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 discharging their assorted fluids around the place.

Urine

The most popular fluid by far, was urine. It was most frequently encountered in toilets, which were themselves most frequently encountered in the un-flushed state. But this was good! We were very happy to find urine in the toilet; because of the other places we also encountered it.

The floor was the second most popular location and the cause of many a 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.

It was so bad that the mop and bucket never, ever got put into the broom cupboard, but lived permanently in the toilet area. There was no sluice room.

The final popular locations for stray traces of urine were on people's hands and down the front of trousers (mostly residents) and splashed on shoes (mostly night staff). One quickly learned not to shake hands with people.

Snot

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, especially in the Winter months. That's all I want to say on this topic really. That particular member of staff eventually moved on..

Blood

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 was not 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.

Diarrhoea

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 plumber and invited him to all functions - and not just because we knew we'd be needing him.

Sperm

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 (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 smart 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 likely staff use patterns and caused a heavy increase in clinical costs. Talk about blowing the budget..!

 

More stories..