Saturday, December 21, 2013

Little Momma and Patients

No, I did not make a typo in the title.  Yes, I meant patients, not patience.  Although, ever since working at a hospital, I have learned a lot about both.  I love my job and it's interesting to be on the other side of things: at the bedside as opposed to being in the bed.  My experience with my own bad health has given me a great deal of empathy for the patients on my a point.

With my baby a day or two after surgery
After a few months of taking patients to the bathroom, changing poopy briefs, telling them what year it is, etcetera, I have started summing people up outside of the hospital by how I think they would be as a patient.  It's a rather cynical way of looking at those around you, but I just can't help it. As a former patient and current nursing assistant, I have analyzed myself in the same manner (at least I am an equal opportunity in this way). Although young, coherent, and presumably spritely, it turns out that I am one of the worst kinds of patients out there. I have composed a list of things that patients should not do, and you can see for yourself how I measure up.


1. Apologizing for everything.  Say you've called someone in to bring you water, or to wipe your bottom.  "I'm so sorry to bother you, I know you're busy.  I know I'm being so difficult!"  Admitting difficulty and being self-deprecating does not justify anything.  What justifies the situation is that you're in the hospital and need assistance, so please stop apologizing!!!  Serving you is my job, okay?!

Okay, guilty of this one. I thought surely apologizing would make it up to those around me.  It does no harm, but it doesn't help a lot either.

2. Taking off anything hooked up to you.  Whether it be an IV, a heart monitor, or a simple oxygen sensor on your finger, please, please don't remove it!!!  The nurse and I have put all this crap on for a reason!! Yes, I know it's uncomfortable, but it must stay on.

I'm BIG TIME guilty of this one, unfortunately.  I recall taking off my O2 sensor because it was "annoying me" multiple times, only to get it put back on each time.  Little did I know, they knew every time I took it off.  On the other side of this, it's now one of my biggest pet peeves.  

3. Refusing to "ambulate" aka walk.  Sometimes, getting up and going, if even for five minutes, is essential to recovery.  We know you're tired and we wake you up all hours of the night.  We know you're in pain.  But truly, walking will help jimmy that gas right out of you and get you back on your feet on the road to going home.  However strenuous it might be, it will help.  Just a few steps, maybe??  I'm not trying to kill you, I promise.

I would never get out of bed.  All my doctors, nurses, and assistants would tell me I needed to walk and I was never into it.  After my C-section I hardly made a round; after my ileostomy, I only made a few trips through the hall. And I probably felt the worse for it.    

4. Calling out multiple times in a row.  We get a lot of calls from a lot of patients.  When you keep calling, I feel less inclined to help you RIGHT AWAY (although I will, if only to stop getting the calls).  If I haven't stopped by with what you need after 30 minutes, okay give me a ring; I might have forgotten.  Otherwise, I'LL BE WITH YOU AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!!!

Yikes.  I feel so bad for all my nurses and nursing assistants I ever had during my hospital stays.  Whether it was a question about my beeping IV, or needing a new pitcher of water, I'd call out if it didn't happen within 10 minutes.  Again, just....yikes.

5. Explaining how to do things.  Sometimes, you think you know better than your nurse and your nursing assistant.  We know how and when to empty your catheter; yes, I know I need to put cream on your bottom after I wipe it. All the people working on you have done this hundreds and hundreds of times.  You're in good hands.  Have a little faith!!!

While I know my own disease very well, and what medicines work, I don't actually know how to put in an IV or much else, in fact.  Yet, I'd try to suggest things to the nurse and the assistants all the time about how to care for me.  If only I had known the nurse was thinking, Um, okay, like I don't know what to do.


To summarize, I'm pretty sure all my nurses and nursing assistants hated me.  I am, in fact, my own worst patient.     
The sovereign Lord has given me His words of wisdom, 
so that I know how to comfort the weary.
Isaiah 50:4a 

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