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I'm so happy I found this sub!

I've been reading for a couple of


hours now, and there are some great tales on here that I can
totally relate to.
I wish more nurses/healthcare workers knew
about /r/talesfromnursing because there are just so many
stories to tell from us all out there, working in the job. Funny,
tragic & everything inbetween, nursing is like russian roulette
at times! How many nurses have you heard say, 'I could write a
book'? I certainly have even said it myself!
BG: I'm a Registered Adult Nurse (RNA/RGN) in the UK.
Care/nursing is literally all I've ever known (except for a brief
2-day stint in a card shop!). I started my first job in a nursing
home aged 17, onto a hospital job as a Clinical Support Worker
for a couple of years after that, then through university as a
Student Nurse. I have been registered now for over a decade.
I currently work on a high-dependency/respiratory ward in a
small hospital. We are the only unit (except HDU) that takes
patients needing NIV. We also provide palliative care for
terminal lung ca, we take the young asthmatics, the COPD's,
some general medical patients, and even the occasional
surgical/ortho outlier thrown in, so it's a real mix.
The following story happened to me a couple of years ago, on a
snowy December night. I still remember the patient's name,
and he is sadly no longer with us. For the sake of anonymity, I
shall call him 'Brian'...
It was the night shift, my usual, and preferred, shift (I'm pretty
sure I was born nocturnal!), and Brian, a friendly chap in his
60's, had been with us as an inpatient on and off for a few
weeks. On his first admission, he'd had a, sadly too late,
diagnosis of lung cancer.

At first he appeared well, considering his diagnosis, slight pain,


well controlled on a small dose of MST, and prn Oramorph. He
was was deemed fit enough for palliative radiotherapy, given an
optimistic couple of months, but was told it was obviously an
unpredictable illness, and that his health might go down hill
quicker than the doctors had anticipated. He took the news as
well as could be expected & told us he was going to get his
affairs in order.
A few weeks later, he was back with a build up of pleural fluid.
Not uncommon this situation, fairly easy to manage. We
controlled his pain, drained him & he was discharged soon
after. The problem was, it kept happening. Everytime the drain
was removed, within a day or two, the fluid was back, even
after pleurodesis. He had by now developed pneumonia too,
was too sick to consider any sort of surgery, and his radio tx
had to be cancelled.
He eventually recovered from the pneumonia, his pain meds
were upped, he had a pigtail drain inserted, and again was
allowed home to his family. As we all know at this stage, every
moment counts.
His next admission was then because of a reaction to the now
increased pain meds he was on. He was extremely confused,
behaving irrationally & had then developed another pleural
effusion after pulling out his pigtail drain in an episode of
mania.
Fast-forward to the night in question, same admission, about a
week later. He was very sick by this point, another chest
infection was threatening by the look of his bloods, and he had
a drain constantly in his side. He shouldn't have even been out
of bed this night, let alone roaming up & down the ward
corridor half-naked, swinging his drain around like weapon! He
was really confused & thought there was some kind of
conspiracy against him. No one could get near him, and I could

only cringe as I saw the fluid go back up the tube the wrong
way.
He wouldn't let anyone help him, or even put a blanket around
him, and was surprisingly strong for such a sick man. He had a
lovely, supportive family, a call-us-anytime type family, so we
got his wife to come in, thinking she might calm him, but when
he didn't recognise even her, she became so upset we had to
sit her down away from him.