Valentine's weekend, as the song says, Ninteen-ninety-something. The patient had just been moved to the floor from the ICU. The admission was for pulmonary embolus and his heparin drip had infiltrated. Two IV therapy nurses had already been tossed out of the room and the general consensus was rapidly coming around to "Let his doctor start it." Not one to pass up a challenge, I volunteered to give it a try.
I looked at the rather grumpy patient in the bed, shot him my best Sally Sunshine smile, and quipped, "This is one hell of a place to spend Valentine's Day."
To my surprise, he actually smiled. Then he said, "You don't know the half of it, honey."
Normally, I don't respond well to "honey," but I was in the room unpacking my IV gear and he'd shown no signs of tossing me, so I encouraged him to continue. He certainly hadn't planned on being in the hospital for Valentine's Day. He hadn't even planned on being in town. What he had planned was a wedding - and a honeymoon in the Carribean. The ICU nurses had helped arrange for the wedding in their unit, but there was really nothing we could do about that honeymoon. Unfortunately, when he was transferred to the floor, his newlywed status hadn't been passed along, so his nurse had no idea why he was so unhappy.
As he continued to vent, I applied the tourniquet, cleaned the chosen site, inserted a 22 gauge catheter, secured it, and got his heparin drip running again. On my way out, I updated his nurse on his situation - and as I left, she was taking steps to ensure that the empty bed in his double room would stay that way as long as possible.
This is part 3 of a very occasional series. You'll find part 1 and part 2 in the archives.