Abbie is one of those really great nurses. She never seems frazzled. She never rushes around frantically. She always seems perfectly in control: smiling, chatting, calming gathering her medications or supplies like she has nothing else in the world to do, except this one little task that she’s doing right now.
Because nurses always have something else to do.
One day while travel nursing in Colorado, on a fine morning around 11:00, I got a phone call from the lab, saying the blood was ready for the patient in room 622, and would I please come pick it up so it could be transfused? That phone call came as the patient in room 618 was impatiently awaiting his discharge (family all gathered, ready to take him home, just waiting on me to go over instructions), plus the secretary had just paged me that the patient in room 617 had been incontinent, and was lying in a large pool of liquid stool; he clearly needed to be cleaned up immediately. And room 612 needed pain meds. Oh, the surgical admit was on their way, thanks.
Blood, discharge, poop, pain meds, new patient. All at 11:00 in the morning.
At the same time. Right now.
I’m sure I was rushing around, looking frazzled.
I was rushing around another day, in Arizona. Time to hang that antibiotic for my patient! I turned towards the medication room. But wait, my other patient was nauseated and had asked for some soda – the refrigerator was right here, maybe I’d get that first! I spun towards the refrigerator. But wait, that doctor wanted the results of the lab work faxed to him, the chart was nearby, maybe I should – quick – fax those results! I pivoted to the charts. But wait, someone else had called for pain medications, pain meds certainly take priority! I swung towards the narcotics cart. But wait, I really needed to hang that antibiotic, it was almost late!
Antibiotics! [Turn.] Soda! [Turn.] Lab results! [Turn.] Pain meds! [Turn.]
I was literally spinning in circles.
That’s just not efficient.
But Abbie is efficient. She gets it all done with apparent ease, while just kind of wandering around. So two little kids? Her two-year old daughter Sophie and a newborn son? A shrieking energy-filled toddler-tornado and an exhausting hungry pooping gurgling beloved baby boy?
Both at the same time?
Piece of cake. I knew she could handle it.
Because I’ve never once seen her spinning in circles.
Abbie’s Having a Son!
Abbie, you’ll shine with two little kids.
You’re a nurse, a professional Multi-Task Whiz.
The stat blood is ready for the patient in two!
Room four’s throwing up, and room ten’s turning blue!
A doctor is holding, and he sounds really pissed,
And your admit is here – the big rectal cyst.
The lab’s on the phone with a critical K,
And staffing wants extras – pick a day, any day!
So two little kids will be easy for you.
You’re used to the chaos. You’re used to the flu.
Sophie’s climbing the dresser, and over it tips –
You catch her one-handed, while the other hand flips
Your son in his diaper, and presto, it’s changed.
Nobody’s bleeding. Nobody’s maimed.
Then come the tantrums and meltdowns galore:
She throws food at her brother, he pees on the floor.
Then Sophie is four, and your son is age two:
Princesses! Ponies! Fixations with poo!
Then Sophie is eight, and your son is age six:
Gymnastics! Piano! Snails and ticks!
Sophie’s eleven, your son is age nine:
Sleepovers! Little League! Bandaids and grime!
Then your life gets consumed with shopping and sports.
“How much did that cost?!” “Those shorts are too short!”
“Keep your hands on the handlebars!” “That ramp is too tall.”
“He’s bleeding again.” “You were just at the mall!”
“The baseball smashed into whose window again?”
“Sophie, hang up the phone!” “The game begins when?”
When you need a vacation, need a nice easy day,
Come back to North 2. With us you can play!
‘Cause blood and blue patients and poking-out ribs
Are way-the-heck easier than two little kids.