Check It Out! Guest Post by Linda Bethea.

The very lovely and talented Linda from Nutsrock and I have decided to take over each other’s blogs, and write a guest post each. Now if for some reason you have never visited Linda’s blog then you are well and truly missing out. Her gift for storytelling is unique and has me laughing my head off at times, and being very moved at others, She has a horde of crazy family members that make appearances in her posts for your delight and entertainment.

Linda and I both share a nursing background and we have written stories about a ‘normal day at the office’ for your amusement. So without further ado, here is Linda’s tale.

A big part of nursing is taking care of the “whole” patient, so when my patient asked if I had some clothes I could give her, the first thing I did was ask, ”Why?”

            “My house burned and I don’t even have anything to wear home. I lost everything.  ”

            “Oh, that’s awful.  Of course, I’ll bring you some things.  I’ll call the social worker so she can help you out, too.”

            I went through my closet after work and found several pairs of pants, shirts and a couple of dresses, enough to get her started.  I bought a six-pack of granny-panties, some sports bras, socks, and shoes, since I had checked her sizes and took them to her the next day.  She was so relieved to have some clothes for when she went home.

            Meanwhile, the social worker had collected several items of her own called the Red Cross.  That’s when things went weird.  The Red Cross contacted the outpatient dialysis center who knew the patient well, only to find out that this had happened before.  The lady appeared perfectly oriented, but under stress, became confused, recalling a disturbing time in the past when she’d lost everything in a house fire.  By the time it was all said and done, between me and the social worker, she made quite a haul!


Episode 339: Nurses Are The Best!!!

Last night I went out for a meal with work colleagues as one of our Sisters was taking early retirement. It was a bittersweet occasion as, although it was lovely for so many of us to go out together (about 40 of us), it was sad that nearly half of the people who came had either retired or left the ward to work somewhere else.

When I started on the ward, four years ago, there were only 15 patients to look after! Many of the staff had worked together for years and they were a very close-knit group. I was nervous when I started, especially as I didn’t know any of them, plus I was undertaking a new role which nobody understood!

Well I needn’t have worried as they welcomed me with open arms, and gave me all the help and support I needed over the two-year training period, which certainly went a long way towards me qualifying at the end of it!

After only a year of working there, we had to amalgamate with another ward which led to a lot of uncertainty. Staff left, some deployed elsewhere, and we gained others, so that in the end, we had 27 patients and more than a few disgruntled staff. some of whom did not ‘sign up’ to work on an elderly ward!

We had a lot of ‘us and them’ situations as well, before we became a cohesive team that sorted out the differences and found a way to work harmoniously. Added to that a load more staff leaving, more uncertainty, changes in ward management, staff being used to cover other wards, and chronic shortages of staff in general, and it became quite a stressful place at times.We had enough to contend with due to the type of patients we looked after, especially as many of them liked to try to escape or wander off!

What I love about working there though is the kindness, professionalism and compassion of those nurses, They are all so dedicated to their jobs, and we have still managed to have forged a great team. Certainly for me, having had to have time off when I have been particularly unwell, coming back to their hugs, well wishes and concern makes me realise how lucky I am to work there.

Working for the NHS, us nurses get a lot of negative comments in the media who love to bring us down. Yes, there have been a few incidents that have been highlighted of appalling care and mistreatment of patients; however, those people do not represent us all. The majority of us do care, and are dedicated to looking after our patients.

Last night made me realise how proud I am to be part of the nursing community. I am only sorry that for one reason or another, we are losing so many wonderful nurses who are disillusioned with the lack of support,lack of staff, and increasing workload (paperwork) that means that they cannot carry out what they joined up to do!

Episode 338: Not A Positive Outcome!

I have read quite a few inspiring post lately about staying positive, focusing on all the good things rather than the negative. I am not too good at this but decided that it was time I turned things around and concentrated on the bright side of things.

Today was quite busy at work, and I was back to looking after my ladies again. It is a lovely day today and extremely hot and stuffy on the ward. Add to the mix a plastic apron and latex gloves (which are more often on than off) and it can get rather sweaty! (I should be a good couple of sizes smaller due to all the running around and sweating I do, but hey, I am not supposed to be negative)! Oh, and don’t forget to throw in the fact that my ladies get cold, so there are no windows open for longer than a nanosecond to let any air in either).

Anyway, a couple of ladies were upset due to an incident overnight, and I spent quite a lot of time talking to one of them to listen to her concerns, and give her some reassurance (Sister spoke to the other one). She seemed happy with what I had told her, and at the end of the conversation asked if it was ok if she could ask me a personal question. I of course, told her that it was, and she said,

“So when is your baby due?” Great! I have spent the last TWO MONTHS hula hooping trying to whittle myself a bloody waist, and that is what I get!  I was mortified (and so was she when I told her that I was not in fact pregnant). I am trying to find a positive to this, and the only thing I can come up with is at least she thinks I am still young enough to have a baby!

Episode 298: Leading By Example!

A bit of good weather and the prospect of a day off tomorrow with a bit of peace and quiet us just what I need at the moment. The last couple of days have been pretty busy getting back into the swing of work and school etc.

As we have been pretty short-staffed for ages, we have finally got a couple of new staff that started this week. To ease them into the madness, they have been doing slightly different hours to the rest of us, but it is nice to see them when they turn up and of course it is wonderful to have their help.

As most of you know, I am not the most graceful of people, and one of the nurses I was working with today, calls me ‘Calamity Jane’ at times (very unkind of her, I know and not in the least justified)!  Anyway we had a lovely new lady start with us yesterday who I worked briefly with, and she was in again today.

I went into the Bay where she was working to do some observations, which she was going to watch, and record for me on the handheld system. As I went over to take the patient’s blood pressure, I tripped over the power cable of the big floor buffer thing one of the domestics was using. I saw my new colleague giggle. as the domestic tried to kind of flick it out of my way which only resulted in me tripping again, as I stepped the wrong way to avoid it.

A bit later, I needed a Bair Hugger (a kind of  electric heated blanket) for one of my patients who had a low temperature. There was one not needed in the bay next door where our new colleague was working. In her haste to help me, she hurried to unplug it, but caught her foot on the edge of the bed and went flying! She did a few kind of slow-motion leaps to keep her balance, which of course set me off laughing as well.

I think she and I are going to get along just fine,  although I don’t know if we will be safe to work together!

Episode 253: More Than I Bargained For….

Yesterday afternoon I had to go to an appointment for my ‘yearly diabetes review.’ Seeing as I have only been officially diagnosed for about a month, I thought that the surgery were very ‘on the ball!’ I had already had to change the appointment from today as I was originally working, so that it was on my day off.

Anyway, I had fallen asleep in the afternoon as I had a couple of really awful sleepless nights, plus an early morning yesterday, so was shattered. I woke up feeling really groggy, with less than an hour to go before I had to be there. Mr Grump was going to come with me as he usually finished work way before the time I needed to be there.

He didn’t. I waited and waited, I still hadn’t heard from him (I was on the landline with my sister for about 10 mins) so I jumped in the car and got there 5 mins late! I HATE being late, and am usually 10 minutes (at least) early for everything, so it put me out and I was cross!

I tried to book myself in on the screen, but the ‘computer said no’ I was too late and had a sad face to emphasise the point! I had more than a sad face, I was wild! Anyway I spoke to the receptionist who was actually quite nice (Doctor’s receptionists have rather a scary reputation) and said it was ok and that she would tell the nurse I was there. (I whispered as discreetly as I could (when there is a waiting room full of people it is not always easy) if she could give me a pot as I had forgotten to bring a urine sample with me.

She made a nice performance out of rummaging for a bag (it was see-through) for me to put it in, then said that I might get called in straight away, and there might not be time to go to the loo. I thanked her and went to sit down, I saw my friend’s partner so chatted with him for a bit, as I had not been called in The receptionist sidled up to me, and stage whispered that I could go and do my sample as the specialist nurse was making a quick cuppa!

I excused myself from the friend and went off to do my business. My mobile buzzed into life, as I went to sit down but I ignored it (I hate talking on the phone in public places). It was Mr Grump! I sent him a couple of choice texts then my name flashed up to be seen.

I went into the room, apologising for being late, and muttering about husbands! She told me to calm down a minute before she took my blood pressure! Anyway, she stared at me a bit then asked me whether I went to the Grammar School. I said yes, and it turns out she was in thee same class. I didn’t remember her name, but her face was familiar.

That made me feel even worse. Here I was , no make-up on, scraggy hair, stupid from sleep still, and in a bad mood to boot! Things did not improve when she told me to put my sample down, take off my boots and socks and get on the scales!

Oh the bloody humiliation, I have got horrid feet, and she was going to have to get close to them to check them, as well as see how heavy I am! She, of course was slim, pretty and nicely groomed. Great!

She was however professional (well once we had gossiped a bit about this and that) and spent a lot of time looking at my previous bloods and God knows what else. She ended up putting me on meds for my diabetes which I really wasn’t expecting as I have been trying really hard with my diet, as well as taken up hula-hooping thanks to lovely Ritu

She also was concerned about  a couple of things which prompted her to ask me whether or not there was rheumatoid arthritis in my family. Strange question I thought, but my Mum has terrible arthritis but I am not sure which type. She also wanted to know if my joints ached. Well, I do have problems with my knees a lot. Anyway I am now going to have to be screened for that!

I came out of there a bit bemused, and shocked. I know people complain bitterly about the NHS, but they have been very thorough with me. I certainly got much more than I bargained for, in more ways than one!