Tuesday, October 2, 2012

There are three holes

I had three exams in the last week.  One after another - boom, boom, boom.  As the days whipped by and I had less and less time to study for each subsequent test, I swear, it felt like my head was screwed onto my neck just a little too tightly, and if I turned even a bit too quickly, it was going to fly off and I was going to explode.  By the third test, all I had time to do was study for 24 hours straight, with a ten minute power nap the morning of, that I awoke from in a blind panic, drool hanging off my face and terrified that I had missed my test.

So maybe it was the severe sleep deprivation and strong feelings of whiplash that we were all experiencing, but today, during seven straight hours of lecture and lab - medication administration, IV tubing, blood transfusions, and catheterization - professionalism and decorum had all but worn off.  So when my med/surg professor grabbed the decoy penis off the table and started telling us that, "Cath-ing a man is so friggin' easy - I mean, come on!  It's staring right at you, saying, 'Here I am!'" - let's just say, I was not the only one laughing.  Within minutes, I was in tears.  Still from laughter, I promise!

"Now, for men, the psychological pain is much worse!  If they didn't know that you were putting a pipe in their penis, no sweat.  But the minute you hold up your little red catheter, they start to sweat, and you'd think you were asking them to bend over and close their eyes, if you know what I'm saying."

"Now, for women, what you've got to remember is that you're not going to be cath-ing a cute little 24-year-old like all of you!  Nuh uh, you're cath-ing an 84-year-old who had six children and can't hold her legs apart.  So that's why you bring a friend.  Someone for the legs."

"Now, if they have fistulas, you're gonna pick the wrong hole.  Usually, there are only three holes.  Are we clear on that?  Everyone?  That there are THREE HOLES??  Okay, good.  Well, for a lady with fistulas...there might be six or seven holes.  So you're going to be all up in there, so damn proud of yourself because you got your sterile gloves on without touching your hair or the bed or the patient, and you're going to find the hole and stick that baby in and you're thinking, no sweat, I got this, and all of a sudden that catheter is peeking back out at you because you picked the fistula hole and now it's on its way back out and oh my dear god, you should see your face when that happens!  You all just about poop your pants.  Funniest thing.  But it's okay!  You just leave that catheter in and try again with a fresh one.  Once you get it in the right hole, you pull out your wrong ones.  One time I had a student go through eight pairs of gloves and four catheters.  You can't possibly do worse than that."

How's that for encouragement?



Nursing school sounds extra-special.

Anonymous said...


Allison the Meep said...

Oh, god. This describes exactly why I'm terrified of getting old.

Cait said...

Haha, I know, right?? But don't worry. Any nurse that's cath-ing you has done it so many times that she/he just doesn't care anymore. Although we all have to start somewhere, I suppose...