Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A matter of perspective

I called the jail yesterday to follow up on a client who was about to be released. The phone was answered by the perkiest male voice I've ever heard.

"Hi, this is Officer Perky! It's a great day here at Random County Correctional Center!"

"This is HelloNurse calling from County Mental Health about Bonnie Parker's scheduled release tomorrow... What do they put in the coffee over there at the jail? It sounds like you're having way more fun with your job than I am with mine today."
Pause. It lasted so long I almost thought we'd been disconnected until Officer Perky spoke again. "Actually the coffee here is pretty terrible. It's so bad that everything else is wonderful in comparison!"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chart check quote of the week

"The client is a 48 year old white male, married once, divorced once, currently living under a tree."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Chart check quote of the week

For a developmentally disabled client: "Her appetite is increased. The staff say she will eat handfuls of ketchup when they're not looking."

I know people do strange things, but eeww!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hope my boss isn't taping my calls

A large part of my job is answering phone calls from patients. Sometimes I find myself giving advice that isn't directly related to their current problem, but also needs to be said. My nursing instructors would call this "health teaching," but they probably wouldn't have found themselves fielding calls from inebriated patients seeking more benzodiazepines.

Like on Friday:
Ms. Issues: "When is Mr. Casemanager coming by to bring me my medications? I'm having a bad mental health and anxiety day and really need my Xanax."
I could tell from the way she was slurring her words that she had been drinking. "Ms. Issues, can you tell me what you've had to drink today?"
MI: "Two beers--I know I need to quit, but--"
Me: "Actually, I'm way more concerned that it's four in the afternoon and that's all you've had to drink for fluids. Can you tell me anything that you've had to drink today that didn't have alcohol in it?"
MI: "Uh.... No, can't think of anything."
Me: "Have you had anything to eat today?"
MI: "Nope. So is Mr. Casemanager coming by today or not? I'm really having a bad mental health day and need my Xanax."
Me: "He'll be by at his usual time, but drinking on an empty stomach usually leads to puking, and then you'll really be having a bad mental health day. Can you fix yourself some toast and drink some water after you hang up with me?"
"Yeah, I can do that. Tell Mr. Casemanager I said hi!"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A nurse is a nurse is a nurse...

When I worked in hospitals, there was always a lot of other nurses around to talk to. If Dori wasn't available to answer a quick question, Jim was. If Janice wouldn't help me rob a bank, Ariel would. That sort of thing.

But here at Random County Mental Health, it's just me and GoodbyeNurse. He's a good nurse and a great co-worker, but really doesn't talk much. (I suppose I could always call up the nurses across the street at Random County Public Health if I want to chat with other nurses, but it'd be kind of weird.) One day, I hope to have a conversation with him that isn't work-related that lasts for more than three sentences.

Other than the fact that we're both breathing and we both have a BSN, GoodbyeNurse and I really don't have anything in common. He's a concrete-sequential thinker, organized, quiet, methodical, not one for idle chatter, always spell-checks his e-mails, and enjoys running marathons on his day off. I'm the poster child for high-functioning adult ADHD, embrace being abstract-random like it's a religion, distractable, chatty, have transformed sweet-talking pharmacies into delivering medications to our office into an art form, and will only be found running if someone is chasing me with a weapon. (Have I mentioned tht he doesn't talk much? It's driving me nuts.)

There's days when we work together really well. We split the work load evenly, and cover for the gaps in each other's skill set. It's like yin and yang.

And then there's days (usually the ones where we're forced to share an office space, because neither of us "play well with others") where it's a lot more like Tom and Jerry.