When I left you last, I gave you the somewhat faulty impression that I had, indeed, become SuperMom, curing sore throats and doing household chores at the speed of sound. In reality, my sick baby took a 3 hour nap, I sorted and did exactly 2 loads of laundry, passed on cleaning the kitchen in favor of reading blogs, and, instead of cooking, my husband brought home take-out for dinner. Domestic goddess, I am not. Fortunately, CindyLou awakened from her power nap afebrile and happy as a clam. I expect she will make a full recovery, and she is back to requesting chocolate for dinner (she is totally my daughter). I went back to being a physician, and had a relatively good Wednesday.
I fully expected to have a crappy day today. I had 14 new patients on the schedule, and I had 45 total patients on my list. I also was continuing an induction from yesterday, a primip that was post-dates with pre-ecclampsia. She never dilated more than 1 cm all day long yesterday, so I was worried about her progression, and I was really hoping to avoid a C-section, if possible. I don't know what is up with my schedule, but I started the day in a foul mood. My clinic nurse, SuperNurse, listened to my venting and told me that it would all be alright.
Let me expound, for a minute, on why I love her so very much. She takes care of me like I am one of her own children, she trusts me enough to let me care for her daughter (her daughter is 20 weeks pregnant), she loves my daughter like a grandchild (and CindyLou loves her!), she has been CindyLou's babysitter by choice, she answers my phone messages, deals with difficult patients, triages my patients, and assists me with exams and procedures, she gave me my flu shot and it didn't even hurt, and today, since she was worried that I wouldn't have time to eat, she brought me a salad and pepperoni roll from her own house so that I would have lunch. I love her to pieces, and she is never allowed to leave me. I had my own private hissy fit about my schedule for the day, she listened patiently, and then I got to work.
By the grace of God, I had numerous cancellations today, lightening the schedule significantly. As I trudged through clinic, I was in touch with my patient's labor nurse often throughout the day. Yesterday this patient had received Multiple doses of cytotec, yielding many contractions, but very little cervical change. When I rounded in the morning, she was 2cm/70% effaced/ and -2 station. I was hopeful for a vaginal delivery, but whenever you encounter such an unfavorable cervix, it is always a concern that the induction will fail. I was surprised (and pleased) to learn that she had dilated to 5 cm in just under 3 hours. The labor nurse, a seasoned professional with 20 years of experience under her belt, stated that the patient was having a few decelerations, but the baby was responding to scalp stimulation, and the labor was progressing well. I trusted her clinical judgment, and proceeded through my clinic day. Imagine my surprise when she paged me at 2:30 pm, stating that the patient was completely dilated! I quickly completed my remaining office visits, cancelled the remainder of the afternoon, and dashed to the hospital.
My patient delivered her long-awaited baby in a mere 4 pushes, and the baby was perfect, with Apgars of 9 and 9. After the delivery was completed and I sat at the nurses' station, completing paperwork, I asked the labor nurse to pull the strip from earlier, when the baby was having decelerations. Ladies and gents, the strip was U.G.L.Y. (you ain't got no alibi you ugly, hey, hey, you ugly...um, sorry, latent cheerleader tendencies emerging, here...nothing to see) It showed repetitive late decelerations and minimal beat to beat variability, for a good 20 minutes. Any other, less experienced, nurse likely would have pulled the plug on this patient due to the non-reassuring strip. This nurse, however, repositioned, started oxygen, gave positive scalp stim, and did not panic. It was fortutitous that this seasoned nurse held steady with the patient and worked steadfastly to improve the fetal status. Because of her expertise and confidence in the face of a non-reassuring strip, not only did she save my patient's peace of mind, she preserved her ability to proceed with a vaginal delivery.
Nurses save my butt every single day, and while I do my best to thank them, I fear it just isn't sufficient. So, to all you nurses out there, regardless of your specialty, thank you a million times over for everything that you do. Nursing can be such a thankless job, and you deserve so much more. Hug your nurses today, folks, they are the heart and the soul of good medical care, without them, we physicians would be lost.