So how’d it go yesterday?

I put my uniform on to get ready for work. I had just got done having lunch with my mother and she asked me if I were going to work. She always asks me that even though I’ve worked Fridays for 7 years now. I tell her yes and then I tell her I am going to try a new tactic today. I will do all my nurses’ aide type things first (pass water, get juice, take vital signs, help with bathroom needs) then I will become the RN and start assessments, medications and care around the medical needs. I WAS GOING TO EAT AND TAKE A BREAK NO MATTER WHAT.

I knew I was in trouble when I was assigned to a colleague who had had surgery (nurses are the worst patients). Another patient was in the manic phase of her bipolar cycle which was set off by the anesthesia used for her surgery. I had two new mothers whose boyfriends were with them and their babies. The couples were both mentally challenged. I also had another first-time mother whose baby was premature and not feeding well at the breast. In the first two hours I never got out of the surgical patients’ rooms. The bipolar woman needed one-on-one care, but the supervisor had taken my nurses’ aide to sit with a man who needed watching on a medical-surgical floor. I wonder why that person took precedence over my woman. Thankfully, my colleague who had surgery was set to go home. She was right across the hall. She wanted her catheter taken out and she was determined to go to the bathroom and not need a catheter to go home. She must have called me into her room once every half hour and she called the doctors herself not telling me she was doing so. She got into the computer and did her own charting. I was beginning to feel the pressure.

At 5:00 pm I got to the first couple’s room to help them get the baby on the breast to feed. I discovered that the mother was bleeding badly. I called the doctor STAT and began to give her the medications I knew the doctor would order, massage the uterus and, once the bleeding slowed, clean her up and weigh the bloody mess so I knew how much she had lost. Daddy was watching cartoons and texting everyone about the baby. Mommy was in tears because she didn’t know how to feed the baby and now she was in pain because I had to rub her abdomen with a fresh incision in it. I quieted the baby down and told her to just do what the lactation person showed her. She wanted the lactation person to come again. I told her they only worked 4 hours per day and that we would just repeat what she had shown her. She only knew that the baby’s head was supposed to be near her breast (revelatory!). I worked for about 10 minutes with her after I gave her something for pain. She would not do what I asked her to do and, consequently, the baby would not eat. My bipolar lady was “out of control” someone yelled to me as I wiped the sweat off my brow from the past hour of postpartum hemorrhage and breastfeeding angst. I had to run. I told the boyfriend to help mommy as best he could…

I was back in the surgical hallway and still had 2 mommies and 2 babies to assess down the maternity hallway. A 12-hour nurse came on-duty at 7 pm and asked if I wanted to go into the nursery because she didn’t want to go in there. I told her it was a very tough assignment out here, but I would be glad to go in the nursery. She was thrilled and so was I. As I began to give her report on the patients and tell her half of them had not even been assessed she began to “get the picture”. I went in to care for an intensive care baby and 10 regular babies. The nurse already in there was SO happy to see me. Four new babies were coming from labor and delivery and she just didn’t know how she was going to do it all. I had stepped from the frying pan into the fire! I did not eat, get to the bathroom or get a break all shift and I worked an hour overtime because they only had one nurse scheduled for the nursery for night shift and by the time I left there was one intensive care baby and 14 normal newborns–way too much for one nurse. Each baby had a mother, too, so I can’t imagine what postpartum was like. I didn’t even ask!

Hanging on to the Savior,

Dawn

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8 comments on “So how’d it go yesterday?

    • Dear Monique,

      I’m sure you could teach me real Level III NICU nursing if I were there. Holy Spirit was such a great place to be. Her sister hospital Divine Providence got sold down the river (the Susquehanna River) in the merger. It was such a loss to this community.

      Thanks for the prayers. Somehow this is all going to resolve. I just don’t know how yet, but He does.
      Dawn

      • Dawn,

        I have just read all of your recent blogs and can’t believe how bad it has become! I know that the good Lord got me out of there before it made me totally ill! My blood pressure would be so bad by now, I probably would have had a stroke (as my dear hubby said would have happened).

        You are correct, DP was sold down the river and we did have a great thing going. How I miss it!

        Your blog about the DOH requirements for a Level II Nursery reminded me of an email that I received from a mutual friend. She said that I am no longer there because I would have never been quiet about the staffing and all of the changes and they KNEW IT! They had to get rid of me. She said some other things that I will have to share with you in private.

        In the meantime, you (and the patients) are in my prayers, girl! “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13 God bless you!

        Deb

  1. Dear Dawn,
    I am praying for you too. I love that you formulated a plan of attack . . . even though it didn’t pan out quite the way you wanted. Do not be discouraged, friend, He will make a way where there seems to be no way. I read this quote by Thomas Edison not too long ago . . . “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I trust it will not take that long to find a solution that allows you those moments of rest that we all need.
    Hugs, Andrea Dawn

  2. Dear Andrea Dawn,

    I just said to a colleague at work that we need a plan that is extraordinary–a real ‘out-of-the-box’ idea. She responded, “yea, but what if our leaders won’t go there?” Immediately I responded, “Then we need new leaders.”

    That may be it! If there is no Thomas Edison among us, we need to find one! Thanks for the encouragement, Andrea Dawn,
    Dawn

  3. in such a war zone (life is a battle) those people are so blessed to have you there. I keep thinking how Jesus never seemed to be in a hurry, though all around Him people were tugging on His robe. People ,people people… always so many needs. And we are sent to be salt (with savor) and light (to guide). I believe that you entering your care space ‘with a plan’ helped to prepare your heart for the work ahead. I remember Jesus, how He and His disciples were weary from their labour and when it became time to eat they suggested to Jesus that He send the crowds home. His response…feed them….
    But after He found a quiet spot and was refreshed and renewed by the Father.
    That is our hope, that as we labour, He will ultimately, be our rest.
    Courage to you and strength my dear friend. May He ever be your strength and peace as you continue to be His hands and heart to a very needy world.
    Reading your account here reminded me of the nursery my daughter volunteers at in South Africa; The labour never ends but for the ones you help, it makes a world of difference.
    God is ever present.

  4. Oh precious Dawn. I do not know how you do it. (Well, I do, but even with God’s arms, you do HARD work). I can give you all the platitudes…. when God calls, He prepares… He never promised easy, just that He’d be with you… Well. you live the picture.
    However, precious Dawn…. sit quietly, close your eyes, open your arms, and let God’s mercy, strength, Grace, and rest pour over you. Let your human exhaustion be rested by Him. And by all those who probably don’t even know your name, but whose lives will forever be better because of your touch. I’m proud to call you Friend.
    Proverbs 31 is NOT just about wives. It is about any woman who heeds the call of her Lord.
    Blessings of encouragement,
    Liz

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