Nursing Voices

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sick Call

This is substandard nursing care. I want a Coke! My weekend is not going well. It all started when I was admitted to my hospital's ER. I’m a klutz and I fell down some stairs while doing housework yesterday evening. People who know me know how much I hate cleaning my house—I’m no Martha Stewart—and after my tumble down the stairs, it will be a cold day in hell before I get the urge to sweep up anymore dust bunnies.

Like most nurses, I’m the world’s worst patient. I didn't want to go to the ER last night even though I was screaming in pain and crying like a baby. No, not me, I’m on the schedule to work the weekend and I’m not going to call in sick. My ankle was swelling, so my darling husband packed my ankle in ice, elevated my foot, gave me Motrin, and I called it a night. At 4 a.m. I woke up in searing pain. I roll out of bed and crawl to my office to use the phone. I called my nursing supervisor.

Me: Hello Nice Supervisor, this is Mother Jones RN. How many patients do we have on the unit?

Nice Supervisor: Well, good morning Mother Jones RN, you’re up early. What’s going on?

Me: I fell down some steps and my ankle is painful and swollen. I think it might be fractured. I’m NOT calling in sick, but if we’re busy, is it alright if I just sit behind the desk with my foot elevated and take off orders and answer the phone.

Nice Supervisor: This sound serious. I’m marking you down as sick for the entire weekend and I want you to be seen in the ER. You may have a compartment fracture, but even if you don’t, we need to be checked out. I hope you feel better. Goodbye.

I was overcome by guilt. “Maybe I’m over reacting, and I should get a second opinion,” I thought. I called the 24 hour health hot line number I found on the back of my insurance card. I spoke to a nurse and told her what was going on. She laughed when I got to the part about feeling guilty. She said that nurses are the worst patients, and that I must listen to my nursing supervisor. She said she was preauthorizing my visit to the ER. I woke up my sweet husband from a sound sleep, and we started our trek to the ER. I'm going to live, I just have a bad sprain.

Too bad the doctors in our ER don’t look like the ones on TV. I would still hate going to the hospital, but at least it would be more fun. I’m still feeling guilty about not going into work today, but every cloud has a silver lining. Now I have more time for blogging.


Blogger Forty_Two said...

Actually, doctors are the worst patients. Like teenagers, they know everything.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

I hope you feel better soon. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of other people.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Bohemian Road Nurse... said...

OMG, yes! Most nurses really do torture themselves with guilt when they have to call in sick. It's such a horrible guilt that we actually feel WORSE calling in sick than if we had dragged our sick or injured selves in to work! But please don't do that to yourself--instead, do the "BRN's Cure", which is: 1) the couch, 2) the clicker, and 3) a quilt, and enjoy the time off while you heal....

6:45 PM  
Blogger Michael Clifford, L. Ac. said...

Sorry to hear you bounced...
I think any of us in the health care industry make real bad patients.
But chill if you can, and STOP USING THAT ICE!!! It will penetrate to the bones and make the potential for arthritis even worse!!! Use a ginger compress to reduce the swelling.
See what happens when they let an acupuncturist in the room...
goes to h$$% in a hand-basket.
Take care

10:12 PM  
Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

It sounds really painful; it never occurs that nurses can have accidents as well. Look after yourself.

6:49 AM  
Blogger scalpel said...

I'm sorry to hear about your injury, and I hope you are OK.

Your picture of Clooney reminded me of this skit with Mel.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Susan Palwick said...

Feel better! I once got a really bad sprain falling off a curb and, after waiting for five hours in an ER, wound up on crutches for several weeks.

While I was on crutches, I attempted to take the New York subway, and at one point managed to drop the crutches onto the subway track while I fell gracefully into the car. (I hopped off the train, and an extremely disgrunted MTA employee fished the crutches off the track for me.)

There. Do you feel like less of a klutz now? :-)

9:43 AM  
Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

I'm sorry you fell down.

But the really scary part of your story was that you had to call and pre-authorize your trip to the ER. Yikes!

You're in the ambulance after an auto wreck and bones are protruding from various places but you tell the paramedics, "Take it once around the block, please, and hand me my cell phone: I haven't gotten pre-authorized yet...."


Hope you're up and around soon.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awww, sorry you're hurt. I hope you have a *good* book to read while you're resting that ankle.


1:09 PM  
Blogger Mother Jones RN said...

I want to thank everyone for their comments and for all the sweet emails I've been receiving. I'm feeling much better. I'd also like to thank Kate for the book I received in yesterday's mail:-)


2:00 PM  
Blogger Julie, RN said...

I, too, hope you are feeling better soon. It's hard being the one cared for, isn't it? And thank goodness it wasn't a fx. You could be taking off orders for WEEKS! Gah!

2:17 PM  
Blogger Deacon Barry said...

I hope your ankle's starting to heal now. Don't feel guilty about taking sick leave. You need to get that ankle better.

6:28 PM  
Blogger poody said...

Yikes! Please try to stay off that foot! I once sprained my ankle and was told to saty off it for 5 weeks and I stayed off it for 5 days! It took forever to heql and has bothered me ever since! Hey, it is hard to call in to a hospital!

6:55 PM  
Blogger SQT said...

I've had 3 broken bones, so I guess I'm a bigger clutz than you. But it all hurts doesn't it?

My home remedy is a good book and a better drink. ;)

Take care and try to enjoy the day off!

9:12 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I feel your pain. Housework is dangerous. I ended up in my hospital's ER a few years ago after breaking my arm while mopping my floor.
We do make the worst patients.
I hope that you mend quickly.

12:40 AM  
Blogger Smalltown RN said...

Oh I am so sorry for you...but look at it as a much needed vacation. Relax with a good book, and toss that guilt out the window.

1:36 AM  
Blogger Amie Barnett said...

Don't listen to all these people telling you to read a good book. What you need to do is keep reading bad books then blog on them!

10:55 AM  
Blogger RX850 said...

I hope you are feeling better by now! How awful for you but good for those of us who love to read your blog!

I fractured my tib/fib about 8 years ago and I still remember the pain! I hope you got some pain meds and stay off your foot!!

2:41 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

I hear you, sister. I once had food poisoning, but was determined just to try to take sips of pedialyte between retching up my toenails. I was dragged puking and screaming to the ER where I was given fluids and a load of antiemetics. My electrolytes were out of whack and my BP was crashing. Yet to this day, I still tell other people to see their doctors for various sniffles.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Lea said...

Maybe you could borrow the video on pandemic flu to help pass the time while your foot is elevated.

You could also practice swinging the wand while hopping on one foot.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

Poor mother Jones!! I've always said that housework is a health hazard!!!
Please give your ankle time to heal; sometimes a sprain canbe trickier and more painful than a fracture. ;)

4:41 AM  

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