I knew nursing school would be difficult and I was willing to sacrifice my dream to earn my degree. He came to class like something from the undead. I managed to get through the tough times in nursing school because I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and there was. But boy, can we turn off the light sometimes and just go all night?
Well, as you may have already deduced, I am a zombie nurse. I graduated 6 years ago and I work in a busy medical-surgical floor. 12 hour shifts are the norm and I work mine three in a row. I guess you could say, I’m a glutton for punishment, and you’d be right. Many nurses choose to separate their shifts throughout the week so they are not so tired. But I? No, I am a staunch. I guess if I’m already working, I can continue until I’m done and then enjoy being free for four days. My boss thinks I’m crazy, but I would never admit he’s right about that, because he already thinks he’s Einstein’s ghost.
My day begins at ridiculous on the dot. I’ve already hit the alarm clock three times, but it refuses to shut up. It’s like groundhog day again. It is so early that the bats are still awake and flying. I open my eyes again, only to realize that I slept until my last nap, and I have a minute and thirty seconds to get in the shower, get dressed, eat, make coffee, and drive to work … on my way to stupidity. ! I curse, then pull my butt out of bed cursing and swearing I’ll be smarter tonight and go to bed earlier, so I can easily get up the next day. But it never happens. I’m a liar!
I take a freezing shower to wake up my lazy cells, then thank God and WonderWink that I get to work in my pajamas. Man, I love my scrubs. I run downstairs, open the fridge and grab a moldy, unrecognizable piece of fruit? (Or something) and I don’t have time for coffee. Yes, I hate my life now.
I look like Dog-doo because I have no makeup. Maybe that’s fine with some nurses. You know, the ones that are naturally fabulous at 6:00 in the morning, but not my ugly ass. Looks like I’ve been dragged back through a bush, and it never fails. No one can shut up about my appearance at work. It has to be “hey, you don’t seem like you’re feeling good” or “wow, you look tired.” Yeah I’m tired, and no I’m not sick I’m just going crazy without my Estee Lauder Halloween mask.
Trying to eat breakfast while listening to a report is challenging, even for me. Now, I have a strong stomach, but why do all my patients have to have all the poop, vomit and pus problems? I listen as I choke on a rotten banana and envy someone else’s McDonald’s. Everyone else seems much more organized and fresh. I can barely keep my eyes open to hear the report. It seems I said to the Nurse: “I want to get out of here.” to give me a report, because he does it like he’s Speedy Gonzales, and he’s quick to say, “It’s on the chart,” when I ask any question. God, it’s going to be a long day.
I feel like I’ve run a marathon and it’s only 7:30 a.m. M. Time flies when you’re having fun! Evaluating and approving medications doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Haha, bad. All my patients are wrecked today, with a million and one of drugs, and we don’t have half of them. It’s a pharmacy call, and now I’m singing zombies, “I love my job, I love my job.” aloud.
I’m already daydreaming about bedtime, but I complete my evaluations without too much trouble. Well, except for the sweet insane old lady who keeps asking me to find her socks (when she’s both wearing them). The patient next to her believes that the mob is plotting to kill him and Mr. Gross, who keeps asking me to give him a bed bath. Tell me why I became a nurse again.
I finish my morning check-in and feel like I’ve crashed into a brick wall. If I don’t drink massive amounts of caffeinated coffee, I’ll be on the ground. Time to rush to the cafeteria for a drink. Ah, what do you know? They have a few, but he is so old and strong that he is about to grow legs and drift away on his own. What the heck, I need coffee! So I pay his stinky million dollars for a big coffee and run upstairs to see more “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” starring my boss as Freddie Krueger.
Today is on wheels, like most days. He sits at the desk and barks orders at us, and he has no idea what the actual infirmary is all about. The only time she rises from the dead to lend a hand is when the Joint Commission is here, and she suddenly turns into Nancy Nurse and everyone recites the mission statement.
While I was away, one of my patients fell out of bed, trying to escape the mob that guy came to visit. All I can think of is more paperwork. The patient is fine, but now I have a hundred years of paperwork. When I start working on the book I have to write, a relative of another patient comes to visit me. He wants to talk to me, so I stop what I’m doing and rush to the patient’s room. She tells me she’s not a nurse and says, “I’m not trying to do your job, but a friend of mine works in a nursing home and she does something medical. She said your mother takes too many antibiotics.” and that she’s the wrong type. “Hmmm Really? Right now I’ve reached my boiling point, but I’m still trying to be nice.” Well, let me check it out and I’ll get back to you, “I say cheerfully, while muttering under my breath. As I walk away
8 hours pass and I keep flying like a witch on her broomstick. My charts are not finished yet and I am falling further behind with each step I take. One great advantage of being a nurse is that time passes so quickly because you never come out to breathe.
At the end of each day, my bladder hurts from the need to urinate. I think I could just win a pee-pee contest! I am a beast! My stomach is gurgling from lack of food and this day is fast becoming tales from the crypt. All I can think of is dodging it. But the passage of time is fast becoming an unsettling possibility. When will this end?
I manage to finish my paperwork and my patients are finally happy (for now). Could it really be over? My relief comes and I run into his arms like a cheesy love story. I’m elated that it’s over for today. I can go home. Hurrah! I run to my car, noticing that there is a full moon outside, although I could have told you without looking. I get into my car, start the engine, and sigh in absolute relief. I look at myself in the rear view mirror and go crazy with fear. There is a terrifying monster looking at me. Oh wait, it’s just me after the 12 hour shift from hell.
On the way home I reflect on my day. I realize I’m a mess, but in a good way. I wouldn’t take anything for the witches I work with and the patient imp I occasionally run into. I love my life as a nurse and I wouldn’t trade it for all the money in the world. It might be crazy, but it’s my life and I love being a zombie nurse. Maybe I’ll resign myself to sleep when I’m dead.
This is dedicated to all my zombie nurse friends around the world. Happy Halloween, zombie nurses! You are totally amazing!