It had been a rough few months without Carmelita Ortiz-Garcia or Reva Rice-Guilbeau. Seems whenever some of our staff are ill or on scheduled leave, the entire staff suffers, and those who are left behind are left to pull the lion's share of the work.
During the winter/early spring, when flu/cold season was in full swing, I and several of my fellow nurses had noticed that Carmelita seemed depressed or angry all of the time; as for Reva, she sported twin dark purple circles around her eyes and was feeling a general sense of weakness and malaise.
Louisiana Sandusky, our head nurse on the day shift, became greatly concerned, so she'd sent Carmelita and Reva to be looked at the ER. Both nurses claimed that they were okay; all they needed was a little time off from work and to get some needed rest/sleep. Louisiana knew better: she told them to go to the Emergency Room, or else she was going to personally escort them there herself.
Note to self: never try to cross Louisiana Sandusky. She will set you straight, every time!
It turned out that Reva had to be admitted to the hospital for testing. It ended up that she had a case of mononucleosis, or "the kissing disease": one of her teenaged daughters had unkonwingly passed it on to her mother. She would be out for about a week or so. As for Carmelita, her problem was more serious: she was suffering from bi-polar illness; she would have to undergo counseling at the local mental health clinic and be on medications to stablize her moodiness.
Both would be able to return to work, much to evreybody's relief.
It didn't help at the time that when this happened, the Emergency waiting room was chock full of patients. There had also been a small plane crash at one of Nashville's smaller airports to add to the fun. (NOT!) The emergency department was in total disarray: the day was a living nightmare!
Carmelita and Reva getting sick couldn't have happened at a worse time. I will never forget that day as long as I shall live!
Happily, both Carmelita and Reva have returned to work. Carmelita is a lot calmer (not to mention, happier) since being on her medications, and Reva needed time to rest and catch up on lost sleep. She took a two week vacation after being diagnosed; she and her husband, Tony, went to Japan to visit their son, who was in the United States Air Force. They had a wonderful time.
Some days are still crazy, but Louisiana and the other leaders of the staff have done their best to try to have replacement staff, so we don't end up as shorthanded. It doesn't always work out that way, but by God, they tried. I just hope that we don't have any more crazy-ness for a very long time, but seeing this IS a hospital, that may prove to be very unlikely.