Thursday, May 1, 2008

Adapt......Or DIE

Boy, the stuff they don't teach you in nursing school.

I spent a day working with another dialysis nurse. As she hooked up the dialysis machine to the shower she said "Oh by the way. Call the manager and tell her you need a special plumbing adapter for this."

Special adapter?

Okay so I called the manager and she said she'd have someone drop off a kit at the hospital the next time I was there. A kit? I expected to find a charming little kit, maybe with fur lining and rhinestones and it would play music when you opened the lid, and a teeny little adapter inside. Instead I found this.

Inside are no less than 20 different plumbing adapters.

That's a penny on the bottom row second from the left.

I'm calm today, but when I saw this thing I just about shit a brick. What the hell am I supposed to do with all these?

Apparently what I am to do is attach an adapter to the dialysis machine and another adapter to the faucet or shower and couple things together until I get a tight seal. The one I saw the nurse use was a perfect fit for the dialysis machine and the shower head so only one piece was needed. No coupling required.

Wait it gets better.

So the other day I decided to put on my big girl panties and run a couple of patients all by myself. I get to the patient's room, introduce myself and get him all warmed up in preparation for dialysis. He's a new patient, just started dialysis a couple of days before, and so was a little edgy and nervous about the whole process. I fire up the dialysis machine and drag the hoses into the bathroom. I get out my sparkly new kit and begin trying out different adapters.

None of them fit. Oh sure, I could get one to fit the shower hose and another to fit the dialysis machine, but could not get them to fit each other.

Oh boy.

I called my manager and she said to call the machine tech. The machine tech said he could send someone over with the correct part and it would only take about an hour or so.


I cooled my heels in the cafeteria and played games on my Blackberry to relieve the tension. I had to get out of the room because the anxious patient set to whining and saying "well, how come the other nurse came in and hooked me up right away?"

Because I'm a lame-ass buffoon and they sent me here as a joke. April Fool!!!

The machine tech arrived with the correct adapter and threw in a pipe wrench for good measure. Thanks Dude. Much hillarity ensued and about three hours later I ran the patient and all was well with the world.

I took a lunch break and went to run my second patient and things went even further awry, but I'll save that story for another day. I'll just tell you that I spent 20 hours running two patients and I'm still trying to recover from that disaster.

The really awesome part is even with all the time I spent there that day, I still made more per hour than I did as a medical transcriptionist.

It's going to be fine. I just have to get over the hump.

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