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Posts Tagged ‘nursing story’

Butterball In The Facilities

January 26, 2012 Leave a comment

I just loved Butterball…he made me laugh and taught me so much. A student nurse at the time working at a retirement home, one of the gentlemen under my care was ‘Butterball’ – coined by me after the Butterball turkey.

With glasses that filled a large portion of his face, a perfectly round belly full of ascites and a shiny, bald head, Butterball also had a killer sense of humor. He always had a smile on his face and loved to tease anyone within reach.

I carried a pager that was connected to patient call bells and every 30 mins, Butterball would ring for the facilities. Three months of this and not one trickle…he wore an adult diaper but I thought he may still be feeling the urge. I dug into all of my nursing textbooks researching urinary conditions and what might be plaguing poor Mr. Butterball. With hundreds of potential diseases at my fingertips, I decided to review the situation with my fave Nursing professor.

After a lengthy recount of Butterball’s situation, she simply offered this: Have you taken even 20 minutes to sit alongside him and just talk? If you were sitting alone in a small room 22 hours per day, everyday – what would your ‘needs’ be? There was my AHA…Mr. Butterball was lonely and just needed that interaction.

That’s when I learned that medicine is more about people and their basic needs than about diseases, medications, or equipment.

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Mother Power

December 4, 2011 Leave a comment

When I was a nursing student doing clinical placement on the burn unit, I learned what it meant to be a mother…although, I never knew that at the time.

The senior nurse on the unit approached me and asked if I would like the experience of assisting with one of her patients. She would take the 36 year old woman (we’ll call her Jane) who had 3rd degree burns on over 85% of her body into the physiotherapy room and place her in the tub. Following that, we would do her dressings together.

I thanked God that this was a sterile procedure and that I had to wear a mask….my facial expression needed to be covered seeing the depth of the damage to Jane’s body. As I stood there alongside the deep bathtub, she laid back to relax and her arms floated to the surface. It was then that I noticed Jane had no hands. I don’t know what it was but at that moment, I became very curious. Her missing hands shocked me but also intrigued me.

Once we had completed the dressings and left the room, I immediately asked the senior nurse: “What happened to Jane’s hands?”

She replied: “Her 8 year old son was also in the fire” and then the nurse walked away.

I was puzzled – what did her 8 year old have to do with Jane having no hands? Just then, my cohort who had a 2 year old son pulled me aside and teary, told me that Jane used her hands to put out the fire on her son….that she did so while on fire herself and until she could no longer use her hands.

Five years later, my first son was born and I remembered Jane. I finally KNEW what mother power felt like.

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