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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

RN Cave Rule #62

I've been posting RT Cave Rules on this blog as I think of them, but there are some RN Cave Rules I've alluded to from time to time that involve us RTs. One of them is RN Cave Rule #62,
RN Cave Rule #62: Whenever there is a stinky, dirty, disgusting, puky, gross, obscene, unruly patient, RT must be somehow involved in the care of that patient. Tell me you don't know what I'm talking about.
I thought of this tonight because I was called down to ER to do a routine EKG. As I walked into ER I immediately was hit with this rancid smell. It was one that I was familiar with unfortunately, as it was the smell of a human who hadn't taken a bath in a loooonnggg time.

I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that it was in that patient's room where I was headed. And, lo and behold, I was right.

He was a young, gruff guy with tattoos covering his body, and was in his mid-30s, but his clothes were filthy dirty. His hands were callous, dry, rough and dirt filled like those of a mechanics. His boots sat at the side of the ER cot, and his filthy socks loosely dangled on his feet.

Last night I walked into a room of a patient whose skin appeared to be falling off, and she had little white flecks in her thinning hair. Why she needed an EKG I have no idea, but I had to touch her up close, and I didn't want to. But, because it's part of my job, I had no choice.

Yes I wore gloves.

I told you guys once about the time I walked into ER and was slammed with the most God-awful smell ever. I walked past a room with several nurses and knew the smell was from there. And, I thought, since that man smells that bad, somehow, some way the nurses will make it so that I have to go in there.

And I was right.

This man had his legs wrapped a month earlier for whatever reason by his doctor, and the wrappings were supposed to be changed every day. But this homeless man never did anything, and there were maggots in there. Maggots I tell you.

There is nothing worse than rotting human skin. Nothing.

But if someone comes in that way, an RT is automatically indicated. It's king of a well-if-I-have-to-take-care-of-this-gross-patient-you-should-too rule.

Same is true on the patient floors. We once had a patient who had gangrene, and man if that rotting skin doesn't stink up the whole floor, and there's nothing you can do about it. But, even though the patient is breathing fine, the doctor just has to order nebs.

Why, the patient stinks, thus in accordance with RN Cave Rule #62, we have to get RT involved

Is the patient in isolation? Well, then they too need to be on nebs.

Fair is fair, I suppose. But I hate this RN Cave Rule.


Anonymous said...

This always happens. What is with that, anyway?

Anonymous said...

LOL.....thanks for the laugh this morning. Every time I consider going back to school and possibly entering the medical field I think, could I really handle the gross stuff?

I still don't have an answer.

Rick Frea said...

Amy, you could handle it. You'd get enough satisfaction from helping all the asthmatics to make up for the few cases I just described. Really.

Anonymous said...

That is a good rule to know.

I'm with Amy on this. I think I could handle the blood and what not, but I'm not sure about the smells!

Anonymous said...

HA....right after I left that comment I thought, "Well, could it be much worse than my children, especially the one with a sketchy GI history?"


Rick Frea said...

As an RT, I usually don't see that end of things.