To be honest, after twelve hours of running during a shift-from-hell, I’ve been this nurse. More than once. I hearby apologize to all the patients stuck with me as
their triage nurse on those days.
How can it be that I leave the house in one condition: hair blown dry and meticulously styled, make-up done so well that Mary Kay herself would have applauded, scrubs crisp but comfortable, the very slightest hint of citrus wafting in the breeze as I bounce to the car in anticipation of my workday….
…..and by the time I get home I smell like the Oakland Raiders’ locker room after a game, my scrubs are sticky, my hair is drooping, my eyeliner is somewhere south of my chin and I feel like a beat-up hockey puck?
Did I ever really believe that nursing was glamourous? What the hell was I thinking?
And now, an Emergiblog Public Service Announcement:
Driving at night can be hazardous to your memory.
My last shift was a doozy. Non-stop running. It seemed as though the proverbial bus was letting patients out in one continual stream. I was exhausted by the end of my twelve hours and more than relieved to slide into the driver’s seat to head for home.
It was the middle of the night and traffic was minimal as I headed north on Highway 101. The radio was putting out some good tunes. Matchbox 20. Gwen Stefani. Eagles. I harmonized along (Don Henley, eat your heart out!). I was tired, but not sleepy. The night was cool and I cracked the window open for some fresh air.
I drove smoothly along and soon I came up on the San Francisco International Airport.
I don’t live near the San Francisco airport. In fact, my exit was twenty miles behind me.
I was so shocked it took me a few seconds to get my bearings. I had no memory of the trip past my exit or how I had gotten that far down the freeway without realizing it. Scared the hell out of me. It’s a good thing I snapped out of whatever reverie I was in or I would have ended up in Marin County.
I’m just thankful I didn’t fall asleep at the wheel.
So all you nurses working long hours and driving at night, don’t contribute to the nursing shortage by becoming trauma patients yourselves.
Stay awake. Stay alert.
Be careful out there.