Back In The Day

by Mr.Schnell

When I first got into nursing, back in the day, I took a job at a teaching hospital somewhere deep in the Bible Belt in a place at the time that wasn’t on any map. My orienting nurse was experiencing a very hectic shift plus burdened with the task of orienting me to the unit. She was being pulled in 50 different directions, near ripping her hair out when, at the height of her anxiety she turned to me and said, “There are days in this job where no matter what you do, as hard as you try, things go crazy. Nothing goes right. You can’t satisfy anyone, patient or staff. They just seem to suck the will to live right out of you!”

Being new to nursing without experience to fall back on I took her word for it. But in all honesty I had no idea. No idea.

Fast forward a few years. It starts like this…

…Your patient refuses to call for assistance, tries to get up out of bed by himself and FALLS! He complains his HIP HURTS “REAL BAD”. The resident sees him and wants a STAT CT SCAN.

Your other patient is constantly on the call light claiming the morphine he was given gave him an upset stomach. You notice the half eaten BURGER KING WHOPPER AND FRIES next to the EMPTY SODA on his bedside table. WHERE DID HE GET THAT? He is NPO for a procedure. He starts puking up his guts when his wife calls for an update and asks how he liked his “Whopper”!

Your new admit from the Emergency Department suddenly arrives: ALCOHOL WITHDRAWAL in full blown DTs (Delirium Tremors), pale as a ghost, and smelling like a GI Bleed. SNIFF SNIFF … yup definitely a GI BLEED! He yanks out his newly placed IV while demanding a cigarette and beer or else “I will go AMA!” You can tell he has been here before, he knows the jargon.

All of a sudden his eyes roll back, he starts jerking and shaking uncontrollably. GRAND MALL SEIZURE! Before you can yell, “GET THE ATIVAN!!!” your manager violently grabs you aside urgently wanting to know, right this very moment, if you signed up for the potluck tomorrow to celebrate the one year birthday of the CEO’s puppy. Will you be bringing the paper plates or the plastic fork and knives??? (Management has it’s priorities!)

Blank stare, dumbfounded, struggling, you feel that tenuous grip on reality and your sanity slipping as the code blue alarm goes off and everyone is running toward your room.

Every nurse eventually has one of these days. Some have many!

Today was your day. The day….



Published by undergroundcartoonist

Underground Cartoonist is a former ICU nurse that has worked at numerous civilian, military, and veteran Intensive Care Units across the country for better than three decades but has been sketching, drawing, and cartooning since he first picked up a crayon in kindergarten. Dabbled with political cartooning, writing, and general illustrations but the bread and butter came from health care. Recently left professional nursing to concentrate on camping, hiking, nature, the outdoors, trees, trails, and peace of mind. Love a campfire; rather watch it than TV. Avoid bureaucracy, career ladders, ladder climbers, and hero worship at all cost. Evenings spent with a good book, reading until the book smacks my nose when I doze off. Generally up at sun rise, listen to the mourning doves, put the coffee on, and play it by ear the rest of the day.

6 thoughts on “Back In The Day

  1. That’s perfect!! That is sadly so accurate as how management views their little pearls of wisdom. Keep those pts happy!! My current favorite is Rass scores on meds! You have 3-4 meds to control your pts agitation and unfortunately each med has a different score because the locum covering doesn’t know how to enter the orders. He tells you to keep the pt down!! So now I’m expected to scrutinize their work to make sure they entered it properly! So after 2 trips to CT and 1 to DI and OR you manage to mull over all the orders and change the Rass scores but you miss one. ( the one the pt no longer is on!) The follow day you get a little yellow post-it note! You need to go and fix that right now! Wtf?!?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Remember now, you are being well compensated for your mental duress. Money is the answer to everything, right?!? Suck it up and drive on…LOL.
    This is a little off the subject but one of my pet peeves was trying to give a patient their pills and they adamantly want me to hand them the pills … they can take it themselves … don’t need help. So I relent and give them the pills which they drop in the bed. Half are lost in the sheets the rest roll on the floor. What could have taken a few minutes now will be at least a half hour plus documenting the loss of medications which always raises administration red flags.
    And don’t get me started on the “gaggers”. One pill at a time, ten minutes of gagging per pill with 8 pills to go. Before they are done you are praying (Please Lord, take me now!).

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: