Friday, August 10, 2007

Night Nurses

I'll tell you about my night nurse experience after I tell you that I'm home and my ANC was over 1,000 this morning (the magic number is 500). Wesley, the phlebotomist, told me this morning he heard I was going home and I said I didn't know yet, but he was holding the magic ticket in his test tube! Obviously it worked out and I don't know who was happier about the news - me or my team when they told me this morning. I have a bit of sad news too. Dr. Byrd, one of my Irish boys, is leaving NIH on Wednesday and heading up to Sloan Kettering hospital in New York for a few months before moving back to Ireland. Dr. DunLeavy is the dreamy one, but Dr. Byrd and his sweet accent will be missed. He is the first doctor I met with at NIH before I was officially on the EPOCH protocol.

On to my night nurse story that I have to tell because I'm still annoyed even though Mike isn't. The night shift starts around 10, but when I fell asleep I hadn't met her yet. I knew she'd be coming in around 1am to administer my antibiotic through my IV. The previous night nurse had done the same, but I wasn't worried since it's simply come in and hook me up to my IV and then unhook me when it's done.

However, I was not thrilled when nurse Judy walked in my room at 12:30am. I've had her before and she just annoys me and after last night I really don't like having her as my night nurse. At first, she tried to be a good nurse and opened the bathroom door for light instead of turning on the main light since Mike was sleeping. It went downhill from there when she asked me if I knew whether the previous nurses had administered my antibiotic over 15 or 30 minutes. I didn't mind her asking and told her I thought one nurse had commented that she'd be back in my room in 30 minutes when it was done. Judy decided to push it over 30 minutes because she didn't want to blow my vein, which the thought just gave me the chills, so I heartily agreed. However, she then told me that if she did blow my vein, either she or a number of other night nurses could start a new IV, but she could do it because she was bored. She complained that the other nurses were busy and she only had my antibiotic to do so she was really bored and had nothing to do. She asked if she could sit on my bed while she hooked up my IV, remarked how comfortable my air mattress was compared to the regular hospital bed, chatted on about programming the IV machine, asked what "that noise was" that she kept hearing even though I couldn't hear it, and told me not to touch my IV site because I could pop the needle out. Apparently, a lot of men do this, but I assured her that I wasn't touching my IV site. I never touch my IV site. I am AFRAID of needles and I'm not messing with it. I really like hearing this stuff at nearly 1am! Keep in mind that 1) she's scaring me now and 2) Mike's trying to sleep. She finally left the room for about 30 minutes, but I definitely didn't go back to sleep. Judy came back in the room and unhooked me from the machine and chatted with me about some other stuff while I muttered uh-huh or uh-uh. I wanted her out of my room so I could sleep for a few hours. She finally left and I somehow managed to go back to sleep, but it was difficult.

At 5:55am, Judy was back dragging the hospital scale, banging into the door on her way into the room, and startling both me and Mike awake. She insisted on turning on the main light so she could weigh me, which other nurses have managed to use the bathroom light to read the scale. (As a side note, I lost two pounds this week and am at 124. Rest assured, I will gain it back.) She took my vital signs and started complaining about how she tried waiting for the phlebotomy guy, whose name she said she couldn't remember even though she had worked there five years, to show up on the unit. I told her his name, Wesley, which I knew even though I've only been going to NIH since April! She then complained about how Wesley was normally on the unit at 5:45 on Mondays, but noticed that he got there later and later as the week progressed.

I know Wesley and I also know that Wesley starts his shift around 5am over on 3NW because I was over there one time and asked him because he woke me up at 5:15 to draw blood. When he's done there, he heads over to 3NE. He may have had a lot of patients on 3NW this morning. She was shocked when I said Wesley didn't hit my room until 6:45 on Wednesday and asked me if I knew why he was so late. Um, no. I was actually trying to point out that he's not there all the time right at 6am, but I think it backfired. Mike decided to get up and get ready for work early because he couldn't sleep through all of her talking and complaining and I felt really bad. Not only was she blabbering, but she was using a normal daytime voice and not being very quiet so he could sleep.

When Wesley arrived at 6:10, I told him we had just been talking about him and mentioned that Judy had complained that he was late (even though he wasn't). He remarked that he couldn't be superman and I suggested he clone himself - one Wesley for each wing. I laughed heartily when Wesley said Judy thinks she knows everything! I think that about sums up nurse Judy. She was my nurse one evening during my second hospital stay who was really upset that Mike had brought me a heating pad from home because the hospital heat packs stink and I was in a LOT OF PAIN. She was up in arms that I hadn't gotten the heating pad inspected by someone at NIH because, as a cancer patient, I could burn myself since I'm more sensitive to heat. Luckily, I had been smart enough to notice the medium setting was a little too hot and I had put it on the lowest setting.

I'm glad to be home! I won't even go into my annoying nurse Paula story because Judy topped her. However, Paula is the number one reason I am now terrified of IVs because she was my nurse that terrible night when I got stuck four different times. She just annoyed me on a minor level this time.

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