Sunday, April 14, 2013

Night Night Baby

Lets face it.  Since I started working as a flight nurse, my "night shifts" take on a whole different meaning.  The truth is, if there isn't a flight then the team is sleeping. Of course there is the occasional night where you just fly all night and feel like you've been beaten with a large bat the next day.

In the ICU, when you work a night shift you are basically on your feet all night and if it's slow you are struggling against nature to stay awake.  Someones got to keep the patients from dying.  

I do most of my flight nursing on a fixed wing team.  That means when we get a call, our odds of being gone for 4-6 hours on just one call are almost 100%.  Sometimes we are gone longer.  Lately I've been scheduled a couple of shifts a month on the rotor/fixed wing team, meaning we do either, depending where the patient is.  

Doing a night shift in the hospital on the flight team is a difficult struggle for my psyche.  I have spent almost 10 years coming to the hospital, occasionally at night, to stay awake for 12 hours and do patient care.  My last flight team shift there, was at night.  I never did go to sleep.  Luckily it was because we had multiple flights and I just couldn't sleep in between.  I did learn a valuable lesson about being on the 3rd floor when our ready room is 3 floors away and getting a rotor call.  I did this thing called HUSTLE! 

Our helipad is attached to the hospital that happens to be up on the hill looking over the city.  It had been raining but was starting to clear up as the sun went down.  So beautiful. 

The new Helicopter EC-145.  I've talked about it for months and even put in 2 shifts at the U without flying.  Until now.  It was everything and more.

It was also my first "real" flight with NVG's (Night Vision Goggles).  

I have studied these things every time I work and a couple of times on my own.  I've ran around the helipad wearing them at night, I've practiced putting them off and on, I've had the best pilots and medics in the world that go over them with me again and again.  I'm really not an idiot, but I wanted to be prepared to use them and I don't care how many times you practice, the real world is what sinks in the knowledge.  Lets just say with the new helicopter and NVG's it was all I could do to get myself belted in and ready.  By the end of the night I was feeling a lot more comfortable with them.

That's when the best medic EVER comes into play.  I can't say enough.  Their strength is in the scene call and being with a medic that has more rotor experience then me was a life saver.  On the not so serious side, it was awesome!

On the super safety serious side.  I took the pictures of myself after the walk around and while the pilot was doing his preflight checks.  I decided a while ago that when I'm flying, with a patient or not, my head is the game.  It's really nice to check out of reality and think about something else.  Especially in the helicopter where we work as a team and we all are super vigilant about safety and looking for aircraft and other hazards.  Safety is only as good as your crew.  I do love a little light banter when we are out of class B airspace. 

Cool pic eh?

This was my foot in the airplane.  Yes, we did both sorts of flights.  Booya!  I was talking to my pilot about my podiatrist when I realized....hey, my foot doesn't hurt!  I was out of the boot for this shift and even though I planned to wear my night splint when I laid down, that never happened.  Twelve (14) hours in my flight boots and my foot did so good.  It was the first time in MONTHS that I've been on the airplane without pain.  The vibration of the airplane use to make it ache after about 30 minutes.  I spent 6 take off's and landings in various vibrating aircraft (teehee) and not once did my foot call attention to itself.  A slight ache at the end of my shift but that's it.

I can't even tell you what great news that is!  I'm sure your sick of hearing about my foot.  I get sick of worrying about it.  I am so glad that I had the surgery just for the decrease in daily pain.  It gives me the patience to go on and take it easy so I don't do any damage to the healing tissue and I can get back to my running.  

The best thing about night shifts that I had forgotten about?

No Guilt Jammie Day!!!  

Don't you just love being in jammies all day?
Working really weird hours for years I ignore the "social" acceptance of jammie time, sleep time, awake time and keeping my mouth shut  (OK that doesn't have anything to do with jammies).  But I do feel a little bad if I do nothing all day..unless I'm up all night making a living!  On that note, I don't go out in my jammies.....any more.  :)

Do you have a job that challenges you?
I know my friend Tera is going to answer this question like this.  "Only when I charge and you work"  Teehee   

Blog on...............

1 comment: