Nursing with a Movement Disorder
Beka Serdans | NursingLink
2210 hours – I run into the drug room (and if you’ve ever seen someone with dystonia run, it is not going to rate an Olympic-scored 10 for style points). I grab a bag of pre-mixed intravenous Levophed (a medication that’s administered to raise blood pressure… something I surely do NOT need. My heart is pumping away like I might actually have to break the sound barrier). Dash back to my patient’s room, hook it up and remain by the bedside for the next half-hour.
2245 hours – The bells are ringing…and they are all for me. Has anyone done a study on how many things a single person can do at the same time? Multi-tasking, my eye, I need to clone myself (this time without dystonia, please). Okay who gets priority, the bed pan seeker or the hungry patient? No contest.
2300 hours – A knight in shining scrubs appears: Stu. He helps me turn my 300 pound patient. That’s the good news. Why is there always the bad news? Suddenly her oxygen level is doing that downward slide. Please, please, please…don’t make her need to be intubated or put on a ventilator. I call the resident on duty and ask for a C X-ray order. I hope she is not retaining fluid. I am retaining stress. This does not bode well for my next activity; writing status reports.
2320 hours – I start off with a bang but my hands have a mind of their own. I think write. They think “I’m cramping up, honey.” They win. Writing will come later.
2342 hours– Half a miracle: C X-ray done. Patient’s blood pressure has stabilized. The blood bank remains a “no show,” and I really have to eat something and/or go to the bathroom. Can you get scrubs from NASA? Those space suits could work.
2355 hours – I make executive decision: I’m going to the blood bank for my patient’s platelets. If we needed them before, we really need them now. This isn’t an order for pizza.
0010 hours – Talking about pizza, I’m still hungry but if I don’t sit down for five minutes I may fall over. ICU nurse hits the floor. Patients and co-workers not impressed Okay, now that I’m sitting, I look up at the clock (I’m here to tell you that “time does not always fly.”) and realize now would be a good time to start all the chart work. For most nurses, this would be slightly more relaxing than the dramas taking place at the bedsides but with dystonia it’s not quite so easy. In fact, it’s more than just a “pain in the neck,” it causes hand cramping and pain. So I’ve learned to master the art of two-fingered-typing (no speed records will be broken tonight).
0015 hours – The formerly illusive platelets are now finding a new home in Patient #1’s blood stream. However, Patient #2 doesn’t look good and her breathing is labored, I think she needs more than suctioning, an order goes out for a diuretic to get rid of some that water. This time we go for something a bit more formidable: 40 mgs of IV Lasix.
0110 hours – Some of my charting is completed, the platelets have infused, the Lasix seems to be working, but it’s time to turn both patients over. I still haven’t eaten. In the background, I hear a nurse arguing with the resident-on-call about an Emergency Room admission. What’s new? There are not enough nurses on duty tonight (are there ever?). We are so short-staffed, that I already know that coming off duty in the early morning is not going to be on my chart. Why? If you’re not in nursing, you might not know the mantra: “NOT documented, NOT done.” Remember my typing skills? This is an obstacle to nursing with dystonia. Who knew that typing could be so hard?