I wasn’t always the seasoned nurse that I am today.
Okay, I’m really not all that “seasoned” now either, but I have a little experience under my belt after 15 years. Let’s just forget the whole “seasoned” thing.
When people hear that I’m a RN, they always seem to assume that means I have a CLUE about how to be a fully functioning pancreas for my daughter 24/7/365.
Well…I don’t. I don’t mean to disappoint them, and I’m totally honored that they would think all my hard work in nursing school could POSSIBLY equip me for such a role (because I worked REALLY hard, you know!)….but….I’ve been pretty much winging it for the past 6-ish, almost 7, years.
Anyhoo…so a long, long time ago….
I was working as the Triage nurse in an ER. I think I had been a nurse for, like, 3 years or something. I had never seen, heard, or learned about what an insulin pump was. I had no idea that such a thing existed.
Until this guy came in throwing up.
So there he was, puking all over my desk, while I was trying to complete his triage assessment.
“Do you have any history of medical problems?”
“Are you taking any medications?”
“Do you have any allergies?”
At this point it was clear that our conversation wasn’t going anywhere. I was trying not to take it personally, but he could have at least TRIED to answer me. I mean, COME ON!
Sheesh! Some people!
I figured I might as well go dig up a room somewhere. I had no idea where I was going to put his poor puking soul, but got him a clean bucket and a wheelchair anyway.
We were rolling down the main hallway, when he said something like “I have diabetes and I’m wearing an insulin pump.”
My first reaction was to ignore what he had just said. I mean…it made no sense to me at all.
But I knew I’d need to clarify what he was trying to tell me. I WAS the triage nurse. HELLO? It was my JOB to document his medical history.
So…I asked him to repeat himself.
And, again, he told me that he was wearing an insulin pump.
To which I replied:
(I kid you not.)
“Um. You’ll have to take that off.”
I KNOW! I can’t believe I said it either!!!!!
He looked up at me — pale with dry lips and heavy breathing — and said:
“Over my dead body. I’ll decided IF my pump needs to be removed, not YOU. Now go find that doctor.”
On that day, I was thinking what a “difficult” patient he was being. I mean, really!!! No need to get so huffy about it.
For the record, I don’t feel that way anymore.