Sometimes I wonder about my sanity. Often I wonder about my calling. When it comes to my "for pay job" the two go hand in hand. Nights at the ER more often than not can be insane. We are often not staffed with the same amount of nurses or doctors as day shift. We will often see more patients in a concentrated amount of time. And we do it with decidedly less sleep. I have experienced an occasional freak night where we see few people and we sit around talking all night long. Mostly we run.
Two nights ago was no exception. We ran. It felt like we had a full ER, full waiting room and full ambulance bay all night long. We seemed to never catch up. Just when one high adrenaline thing would end, the next would start. You couldn't even think while sitting at the nurses station (that's provided you actually got to sit) because we had surrounded the station with people in beds out in the hallway. These were people that we needed to keep an eye on because they were either out of their mind, suicidal, or crazy drunk. One was covered in his own poop so if you dared to use the computer on that side of the station your eyes watered from the stench. The other computer was over looking the man that would yell obscenities at you and tell you to "get a job." That comment would make my blood boil considering how hard we were working.
12.5 hours, no break, no food, no time to even get a drink of water, 1 tech when we should have 3, 2 full blown - send them to the cath lab - having a heart attack patients, one so-sick-he-may-not-make-it 6 day old, 4 crazy people surrounding us, 4 suicidal patients, 25+ people through the quick care staffed by one nurse (me) in 6 hours, one patient who freaked out so bad he was hitting and spitting at nurses and security (diabetic with low blood sugar), and I wonder about my sanity. We all did... We made it though. Day shift came on and didn't even complain about the mess we made. The looks on our faces said it all.
I came home late, got dressed, went to church, came home, fell asleep. I was knitting last night in front of the TV thinking about the insanity of my life. What would it be like for me if I could just sew and knit all day/night long? Who would I be if I wasn't spending my nights at the ER? I wonder... I might like to find out someday.