Friday, August 26, 2011

The Nurse From Hell

I should start off by saying I am not in a good mood. Not. Even. Close. Alexandra has just spent the last couple of days in the hospital after getting her tonsils out. This is normally done as an outpatient surgery, but in the medical world she is considered "special." This qualifies her for all sorts of perks like getting to sleep in sheets that smell like they have been soaked in a toxic chemical and getting served food our dog would pass up, along with the added bonus of being woken up every few hours to be poked and prodded. She is now happily back home in her own bed and I am sitting out on our back deck soaking up the heat of what I fear might be one of our last true days of summer.

The nursing staff we dealt with were all amazing with one glaring exception. I think there is an unwritten rule of hospital staffing that states for any given patient's stay one hospital employee must be a dud. Alexandra's nurse yesterday turned out to be The One. (I am quite confident it is safe to blog about her here at North of 49 because only nice people read my blog.) At one point yesterday she was doing some pointless thing to Alexandra, and I was sitting by the bed reading. My cell phone went off alerting me to a text message. I picked up my phone and this is what I saw:

Watching Alexandra clutch her cell phone through pain, nausea and severe allergic reactions made me realize something. Millions of dollars could be saved in the medical system if they would stop using monitoring devices on teens and twenty somethings. All they need to do is monitor their cell phone use. A slowing of texts and Facebook updates is the perfect indicator of low blood oxygen levels. There's no need to wear that silly clip on the end of their finger. Stopping all cell phone use would mean a code blue. Never mind the crash carts rolling in and attempting to resuscitate the patient. Simply plugging the phone into the charger would achieve the same results in a much more cost efficient manner.


  1. Glad Alexandra is home now, enjoying sun-dried clean sheets! Hope she's texting like crazy, too!

  2. Glad Alexandra is home, first off.

    When my son was born I had the nurse from hell. I had a very difficult delivery and had to recover in hospital for an extra day. She was so mean to me compared to the delightful labour nurses I had during the delivery (who even came to visit me in maternity) it was unreal. Definitely speeded up my recovery time so I could get out and away from her!

  3. That is funny. My niece announced her baby's sex (shortly after an unplanned c-section) via facebook.

  4. Poor Alexandra, I hope she's soon feeling much better. And you did make me laugh because I reckon your comment re. the cell phones is spot on.

  5. @Aneta - I am sure she is still texting, but the content of the texts has probably changed since she got home.

    @kate - Sorry to hear you had Alexandra's nurse when your son was born. I am also sorry she has since moved to Kamloops. :-)

    @Mary Lou - I am not sure if you were reading my blog back in December, but I wrote a post about my daughter telling me she was engaged by text message. I was not a happy mom.

    @Annie - She seems to be better this morning, so has hopefully turned the corner. One good thing about cell phones and Facebook for hospital patients is it keeps them from getting bored!

  6. I'm glad to read that Alexandra has turned the corner, but what an awful experience. Did she have on-going problems with her tonsils?

    You've come up with a great idea. My nieces can't even figure out a way to tell time if they can't find their cell phones.

    In DC area hospitals, "the one" is the staff member you pray won't take a day off during your stay--because he or she is the only one cut out (and qualified) to work there. Clearly socialized medicine is a huge mistake!!! =)

  7. PS - Your comment about me never doing such things, most of my family and all of my real-life friends would say the same thing. It is so not me. But there have been a few situations in which I, I'll say atypically.

  8. Kristie,

    I've met those, not just a nurse, but a doctor and two administrators. I don't go to those clinics or hospitals anymore. Five years ago or so I returned to Japan and started to use medical services there. The changes was good for me, and now I have pleasant doctors and nurses, but after a few years there, I met one such medical administrator (I can't use the word because I'm afraid it might send me back there) and right now, I'm thinking of changing my dentist.

  9. @Ric - It sounds like the DC area hospitals are pretty scary places! I would rather have one bad apple nurse than only one qualified staff member!

    @keiko - It seems like there is no escaping them. I tried very hard to focus on the fact that every other nurse we dealt with was competent and kind.

  10. There's always one. Not that we've had many hospital stays, but there's always a nurse at whichever clinic that we hope isn't working that day.