Nurses make horrible patients

I should know.  I’ve been a nurse for nine years. I come from a “nursing family”.  Both parents.  An aunt and a cousin.  I’m surrounded.

Nurses think they know better than the doctors.  In some cases that is true.  But nurses often don’t follow their doctors orders when it comes to resting, taking their medication as ordered, and getting consults and other treatments like PT and OT.  We love to self diagnose and we don’t know how to stop being a nurse and start being a patient.

  • Medication.  Nurses are notorious for not taking their medication or taking it differently as ordered.  For me personally, I constantly forget to refill my meds, or I “wing it” and take half or skip a dose or tinker with my dosages.  Why?  Because I have the knowledge of what will and will not kill me.
  • Rest.  What is that?  Nurses are used to “pushing through” pain, illness, fatigue.  Despite the risk, nurses will push through colds, viruses etc because they don’t want to leave their friends short shifted.  You have to be literally bed ridden to miss work.  Earlier this year I worked through severe eye issues because I knew that covering my rural territory (about 50 mile radius) would suck for anyone filling in for me.  I went to work the next day after having steroid injections TO MY EYEBALL.  A needle was inserted into my eye and it hurt like hell but I went to work the next day.
  • Ignoring treatment recommendations.  PT or OT?  Hell, I’ll exercise my knee at home.  I’ve seen so-and-so from PT do Mrs. Johnson’s PT a dozen times by now, I could do it in my sleep.  Hey, that’s not a bad idea.  Consult?  I’ll just ask Dr. Smith the pulmonologist what he thinks of my situation the next time I see him in the cafeteria.  Sound familiar? I rest my case.
  • Self diagnosis.  We know how to assess, that can work for or against us.  I personally admit to using my own stethoscope to assess my lungs.  They are clear, by the way.  My heart rate is tachy and irregular, however.  And has been for weeks.  No bueno.  So as a nurse I automatically run down the list of things it can possibly be.  As a nurse I automatically think the worst thing possible…the sarcoid is in my heart…I’ll need a defibrillator.  Or worse, I’ll need a heart transplant.  When in reality it might just be medication related.
  • When self diagnosis works — last year my daughter lovingly gave me a concussion.  She bonked her hard head into my chin and I saw stars.  I didn’t black out and hit the deck, but I did sleep for 18 hours straight.  When I woke up the next day, I knew enough to get to the ER and the concussion was confirmed.
  • Take off the nursing cap!!  This happens at doctor’s appointments. They all know I’m a nurse.  Which can make doctors lazy.  They figure “I don’t have to go over this piece of education with her because she’s a nurse, she should know this”.  Well, I’m not a nurse that works in rheumatology or neurology, or psychology.  Please give me the same education you would give to any other patient.  I will not consider it condescending, I have a lot floating in my brain with this condition and reinforcing the education will go a LONG way in making sure I’m doing the right thing.
  • Nurse + Internet = paranoia. Nurses also know how to find more specific information.  I know how to search the web for studies and professional articles for my condition.  BAD IDEA.  It only depresses me.  I know how to read medical jargon, research articles, anecdotal evidence. It scares the hell out of me.

So I vow to be a better patient.  I will call my meds in on time, I will keep my head on straight, follow doctor’s orders and stay off pubmed.  I will walk the fine line of being a patient and being a nurse.  Not too paranoid, not to lax.


Why Spongebob and steroids do not mix

I’ve had enough!!

Oh dear God!! Maybe it was bound to happen eventually. Who knows? Other than the massive weight gain, I get extremely irritable on steroids. Not right away, thank God, or the wedding would have been…interesting. But it has been an insidious process.

I started out at 60mg per day. And the dosage has been toyed with since that time. Today I tapered down to 5 mg. I am nervous about it. This is the lowest dosage I have been on in four months. The last time they tried to taper eyes rebelled. But I wasn’t on methotrexate at the time. I am hoping this goes well because I’m not sure if I can continue going on like this.

Back to the little sponge.

My daughter is a huge fan. I was a huge fan before her birth. I get the adult humor that the creators of the cartoon claim to know nothing about. I think I have seen every episode at least twice by now.

We have Directv, so we get at least six channels of Nickelodeon. That means at least 24 hours of Spongebob. And my daughter loves it. She doesn’t necessarily watch all the time, just having it on in the background is ok, but she loves that sponge.

I lost it the other day. The voice just got to me. I told my daughter “ENOUGH ALREADY! Find something else to watch. I don’t care what it is, just no more Spongebob!!!”

She complied, but the first time she thought I wasn’t paying attention, on went the sponge, and again that high pitched voice. “TURN THAT OFF!” “Why Mama?” “I don’t know, I just have no tolerance for Spongebob today”

I hate this aspect of the steroids. I turn into a different person. I’m glad that it is not that often, but when I have an irritable day, I snap at everyone. I have no tolerance of my husband’s sense of humor, no tolerance for Spongebob or my daughter’s antics, no tolerance for my mom’s politics, I just want to go in my room and read.

I have explained to my daughter that mommy has “Grumpy Bear days”, she has a Care Bear book and I used that to illustrate to her that sometime people don’t feel happy all the time. She seems to be on board with that. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful, intelligent and thoughtful child.

My husband usually thinks I’m mad at him. Which is not the case at all. I’m just mad at the world and EVERY SINGLE THING gets on my nerves. The air is annoying. My skin is annoying. I just want to scream. And sometimes it gets misdirected.

I can’t wait to be off of this medication. It truly is the devil. I understand the reasoning behind it, and it probably saved my eyesight. But steroids and my life do not mix. And my life involves a relationship with a sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea….