August 25, 2006, 2:13 pm

This One’s For the Girls

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Holy freakin’ cow!

Do you know what I would have given for this set when I was a kid?

Anything but my Beatle records, that’s what!

They actually have forceps, separate kits for the doctor and nurse, a stethoscope that could put a Cardiology II to shame and paperwork!

Look at all that paperwork!

You could actually “play chart”! No way!

The size of that otoscope earpiece does give me pause, though.

Wonder how many perfs that caused….ouch!

******************************

A hot summer day.

The county fair.

Funnel cakes.

Face painting.

And a fall onto a planter that caused a 3/4 inch laceration just off the left eyebrow of my four-year-old patient.

I could still see half the butterfly on her right cheek; the tears had washed away the other wing. The lady bug on the left side was intact…maybe the red paint was waterproof.

Long, thick dark hair and bright blue eyes brimming with tears.

She was petrified. I asked her about her facial artwork, and then made her show me her toes to prove there weren’t any flowers under her socks.

Nope, no toe paintings. Nothing on her belly button, either. Assessment complete!

The fact that the lac could be held together with Dermabond did not diminish her displeasure one iota. I opened the closet and pulled out two teddy bears: a dark brown one and a light brown one.

“You’re the patient!”, I said. “Which one do you like? The dark one or the light one?”

She picked the dark one.

The light one went to her six-year-old sister, who could have been her twin, albeit older.

I was working with one of the most gentle doctors I have ever known. His voice is like audible Ativan. I held a bit of tension on the edge of the wound while he sealed the edges together.

Our patient’s voice was more like audible Epinephrine as her protestations let everyone in the ER know that we didn’t exactly have a satisfied customer……

It was quickly over. I gave discharge instructions, two color books and two sets of crayons and after a big set of “thank yous”, they were off to enjoy the rest of the evening.

*****

Last week, I was called out to the nurse’s station and found my two girls standing there with painted faces and their hands full of stuff.

They handed me two bags of chocolate chip muffins and a bag of chocolate chip cookies that they made themselves.

The patient pulled a photo out of an envelope addressed to “Nurse Kim” and “Doctor Ativan”.

It was a picture of both sisters holding their ER teddy bears, and around the edge they had written their names in silver paint, with many hearts and “Thank You”.

They told me to make sure the doctor got half the cookies. I assured them I would put them in his box and gave them both a hug.

Their gifts delivered, they bounded out of the ER, their fair balloons trailing behind them.

******************************

Every now and then I remember why I do what I do for a living.

This was one of those times

And no, I don’t mean because of the chocolate chip muffins.

But they were the best I’ve ever tasted….

10 Comments


  • intelinurse2b

    August 25, 2006 at 6:47 pm

    audible ativan, I love that phrase. My dad had a voice like that.

    I have always wanted to ask a nurse this, and your post reminded me of my curiosity, do you really eat the baked goods patients sometimes bring in for a thank you? : ) silly question, but Ive always wondered that…



  • Shane

    August 25, 2006 at 7:12 pm

    Kim, I told my wife again tonight what a great writer you are, and then I corrected myself. You’re a great story teller. You have the ability, in just a few words, to completely capture your reader. It’s amazing. Your last two posts have been among the most captivating things I’ve ever read.



  • Melissa

    August 25, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    Lol at playing paperwork. When did that stop being fun?

    By the way, I don’t eat homebaked treats from patient’s homes (unless I’m dying from starvation).



  • dgm

    August 26, 2006 at 6:57 am

    You must have skipped over the part about how truly wonderful you were to the little girl. Yes, you helped fix her wound, but I’ll bet what stood out most to her is that you eased her overwhelming sense of fear and vulnerability. Bravo for you for seeing that good caregiving is not just about treating the physical.



  • DisappearingJohn

    August 26, 2006 at 9:22 am

    Wow, great story…

    Personally, I have eaten food brought in by a patient, but I wouldn’t make a habit of it… I do have a particular weakness for chocolate chip cookies, though, and that is what this cute little old lady brought in…

    I lived, so they must have been okay… (actually, they were great!)



  • NPs Save Lives

    August 26, 2006 at 7:36 pm

    What a great story Kim! I have to admit that I would have eaten the food if it was from some nice children. From adults.. not too sure!



  • NPs Save Lives

    August 26, 2006 at 7:37 pm

    P.S. Love that whole play medical set!! I would have traded all of my barbies for that one..



  • Prisca

    August 26, 2006 at 8:11 pm

    what a great post..thanks! you made my day with the fun playset (i want one, too) and the story about the cute kiddos! 🙂 i need some positivity today!



  • Moof

    August 27, 2006 at 12:20 pm

    I once made an apple pie for my PCP … he looks anorexic, and never mentioned it … but the nurse and office people sure liked it! ;o)

    Great post, Kim! As usual!



  • Michael L.

    October 4, 2006 at 1:39 pm

    Good info.

    Herbal Man


About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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