“At band camp.” (I kid…I kid)
Nurses love telling stories, don’t we? If I didn’t know any better you’d think we were all serving in the military in some fashion the way we tell stories of days long ago.
If it isn’t an incident that happens at work, it’s something someone says or does. Or maybe it’s something you see at the bedside. A lot of times for me it’s what I encounter with my patients, or the patients on my unit. They come in with some crazy story or diagnosis, or some mind-boggling history, or better yet you witness something straight out of a movie that ‘just shouldn’t happen in real life.
I tried to think of the craziest story during my time on ‘active duty’ as a nurse, and quite honestly I couldn’t think of just one. There wasn’t just one story that stuck out in my mind. So instead I thought I’d hit some of my more interesting highlights in my career thus far. Now keep in mind I’m still six years young as a nurse, so who knows what is in store for me. Here are some of my favorites in no apparent order:
- How about the time I was doing CPR on a patient straddled over them on a transport cart being wheeled down the hallway of the hospital – as a 2nd semester student nurse? That was the day I found out the ‘cracking rib sound’ is not an urban legend.
- Or the time a patient went ghost-white, eyeballs rolled back into his head, and passed out falling into me as I was removing a cast and sutures from his wrist (post of wrist surgery). He was not a light-weighted fellah. Talk about awkward when he came to.
- There was the time me and two resident physicians were straddled over an elderly gentlemen (trauma patient) on his bed. The three of us were pulling/pushing/turning his left leg in such a fashion to try and ‘reduce’ his dislocated left hip. We were unsuccessful. He ended up having to go to the OR for reduction under sedation. I still can’t believe we didn’t break his leg in half?
- Then there was the time I admitted a patient post motor vehicle accident. He was intubated and fully awake. The resident physician called in to suture the laceration on his forehead (at the bedside) discovered it was more than a laceration on his forehead. There was an actual hole in their head. I’ll say that again. A full fledged hole through their cranium. When the laceration was pulled back you could see brain matter! Yes, the patient was fully awake and neurologically intact.
- How about leech therapy? Ever actually taken care of a patient using it? Leech therapy for a lacerated and macerated ear re-attachment. It was mind boggling to watch. And a lil unsettling to my stomach.
- I wouldn’t call this crazy, but definitely odd. The time a patient was having a total joint replacement. I was working as an assist. The patient chose a spinal block for anesthesia, so they were fully awake for the entire procedure. It was beyond ‘weird’ to have a full conversation with the patient (of course behind the sterile field curtain) during the whole procedure. The marvels of modern medicine, I tell ya.
- I think every nurse remembers their first successful IV cannulation (as a student nurse or new grad). Well, my first IV stick was on a women sitting up at the bedside, crying hysterically, because she was afraid of needles. The IV was needed for antibiotics or something – I quite honestly can’t remember. I was a last semester student nurse, and you wanna talk about pressure! Ironically I succeeded on the first try and the patient thanked me for not hurting her?? Go figure that one out.
- Oh, I think every nurse has dealt with this type of scenario before. How about the time I took care of a patient without an assigned room? Yes, a patient transferred to the ICU that needed immediate treatment (everything from vasopressors, fluid challenges, etc.). The unit was full and none of the patients could be moved out due to their conditions. So I treated and cared for a patient out in the ‘hall’ so to say until a bed became available. I honestly can’t say how long that scenario lasted? The patient did well.
How about you? Anything that you’d like to share?