Monday, April 04, 2005

Oh my GOD...

Work was going fine, I was caught up and just humming along with the variety of patients in our booked-solid-not-a-bed-in-sight ICU on a drizzly Sunday morning. Usually when every bed is full, they'll pull a CNA up from another floor to help me. I didn't have any help, but there's nothing I can do about it. I work the same amount of hours and get pretty much the same amount of stuff done. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of nurses don't get help with little things, and can really only use me when they need to transfer someone or get ABG's run down to the lab. They're 2:1, I'm 16:1 - what can I do?

So, J.,RN asks me to help her patient to the commode. No biggie, this is usually a quick thing and so few of our patients actually can get up to a commode that it doesn't happen often. I'll just do that, and then on to other things. PT says "I might only have gas, I can't tell.. Maybe I don't have to do anything." now she's turning on the bed and lowering her feet toward the side "Well, maybe.." she hesitates "I may have gotten some on the sheets."

"No problem!" I smile at her. "Thats just going to take me a second to change those out, and you'll have nice clean sheets. Lets get you to the commode first."

She's weak, and a bit skinny. As I face her and help her to bring her legs to the floor, I notice there is some very wet poo (yes, that is a technical term :) )on the bed. "We'll have to wash your legs a bit, also." I tell her. Her feet touch lightly to the floor and she stands with my assistance. Not very steady. Some poo is on her gown and sheets.

She's got IV tubing, tele monitor, BP and SpO2 cables strung up to the video screen from all over. O2 via nasal cannula barely long enough to reach. She's not standing up all the way, sort of hunched over. She farts just a small fart and liquid poo dribbles down her legs and onto the floor. She looks at me with a flat affect "I think I got some on the floor". I'm already dreading the mess on her bottom and her legs, and now I sense imminent disaster (You've probably already figured it out). As we make the rotation to the commode, she lets loose with a huge fart. The mother lode of poo sprays out like a firehose - I watch it cover the commode from left to right and spray the wall, the windows, the vertical blinds, the IV pole, the bedside table, and the nightstand. I felt more than saw splatters hitting my pants and shoes. I gently helped her down onto the dripping, filthy commode, having no other choice.

I called J.,RN in to help me. Yeah, I'm sure my voice did have a sort of panicky quality to it. I don't recall a chapter in any textbook on dealing with the combination of explosive diarrhea and vertical blinds. J and I did get the bulk of it cleaned up, although it took about a half hour. Housekeeping took care of the rest. Lucky I had a spare set of scrubs in my locker.

Strangely, with all of the experience the nurses on duty had, they only had second-hand stories of this ever happening before. S0-and-so went quickly into a dark room and slipped and fell in it, someone else got sprayed with urine. I guess this story will get added to the others. I just hope that was my one experience.

Anyway, I had to tell someone, and I'm certainly not going to mention this at school!Thanks for listening.
Posted by HypnoKitten at 12:24 AM
8 Comments:

Blogger Foxglove, at 12:29 PM  

Oh the poo. I feel your pain though mercifully have not experienced the firehose effect. I had one lovely lady who was intubated and had a dental implant knocked out and down her throat- I had to give her fleets phospho soda and go lytely and senna kot and all other forms of bowel cleansers for 10 days and then- this is the best part- dig through the poo with tongue depressors looking for the dental implant. I felt so bad for this poor woman. She joked "if you shine a flashlight in my mouth, light will come out of my butt." The second colonoscopy got the tooth out. She was a trooper. Sometimes the hardest part for me is not making the "oh god the smell" face because you know it's not the patients' fault and they're already mortified. Still, the gag reflex, it is strong.

Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:05 AM  

I laughed out loud at your story because I experienced the fire hose effect while giving my mother enemas to clear a soft impaction. It was like a gushing fountain of poo. One corner of my bathroom (and all the articles there) was covered in, well, poo. It took quite a while to clean my mother and the bathroom. The smell lingered for days no matter what I did to clean it. Finally my husband removed the toilet so we could the collection of poo that had remained under the it.

Blogger Jo, at 4:28 AM  

I am so there with you. I once had a patient with an impaction from her rectum literally all the way up to her small intestine who needed umpteen enemas, two gallons of Go-Lytely, and various other charms to clear.

The best part? She was quadriplegic and bed-bound. When that impaction finally *did* clear, we had a bed full of poo. Oy.

Blogger Ken, at 2:03 PM  

As a former Peace Corps volunteer, I can tell a half-dozen versions of that story - from the first-person perspective. Once in front of a class full of high school students.

Thank god for black jeans.

Nothing quite as humbling as a bout of giardia (or amoebiasis).

Blogger HypnoKitten, at 4:29 PM  

I'm glad you guys can feel me here. Like I posted to Orac, I only posted (and then decided to submit) the story because it made everyone I told it to laugh so hard.

My husband has always said that the two years I volunteered at a hospital ED and then this year of being a tech are "paying my dues". He says he figures I've overpaid at this point. ;) lol

Anonymous toki, at 11:30 AM  

oh, you poor poor thing. I am...so very...*cough*...I swear I didn't laugh at all...

okay, maybe just a little. I hope that it WAS your only experience, but thank you for sharing it, at least!

Anonymous cb, at 9:36 PM  

Oh my god is right, lol... I have encountered numerous times of those unfortunate incidences, where a easy task, accumulates into a major chore to add a smelly one to boot. I like your blog and the readings, I guess I could think of times of those and other's , just need to write and jot them down first, hehe... I decided to stop by since Im visiting all my other blogger friends and journal friends, and wish you a happy mother's day!

Blogger Lady M, at 1:20 PM  

OMG - I felt your pain, as I have lived through many a "Code Brown".

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