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Nursing with a Movement Disorder

Nursing with a Movement Disorder

Beka Serdans | NursingLink

0445 hours – Some of the routine things that nurses do are no longer easy for me to accomplish without help. Night nurses are responsible for changing IV tubes for new ones. This used to be a non-event but now I can’t open the packaging without using scissors or a clamp or a helping hand. It’s frustrating.

0510 hours – A minor miracle: My paperwork is up-to-date and there are only two more hours left to this awful night.

0522 hours – A colleague is having trouble inserting an IV. I offer to help. Even though I am unable to turn my head the “right way,” anymore, I can do IVs by instinct. With dystonia, you learn to make accommodations and work around the physical limitations. A secret: I usually rearrange the patient’s room so that everything is in my line of sight.

There’s another thing that I have to constantly be aware of since I had DBS; electromagnetic interference. All those security devices may be great but they can cause havoc with my pacemaker (mine goes to my brain rather than to my heart). This, among other things, is anxiety-producing so my neurosurgeon has me taking a mild dose of Klonopin to reduce stress. Did I remember to take it this evening/morning? No. I will pay for it on the bumpy bus ride home.

0547 hours – An alcoholic in withdrawal wanders out of his room. His IVs are in disarray, he has a bloody gown, his EKG monitor is off and he announces to all of us that he is ready to leave. Perhaps we should call the bellboy for his luggage and have the front desk prepare his bill. He resists our cajoling him back to bed and then hits one of the nurses. We call security and the docs. He ain’t listening to anyone.

0600 hours – Perfect timing, the Head Nurse is now walking down the hallway as the alcoholic is making his way to the nurse’s station. He is using four-letter words and making comments that will not be printed in The New York Times (or any other publication). Where is security? Are they in cahoots with the blood lab people? I really don’t want to be a punching bag even if I’m beginning to feel like one. If my muscles get any tighter, I may explode.

0610 hours – Security arrives. Using less than spectacular intervention skills, they tackle the patient. Now what? We decide to ship him to the Psych Ward…stat!

0624 hours – Check Patient #2 and discover more diarrhea. . She is producing the type of diarrhea that is irritating to the skin and induced by antibiotics. To make matters worse, this 300- pound lady can’t breathe when she is in a prone position. Getting her out of bed would be impossible. I only weigh 115 lbs. Can it get better than this? Sure. There’s no protective cream available. I call my knight in scrubs, Stu, and we clean her up once again. Now I do the “uh oh” check. Are my neck wires still intact? Yes. I can exhale.

0645 hours – Go back to the charts and enter final vital signs. Also need to compute things like intake and outtake of fluids. Have you ever had to estimate the amount of diarrhea produced? I must have missed this lecture in nursing school.

0710 hours – Patient #1 needs extra IV potassium. I grab a bag from the drug room and hang it on the IV pole. The day shift staff begins arriving. I actually have a minute to swallow my dose of Klonopin.

0726 hours – Before giving a verbal report to the day shift, review any last minute Orders to make sure that nothing was missed. Nothing missed. It’s going to be a good day!

0745 hours Shift over.

Scalp pain erupts. Neck twisting and turning begins. I just want to sleep.

But nursing with a movement disorder is possible, rewarding and do-able!

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