Up to the ICU the other night, helping to transfer a very chatty, cheerful and surprisingly young sick sinus syndrome.
I love the ICU. Usually. It is so — restful. Quiet. The yin to the Emergency Department’s yang. The gentle hum of the ventilators and the slight ping of the monitors is all you hear. No shouting or screaming. The consultants are polite and well-behaved. And the ICU nurses are always calm, collected, and speak in low, reassuring voices, ready to take you by the hand — and then you know everything will be all right. (They do this for the patients as well, I understand.)
I go there, and not only do I feel like napping immediately, but I feel like I will be supported in my choice.
I said I usually love the ICU. Regrettably, the Evil Line* is on tonight when we arrive, five RNs standing by the Nursing Station like so many vultures set on a country fence, meaning to go full tilt, and ready to rumble; maybe hoping for new meat, but seeing only me and Shelley, an old girl who’s senior enough to be my mother, and who makes the internists cry for for sport. No blood — or joy — from us, anyway: we keep our heads down. Smile and wave, Shelley, smile and wave, and what ever you do, don’t look them in the eye.
The patient surveys the scene: four very sour-faced nurses, obviously unhappy and annoyed to see us, and Charge Nurse looking like she just swallowed a marmot, whole.
In a loud jokey stage whisper he says, “They seem like a happy bunch!”
Charge Nurse jerks up her head, sharply. “What?!?”
*That is, a group of nurses who are commonly rotated through the work schedule together — a line. For some reason, the ones with the, um, difficult personalities often end up working together.