Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Busy little bees

What a day for the last day of the week! I've just finished work, and I'm sitting in the hospital library recovering...

We had 2nd-year nursing students, who were spending their first day ever in a hospital. They have 2 weeks with us, which will be fun! 2nd-years are so keen. But it took me 90 minutes (instead of the usual 15) going through everyone's charts and medications with Danyelle. And then there were discharges.

Discharging patients home from a medical-oncology ward can be complicated, to say the least. They have services to organize, a dozen family 'issues', pain, nausea, and a sudden, last minute temperature.... normally. When an oncology patient is going home, we usually end up spending an hour or so on phone calls and paperwork and chasing doctors. It's amazing, actually; no matter how many people you send home, you'll always find a new and interesting complication to take care of!

My complications today were as follows: 1. Hospice organizes Home Oxygen for patients, but not for Keith, who lives in Ararat. 2. Morag can go to Maryborough hospital between 1 and 2, and then she'll have her 2pm peritoneal dialysis; but what happens when Advanced Medical Transport is an hour late? 3. Keith can make the trip home without extra O2, but what about when he's sitting in Pharmacy and his daughter, who's taking him home, gets stuck in the elevator?

My third patient harassed me all day about when the doctor was going to let him go home. He's allowed to go home. He doesn't need anything. But the doctor wants to see him first, and she is busy elsewhere! As I left he was sitting by the door with all his bags, still waiting at 3:30.

My fourth patient went on day leave for a few hours, which is not as tricky as sending someone home, but he had a list of things to be done before he went... right when I was supposed to be having lunch.

Then one of my old favorites died. Beattie was expected to die soonish, as her kidneys had stopped working, but it felt a bit sudden. Just this morning she was telling me how much she likes her doctor and how well his gray hair suited him, etc. ;-) So I helped wrap her for the mortuary and talked to her grandson.

We had 9 discharges and a death today, which is a bit of work for a 23-bed ward. And by the time I left 6 of those beds had been filled with new patients! I'm afraid I neglected my poor student for the last half of the shift, but she said she had fun...

Now I have 2 days off! I'm going home to sit and read my current Eddings book (which I got for free ;-) with the Harry Potter one) or work on my silly present for my new niece or nephew.

I love weekends.

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