Saturday, August 30, 2008

...In the unlikeliest of places

This post can go under the heading of stories which prove that truth is indeed stranger than fiction. I returned to work last night for the first time since before Sofia was born (boo hoo). That was upsetting and new for us both but it is not, alas, the subject of this posting.

I was scrolling through my work emails furiously trying to whittle down 400 plus messages that had accumulated during the time I was basking in the glory if a 16 week maternity leave (by the way, thanks Mom for the flowers. They softened the blow a little tiny bit). I found reference to a strange story within the hords of mundane postings and notifications and decided to delve a little deeper by asking my coworkers about it. Luckily for me, the girl who had originally posted the tale was working in my area with me and she was most happy to fill me in, to my initial horror and eventual hilarity.

Apparently, there was a patient admitted to the ER with crushing chest pain or some such malady. She was bundled off to radiology for a CT scan and then sent to the cath lab for a cardiac catheterization. She eventually ended up, after taking a tour through these several areas of the hospital, in the ICU and the very capable hands of Teresa the ICU nurse. Teresa decided, being the excellent nurse that she is, that the patient would enjoy a linen change after her adventures of the day. She therefore turned the patient over in bed only to find a dead cat beneath the patient. Yes, dear reader, I did not mistype. She found a dead cat. Underneath the patient. After the patient had been through the ER, moved to the CT table in radiology (love to see that film someday) and to the cath lab where they insert large-bore sheaths (they are so friggin large that they aren't even considered needles at that point) into her groin area and finally ended up in the ICU before anyone noticed that there was a deceased domestic animal beneath her. I swear that I do not make this up.

Apparently, an incident report was filled out, the house supervisor was notified, and the animal was disposed of after a quick and appropriately somber moment of silence. And this, I realized, was a clear and obvious message from the cosmos. "Welcome back, Lauren" the cosmos said. "We could tell you were gonna need something like this to get you back into the nursing spirit." And, suprisingly, it did. You won't blame me if I feel the need to check beneath my patients for dead animals from now on though.

7 comments:

xraycher said...

I can't believe I am the first to comment on this one. Kind of reminds me of a Carlos story, but his animal of choice was a rat!

Khadra said...

I am laughing so hard Im crying. Thank you.

Val said...

Oh schnikes. That is classic. You can imagine the things we find up people's hooches in OB! :-) (No dead cats....so far.)

Khadra said...

I wanna know! What do you find in people's coochies?!

durablemater said...

Sarah B. here, high school friend of your sisters, and a fellow RN. She sent me here to read this story...holy cripes! I wish I could say it's unbelievable, but being an RN who did a stint in the ER, nope. Not unbelievable, but certainly rare. Good lord, that poor woman. I'm a certifiably crazy cat-lady, and I hope to god I never have to have a cardiac cath, then wake up to find out my cat died under me....yikes.

Lauren Ochoa said...

Sara, I think it was actually a combination of her being a cat lady who was also morbidly obese that culminated in the poor kitty's death. There was another cat lady that I took care of who was underweight because she would spend her entire pension check on food for the cats. I spent a memorable afternoon with her cutting a 9 foot hair wad off her head (she hadn't cut, brushed or washed it in about a decade) and was garbed in full isolation gear the entire time because her hair wad was infested with lice AND fleas. Ahhhh, the life and times of a nurse...

durablemater said...

Oh my god, wow.

Had a patient the other day who wouldn't stay to be treated for his COPD because his cats were at home with no one to care for them. He had no one else to help him. I guess his cats were his only family. The case manager was like "Argh! People and their freakin' cats!" :P