Being a nurse is an interesting job. I get to meet people and their families on some of the more stressful days of their lives. I keep saying that we need to keep a journal in the break room and write down the crazy stuff, but I figure nobody would believe it anyway. These two things really happened today…
Version #1. A patient came in through the emergency room last night. He had with him a greyhound dog. He said he had nobody to pick up the dog, and he was allowed to keep the dog in his hospital room overnight. Said pooch peed and pooped on the floor multiple times, and the staff had to clean it up. The staff also had to walk the dog in an attempt to avoid further clean-up inside the hospital. After my group heard this story, I looked around the nursing station and threatened to cut them if they EVER let a dog onto our unit. I don’t think I would really cut them, but I would be highly upset.
After a small wager was placed with the original storyteller, another person went to the 3rd floor to uncover evidence that the story was false. He lost the bet.
Version 2. All of the original story was found to be factual. However, a couple of tidbits were added. The dog was a miniature greyhound and not the full sized beast we all had pictured. The reason that the staff decided to allow the dog to stay in the hospital was that the patient insisted that the dog was a “helper dog.” The dog reportedly could sense when he was about to have a seizure and let him know so he could change to an activity less likely to result in injury. These dogs really do exist, and it is a pretty cool thing. The staff was suspicious, but had no way to disprove his story at that time of night. They let the dog stay to avoid the wrath of the ADA and being featured on the nightly news. Early this morning, bullshit was called and the dog left the hospital.
There are many things that fall into that pesky category of “other duties as assigned.” Please weigh in on your thoughts about this topic.
One of the physical therapists was sitting at our desk near the end of the day. She mentioned that she had one more patient to see, but that she thought he would refuse therapy. I tend to get irritated when patients come to our unit for an “elective procedure” and then refuse to get out of bed. I asked why the patient was refusing, and she replied, “He said that I made him sit on his ball sack during our earlier treatment.” I asked her if she had “reached under and shoved them up under his butt crack.” (Yes, I really am that juvenile anbd crass–even at work.) She stated she had not done any such thing, and I believe her. Now, I was not born with that particular anatomy, but I must admit for having made some assumptions. If one is born with those particularly tender bits, wouldn’t one learn at a relatively early age how to avoid sitting on them? I guess I had always figured that that skill would be fairly mandatory. I certainly do not think that a man with two working arms and one bum leg (that he chose to have surgery on) should think that he is no longer responsible for the positioning of said ball sack. I absolved the physical therapist of any blame related to the ball sack incident. (Because, yes, I have the power to absolve blame.)
I’m not sure what the moral of this story is, but perhaps it is a simple request. If you are anywhere near normal, please try to be nice to your caregivers if you are in the hospital. Yes, please hold us to a high standard of care. You deserve it, and we want to give it. However, if it takes a few minutes for us to bring you that apple juice requested, try to remember that we might be busy smushing ball sacks or cleaning up dog shit.