Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Mean Nurse And The Social Worker

Sitting in the waiting room at Children's today, seeing the Mommies of sick newborn babies, I wasn't surprised at the flood of memories that came.

I haven't been able to write about much of  Owen's first days, but I did manage to get a little something down.

I'm reposting this from last September. No one really knew about my blog then, so I don't know if anyone actually got to read it.

Mean Nurse

The ambulance guys dropped me off in the ER of the hospital. Owen was in the ambulance right behind us. I was in the hall on a stretcher waiting for someone to bring me to my room. There was some confusion over where I was supposed to be.

I heard a radio, a voice said, "Babyboy Mylastname’; and that instant Owen was wheeled right by me, six people running, holding onto the isolette, and more running behind. Running. I saw this alone, I wanted Al with me.

Since I had just given birth, I had to be admitted to the maternity wing of this hospital in northern Vermont; I wouldn’t recommend the place to a dead cat. The room was teensy, white cinder block walls, no decor to speak of, a sink, a bed, a chair. I looked for the toilet.

On the maternity ward of this large hospital, there was no toilet in the room. Hours after giving birth, I was expected to ring for help, wait for help, and be escorted down the hall to the bathroom. Insanity.

I was admitted by a worn out looking, middle aged, heavy nurse. She moved slow, she looked lazy. She looked like she was just tired of being a nurse. She made a lame attempt at sympathy but gave up quick; it took too much time and there is lots of paperwork involved in admitting a patient. She actually sat on the bed while she asked me all her questions. She barely made eye contact with me. She was abrupt and cold. She infuriated me.

When she was done with all her questions, she needed me to pee. I wasn’t afraid to, I just didn’t have to. She demanded that I try to go, so I took my little water bottle to squirt on myself, ( I was told I’d need it), and she followed me down the hall. I'd refused the wheelchair.

Peeing hurt more than I'd expected, but I didn’t really care, the squirt bottle was wonderful. Not much pee, plenty of blood. The nurse seemed annoyed by what I had produced. It made me happy that she was annoyed. Maybe she sensed this because when we got back to the room she insisted on checking me for hemorrhoids. I told her over and over;

"No, I’d never had them, I’m a nurse, I think I’d know if I’d had them". She insisted that it was the rules, I couldn’t waste any energy arguing with her.

If there was ever a time in my life that I'd wanted to fart, it was this moment. I dropped my pants and bent over;

Kiss my nasty ass, mean nurse.


Social Worker

 The Social Worker had called after we found out we found out we were going to Boston. It would be a few hours. She called from her home; she’d been paged.

I can imagine her just jumping to attention, feeling so needed, so important. Her big chance to make a difference in some poor people’s lives.

I'd told her on the phone that we didn’t need her help, we were basically going home, lots of family, tons of support, we’re all set, kthanksbye.

She was persistent, insisting that she should come to the hospital to make sure we were ok. I’m sure I was rude, I wanted to tell her to fuck off but I don’t think I did.

A couple hours later we were told to get to the NICU; the plane had arrived and we needed to sign papers and say goodbye to Owen.

We’d just left the room, were almost to the elevator, Al was pushing me in the wheelchair. I heard footsteps behind us, lady footsteps, quick, sharp, Social Worker footsteps.

I knew without looking up that it was her. I never looked up, I never saw her face.

She followed us to the NICU. At first she wouldn’t shut up. I have know idea what she said, I’m pretty sure it was "blahblahblahblah". I was so irritated by her presence, even after she finally shut up. I said over and over again to her in my head, Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.

She was hovering over us as we touched Owen and said goodbye. Owen was blue by now, I peeked at the oximeter, 62%, not good at all; I knew enough to make it quick. He was hard to look at anyway, barely alive.

She looked on as the flight nurse told us that he might not make it to Boston; I knew that just from looking at him.

We signed the papers and headed out of the NICU.  She was still on us.

I felt so intruded upon. She started talking again. This time I can’t believe I didn’t swear at her, I told her calmly and firmly without looking up; "Go away and leave. us. alone".

I hope she went home feeling like a shitty person for invading our lives during such a difficult and private moment.

She’s a funny memory to have, she has no face, no hairdo, no style of dress. I never looked at her, not once.

I think of her and she’s just footsteps, a voice saying ‘blahblahblahblah’, and her air of self importance.

She gave me the cringes.

I like to change my memory of that evening, where I really do tell her; "Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You", over and over and over until she's gone.

1 comment:

  1. Horrible. Sigh. How do people who work with people have zero people skills? Sorry- I was being over sensitive - I think it was in the comments that I cringed most. In my work, probably yours too- we get focused on for both all of the good things and all of the bad things- as though we have much control over either. I know- I hate plenty of SW's and nurses and Dr's!


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