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21st Century Lesbian Trailer Trash

These are the mad musings of a middle aged woman, dyke, nurse, poet. I have a dog, a cat, a mobile home, and delusions of grandeur.

Location: California, United States

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Day In The Life

There are days, I am convinced, when the Universe plots to find out just how tough one truly might be. For me, today was in the top ten in my life.

I walked through the nurses station and into my office, happy and oblivious to the sort of day that was to befall me. Whistling merrily as I boot up my computer and start brewing my coffee, I note the back end of our social worker, Dave, in the door of my office.

I start pattering to him about something funny a resident said to me yesterday and realize he is distracted. He says something about not being able to find a chart. I come out to the station to help him look. First he mumbles something about having to do everything by himself and having to set up clinic by himself (it's psychiatry clinic day every Thursday).

Suddenly he's shouting "I'm TIRED of the goddamned incompetence around here!"

At first I think he's kidding because Dave is a kidder and kind of a goofy guy.

"No! I'm serious!" Then he storms out of the station.

Whoa! Wazzup with that?

I leave the station and go through the hallway toward the main office where I encounter the behavior manager swiping his time card.

"Good morning!" I trill in my continued good cheer. "Dave's really pissed this morning."

"Yeah," he says turning his back to walk out the door. "Me too. I'm outta here."

It's not even 0915. Yikes.

I walk into the boss's office singing "Love is in the air..."

The boss rolls her eyes at me. "It sure is," she says. "I think you'll have to do clinic."

No problemo. Off I trot, good little servant that I am.

As I enter, Dr. O. is laughing his ass off while reading the history of his newest patient, a borderline who is depressed since she stopped doing cocaine. OK. The guy is always irreverent and a little off center. At 80 years old he still has most of his marbles. But this is shaping up to be a very weird day.

Forty five minutes into clinic, James, the licensed psych tech, brings our little borderline cocaine addict back into the room with blood dripping down her arm and mumbles something about a light bulb.

Dr. O. growls. "Stop mumbling James. I can never understand what you're saying."

Dr. O. thinks James is an idiot and shares his thoughts with anyone who will listen, including James.

James' head is filled with esoteric shit that no one else can ever understand. He's a six foot something Native American with a long gray ponytail. I can't decide if the ponytail has to do with his Native American roots or the fact that he's a psych tech. The boss assures me that every psych tech she has ever known is a guy with a ponytail.

We finally determine that after her session with the doc, our little borderline went to her room, broke a light bulb, and scratched up her wrist. Turns out that she missed her smoke break and the nurses wouldn't take her out for a cigarette. That's my Nazi Nursing Staff for you. They never miss an opportunity to punish someone for no reason whatsoever.

The boss, who has walked into the clinic shortly before our mini drama, hisses at me to come speak with her. She wants me to check up on James because she doesn't trust him. Sure enough, when I get there, the patient is sitting in a chair still bleeding while James is on the phone with the 911 operator. Double yikes!

I trot on back to the clinic to grab the chart because he has no information in front of him. Trot back and grab some towels to clean her up. Superficial scratches with one small jab to make it bleed really good. I have to hand it to her. She's a pro in the suicide game.

Poor James is all aflutter, dancing around the station and mumbling things like "5150" and "serious ramifications." I'm still trying to figure out why he called 911 since the woman isn't close to dying.

They pack her into the rig trying not to laugh at us. I don't remember much more until LavenderDe and the dietary supervisor dragged me out to lunch at Arby's. We return rested, fortified, and ready to finish the day.

For some reason many of the residents want a piece of me today. Probably because they know that Gary bailed and Dave is still pissed. I have a sweet young thing in my office explaining to me that the Mormons are trying to take over the world. She knows this because she is blessed by God and the angels tell her these things.

"I know I sound delusional," she tells me, staring at me with her huge cornflower blue eyes. "But I can't help it. I have been blessed."

A nurse bursts into my office shaking. "I need to call a code green and I don't know how."

My cornflower girl rises as if on cue. A long time mental patient, she understands that even her delusions cannot keep me from wrestling a wild one to the ground.

I call the code over the intercom and walk down the hall to find our very large mentally retarded girl-woman sitting on her bed shaking and surrounded by five staff members, each with a hand placed gently on a limb. "They dragged me into my room!" she wails. "That's abuse! I'm gonna sue! They hurt me!"

I talk her down somewhat and get the staff to leave the room. I convince her to come into my office to call her sister. She talks to her sister for twenty minutes, demanding that she come rescue her right now. No dice.

To get back at us, she goes to the pay phone to call the police department. We have our pay phones wired to ring directly through to the facility phones when someone dials 911. Now she's pissed. She stalks down the hall. "I'm going over the fence Pam. I mean it this time."

I tell her that if she tries to go over the fence, we'll have to give her a shot. Out the door she goes. A few minutes later, back she comes. "Pam. I'm not gonna go over the fence."

I tell her "OK. But we're going to give you a shot to help you calm down." She agrees if she can eat her dinner in her room and change her clothes.

I still have to sort out Friday and Saturday night staffing. Someone's grandpa died and no one wants to work for her. Meantime, I have another nurse on the phone demanding to have Sunday off because it's her birthday and she "forgot."


Somehow, I manage to exit the building and be home by 7:30. There's a nice bottle of Zinfandel in the cupboard with my name written all over it.

Kinja, the weblog guide


Blogger ~ nellenelle said...

Damn, not enough time to finish, I have to get out of here...

*hugs* and will be back this evening to finish.

4:00 AM PST  
Blogger Gina said...

well pam, I really think you racked up some big positive Karma today...either you were horrible in you past life, or the universe has so really nice things on your horizon!

5:41 PM PST  
Blogger NursePam said...

I think I must have been really horrible in a past life. Unbelievably, today continued so much so in the same vein that by the end of the day the boss and I darn near imploded on one and other in the nurses' station. TGIF!

8:11 PM PST  
Blogger ~ nellenelle said...

rofl, there are times I wonder what the heck I'd done in a past life, but... best get this right going forward.

My question to you... when told by that woman in your office she is blessed... why did you refrain from revealing your goddessness, and that you had sent no such message?


11:02 AM PST  
Blogger NursePam said...

LOL! It was tempting to be sure. But I have a professional obligation to not mess up those poor folks any more than they already are.

There are times, however, when I have to close my door later and just bust up. If nothing else, the crazy seem to be highly creative.

1:04 PM PST  
Blogger ~ nellenelle said...

Some of the claimants I have to deal with are rather... colourful, and the cases... yikes. You indeed cannot help but have a chuckle once off of the phone.

When I was working for an insurer, this say... 20 years ago, we had a claim that was going to trial. A woman was the driver who was being sued, and the only witness in her defence was her ex-hubby.

The real problem was... this guy had issues. When under pressure, apparently he occasionally had delusions of being the king of England. Not good for credibility.

And this left me contemplating what might happen with him on the stand in a trial... attorney peppering him with questions and pressuring for answers... the pressure building, until he scream out "off with your head!"

1:50 PM PST  

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