Iko Iko

I was recently offered the opportunity at work to switch from rotating days and nights (7a and 7p shifts, both 12 hours) to rotating days and evenings (11a-11p) instead. I debated for a good while about it because A: I really like the people that work nights and B: Nights (in general) aren’t as busy as days or evenings so that leaves free time for fun conversations, homework, or crochet projects. I ended up taking the offer and switching to evenings because working days and nights I felt like my whole life revolved around when I was sleeping.

I will also miss nights because of some of the bizarre shit and fantastic stories that happen when the world is sleeping.

For instance I was working the other night and about 3 or 4am (4am seems to be a general witching hour I think) a 27year old boy signed in with “palpitations and shortness of breath” He was a thin boy, well groomed and gave off a distinct vibe of gay. Not that that’s important I’m just trying to give you a visual and so you can hear what he sounds like with this ensuing conversation. So one of the other nurses went out to get him and I went to help her get things started. He was sitting in the waiting room in a wheelchair and there were two girls with him.

We brought him back alone and started following our chest pain protocols which among other things involves starting an IV. I was starting his IV while the other nurse was asking him all the triage questions. He said he was feeling very anxious and thinks he might be having an anxiety attack. I was at his bedside opening all my IV equipment and had the tourniquet tied around his arm getting ready to start when he says “Wait wait! Can we talk about something else while you do this?! I’m afraid of needles!” The other nurse says “Sure, what do you want to talk about” and he says “Quick does anybody know the words to Iko Iko?” and the other nurse says “Maybe if you start singing we’ll remember the words” So he’s laying there in the bed, tourniquet tied arm straight out to his side and his eyes clamped down tight and he starts singing in this weak tight voice “your grandma and my grandma were sitting by the fire…” I turned to look at the other nurse and we both started laughing so hard. It was just the funniest scene I’ve ever encountered. Of all the songs to randomly bust out with for a 27 year old but this random 1950s/60s song… and he was so serious about singing it and so scared that we couldn’t help but laugh. (not to worry, he joined in too)

While we were getting him settled another older (creepy) guy signed in and the third nurse brought him back and while she was asking him about his medications he was changing into a gown and came over to “take a look” at the list of medications she had in the computer already for him and proceeded to invade her personal space and bump up against her while wearing only his underwear.

Meanwhile, one of our 27year old’s female companions signed in with “possible abscess” so I brought her back to a room and she was telling me about this abscess she had on her back and how she knew someone who had an abscess and it had to be drained and treated with antibiotics… so I say “well let me see”. She takes off her shirt and shows me this spot on her back that she has covered with one of those small circle band-aids. So I’m thinking “welllll, maybe it’s worse underneath” so I peel it off and reveal underneath a very unimpressive ZIT. No honestly. A zit. I had no idea what to write on my triage assessment sheet because is “zit” really a medical term… no, but that’s what it was “pustule” was way too dramatic sounding for what it actually was. The doctors sheet later was even better. She drew a little black spot on the diagram of the back and drew and arrow with the words “single pimple”. It is part of our standard procedure during triage to ask patient’s about substance use, people tend to be surprisingly honest and it’s hard to impress on you how little the nurses actually care what you’re using at home unless you come in unresponsive. I don’t care if you smoke marijuana every weekend, I don’t care if you experimented with cocaine back in the day… and if you tell me you quit heroin three months ago I’m certainly not going to believe you. Anyway so I’m asking her (with her zit) if she’s ever used any substances, and I always suggest “like marijuana, cocaine, or heroin” just so there’s no confusion. She said “noooo” very slowly (but come on, you were clearly up to something tonight) and then closed her eyes, did a whole body cringe and blurts out real fast “okay, I’ve tried cocaine once!” lol. I told her that was fine and then promptly went into the nurses station and reenacted her response for everyone’s amusement.

We had not had any patients for hours and all of a sudden we had three total nutcases. Someone said “Is there a full moon tonight?” I said “I think what happened was the cloud of whatever these people were smoking has parted and the full moon started shining down on them”


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