Most of my coworkers have a room that is their bane. Bad things have happened to them in their particular room. Some have had explosive diarrhea expelled onto them, others have had geysering arterial sprays from femoral artery closures gone bad, others have had deaths, codes and all manner of bad things. I learned early on my room of note was #66. I’ve had three folks crash in that room. One was a hypotensive event necessitating dopamine and dobutamine. It was the first time I ever saw pressures of 60s/30s. I didn’t like it. That was mere months off orientation. From that point on, that room just bedeviled me. There was hope though: it was only one particular charge nurse. When other charge nurses assigned me that room things were hunky-dory. But not J. When she gave me that room invariably the shit would hit the fan at some point in the night.
The first was the very first time I ever shipped someone to the ICU, which is recounted here: The Curse of #66 (or how to ship someone to the Unit). The second time earned itself a post as well in: A Revisit to Room #66. Lucky for me, it has been awhile since I’ve had that room. Until the other night.
It was about 2230. Things were going well. Unfortunately, J was charge. We were sitting at the nurse’s station, charting, chatting, generally having a good time, even flagrantly violating Joint Commission mandates on food in patient care areas when the realization hit me. I asked her in an almost horrified tone, “Do you realize which room you gave me?”
“No” she replied. She looked over at the board. Her face dropped. The smile left. “I gave you 66 didn’t I?” she said in a near whisper. She shot me a look that said, “Oh shit.”
“Yes. Yes, you did.” I replied.
“Well maybe it’s time to break the curse right? I mean, you broke your streak of not getting a line last night, maybe tonight we’ll break another streak tonight.” she responded with. “It is a new year, right?” she continued.
“I hope so.” I said. “We’ll see, but so far so good.” as I rapped my knuckles in the closest piece of wood.
The patient in question was going for open heart in the morning, so the potential was there. I kept a watchful vigil through the night, but no more than normal. I didn’t want the fickle nursing gods to turn their spite on me. A little later as I’m helping out another nurse with an unresponsive patient (who needs a decent blood sugar, 48mg/dl is good right?), I hear the clarion call overhead, “Rapid Response Team to Wanderer’s Floor!”
“Oh crap” I thought as I poked my head outside the room, “who’s going down?”
“Next door!” one of the nurses said as she went whipping by with a vitals cart. A small dribble relief went down my spine. Bullet dodged.
Sooner than later though 0700 dawned. Nothing. My patient was ready for surgery. Family was expectantly waiting for surgery to take her down to the OR. I said my good bye, wished her luck and told her I would see her afterwards when she came back to the floor, then I turned and walked off the floor.
The curse was broken. At least for now…