Friday, August 13, 2010

Last day at main place

Tuesday, my last day, turned out to be a pretty good day from the point of view of experience related to nursing. I started out doing assorted tasks: making sure gowns, gloves, etc., were in plentiful supply in their various locations. I then moved on to collecting breakfast trays. I went into PT SS's room to get his tray and ended up sitting with him talking (listening to him) for around an hour or so. He talked about his business - he was a furrier. He'd had a factory and had employed a number of people in the past. He'd had a partner, but he'd left the business - he'd been in poor health. Slowly over the years, PT SS had let the business get smaller. Now he was alone and outsourced everything. He kept at it because he enjoyed it so much. He no longer dealt with stores, such as Niemann Marcus, etc., as he had in the past. Now he had personal relationships with individual customers. He particularly liked this since you got immediate feed-back and got paid right away! He talked about the rehab options his daughter (he had two daughters) was investigating for him. He'd require about a week of rehab once he was done with the hospital. He was anticipating perhaps another week in the hospital. His skin had improved visibly in the short time since he'd had the chemo and he expected this to continue to the point of his condition being manageable at home. He did want to go home, of course, as one would, but he was particularly keen to get back to his wife who was missing him very much. She had COPD and was not very mobile. He took care of her. He also said that this (he'd previously been on the rehab floor for 3 weeks prior to the oncology floor) was the longest he'd been away from his wife throughout their 55 year marriage. This was hard on her. Their younger daughter's boyfriend - they lived in the building next door to theirs - was taking good care of her every day during his absence but it wasn't the same as having him with her all the time.

NH came in to give him meds and to talk to him about changing his dressings. She returned after a little while with his pain meds (to facilitate dressing change). Since the summer intern nursing student was assisting another nurse with a task I ended up assisting NH with the dressing change. I gowned, gloved, and masked up. Probably around 70% of his body was covered with medically impregnated yellow bandages. PT SS joked about being a mummy! He took it very well. This process required him to stand up for a long period of time while NH removed the old bandages, slowly and gently. Meanwhile, I started unwrapping the new bandages. These are individually wrapped in foil packets. They're very messy and smelly (sort of carbolic smell); they're approximately 3 x 5 inches). Once she'd removed all the previous day's bandages (now changed once a day, previously were changed twice a day), NH applied bacitracin ointment to the wounded skin and carefully placed one of the new bandages over each area, covering the wounds. Over the bandages she applied white petrolatum ointment. She slowly worked her way over his entire posterior body. Once posterior was complete, PT SS sat on a covered chair. NH then removed the dressings from the legs, arms, etc. and carefully repeated the same routine.
Meanwhile the PCAs had come and changed his bed, including placing a new cover over the sheet (anti-exudate cover, usually used for bone marrow PTs). PT SS carefully placed himself on the bed, seated, and with a little help as we held his feet and helped him move them, he got himself back onto the bed. We put a clean gown on him.
Now all clean, redressed and back in a clean bed, PT SS seemed very happy. He felt there was a distinct improvement; he certainly seemed in far better spirits.
Subsequently, I paid a brief visit to PT K. We talked about his lunch. He wondered if he could eat American Cheese. He has to avoid foods containing tyramine.
A PT's family had bought us pizza, so I had a great, tasty, HOT piece. There were also donuts, but I didn't take one. After lunch I spent the afternoon doing various maintenance tasks, refilling gloves, gowns, etc., then left for the last time at 2.30pm. Perhaps I'll be back on this floor at some point, we'll see.

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