February 15, 2014

this week

Glenwood Avenue 2/12/14
This past week, I was scheduled to work Wednesday and Thursday. I was in charge both days.

I saw the emails from UNC, suggesting that employees bring an overnight bag with enough toiletries and clothes for 72 hours.

I saw the weather forecast.

Did I take it seriously?

Nahhhh, in years past I've never had to stay overnight. I knew I'd get better rest at home even if it took me three hours to get there, so I didn't pack a bag. I've driven in the snow to work before, and it was OK.

Even when we were told to expect 4-6 inches of snow with a quarter inch of ice on top, even when they told us "wherever you are at 9pm, that's where you're gonna stay," I didn't think anything would really happen.

Around noon, it started snowing and sticking - fast. I called my mom, the woman who was born and raised in Minnesota, and asked her if she would go to my house, pack a bag and bring it to the hospital. The fact that she told me it wasn't safe told me it must be serious.

Shortly thereafter, all of RDU was in gridlock. It was reminiscent of an ice storm Raleigh had several year prior. Anyway, see above photo. That really happened. Most of my friends ended up abandoning their cars on their way home.

I began to think about night shift . . . what if my co-workers didn't make it in? We can't leave unless we get relief, and my manager and other nurses had talked about taking shifts of sleeping and doing patient care if our colleagues couldn't make it. I really didn't want to do that, but what other choice do you have?

Long story short . . . six of us ended up sleeping in the conference room across the hall from the unit . . . in recliners and really small couches. We slept in extra scrubs, showered in the on-call room, wore patient grippy socks, I even used specimen cups as makeshift contact cases.

Some of my co-workers slept in the hospital, some came in early, some walked to work, some picked up extra work, the longest commute was four hours . . . and they all got there safely.

I am so thankful for such a dedicated, wonderful group of people. It makes me love and appreciate this place even more.

However, by Thursday afternoon, the effects of being over tired and over stressed caught up with me. Thank God the roads were clear that evening . . . there's only one other time in my life I can remember being that excited to be home.

36 hours is just a liiiitle too long to be at your job. 

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