I Think I Earned a Brownie Point

April 19, 2013
I hope this doesnt sound like braging nor come across as pride, but it is something I am proud to have done in a “pay it forward” fashion. I’m sure there are mispellings but I hope it comes across as fun. It has taken me days/weeks to tinker with the spelling, this acctually happened while I was in recovery after my scecond surgery on Friday, April 19. (this is 2nd surgery, 1st was April 8, 2013: http://blog.scottsontherocks.com/blog/2013/04/08/its-not-a-head-achy/)

When you wake up in recovery, you are not necessaryl awake and you have clearly been druged and most likely have been pinned down so you cannot harm any incisents etc. I’m sure I dozed in/out of conciousness during all this, so bear with me. I’m hoping that you will still get the gist of the entire story.

It’s also extremly hilarious to hear what your mind does… for the record, mine was storming a castle with Inigo Montoya & the cast from Princess Bride. I never said any of that out loud, I was sure they’d commit me! [The Princess Bride has regular showings at our house : http://blog.scottsontherocks.com/blog/2013/01/19/i-swear-it-will-be-done/]

I have made some notes if I thought I need to clarify.

My ears perked to the sound of distant whispering, one nurse telling another that she would take over. We’ll call her “nurse 2”. Nurse 1 replied that she had been specifically asked for and there was no way out, she would have to stay. [note: i have NO idea of the time, nor how long i was in surgery]

Now, my ears perk to a very quiet conversation taking place in the chair next to my bed, from my perspective, it is one sided. Nurse 1: was supposed to leave hours ago… “you know usually i would be all over this but tonight is important, i never promise my family anything unless i am sure….. he is being presented an award downtown…. [I think I heard National Merit Scholar… and yes that is a big deal]. Yes, thank you, 8:30pm will be fine”

She lied.

I hear her open/close a curtain next to me. Obviously another patient, with some family behind the curtain that I am still unable to open my eyes to see. I can’t really hear them either. I can also hear distant murmur of other nurses with other patients. To be honest, it sounded like most of them had been there a while and were prepping to leave.

Now I awaken and hear what I can only assume is the anesthesiologist (hehe, spell check) standing over me, removing whatever had my neck/head/face/mouth clamped down prior. I heard him tell Nurse 1… glad they were able to keep you, this was a tough one. [HANG ON A SECOND… is he talking about ME???? I can’t open my eyes or move]. He dictated a list of instructions to her, told he to call “Dr X” if there was a problem and he was leaving. [Clearly it is closing time on Friday night and everyone is bailing out…. except my nurse and Nurse 2]

After what seemed like forever, I mustered up enough strength to say “You are missing your sons event over my dead body.” No, I still cannot move or open my eyes but I recognized the sound of the entire room becoming silent and looking at me. “Behind the curtain man” said… “Did she just speak? How is that possible???”

Nurse 1 appears and I can hear her messing with the monitor “I don’t know, this says she’s still completely sedated and unconscious.” I know I am smirking now and replied “You just unshackled my mouth, that is completely unrelated to brain functions.” I heard lots of distant giggling. “You are not missing that event, if “I” have anything to do with it.”

“Behind the curtain man” agreed and said that they had just been discussing it and “blah, blah, … he didn’t need to be there since he was leaving and take him to the floor where his car is, his family will be in charge… blah, blah….” Obviously he was a regular and knew the ins/outs of recovery rooms, including how the machines work. I heard her reluctantly agree and they all left. During this time, I also hear other nurses telling their patients, they are going “upstairs”… and they’d leave.

Now I awaken again to the two nurses standing over me… “… this still says she should be unconscious…” “Trust me… I am, I cannot move or open my eyes. This is not be the first machine to not be able to read my functions clearly.” [Those are stories all their own, but suffice to say, I don’t trust the machines.]

“I’m serious, what do we need to do to get you out of here?” “This says you aren’t even conscious and breathing on your own yet, you aren’t going anywhere and neither am I!” [AHA… I get it now… She is “#1 nurse of recovery”, I am difficult surgery patient that took a heck of a lot longer than planned…. she is loyal and committed]. I kinda managed to open my eyes.

“What do we need to do? Obviously I need to start breathing…” She starts talking about pain medications, etc and I stopped her. “I can assure you that this patient I not going to accept any pain medications until she talkes to her husband and the doctors to figure out what is going on. If you’ll look at your charte, you will see this is my second time in for this surgery and I want to be halfway lucid when they are explaining it to me. The last time my husband say me I was hysterical. You just cross that off your list right now.” Nurses took at each other. “I promise, if it gets too painful, I’ll speak up, but since I’ve already met all the nice folkes up in ICU, I know they are completely capable of managing my pain and taking care of me. You are just going to have to trust me… and your collegues. Someone needs to get me one of those breathing tube things to I can practice.” Nurse 1: “Are you always this feisty?” “You have NO IDEA!” I saw Nurse 2 realized that I had just taken over… and Nurse 1 had lost. She smiled at me and I knew I had an ally.

“I promise that I won’t do anything that will put ME in jeopardy but there is no reason this has to last all night either. I have to trust YOU to tell me what I can and cannot do. I get that you have to wait until the machine says I am breathing on my own. What’s next?” [In the back of my mind I hear… “I swear on the soul of my father Domingo Montoya, you will reach the top alive”… works for me, I totally know that I am doing the right thing 😉 ]

Nurse 2: “She’s smiling again, this still says she’s asleep???”

She needs to call the doctor for release orders (after I am breathing on my own) and locate my family/husband to give them an update.” “OK, here’s what you do… you call the doctor for orders because that’ll take the longest… THEN… you call my husband and you say “this”… “tell him sarcasm has set in.” “I am not calling a patients’ family and telling them sarcasm has set in!!!!” “Trust me, once he knows that, he will feel much better and will be able to relax and call the rest of my family.”…. “stop dawdly and go call… SHE can watch me practice breathing.” I can tell she thinks I am totally insane.

I looked at Nurse 2 and said with a big grin [I’m feeling much more awake now] “… excuse me Nurse… how do I get my Nurse fired so that she will leave?” Nurse 2 replied “… well, she could allow her coworker to take her last … obviously, recovered patient… up to ICU for her….”…. Nurse 1…. surrendered.

She comes back and says she told my husband what I said and he laughed.

Now she has to “do report” which I know takes 20 minutes… “Why are you still standing here? You said YOU have to do report, which means “she” cant do report for you… she can sit here and watch me breath… see… getting all better now.”

She’s back. “For the record, you should NEVER tell those tasked with keeping you alive, that something is going to happen over your dead body.” HMMM, Courtney pointed out that same thing. FUTURE DATA POINT: NEVER SAY, “over my dead body” in a hospital 😉

After a bit, I’m ready to go. I looked at her and said “You aren’t going to be on time… don’t go home and change, no one is going to remember or care that you showed up in scrubs… wear a coat. But… you are NOT going to miss it. I don’t even know your name, and I won’t remember it if you tell me… and to be honest, I hope I never see you again (smiling)…. Go…. Have a nice life.” She burst into tears and touched my hand (the one without the tubes) with a million thank yous left unspoken… they were in her eyes. Grabbed her coat and left as Nurse 2 wheeled me to the elevator. It’s 6:09pm.

Nurse 2: “I have NEVER in my life seen a patient to that… that was so cool. I want to thank you… from all of us [I’m pretty sure she meant all nurses.].

“that was cool. to be honest, I think I might have earned a brownie point for that one.”


[NOTE: Many of you have asked if you can send these two posts to other nurses… YES!]


another nurse tribute: http://blog.scottsontherocks.com/blog/2013/04/25/an-amazing-insight-into-icu-nurses/

previous pranks: http://blog.scottsontherocks.com/blog/2013/04/25/probably-tomorrw/

[NOTE:  a year later, 04/08/14, I have added some of the “what happened” http://blog.scottsontherocks.com/blog/2014/04/08/a-year-ago/ ]

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