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Dead Rising!

[Posts you may want to read first: My first day and the dead woman, The last offices]

It’s very intriguing indeed, the number of ghost stories I have heard! Many of them are about patients that wake up from the dead. Once there was this Asian guy frantically searching for his dead relative who was apparently axed but woke up in the mortuary and walked away. I didn’t know whether it was a joke or not but from the look his face, it seemed as though he was telling the truth or at least he thought he was. My guess is that the poor Asian guy was having his leg pulled by one very evil prankster.

  Zombie romance

Other than that there have been several reported cases of patients being certified dead who later wake up and walk right out of their body bags as dandy as can be. It sounds impossible. I am still not convinced that any of the stories I have heard have ever really occurred. But it always remains a mystery to me because I’ve heard these stories from respectable nurses who really have nothing to gain from lying. It’s always an alluring subject and I’d love to hear if you guys have ever witnessed people rising from the dead. Until the day comes were I see it for myself, I remain sceptical but creeped out nonetheless. Wonder if that Asian guy ever found his axed relative? She must have a splitting headache!
 

Episode 3 – The Last Offices

Previously on Nursing Habits: Arkadia’s first day as a nurse and her patient goes into cardiac arrest…resuscitation fail!
My First Day and the Dead Woman

No matter how many times you read about the procedure in your text-book, you can never be prepared for it. I had to take Mrs. Khosa into an empty room in the ICU department. It was my first actual day of practical training. It just so happens that I had to experience my first death on that day too! I was completely terrified. The charge sister, Sr. Sterile, asked me to do the last offices. She knew full well that I was a pupil nurse with zero nursing experience, but she thoughtlessly left me alone with the body. I felt chills run down my spine and I cried quietly, wishing I could go home. Some of Mrs. Khosa’s beaded jewellery still hung around her neck. I started taking it off as carefully as I could but the remaining beads fell and scattered all over the floor.

My heart jumped and I quickly began to pick them up. I had to get every last bead. It felt important at the time.  She lay there naked and undignified and the beads represented the pride she had for herself. It was a piece of her personality – something that I thought her kids might want. Sr. Sterile caught me gathering beads and sternly told me not to waste time. “Leave the beads alone and start laying out the body!” she ordered. I nodded my head and as soon as she walked out I quickly finished gathering the beads. I couldn’t help but feel tortured. No pupil nurse should have to go through this by themselves on their first day in a real hospital scenario. I couldn’t help but cry while I cleaned the body.  I removed all signs of its personality and covered the many puncture holes with cotton balls and tape, trying my hardest to close shut its stiff jaw. I didn’t have a clue how to get the body into a shroud and I had completely overlooked the important steps of identifying the body and taking thumb prints. Sr. Sterile would crucify me. Thankfully the angelic male nurse came once again to my rescue. He told me that I needn’t worry, I would soon get used to dead people. I couldn’t see that happening. He filled in the steps I missed and helped me tug and push the body around to get it into the body bag. He then told me to leave the body bag open and let the body lay there for an hour before taking her down to the mortuary.

Me

Why do we have to keep her here for an hour?

Angelic Male Nurse

In case she wakes up..

Next on Nursing Habits: Arkadia has blood on her face, big disgrace!
Bloody Portovac

Episode 2 – My first day and the dead woman

Previously on Nursing Habits: Arkadia wakes up content and happy as web design expert, living in a beautiful mountainous home with the man of her dreams and her beautiful huskies, only to be abruptly transformed into a nurse, bedpan in one hand, vomit in the other!
The Art of Caring while Cursing!

INT.  A DREARY HOSPITAL IN LITTLE TOWN IN SOUTH AFRICA – DAY

It was a Monday morning and I timidly introduced myself to the charge sister. She welcomed me to the ward and told me that I’d begin my day by cleaning and tidying the ward. She barely got the chance to orientate me to the ward and routine when a team of doctors and nurses came bursting through the ICU doors wheeling in a large woman on a stretcher. Something was not right. I sunk back and watched as everything went swiftly into motion. It took a moment for me to realize that I was witnessing a resuscitation.

SR. STERILE

Nurse get adrenaline now!

To my horror I realized the instruction was directed at me! I was a pupil nurse, and it was my first day of training! She might as well have asked someone off the street to assist. I ran quickly to where I thought the meds would be kept and rummaged through the cupboard. Nothing labelled Adrenaline! Panicking and knowing exactly what was as stake for my incompetence, I quickly shouted for help. An angel in the form of a male nurse came to my rescue. He told me not to worry and he quickly grabbed a few bottles labelled ‘Epinephrine’, drew them up and handed them over to the doctor. I felt terrified. Once again I could do nothing but watch her struggle. The patient, Mrs Khosa, an African woman in her late fifties wore traditional African attire, accessorized with beads around her neck and wrists. The nurses and doctors surrounded this lady and pumped her full of drugs and oxygen. She struggled against them, she seemed to be in excruciating pain as they shoved tubes down her nostril and stuck needles in her arms. Her hands were being pinned down to the bed. Tears rolled down her cheeks and I think she realized right then that these were the last moments of her life. She spent her last moments struggling against a team of medical staff that refused to let her rest.

DOCTOR

1, 2, 3! CLEAR!

They press the defibrillator to her chest and her body jerks violently. The beads she wore fell apart and rolled all over the green tiles. I watch them fall and roll away almost in slow motion. Her pretty dress tears at the seams.
A bead rolls toward me and stops at my feet. I pick it up and when I look up again, the nurses and doctors have cleared the area. Flat line. She’s gone. Sr. Sterile orders me to move the body into the next room and begin the last offices.

Next on Nursing Habits: Arkadia gets stuck with the task of fitting a 100kg dead body into a tiny body bag all by herself.
The Last Offices.

Stenchtastic Miss Sloth

So it's day 72 and I am contemplating pumping one of my patients with a high dose of epinephrine. Enough adrenaline to have her running away as fast as possible to a galaxy far far away. Miss Sloth is only there for some basic tests querying diabetes. She is completely coherent and physically able but she refuses to wake up off her bed to use the toilet, choosing instead to defecate in her bed. The pungent stench travels across the ward. Everyone recoils in unity. I put on a mask, gloves and an apron and valiantly head toward the smell while everyone runs away from it. A sacrificial act of heroism for the greater good of the world, I smother her with a pillow until she stops breathing..

Okay so I didn't smother her with a pillow. Instead I held my breath, asked her to get off the bed and changed the linen. "Miss Sloth, please go and take a shower and PLEASE start using the toilet or at least call for a bedpan!" I said as politely as I could muster. To my horror she turns around and bends over, thrusting a butt full of faeces at me, swinging it around in the air like she just don't care! – (like a sick and twisted hip hop music vid). I gasp and then I wince feeling like I swallowed a whole lot of something you really shouldn't swallow! What the crap is going on here? Was she just being arrogant? She orders me to wipe her butt and leave her alone. At this point I am very seriously reconsidering smothering her. I refuse to wipe her butt and demand that she take a freaking shower.

I leave the room to get her shower kit and when I return I find her back in bed, sleeping like a powdered baby, except she smells nothing like baby powder and the flies have become her only friends. It bothers me. It bothers me greatly. It bothers me gargantuanly. The flies are having a stench party on her body and she is not bothered by it in the least bit! I am extremely nauseated at this point and I practically run as fast as possible outside and breathe in deeply wanting to scream out in terror. The expression on my face is very similar to the expression on your face right now and I am sorry that I ruined lunch and supper and probably the next 6 meals for you. You know what's the cherry on top? When I go back to the ward, they are serving lunch and Miss Sloth is busy gobbling fists full of food as fast she can with her unwashed hands. Shoot me.

Sisters are doing it for the money!

I am a web designer turned nurse turning web designer. For the last 5 years I got side-tracked into the wrong profession. All because I didn't know what I wanted to do with myself.  I just took the first study opportunity that came my way. Lady mom told me I could do it until I could afford to go to graphics design school. Are you judging me for being a nurse that did it for the money? Ask yourself this? Would you do it for free? Thought not! (Yes, I’m ignoring those that answered different – not that I don’t love you!)
I did it for the money to become a graphics designer because even though my dad had the money for it, he would never put out – pay a price for my own daughter’s happiness and well-being? Hell no!

But lady mom scraped up her last dime and sent me off to nursing school. Time for the fledgling to learn how to fly. She was convinced it would do me good. It did and it didn’t. Wet behind the ears and just out of high school. I pursued nursing. I grew up (a teensy bit). I didn’t want to grow up but nursing forces you to grow up, though you could get so burnt out that you grow down. Eventually you’re just finding ways to mess with people and confuse the hell out of them.

Moving on! The current situation is this: I am totally burnt out and laughing all the way to resignation, which according to the sticky note on my clip board is exactly 74 days away! 15 December 2010 is R-Day! I am here to renew my passion for web design, hence the blog. In all fairness, someone who is truly passionate about nursing should have my post. I am gracefully stepping down for the good of my poor patients.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not here to bash nursing as a profession. I am here mostly to give you an insightful and funny peek into a truly life-altering career. Nursing TOTALLY ROCKS while it manages to TOTALLY SUCK all at once. Even though I did it for the wrong reasons, I honestly put in my bestest effort ever to be the best temporary nurse I could be, but things happened. Weird things. Things I’d love to elaborate on if you’d care to listen. And if no one out there cares about my stupid little nursing story – fine then!  I’ll just play pretend that it was only intended to be an online diary chronicling my days as a nurse! Because in 74 days, I am outta here baby! Even though I’d be glad to finally leave nursing, I still do want to remember and cherish my nursing days! 

Episode 1 – Nursing: The art of caring while cursing!

I am a web designer turned nurse turning web designer and I have about 74 days of nursing left in me. Follow my blog for an insightful journey into the life of a nurse.

A  beautiful bright full moon shines prettily upon the pitch black sky. I take a deep breathe and smile as I take in the beauty of the world I am living in. It’s full of awesomeness. Real awesomeness in the true sense of the word.  My world! So perfect, so delicious, so grand. A humble abode upon a peaceful mountain combined with the divine company of my love, Josh and our totally bodacious bouncy huskies! I take a sip of red wine and the taste of success teases my lips. But my palms start to sweat, deep down somewhere in my sub-conscience I know that something terrible is about to happen in exactly one minute! I pray for that minute to last an hour. Just let me enjoy the tranquillity of my world a little bit longer? The cool droplets on the wine glass begin to evaporate. Everything around me rapidly breaks apart and dissipates into darkness.

 

ALARM CLOCK

Cock-a-doodle-doo!!Cock-a-doodle-doo!!Cock-a-doodle-doo!!Cock-a-doodle-doo!!

ME

AAAAH!

I  jump out of bed to shut that damn cock clock the cluck up! Damn it! It was just a dream. Once again it was just a dream! I look around me. To my relief, not all is lost. Josh and my huskies are there, sound asleep and beautiful. But my world is very different. The ease I felt in my dream is now replaced with dread. I duck under the covers wanting to spend the rest of the day with my babe, insufferably aware that it would not be possible to do so. I had to go be a nurse for the next 12 hours..Oh boy!

[Cue DANGER MUSIC!]

 

 

Next on Nursing Habits: Arkadia face to face with her first dead patient!
My first day and the dead woman