Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor


She’s here. And I figure I should get some thoughts down before the power goes out. You don’t have to be in the eye of the hurricane to lose power in my neighborhood, a bad thunderstorm will do the trick.

There is a constant grey outside and a light sprinkle of rain that comes and goes. The humidity has lessened, but not with cool air, just still air, an ironic contrast to the activity at grocery stores, gas stations, and places like Costco and Sam’s Wholesale over the last three days.

Forty- eight hours ago, I had  two cans of tuna fish, three pitchers full of water, three Gatorades, a box of cereal, and a bag of coal for my grill. Then, driving home from work, I reflected on whether I was being too cavalier – deeming a post  hurricane electrical outage as an opportunity to get some reading done, do some stretching exercises.

I stopped at the grocery store.

There was an impulse to wander down the chip aisle and go to town. I mean, hey, they are non-perishables. Common sense won. I got some flavored water, trail mix, and thinking I could warm water using the grill, got a box of macaroni and cheese.

Once you gas up, stock up, and board up your windows, there is nothing you can do.  I did promise my daughter ( in New York) that I would minimize my driving this weekend. We’ve had other high category hurricanes come through here and it’s always a weird feeling for me, having a concrete understanding  that, beyond preparation and prayer, all you can do is wait until it’s over.

I am one of those ‘ If you work hard enough, you can fix it, overcome it, or accomplish it’. (This is, for me, a character flaw.) So, like everyone else, except those that had to relocate, I’ll wait for it to pass. It’s hard to relax, even knowing I’m not in one of the more vulnerable areas

Some things make you feel really small.

Irma’s one of them.


People Making a Difference

There are people that just want to  be different.

Then there are those that want to make a difference.

This video introduces you to some that I think have knocked it out of the park!



The Mask

She came in for a port.

It’s a small round device, hard polyethelene rubber center, with a catheter centered at the bottom base. It’s placed under the skin close to a large vein, typically on the outer edge of the left or right chest.

The most common reason for getting a port is to begin chemotherapy.

She had wide set eyes, thick wavy  brunette hair that grazed her shoulders, and, what I thought unusual – pale blue eyes. Not your combination of traits. Blonds and redheads always get the blue eyes. Us brown haired girls, hazel, green, or brown eyes – freckles in them if your lucky.  The man next to her stood a foot taller than her. He wore his Polo un-tucked and on his feet the most broken in deck shoes I’d ever seen.

When I met the two, they had just  walked through the doors to our department. Together they stood hand in hand outside the curtained area while I confirmed her demographic sheet and spelling of her name.

Attentive to the explanation of my role and the limited space in the pre op rooms, the husband stepped over to the waiting area in our department for the short time it took me to get her ready.

She  hadn’t slept well and admitted to being anxious. Making sure all consents were signed, I got an order to give her some Versed to help relax her. I called her husband back over to sit with her then went and pulled the medicine from the Accudose system.

Within minutes after the medicine hit her vein, her eyelids began to flutter, her jaw slackened and she drifted in and out of sleep.

His face changed too.

The smile became a grim set expression and his forehead creased with worry. I don’t think he blinked while she slept. With his chair wedged close to her stretcher and his elbows on the rail, he watched her sleep. I watched him watch her sleep and wondered how he kept all his emotions from bursting from his body.

Their love was apparent. When he stroked her face, I turned the wall mounted computer so it wasn’t facing them and I could keep working. Their moment of intimacy needed to be respected.

The arrival of the surgeon and the OR team lifted some of the heaviness in the air.

And I’d swear that when she went off to surgery, he’d aged a year.


A message in ‘Techie’ lingo.

When someone want’s to follow my post, I’m always flattered and curious.

It’s only fitting to check out their blog. So…

In this link you’ll see a verse parallel  to Psalm 23. I can’t explain it. You have to read this!


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I have a coworker who frequently talks/ jokes about quitting ( I’m being generous when I add the word ‘jokes’). She doesn’t really sound like she is joking.

I hate procrastination so much I feel like telling her to stop talking about it and do it.


A Love Story

“I went off on my first mission and when I returned, she was different. I flat out asked her what was up and she said she had found God.”


It was my turn to be on call for Saturday. We pre-op patients in Recovery (PACU) on the weekend. There is no sense in opening two departments for what we expect to be a three or four patient day.

He had a Veterans cap on. I nodded, tapped my finger to my forehead to acknowledge his service, and thanked him. He carried the conversation from there, sharing a summary of his two year spent living and fighting in Da Nang, South Vietnam.

When there was a lull in conversation, I asked him how long they’d been married.

His wife, moving little due to her hip fracture, lay with her hands folded together, a content smile on her face as if his presence removed the pain she was enduring.

My question prompted his response above. Below is more of what he shard:

“There was something different about her. I couldn’t put my finger on it; I just knew I had to have whatever it was she had. So, she explained it to me and the next Sunday morning, I put on my suit, held her hand real tight, and walked into her church. It was as scary as landing at Red Beach – I knew what I was facing there.”

I waited to hear more, but he, like most veteran I’ve met, got to the point fast.

“I worked hard and got God in my heart so I knew she and I would be together forever.”


Another one of those days I can’t believe I get paid to do this job.



A New Treasure

Following morning fellowship, I turn off the mute button on my phone and check for messages or new emails. I see an email message that I have a new follower.

Nice! Someone appreciated my thoughts enough to click that ‘follow button’, knowing my posts will be added to their list of incoming emails.

When I got home, I opened the link up to their site.


Inspiring quotes, pictures of sky – deep with color, and sincere reflections by someone younger than my daughter.

This is a comment in her Bio: ‘I have a great fear of shallow living.’

She pulls (and gives credit) from philosopher Epictetus and Anne Frank all the way to author Shel Silverstein.

Treat yourself today. Visit her blog:


Don ‘t Quote Me

“Just throw it in the bag.”

He had changed and was lying on the stretcher, covered up, hands behind his head, a casual smile on his face. His prosthetic stood in the small space between the stretcher and chairs. And by that, it stood between me and his IV pole.

Picking it up, I placed the casted form on the chair stepped past it, and hung his pre-op antibiotic. Turning, I grazed the chair with my knee and the prosthetic slid to the floor. It landed with a thud.

I took a quick breath in. He laughed.

“Don’t worry,” he said.

I gave him a wry smile. “You know, to me, it’s no different than if you had fallen.”

With a smile so big it showed his teeth, he responded, “Man is more than the sum of his parts!”

A quote by Martha Graham came to mind.

“A famous dancer once said ‘The body is a sacred garment’”

His face dropped.

“Oh goodness honey, you’ve gotten all serious on me.”

I blushed while taking his prosthesis and putting in a labeled bag next to his other things. Then a call light went off and pulled me away for ten minutes.

I heard that his surgeon was arriving early so I stepped to the keyboard to quickly enter his vitals and pre op med orders.

“Susan, I gotta use the restroom, like fast.”

A natural reflex, I lowered the bed while at the same time lowering his side rail.

“Hon, I don’t have a leg to stand on!!

I started to blubber apologies, but he cut me short with “I win. I win. Sacred garment…phhewwy!”

He was kind enough to not laugh too long at my expense!

Lesson learned. I will never quote when taking care of a patient!



I Pick Zoey

i pick zoey

I recently finished binging on the Netflix show Nurse Jackie. Yes, the show has been long gone for a couple of years now, but Netflix is my only ‘channel’ and a little T.V is my way of slowing for a moment, putting down the ‘to do’ list down, sitting on the floor and stretching ( an activity that never seems to follow my gym workouts).

I didn’t get into the show because I found it entertaining to see how long an impaired nurse could keep working and get away with an addiction with potential to harm others. The supporting characters are well written — they are not fluff created to showcase the lead actress. Any show, movie, or book that deftly ties together characters with plot gets a star from me.

And speaking of stars, by the sixth episode, I wanted to rename the show ‘Nurse Zoey’.

Zoey is the polar opposite to Jackie, young and inexperienced, brimming with optimism, sensitive to the patients she encounters, so bubbly she bounces as she walks – unlike the taut stride of which Jackie moves through the ER with. ( Merritt Weaver – awesome acting!)

Zoey has a veneer, shiny but no repellent. She absorbs light, glows, and sends it back out.

I watched to see if she would become jaded when Jackie’s drug addiction was no longer a secret. Would she get discouraged, angry? Would she develop a salty tongue? Have a case of sour grapes when the supervisor, a lifetime friend of Jackie’s, first disregards her concerns that something is going on with the seasoned nurse?

She didn’t. There was a scene where she shared with Jackie how sad she was because Jackie had been her role model. Zoey wasn’t critical or accusatory.

I hope everyone has a ‘Zoey’ at work.

I do.

She’s not the youngest. As a matter of fact, she’s the oldest. And the most experienced. And she has a past in management. She could retire, but she loves nursing.

If you’re reading this, work buddy, I wanted to tell you, “It’s a pleasure.”

Thank you for coming to work with us!

Everyone out there, nurse or any other type of professional, take care of your Zoey.



Survey says…

A lot of surveys should be landing in my parents’ mailbox over the next week or so. Between the two of them, in the last four weeks, there have been two ER visits (one that turned into an admission), one outpatient surgery, at least one diagnostic test, and I’m sure they’ve had labs done at a facility owned by the area hospital they’re frequenting. One of these visits will not garner a positive survey.

After my Dad’s outpatient surgery, while in recovery, his blood pressure kept climbing.

I observed the nurse get an order, put the smallest dose anti-hypertensive medicine possible in the tubing port of my father’s practically bone dry IV, not bother to flush the medicine with 10 cc of normal saline, and then not hang another IV bag and open it up some. She retook his B/P in under three minutes.

I remember starting to clench my jaw, but then she repeated the dose. (She had an order.)


The medicine never reached his vein.

At this point I was struggling to have that ‘we nurse stick together’ comradery.

The evening call nurse came over seconds later. It was 7:00 pm. (Call staff takes over at this time.)

She disconnects the long IV tubing, leaving his IV, with a short section of tubing, in.

So there’s his medicine, in the tubing.

They take my Dad’s pressure again.


The second nurse tells him he needs to relax. She tells him that he is tensing up. They take his pressure again.


They take it again a minute later. 205/105. He’s going to have a stroke and I’ll need to kill a nurse.

I tell nurse #2 I need to speak with her privately. She complies. I tell her, with my jaw clenched tight, exactly where I think that B/P medicine is and why. She returns and re-doses my Dad and flushes the medicine in with syringes filled with normal saline.

Two minutes go by.

B/P 168/95.

He’s home and fine. That’s the most important thing. I’m still debating whether to write a letter to the hospital or wait and see if he gets a survey.

Either way, it’s not good. Someone’s coming down a notch.


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