Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oh, Gross! Again.

Now that I'm working in the hospital, I see waaaaaaaay more disgusting things than I did in assisted living. I won't say that hospital is definitely more disgusting than home care because sometimes people's homes are just beyond nasty. But assisted living tends to be pretty decent.

So now that I've been exposed to more things, I figured you all would be delighted to know what I find the most icky.

1. The Worst Smell Ever; when someone keeps vomiting blood and poo. It's just so, so bad. I mean it's three unpleasant things all mixed together. And it smells ungodly.

2. Trach suctioning. I know, not nice. It's necessary. Sometimes people need that tracheostomy (a hole at the base of their throat in front) to help them breathe. And sometimes that hole gets plugged up with mucous. And then that mucous must be suctioned out. And yep, it's exactly as oogy as it sounds. Especially if they're coughing and end up with puddles of phlegm pooling on their chest, which then also must be cleaned up.

3. Pulling out lines. This is more of an "I feel phantom pain imagining this" reaction on my part. The people who do this aren't with it enough to be as bothered by it as a normal, alert person would be. But the sight of someone ripping out their own IV, or (God help them) other lines or tubes just makes me shudder. Doesn't matter what the line is or what it's putting in or out of the body, the idea of them ripping out really grosses me out.

...and lastly, one that I'm surprised is not that bad to me? Wound packing and unpacking. When someone has MRSA or whatever and it eats a hole into them, that wound must then be frequently packed full of stringlike bandaging, then have that removed, and replaced with clean packing. It sounds awful, but it's actually pretty cool. It's what allows people to heal from the inside out, rather than the outside in. You wouldn't want your skin to close up over a big empty pocket in your body, because that wouldn't be structurally sound. So instead this way it heals properly. But it does look pretty weird.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Code: Disaster

Winter kicked my little town's ass this last few weeks. I know, everyone jokes about how we are such wusses about snow in the Pacific Northwest, but the thing is, we are never ever prepared for it. We don't have the infrastructure in place to handle it well. It's not just the snow, or the unplowed roads, but the fact that we have approximately 8 trees per square foot* and a lot of them fall down during storms and knock out our power.

So this last week was a special week at the hospital, as a disaster code was called. That meant all staff on premesis was not allowed to leave. People were mandated there for 30+ hours, sleeping on the floor wherever there was room for a short respite after 12-16 hours of work.


I wasn't there during this, and had no way of getting there, which suited me just fine except that I felt so badly for my coworkers who were carrying all that load understaffed. In spite of this, they made it, and did well.

The thing that I found most touching was that we all got these desperate emails begging us to come and donate blood, because obviously all the regular blood drives out in the community weren't able to happen. Much as I hate needles in me, I wanted to go and do this, but again, had no way of getting to the hospital.

The other day I got an email from some muckety-muck about how that turned out - the big hospitals from the nearest Big City had some donors (3-10), one of the local Big Companies, had around 20 donors, and our hospital had 70+!! By far the most of any facility that did the emergency blood drives. And this was all from employees that couldn't leave. The email referred to us as "the little hospital that could".

And with that, my heart grew three sizes and I vowed to donate the next time the van is on campus at my school.

*scientific and accurate. Totally.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ahhh, Winter Break.

Tomorrow I'll be back on campus, doing Anatomy & Physiology I, and also doing Bio 100 online. Winter break has been so, so nice. Just working gave me time to catch up on things like cooking, making gifts for my family members, going and helping out my Grandma with cleaning her apartment, etc. I'm almost sad to go back to school even though I know I need to. I expect this quarter to be really hard, because I'm doing 10 credits and working full-time (75% at the hospital 25% at the dementia facility).

I'm hoping to have at least one classmate from my chem class in my A&P class to study with, since most of us were on the prenursing track. But all the ones I talked to at the end of last quarter were going into a different A&P class, dang it. We'll see. It's just nice to have a familiar face around.

Yesterday we closed our store for New Year's day and I went and helped Mr. Polly clean the heck out of it, as well as rearrange some things he'd been wanting to change for a long time. The co-owner of the store is still out of town (taking care of his aging father) until the beginning of March so that means Mr. Polly has free reign to go nuts and put things where he wants them. He was so happy about moving some shelves and file cabinets! And I scrubbed the bathroom within an inch of it's life. I still want to repaint in there - it has rainbows and unicorns, courtesy of the previous owners. That could be okay I guess but it's so "LOOK WE'RE QUIRKY AND FUNNY" and also the bathroom is tiny and dark so I want to paint it off-white and put more lighting in there. I'd rather have a clean-looking bathroom than an "adorable" one any day.

Besides, everyone knows that acorns are the new unicorns.

Happy new year!