The place I work has some perks for employees which are really nice but haven't been useful to me at all. Discounts on childcare? Cool, but I don't have kids. Free meal on Fridays and very cheap meals anytime one is working? Great, but the food there is never vegan.
But yesterday I got to go drag Mr. Polly in after my shift to check his vitals and most importantly, his oxygen saturation. And that was a gigantic perk for me.
Background: the Mr. has cystic fibrosis (google it) and the only time he's been hospitalized in the 9 years we've been together was about a year after we were married. I didn't yet work in healthcare & found the whole thing terrifying. All that the hospital staff could tell us is that he was experiencing an "exacerbation" of the CF. He spent a short while on oxygen and IV antibiotics, then got to come home. If I had understood things more clearly, it wouldn't have been as scary, but I really had no clue what was going on and was very frightened.
So when Mr. casually mentioned that he was feeling unusually tired and icky and might be having a exacerbation, I started freaking out. When I got up for work the next morning & he didn't stir, I immediately got in his face and checked for respirations and pulse. Oops. Turns out I don't like "the E-word" very much.
Anyway, satisfiedthat he was (duh) not dead, I went to work & got permission to bring him in and check his vitals after my shift.
And they were just fine. WHEW!
His oxygen saturation was a bit low ( 93-94%) but totally liveable. Some regular antibiotics should do the trick.
And I absolutely love working somewhere that will let me do that. I bet my charge nurses would even listen to his lungs if I asked them. I love my facility & my management.
PS for the few non-nurses/nursing students that read this: oxygen saturation is important because that's what your blood does; brings oxygen to every part of your body so that it works. No oxygen, no working. A pulse oximiter is what I used to check Mr' s saturation. Normal is 95% and above. That means the air you're breathing in is making it from your lungs into your blood. Anything below 90% is not good, and that person should be on oxygen. If it goes too low, your organs don't get enough oxygen & stop working, which would mean you die. If it gets scary-low even with the patient on oxygen, the only thing left to do is sedate & intubate them; just like on TV, they run a tube right down the throat to let a machine breathe for you. I hope to never have that happen to Mr. Polly or myself. Which is why I freaked out & brought him to work. And he is fine, whew! That concludes our lesson, boys & girls.
PPS Hey nurses, what's considered a dangerously low sat? 85%? Is that when organ failure is a distinct possibility?