As nurses we deal with seriously gross things. Nursing has job hazards that normal people would never even consider would be an issue. So I thought it might be laughable to share my top five down-and-dirty moments in nursing.
So within my first couple months of being a nurse I was helping a sweet elderly woman to the bathroom. I mean she was freakin adorable…until she peed on my shoes, and her urine seeped into my socks and between my toes. Job hazard lesson #1: Only buy plastic shoes that ensure this event never ever happens again, ever. I get the willies just thinking about it. And yes, I did just use the word willies.
What inspired me to write this post was an incident just a couple days ago. I was giving the patient bowel prep for a colonoscopy, and as I helped them pull down their adult diaper there was an…explosion to say the least. Code Brown as we call it. Half way up the door, a four foot diameter around the commode, and to my horror, all over my pants. I try to calmly assure the patient it’s ok, and that it happens al the time (I think it makes them feel better). As I take the next possible opportunity after being the poo janitor to calmly exit to room before I go frantically searching for the dressing room. But I cant remember the code. I’m standing in poop pants and I cannot remember the code to save my life. Finally some nurses walk by, and they begrudgingly give me the code. Finally, clean pants! Which is a wonderful feeling after having wet poo all over your legs. Job hazard lesson #2: Always remember the code to the locker room with spare clothes.
Shall I go on with more? Or have you had enough? I find story telling super fun, so I vote let’s keep going. Oh wait, this is a very one sided conversation. Ok, if you insist, I’ll go on.
Popping blisters with a 10 blade. There was a nursing communication on one of my patients who had severe chemical burns, to pop every new blister and squeeze out all the pus. Really? Is this even in my scope of practice?! So for over an hour I took a ten blade to these huge blisters and followed the prescribed instructions. Job hazard lesson #3: Rely on your team, because the patient care tech down the wing was a true saint that night by lending a spare hand in the room. SAINT.
There was only one time I had to leave a patients room when I thought I would vomit. And mind you, I have a very strong stomach. She had a new colostomy bag (which for you non-nursing folk is a bag of poop on the outside of your body due to various medical conditions. Since it was so new, the contents didn’t look like poop, they looked like huge nasty vomit chunks. Which would have been ok, if the contents had stayed in the bag. But it had too much gas pressure. Yep, you guessed it. It exploded. Do you see a common theme here with explosions. Who knew nursing was such a dangerous profession? What made it much worse, apart from the fact that this poor woman was crying, was the horrible horrible smell. Honestly I don’t think I’ve smelled anything worse, and that is saying something. Job hazard lesson #4: Use two masks with toothpaste in the middle to help you get through these situations. Minty freshness.
Ok. This was the grossest picture I’ve ever seen. EVER. Prepare yourself. Or you can use the chicken exit that some large amusement parks have to get out of these next few sentences. Exit now…Ok, only the strong are still here. Maggots. Maggots and cat hair in a woman’s foot. Thankfully they were cleansed off the patient before coming to the floor. But we still have the media section in the patient’s chart to look back relevant medical information. It was pretty disgusting. Job hazard lesson #5: Search patient media files with extreme caution.
Well, friends. That was fun. Keep on keeping on. Feel free to share your grossest moments in nursing in the comments below.