Friday, April 23, 2010

Who Nurses the Nurses?

A few weeks ago, my favorite resident (who i would totally friend on facebook if her name weren't so damn common) came into work distraught and showed me this nasty burn on her hand that had blistered and just looked gross. i clucked sympathetically. she looked at me and says: "what should i do?" which i wanted to say, "wait. shouldn't you know? you're a doctor for God's sake." maybe she was trying to make me feel helpful or smart (which is a rarer and rarer feeling these days), but she seemed genuinely clueless about basic first aid for burns. i dressed her hand (dry dressing and tegaderm, in case you're wondering) and went on my way, only to be asked 12 hours later to do it again and also, "do you think i should pop the blister?"... again, kind of surprised. but valuable lesson learned:

q: who nurses doctors? answer: nurses.

which i'm totally okay with. there are certainly some at this hospital i wouldn't mind giving some care to (that smoking hot urology fellow, pain team intern that may or may not have rendered me speechless for about 5 minutes, etc etc. dear god, please don't let anyone from work read this.)

last night when i got home from work, i had a long to do list of things so i could get ready for clinical/mega death test x 2. i showered and started to get dinner/next days lunch ready and in my haste (more likely tiredness) sliced off a chunk of my finger while mincing garlic* with my Extremely Sharp Wustoff Knife which can indeed cut through many things. like finger. and nail.

several expletives ensued, followed by prompt cold water and direct pressure to the wound, during which time i nearly passed out (as it turns out, i don't mind other peoples' blood, just my own in conjunction with missing finger bits) and had to sit down on the couch while applying pressure with a most-definitely-not-sterile paper towel. for the next two hours, i tried to staunch the bleeding, mostly unsuccessfully because i kept falling asleep with my hand clutched loosely around my finger.

when i woke up from my daze, still bleeding, i stupidly considered whether or not i should go to the ER, but decided 1) i wouldn't need stitches, 2) if i went now i would never get out of there in time for clinical the next morning and would probably get no sleep and 3) they wouldn't do anything for me that i wasn't already doing (although at this point my hand was pretty tired from applying semi-direct pressure). a call to my uncle (ER doctor) confirmed all these things and that was when i came up with this brilliant idea: my textbook weighs about the same as a small obese child. i need to study. i will apply pressure with my textbook while i read about GI bleeds! as it turns out, buttaro's primary care: a collaborative practice is excellent for stopping bleeding.

anyway, i got through GI bleeds, decided it was safe enough to go to bed without waking up with my sheets saturated with blood (okay i'm exaggerating, but spots of blood are just as hard to get out!), and went to clinical this morning. lots of sympathetic clucking from wonderful nursing friends and at lunchtime, the nurse who actually works at the site took a look at it and offered to rebandage my ghetto (and probably not so sanitary) paper towel setup. she sent me back to work with gauze, bacitracin and tape.

q: who nurses nurses? a: other nurses.

*i never found that chunk of finger or nail. it turns out that finger bits are remarkably similar to minced garlic. i was so pissed about going to sleep hungry that night that in the morning, and i clearly did not have two hands to mince more, so i just shrugged and tossed said garlic in the pan anyway. note to my friends: don't eat my ma po tofu this week.

also people have said that it might be time to invest in a garlic press but i feel like it wastes so much of the clove! on the other hand, i don't think i want to lose any more finger, no matter how small the chunk.