“Raquel, it was absolute mayhem. The little dog took off down the hall after the bunny, and then the charge nurse called Security to help round them up. Of course, Security didn’t have any idea of what to do. Eventually, two officers cornered the animals, grabbed Rocket, and the pet therapist gathered up the bunny, but not before the blind kid, Travis, somehow felt his way to the fire alarm, and pulled it. The sprinkler system went off, and the fire department arrived. No, I didn’t leave early. After we settled everyone down, finished the shift, and gave report, it was 9 pm before I finally I got home, and reheated for dinner the lunch I didn’t get to eat. I’m ready for a second glass of wine, are you?”
This story was just to good not to call my sister Raquel and tell her about it over wine by phone.
* * *
I had a couple of days off before my next shift. Like I said before, day shift is challenging in its own ways.
“Niki, the phone’s for you.”
I take the call from the pod outside my patient’s room. It’s Finch, one of the day shift pharmacists.
“About that Ancef dose your resident ordered,” he begins.
I block, “He’s not my resident. He belongs to the attending,”
“Well, whoever he belongs to, he’s placed an order in the EMR for Ancef.”
There’s not enough Ancef in all the hospitals in the city to cover the dose. You need to call him and point out that the kiddo only weighs 10 kgs.”
“Finch, the RT is here and we’re about the re-tape his ET tube. Can you call and get the order changed, please? You can educate him about placing orders while you do it.”
“That’s not really a function of pharmacy, Niki.”
“It’s not a nursing function either, Finch. Why does everything get turfed to nursing? Health care is a team sport, no?”
I interpret the the silence on the other end of the phone to mean he’s strategizing an offense.
“Alright, Niki, I’ll do it this time.”
“Thanks Finch, you’re a real gem.”
“Phfffp,” he mutters before hanging up.
* * *
At change of shift, I give report to my old night shift buddy, Liz, first telling her about the patient, and then Finch’s one-liner that the resident ordered more Ancef than what’s available in the city that was pretty hilarious, when I notice the bruises on her neck, three of them. They’re long and suspiciously resemble fingers. I can’t help myself, “Liz, what’s up with the marks on your neck. They look like bruises. What happened?”
Her gaze drops downward, and she turns her head the other direction attempting to hide the bruises, but not before I see her cheeks flush bright red.
“It’s nothing, Niki. I scratched myself.”
“Liz, those aren’t scratches, they’re bruises. It’s me, Niki. We’re friends, remember? What happened?”
“I’m having problems with Nathan. He’s skipping school and failing his classes. He got suspended for smoking pot on campus. I called his dad, hoping he could talk some sense into him.”
“Frank, you’re ex did this to you?”
“I thought he could help, but when he came over to talk to Nathan he starting hitting him. I got between them. When I started yelling at Frank to leave, things got out of control.”
“He choked you? Oh my god, are you okay? Have you seen a doctor? Did you call the cops?”
“This is exactly why I didn’t want to tell you Niki. I knew you would overreact.”
“Overreact? Jeez, Frank was strangling you! He should be in jail.”
“Mind your own business, Niki. I appreciate your concern, but mind your own business,” was all Liz said as she stood up and entered her patient’s room.