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Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these OR If you are gonna be a bitch, so is your karma!

May 24, 2012

I have been asked to blog about the events of this afternoon and debated doing so.  I am going to write not to toot my own horn or to showcase the shortcoming of others but to give you a very visible moral.  Kinda like Aesop.  I am just that good (smiling).


Today I went for my bronchoscopy and if you read my earlier post from today you would know that my emotional state was already a little bit heightened.  I was also a little concerned that I would embarrass myself with the versed on board and knowing my psyche like I do was more concerned since I had planted the seed into my head.  Couple that with having never met the doctor just knowing that Dr, S had hooked me up with another department chief, it was a little nerve wracking in the ride to the hospital and when I finally got checked in, there were no two chairs together to sit.  After a few turns around the lobby a couple opened up along the back wall.  We sat.  I piddled on facebook, wrote a post, opened up Pinterest.  It was a long wait today.

Shortly after we sat down an older mother and her son with Down’s Syndrome came to our area and sat, but had to sit across from each other because there were not two chairs together.  Homey got a little nervous sitting away from his mom and kept getting up and coming very close to whisper to her.  It wasn’t too long before Chris traded seats with him. 

Good deed done for the day.  Well, I being the fidgety and all round nosey person that I am, noticed that we had the same doctor and struck up a conversation.  Homey told me all about what to expect when I had my bronch, told me how great Dr. R was and watched over my shoulder at the Pinterest scrolling until my name was called.

Yay.  It was my turn. 

I ended up in the preop area because Dr. R wanted to not be in a hurry when he had that sharp object down there in my breathing hole, so he opted for general anedthesia.  Yuck.  That meant a longer wait after the procedure that I had to hang out and NOT EAT.

The procedure went fine.  We got some hopeful information from Dr. R and I was in recovery for about ten minutes before I was fully awake and my nurse beckoned Chris to my side.  My rock.  My tower.  My nerd husband who was trying to finish his mandatory compliance lesson online and sat beside me with headphones firmly in place.

Chris was back for about 10 minutes when Homey showed up in the bay right across from me.  Oh good.  I will get to say something else to him and his mom before we leave, I think.

I am going to take a little break right here and give you the back story.  I am a Master’s prepared nurse, I hold a Mater’s level critical care certification.  I have recovered a countless number of people from surgery and part of my job for the last several years has been making sure hospitals dont do stupid stuff that gets them in trouble.  My husband is not a better nurse than me.  He is smarter than me.  He is a doctorally prepared nurse practitioner with multiple critical care and neuroscience certifications.  He is an executive with the Tennessee Board of Nurses and an all around badass. (I know with the language, I am blaming rsidual Versed.) 

When we go to the hospital and one of us is a patient and they ask us what we do, we say we are nurses.  Just that simple.  We learned pretty quickly that if they want to converse and we elaborate it makes people nervous and for no reason.  If everything is being done appropriately, we will even let little thiings slide.  Neither of us has EVER used our credentials as a weapon.

Enter Homey and his sweet momma.  Homey woke up pretty quickly, too and as was appropriate for his ability started asking for his momma and for a drink of water.  Think my insistent two year old only with a consistent inside voice.  The first time his nurse walked around the corner and told him he had to stop screaming and his mother couldn’t come back here and he couldn’t have anything to drinnk and then disappeared.  Screaming?   Again, think young child.  He started asking for his momma again.  Persistent but not disturbing anyone.  Except for his nurse that is.  This time she came around the corner with a big smile and a syringe and said to a coworker,  He is nauseated, isn’t he.  He definitely needs something for his nausea.  She quickly injected a very recognizeable drug and dose into his IV.  Without all the clinicalese, she put his butt back to sleep.

I, being of recently medicated mind turned to Chris and said (probably a little too loudly)–Did she really just do that?  Yes, he confirmed.  She really just did.  Fifteen minutes later the expected reaction occured and the boy was snowed.  Me, not believing what I had just seen started asking Chris if he thought the nurse knew she had just administered a chemical restraint?  (BIG, BIG no-no).  Then I listed all of the reasons that clinically Homey needed to wake up quickly and clear his lungs and breath deeply.  By this time Homey’s nurse had overheard me and make a very public gesture of sitting on a chair right beside his bed and patting him to rouse him.  She even gave him a sternal rub (painful) to try to wake him up to no avail.  Homey was out! Of course he was.  She had made sure of it.   Homey was definitely going to prolong his stay in the recovery room.

By this time, I was walking, drinking and ready to go.  Our concern was obvious on our faces because my nurse asked us what was wrong.  We told her what we had seen.  She agreed with us that it was inappropriate and told us she would tell the charge nurse and told us she would put us on the transport list so we could get a wheelchair.  Then she went over to talk to another nurse who was sitting at a table.  By her gestures, I could tell she was relaying my story.

Two minutes later she was at my bedside telling us she would just take us down herself (she, who had just gotten a new patient).  Immediately my BS meter went through the roof.  I have been a charge nurse.  I know what a good charge nurse does in this situation.  The expectation is that the charge nurse gets up, talks to the person with the complaint and tries to rectify the situation, and THEN removes the disgruntled party away from the area.

I was being blown off.  Homey’s nurse watched us with a cheshire cat smile.  Uh, uh.  Oh no you don’t.  I quietly said to Chris “This isn’t over”  He quietly said back “hell, no”.

We let my nurse escort us peacefully from the building and we never got in the car.  They didn’t know Momma and I had a prior relationship.  I saw Momma waiting in the lobby.  I told her the situaation and asked her permission to get a patient advocate involved.  Then we spoke very professionally to the patient advocate who took our statement and our names–and just for effect we added all of our credentialing initials (Chris’s is longer than his name, and he was in a suit as usual, nerd).  Momma was taken straight upstairs to her sleeping son and we left the building to feed my face.

Now I say all that because 47% of my readers are nurses and will just shake their head but mostly to say this:

You are there for a reason.  In a waiting room, in a lobby, in an elevator, in a grocery line, in a crowded DMV.  You may not want to be there but if you are willing, there will be an opportunity to use what you know to help somneone else.  You can be someone’s hero.  You can right injustice.  I may not be able to correct everything that is wrong with healthcare and I may not be able to eliminate every bad nurse, but for that boy and his mom, I made a difference.  For that one nurse, I made a difference.

Here is point TWO:  you never know who is watching.  You never know who is just taking in your behavior.  Be responsible.  That sowing and reaping thing is consistent, I tell you.  If you put it out there, it will surely come back to you.

And to think, I could have been just talking nonsense from the drugs that whole time!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Beth permalink
    May 24, 2012 3:00 am

    You go girl! You make me proud.

  2. Janet permalink
    May 24, 2012 3:40 am

    When u first became my charge nurse at 20 something, I worried that you would be eaten alive. Haha! You are so strong and so willing to live your convictions. Pt advocacy has always been something I hold dear to my heart. Thank u, Mareeka. Your karma is yet to be seen!

  3. May 24, 2012 7:19 am

    HOLY COW!!!!!!! Mareeka!!! I went from smiling, laughing, to crying. I am appalled at the behaviour of Nurse Syringe. The “smile” gave me the creeps. She abused her privilege as a caregiver and I’m glad you stepped up for Homey. I thought back to nursing class lectures of the importance of the nurse being the “patient’s advocate.” Guess she missed that lecture.
    Thank you Mareeka and Chris.

  4. Shelley permalink
    May 24, 2012 8:42 am

    Good for you guys! I know that Mom had to feel so blessed that you 2 were there when they were! I like your “Aesop’s” fable too: right a wrong when you can (and OMG the medical ones for sure!) And someone is always watching.
    Having been thru a few medical things in the last few weeks, these folks in Indy have been like something out of a fairytale – in a good way. We have not run into a single person – including the doctors – who hasn’t been anything but pleasant, helpful, and gracious! They’re like exactly who you’d hope to have caring for you. After past experiences in Paducah, I feel so lucky! I pray your experiences going forward improve!

  5. Angela Altman permalink
    May 24, 2012 11:53 am

    Awesome! Way to stand up for what you knew was right, even when it wasn’t “convenient” for you! The world could use more folks like you and Chris!

  6. Jenny permalink
    May 24, 2012 3:30 pm

    Wow, you guys are awesome! Thank goodness you were in the right place at the right time. From the other nurse’s reaction, sounds like that is a common practice for them. If a kid decides to be a kid, just put them under. If that was my child, she has low tone and breathing issues, she would have had a trip to the PICU if a nurse put her back under. I would be proud to have you or your husband on my kid’s team.

  7. Audrey permalink
    May 24, 2012 4:12 pm

    That just makes me sick thinking there are people like that out there. How dare she!! Im so glad that you happened to be there with him that day and were able to take a stand for him! Bless his heart!

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