Monthly Archives: April 2013

What to do? What to do?

Geehosiphat!  My final term – and nursing preceptorship – are flying by.  I realized it was time to update the ol’ resume, start putting in some job applications for when I’m all grown up and a real nurse, and to finish up some scholarship applications that I’ve been cheerfully ignoring.

I realize, the job market being what it is, that choosing a nursing specialty might not be my option, but that it will instead choose me.  I personally think I’d make a hell of a med-surg nurse – I actually enjoy meeting new friends all the time (but not at the turbo pace of the ER).  I realized that getting people excited about eating hospital food, getting them their meds on time, and making sure they are safe actually makes me happy.  Let me tell you about our pudding and jello options, folks!

Don’t get me wrong. . .I have loved my time in the ICU, and if I landed a critical-care job or new graduate internship I’d be wildly happy. . .but at the same time, the ICU doesn’t always afford a lot of chances to be joyful.  Every day, bottom line, you are guaranteed to be surrounded by people who are having a crappy time (at a minimum) and are possibly dying.  Yeah, yeah, I know death is part of life, blah blah blah.  Try telling that to little kids who just lost their mom or dad because they couldn’t sustain life and the grownups had to let go and turn off the pressors and the machines.  Tweakers who OD’ed trying to get out of bed and painting themselves with their own offal.  People who may never get out of bed again, period.  The sad, sad, futile sadness of some of it.  There’s just a lot, and it’s hard to describe it until one’s wallowed in a large ICU for some time.  Yeah, the machines that go ping! are pretty neat, and I know they save lives, but sometimes it’s a bit much.  (The ice cream parties for the staff, courtesy of the organ transplant coordination agency aint bad, either.)

My coworkers tease me sometimes. . .”Oh disorderlyCNA, sounds like a long-term care nurse in the making!”  So it’s not like there’s a betting pool, but some of my coworkers are starting to put down bets one where I’ll end up.  I will end up somewhere!  I’ve told them that if I’m still there as a CNA six months from now to kick me squarely in the ass!

Some think I’d be great in peds (they are insane!) or in the NICU (yeah, right. . .tiny sized critically ill patients sound so much better than adult critically ill patients!).  One of my managers thought I’d be a great psych nurse.  Really?  (Are you mad at me?  Writing me up?  Glaaahhhh. . .)

So, I guess it remains to be seen where I’ll end up.  So for the time being, I’m enjoying the learning opportunities afforded to me by my preceptorship, and acquiring the rest of the RN role.  Long way to go, though.



Time to Drop a Few. . .

Somehow, I’ve let myself tip the scales at > 250 lb.  Life happens. . .nursing school + working night shift = stress+boredom eating.  I can rationalize anything!  Oh, it’s Pi day (March 14, 3.14) – I’d better have some pie to celebrate.  I’ve been a good girl . . .time to have a venti machiatto coffee to celebrate me.  Unfortunately, there’s a bit too much of me to celebrate now, and I’m worried about immediate and down-the-line health consequences.

My “numbers” aren’t too bad right now. . .blood glucose in the mid-normal range, cholesterol numbers could use some work but I need some 12-hour fasting data (going to biometric screening after night shift when one has had both dinner and “lunch” probably skews the data).  The weight is too high, and the fact that my blood pressure readings immediately after a shift has systolic or diastolic (or both) consistently in the pre-hypertensive or hypertensive range is not a promising sign.

Yes, I take care of folks with CVA’s, folks who are bariatric (oh, the sad, sad skin issues. . .the burly bumpy pannus skin, the sores, just heartbreaking). . .that alone should motivate me.  But the thing that I read today, that gave me a target, was a flight nurse job posting.  I am years (or never) away from having the qualifications to do that job, but one thing really stood out – must be able to weigh in at a duty weight of 210 lb. or less (including gear).  Now, the gear probably weighs about 15-20 lb., because a helmet is involved, boots and a flight suit.  So that would put the target at 180 lb.

After kid #1, I weighed in at about 170 lb.  Then, I came up with the great idea of using Depo-Provera for birth control, and that’s when the weight gain started.  Add in 20+ years of working behind a desk, and up to about 215 lb. I went.  After a summer of working in long-term care, I got the numbers down to a consistent 220 lb., but then nursing school kicked in, and I’ve been sliding upward steadily.

So, graduation approaches. . .I’ve begun cutting portions, and eliminating the high-calorie coffees and the soda pop.  Once I have 3-4 days a week back, it’s time to start walking while the weather is nice.  Add more greens, whole grains and lean stuff.

I know the road ahead is long, but I have much to lose!  (Pun intended.)  I’ll probably never be at 120 lb. (my build just doesn’t work like that), but if I could reach a healthier weight, my heart, lungs, circulatory system, feet and back will be much happier.

I’ll keep you updated, internets, on my progress, good or bad. . .



English: Medical Reserve Corps Logo
English: Medical Reserve Corps Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I am so, so angry.  No way should innocent folks suffer on a day celebrating the very best in distance running (not that I indulge anymore, but I’m in favor of the general idea of exercise).  Every incident like this just provides excuses to erode our freedoms, our civil liberties.  Not OK.


Thank goodness Boston-area hospitals and medical staff helping out at the event were able to smoothly change from everyday operations to disaster triage and response mode within moments of the explosions.  Their actions certainly reduced the number of fatalities from the event.


Want to be available to help your community in the event of a disaster?  Way, way better than just showing up at the scene is to be part of an organized response.  After 9-11, efforts were made to pre-credential and organize disaster volunteers. At the federal level, the Department of Health and Human Services provides general guidance to Medical Reserve Corps units, which are generally organized by state and county.  If being available to help your fellow man is your gig, here’s a link to help you get started.


Hang in there, Boston.  If an event like this can get Yankees fans to sing “Sweet Caroline,” perhaps we can all work together to recover from this tragedy.


C-SPAN…when boring is beautiful

I can’t believe it took me so long to figure this one out. Was a sitter for an unhappy, withdrawing ETOH-er and things weren’t exactly therapeutic.

Patient: I wanna go home.

Me: Everyone here wants to go home, including all the staff.

Patient: I’m gonna hit you!

Me: No you’re not, that’s not OK.

Patient: I can kick your girlie ass!

Me: Uh-uh…I wouldn’t try. I outweigh most NFL linebackers. I got moves.

Patient: F— you!

Me: No one gets to say the f— word here, except for me, silently, in my head.

Patient: (Sulks silently.)

Me: You want to watch TV?

Patient: F— you.

I turn on the TV, with the objective of distracting the patient. Network news? Ugh, that crap makes me feel agitated…and it isn’t helping the patient. Infomercials? Ugh. (Patient continues to squirm and attempt bed exit maneuvers.)

…What’s this?? C-SPAN! Worth a try…sure enough the melodic, droning sound of the political voices draws Mr. Twitchy’s attention…hey, looks like he’s falling asleep! Whaddya know?

Yet another reason to love this great country! Our unfettered access to the political machinations in our Capitol not only enlightens, but calms.

Remember C-SPAN the next time someone squirmy is trying to clock you…it’s the cat’s pajamas for inducing sleepytime! (Maybe Ativan should be renamed C-SPAN!)

An Anthem for CNAs and Nurses Everywhere


Here’s a little ditty I wrote and performed, inspired by creepy patients everywhere – I call it the Patient Care Song – click here to listen.  Special nod to our friend, Clostridium difficile.  Enjoy!


The Patient Care Song


It’s impossible for you to get semi-solid stool, all the way up your back.  It must be deliberate, ‘cuz you are alert and orient(ed) – for gravity don’t work like that – no, gravity don’t work like that.


I find it really strange that you asked me where I live, and if I had a man.  This violates boundaries, it’s JUST PLAIN CREEPY, for our relationship don’t work like that – no, our relationship don’t work like that.


These folks they sometimes try our patience, yes they do, and that goes with the job. You learn to grow a thick skin, and have a sense of humor, ‘cuz we all deal with that – for we all deal with that.


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