Saturday, June 17, 2006

A Simple Blood Draw

It sounds like a joke: "How many people does it take to draw one tube of blood?" Answer: "Depends on where you work, I suppose."

I drew her blood a few days ago. She told me I wouldn't be able to, that no one ever did a good job, and that I was going to hurt her. She had tiny veins that were deep and the other nurses decided I should do this. I did get both tubes, and it did hurt she told me. I haven't any cure for that - I've got to use a little needle to get in through the skin to where the blood hangs out. I told her I was sorry it hurt.

Today she refused the draw. Told me it "wasn't neccessary" and that she would not be participating in anything with me involving needles. I had hurt her, and now we'd never get blood again.

I asked her a few times throughout the day. I tried to reason with her, bargain with her, and then let her know that I'd have to get the team together to hold her down and get the draw done. She continued to refuse.

I had no choice - I got the team together. Everyone put on gloves and walked down the hall to her room. I was hoping the sheer intimidation of all of those people in her room would change her mind. I really had no choice in the matter of doing the draw, but I didn't want to make it any worse for her than it already was.

She agreed. Faced with the idea of being forcibly held down or doing it on her own terms, she did what many people would do and relented. She asked if there was anyone else who could do it, because it was me that hurt her. No, no one else. She asked if we could do it another time when she was feeling better. No, no other time. "Ok, fine" she said, "but you're going to mess it up and you're not going to get any blood anyway and you're going to hurt me because you've got no skill and you're probably the worst blood-drawer I've ever seen."

Well, you know my day isn't all peaches and cream (aside from the glamorous stories I tell here). No pressure... just 5 staff and a patient watching me try to find a teeny-tiny vein to get a teeny-tiny amount of blood from. I have to say it was almost as bad as having a room full of family members looking on. I could feel the eyes on me.

I say a quick prayer to the gods of bloodletting and do my best, getting that wonderful flash of red into the butterfly and then popping the vacutainer on.

"Hmmph" she grunts. I imagine the translation was that she hardly felt it.

But there I am, hunched over, watching the blood flow so s.l.o.w.l.y into the tube. Damn. The team's still standing there, of course. Watching. It's like slow motion. I angle the tip down slightly hoping to get a better flow. It drips slightly faster.

She lets out a huge bored sigh. No translation needed.

Finally, I've got enough. After what seems like hours (but was probably more like seconds) I have completed the Miracle Draw and I'm taping a 2x2 on her.

I say "You did a good job of holding still, and I appreciate that you let me do it that way rather than having to use help. I hope it didn't hurt too much."

She gives me a deadpan look and says "You're getting better."

Posted by HypnoKitten at 9:53 PM
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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Virtual Hallucinations

One of the Pharm companies brought breakfast pastry and coffee along with a fancy little techno-device they called the "virtual hallucination machine". You hold it on your head sort of like a virtual reality mask. I chose the bus ride scenario - there was another where you try to fill a prescription at the pharmacy. Voices come in your head and tell you you're basically a worthless piece of crap and shadow people wait for you at the bus stop. Miserable.

Interestingly, if you paid close attention there were some wild details like names of streets and freeway signs putting you down too.

Here's a news article showing a police officer using one if you'd like to see what it looks like.

Make your own street signs at the street sign generator.
Posted by HypnoKitten at 9:56 PM
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Friday, June 02, 2006

Breakfast Anyone?

I found this wooden box from "Colace Cantaloupes" in a used record store. MMmmmmm... Great for dieters! ;)

Check out the links - I've just added about 8 more blogs.
Posted by HypnoKitten at 12:11 PM
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Thursday, June 01, 2006


Working in a psychiatric hospital is funny.

No, I mean it.

Patients will say the strangest things, and sometimes it feels like I'm walking a tightrope between laughing and running away at top speed. Sometimes when the thing is originally said to you it's not very funny, but when you tell the story in the chart room it becomes one of those "one day we'll laugh about this" things. Except the "one day" is often only a few minutes later.

An elderly lady who had just been admitted (and who I have never spoken to before) walked up to me yesterday morning and said, very seriously, "You shouldn't work upstairs - because if there is a fire, the firemen won't be able to carry you because you're so big and you'll roast in your own juices."

Uh huh.

Well, I put on my biggest "thank you" smile and kindly said in my very best customer service voice "Yes, I am quite aware of that, but thank you so much for your concern." She walked away. Of course after the initial shock wore off (and I've been picked up by enough firemen in my time, in case you care....) I figured it was a funny story and told it back in the chart room.

Today a man known for sexually inappropriate behavior (SIB) walked up to a one of my female co-workers and showed her a picture of a heart. "Look at this" he said:

He proceeded to draw two dots on the heart and turned it upside down.

"Look! TITS!" He laughed.

She sternly reminded him "That is very inappropriate."

He stopped for a second and said "Sorry, I mean BREASTS."
Posted by HypnoKitten at 10:05 PM
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