One night in nursing school during my final semester, I knew what kind of night I was headed for when I heard during shift report, “room 689 has been having copious amounts of diarrhea.” I look at my assignment sheet and below the hot pink highlighter indicating my assignment I saw 689. Preparing myself for a busy night, I went and got started with my assessments, and by 2 am I had thought to myself “Okay, I can handle this I’m doing well.” WRONG. Rule number one in nursing, never think that until you’re in your car on your way home, because everything will go to shit. Literally.
Around 2 am, I reassessed room 689 and realized something was very wrong. His level of consciousness and blood sugar were quickly slipping away from their baseline, along with various other physiological issues. I spoke to a nurse I was working with and she agreed we should rapid response the patient which signals the night resident and an ICU nurse to come and give their input on what is happening.
Getting to the punch of the story, I decided to clean the patient’s linen and put on new depends while the rapid response was on their way, so if he were to be transfered to the ICU then he would already be clean. Just as I was finishing wiping the last bit of diarrhea off his rear and was getting ready to slip a new one underneath him, a series of unfortunate events ensued. The first was a river of shit started flowing from his anus, in a manner that reminded me much of water flowing smoothly out of the end of a hose. It was flowing at a comparable velocity, but it was obviously more alarming to me seeing as it was human fecal matter. The bed was quickly filled, the shit rushing up the patient’s back, down his legs, while he was laying on his side. The nurse who was helping me had no view of what was going down, so I calmly said “we are having a situation back here” as to not embarrass the patient again. She nodded to me and at the very moment that the resident walked in, she yanked the soiled pillow that had been between the patient’s legs acting as a plug, out from between his legs and tossed it to the chair right beside me and in front of the resident. The unfortunate result of this action was that the liquid shit covering the pillow splattered both the resident and I with dark green stool. WIth 6 hours left to go, I looked up at the ceiling and had a very real “Fuck my life” moment. Needless to say it was a night that the resident and I will never forget.