This post might be a little weird, but here goes. I was thinking the other day about when you’re concentrating on something in front of you, and you look up for no particular reason and are faced with something dreadful or funny.
For instance, once I was at work charting and heard a mechanical noise next to me. I didn’t really think anything of it (I’m surrounded by machines!) but decided to look up when I heard the noise stop. In ICU rooms, there are monitors mounted to the wall next to the beds. They’re high up, maybe 6 1/2 feet. I’m 5’5″ and I always have to reach way up to adjust alarms, etc. When I looked up, I saw that my patient had found the button that raises the entire bed – all the way up to the monitor. He could have started playing with it if he’d had the inclination. I didn’t realize that the beds could go that high.
Other things I see aren’t so humorous. This just happened the other day and it always makes my stomach drop with dread. I walked into my patient’s room, looking at her medications as I did so, and looked up to see a pool underneath her bed – of liquid poo. When there is so much poo that it actually starts falling off the bed to form a puddle below, things have simply taken a turn for the worse.
It’s always a treat to look up and see your vest-and-wrist-restrained patient hanging upside down over the side rail of their bed. Completely tangled.
This last one didn’t happen to me, but I heard plenty about it. We had a patient who fell at home and broke his neck. The doc decided that he needed Gardner-Wells tongs (scroll down a bit for a picture) until surgery could be done. These are tongs that are secured into the head to provide traction for the cervical spine. I don’t know if they’re screwed into the skull, but suffice it to say that you don’t want those suckers comin’ out.
Can you see where this is going? The night shift nurse looked up and saw her previously flat-on-his-back patient sitting up in bed, tongs off to the side of the bed. The patient stated that they were really bothering him and he felt much better having them off, thank you. He also relayed that it was really difficult to get them off, but it was worth it to be free of them!
No harm done; the patient had his tongs replaced, had surgery later that day and did just fine. Still… what a sight.