Thursday, June 28, 2007

....And Then It All Came Crashing Down....

It was just one of those things. Our office is being rewired, with workmen on ladders, standing on my desk intermittently, the computers and phones periodically down for the count. Most of us tried to work outside the office throughout the day, but there are just some things that can't be done from the outside, at least without sufficient wireless technology.

My day went fine while I was working away from the office. Emails and phone calls came in waves, and I performed basic triage in order to take care of the most pressing issues as others waited in the wings.

Once I set my foot in the office door, the tumult began, and what seemed to have been a breezy day transformed into one which seemed to pummel me from all sides at once. For better or worse, several of my colleagues were experiencing the same intensity, and we held onto the rails of our tossing ship together, life-jackets at the ready. Tears, smiles, laughter, sarcastic surrender----it all melded into one miasma of reaction to stress. Laughter relieved my stress the most as I fumbled through the afternoon.

Moments of merriment and lightness were balanced by other moments of utter exasperation. Answering my phone around 3:00, I was on the receiving end of the angry outburst of a plastic surgeon who was unhappy with my "interference" in the care of "her" patient.

"I don't even know who's managing this patient's care," she said sarcastically. "Can you tell me, by any chance, what is happening and why I was not informed?"

I grimaced into the phone. "I am a nurse care manager for my patient, and I see my role as a patient advocate. Since the surgery which you performed, she has had increasing pain and what seems to be an untreated infection," I replied. "Your office has been slow to respond, her primary doctor just left the area, and I was left holding the ball. So I ran with it to the best of my ability."

She seemed disarmed as we discussed the plans for the patient further before she hung up the phone rather abruptly, but not before she let me know that I would be held responsible if the patient no-showed to tomorrow's scheduled procedure. I'm sure she shared choice words about me with her colleagues, as I did with my own coworkers about her unnecessarily harsh demeanor. Surgeons.

Anyway, the day eventually came to a lukewarm conclusion as I moved my attention to my 3-hour evening shift as a clinic nurse. As I began the latter portion of my workday, the frantic energy of the previous hours began to dissipate, resulting in a body like a dish-rag and a brain made of nothing more than oatmeal.

Coming home to loving family, loyal canine, and the warm embrace of home, the crashing stress of the previous ten hours melts into what it should be---a memory and nothing more. And now for rest, and the forgetfulness of sleep.
Post a Comment