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August 17, 2009
An Old Blacktop Road 1998
I usually worked from 2P until 10P when I was sent to this location. On this particular day I worked the day shift. At lunch time when everyone else was in the cafeteria I stayed on the floor waiting on new meds from the pharmacy to come for a new patient I had admitted. While waiting for the delivery another patient was out of Oxygen, her cylinder was empty and I was unsure how to take the top off and replace it on the new tank. After rolling the old tank to the storeroom and wheeling the new cylinder on the dolly we set the tank up and exchanged the top. I reset the gauge for the order for Oxygen flow just as the delivery of meds came. I had to count the medications and sign for them, start an IV on the new patient, which I hadn’t done in 7 years. The other LPN who came in to take over my shift at 3 P helped and together we got the line in her vein. The aide that was helping with the Oxygen had the tank ready and I finished my charting and gave report to the LPN. I drove home in the daytime for once. The sun was shining and I could see the winding turns on the old blacktop road. It was wintertime and the old route had no street lamps, the ditches were steep on both sides. One day they had assigned me to work back at the usual time of 2P-10P on New Year’s Eve. There was a lot of ice on the roads, the snow fell leaving 8 inches of the white slippery stuff everywhere. The newspaper headlines showed a car coming off interstate 29 to Northbound 169, sliding in a ditch and other such wrecks all over the city. I called Caregivers and said I wouldn’t work that evening because of the snow and ice. I didn’t want to try to make it to Stanberry, 50 miles away, on that blacktop road, and then try to make it home in the dark. We didn’t have cell phones and I wasn’t sure if Kelvin would come to rescue me that late at night when he always got up at 4A to go to work in Johnson County Kansas for Defenbaugh’s Trash Service. He went to bed at 7:30 in the evening and stayed there until he had to go to work the next morning. I worked PRN and that meant as needed. I didn’t have to work if I didn’t want to unless I needed the hours. If you didn’t go to work when they found work for you too many times then they would give jobs to other LPN’s who would. It was hard for them to find LPN’s to go to Stanberry because of the distance. On Monday I got a call from Caregivers telling me I was fired because I had an aide set up the Oxygen tank for the patient while I was busy with the delivery man from the pharmacy. It was against their policy for aides to remove the top paraphernalia on the old tank and place it on the new tank. The patient just wanted her Oxygen and was happy when the supply of Oxygen came flowing through the lines continuously as ordered. The aide and I had congratulated ourselves on a job well done! I found out later that the aide, being afraid they would fire her, had told administration that she had told me it was against policy, and that she wasn’t supposed to do it. The nurse was the only one that could. I believe it was the long trip on New Year’s Eve on an old slick black top Road I refused to travel that cold snowy night that was my downfall.