Working Mardi GrasbyLord DragonsWing©
Mardi Gras, surely everyone is familiar with the crazy happenings in the Big Easy during this festive time of year. But try working in New Orleans during that time. For myself and a few other nurses that's when you made the big bucks. Every year the nurses who resided in the City that Never Slept wanted off to enjoy the parades, ignore the traffic and some just to escape the crowds. That's when those of those that traveled came into town and worked pretty much around the clock.
The parades didn't really interest us. We saw our share of Mardi Gras in the cities emergency rooms and hospital wards. Who needed to go watch the crazy's after spending time there?
Of course it definitely took getting use to working during this wild time when partiers from around the world flocked to the cities streets and clubs. During Mardi Gras you would see it all. From men walking around in chaps with nothing underneath, to couples having oral sex on the balconies while parades streamed below them. It was amazing what some people would do for a string of beads worth a couple of cents.
Of course I had no idea what someone would do until I started working there about 8 years ago. That's when I came to the conclusion that not only working Mardi Gras would be a learning experience, but also something you'd have to experience at least once in your medical career.
Being assigned to the emergency room at one of New Orleans largest hospitals the first time I arrived in the city should of given me a hint of what to expect. Looking at the agency clerk who slipped the assignment form into my hand I should of guessed something was strange when she just giggled and blushed.
"Okay Tony, that's where you go for the week. They've got a room set aside for you to sleep in during your time off. So you won't have to fight the traffic going and coming. You'll have 12 hr days at least for the next 7 days. And remember, this is Mardi Gras, what you see this week you probably won't see again until next year."
Nodding and grabbing my luggage I headed to the agencies van that was going to take the visiting nurses down to their various assignments. Sitting in the back, a very attractive red head turned and introduced herself.
"Hiya, I'm Debbie. Where u spending the week at?"
"Charity ER. What about you?"
Laughing, she shook her head as the red curls flowed around her face.
"No, not me. I'm at Tulane. Karen, she's sitting in the front passenger seat, she's going to Charity for the week also."
Turning around the red head raised her voice to be heard above the other nurses chatter.
"Hey Karen, this guys going to Charity the same as you. ER also. At least you'll have someone else from the agency with you."
Leaning over to look at Karen, I nodded my head and smiled. She was cute. Definitely someone you wouldn't mind working with for a week long contract.
Karen turned and waved her hand in acknowledgment. Her dark eyes blending perfectly with her straight black hair.
As the driver hopped in the van and looked around I leaned back into my seat.
"Okay folks, you ready to rock and roll?"
Excited chatter filled the van as we responded. The driver just smiled and cranked up the vehicle.
Looking out the side panel windows as we inched our way through the traffic I began to get an idea of just how crazy Mardi Gras could be. Just outside the city limits traffic was backed up and barely moving. Crowds wandered the streets heading towards the various shuttle buses that went towards the parade routes.
Slipping a CD into the stereo the driver began to hum to the party tunes.
"So, any of you ever been here for the party before?"
Throughout the van heads began to shake and nod. Half of the contract nurses had, for the rest of us this was a new experience. Noticing Karen in the front seat shake her head no I began to feel a little less nervous. At least I wasn't the only one who was going to experience the hospitals ER for the first time.
For traveling nurses, experiencing new places was common. You were always sent where ever you were needed the most. Los Angeles, Dallas, the Caribbean and this time to New Orleans. You had a choice of where you wanted to go. Of course you always looked at who offered the most money and what the conditions were really like at your proposed assignment. New Orleans had been a give me for most of us. Double the wages for the week, all expenses paid, and the lure of Mardi Gras. Anyone of us would have been a fool to refuse the short term contract.
Suddenly the driver asked, "Any of you married?"
An older nurse sitting behind Karen raised her hand. Her blue eyes sparkling with pride.
"Yea, I am. Two lovely kids and a husband in San Antonio."
Looking back, the driver grinned. "Don't worry Miss. It won't matter this week. This is The Big Easy."
Watching her cheeks redden, everyone in the van began to chuckle.
Feeling someone's hand tapping my knee I looked up to see Debbie giggling and pointing out the window.
"Look at that? Can u fucking believe it?"
Turning to look out the window, my jaw dropped and bounced off the floor of the van. There, walking down the sidewalk in full view of the public was this perfect specimen of a woman. Tall and blonde, legs that went from her ass to the pavement. Yet it's what she was wearing that threw me into shock. Black fish net panty hose, stiletto heels and a black latex bra. The firm cheeks of her ass shaking with every step she made. Walking beside her must of been her boyfriend. This guy was wearing black leather chaps, a black thong and black biker boots. No shirt, no pants! And his ass cheeks were shaking even more than the blonde's were.
Continuing to scan the crowd I began to notice other partiers just as scantily clad. One couple, both men, had the seats of their blue jeans cut out and were wearing plastic, see through molds in place. Each walked arm in arm down the sidewalk, with their hands resting on each other's mold.
Turning to look at Debbie I could my face heating up and it definitely wasn't from the temperature inside the van.
"Damn, you better shut your mouth. You know the mosquitoes down here are terrible."
Forcing my mouth shut with great effort, I turned back to look at the crowd. Most people were dressed nice. Jeans, cotton athletic shirts and sneakers. But throughout the flowing mob you could still pick out the others. Those who took the cities nickname literally.
Shaking my head as we turned into Tulane to let Debbie and her co-workers out I automatically glanced towards the ER. You can always tell how busy a place was by looking at the ER. And Tulane was busy! Ambulances pulled up at the emergency entrance one after another. Families sat outside smoking and talking. Some of the patients wandered in on their own. Staggering from alcohol, fights or drugs. Knowing Tulane wasn't far from Charity I began to get some idea of what this week was going to be like for an ER nurse.
Crawling up in the seat behind Karen I offered my hand and introduced myself. Since we were going to be working the week in the same hospital it always helped to know a co-worker. Especially since you may end up working together on future assignments.
Feeling Karen's soft hand and firm grip I looked into her dark eyes.
"It looked pretty busy back there at the ER. Debbie and the others are going to have their hands full."
With a seductively mischevious smile Karen nodded her head. "Oh, I'm sure they will."
The driver turned and laughed. "You think those guys are going to be busy? You two are going to Charity. The state run hospital in the city. You're going to see things you'll probably never again. You get it all in that place."
Leaning back in the seat I looked at Karen. Her black page boy haircut framing her tanned face.
"Well, that's what we're here for. To stay busy and help out."
Turning back to face the front of the van, Karen continued to scan the crowd outside while her head moved with the rhythm of the music coming over the van's stereo.
Blowing the horn of the van the driver motioned to a police officer who was overlooking the crowd and traffic. Nodding his head the officer cleared a path in the milling crowd so the van could pull into the parking lot next to Charity's ER.
"Here you go kids. Be safe and have fun. I'll see you in a week."
Grabbing our luggage and stepping out of the van I could feel the humidity of the Louisiana air clinging to my skin. Turning to look at Karen I nodded my head towards the ER.
Looking at me with those dark eyes she tilted her head and smiled.
"Like the driver said, let's rock and roll."
Stepping through the crowd hanging around outside and into the ER of the hospital was like entering the Los Angeles freeway at rush hour. People darted from room to room like drivers heading for a last minute exit ramp. Gurney's were lined against the peeling walls loaded with patients waiting to be treated. Orders being shouted, families crying and yelling all added to what looked like a confused mess. Instead it was a well orchestrated concerto. Each member going about their various assignments and pulling together as a team.
Moving over to the central desk, Karen and I introduced ourselves to the clerk who was closest. Eyeing our luggage, the clerk turns and shouts at a middle aged nurse standing at the assignment board.
"Cecilia, the two agency nurses are here. Where do you want them?"
Turning from the board the charge nurse walked briskly to the front of the desk. Scanning Karen and I she shook her head.
"Where's your uniforms? Your shift starts in an hour."
Looking at Cecilia we each held up our luggage.
"Okay, let me show you where you'll stay and you can change. I'll give you a quick round and you'll be ready to go."
Looking over at us I noticed that Cecilia saw the surprise on our two faces.
"Don't worry. You just got in town and you were hoping to freshen up right? Well, you'll be too busy to worry about that for the night. Coffee's downstairs, the cafeteria is open 24 hrs. There's a king cake in the nurses lounge along with some sandwiches one of the local churches were nice to enough to drop over. Eat when you get a chance."
Motioning down the surgical hallway Celcia pointed.
"At the end of hallway are two rooms. Take your pick. They're both empty and assigned to you. You're neighbors are patients. So don't go out partying and stagger back down the hallway after your shift. Understood?"
Not waiting for an answer, Celcia turned and waved as she stepped quickly back up the hallway.
"See you in fifty minutes."
Continuing up the shiny floor I glanced over at Karen and smiled.
"Well, at least we got private rooms."
Smiling up at me Karen's white teeth glistened under the fluorescent lights.
"Hell, I don't think it would matter. We're going to be too worn out to do anything after work anyway."
Stopping at the nurses station on the floor we asked where we could get some towels and washcloths. Motioning behind the station to a large closet I sat my luggage down and grabbed Karen and I an armful of linen.
"So? You da' travel nurses that's keeping us here company dis week?"
Turning to look at the staff as they watched us I smiled.
"Yep, I'm Tony and this is Karen. We're working the ER for the week."
A short brunette, with olive skin walked over and smiled.
"I'm Tanya, from right here in da' Big Easy. You ever need a bed bath or som'din you let me know okay?"
Feeling my face redden as the girls at the station began to giggle I nodded and turned to Karen. Covering her mouth with her small hand, trying not to laugh, Karen accepted the stack of linen I offered her.
Grabbing my luggage and turning back to the station I smiled at Tanya.
"That I'll do if I ever get a chance. But trust me, you're definitely going to need a long break afterwards."
Listening to the howls of laughter as Karen and I continued up the halls to our rooms I shook my head and grinned. This was going to be some week. The biggest party in the world, people running around half naked, a gorgeous work partner, already getting offers for bed baths and I'm going to be too tired to do anything. Just my damn luck.
Listening to Karen giggle beside me I turned and tilted my head in her direction.
"Now come on. As gorgeous as you are you don't get offers from strangers while you're away on assignments?"
Trying not to giggle any further, Karen forces her chin down on the stack on the linen.
"Sure I do. But usually ignore them. Of course you being a male nurse in a female dominated job I'm sure you get them more than I do. Especially wearing jeans that fit you like that."
Coughing and left speechless, I realize we're at the end of the hallway.
Which you want? It doesn't matter to me."
Karen opens the door to the left and looks back.
"Me either. See you in 45 minutes."
Entering the room I observe it's the standard private hospital room. A television hooked to cable, a phone, a bed that raises up and down at the head and foot and a shower with bars on the wall to help you stand. Not at all bad. I can definitely take this for a week at the pay we're making.
Rushing through the shower and grabbing a starched uniform out of the suit hanger I quickly get dressed and shaved. Noticing the time I run out the door to the vending area hoping for a cup of coffee and a fix of chocolate. With a long night ahead that's what I lived on. Coffee and chocolate, the caffeine and sugar alone would make Popeye forget about spinach.
Rushing into the ER I dart over to the desk where Karen and Cecilia are chatting away. Mumbling over the Hershey bar I stuff into my mouth I smile at the two women.
Cecilia looks up at me and shakes her head.
"So you're a caffeine nurse? No wonder you got the night shift. Now Karen has told me all about her, give me a quick rundown about your qualifications. I know the agency checks you all out and test each of you. But screw that. This is my ER and I want to know who I've got in what rooms."
Giving Cecilia a quick rundown of my experience and qualifications she nods her head and moves towards the assignment board.
"Okay, Tony, you and Karen are both critically qualified and more than have enough experience. I'm giving the two of you rooms 3 through 8. That's six rooms. Divide them up or work together it's up to you. You've got two paramedics and three aides to help you out. They can show you where everything is in the rooms before you start. The lounge is through that hallway behind the station, the last door. The first door belongs to the docs. They're cool. Most are staff, there's a few interns that are available tonight. If you have a problem come to me. If you don't feel comfortable with something an intern wants you to do, ask me. I'll handle it. Any questions?"
Shaking our heads, Karen and I looked up at the assignment board. Six rooms, all busy at this time. It was definitely going to be a busy night.
Cecilia headed back to the desk and grabbed a chart.
"Good, let the good times roll then."
Walking towards our assigned rooms Karen and I agreed to start at the ends and work our way to the middle. Depending on the emergency we'd handle what ever the city could hit us with.
Strolling into the first room I turned to the aide who was obtaining the blood pressure and other vital signs of the patient.
"Hi, I'm Tony. Karen and I have been assigned rooms three through six tonight. What you got?"
"Not much. He's having problems urinating. Hasn't gone in a day at least. His wife says he's been standing over the commode needing to pee but no luck."
Doing the typical screening and asking the middle aged man the normal prostate and family history questions I hand the results over to the intern.
"Okay, get the paramedic to start a catheter and run a prostate test."
Grabbing the paramedic I pass on the instructions and go to the next room. The intern is already there talking with the young woman. Not bad at all. Possible pregnancy. Next room looks more critical. Gunshot wound to the arm. Not too bad, but surgery is needed.
Karen is having the same luck it seems, not too bad, but none stop. Meeting her in the middle room I turn and smile.
"How's it going?"
"Not bad, a kid who's Mom said he swallowed a parade coin, a drunk who's friends brought him in because he was puking over his girlfriend and a nursing home patient who's dehydrated. How's that end look?"
Explaining to Karen how the other end looked I took a sip of coffee and stared into her dark eyes. Damn, not only gorgeous but smart. Smiling up at me as she turned and walked towards the intern to assist with the next patient I couldn't help but manage to notice how well she looked in her white scrubs.
Feeling a tap on my shoulder as I watched Karen, I jumped and turned to face the paramedic.
"Sorry, no luck on starting the catheter on that guy in three. I even tried the coude catheter for prostates. Nothing, I can't get in."
Looking at the paramedic I shook my head and began to wonder what was going on with the man in the room three.
"You can't get in? It's a straight shot, right down the penis into the bladder. You feel like something s blocking you or what?"
The paramedic hedged a little as he looked around.
"Well, it's like this. I get so far down and I hit something solid. The catheter bends and so does his penis. That just isn't normal. I've never had problems starting a catheter on someone before."
Taking the chart from the paramedic I scan through the notes and history again. Nothing. Nothing in the chart indicates any blockage or history.
"Okay, get an X-ray and let me know the results. I'll get the intern to sign the orders."
Going through rooms four and five again I watch as the patients are treated and leave to their proper destinations. New patients fill the rooms. Treatment and procedures continue.
After about two hours Karen comes walking over to me and ask if I'd seen the intern.
"No, sure haven't. What's up?"
Noticing Karen blush, I bend down and look at her dark brown eyes.
"I've got a patient with a problem that I've never seen before. Let's just put it that way."
Nodding my head, I straighten back up and reach for my coffee.
"Okay that's not a problem. We're partners, let's see what we can figure out."
Following Karen into room seven I immediately halt and begin to cough. There with her ass up in the air is the fish net hose blonde with a dildo showed inside her pussy. Standing beside her is her boyfriend, still wearing the chaps, thong and boots. This time he's got a large beer in his hand.
Karen introduces me to the partying couple as I turn and nod my head.
"Okay Karen, what's wrong with the toy? Is it stuck or something?"
The buxom blonde turns and looks me.
"Stuck? The fucking thing is doubled over inside me damn it. This prick shoved it so deep that it curled up and won't straighten the fuck out! What the fuck you think I'd come in her for?"
Trying not to laugh and looking at her boyfriend I asked him how long the dildo was. Shrugging his shoulders he grinned.
"About 16 inches. Fuck, she kept saying give me more. What the hell you gonna do?"
Turning and looking at Karen, I noticed the redness on her cheeks.
"You got the X-rays ordered and the surgeon consulted?"
Nodding her head she looks at me with those big dark eyes.
The fish net blonde raises her head and tucks in her ass.
"Surgeon? No one, and I mean no fucking prick is going to cut my pussy open to remove this frigging toy. There has to be another way."
Walking over to the blonde, I smiled.
"Don't worry. We don't do anything that isn't necessary. The surgeon will figure out what to do."