Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gladys and The Doctor

I was snooping around over at Girly Stuff’s Blog, http://girlystuffin.blogspot.com/. She asked what your first job was. Well what was it?

If you count babysitting, then that was my first job. It was a poopie job but it wasn’t too terrible. I learned how to make homemade Eyetalian food from my boss, Mrs. Soprano. Then I had a friend whose brother owned a “filling station” or a gas station to most folks. He asked me to add up his receipts every afternoon, enter them into his books and make out his bank deposits. I would ride my bike over there sit in a dirty greasy gas station office add up his receipts with an old timey adding machine then make out his deposit slip. He would in exchange give me all the free R.C. Colas I could drink and all the Moon pies I could eat and pay me $5.00 a week. I know that’s not a lot of money but did you hear me? ALL of the RC COLA and MOONPIES I could keep down! I was thirteen! That job was golden!

My first real life experience working was actually in a hospital. I was sixteen years old and was a H.O.E. student. No that doesn’t mean I was taking lessons on how to street walk and turn tricks. It stands for Health Occupation Education. Our school was trying to help its students get a leg up on their careers. That meant you could “major” in a field of study. My field of choice was medical careers. I wanted to be a psychiatrist just like Lucy in the Peanuts Cartoon. Our H.O.E. director had jobs lined up for us and all we had to do was show up and do what they told us to do. Now several of my fellow H.O.E.s got really cool jobs like drawing blood, others got jobs working in physician’s offices actually taking care of patients. I got to be a nurse’s aide. Yeah I got to clean up grown-up poop.

I didn’t mind though and actually liked the medical field. I had a job at the small hospital in town. My mother was a charge nurse at the big hospital across town; I didn’t work there, thank goodness. I worked diligently for several months on the geriatric wing when one day the director of nursing came to me and asked if I would like to move to the surgery floor. My heart leapt. I had visions of me assisting Dr. Kildare in surgery. “Scalpel” he would say. “Of course doctor.” I would reply. He would be perspiring, because Richard Chamberlain would never sweat, and he would say “Gladys, I just can’t go on. You’re going to have to save this patient. I’m too weak; it is just too much for me.” I would of course answer “Anything for you Dr. Kildare”. I would then save the life of some poor schmuck. Only that isn’t what happened. Oh no, I didn’t get to assist Dr. Kildare or if Dr. Pepper. I was given the dubious title of Surgery Prep Aide. What you ask is that? That is the person who gets to administer enemas, shave hairy legs, butts, arms, chest, and nether regions and generally get you ready to go to surgery. Yeah, I get all the great jobs.

I got pretty good at my job. I learned to keep the patient covered as much as possible keeping both their dignity and my sanity in tact. I was SIXTEEN for crying out loud! I had several close calls with patients getting let’s just say a little excited about where my razor was shaving. I also got several who just got a little excited. Not knowing exactly what to do about this predicament I went to my charge nurse and with a face burning nuclear red said “Ms. Black, um, the patient in room 315 is um, he, um, kinda, um, has um priapism, um and I don’t know um what to do.” Now Nurse Black was about 102 years old. She still wore starched white uniforms and her school nurses cap that looked like a witch’s hat. She blinked her eyes behind her coke-bottle thick glasses and said in her sweet little old lady voice “Just thump it”. I jumped back a bit in disbelief of what she had just said. I asked for clarity “THUMP IT?” She smiled and said that was exactly what I was to do. Thump it and thump it hard is what she told me. She then smiled and told me that thumping it would make it go slack. So I did what she said and went back to the patient’s room and I sucked in a breath again my face was as red as a rooters crown and I walked over to the bed curled my fingers and went THUMP. Nothing happened. The patient looked at me with a curious and somewhat confused expression. I was determined as I have said before I do as I’m told. I explained to him that I needed to shave him for his forthcoming surgery and to do so I needed him in a more relaxed state. I thumped it harder, still nothing. I grabbed a hold of this poor mans member like I was ringing a turkey’s neck and I thumped it as hard as I could, still no change. I was at a loss.

I made my apologies to the patient and stepped quickly back to the nurse’s station to once again inquire what I might do to complete my task. Nurse Black was no longer at the station but was off doing her nurse duties. I found Dr. White instead of Nurse Black. Dr. White just so happened to be an urologist and the patient in 315’s doctor. I told him the problem I was having with the patient and what Nurse Black had instructed me to do. Dr. White’s face made a series of contortions and then he let out the loudest and longest hee-haw I had ever heard. The man laughed and laughed, he sucked air, and then wiped his eyes and a snort leaked out and he started all over again. Once he got some control over himself he explained to me that the patient did indeed have priapism and he was having surgery the next day for this particular malady. His surgery was the REASON for the prep and well he was unable to relax that part of his anatomy no matter how many times I thumped it.

Oh that wasn’t all of my humiliation though. Oh no, not me. I one time had to prep a guy that had dated my sister. He was a big good looking football player who had blown out his knee. I read the chart and there written in the nursing notes was the instructions for surgery prep. It was a standard chest to knees prep with his offending leg being shaved to foot. I was ok with this, I thought. I gathered my razor, my soap, my draping sheet and headed down the hall. Now I always had a secret crush on the football player. He of course asked me a gazillion questions about my sister. He told me how much he always thought of my sister, how pretty, gregarious, sweet and athletic she was, leaving out that she was everything I wasn’t. I chatted for several minutes and then explained what I was going to do complete with the fact it was easier if he were totally undressed. He complied and wrapped the drape over himself and I got busy. I chatted easily with him while I took every bit of blond hair off his chest, then moved on down to his stomach, then a little further south it began to get a little uncomfortable. I began to blush and stutter and he began to look away and whistle. He started talking about dead dogs and baseball. It was uncomfortable but we got through it. He was clean as a whistle from his breast bone all the way down to his big toe. I finished cleaning up my equipment and put fresh sheets on his bed while he got dressed in his stripped hospital gown. I promised I would bring him an A&W root beer float the next day when I came to work and make sure he was doing alright. I then made my way back to the nurse’s station. Nurse Black looked at my equipment, then at my nuclear red face and asked who I had just prepped. I told her and she looked at me a little confused. She walked over to the chart and said “Oh MY! This shouldn’t be here.” Then she chuckled and looked at me again and explained that Mr. Football Star didn’t need to be shaved chin to feet, he only needed his one leg shaved. Then she went on to tell me that he also did not need an enema. I took Mr. FB Star his root beer float the next afternoon and I never told him that he had been unnecessarily roto-rooted and shaved. I remember praying that night for an errant meteor to crash to earth smushing me into molten radioactive mush.

So that was my first job. What was yours?

10 comments:

365 Letters said...

Oh, Gladys! You have the best stories! My days babysitting and checking groceries don't compare. One time, when I was giving away soft drinks out of one of those little Coca Cola trailers at a store promotion, some drunk guy kept calling me Rhonda. I was about 14 or 15, and my name is Carla. Finally, I realized I had on a T-shirt promoting the latest craze, a citrus-flavored drink called Rondo.

Katherine Aucoin said...

Gladys, I think Nurse Black was messing with you big time! I could have NEVER prepped anyone for surgery, shoot, I hate being prepped for surgery. When I was 19 I had to have my appendix taken out and I made them knock me out before I would let them prep me.

My first job was in show business. Really, it was. I worked on Sundays at a local movie theater and sold tickets...ah so glamourous - LOL

Staci said...

My first job - I was a tour guide. In a cave. Really.

LiLu said...

Babysitting the neighborhood brats. Payed well, though...

And, um, I still kinda wanna be a psychiatrist just like Lucy in the Peanuts Cartoon.

Beth said...

My first job cannot in any way compete with yours for humor and life experience! I worked in a library. Not much prepping called for there…

(Keep writing – and submit your work somewhere. You’re good!)

Cher said...

My first job was packing peaches. Peach fuzz would get down your sweating neck and up your sweating arse. All the migrant workers would try to get us white chicks to go drink beer with them out back. We'd all laugh and keep packing them peaches! We were only fifteen!

The Texas Woman

Couture Allure Vintage Fashion said...

I also babysat - the kids next door were awful, but I saved my money for two years and bought my first sewing machine. Then I worked at Woolworth's taking care of the birds, fish, and lizards in the pet department.

Staci said...

P.S. Come on over to my blog, Gladys, I'm having a giveaway!

MJ said...

Similar experience, actually.
I worked for a gastroenterologist as my first real job.

I described my job as dealing with peopl's crap...literally.,

Girly Stuff said...

Those first jobs are great to remember. Keeps us grounded. Things could always be worse.