Eventually I was transferred from the ER to the Med/Surg Floor. On the way to my room, the very same person who had asked about my patient’s disposition earlier in the day, ( before all the s**t went down,) sung out..”How come you’re getting the VIP treatment?” I smiled nervously. What in the hell was she talking about?
It turns out I was going to be admitted to a private room. Getting a private room in a hospital is as rare as hens’ teeth, and I know that the Charge Nurse did a lot of people and bed juggling to make *that* miracle happen. (Many thanks, T.)
I really appreciated the staff going out of their way to make this private room thing happen. Assigning beds to new inpatients is probably right up there at the top of a Charge Nurse’s list of things he/she would really rather not be doing. It seems to be Murphy’s law, that the number of beds available in a hospital is way less than the number of people who need them. Especially in a hospital on an Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
As thankful as I was for privacy, I quietly prayed that I was not going to room 222. Several years ago my dear friend and hospice nurse co-worker, B, died in that room after a very short, but, as it turns out, lethal go-round with cancer. Her death was, quite simply..shocking, and unexpected, and untimely. Cancer is a bitch, and in B’s case? Cancer was a bitch on steroids.
Because I work at the hospital every morning? Pretty much every time I pass room 222, or have a patient in there? I think of B., and remember her infectious laugh and how she loved to kid around. Oh, how she loved her a good joke! Her sense of humor was legend. After she died, her friends had a bumper sticker made: ‘What would B. do?”… Because B. knew the answer to freaking everything. She lived off the grid, grew her own food, and knitted her own damn multicolored socks…with toes in them. We all miss that girl.
I was assigned to room 222. OF COURSE I WAS!! Because this day simply refused to stop throwing me curve balls.
I had to do some pretty serious self-talk at this point. Cognitively, I knew that it was utterly ridiculous to feel a teensie bit un-raveled , but on the other hand, I knew that B? As many times she had made me laugh my ass completely off? Was also a class act prankster. If ever there was a prime chance for her to play some kind of ghostly practical joke on me, this was probably it.
I may or may not have asked my nurse at this point if the admitting doctor had prescribed anything for ‘nerves’..What with the stepping in the urine incident, finding myself in poor B’s hospital room, together with coming to terms with one totally useless leg and looming surgery, clearly a glass of wine to take the edge off was not going to happen…. because… Hospital. As delicious as the foods/drinks on the KCH menu are, alcohol is not an option.
I prayed that the good doctor had ordered… ‘something’.. (waving hands vaguely.) He had. Thank God. In about 30 minutes I was a somewhat more together human being. In B’s defense, she didn’t prank me, except there *was* that incident of the fire alarm going off in the Obstetrics Unit at 2am the night of my surgery. The alarm was REAL, (because usually it’s just a ‘drill’), and I was all…”how in the **** am I going to get out of here without working legs?” Meh. The fire was extinguished, (apparently), the Code Red (fire alarm) was called off…and B.. if that was you? Thank you for not freaking me completely out.
(Aside: I once worked on the obstetrics floor at a hospital in Denver. We had more than the usual full blown fire alarms on our floor. They were the,’this is not a drill, shut all the doors, get ready to evacuate patients alarms’. The best part (yes, there was a positive to having a Code Red), was the eye candy that we nurses were treated to. Oh my lord! Is it mandatory to be a gorgeous, strapping hulk if one wants to be a fire fighter in Colorado? Phew…. (fanning face)…talk about heat in the room. The fire fighters would come tearing in via the stairwell entrance and thunder down the hall, dressed in full fire fighting regalia, hauling all their equipment with them, including axes. Axes, for the love of god. (Be still, our collective nurse hearts.) And yes, extra coats of chap stick were layered on, and hair tidied up – well as much as it can be when you’re working under the assumption that there may be a fire in the building.
Pretty much every time, the culprit, more often than not? Would be some poor soul, with a deer in the headlights expression, found cringing in the bathroom with a cigarette, the smoke of which had triggered the alarm. I used to feel so badly for these poor, embarrassed women. I completely understood their desire for a cigarette, having just spent 27 hours trying to push someone with a head the size of a basketball from their nether regions.)
To be continued..