Friday, December 31, 2010

Throw Out Your Dead (Year, that is)

Working holidays usually sucks, especially on Christmas; goes with the territory. The ones who get paid through a pea-shooter are forced to be away from their families at least half, if not more, of all of the paid holidays. Clip board nurses get every paid holiday off; every bean counter gets every paid holiday. Off. According to a notice on our bulletin board, the electricians, maintenance workers, and general stores people are also having a paid holiday. Forget that on New Year's Eve day, every single primary care office closes up shop and abandons refer their patients to the ER. As I frequently say, the usual sick and stupid become the very sick and the galactically stupid. Today's mixed bag included constipation, ear wax, spotting 4 days ago x 1 in a 24 year old who is 10 minutes pregnant (no insurance), vaginal bleeding in a 24 year old 5 weeks post partum who is not breast feeding, using birth control and who didn't tell me that she took Plan B 5 days ago. Also no insurance. Oh, and a little girl "rushed" in by her grandmother with fever. "101!!". "But I gave her Benadryl, and it was climbing before I left the house!". Trouble was, Grammy didn't know any of the girl's health information including the date of birth. She didn't notice that the kid's respiratory rate was around 50, and wouldn't have known anyway that her o2 sat was only 88% (should be over 95 at least). Fortunately Dad arrived shortly thereafter to add to fill in the blanks; what a brain trust that was I tell ya. Dad had to be told to carry the kid out to the car with her pneumonia; "yeah, Dad, you probably should give her little lungs a break for the next couple of days, maybe keep her quiet and minimize her activity? mmmkay?". Yikes.

So, I'm working New Years Eve and New Years Day (by choice to be honest; Mr. Ednurseasauras and I haven't been out in about 100 years, and I would prefer to actually be in the ER than out with the Crayzees). We had the good luck to work with The Talker, for whom commonsense rules in all things. Love it. We were busy all night though, but our Last Patient of the Night left before 10:30 PM so we did get out on time. Now, shortly before midnight I sit and reflect on the last 12 months (Mr. EdN has gone to bed). I am briefly distracted by New Year's Rockin' Eve, how can they allow that poor Dick Clark to continue? It is just so.....wrong. This has to be his last year, huh? Isn't he about 106 years old?

Anyway, back to my reflections. I rarely make New Years resolutions; it merely sets me up for failure. But I can think about changes without actually committing to them, that must count for something, right?

So, I imagined that I would have completed my BSN and be working on my MSN by now. I have 2 CLEP's and one course left to take. I WILL complete these in 2011, but as for the master's degree, forget it. Everything I have to teach is clinically oriented. I just couldn't imagine myself in a classroom. Therefore, teaching is down the drain.

I need to return to a busier ER before I become old, befuddled, and lose all of my skills completely. I have too much time on my hands, see way too many drug seekers and other pathetic souls, and lack an opportunity to use my clinical skills in a positive way. Besides, there is just way too much physician interference with the nursing part of nursing care at this facility; I understand the patriarchal culture of a religious hospital, but I have ever chafed at this kind of authority. I have become increasingly unhappy and will do my best to change that in the coming year. No promises, see.

I will try to keep my writing more positive, finish my novel (or scrap it and start from scratch), blog more frequently, read more books, and continue to get more exercise. I actually managed to lose weight during the holidays this year (5 pounds is not a big deal, but I see it as not weighing 10 pounds more, not too shabby). I will keep on making healthier eating choices because at my age, every calorie counts.

I continue to do synchronized skating, albeit badly; I expect every week for the coach to tell me I suck too badly to continue since I am probably the worst skater on the team. I cannot get any better at my age though, more's the pity. I do have fun though, most of the time.

I cherish my family; my husband is active and healthy, and we remain best friends after nearly 33 years of marriage. My kids are awesome; gainfully employed and doing well on their own, both college graduates. My four brothers and their families are happy and healthy, busy with their lives as my 10 nieces and nephews grow and thrive. My mom is 78 and has every last one of her marbles (not to mention her original teeth), is remarkably healthy and active, living on her own with a busier social life than mine.

I have wonderful friends, anyone of whom would be instantly by my side if I asked (as I would to them); the kind of friends who would wordlessly and without argument bring the lime along with the requested shovel. I laugh a lot with these girls; some were nursing school friends, some from various jobs, some from skating. Circles within circles within circles, what could be better. We might go weeks/months without hearing from each other some of us, so I will try to keep in touch more.

I could think about being nicer, stop terrorizing SIC, be less critical....nah. That's enough New Year's reflection for one night, besides it's almost 2011. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

12 Days of Family Christmas Sayings

After hearing the "12 Pains of Christmas" and getting a chuckle, here is a list of 12 quotes from my childhood, usually from my Mom. My four younger brothers will remember many of them I'm sure:

12. "Stop shaking those presents!"
11. "Don't you dare go into the attic / basement / bedroom closet / car!"
10. "Will you PLEASE stop putting the baby Jesus on TOP of the manger?!"
9. " Place the tinsel strand by strand, DO NOT just throw a handful!"
8. "Wait 'til your father gets home!"
7. "Please take the cat off the tree".
6. "Santa won't come unless you are asleep"
5. (On Christmas morning at about 5 AM): "NOBODY is to move past the top step and proceed to the living room until Daddy has turned on the (heat, tree lights, movie camera, coffee)"
4. "Unwrap your little brother right this minute; no, you can't give him to the Salvation Army"
3. "No, you can't eat chocolate Santas for breakfast".
2. "Please let the cat/your little brother out of that box right this minute, I don't care if it has air holes!"
1. "So much preparation, and it is over so fast"

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Today was the day I was going to get everything done as far as shopping for gifts.

I started the day early; I had my lists. I checked them twice. Family. Friends. Skating buddies. An impoverished family that my co-workers and I have adopted with a miles long wish-list of necessities. I had my plan of attack, mapped out in order of location along with what items I needed. But first I had to work a four hour princess shift from 11 AM to 3 PM.

Dr. Cruella had the duty today; she really isn't cruel, just decisive and focused. She is a favorite amongst the nursing staff because she has no tolerance for drug seekers and generally sends them packing without narcotics.

Cruella had a cold; a really bad sneezing, sniffling, stuffy head, Rudolph-nose, gravelly voiced, gonna-give-this-shit-to-everyone kind of cold. I honestly didn't even want to touch any of her paperwork because they were literally crawling with microbes. I kept a supply of masks on the desk for her to use along with a 50 gallon dispenser of hand sanitizer. She probably should have stayed home since she was likely sicker than any of the patients we saw, but we in health care in general fail to use our sick time for actual illness. It is a lose-lose situation; nurses/docs who call in sick are vilified by their co-workers, and if a weekend or holiday, it is never forgotten. Yet if they show up sick, people complain that they are sharing their illness. Go figure.

I had the pleasure (gag) of working with Second in Command (SIC) today. She told an interesting (yawn) story of her first year as a nurse working a double shift on New Year's Eve; she coughed so badly that one of the patients was overheard saying, "I don't know which nurse is coughing, but I hope she isn't mine". So true on several levels I'm sure.

My first Christmas as an RN began with emesis so severe that I think I vomited several internal organs. Of course I dragged myself to work at 3 PM; I was the only RN on along with one LPN and 4 aides. However, since I was an unnatural shade of green and a whiter shade of pale combined, my co-workers immediately started making panicked phone calls to summon a replacement as I lolled semi-conscious at the nurses station, vowing to start giving meds "in just a minute". Ho ho ho indeed.

So after a quick stop at home to burn my scrubs and boil my skin, off I went to shop 'til I dropped. I did get a lot done, but not quite everything. I started running out of gas about 5 hours into my marathon because I was starting to sneeze and feel sniffly. Stuffy headed. And very, very tired. Yawn.

Thanks, Cruella.

I stopped at the pharmacy for cold remedies instead of shopping for stocking stuffers. Guess I will have to rely on the fact that I will live to shop another day.