Bugs reside at the hospital alongside the humans. They aren't the kind that migrate towards dirt or food. We see mostly stink bugs, bed bugs, cockroaches, and the occasional winged creature that flies in from the porch. When a new colony is discovered, my skin crawls. I shake out my clothes and bag before leaving to try to rid myself of carrying the creatures to my home, where I have my own brand of creepy crawly. I am not sure what they are. They look like a cross between a spider, a frog, and a hairy caterpillar. When I worked at the nursing home, they were all over the walls and floors. I stepped on a very large one when I walked into a dark room on rounds one night. That sound of crunch and squish stayed with me. They must have followed me home and taken up residence and I don't want to repeat this situation with the critters at the hospital.
Cousin of my pests
We exchange bug stories and theorize about their sources and exterminations. One of the more colorful patients decided to show off in front of a group of nursing students who had just arrived for clinical. I was showing the students around the unit when this patient told them what she thought about me. "This one is such a whore, if she can't find a man, she lets those hairy caterpillars climb up her vagina." The students turned red, but I laughed.
"That great!" I told the patient. "I'm writing that one down."
One of the social workers is an older lady who seems uncaring. I think she's rough around the edges and has been around long enough to see the problems with the system she has to work within to help people, who often do everything in their power to sabotage themselves.
I was able to see her in action in a patient planning meeting. Because I float, I miss the day-to-day happenings. This particular patient had been really annoying me that day with non-stop requests for random objects as well as reports about other patients and staff members who were causing her distress. At the meeting, this social worker told her that she was being discharged next week. The patient objected.
The social worker asked for reasons why the discharge should not proceed. The patient hesitated a bit, but then let her inner self show: She does not like her family because they are poor. They were rich in the country where they used to live, but they are poor now, so she would rather live in the hospital. They don't serve her the meals that she specifies. They want her to get out of the house everyday to attend adult daycare or work at a job. They won't let her go shopping.
The social worker went at her: You don't work. Whose money were you planning on spending when you shop? Why shouldn't you go to work? You look down on your family because they are poor, but they work for what they have, unlike you, who refuses to work and expects other people to pay for her wishes. If you want a hot meal of your choosing, cook it yourself! If you were so rich and respected in your previous country, then go back there.
The social worker was saying this in a confrontational, but enlightening manner. The patient understood that the arguments and reasons she gave were inconsistent, but there was no great enlightenment.
The end of the meeting was the patient declaring that if the hospital wanted her to get out, they could call the police and drag her out.
In the meanwhile, princess continues to occupy a bed that a sick person needs.
One of my fellow nurses is widely disliked for her stupidity. We'll call her "Sola." I find this fascinating because she is not the dimmest bulb in the chandelier. I think she is so unfavored because she works constantly and it's a struggle for her and the end result is still disastrous. Sort of like a special ed student, but at this stage of the game, adulthood has made her bitter. The corporate culture vehemently roots out and punishes hard work. That is one of the reasons I am not liked. My own work is more efficient and I alone can accomplish more than several nurses put together. My shortfall is when I have to direct others. They don't listen and do as they please, dedicating the bulk of their workday to being missing, talking on their cell phones, and eating in the break room.
Anyway, the topic of sex came up in a coffee chat. Sola chimed in and confirmed a theory I've had for a while about my coworkers: They are dysfunctional in all areas of their lives, not just work. "It's amazing I ever got pregnant!" she laughed as she continued rifling through papers. "I still don't know how I got pregnant. He would come at me with that thing, I was so scared, I would scream and keep my legs together. We were married five years before I had my first baby." This silenced my other coworkers until someone brought up a different subject.
And yes, this same woman also provides sex education to the patients.
Often a patient will need one-on-one supervision. Someone always needs to be within arm's reach of the patient because the patient is at risk of harming herself, others, or is at risk of falling or choking. Although taken lightly by the staff, this is a serious situation: if harm befalls the patient while being watched, this could be interpreted as a lack of proper care. At least I take it seriously. I try to implore the staff to stay with the patient, comparing their role to that of a guardian angel. I'm not convincing enough. So many times I've found the patient alone. When I advised the staff that the patient must be next to them always, the answer is usually along the lines of, "He's fine! Nothing's going to happen. Stop harassing me!" But if work has to be done, "I'm on one-to-one" is the excuse given for not assisting.
A new nurse executive has joined "the team." Not my team. She plays for the opposition- management. She is younger than I am, has less education and nursing experience than I do, and was hired from the outside. Is it time to say that I have been officially passed over?
Not so fast. She is supposed to be revamping some institutional services and structures. I don't know and she probably doesn't either. Anyway, she asked me to train in one of the departments that she will oversee. She explained that the nurses currently in the department are "getting old."
I was so good. I didn't open my mouth to verbalize that she might be stepping into the realm of age discrimination. Let the legal department try to fix the wreckage of this train wreck in progress.
And here is the real kicker: a clerk will be added to the department. "Aimee." I get to be Aimee's immediate supervisor. I have to figure out a battle plan to contain her drama and ensure that she does not become the hospital's main source of nasty trash talk about your dear writer nurse.