Sunday, February 15, 2015
The nurse came out of the public restroom at 7W2. Twenty feet away partially hidden behind an opaque partition was me, scrutinizing her and not particularly hiding that.
"You work on 6. Why did you come up to 7 to use my restroom?" I think I said "my." I might have said "the."
"The toilets on 6 are naaaaasty," she said, "Why? Was that one closed?"
Deducing that this was not the culprit I was trying to catch on my stakeout, I apologized slightly for my rudeness and explained that for the last 20-25 days someone.....someone I'm trying to catch....has been poopifying 7W2 in a manner that cannot be accidental or gastronomical or a product of powerful hospital medication. Someone has been doing evil to my 7W2 toilet and I intend to catch them.
A few hours later I saw that same nurse down in the smoking area talking with one of the other janitors. Seeing me walk in, she said, "I will never use that toilet again."
The other hospital housekeeper looked at me strangely with a mixture of curiosity and admiration. We housekeepers prefer that the other hospital employees not use the public restrooms but rather the ones designated for staff. That way we can narrow our list of suspects.
It was Deja-Vu with the 7 West patient rooms yesterday when I went in to work: the dayshift guy responsible for cleaning them coming down to the supervisors' office laughing about how many rooms he had left undone as he checked out of work.
This time there was a twist. This time when I went up to my assigned area, which does not include 7 West, I saw a veteran sleeping on a gurney out in the hallway of 7 East, post surgery, waiting on a patient room.
Most of the time veterans are on an emergency room bed downstairs waiting for a housekeeper to clean a room. Sometimes their waits are long. This time we had one in the hallway waiting.
Currently no housekeeper is permanently assigned to clean rooms on 7 West on the second shift. Been that way for months. 8 West, too. Management can't get their shit together to hire someone....or they get a performance bonus for running understaffed. I don't know which. Maybe it's both.
So "temporary" solutions are used. Housekeepers are pulled from other assignments to prepare 7 West rooms for veterans. It's an add-on chore to their regular assignment, thus assuring that neither the regular assignment nor the add-on will be done thoroughly. Bowling Ball often gets picked, but she calls in sick a lot.
So I'm pulling the infectious waste out of 7 East that my first shift counterpart didn't feel like pulling when I get the call: 7 West has been added to my regular duties at 7 East, 7 North, 7 Center and Women's Clinic.
20 minutes later they're wheeling the hallway veteran into 7W29 over my still wet floor. That's as fast as I can clean a patient room and do a good job of it.
This crapola of "We're here for the veterans" should be changed to "we're here to game the performance bonuses."
There's a lot involved in cleaning a patient room. The bathroom has to be cleaned. Infectious and regular waste cans emptied and re-bagged. The bed has to be made with new clean linen. Dispensers filled. Floor mopped. But the most important thing is that all surfaces, especially the bed have to be wiped thoroughly with Wexcide. Don't want the new patient to get one of the 14 Hospital Acquired Infections you can get in a VA hospital.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
My Hospital-Acquired Hypochondria is acting up again. Last Friday I did a Terminal Clean on 7 East (terminal cleans are for the REALLY nasty bugs a patient comes in with...the whole room has to be sanitized top to bottom with Cavi-wipes).
So Friday I do the Terminal. Monday my gut feels like I've got a rabid Alien in there. I rest on sick call Tuesday and Wednesday and go back to work still feeling sick but not SO sick Thursday. Friday my gut still hurts. I get nausea if I smoke a cigarette on an empty stomach. I get nausea if I don't.
Hernia? Cancer? Diverticulitis? Killer HAI (hospital-acquired infection)? All I know is that my gut feels terrible and I'm not protected by Obamacare. All I've got is VA healthcare and previous experience tells me that THAT ain't worth a popcorn fart in a hurricane. I'd go in to the VA emergency room and after waiting 6 hours the witch doctor will tell me something goofy, like it's acid "influx" or couch potato gut (diagnosis's I have previously received) or sleep apnea or any other damned thing that would make me ask for a 6-month-away consult and get the hell out of their E.R.
This don't feel like no acid "influx." I feel like I've been poisoned, like the time my sister Beth put arsenic in my omeprazole capsules.
Are ALL the doctors jerks?!? Just the ones I go to.
Actually, I HAVE had some decent ones, quite by accident. It's just that I can't ask for them specifically when I go in. I have to see the ones I'm assigned to. And it seems like the doctors who have the time to see a walk-in have that time because nobody else wants to see them.
One of my supervisors told me Thursday that what she does is go up to her primary care doctor's nurse and beg to be squeezed in for 5 minutes. Begs, like a bum at the back door of a bakery pleading for bread crumbs.