Monday, April 07, 2014

My trainer brought in a new piece of equipment today: the big yoga-whoozit ball:

Little did she know I'd already found my spirit animal.

Friday, March 21, 2014

My Boyfiend's Back.

I go back to work tomorrow after ten days off. Why, you ask, did I take ten days off in the middle of what is decidedly not vacation season?

My boyfiend's back.

Specifically, his two-level microdiscectomy and associated recovery time.

Boyfiend had worked really hard all late summer and early fall, getting the brewery where he works up and running (yes, Boyfiend makes beer for a living. It's a perfect match.) and had started, just before Thanksgiving, having some pain in his knee. He'd messed up the knee years ago in a bike accident (yes, he rides bikes. Yes, he has a fixie. Yes, he has a beard and skinny jeans and flannel shirts.) and we'd thought it was just overwork. . .

. . . until the day that that leg was so numb he nearly fell getting out of bed.

I'll spare you the fun and games involved with the diagnosis of his problem, except to say that about six weeks into it, I said, "Honey-Bun, Snoogums, Sweetie-Pie, this shit is for the birds. I've got you an appointment with a neurosurgeon at Sunnydale General."

Whereupon he had a myelogram and various other things done that made the surgeon say OMG WTF, and then he went into surgery, where the surgeon opened him up and said OMG WTF EVEN WORSE THAN I THOUGHT OH NOOOOEEEES, and then the surgeon fixed him and closed him up and he's been pretty much fine.

I told him before surgery that he'd take less pain medication recovering from the surgery than he did prior. He did not believe me. I was right.

So for ten days I've been on light nursing duty. Boyfiend is not a whiner, he doesn't moan for attention, and he doesn't get in the way. Mostly he's been sleeping and reading and eating entire pints of ice cream late at night.

Monday he'll get his staples out. Then he can begin, very carefully, to be slightly more active. It'll be months before he's allowed to throw kegs around like Hulk Brewer again (if ever he can), but at least he'll be further away from surgery.

I have to say: it's been nice, after years and years of taking care of back-surgery patients, to get to see one get better.

Hey la, hey la.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Bladder, why you do me this way?

Back in nursing school, I had an instructor. Everybody has one of those instructors--the ones whose classes make you yearn for the sweet release of death, or at least a nice case of vascular dementia. I don't remember what she taught, although it couldn't have been that important, since we only met twice a week.

She had three hobbyhorses that she managed to work into every class: homeopathy, the importance of cleanses (you know, take a lot of laxatives and eat only pureed grapefruit stuff), and the fact that the nursing shortage was caused by legalized abortion. Oh--one more I forgot--that all nurses hated each other and the profession and ate their young and so on and so forth. You can imagine what it was like to be in her class. I would sit there Tuesdays and Wednesdays for an hour and a half each time, gritting my teeth and smiling blankly.

Plus, she was one of those people who believed that gayness could be cured and God sent disease as a punishment. A real winner.

That was the instructor, now that I remember back, that not-so-subtly implied that I'd somehow cheated my way to graduation, despite having a really nice, shiny GPA and good clinical recommendations.

I always never wondered what happened to her after I graduated.

Yesterday my bladder started acting all funny: it would produce a rhythmic thump whenever I turned left and started using more oil. So I went, this morning, to one of those generic Get You In, Get You Out clinics to see if I could pee in a cup and get some drugs. And who should greet me when I walked in?

Yep. That nursing instructor, now an NP in GYI/GYO Clinic. Which, not surprisingly, is attached to a locally-run pharmacy that has all sorts of homeopathic and frightening christian-y literature on the shelves. You can get your oscilliconum or whatever it's called at the same time you catch up on the latest thinking about God's great plan to punish sinners in the apocalypse. Which is happening next Monday.

Fortunately, they also had Bactrim DS, so I had that going for me.

And she didn't prostelytize or suggest that I take whatever weird sugar pill du jour she favored. The only thing she said that made me shudder slightly and recall that bland, focusless smile was this: that I must not eat a lot of red meat because there were so few nitrites in my urine. (Bacteria in the bladder that are the cause of UTIs produce nitrites as part of their metabolism. One reason for not having nitrites come up on a dipstick is that fresh urine has entered the bladder and the bacteria there haven't had time to push nitrites into it.) She did mention how horrible nursing was for her, and how the "nurse curse" was the cause of my bladder troubles.

I smiled a bland smile and waggled my head noncommittally. Then I gave her twenty-five bucks and trotted down the hall to the pharmacy, where three days' worth of antibiotic was a whopping $1.50.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Things that irritate me, part seventy gazillion and thirty-eight

If you're an instructor teaching nurses, please remember that we do "see one/do one/teach one." All you have to do is tell us what we need to know, once, and move on. Your (endless fucking horrible irritating) anecdotes (that attempt to cast you in a good light but instead make you look like the arrogant asshole you are) are not necessary. 

Running out of booze.

Patients who are reasonable, normal people while you're in the room, but turn into manipulative weirdos the minute you leave. The trouble with calling people like that on their behavior is that it's never satisfying.

Staying late in class because of anecdotes.

People who put on lots of light-colored eyeshadow or powder and either don't wear mascara or don't knock the powder off their eyelashes after they're done applying. Your mascara habits are your business, doll: I prefer mine as long as the list of people I hate and as black as my heart, but you do you. Just make sure you don't look like you've got eyelash dandruff from hell, okay?

Mushy broccoli. (This is one thing our cafeteria actually does well. I eat a ton of broccoli.)

Men--and they are always men--who ascribe political motives to the fact that I wear my hair in a buzzcut. Dude, if I were looking to be less attractive to men (and women, and mutant kangaroos), I would be wearing some other style, because this buzz brings all the boys to my yard. I wear it like this because it's easy, I can do it myself, and it looks sharp.

Tripping over the cat, when it's the cat's fault, and hearing that awful noise he makes. I have one who's especially bad about running under my feet.


Nail polish that looks hot in the bottle but ends up being some wimpy color on your nails.

Glitter everywhere.

Not getting my eyebrows on even.

Undercooked carrots.

Stockings, socks, or pantyhose that shift weirdly and cut off circulation at odd times.

Missing phone calls.

No fucking toilet paper why can't you assholes put a new roll in what is wrong with you WERE YOU RAISED BY WOLVES??

Lists of what annoys a person.


Monday, February 24, 2014

I have to go back to work in the morning.

(Actually, all I wanted was an excuse to use this gif. But it's pretty close.)

I am pleased to report that I am no longer a starfish.

Starting Friday night, I turned my stomach inside-out every hour or two for twenty-eight hours. 


Somehow I've managed to avoid--and here I'm knocking frantically on every piece of wood within reach--sinus infections, the flu, things falling on my head, alien abduction, and major broken bones this year. But I got whatever stomach bug is going around, and it SUCKED.

But now I'm better. 'Bout damn time, too.

Mongo, when I got home on Friday, was solicitous. He did everything but hold my hair back for me (because I have no hair to speak of) and then curled up next to me on the couch, carefully avoiding my stomach, and gazed soulfully into my eyes. He's a good boy. The only thing he couldn't do was get me ginger ale and meclizine, because he doesn't have a driver's licence and can't make change. 

In other news: The Powers That Be are expanding the neurocritical care unit, again. Apparently we've done well enough, what with staying full and winning awards and so on, that they want to add four more beds *and* an epilepsy monitoring area. I'm not entirely clear on where all these new beds will be, but whatever. I'm hearing rumors that they want to retrofit a couple of rooms for some mysterious purpose, as well: whether that means light-blocking shades or ceiling lifts, nobody has said. It's all very exciting and fluxy.

We've been seeing more patients with movement disorders and demyelinating diseases, as well, which is nice. Most of the nurses I work with are old med-surg or cardiac critical care folks, so Guillain-Barre and myesthenia gravis and Parkinson's are new territory for them. I learn more answering their questions than I realized I would.

Finally, there is a nice man coming this morning to fix the drain line from the kitchen sink. Ah, the glories of living in an old house. Do they ever stop? No. No, they don't.

Monday, February 10, 2014

I got this comment on a long-ago post. . . . 

It's a list of thirty-six reasons nobody should go into nursing. The author is a woman who spent eighteen years in a field she hated, then went on to get a medical degree and became a medical registrar. She's in Australia.

I'm having a lot of thoughts about this. The first two were along the lines of "How on earth did you survive that long in a job you hated?" and "Why did you even bother?" (Incidentally, I emailed her those two questions, figuring that the answer to the second would be either "kids" or "money," but I'm interested in the answer to the first. I would've flang myself out the window, I said, long before the tenth year.)

My next thought was: Does nursing in Australia and New Zealand really differ all that much from nursing in the US? Yes, it's damn near impossible right now for a new grad to get a job, but our programs aren't exactly easy to get into (certain exceptions apply). Yes, some doctors disrespect nursing and nurses, but the vast majority are collegial. Yes, you run into nurses who maybe shouldn't be allowed to cross the street by themselves, but again, the majority are pretty smart. And yes, bullying happens, but not everywhere and all the time.

And then there was this: She's spot-on as regards post-graduate education for nurses. Under the heading "Don't Get Me Started" in my own personal bitch list is the fact that we *still* have "Therapeutic Touch" listed as a treatment modality, even after repeated studies have shown zero therapeutic benefit to waving your paws a couple inches over a patient's body. If we expect to be taken seriously as providers, we have got to cut the bullshit and do real evidence-based practice.

The combination of Alison's list and the comments on it (forty-some and counting) give me what the kids call All The Feels. I know it's just one person's writing. Some of it I agree with, some of it had me wide-eyed and thankful that I don't work where she did. 

My experience is, to be frank, pretty limited. I went through a highly-ranked, competitive program and got hired at a nationally-ranked research and academic facility. In twelve years I've run into only three doctors (one resident and two attendings) who treated nurses like highly-trained monkeys--and, for what it's worth, they treated everybody that way, from other doctors to their patients. My work life has been about as good as you can get, barring the brain-farts from Manglement that happen in any workplace.

What do you think? Discuss it here; Alison's blog isn't the place for trolling or extended debates.