1 Fiction: A Frothy Day

Saturday, May 21, 2016 6 Comments A + a -

Sunday scribbling, lady massaging neck, challenges quote
Giving self massage at home because 
I neither have the money nor the time 
for a professional massage.

Nurse Weekly Stories
1 Fiction: A Frothy Day

Join us  in Sunday Scribblings 2. The prompt word this week is froth or frothy.

“Is it cream?”
“No,” I screamed.
“It's a froth, oh Darn.”

The cardiac monitor was alarming. I rushed into little Ken's room. He was my 20-year old patient in the intensive care unit trapped in a small-10-year-old-size body. He had a lifetime problem of seizures that was pretty much controlled until lately.

His sitter, one of our staff, was pertaining to his secretion that looked like he had some foam coming out of his mouth.

“He is seizing,” I continued. While suctioning his mouth, I signaled nurse Carrie to come in the room. She hurried in asking what she could do.

“Get me ativan.”

Little Ken stopped seizing after I gave the Ativan. He had his eyes closed when his father walked in.

“I brought his liquid medical marijuana,” dad said.

I heard about it before that it was one of his home medication approved by his neurologist, a neurologist who did not have privileges in our hospital.

I looked at him without saying a word.

“It really works,” he continued.

If so,  why is your son here? I was just thinking.

“Dr. Sullivan said it is okay for me to continue giving it to him . . . It has to be refrigerated.”

“I can give you some ice for it but I cannot put the medicine out it in the common refrigerator where visitors of other patients can have access. And you know, you have to wait until he is awake before you put drops in his mouth, right?”

The unit was busy. Thankfully, my other patient did not keep me so busy that I had the time to help other nurses. One patient was delirious and had to be tightly restrained on his wrists. His sedation medications were discontinued because the doctors wanted him to wake up more to be ready for extubation. He was trashing in bed. Nurse Mary and I repositioned him a hundred times so he did not fall out of bed. Okay, not a hundred times, but close.

Her other patient, Paige, was in extreme pain screaming. We gave all the pain meds ordered with no relief. I called the neurosurgical resident, Dr. Samantha Plum, to help the patient (and Mary). I asked her to come and see the patient right away as she had severe headache after craniotomy and screaming her lungs out. Her agony was so loud I had to close the sliding doors of rooms nearby.

“She has to wait. I am busy and she's not in a life-or death situation.”

*sigh* It would probably take a while before we see Dr. Plum.

Surprised, I saw her walking the hallway within five minutes. She went straight to me asking if I was the one who called.

“It is not okay that you called me like that. It is not an emergency . . . You did not even tell me who you are, the patient's diagnosis, the room number . . . and screaming her lungs out is not a medical term “

“I told you who I was. I said hi, this is Carin calling about the patient in 6701, Paige Ball, status post crani . . . I never said it is an emergency“

She seemed to have an answer to whatever I said, then I realized we were acting like kids and and we were going nowhere. 

Pride set aside, I gave in and said, “Sorry, doctor, I called in desperation. I just want to help the patient, and Mary, the nurse assigned to her. Will you go and see the patient?”

She headed to the room as Paige just started screaming again. 

Dr. Plum ordered medications I suggested, plus more, as needed. 

It was now around three pm. Jolly Shelly was going around asking if anyone wanted anything from Starbucks. She was my saviour.

“Oh yes,” I said, “I want a Grande chocolaty, frothy, drink with a triple dose of sugar.”

This was my cup of “happy” this shift, a cup of happiness I could buy and afford.


To my surprise for the second time, Dr. Plum apologized to me for not hearing me clearly earlier when I sat next to her while she was charting. It was the only chair available.

I think it was more like, she was not listening, but she was now. Besides, patient Paige's pain was finally relieved, and I was joyfully sipping my cup of "happiness." Those things are what matters. 

Little Ken did not have anymore seizures, before and after dad gave him doses of marijuana. I did not agree with the Marijuana. It was not officially ordered that Ken could have it, but maybe it helped?


I accepted the challenges today and had some victories.

At the end of the shift, I went home thinking about my frothy day. I put my pink robe on and started rolling my back with a massage stick. 

Oh, that feels painfully good.


Write comments
May 21, 2016 at 1:39:00 PM MDT delete

You are a wonderful nurse. Yes you are. Hard work too. I know many nurses and often they aren't given half the credit they deserve.

Thank you for all you do. ☺

May 21, 2016 at 8:08:00 PM MDT delete

Thanks, Sandy. It is hard work,yet rewarding in some ways.

Old Egg
May 21, 2016 at 11:03:00 PM MDT delete

What a great account of hospital life in this post. Wish there were more hospital staff like you.

Jae Rose
May 22, 2016 at 6:19:00 AM MDT delete

I agree with Old Egg - smart and compassionate nurses are in short supply

May 22, 2016 at 11:18:00 PM MDT delete

Thanks. We are not all the same. Different personalities, different styles, different ways to cope.

May 22, 2016 at 11:19:00 PM MDT delete

Some of us are burned out. I am lucky to work in a hospital whose higher ups offer support.


I would love to read your comments.