As nurses, we all have those stories that stick with us. Usually, on the verge of tears whether it be from laughter or from sadness, there are instances in your career that, for whatever reason, make their imprint in your memory. Below are some of the stories that I won’t soon forget (and also because I jotted them down in my notes app).
I’m doing my evening rounds, making sure that everyone is tucked in and clean before the night shift arrives at 23:00. I walk into a patient’s room, and just as I do, the patient, laying in bed with eyes closed, asks, “Alexa what time is it?”
In the doorway, I respond, “9:45 pm.”
He opens his eyes, horrified, and states, “You’re not Alexa. You’re a human. Alexa is a robot and can tell you anything you want to know. She plays music too. My son made her.”
“Well, you got me there. Good night, sir.”
I had worked four days in a row, and somehow didn’t get floated AND got to keep my patients for all four days (woo!). One of my patients was this elderly Swedish lady with an adorable accent. We had been talking over the course of my time with her. She’d tell me about all her immigration to the US and how beautiful Europe was, and how I should visit one day.
While we were chatting after dinner, she had dozed off, so I turned out some of the lights and continued to tidy up the room. Then, from the hallway, someone had started to talk as they passed the door and woke her up, definitely disorienting her.
She turns her head towards the door and looks frantic. She whispers assertively, “You need to go. I heard something in the other room. My husband is home. I’ve never been unfaithful.”
I try to reorient her and tell her that she’s in the hospital and that her husband is at home. She keeps her head on a swivel until she finally exclaims, “It’s too late – get under the bed!”
This elderly woman needs help getting to the bathroom, and I am the only one available. She’s completely oriented, but definitely has seen better days as her mobility has deteriorated a bit, especially in her acutely ill state. She’s definitely too weak to be walking by herself, and maybe even with assistance, but she’s set on making it to the toilet. So, we muster up some strength and begin our trek to the bathroom.
As I help her into the bathroom, she’s shaky and definitely becoming more unsteady. She’s very appreciative for taking to time and energy to grant her wish. However, when we get into the bathroom and she’s about to sit down, she realizes that she can’t stay standing and pull down her underwear at the same time since she’s supporting herself with both arms, one on the side rail and the other on my arm.
She bashfully asks for help, and, of course, I obliged. Then she starts laughing uncontrollably, to the point where she almost loses her balance. I ask what’s so funny? At this point, I’m confused because this is a pretty regular scenario for me. However, she responds through the tears of laughter, “Sorry. Sorry. I don’t mean to laugh. You’re just really good at this and your handsome. I’m just laughing as I think about how many ladies have dropped their panties for you.”
I don’t think my face could have gotten any redder.
Starting an IV
This older woman accidentally pulled her IV out as she was putting on her sweater. I had offered to help her nurse out and put a new one in because she was a little swamped. The patient agrees, but makes me aware that she’s very much afraid of needles and will pass out if she watches. I told her that she can distract herself with the TV or something, and that should didn’t need to watch.
I grabbed all the supplies and proceeded to put in the IV. It was a pretty easy stick, and I didn’t have much trouble at all. As I’m working on securing the dressing, she peeks out of the corner of her eye, and says, “I know you’re never supposed to ask a man this, but is it in yet? I don’t even feel it.”
This happened when I was still in nursing school, and working in the ED registering patients and verifying their insurance.
One lady was brought in by ambulance from her nursing home. She had fallen and needed to go for surgery. I go back to her room to see if I can get a head start on her registration prior to surgery, but as I enter the room, she beckons me over and says, “There’s room enough in this bed for two, you know?”
“No, I didn’t know. That’s news to me. Thanks for your time. Someone will be in to assist you soon.”
This one isn’t so much a specific patient, but more so their families and other team members unfamiliar with your floor. It just cracks me up every time.
Basically, if they know the nurse they are looking for is a male by their name, and you happen to be male, they come to you so certain that you MUST be the person they’re looking for, even if there happen to be five other guys working in your unit that shift.
Again, nothing specific here, just a laughable moment that I’m sure some of you might be able to relate to a bit.