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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For


For the past week, I have been doing home visits with The Hell Bitch. After working with her one day week before last, I asked that she be my preceptor. (Yes, I did a four-week hospice preceptorship back in the spring in order to reactivate my nursing license, but now that I have been officially hired by Hospice of Central Georgia, I must do another one. The first one was all field work with no orientation to paperwork or checkoffs for specific procedures - starting IVs, inserting catheters, drawing blood for lab work, etc.).

The Hell Bitch is one of the smartest, most knowledgeable nurses with whom I have ever worked - probably the best nurse I have ever seen, so knowing what I was getting into, I requested her.

So far, she has taught me how to detect a heart murmur and now to titrate pain meds for our patients. When I graduated from nursing school, in 1969, nurses weren’t even allowed to do cardiac assessments and we sure as hell weren’t allowed to make decisions about medications. So, I am a reborn nurse, swimming in unknown waters, still feeling as though I need to call the doctor for advice on medication.

The Hell Bitch will not only go toe-to-toe with our medical director, she will push her agenda on him, challange him to see things her way. The woman has balls. Then she wonders why he runs in the other direction every time he sees her rumbling toward him. Naturally, she feels picked upon.

We recently converted from paper charts to electronic records, and she is the only one in the office who has mastered the operating system and navigates it with ease. Some of the others are making progress, and one nurse has refused altogether to use the laptop assigned to her and will probably resign because of it.

You are probably a little curious about the Hell Bitch part. Fair enough, so here goes.

She is a diabetic and doesn’t watch her diet, so part of the time her blood sugar is out of whack and she is fractious and spiteful when it is low. She will argue with a lamp post - about anything, if she thinks she is right, which is 100% of the time. I think she would even argue knowing she is wrong, just to bully the other person. I have heard her admit a mistake once, but the utterance it was barely audible.

She complains loudly, and I do mean loudly, about most of her patients’ caregivers and families. While we are driving from town to town, in her strident voice, she dissects every little weakness and foible. As for me, I don’t give a rat’s ass if the son has heart disease and won’t take care of himself. He is a grown man, and though in my heart I wish he would eat right and take his meds, my primary focus on the patient and the caregivers that I can work with. The ones that are recalcitrant have to go to the back burner while I work with the ones I can.

Jesus. I sounded like The Hell Bitch for a moment.

She hates everyone in the office except two nurses. (I’m not sure yet whether or not she hates me). And she while we are on the road, she treats me to diatribes about each of their weaknesses. Nobody does the job like it should be done - except her. She has pointed out who the manager’s pets are and warned me to “keep my head low and don’t offer an opinion unless asked.” This from a woman who, as soon as we arrive back into the office, swaggers her very ample personage into the office and begins to rale against this person or that situation.

As for me, I am willing to put up with The Hell Bitch in order to drain her of any knowledge I can take in. I am not in this line of work because I am a sissy, and though she outweighs be about three to one, I am fully capable of wading right into that pool of negativity if I think she is wrong or unfair. And she knows it.

Meanwhile, I went to the candle store and bought myself some jasmine candles to burn at home. According to Hothouse Bath and Body News, it has a sedative effect much like Valium. I’m burning one right now, and I think it is working.

And I bought some jasmine hand sanitizer - one bottle for me and one for The Hell Bitch. I hope she doesn’t throw it at me.

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