Just Do It


Well today (day 2) was really something. I was the primary nurse for an ICU patient who didn't have a lot going on. During my slow morning, I discover that a neighboring ICU patient has a central line! *oncology nurse perks up* I didn't expect to find any central lines, but my sweet patient in Portland donated a lot of extra central line dressing kits to me last week and I had the chance to use it! The hospital is mega short on biopatches and I had brought tons! The charge nurse graciously let me change the dressing, possibly the one nursing task in which I am truly experienced. 

Cue the afternoon excitement. I was informed that I was getting an admission from the ED (which totally terrified me! I don't know what to do!). So I just walked over to ED and started pitching in on his care right away by running to the pharmacy for meds. He had a gun shot wound to the head and had lost consciousness and was now intubated and very agitated. He needed a CT scan. I wish I had a video of the colossal process it is to GET the patient to the CT scanner. It took 4 of us to roll the rickety stretcher over to the scanner's location, then LIFT the stretcher onto this motorized lift that takes you to the level of the scanner, then maneuver past trash cans and chairs to the table. Get patient on the table, all while manually ventilating patient and keep him from thrashing off the stretcher and giving sedating medications I've never given before. Once that is done, the power goes out. It comes back on but the scanner is not working. No CT scan. All that work for nothing. Meanwhile the patient is aspirating his copious secretions and still thrashing. Now to get him back DOWN from the scanner. This all makes sense when you can see what we are dealing with here. 

We do a similar process to get an X-ray and discover that the bullet is lodged far back in his brain with fragments scattered throughout. His prognosis is not good. He is 21. The doctor (Dave) brought his dad in to see him after he is back in ICU. After he explains everything, Dave says "Are you okay," and puts his arm over his shoulders. The dad says in French, "no, but I will try to be." 

Today was crazy. I think I did my best jumping into a completely new, uncomfortable situation. I was definitely challenged! I wish I had more pictures to show. I'm not allowed to take photos of patients without consent so I have to be careful who is in my photos. 

I'm learning that if I can't get someone to understand me, I'll say the English word in a French accent and SOMETIMES it's better understood! I call this a victory.