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.