We, as healthcare workers, have very a very twisted sense of humour. Not everyone starts out with this twisted humour, but if you don't learn to develop it, the difficult things you see and do will beat you down. And so you learn to laugh at things that others would view as disgusting or cruel... even though on the inside you still see it as disgusting, sad, heartwrenching.
I had a patient with Gastro yesterday. Otherwise known as "stomach flu," "24 hour flu," "norovirus," this nasty bug makes most people wonder if there is some unknown fount of liquid hidden inside their body, because there's no way this much liquid ever made it into their gut before this started. This is one illness we generally don't admit if we can avoid it. It is so infectious that admitting one or two during an outbreak is likely to leave the ward short on staff. Thanks to special circumstances and me deciding to be nice (can't give too many details...), we had this patient on the ward for most of my shift. Myself and one other nurse were the only ones to enter the room. I gloved and washed conscientiously, and wondered aloud if it was possible it could be airborne. I was assured it wasn't by my co-worker, who joked about the vast quantities of rubbing alcohol she was soaking her hands in, in between visits to the room. I decided if she was comfortable with that, then I would be too. So I switched to half the time washing and otherwise using the alcohol wash when I was in more of a hurry.
I happened to be in the room during one vomiting episode, and the smell... I'm certain I could smell the virus! hehehe. And I joked a couple of times through the day about taking a sick day before I left, and about how likely it would be due to getting Gastro.
Now I'm wondering if maybe that was a bad thing to joke about. My stomach is doing funny flips... but I'm not actually sick yet. I looked it up and found out it CAN be aerosolized (go into the air and get breathed in), especially when someone is actively vomiting... and that it is not killed by alcohol based cleaners.
I have my first moving sale on Saturday. This is NOT the time to get sick. I'm going to have to watch what I joke about! (and from now on gastro patients warrant wearing a mask and washing with soap EVERY time!)