A quick Google search may lead you to believe I'm speaking of Dungeon Fighting Online.
Last night, after I dropped the girl off at karate, with an hour of solitude to myself, I drove to Walmart. So interesting, my life is.
As I was cruising through the parking lot, I noticed an older lady sitting in the parking lot, against a light pole, her older husband standing next to her. No one else was with them.
She was a DFO, in uncommon medical slang. She’d “Done Fell Out.”
My newly instituted nursing instincts kicked right in. Something’s wrong, this lady and gentlemen are alone…I should see if I can help.
I’ve avoided this type of situation previously. Like in the MD’s office the other day when a lady began an asthmatic sounding coughing fit…I sat idly by, and let the ladies and gentleman in the scrubs take over. Surely they were more apt to handle the situation, than I.
This time was different. It was Walmart. No one else was around.
I quickly parked the truck and ran over to the couple, just as an employee had come out with a manager in tow.
I knelt down beside the woman, and the words spilled from me, without even thinking, “Hey…I’m a nursing student, what’s going on? How are you feeling?”
Without waiting for a response, I reached down to grab the lady’s wrist to do what little assessment I had the tools to do, checking her pulse. She was wet. Clammy. And was visibly shaking, and said, “I think my sugar’s low. I just came from the doctor, and it was low-ish there. I just don’t feel good.”
She seemed to know where she was, where she had been, and had knowledge of the situation, so her cognition and level of consciousness were in tact.
Damn…this nursing shit works. I had assessed her LOC without asking her, “Can you tell me your name, DOB, why you’re here.” Way to go college education.
I asked her if she was diabetic (she was) and where her glucometer was. She didn’t have it on her…so, with the employees and her husband there to keep an eye on her, I ran in to get her some juice, and told her to stay put.
$2.32 later, I was back with two boxes of apple juice. As I was opening them, I continued talking to her for further information. “Are you dizzy? Do you feel lightheaded? Do you have any other issues? Blood pressure?”
To which she answered, “Oh, honey…I have lots of issues. Blood pressure, diabetes, you name it. I just got out of the hospital.”
The lady began sipping on the juice I gave her as I replied, “Well, we all have issues, ma’am…I have plenty. Do you want to hear the short list?”
We laughed and the lady continued to sip the juice. I noticed dried bits of saliva at the corners of her mouth, and asked her husband to go get her a water bottle, that she may be a bit dehydrated, too. He took the scooter that the manager had brought, inside to do so, while I, and the employees sat with her. Watching her finish off one juice box, and start on another.
She was talking a bit more. Sitting up a bit straighter, and we began to chit chat about what she was doing there. She was picking up prescriptions.
“So, your sugar was ‘low-ish’ at the office…did you eat when you left there?” To which she replied, “No.” “Do you have a snack in your purse?” Again, “No.” Without thought or planning, I began to teach. “I know it can be a hassle sometimes, and seem unnecessary, but, it might be a good idea to keep a snack in your purse, and carry your glucometer with you. Might make you feel more comfortable to manage this while out and about.”
She nodded (I’ll take that as a “patient physically expressed understanding as a response to my intervention” and put that on my care plan!), not breaking strides in sips of her juice.
I let silence ensue while she finished the second box, and it hit me. I was just a nurse. I totally nailed it. I looked for nonverbal and physical signs of what was going on (clammy skin, shaking, dry saliva at the corners of her mouth) for possibilities of what was going on…and followed up with appropriate questions to further assess the situation.
It felt good. Knowing for that moment…that I had successfully assessed and intervened on this woman’s behalf, and it was working.
Then, as if the heavens were acknowledging my thoughts feeding my now inflated ego…it hit me again. This time quite literally. On the back of my hand as I reached for hers to reassess her clamminess.
Bird shit. Right on the back of my hand.
For the first time in my life…I was shit on by a bird.
Fine. Fine, universe…I get it. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a savior…hell, I’m not even a nurse yet. I hear ya.
In response to the universe’s sign from above, I said, “Ma’am, why don’t you call your doctor back right now since you just left there, and tell him what’s going on, just to be safe. I’ll feel much better if you do.”
She nodded, said that she was feeling better, and we (all four of us) hoisted her into her scooter so that she could pick up her scripts.
Dually noted, universe…I’ll keep my ego in check while I practice from now on, thankyouverymuch…please don’t send anymore falling defecate to remind me. I get it.
On second thought…maybe it was a different message from the universe. Maybe it was the old “no good deed goes unpunished,” that the universe was trying to send.
Either way…consider it heard!