Nurse’s Week: A Little Fun with Nurses

Let me start by saying that nurses are some of the hardest working people on the planet.  The garbage you all see and put up with is a constant source of amazement to me.  I’d like to wish each nurse and med tech out there, Happy Nurse’s Week; you all deserve some recognition.

I’d like to give a special nod to one particular nurse who cared for my father after his recent back surgery (a big middle finger to cancer, by the way).  Her bedside manner was quite appropriate … if we were all three-year olds.  Picture yourself talking to a puppy or kitten; this is a good approximation of how she acted around us, or I should say, around my dad.  To the rest of us, she was just “normal.” She was trying to be nice, I get that, she had an awesome bedside manner, but she came off as just a wee bit condescending … or sarcastic which is even better. Now, she was dealing with my dad so she should probably be forgiven, but I will say this: it was hilarious to the rest of us.

In the recovery room where he had to lay flat for like a gazillion hours straight, my father told her his back hurt, and she nodded in rapt understanding.  “Do you know why that is?” she asked.  We all leaned in, holding our collective breath, waiting for the medical pearls of wisdom we were sure she was about to share with us.  She touched my dad’s hand ever so comfortingly and looked so wise, and then she told him, “Because you had that procedure on your back this morning.” And then she nodded sagely with the sweetest smile on her face. At that moment I realized:  I, too, could be a nurse … I’ve got the sarcastic bedside manner down pat if not any form of medical training whatsoever.  I wonder if she uses that same soothing-seemingly-helpful-yet-in-reality-sarcastic-kindergarten-teacher-type voice with all her patients, and I wonder if she uses it on her coworkers or in general daily interactions.  If so, I like her more and more.

As you all are aware, my mind tends to wander, and we all know how dangerous that can be.  As I watched the nurses scurry back and forth under the crushing demands of patients and doctors, I thought of ways I could brighten their day.  Or, drive them crazy.  Here is a short list of fun ideas I had.

Page fictional nurses and doctors:  Nurse Ratchet, Dr. Who, Florence Nightingale, Dr. Doolittle…you get the idea.

Bring empty beer cans and stash them all over the room:  Look innocent when the staff questions you.

Start doing a stand-up comedy routine on the overhead system:  “What’s the deal with hospital food?”

Grab a set of scrubs and a clipboard and wander the hallway looking concerned:  Added plus for muttering phrases like “That leech treatment sure didn’t work, I’m not sure what could’ve went wrong, they were fresh leeches” or “We never covered vampire bites in medical school.”  Even more points if you tell a nurse to order a “Wingdang KPT frontal scan of the terrapin flimflam on Mrs. Smith.  STAT!”  Extra extra points if you stop a visitor, make up a disease and ask them what they think of your treatment plan for your patient.

Call fictional codes in areas of the hospital that don’t exist:  Code purple pinstripe, rumpus room.  Repeat, code purple pinstripe, rumpus room.

Clip a positive pregnancy test to a male patient’s chart:  Yeah, this one’s just fun across the board.

Attach a page of Egyptian hieroglyphics to charts:  It actually may be easier for them to read than the doctor’s hand writing.

Every time the overhead speaker is used, run to the nurse’s station: “Was that for me!?  I missed it.”

Or, whenever the overhead speaker is used, act terrified: “The voices!  They told me I wouldn’t hear the voices anymore!”  or “God?  Is that you?”

Stand backwards in the elevator:  Loudly proclaim to all who enter that it is the longest elevator ride you have ever been on and you’ve been waiting for the doors to open for an hour.

Secretly replace all the names on the white board with celebrity names: The nurses get to take care of Madonna, Justin Timberlake, and Beyoncé all in the same shift!  OR, better yet, Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, and Po.

Attach sheets together to make a rope, put one end in the toilet, and hide under the bed:  Listen to your nurse try to explain what happened to you to Security.

In all seriousness, though, I have this to say to all the nurses out there: YOU ALL ROCK! It takes a special kind of person to be a nurse. I sure don’t envy you your jobs, BUT I do appreciate that you are there, helping people. Every. Damn. Day. From the family members sitting next to our loved ones, anxious and afraid, Thank You for all you do.  We need you, and we love you all.

Happy Nurse’s Week!

Life is Messy

Keats said: “Life is divine Chaos. It’s messy, and it’s supposed to be that way.” And I get it. Yes. Life is messy. I’m not quite sure on the whole “divine” aspect, but in general, I’m on board with the whole chaos theory per Mr. Keats.

Here lately, chaos has defined my world … some bad, some good. It seems that along with being messy, Life has a sense of humor, and a twisted one at that. It sometimes gives you what you want, while also throwing obstacles — or downright tragedies, in your wake. Trials, tribulations, misfortune. Why can’t we just be allowed to enjoy the “good” without having the “bad” trail so closely behind?

After too many years of an unhappy — even, shall we say, hurtful, marriage, I began anew. It has taken adjustments, but it was necessary, and there is now a peace in my home that reigns supreme. Chalk that up to the “good” side. My kids are doing well on their respective paths to their future. Add a notch to the good column. I start a new job in a week. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m excited about this new route my own path is taking. Another mark to the good.

And then. Life, in all of its infinite wisdom said: “You know what? Things are just going a little to well for you and your family. I’m going to throw a kink into things. The mother of all kinks, in fact. Because, fuck you.”

Yeah. Life is messy all right.

My Dad, who this time last year was fine, now has Stage IV lung cancer. We know he was fine last year because for a few, non-cancer related reasons, he has scans done every year. That’s Life right there, flipping the middle finger. He’s a tough old cuss and if anyone can beat this thing, he can. But damn it, Life, get your shit together why don’t you?

 

A Toast to Toasts

I love to be validated. I mean, who doesn’t, right?

Things I would love to find out I am right about include:  tofu not only tastes bad, but it is bad for you, being a couch potato adds ten years to your life, and drinking regularly is good for you.  While the jury is still out on tofu, a study published here gives me reason to dream again.

Yes folks, it is true.  Drinking two drinks per day will allow you to live to 90+ years.  Read that again, my friends.  Drinking two drinks per day is “more likely to extend life past 90 than exercise.” All this time, I’ve been doing it right.  Take THAT, health fanatics!  While you’ve all been out doing healthy things like “walking,” “working out,” and “getting up from the couch on occasion,” I’ve been sipping wine, with the remote by my side, on the sofa and adding years – years, people! – to my life.

I wonder how many other things we will find out are good or bad for us that we never imagined.  My dream list would include:

Housecleaning is dangerous for your health:  Think about it.  You are inhaling dust, subjecting your body to strange chemicals, and moving.  The moving alone, per the study above, is obviously not that good for you after all.  And talk about physical harm?  I have tripped over the vacuum cleaner cord many times in my quest for a clean house; dear God, I could have died!

Fast food is good for you:  GMO vegetables and fruit…why bother?  With a good old fashioned #3 from your favorite fast food menu, you know exactly what you are getting.  Well, sort of.  It may or may not be meat that may or may not have been from a farm animal, but you get the gist. I’m not even sure about those fries. Don’t be lazy, though; get out of the car and walk up to the counter to add some moderate exercise to your fast food routine (I’m told this also helps in getting one’s order correct).

Laundry is a bad idea:  From water waste to chemicals, laundry surely is bad for both you and the environment.  Disposable clothes made from biodegradable material is the answer here.  No need to fold, put away, hand wash, put away, separate, put away, or put away your laundry ever again.  Also, you never need to put away your laundry ever again. Just so you know, I keep track of this stuff, so no-one better steal my ideas.

Paying bills is bad for you:  This, of course, is a big one. The anguish of money pouring out of your account.  The possibility of stolen identity with each online bill paid.  Surely, paying bills has to be a danger to your mental health.  Let’s band together and just stop paying those pesky things; our lives will be longer, happier and stress free.  Hey, who turned out the lights!?

Chocolate is an undiscovered food group on that omnipresent pyramid:  I think the Aztecs and Mayans had this one right. One day, scientists will figure out that chocolate is its own food group.  They will study it and assign it a place on the food pyramid.  Health coaches and nutritionists will recommend five to six servings a day.  It will also be discovered that chocolate has the side effect of weight loss.

Rest assured, I will be scouring the news in search of more vindication of my border-line slovenly lifestyle.  Until I find more proof that my way of life is healthy, I will be knocking back a few glasses of Pinot Gris Health Juice and watching reruns on the couch.

Cheers!

Sick-O

As if life wasn’t hectic enough, the universe recently thought it could double up on my stress level and bless me with a nice medical problem on top of everything else that’s been vying for the top spot in my list of current anxieties. Or, maybe I should say it’s not so much a medical problem as it is… cue ominous music… “mystery science theatre,” because as of yet the doctors have no clue how to solve whatever it is I’ve got – or even what I have.

I’ll tell you, there’s a special category of “disheartening” when you go to your doctor seeking reassurance in the knowledge that surely to goodness somewhere in his career he’s cured things much worse than whatever it is you’ve got and he just shrugs his shoulders at you. Literally. That’s what he did.  No joke.

When I first went in to be seen the doctors went straight down the terror route. “Ahh, let’s see, maybe we should do a biopsy of something.”  Of course, my mind immediately jumped from “I thought I might need some pills for a few days” to “What the hell’s going to be on my tombstone?” Then, after wrapping my head around the possibility that I might have a malignant golf ball in my lungs and/or my sinuses, the doctors said “Nah, screw that, never mind.” They never did the biopsy.

Instead they downgraded their opinion of what I might have to something cheerfully referred to as “double pneumonia.” Just for the record, I would have been fine with just a single. That’s all the pneumonia I’ll ever need.

Then the doctors said, “Forget we mentioned that” and changed it to sudden onset asthma.  Then, another guess was thrown in the ring for good measure… bronchitis?

None of their treatment methods have worked out so far. At this point it just sort of feels like they’re flipping through pages in a medical dictionary and seeing where their finger lands. After the attempts at treating the bronchitis, asthma, and pneumonia failed they at least know it’s none of those three. Thank you, Dr. Obvious.

So now we just have to keep doing more tests. Not like I have other stuff do with my day. Oh sure, Doc, I’ll be here whenever you need me. What do you want to test for? Rabies? Great! You think it could be scurvy? Let’s find out!

I’m sorry, I know diagnosing an illness isn’t exactly so cut and dry, but c’mon, Doc. You have that fancy degree hanging up on your office wall. Let’s earn it, buddy. If I have to go into another X-ray and give a 10 minute explanation about how I know for sure that I’m not pregnant one more time, my freakin’ head’s going to explode. Just mark it down on my record. I’m sure there’s a box there. Pregnant? No. In ink. And please just believe me next time. I’m not trying to pull one over on you.  Seriously.  I’ve had two kids, one is 22 years old.  I know where babies come from and would hope you’d trust me about something as life-altering as pregnant or not pregnant.  You don’t need to give me the third degree every single time.

As of today the doctors, in their infinite wisdom, have me on the steroid prednisone which, as it turns out, is the same medicine my dog takes. Go figure. If they put a cone around my head I might just seek out another healthcare provider. Until then, I’ll take the steroids and my own in-house remedy…Mucinex and Codeine-laced cough syrup.  A combo of those two and it’s nighty-night.  I didn’t even have to go to med school to figure that one out.