….I am pretty sure it is Wednesday. My first day in Sulaymaniah (or Sulymaniah or Sulaymaniyah…I really need to figure out how to spell it properly at some point) but I think it is the 3rd surgical day maybe? Pavel (a.k.a. Pasha…which is a nickname for Pavel by the way and will continue to be used interchangeably) and I got here late, as you all probably know, but it turns out so did four other people. I guess there was some in climate weather on the west coast of the US? People got stranded and delayed for days (this poor nurse from Virginia made it to Turkey by Sunday but they couldn’t fly her to Iraq until Tuesday….and then they lost all of her luggage).
Among the missing were both intensivists (Pavel being with me) as well as the perfussionist, which severely restricted the team’s options for surgeries the first two days. They were able to do a few “off pump” (i.e., cardiac bypass) cases but there were pretty much just two of our ICU nurses to manage post op patients. And it doesn’t sound like things went smoothly.
But nobody died (yay!). And everyone actually looks pretty good.
Anyway…I came in this morning expecting a total déjà vu of my previous two plus weeks. I was pleasantly surprised! What some of the other nurses saw as random chaos, looked to me to me logically organized and totally navigable (is that a word? Like “-able” of navigate?). Better equipment, more of it, TWO sinks (!!!!!), competent nurses (I was told however that this was the “A” team and the rest of the staff wouldn’t be quite as capable, but still). I was SOOOOOOOOO excited.
It was nice (and very helpful for everyone else) that I was already very familiar with local preparations of medications and how to mix everything the way I wanted it, which all came in very handy when we had a run of ventricular tachycardia on our first new case for the day. And that sort of semi-code scenario actually went really, really well! Granted, the surgeon accidently squirted the blood he was pushing all over me and our patient (nothing like a proper blood bath during a code to lighten the mood), but other than that everything went very smoothly!
After things quieted down a bit after all the excitement, one of the poor nurses who has been manning the ship solo for the last two days looked at me as said “You love this? You want to keep doing it?” I laughed.
Later, this same nurse made a comment about feeling like she was forgetting something. “Um, the documentation that you don’t really have to do?” I replied. “Yes!” was her excited but slightly disoriented response, followed by “Is that why you like it?”
“Because I get to just do nursing stuff and not spend hours documenting everything in case I get sued?”
Yep. I get to be “just a nurse.” That’s why I love it.