Saturday, September 12, 2009
How many body fluids are there???
Okay, this post has TMI, just so you can consider yourselves forewarned. But I'm looking for straight up sympathy here, so I'm going to share too much information. Yesterday I worked transfer car. I'm discovering that a major issue when working transfer car happens to be breastmilk. How, you ask? First of all, there is the lack of refridgeration. In the station I just put my black bag in the fridge, but if we're in the car all day I have to use ice, or ice packs. Also, when I'm working the emerg cars of course there is the unpredictability of the pager--more than a few times I've had to stop the flow of milk with a paper towel and rapidly put myself back together in time to toss my milk in the fridge and run downstairs to hop in the ambulance for a code 3 call. But in those cases I can generally get back to pump again within an hour or two with minimal problems. I pump twice in a 12 hour shift, and feed Riley before and after work to keep my body making enough milk, and to keep a supply in the freezer for Riley while I'm gone. When working transfer car there are literally no breaks. There is a half hour lunch break, but otherwise we carve out our own coffee or food or smoke or what have you after dropping a patient off and before we contact dispatch for our next call, as needed. Most of the time, we work straight through unless we need a quick snack. My dilemma is mostly that I need to 'disappear' into the bathroom at some hospital somewhere with my black bag for 15 minutes, twice a day, without anyone knowing what I'm doing. I wouldn't care if your average female knew what I was up to, but there is no way I want any of the guys I work with knowing/thinking about/considering/imagining anything to do with my boobs and what they excrete. So I disappear for 15 minutes into the bathroom with my little black bag and no one asks me any questions (so far). Twice a day. Do you know how scroty hospital bathrooms can be? Ick. But I find one with only one toilet so I don't have to hide in a stall, and I lock the door and stand against it on the other side. Not ideal. In fact, legally my employer is required to provide me with breaks and a room to pump in. But how am I supposed to make that happen without causing a stink? Part of my goal is to have no one know what I'm doing. It did occur to me that I could contact the maternity ward in each hospital and ask them to find me a room for the days I'll be pumping. But it may take most of the 15 or so minutes that we can squeeze out of the drop off/clear with dispatch time for me to get to the maternity ward in most hospitals. And we never know which hospitals or which direction we'll be going in on a given day on the transfer car (or any emerg car either, of course).
Here I am, in a small, one toilet only, handicapped and baby change table bathroom on the ground floor in Vancouver General Hospital. I have to pee, so I do that. My boobs are bursting, so I pump four ounces of milk out of them. Pumping makes me sweat, always, but especially at work because I'm always standing in a small, hot, non well ventilated bathroom wearing heavy work pants and boots and the necessary 2 shirts (our work shirts are too thin to wear without an undershirt). So sweat is dripping down my face and making my hair frizzy. I dump the milk out of my pump and into its storage bottle, and then I have to go to the bathroom (not pee). I did that, and realized that I had to wash out my Diva Cup (here's where the TMI really kicks in). Which I SPILL ALL OVER THE FLOOR. Oh. My. Gosh. I look at the time and my 15 minutes is up, and there is blood everywhere. EVERYWHERE. The toilet, the floor, my boots, and my pants. And my hands. Ah, ladies, you can all sympathize I'm sure. Thankfully we wear navy blue pants, so no one can see after I've scrubbed what I can from the fabric, and with some paper towel and water I did a pretty good job cleaning up. Which cleaning made me sweat EVEN MORE!
You would think I would be close to tears, but in actual fact I was just mad.
My partner said nothing about the 25 minute disappearance in the direction of the bathroom. Thankfully!
When I drove home it was close to 30 degrees and I was in the non air conditioned car, so there was some more sweat. And as Brent was giving me the lowdown on his day, including a massive dog poop incident with poopy dog footprints and a crusty dog, I could feel more blood trickling down my leg and pooling in my sock, while a frantic Riley grabs at my shirt and whines for milk.
Good gravy, friends, does it NEVER END?!
A shower was in HIGH ORDER.