After all the stressful nonsense our family was put through the past couple of days, I thought the timing was ideal for my story of my one, and only, night with a bad nurse.
Before I write about that particular night, I need to set this up. We have 2 regular nurses that carry the bulk of the nights. We love them both. They do a great job with Ryan. Well, one of these nurses had to take a month off to tend to a sick family member in Africa. The nursing agency sent in someone they just brought on to go through orientation. As I always do, I watched her closely without trying to let on I was.
Almost immediately she started off on my wrong-side. I hear her talking to the other nurse that she doesn’t know why she has to go through this three hour orientation. “I’ve been a nurse for 17 years”, she says. I chime in that “the orientation is more directed at Ryan, and not general nursing”. She groans and mumbles something unintelligible.
Next up. The nurse who is making her familiar with Ryan tells her that the parents insist that Ryan’s head never be below 20 degrees, and never below 30 degrees while being fed since Ryan is a high aspiration risk. She is clearly not pleased with this. She is quick to point out that this makes things rougher on her when bathing, repositioning, and cleaning his bottom. I remain silent. She has no idea what rough is… or is going to be.
As they bathe Ryan, I see she is not taking the time with his toes (a common place for fungal infections for non-mobile people). “I’ll need to circle back on this” I think, “and show her how I expected it done”. No need. The other nurse also picks up on this and asks her “did you get between his toes?”. To my amazement, she claims she did. The nurse asks her again, clearly concerned. The bad nurse becomes angry and lies again.
The next morning I call the nursing agency and tell them to look into providing us with someone else. I tell them I’m not feeling it with this nurse they sent over.
Fast forward to last Monday night.
It’s a battle from the second she walks through the door. I give her my iPhone to call in to the automated system to begin her shift. When she hands it back, she tells me she programmed this into my cell phone. Grrrrrrr! I can’t stand people messing with my iPhone. Even so, to me it seems rather bold to do this. I delete it immediately.
On to the medications. Bad Nurse is livid about having to provide the vast quantity of medications. She begins questioning the reason behind each. I begin to explain how many are used “off-label”, but she is too impatient to really listen. Fed up, I hand her the holy bible of medicine “Davis Drug Guide” and tell her to look it up on her own.
Now the story gets interesting.
As most know, I don’t sleep well. I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. I’m sure Bad Nurse wasn’t expecting me to be so restless, because it led to her eventual downfall.
Like every night, I am occupying my time researching. Around 3:00 AM I finally doze off. Shortly before 4:00AM, the monitoring equipment begins to alarm. I pop up to investigate. No concern, the pulsox fell off his toe. I clip it back on and the alarm goes quiet. I hear the fan on in the bathroom and figure that Bad Nurse is occupied. No big deal. I doze off again.
Sometime just after 5:00 AM I wake again. Was I just dreaming about smoking cigarettes? That’s weird. But, hey, I’ve been having some crazy dreams lately. Without another thought I drift back off.
Ryan’s alarm is sounding again! It’s 5:45 AM. I fix the pulsox one more time and sit on the side of the bed. Wait! Is that the bathroom fan running again? Is Bad Nurse sick and battling diarrhea? I grow concerned that she might be exposing Ryan to her illness. I fall asleep in a seated position waiting for her to finish.
At 6:15 AM I stir back to life. Bad Nurse is hovering over Ryan at the foot of the bed. What is that odor I detect? I get to my feet and approach her. She seems nervous. Then it hits me. I believe I smell cigarettes. Bad Nurse is talking to me, but I’m not listening. I tell her to hold that thought and go into the bathroom. Same odor. She was using the exhaust to draw the smell out. Guess what was about to hit the fan now!
I could see it in her eyes. She knew I knew. Bad Nurse was going to be in a boat load of trouble. Secondhand smoke is bad enough. Especially with Ryan just home from a respiratory illness. But, we have pure oxygen in the house! In big red letters on signs throughout the house it clearly says “No Smoking or Open Flames”. Her shift ends around the time I finish letting her have it. She is not invited back.
In a preemptive strike, Bad Nurse actually beat me in calling the agency and said that the commute was too much for her and she wouldn’t be keeping Ryan as a case! Oh, Bad Nurse! Naughty Nurse! Well, let me give my side of the story.
I hear she is no longer employed with this nursing agency…