Even before I knew ANYTHING about being a nurse (i.e. NSO during freshman orientation) I got asked silly nurse questions. Not going to lie, I had no clue when I answered these questions...
"Am I going to die from drinking this Jungle Juice?"
IF you die, so will the thousand other people drinking from this barrel. Fill 'er up
"Can I drink and take Tylenol/antibiotics/birth control"
I'd skip the Tylenol, but if you are going to drink and want to avoid an "accident" I'd go with the birth control
"Will I get herpes from sitting on the toilet in the dorms?".
No greater chance of getting it from the toilet seat than from that sketchy frat boy you hooked up with last night.
As the years passed, I grew more knowledgeable and was able to actually give some helpful advice. I have no problem when my friends come to me with "health questions", I always just hope I have an answer. I guess in a way it makes them feel better, even if I just tell them what they already know (i.e. "I'd say you need to go to the ER for an x-ray, the bone IS sticking out.")
Last week, Craig approached me with a nurse question. He pulled up his pant leg and said, "Do you think these are infected?" I swallowed hard as I looked at the welts on his legs, covered in green scabs with blanching red rings around them. Did I mention the edema in his leg and ankle.
(original image from wikipedia)
ME: "Craig! You are on your way to nasty case of cellulits. You need to go the doctor and get some antibiotics. We admit patients for cellulitis, you don't want it to go systemic."
Craig: "You mean I can't just take some Tylenol and put on some cream?"
ME: "Uh, has it worked yet?"
Craig: "No. Oh I guess you're right. I'll go to the doctor. Wait, I don't have a doctor here. Am I going to die?"
ME: "No, you just need to See a doctor. So go to the ER"
Craig: "But isn't that going to be a long wait?"
ME: "Well it's going to be a lot longer if you don't get it treated and have to get admitted to the hospital for a course of IV antibiotics."
Craig: "Okay, thanks nurse Kelly.I'll go"
ME: "Call me if you need anything. I'll check in with you later."
4 hours later
Craig: "Nurse Kelly. You were right. They checked me all out and gave me some antibiotics. Thanks."
ME: "No problem Craig. Feel better. See you tomorrow."
36 hours later, 8am
MY cell phone goes off, it rings again, and again. I hop out of bed, thinking something is truly wrong. It's Craig. I call him back.
"Hi Nurse Kelly. Did I wake you?"
ME: "Uhhm, well I guess I had to get up anyways."
Craig:"Good. Well, okay, so yeah like I started the antibiotics and my legs are looking better but now I have this hard lump under my belly button and it's red and kinda sore."
ME: "Is it itchy?"
Craig: "No, just hurts and looks gross. Do I have skin cancer?"
ME: "Take some benadryl, and Tylenol, and put a cool compress on it. If it's not better in the morning or is getting worse, go to the doctor."
Craig: "But Nurse Kelly, I don't have a doctor."
ME: "Well then, I guess you'll have to go to the ER (again). Have you thought about getting a doctor in the area? What is your insurance, I'll look into it for you."
Craig: "Do you think I can get in and out quick because I was just seen there? Like a preferred patient?"
ME: "Craig, we aren't talking about some luxury hotel chain, we are talking about a hospital. You (and your belly button ailments) will have to wait like everyone else. haha"
Craig: "Okay, guess you are right. I'll call you later."
ME: "Sounds good. Feel better and keep me updated."
I managed to dose back off for an hour or two, but it wasn't quite the restful sleep I was longing for. I kept dreaming about Craig's weird belly button issue. Just another day in the life of Nurse Kelly.