this is me now

June 30, 2008

Days in the Hospital

Filed under: jobs,learning,things that happen at the Hospital — by heatherdc @ 1:43 am

Every day starts the same. But that’s where the ordinary stops. From there, it’s anyone’s guess….

I’ve been working in the hospital for about four weeks now, and I can easily say that each day has been dramatically different from the next. It definitely keeps things interesting, keeps me on my toes, and keeps me wondering what will happen next.

For a little update, here are some of the more “exciting” sitings–
(warning::you may be disgusted/scared/entertained/all of the above, or none of the above. just sayin’….)

  • Jaundice. More commonly talked about as a condition that some babies have initially after birth. They are basically “yellow”. I never took that too literally….until I met Freddy*. He was a late admit on Friday, so I brought him a late dinner tray. He’s about 55+ years old, a little over weight, friendly, and staying on the fourth floor. Oh yah, and he’s yellow. Literally yellow. His arms, his face, the ‘whites’ of his eyes. Alllll over, he was a definite yellow.
  • My sister’s first grade teacher. I ran into her in the hall, and she gave me a big ol’ hug. She lives in our neighborhood, so we have seen her off and on throughout the years. When Lauren and  I are together, she can tell us apart. When it’s just me, she always thinks I’m Lauren. I forget this. She talked to me for about 10 minutes, asking about school, life, my plans, blah blah blah. Then, as we’re saying ‘bye’, she smiles and says “Every time I think of you I think of your class and that cute Piggy Opera!”. Yes, they did a piggy opera, and Lauren was Momma-pig. I had a little laugh thinking of Lauren as the Momma-pig, and the fact that I will always be Lauren to people who don’t see us often. Oh well.
  • Tuberculosis. Um, scarryyyyy. I had to put on a huge mask, ‘gown’ and gloves. I went into the room and pretty much held my breath. Which, by the way, is very hard to do while you’re trying to talk. Yup. And also when you are in there for like two minutes. Gaaasp. Good thing I had like Five tests to prove I don’t have it. Geeeeze.
  • Cystic Fibrosis. This life expectancy of somebody with this disease ranges from about 25-30  yrs old. John* is a 20 yr-old with CF, spending way too much of his young life in the hospital. I screened him during my second week, and he just got discharged last Wednesday. I’m in charge of the meals on the fourth floor, and that’s where he stayed. By the end of Day 3 I had his breakfast, lunch, and dinner orders pretty much memorized. Sometimes he got tricky and threw me a curve-ball, sometimes he forgot to order his Cherry cheese-cake and I reminded him. To which he would respond “Whew, can’t believe I almost forgot! Thanks Heather, you saved my night 😉 “. Well, well, I do what I can.
  • “OB orders.” That’s what we call a huuuuge meal. With our system, patients order what they want, when they want. We have a full menu every day. And I gotta say, it’s pretty extensive! We actually get a lot of compliments on the food. Except when people can only have Clear liquids. Anyway–sometimes people order a lot of food, and while we can only serve them one “Entree” (sorry folks, can’t feed the whole fam), they can order as manyyyyy sides/drinks/deserts as they want. And sometimes, they certainly do.When somebody  has just had a baby, they are on the “OB” floor. And let me tell you, those women can EAT! Honestly, I am kind of amazed. I knew pregnant/post-labor women crave and eat loots of different things. But, wow. I love answering the phone and taking their order!… “Grilled chicken salad, with LOTS of Ranch, two iced teas, sugar, apple pie, tomato soup, crackers, french fries, and LOTS of ketchup, a banana, a wheat roll. And can I have some potato soup too? Thanks. Oh, and vanilla pudding, and ummmm, chocolate milk.”  Yes, that looks like a typical lunch/dinner order. Like I said….Wow. 

  • Death. This one was inevitable, but I couldn’t help but hope that I’d never have to actually see it. Or at least not yet, not this summer. We’ve had two or three patients die in the last few weeks, we just get a call basically saying ‘You won’t need an order from room —, because the patient is deceased.” Uh, thanks for the update? It’s just weird. But it’s normal, and it happens. A lot.
    Yesterday, I walked in on it. An older man had just passed, literally minutes before I came to his room. The nurses hadn’t put up a sign yet, the door was open, and…well….I walked in.
    I knew right away. I froze. Turned to the nurse’s desk, opened my mouth, and before I could say anything…..”Yah, he just passed a few minutes ago.” Whoa. I guess there’s a first for everything.

Every day is different. Some go by really fast, some involve some really chatty people, some teach me a lot more than others, and some drag on and on. Every morning there are new patients, and every morning I go see them.  And they make my day.

*Names have been changed, gotta keep the confidentiality. And because, otherwise, I’d be fired. Not good.



  1. Walking in on the dead is one hell of a way to start the day:(

    Comment by peter — July 30, 2008 @ 1:43 pm |Reply

  2. plus i don’t get it… you and your sister look alike… but it’s pretty straightforward when it comes to telling you two apart.

    Comment by peter — July 30, 2008 @ 1:44 pm |Reply

  3. and i saw the piggy opera home video and let me say, memorable moment:)

    Comment by peter — July 30, 2008 @ 1:46 pm |Reply

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