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Story Time!

Nueva Koehler


Have you ever experienced a bedside nursing situation that you wish hadn't occurred for the simple reason that it made you appear foolish? Please do share. One night, I was working on the LTC unit at a facility where I frequently picked up shifts, so I had developed a good rapport with the residents and the staff. I check on a resident who had their call light on. He was looking for Robert, his CNA, to change his colostomy bag. Although I offered to do it, he declined. It was quite a relief for me, but not for the reason one might expect. As of that point in my career, I did not even remember having a patient with a colostomy, and the last time I provided care for a colostomy was during my clinical training. In spite of the fact that I knew how to do it, I was certain that Robert would put me to shame.  A little more than an hour had passed, and the same resident had his light on and was once again searching for Robert.

Because I had only seen Robert once during the previous couple of hours, I assumed that he was having a very busy night.  I informed him that Robert was with another resident; however, I am able to assist him. He insisted on waiting for his CNA, but I convinced him to allow me to help him. In addition to stool, his ostomy bag was fully inflated due to gas.  I REPEAT, the ostomy bag was fully inflated due to gas, and do you think I had the sense to slowly let the air out prior to completely removing the bag from the wafer? Not at all! As I detached the bag from the wafer, I heard a sound similar to removing a cork from a bottle. Behind the resident was a wall covered with you know what, including the resident's forehead and glasses. The only thing I could say was I am sorry. There was no other explanation except that my brains had decided to take a vacation at that very moment leaving me without any sense. In addition to feeling horrible, the residents' reaction to what I had done made me feel even worse. He apologized for the situation we were both in at the time. He was concerned for me. HUH?! I put at end to that real quick and immediately redirected his attention and explained to him that my brain fart was to blame. I often became this resident's nurse when I picked up a shift, which made perfect sense since we shared a bond. It was a bond that neither of us spoke about, not even to each other. 

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