Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Five-Foot Line

Still lollygagging at the bottom here. I don't think the numbers yet warrant a designation of "engraftment," so I'll just have to try harder. Two funny stories to share, though. And by that, by now, you know I mean unfunny.

Swallowing has become very difficult once again, so many of my medications have been switched from pills to IV fluids. With about eight bags of various medications plus my best friend, Mr. Morphine Pump, my IV pole is starting to look Hydra-esque. And to actually leave the room, I need to suit up in gown, gloves, and mask.

That's a long-winded way of saying it's a very big deal to leave my room. And yet, we're not supposed to lay in bed all day if we can possibly help it. I remembered from our Transplant Class that the unit has several exercycles, so I requested an exercycle yesterday. It finally arrived...and it was broken.

I sent it back with an explanation of what was wrong. And today I tried to find the other elusive exercycle. After checking nearly every room, my nurse realized the only "other" exercycle was the same one... and it was still broken. Very funny, eh?

For the most part, nursing care here is outstanding; in fact, it is that quality of care that really makes it apparent when someone's skills aren't up to snuff. A couple days ago, there were several incidents during Nurse Dingaling's 8-hour shift that put my survival instinct into High Alert mode. Twice, she wheeled in the little "vitals" cart, yakked for 10-15 minutes, and started to leave until I reminded her she had not gotten my temperature & bp. Oh, golly, both times she just laughed and laughed! It's hilarious, isn't it? (What else is she forgetting?)

I have not gone through this horrendous ordeal only to be done in by some chatty dumbbell. Thankfully, however, it is not her woeful nursing skills at the heart of this anecdote, but her woeful interpersonal skills.

I was detangling my seven+ feet of IV tubing for a trip to the restroom while Nurse D was changing the sheets. "It's a good thing you have those long tubes," she begins, as if I had complained about them. "I just heard about a woman who had a five-foot line. Someone stepped on it and yanked the catheter clean out of her chest!"

Now, Nurse Dingaling is a "floater" so she doesn't even know I've already had horrible problems with my catheter and ended up having it replaced. But that's not even relevant, is it? Why would any nurse tell any patient that story??? And I finally managed to say, "Why on earth would you tell me that?" "Oh, honey!" she cackles, "I didn't mean it would happen to you; you've got the extra-long tubing!" And she laughs uproariously at... what?... as I watch my tiny point sail far, far above her head.

I stare at her, dumbfounded, wondering just how many "Is it me?" moments I get before my brain just explodes.


Kathy from NJ said...

Can you request a visit from PT to suggest some exercises that you can do in your room?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you tell Nurse Dingaling that hilarious story about the patient who lost their temper and strangled the idiot nurse with their seven feet of tubing... "but, oh, I didn't mean that it could happen to YOU! hahahahaah (insane laugh)"
And then give her a big fake grin :)

Ang said...

Hey, I'm catching up. Been out of commission myself for awhile, though not nearly as nutty as you've been, aparently. Reading along, thinking good thoughts for you, honey.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Susan has a fabulous idea! Do it! Do it! Bwhahahaaha!

josh williams said...

I visited my friend Roscoe Monday and tomorrow, he has the same type of stories. He is (as are you) dumbfounded by the idiocy of the care. I suspect after a period of time someone who is profoundly interested in their condition will become more knowledgeable than their little helpers, who at times appear to be just clocking in, instead of giving a damn. My best JW

Susie Hemingway said...

Sending all best wishes from the UK. Husband 365 days post transplant we wanted to wish you well really soon.

La Cootina said...

Kathy & Susan - both have good ideas! I'm already working with PTs but probably will not see them for 4-6 weeks.

Ang - call me sometime; let's catch up. Miss you, girrfren'.

La Cootina said...

Susie H - thanks for your good wishes. So glad to hear your husband is doing well 1 year later. THOSE are the stories I enjoy.