Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Always Look On the Bright Side of Life

Last year my classmates and I kept hearing about how third semester was the most difficult semester in nursing school. "Difficult", we snorted. Nursing school is already difficult. I can't imagine it being more difficult than it is now.

I'm reminded of the stoning scene in Monty Python's Life of Brian. The dialogue went something like this.....

OFFICIAL: You're only making it worse for yourself!
MATTHIAS: Making it worse?! How could it be worse?! Jehovah! Jehovah! Jehovah!

Matthias has no idea what he was talking about. It can ALWAYS get worse. If you ask how it could be worse, you will find out soon enough.

I haven't been blogging much because this semster has been a special kind of hell. I'm doing okay but I feel like I'm treading water most of the time. Last year I settled into a routine quickly, got myself organized early on and stayed that way the rest of the year. This year has been completely different. I constantly lose/misplace things. I forget assignments. I'm scrambling to do things at the last minute. There are people who function well this way. I'm not that person.

I will spend the rest of the day in front of my computer working on some assignments with serious deadlines. Since I'm here anyway I thought I'd sneak in and vent a little.

Don't you find it annoying when people ask the same question over and over? If you happen to have the name of a famous person; say your name is James Bond. Don't you get sick and tired of people saying "hey double oh seven"?

Being in the medical field means you are endowed with information that most people don't have. Since you have this knowledge people continually ask questions, and often it is the same question over and over again. Or they repeat some really bad piece of information. For example when people talk about something that runs in the family, like twins or cancer of some kind. Sooner or later that person will say "but it skips a generation." Yesterday I heard someone refer to a really limber person as "double jointed." Aaaaaaaargh!

I am struggling to not get annoyed by it. I'll get there eventually, but today I'm annoyed and I felt like getting it off my chest. I found this discussion a while back. Reading it made me feel not so alone.

This past week I heard a couple of whoppers that I just can't shake. I was talking to a patient about my career goals. I mentioned that I like the OR because the atmosphere is laid back and sort of fun. She said "well if I'm the one having surgery I would insist that everyone in there refrain from having any conversations while I'm asleep because it would affect my healing." I'm sorry. I couldn't help laughing. I know I should have kept my composure and used it as a teachable moment. I could have said that the media blows things out of proportion by telling stories about people saying nasty things about patients while they are under anesthesia. I'm sure it happens, but believe me when I tell you that you aren't interesting enough for us to talk about. I could have told her that most people in the OR are professional enough not to do that even if there was something interesting about you that we want to comment on. Just like there are no rules about farting in the OR, no one does it because it's not polite. The same is true of saying unkind things about unconscious patients who are under our care. We could do it, but we would look really foolish if we did.

But I was tired and not in my right mind. Certainly the medical field could use more compassion and practice some alternative healing methods, but not this day and age of managed care hassles. Go ahead and tell an OR full of people who will be on their feet all day, working on one case after another, that you would like for them to be quiet because of some freaky New Age belief you have. Go on. I dare you. I think I managed to say "I'm sorry but I disagree." Nevertheless I'm sure I alienated her for life. She's a dialysis patient so I see her on a fairly regular basis. My bad.

Then last week while I was in ER clinicals a patient got angry with me about her blood pressure reading. She said "There has to be something wrong with that blood pressure cuff. My diastolic is always the same as my IQ."

This time I was better. I blinked a time or two, made sure there was a pregnant pause and said "I'm speechless."

What a jerk! First of all she was trying to dazzle me with the fact that she knows what a diastolic blood pressure is. Second, she was trying to dazzle me with what she feels is a high IQ. I wanted to tell her that if her diastolic were to reach what some might consider a decent IQ, she'd probably better get herself to the ICU because she would fixin' to have a stroke.

People! I swear!

I don't want to get into how the health care system has brought us to the point that we have to interact with mentally unstable folks on a regular basis because they have nowhere else to go. I don't want to talk about how we could, if things were better, take time to grant the patient's every wish and do things exactly as they want them done; at least not today. For now I am taking my cranky self off the Internet to work on my clinical log and power point presentation.

Hopefully when I return I'll have adjusted my attitude and have a brighter outlook. Until then....

Life's a piece of shit, when you look at it.


Anonymous said...

hey its tara, here is the website i was talking about where i made the extra summer cash.......... the website is here

License Pending said...

Speaking of pieces of shit, Tara, or Frank, or Justin or whoever you are, why did you feel the need to leave this load of crap in my nice, sparkly blog?

I don't need cash. I have a student loan beeyoch!