Holy meds, flatus, and bowel sounds!

Time is flying by this week since I last posted. Monday John and I went to my parents’ place for a little Labor Day fun at their neighborhood lake-front. We went kayaking (although we actually peddled our legs instead of used paddles, so not sure what it’s really called), swimming, croqueting, and John went tubing behind my parents’ new/old motor boat. It was a great day, and I even got to watch a couple episodes of Jon and Kate Plus 8. I love that show, mostly because it makes me really excited to have kids someday. You’d think that watching a family with 8 kids would be reason NOT to want kids so badly, and I realize it’s a LOT of work, but it’s something that I’m really looking forward to.

Anywho, the reason for the title of this post is because the past two days at work (I obviously had Monday off, thank God for that!), I’ve had four patients to care for during my shift. This is a huge deal to me, partly since I’ve never done it, but also because that’s what all the experienced nurses do. It’s definitely a jump from three patients, it feels like every time you add another person to care for, the amount of work is exponential. Especially on day shift because most people have a lot of 0800 meds to be given to them. Those little old ladies that come in from the nursing homes, wow do they have the load of medications. The one nice thing about post-surgical is that a lot of patients are NPO (nothing by mouth in Latin) after surgery (like bowel surgeries) which means they can’t have any medications by mouth either. So basically all they get for the first day or so is pain meds and sometimes they’re just PCAs (patient controlled analgesia) so then I don’t even have to give meds to them, other than possibly some IV antibiotics. Oh and the flatus and bowel sounds reference is because after surgery, a lot of what happens with a patient depends on their return of bowel sounds and well, their flatus function (aka, gas…). Never would I have guessed that I’d be asking “Are you passing any gas yet?” so many times in a given week. 

I’m just rambling now. So as you can tell, my mind has just been spinning today and yesterday with having four patients. So many different things to do and balance and manage. I wish I could just take care of one patient a day because there would probably be enough to keep you busy with just one. I’m slowly learning how to use my little “brain sheet” where I jot notes to myself as I go and cross of meds/procedures as I do them. It didn’t help that my favorite pen exploded today… but that’s besides the point. 

I love that I’m finally starting to feel like a real nurse and am much more independent. There’s still the occasional “Hey, can you give that one pain med while I take out this one tube?” that I have to say to my preceptor, but I know that with time I’ll be much more efficient and confident. It’s a lot of fun too! 

(Embarrassing moment of the day: Since I was so busy, I was really having problems listening to my bladder telling me to STOP and proceed directly to the restroom. It got so bad and I got so stupid that I was giving my patient his insulin and blurted out “I have to go to the bathroom so badly!” before I even realized what I was saying. Never hurt to have a (very) humbling experience every now and then, right?)

Next post will be about something other than work… promise!

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About Carrie

Lover and follower of Jesus, wife to a loving husband, cardiac nurse in a big city hospital, aspiring cook and baker, notorious night owl, and enjoyer of all the gifts God has graciously given me! View all posts by Carrie

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