Most nurses are intimately acquainted with the various aqueous contents that the human organism is capable of producing. And the various human organisms living at Random House were quite adept at spraying their assorted fluids around the place.
An obvious start and the most popular fluid by far. Perhaps surprisingly, it was most frequently encountered in toilets, which were themselves most frequently encountered in the un-flushed state. But this was a good thing. We were very happy to find urine in the toilet. Mainly because of all the other places we also encountered it.
The floor was the second most popular location and the cause of many a nocturnal skid: if the stench didn't get you then the resulting head injury would usually finish the job. Those with waterproof soles remained relatively safe and dry-of-foot; not so for the semi-comatose night nurse, warily staggering out for a wee in stockinged feet.
The mop and bucket never, ever got put into the broom cupboard, but lived permanently in the toilet area; there was no sluice room. Following the morning cleaner's visit, as the heat of the day wore on, the corridor past the nurses' station would become stickier and stickier and your shoes would make that schtick schtick noise as you walked along. I used to think they should take the flooring from The House and stick it around the walls of the International Space Sation, thus permitting astronauts to stride around with confidence in zero gravity..
The final popular locations for stray traces of urine were on people's hands, down the front of trousers (mostly residents) and splashed on shoes (mostly night staff). One quickly learned not to shake hands with people.
Now, I truly tried hard to find a nicer term here, but nasal mucus doesn't really begin to describe what we were sometimes forced to look at wobbling around, whilst holding a conversation with one particular resident, especially in the Winter months. Avoiding the strategically-placed tissue box and verbal prompts to let us have our tea in peace, he would lean on the lower barn door watching us eating our evening meal. We would stare back, watching him watching us, our eyes trying not to follow the stream of snot as it dripped down his jumper, the snail-trail eventually coalescing with some other substance apparently on the way up. I rarely eat lasagne any more..
Like nostrils, tempers were known to flare from time to time, but it was part testament to the place that there was very little blood shed. On a regular basis. Which wasn't part of a normal process.
We did have a resident with diabetes who during a psychotic episode, decided that the needle in the test kit was less than efficient. So he used his t-rusty penknife to open a deep wound in his finger. He was relieved to discover his blood sugar level (BSL) was within normal ranges, although he almost amputated his digit and locked up his jaws in the pursuit of scientific discovery.
This tale wouldn't be complete without reference to the delivered hospital food. What they termed 'quick-chill' we called quick kill and there was a theory going around that this was used to keep the residential population rotated through. Rotated through what I never found out, but I suspect they meant the lavatories.
Although fruit was readily available, the mushy meals and lack of willingness to exercise (despite our efforts) didn't feature well when it came to healthy stool production. I wouldn't say things were bad but we were on first name terms with the local plumber and invited him to most functions.
Sperm (yes, indeed)
Although thankfully rarely encountered in its natural state, the proliferation of human spermatozoa was nevertheless a concern, especially for the more genteel members of staff. Generally the problem was isolated to the occasional shirt front (usually residents'). However the door handle to one particular sideroom regularly rewarded the unwary staff member (or unprepared visitor) with a certain stickiness of hand and downturn of spirit.
One innovative person did try screwing a latex glove dispenser to the wall nearby. However the ensuing consumption of its contents mysteriously skyrocketed out of proportion with staff usage patterns, leading to an increase in clinical costs.
Talk about blowing the budget..
Further writings on a theme..
I See Dead People
And there it is. The table. A table with the white sheet over it. Slightly familiar ripples in the cloth hint at what might lie below.. [link]
However, contrary to popular belief, the operation was not only used on psychiatric patients.. [link]
The nurses and doctors just sit down, but the patient puts a newspaper down first and then sits down.. [link]
Drayton Olde Lodge
In June 1469, King Edward IV rode from Norwich to Walsingham and cast a lofty eye across the ruined lodge.. [link]