And, lo and behold, I really like it. I forgot that I like working with grown-up-people-patients too. Some are exceptionally nice, some are downright loony tunes. Some are exceptionally nice and loony tunes. Most are just normal folks, which may be why it surprises me how much I like working with them. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the last time I had adult patients was in the ER and that's not always a place to catch people at their best, she says diplomatically.
The people never cease to amaze me. I've met people who would wake up and be at dialysis at 5am(the am stands for Areya Mad!) 3 times a week and then go and work a full time job. And I whinged and moaned because I had to do a bowel prep once (seriously, by 9am I was like "how many more hours of clear liquids?" AND you can't eat red jello! Why do they even MAKE other flavors?!) I'm also the one who, after all my talk of natural childbirth, crawled out of the elevator and said, "Get the anesthesiologist, I want my epidural NOW!!!"
All this means that if I'm ever your patient, please just point to something shiny and hit me over the head with a large rock while my back is turned-because I am just that much of a pain in the ass when I'm sick.
And sick I've been. The third week of work the plague struck everyone and the office sounded like a consumption ward. I called out 2 whole days because of fever and general malaise and because I didn't think it was cool to cough on all the people on immunosuppresion. Then I was out for a day when Pooter had her surgery. Then, the VERY NEXT DAY, I woke up with-yes, that's right-fever and all-over ickyness and called out again. The next week I got a stern talking-to. Me. Whose husband yells that I go into work when I can't talk from laryngitis and I'm coughing up a lung. Who gives him a hard time if I have to stay home with a sick baby(that's why they make tylenol). I'm a rotten mother, but I show up for work, dammit. Now I'm working with people who never call out and eat lunch at their desk. Sigh.
Another reason for the long delay since my last post, beside being plague-ridden, is that I'm a little leary blogging about the J-O-B and I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it. If I thought the OPO would give me hard time, this place would definitely put the keebosh on it, so I'm wondering what my next move's going to be. And I would lerv to talk about work. There are some real characters, staff and patients alike. I really like everyone. Well, I really want to like everyone, and isn't it the thought that counts? Today, someone brought me 3 Twizzlers and left them on my desk. Isn't that nice?
I'm splitting up the post patients with another coordinator-and we do about 100 transplants a year, and the program's been around for a while, so it's like-a gazillion patients. 1/2 a gazillion for him and half a gazillion for me. Once I lose the water wings, we're going to split the alphabet. Hubby informs me that he read somewhere(probably reddit) that if you split the alphabet by last names, the first half is unfairly burdened. I suppose that's true. If I really wanted to (and had the time), I could go into the chart room and start counting, but I s'pose I'll just take my chances. So far, it does seem like A-M has more crazies, and if you see yourself or your family members in that statement, don't come complaining to me-I didn't pick your last name. For example, I know a guy whose last name is pronounced "Co" as in Codependant or Co-defendant, but it's written like a part of a man's anatomy that rhymes with rock. And he gets pissed off when people mispronounce it. For the love of Pete, I know it's your proud family name and all, but just change the spelling already. From now on I'm going to say his name is Rick-the "P" is silent.
But I digress. Mondays and Thursdays we have clinic from 8-12 noon. Folks sign in at the clinic, go down a floor to the lab to get their blood work done, then return to clinic, where they go over their medications with the TC (moi) and see one of the docs. First come, first served-somedays we see a few, but most days are nonstop patients for 4 hours. One TC starts the clinic, the other rounds with docs until about 8:30. At noon, I run for a bite to eat and return to my little office where we write down all the labs onto one overview sheet for the docs to review, then transcribe each person's labs into their chart, because our brand new fancy computer system cannot print out lab trends. Then, around 1:30 the prograf levels come back and we start scribbling again until the doc comes in. Chart by chart, we review the labs and meds and write down in each chart what changes need to be made. THEN, we call everybody with their changes, book biopsies and call in prescriptions until it's time to go home.
The other thing that amazes me is the time committment this takes for the patient. For the first three months following transplant, they come in for clinic and/or labs 2x a week for several weeks, then once a week and then finally every other week. And that's the minimum. If anything's out of whack, or they look like they're going into rejection, it's more frequent. Each visit takes at least 2-3 hours and some of them come from pretty far away. Most of them don't ever complain-"it beats going to dialysis" I've heard more than once, and that's the truth, I'm sure. By the end of 3 months we're like old friends. I've seen some of these people more than my own parents in the last couple of months.
The other days are filled up with filing, patient phone calls, reviewing blood work and tests sent in from outside facilities, the weekly staff meeting. It's a far cry from the office days at the OPO, where I'd arrive at a leisurely 10am, take an hour lunch and be out by 3 or 4pm. But then again, I don't have to jump up in the middle of the night and drive to Pennsyltucky any more, either. I like the 9-5, I like having weekends off and regardless of what my husband thinks, I come home at a reasonable hour and spend some time with my family before going to bed, which is nice, too.