Leaving on a jetplane

Some of you may not know, but back in the early days of my nursing career I was known by some as a “clurse” or “nerk”. I was working regular part time as a ward clerk in the ER and also as an RPN, but mostly in another hospital. Most of the nursing I did in the ER in those days was patient transfers and most of those were for CT scans.

So I would ride in the back of (we’ll call it an ambulance) but it was driven by paramedic students mostly and considered a patient transfer service hence the requirement of having a nurse on board. I learned alot of things about myself then, the biggest thing was that I still get car sick – The family will be shaking their heads in agreement that I think I’ve puked in every one of my dads vehicles since he moved to Connecticut 20ish years ago.

Anyway it was easy hours for me, and I tried all sorts of things to settle my stomach and get used to it. Since the amalgamation between WLMH and HHS I haven’t really done any patient transfers, so its been a few years.

Let me segway slightly about the weather here, winter has come. I’m north of the wall.. See the picture above – angry clouds and that is the beach, not a happy place right now. That photo was taken a few mornings ago after a night shift and since we have finally got our 15cm of promised snow and only tonight has it slowed.

So Wednesday was my 3rd last ER shift and it was a day, blah. So I obviously was super tired going in but a stable patient was having neuro complications and needed to see a neurosurgeon and have an MRI done — in Thunder Bay. All was settled but they needed a  nurse and scheduling could find nobody so who gets nominated… Me. The benefit to being dual student and RPN.

I agreed, of course. Why not? In exchange for being allowed to go home and get some “school” books (my kindle) a toothbrush and change of clothes (just in case) I ran through the Tim’s drive through and head slowly back through the snow to the hospital.

About an hour later – off we go. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned the roads here, but they suck on the best of days and the recent snowfall added to the bumpy 10 minute ride to the airport, and guess what… Just as we pull into the airport we hear over the radio that the plane cannot land, every been in an ambulance when they pull a u’ey. It was professionally done, but I felt for the patient with back pain strapped down to a stretcher but back to the hospital we go.

We returned, I got administered pain meds to my patient and we decided to send her back to the hostel as who knows when the weather would clear enough for the plane to land, right? Well it was less than an hour and the plane landed, and now we had no patient. hmmpf — so this truly is concerning as to packing overnight gear, would I really get stranded going for an MRI and consult? Thunder Bay is approximately 4 hours away by car thus making the flight time aprox 45-60 minutes depending on the weather. It’s also back in eastern standard time, which makes travel tricky because SL is in central.

ambulane We did all eventually connect and leave again for the airport, this is a good photo for how much new snow we received but atleast it looks super clear – I found a Zofran in the bottom of my makeup bag and took it anyway.

Then we boarded the smallest plane I have ever been on. It seated 3 and room for a stretcher. I sat backwards, which isn’t good for me on a train but I was at the patient’s head in case of the medic needing more assistance with the patient.  Despite some turbulence taking off and landing it was a pleasant flight.


So then my first tour of Thunder Bay Regional Health Centre. And of course I played the curious nursing student and got a teaching session on MRI. Compared to a CT scan, what an amazing image result. The downside of course is that it takes longer to acquire this images. I have been looking at CT images for years and need to be shown the areas of interest and why, but it is much clearer on an MRI.Thanks to the team there for schooling me!

Then I found a porter to direct me back to the ER to register my patient and page Neurosurg. Now I was back in the days of the inexperienced transfer nurse waiting around an ER department. However I picked up a few skills since then and we were seen and discharged within 90 mins. So I was quick to book our ride home, the first person I spoke to mentioned overnight and I realized how not prepared I was for that, but I gave them my cell number and they were gonna call me back with a time. Finally I ate (just a little, incase they could get us a flight) and luckily we got a pickup time within another hour.

The ride home was not with Orange directly but with another land/air medical transport service and talk about small world – I knew one of the pilots. Random eh? Anyway this plane was smaller then the first and very loud. By now it was almost 6 pm central and I was exhausted, I actually dozed off. This flight was a little more turbulent —  glad I didn’t eat much. And miraculously we arrived back in the ER by change of shift.

So the patient was seeing a clinic for further pain management and has to follow up with the surgeon again within a few weeks. It was nice chatting with her and her daughter. She told me what it is like to have chronic medical conditions and leave on a reserve further north. I was left speechless by some of what she told me.

Then I went home absolutely exhausted with my insides completely shaken up, so I had a hot shower some flat ginger ale and totally passed out.


Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating and shopping this week — See you on Skype later.

All caught up on my posts? Not sure, Check here here!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s