Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sorry for the Hiatus and Surely They Didn't.....Wait Oh Yes They Did

*I apologize for the blogging hiatus and promise to get up at least a post a week from here on out. Sometimes life just gets in the way of a good story.*

I go into many neighborhoods from very wealthy ones to the inner city. One thing has remained constant throughout all of them, people on all ends of the income spectrum plant fake flowers. I find this practice quite annoying, although I am not quite sure why I harbor such unnatural resentment for plastic flowers.
I was going to see a patient one day, in a fairly nice neighborhood, whom I had been seeing for quite some time. Off to the side of the path leading up to their door was a evergreen tree. Every time I walked by this tree something bugged me about it. It just looked off to me for some reason. I began to have suspicions that the tree was not what it seemed and it started to annoy me more and more. So one day I decided to veer off the path under the guise of dropping something so I could feel the tree. Well my suspicions were correct. My patient decided to plant a fake Christmas tree. In. her. yard. Now I have come to tolerate fake flowers but seriously people? A fake evergreen? No just No.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

You just never know.....

One day I was out doing home care visits in anonymous urban area and had a patient on a street in a very questionable area. So I was heading out on major interstate and exited onto very questionable area exit. When I heard the unmistakable sound of the air leaving my tire. So at the end of the exit in the middle of unquestionable area, I pulled my car over to confirm my suspicions and hope against hope I was wrong. I got out of the car and my tire was as flat as a pancake. This was before everybody and their brother had a cell phone so I was stuck because I have no friggen clue how to change a tire. So I immediately did the only thing I knew that would help. I sobbed like a little bitch. So 2 gentlemen happened to be walking down the street and they looked very questionable. They were probably all of 19 and they were drinking 40 oz. beers out of brown paper bags. They stopped when they heard me sobbing and said they would help me change the tire. The only thing they wanted from me was for me to watch their beer. Now I have many reasons to be leery as I have been robbed, harassed, and assaulted while doing home care however I did not have much choice since there was no way I was fixing my tire. They promptly got to work until the one kid said he needed to get a lug wrench or something from his cousins house on the corner. So I am waiting for them to come back and a crowd is forming but I took my beer watching job very seriously and not one drop of beer escaped. The guys came back and promptly changed my tire. I tried to pay them but they would not take it. I argued with them to take it and they still wouldn't. They told me to get going that I had no business being in this neighborhood.
This story is why I love and continue to do home health care. I have had many bad things happen to me while caring for patients in urban areas but it has also affirmed my belief that people are generally good. I made it to my patients house who promptly starting bitching that I was late. She did not care about my flat tire, I made her late for her hair appointment.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Damn Baby.....

So I had been doing home care 10 years when I got pregnant with my 2nd child. You can imagine how difficult it was doing home care in the neighborhoods I was sometimes sent into. I had to climb rickety steps, was attacked by 2 dogs, and dealt with every smell imaginable in that 9 months.
One day I was going into a less desirable neighborhood to see a patient. I was 8 months pregnant and as big as a house. Well this patient had a gate that was broken. So to be able to get inside the fence and up the the house to see my patient I had to somehow scale this fence. I am not the most graceful person even on my best days so adding another 30+ pounds from the pregnancy and you can just imagine me trying to get over the fence. I struggled mightily for about 10 minutes before finally getting over the fence. The whole time the patients' nephew is sitting on the porch drinking a 40 ounce watching my struggle without comment. At this point I am sweaty and bitchy and really just want to go home. The patients nephew walks off the porch and proceeds to hop right over the gate. He then turns to me and says "Damn baby, I bet you look gooood when you aren't pregnant." I just looked at him, gathered up my remaining shred of dignity and waddled in to see his uncle.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Clara; Nurse & crisis negotiator extraordinaire

Nothing makes me more nervous, than getting a call from a patient after hours. Usually, there is some type of medical issue they are seeking advice about. However, one hot, August Saturday afternoon, I received a call from the wife of my patient. She was frantic, and I started to think the worst. I finally calmed her down, and she told me her husband wasn't acting right. I reassured her, I was on my way. Stroke? Heart Attack? Infection? What could be wrong. As I raced to the front door, she greeted me with a tear stained face. "Where is he?" I asked. She pointed to the garage. The knot in my stomach just got bigger. I moved as fast as I could through the house into the garage. And there he was. Sitting in the drivers side of his new Buick. Now, I am confused. I looked at his wife, and asked what was going on. She then preceded to explain to me, they had a big argument. He wanted fish for dinner, and she already had pork chops in the oven. Really????? He became so upset, he stormed outside to the garage, and locked himself in the car. He had been there for an hour before she called me, refusing to get out of the car. So, when she told me he wasn't acting right, she simply meant misbehaving? not getting along with others?? Apparently so. I knocked on the window. He ignored me, and looked away. It was 90 degrees outside. He could really get in trouble. I yelled through the window to open the door, and he shook his head no. After 15 minutes of attempting to get him out, he still refused. Now what? Well, no other choice.. 911 can I help you?? Yes, you can, I'm a home care nurse, and my patient is upset and locked himself in his car, and has been there over an hour. After a few minutes, police and EMS arrived. He continued to refuse to get out. I stood there in disbelief. As the police finally told him get out, or they would break his window, he slowly opened the door. As he got out of the car, he looked at the officer and said, " If you would've broke my window, I wouldn't be able to go buy my fish dinner..." I saw this patient for several months after this, but this incident was never discussed.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Yeah Ummm No Thanks

As we have established in previous posts we see patients from all walks of life, ages, and areas. Sometimes we get patients that are very young and through major abuses of their bodies are dealing with health problems that people 3 times their age deal with.
The patient I will talk about today was a gentleman in his early adulthood who looked to be in his early 50's. He was a chronic drug abuser(cocaine), alcoholic, and had a history of tracheal cancer. Due to the cancer he had a tracheostomy(hole in the neck through which he breathed) and a g-tube(a tube that goes directly into the stomach since he could no longer eat by mouth). I had actually caught him many times smoking cigarettes through his trach. I went to visit him one day and he was pouring beer down his g-tube. I proceeded to give him a long lecture about why he should not be putting alcohol down his g-tube due to the large amounts of medications he was on and the dangers of mixing those medications with alcohol. He listened intently for a few minutes, then calmly said "Well I was going to ask you if you wanted to get high with me, I guess that is out of the question?".

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Have You Seen Her?????

One crazy, hectic, Friday afternoon I was planning to see my husband/wife patients at the end of the day. Their visits were typically uneventful, and I really enjoyed taking care of them. With his hearing loss, and her confusion, we often wondered if they were ok at home alone. But they complimented one another, and did just fine. As I walked up to the door, I checked my watch- just enough time to do my visits, and be on my way. I loudly knocked(so he could hear), and announced myself through the door, (so she wouldnt be afraid). I heard her come to the door, after I guided her through the process of turning the lock, then turning the handle(yes, I had to instruct her to turn the knob), she let me in. "Oh" she said, "You're here, let me go get my husband from the bedroom". I took my coat off, sat down on the couch, and started filling out my paperwork. After a few minutes, I still continued to sit there.. what was she doing??? By this point, frustration was setting in. I was now going to be completely off schedule. Waiting. Waiting. More waiting. Fifteen minutes had passed. Now I didnt know what to do.. go look for them or just leave. Well, I couldnt just leave. I slowly walked to the bedroom door, and called through the door "yoo hoo". Nothing. Now, I was starting to panic. I had to go in. I had to make sure they were ok. I slowly opened the door, as I peaked in, the lights were off. I became more nervous. I flipped on the lights to find the two of them in bed- SLEEPING!! She went in to get him, he was napping, saw him sleeping- and got in bed too! They both quickly sat up in bed looking more startled than I was, and she looked at me and said, "Who let you in????" After 30 minutes in the home, I never did get to do my visits. I told them I would be back tomorrow because they were napping now.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hmmm that is one way to look at it.....

I went to see a patient one time that was status post a breast mastectomy. I was there that day to remove her staples from the incision and empty her JP drains. We got to talking about Cancer and the treatments for Cancer. She was concerned about the chemotherapy that she was going to have to go through. I was talking her through her fears and it turned out most of them were based on the fact that her relative had colon cancer.
We had the following conversation:
Patient: You know they took his butthole off and put a butthole on his stomach
Me: (stifling a smile) Well what he had was removal of his colon and then they attach the remaining colon to his abdominal wall and attach a bag to it so he can still eliminate waste from his bowels
Patient: Yeah they put a butthole on his stomach
Me: Indeed they did.....