I love my stethoscope. It's a simple classic Littmann, and was a gift from my college roommate Jen for getting into the School of Nursing. I love the new RN computerized charting system. Oh! And I am a huge fan of the mini portable 02 sat reader because it's so handy to bring into patient rooms. But my favorite thing at work right now is The Fart Machine.
One of the nurse practitioners set up in the work room one day last week. She kept hitting the remote and amazingly realistic noises began to fill the air. She let me borrow the fart machine to use all day on the floor. The results were amazing. I made grumpy co workers smile. I made friends with a respite aide who I work with often but rarely speak to, and I got laughs from housekeeping staff who don't speak the same language as I do. Just as in Tokyo, some humor doesn't need language. Like fart humor.
Clinically speaking the results were even more significant. I used the machine wisely. For example, I didn't use it when I was with my patient with extreme paranoid schizophrenia because I know it would have agitated her quite badly. But I made the most out of every appropriate opportunity.
For example, I worked with a new admission who hated needles but needed a flu shot because she's so high risk. As I prepped the injection she was very jumpy, unable to sit still. I took my time as I got everything ready and hit the button in my pocket as I approached her. She made eye contact with the NP in the room, who shrugged at her. I hit the button again and her jaw dropped but she recovered quickly. As I swabbed her arm with the alochol pad I hit it a third time, and she couldn't be polite any longer and asked, "Are you farting?" I responded by saying, "sorry, rough breakfast," and letting out five more honks, which sent her over the edge. I showed her the button she was so amused and distracted that when I said, "here we go," she held out her arm and I stuck her with no problems at all.
I made a ton of patients laugh the first day with the machine, but my favorite was this woman who has a terminal diagnosis and is here for some real respite care. She is in almost constant pain despite her long list of pain medications, and rarely leaves her bed. I bent over in her room to pick up a cup and hit the button. She jumped. I excused myself, and she told me it was alright. It happened again and I grabbed onto the bed and she asked if I was ok. But then I just kept pushing the button, contorting my face each time until she was screaming with laughter. Tears rolled down her face, and she got out of bed and followed me down the hallway telling people, "listen, my nurse has broccoli for breakfast! Listen!" She told me I made her day.
And that is why The Fart Machine is my favorite new clinical tool.