Three things.

First, this is an example of how fucked up our healthcare is. So when you are at highrisk for a preterm baby (premie) they give you shots of progesterone–a normal hormone– weekly to prevent labor. The cost of a shot of progesterone was around $10-20. Affordable. Well, now a drug company has branded it and gotten sole seller rights from the FDA–they changed the price to $1500–or about $20-30,000 per pregnancy. This is how much it will cost for the next 15 years until the patent runs out. Some of the time I understand increased drug prices because companies have to pay for research (another ethical issue since they are using third world poor people to do testing). That’s why the get a patent for 15 years and then generics come out so its a lot cheaper. But here–the price increase is insane and they had to do minimal research because the product was already being used. What the crap?!?! Oh and they say they have assistance for low income people -what does that mean? Layaway? Article via LA Times located here.

Second, last night I got over my poop fear and was also reminded how I have a lot of my own prejudices to deal with. It was our last night of clinical and I thought it would be a pretty easy evening–we ordered pizza and brought a treat for our professor. It was not. It was the hardest day of the quarter patient-care wise. My patient had continual loose stools and sores in that region. It was so hard to keep the patient dry so the sores wouldn’t get worse. Lots of poop- poop everywhere. We got her clean and fresh though–its a feat to change a bed with an immobile patient in it. It took three of us. Honestly, I don’t know how CNAs do their job as efficiently as they do–they are amazing.

Third, there was another patient who I dealt with that was HIV positive. I have had HIV positive patients before but never have I had to do a lot of patient care. I was kind and empathetic and I know that unless I needlestick myself with a used needle the chances of me being infected are nil. And even if you needlestick yourself they start you on antiretrovirals right away so the chances of being infected are REALLY low. But I want to be honest about things I am afraid, in awe, of. The stupid biased fears. There was a tinsy bit of blood under the IV site bandage and I thought–in that tinsy bit of blood are millions and millions of HIV viruses. I wasn’t worried about getting HIV from that tinsy bit of blood but I thought about how I was so close to something that could make me so sick. It was right there, under that bandage. I was almost looking at it like it was a celebrity–this disease is so prevalent, so horrible, so media.

I am sure that being around HIV positive blood will become like second nature but I wanted to record the first moment, when I was still afraid. I also want to say that I don’t think any of this showed. The patient had a glamorous smile and I got it aimed at me a couple times.

Last night when I got home, after the poop, after the HIV, after the hospital smells–I took a long hot shower. I hear this is the norm amongst nurses.


One thought on “really….

  1. Susan says:

    stay afraid; fear makes a person careful and aware. empathy goes with complacency and forgetting that, but for fate, your patient could be you. Sometimes we have to put the humanness of it all out of our brains just to get a job done without sitting down and weeping; keep the awe and the love and glad your are through one more quarter; congratulations our Lea

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