Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The hospital experience

(I saw this yesterday and was so glad it was still there today, despite the May showers. I'm not sure what it is called, but I'm sure I want to plant some.)

My job consists of two locations or two types of locations. Most days I am out patient. I work with patients on a very clerical level. I schedule appointments, I get ice, I remove ice, I apply electric stem, I remove electric stem, I ultrasound, I clean the ultrasound equipment, I schedule for appointments, I bill insurance companies, I put on heat packs, I remove heat packs, I blow up balls, I change the sheets and pillow cases. 50% of my job is spent in a chair at a computer and 50% is spent running errands.

One to two days a week, I work inpatient. There are 5 levels to the hospital. I see the third, fourth and fifth floor at least twice an hour. The elevators are super slow so everyone (and it is expected of me) takes the stairs. Equipment moves between floors, often at my hand. I am responsible for stocking the Draco shoes, the Wedge shoes, the walkers, the canes, the four prong canes, and other supplies (gait belts, towels, pillow cases, and other stuff). I have separate locations scattered through out the hospital where stuff gets stored. Additionally, I'm responsible for answering assistance pages. Today I assisted an old man out of his bed into a surgery chair so he could practice sitting up. I also helped a 350 pound women sit up in bed. (she actually stopped breathing during the experience and a nurse came in and had to bag her to get her breathing again.) I helped another man in and out of a whirlpool. (oh did I mention that I'm responsible for the whirlpool as well. It takes 15 minutes to set up, 20 to 30 minutes per patient and then 45 minutes to clean.) Through the course of just today, I held onto the poo bag in my left hand while holding the urine bag in the other hand; I listened to a man tell me how great the meatballs were at lunch only to see clumps of something gray seep out of his stomach into a colonoscopy bag; I watched a man stumble from his wheelchair to a lift with blood particles dripping from his butt onto the floor below him (which I got to wipe up and some poorly paid janitor got to sanitize later). I'm so glad that I worked with little kids and their vomit for the last 2 1/2 years. My gag reflex isn't as active as it used to be. 

That all said, there are positives. First off, I have to wash my hands about every 10 minutes when I'm in the hospital. My hands have never been cleaner in my life. Secondly, unlike my last job where it was first last and always - clorox bleach is rarely used. Nearly all of the hospital uses this red topped thing that has sani wipes in it. We used these for the first 14 months of my last job before switching to bleach. At my new job I don't go home smelling like bleach nor do my clothes get ruined. Thirdly, Because of all of the time I spend not sitting down (I walk between 5-10 miles a day, half of which is taking stairs), I have lost 5 pounds since I started 2 1/2 weeks ago. Because every floor looks the same, I'm still getting lost in the hospital. (More than once I've ended up in the nursery where they get real nervous with random people wondering around.) Because of the lostness, I'm meeting a lot of interesting people and seeing things I haven't seen before. 

In summary - some days I really hate being in the hospital and other days I love it. Rumor has it, it might be my permanent home. If so, some days will be filled with me praying for a opening at my last job.

Because today was rather stressful, I came home and made pies. If you live in the area, swing on by for some experimental berry pie.


  1. Wow. That's pretty extreme. Hopefully it's one of those jobs that "gets better with time".

  2. Dahlia..... I was just researching them last night. They are on my list of "to plant when I have a garden" as well.