I can only think that the OR nurses were good, as I had no issue with surgical sites healing.
In the PACU though, my IV clotted, & I think I needed the fluid, so that wasn’t helpful. No-one washed the surgical scrub off me, so I left the hospital with yellow scrub on my chin, neck, shoulder, top of my breast, and side. It was sticky and itchy. And apparently no-one had taken note of my being a Night Shift RN, so when I was slow to wake up from anesthesia the assumption was that I had sleep apnea, not that I was in the middle of my regular sleeping time and just enjoying the zzzs.
I’ve recovered a lot of patients in my 36 years as an RN, and I know three things: keep your eye on the IV- people have not had anything to drink for upwards of 16, 18 hours by the time they’re in recovery. People who aren’t hydrated wilt. Second, wash off the surgical scrub. I understand the scrub has value after surgery as well as before in preventing infection, but there’s no reason to send people out with scrub showing. And third, by keeping me hydrated and washing off the scrub, they’d’ve helped my brain register that just because we were all warm and cozy and post-anesthesia, wasn’t a reason to hit REM sleep.