Lola has been a resident of CVTU for nearly 4 months. She is one of the lingering remnants of the surgeon who should not have been. She is a fem-pop gone wrong, but gone wrong due as much to her own hyper-coagulation problems as to her surgical fiasco. She may have been kind of doomed from the start, but who knows?
Lola came into our ED with a cold right foot and intermittent claudication. She was dually assessed and it was determined that she needed to have the circulation restored to her leg by a femoral-popliteal artery bypass and graft. She came to my floor and struggled to heal. The bypass failed and not long after, Lola had a below-the-knee amputation of her right leg. Then, much of the re-vascularization of the upper leg was compromised, and Lola had her right thigh filleted open like a sturgeon. It was one of the biggest leg wounds I have ever seen, and one of the most painful. Wound care nurses changed the wound-vac M-W-F, and it took them close to 2 hours each time. Lola bled and bled. And bled more than that. She formed clots the size of softballs under the vac film. She got countless units of blood and blood product. And of course, with all this pain, she got addicted to dilaudid.
A couple of surgeries later, by the plastic surgery guy (nicest guy in the world...) and we thought Lola was going to be able to go home and get better. Then her amputation incision got necrotic. 3 surgeries and 2 months later, Lola has a nicely healing mid-thigh amputation. She is off all IV pain medication. She takes a high dose of oxycodone, but she takes much less than she used to. She like to stay up late, and sleep in. When she is in my team of patients, I don't wake her before 10am. There is nothing that Lola has to do before 10am, kinda like there is nothing College-Boy has to do in the morning when he is on break.
Lola moans and cries. When she is in pain, the entire floor knows it. She wants her Mommy to help her. But in these last 2 weeks, Lola doesn't cry anymore. She looks forward to going home. I was her nurse the day that the ortho guys told her that she was going to have an above the knee amputation, that she wasn't healing, and that her dreams of a certain kind of recovery of life weren't going to happen. That was a hard day. But, she is my age and she chose wisely for a woman my age. She chose to continue the battle.
I don't ever, ever, EVER get attached to patients. I learned the hard way more than once. I plan, God laughs. He gives me, no, he gives my floor, Lola. I took care of her this weekend. But at this point, I'm not her nurse anymore. I am her friend, and she is mine. Her fiance (oh yeah...he has hung in for all of this and that makes me just adore him) brought jelly beans, cause Lola had a craving. 'cept I ate most of them. It was a quiet weekend for me, and since I wasn't actively saving lives, I pulled up a chair in Lola's room and we watched TV together. Don't tell my manager. But those are the kind of moments that help a long-term patient recover. Those are the kinds of moments that help her nurses stay sane.