Sunday, December 24, 2006

Things that just shouldn't happen (or things that go BOOM)

I was fresh out of nursing school and had a patient connected to nasogastric suction due to a bowel obstruction. I walked in and introduced myself and made some smalltalk in order to assess the patient's mentation and to see if we were going to have a good day or not.

Trying to maintain a brave front while having a good sized tube shoved up one's nose and down into one's stomach is pretty hard, but the patient was attempting to be as pleasant as possible.

I asked if there was anything that I could do to make him more comfortable. Of course, the first response was his begging me to take the tubing out. I told him that it was up to the doctor and that I would be back to check on him in a little while.

The rest of my rounds went well and I had just walked back into the patient's room and was standing at the side of his bed checking the connections to the NG tube when a visitor walked in. The patient suddenly sat straight up, turned his head toward me, turned toward the visitor and then suddenly erupted green bile all the way to the wall opposite of him.

The look of total shock on the visitor's face as they shot out of the room was priceless. Picture the movie The Exorcist and amplify it by 100 times. The patient was profusely apologizing to me and I told him that it was okay and not to worry.

All the while in my head I'm thinking to myself.. Thank goodness I wasn't standing at the foot of the bed. It would have been a real pukefest! I got him cleaned up and then cleaned up the room. As I headed out of the room, he said in a tired voice..

I don't think I want any more visitors today.

Things like this just shouldn't happen. Lesson learned that day.. ALWAYS check to see if the NG tubing is actually sucking!

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