Placement Week 5

Tuesday was a disaster – I couldn’t face 12 hours with my mentor, I had a meltdown and went home. I tried using Brain in Hand, thee DSA funded autism app on my phone, but it has a fatal flaw: my shift starts at half seven and there aren’t facilitators to respond to pressing the red ‘I’m in a flap, help me now’ button until eight. Sadly nobody I know is up that early to stress at either. Or if they are, they’re at work. So home I went, feeling that awkward mixture of self-loathing and relief. I made the sensible decision to rearrange my shifts so as not to work with my mentor, since I have a co-mentor now, I don’t need to be with her for 40% of my shifts.

I had a very busy day with my favourite staff nurse – I realise it’s awkward referring to her as that, but this is the internet and names are personal. Maybe I should give her a name. Maybe I should call her Lilo, because she’s very bouncy and excitable and kind of reminds me of Lilo in Lilo and Stitch. It had to be a Disney name, because she spent a good part of the twelve-hour shift singing ‘Not in Nottingham’ from Disney’s Robin Hood. So now I have that stuck in my head. Pity me!

I spent a lot of the morning feeling utterly clueless because I got to help with the drugs round and I know next to nothing, which given that I studied biochemistry for more years than I care to admit to, is embarrassing. I did however pick up on a potential mistake, the medication dose in one of our patients pod lockers didn’t match the prescription, so we couldn’t give it. Ten points to me for paying attention! Fifty points to Lilo for being so strict on paying attention and doing the drugs round properly.

One of our patients died. I helped Lilo perform the final rites. It was different this time. I was there when the lady was admitted, she was quite old and she had a chest infection, but initially the doctors had thought she would go home. Her family stayed with her for a long time to say their last goodbyes, we offered tea (as you do) and gave them space. Because the day was so hot – and this is the UK so who needs air conditioning in hospitals? – the body was still warm when we came to perform the final rites. Lilo, a September cohort first year and I washed her, when we rolled her onto her side to wash her back, she appeared to vomit. I am aware that’s not the technical term. Once we had washed her face and dressed her, we had to call the morgue. Unlike other European countries, we use a euphemism when calling the morgue, in case other patients or relatives overhear. The morgue in our hospital is called ‘Rose Cottage’. I get the logic, but I still think it’s weird.

It was one of those situations, it was fine while I was doing it, but I did feel quite weird when I got home. It was one of those nights I slept with the light on.

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