Jul 16, 2006

The estranged

I'm on day 3 of a 4 day weekend. I took off Friday because it was my birthday. 31....Thirty-one......Three--one. I'm seriously considering lying about my age from here on out. I want to be twenty-something again.

Things at work have been good. I love my preceptor. She is probably one of the best nurses we have on our unit and I know that's why my Clinical Manager made a point to tell me to make sure when we are on the floor together that I'm with her. Because she works some weekends, I sometimes get stuck with someone else though. My boss doesn't want me on weekends until I'm off orientation....She doesn't want to pay me the weekend differential. I understand...She's been getting a lot of flack for the staffing budget.

It's Ok with me since I still haven't found anyone to take my daughter on the weekends yet.
I've known our unit was unusual as far as the type of patients having a colorful history but just didn't realize until recently how prevalent it really was. Every shift that I've worked, My preceptor would get 5 or 6 patients and I will take 3 or 4 of them. On average, 25-50% of those patients will have drug or alcohol abuse in their history. The first week I worked I had 6 (out of 12 total for the week) patients going through DTs. (withdrawal)

As an aide, I never really knew the whole story with these patients. I could guess, but we didn't listen to report. Now that I hear their histories....It's just amazing the amount of chemically dependent people we get.

On my lunch break (Yes, I actually got one) on Thursday, I ran into 2 of my former RN school instructors in the cafeteria. We chatted for a few and one of them asked where I was working now. When I told them, one of them actually said I picked the hardest unit in the city. I told her I didn't feel that way...Been there for awhile....I guess I was used to the clientele.
And I am....It's always interesting, albeit, a little sad.

There's another thing. When I was in clinicals at the sister hospital, almost every single one of my patients there had family members constantly at the bed side. Or constant visitors.
On my unit, it's rare for our patients to have family or visitors at all. I guess it's the percentage of homeless or drug users who's families are estranged. Some of these patients are very very sick and will probably die soon and yet they have no one to call, no one to visit.
I find that incredibly sad.

Listening to: Wait by Sarah McLachlan


At 15:46, Blogger The new Third Degree Nurse said...

Bummer about patients not having visitors. So sad when there are others on the floor whose families/friends are supportive. I've heard people use the excuse "I just hate hospitals" when they don't visit the sick.

Have seen a few cancer pts with big ETOH hxs, some drug use, but mostly ETOH. My favorite: when they're smoking up till the day they start chemo.

At 08:32, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see a lot of drunks too. They find them on the street passed out or after being rolled. Could you imagine being so drunk that you pass out asleep on the side of the road while walking home? Jeez.

At 23:19, Blogger Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

Happy Birthday, belatedly. I just turned 45 (the 20th of July) and I LOVE telling people my age. ;)


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