Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Ghostly Trip

I took my freshly pedicure self to the hospital to have my P.E.T. scan. I've posted about that already.

Being there, lights out in the small room where I waited until fluids and isotopes slipped through my body triggered thoughts of another time in another hospital in a darkened hallway.

I was working my shift on the oncology floor, well lit and full of activity that night. The seventh floor was under constuction, the halls at this time of night were unlit. Ladders, buckets and carpentry supplies littered those hallways in that floor with four wings to it. Not a soul wandered those halls, the elevator bypassed it on it's trips up and down the hospital. Dim light filtered in from the empty rooms waiting on their remodel.

On this particular evening, a patient needed to go to radiology dept for a stat xray. There wasn't a transport available to come and get the patient. Waiting was not an option. This patient was having difficulty breathing and a stat chest xray was ordered.

I volunteered to transport. My transport skills were nil and it didn't occur to me that transporting a gurney without someone to assist me was not a good idea.

I unhooked the patient from plug ins to the walls, transferred the IV's to a pole hanging on the bed, unlocked the wheels and hit the hallway.

Forgetting the path to radiology required me to drop down to the floor below and navigate the hallways to the exit hallway to radiology, I shivered as I pushed that bed with the patient out of the elevator and onto those hallways.

Quickly I learned pulling the bed from the front instead of trying to steer it alone and from the back was the only possible way to move it without banging out the walls. My poor patient. I often wonder if he was as frightened as I was. I kept up a running patter of pure silliness. Stories to keep his mind off the long runs down those deserted darkened hallways. I kept wondering if ghosts of other patients were watching as as we skittered past those rooms.

On the way back, a doctor had decided to make a shortcut through that floor. Finding me fighting that bed around the corners and the obstacles of construction, he grabbed one end of that bed and stayed with me until I arrived back on my unit.

During all this, I finally realized another reason two transport personnel were required on each transfer. Had my patient coded, I would have been the only person there to assist him.

Never again did I make the mistake of doing a transport alone. Was it the thought of all those ghostly inhabitants of that floor or the thought of losing a patient to a code?

Moving on....

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