Most of you know that I am a nurse. I work in the women's center, so for the most part my patients are young and healthy. You know, just had a baby or had some sort of women's surgery, hysterectomy, bladder repair, something like that. And to be honest I love that about my job. Periodically I like to joke around with my patients and tell them that I only have two rules and as long as they follow those we will get along just fine. My rules are that they cant fall and that they have to breath, "otherwise there is just too much paperwork." So normally they laugh and everything is fine.
Apparently last week I was not clear on my rules. I had a patient in her late twenties that came to me from surgery about 30 minutes before the end of my shift at 3:00. I got her settle and gave her some pain medication to help her get comfortable and encouraged her to give in to the tired feeling and go to sleep, explaining that she would feel a lot better when she woke up and left her with family. By this time it was about 15 minutes till shift change and the medication I gave takes about 45-60 minutes to become effective so there was really no for me to go back to check on her, especially since I now had all of the admission paperwork to complete before I could go home. For some reason I cant explain I went back at 3:00 to check on her rather than sitting down to give report and I found her alone and NOT BREATHING, well needless to say that was pretty scary and not exactly how I wanted to end my shift. Everything worked out fine. She did well and went home the next day but it occurs to me that I never took the time to talk to her about the rules and the endless paperwork that follows.