Tuesday, March 21, 2006

First Day....Night

Yesterday was my first twelve hour night shift ever, and my first any shift ever, where I worked all by myself. Filled with some Type A personality anxieties, I brought my gianormous lab book with me...just in case. Bring on the traumas! I was ready. Instead, I got a ventriculostomy with possible shunt on one side and sticky sputum on the other. Not altogether the most exciting experience in the world... but then I got to thinking. Your misfortune means my learning experience. Your tragedy means my exciting night shift. Er, please, bring on the sticky sputum! I never thought I'd be sitting on this side of the fence...I have so many competing emotions, it's exhausting sometimes.
To continue the night saga, both of my patient's had icky things growing in their central lines and were quickly yanked. Then came the interesting part of trying to draw nightly labs with no quick access. I'm afraid to say my phlebotomy skills have gone down the tubes (pardon the pun) since I switched to the ICU. It's so much easier to suck blood from an A-line; one forgets the rigors and techniques of poking. So, I get out my handy dandy butterfly needle…I love those things. They're so much neater than the other kind, they have "wings" you can hold onto and a pigtail already attached, so no messes. (Yes, these are actual medical terms used by trained medical professionals.) I even used bacteriostatic water to deaden the pain. Success? Nope. After an hour (I am not exaggerating) I prevailed upon the more experienced. It turns out the more experienced is just willing to poke the patient more times. No wonder their success rate is so high. Blood was drawn, labs were delivered, results computed in, and I left the fixing of the critical values to the next shift. Good luck hanging five supplements through one IV! I'm for bed...

3 comments:

Jane Swanson said...

Your writing skills are still superb my dear! [Remember when you had to "tone it down" because you were too descriptive on your charts?!]
Congratulations on making it through your first 12 hour shift.
Makes up for all those years when you didn't have a job and your brothers and dad were on your case.
Remember to EAT and drink plenty of fluids yourself!
~love mom

Dad said...

Hey beautiful daughter. THis is the first blog I ever read and now I am writing on a blog for the first time in my life. And they say that old men can't learn how to do the computer thing. :-)

Love you,
Dad

Julia said...

aw, hi Dad! Thanks for joining!