I didn’t quite know what I was walking into as I arrived at work before the break of dawn. When the night nurse told me, “I am so sorry”, I knew it could not be good. You see, I work on a trauma unit, which means we see a lot of the crazy stuff, such as car wrecks, ATV accidents, gunshot wounds, stabbings and motorcycle crashes. The injuries are one thing to consider, of course, the physical wounds. What I was not prepared for when I started nursing was the mental aspect of the patient care. Unfortunately, for many of these people, the reason they had a wreck or got stabbed or shot was because they were drinking a whole lot of alcohol, high on crack, or maybe were using just a few too many prescribed pain medications. As the day wears on, these patients start going through withdrawals, and it is not pretty. I struggle to maintain my own sanity when my new admit who crashed his ATV starts yelling, “I am leaving RIGHT now, I don’t need to be the f*** here!” while the sweet little old lady next door to him who fell and broke her hip is trying to sleep! Oh, and it just gets better. Then we have the patient who misused their pain medication at home, so now nothing we give them helps with the pain, and I am running into the room every hour to give them enough pain medication to kill a horse. By the time the shift is ending, that sweet little old lady with the broken hip has become a confused, scary demon who has tried to kick and bite me multiple times, since now she does not know where she is and is constantly trying to get out of bed! Plus there are the three other patients who have varying degrees of illness or injury. Add that to all the tests, surgeries, sudden chest pain, vomiting, heartburn and a myriad of ailments, and you have a very eventful day!
Please note: No one’s privacy was violated in the writing of this post. The characters are a generalization of the types of patients I encounter as a trauma nurse. I hope you enjoyed my tale!