Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

‘Rebooting a plane’

worryI’ve never thought I was normal. I don’t believe there is a ‘normal’. But on my recent return trip from NYC (to see my wonderful daughter), I laughed at discovering another quirky thing to add to my arsenal of, uh, what I’ll call kind of crazy thinking.

Here’s the lead in:

I get on the 4:46 JetBlue flight out of La Guardia with only purse and book in hand after graciously turning in my carry-on to “help speed up departure.” Comfortable in my window seat, I become so engrossed with my Strands bookstore purchase, I lose track of time until I hear the overhead announcement.

“Folks, we are sorry for the long wait on the tarmac. On the control panel, one program button isn’t lighting up. We are returning to the gate.”

In my world, all the buttons don’t need to be lit. While I pretend to have wings and fly through the clouds on a plane so big they call it an AirBus, that’s a different story. I want those buttons lit, flashing, and sparkling like the KiraKira App my daughter showed me on her phone.

We roll back to the gate. We don’t get up and squeeze back down the aisle made to only fit runway models. We get this instead:

“Folks, we’re going to keep you on, turn the engines off, allow resetting, and restart.”

What?! That sounds like ‘rebooting’. They are rebooting the plane. My daughter’s last email to me, only an hour ago was ‘If there is anything weird going on or any passengers get weird, get out of there.’ Rebooting a plane. That might fit the bill.

Two passengers walked to the front and disappeared. I dug around the seat pocket in front of me until I found the barf bag. Just wanted it close by – no gurgling in my innards yet.

 I pondered Kristen’s advice until they announced overhead the two passengers were Miami bound and connecting flight were located for them.

The roaring rumbling of engines diminishes. Some people stand and stretch.

Over and over again in my head one mantra kept me relatively calm -God has a plan for me. God has a plan for me.

Then it happened, that crazy thing I can laugh about now…I estimated the large amount of trip charges on my VISA and freaked out.

 They would be hanging out there if my flight home was to be my last hours on planet earth. It had to be taken care of. I didn’t want my daughter having to forage around my house to find my password and deal with a giant VISA bill (When I see her, we go big. Mama’s worn out nursing feet demand Uber. The kid picks amazing $$$ restaurants for dining.)

I lurched sideways and scrunched up until I could get my hand down to my purse on the floor and retrieved my phone. Recalling old announcements for people to turn off computers until lift off, I tapped fast. I don’t want my cell phone interfering with the plane’s function! Capital One – Yep – okay – not too bad. On to my trusty bank. Account. Pay bill. Confirm amount. Send.

I feel much better already.

The engines start up and we roll back out to try again.

First flight I didn’t fall asleep on.

 

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I wasn’t trying to start anything…

I was just going to the doctor’s because I have a sore throat  that won’t go away. Nodules on my thyroid have turned me into a hypochondriac in regards to anything to do with my neck. So…

I sit down. It’s a small waiting room. There are three other people waiting also. Politics must  have been in the air because, seconds after sitting, the women to my right says, ” Well, he’s our President, so we need to respect him, even if he is not a very nice person.”

Oh, this is going to be fun.

They all looked over eighty. I might just listen. Old fashioned respect  keeps me from wanting to be contrary.

The man sitting in one of the chairs lining the far wall followed with a comment of his own. With an accent that sounded a little northern, he stated, ” He’s working on good things like getting rid of Planned Parenthood. You know they are selling body parts! Making lots of money. Using my tax dollars.  That’s the worst part. ”

Whaaaaat?!

I turned in my seat and had a total diarrhea of the mouth moment.

“Really?”

“Yep” He snapped. ” Saw film on it.”

“Hmm.” I couldn’t let it go.

“Sir, the Federal portion of funding for Planned Parenthood cannot be used for abortions. There is something called the Hyde Amendment that only makes exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or endangerment to the life of the mother.”

( Past incendiary comments by politicians forced me to do my homework. A few of them have stated that in no circumstance, should termination be an option.)

He pulled his chin up and retorted in a controlled voice, ” You need to see the film.”

Selling body parts. Selling body parts. Scenes from the movie Coma came to mind.

If I wasn’t in my nursing scrubs, I’m sure his response would have been more emotional.

The three women around my actively changed the subject. It somehow jumped to the women on my right  sharing that she is eighty-five and works at SAMS, says it  keeps her joints moving.  I told her I lived real close to COSTCO – would have to drive far to get to a SAMS. The female across from me murmured ” I like to crochet and watch anything except the news.” Smart lady.

I didn’t have just a sore throat anymore. I also had an itch under my skin.  A national agency selling body parts. 

My name was called. The first thing I did was tell my doctor there was someone in his waiting room spreading fear.

Then I went home and googled it. Here’s a link to something closer to the truth.

http://www.npr.org/2016/01/28/464594826/in-wake-of-videos-planned-parenthood-investigations-find-no-fetal-tissue-sales

 

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Irma

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.

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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!

 

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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.

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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!

https://thedavidjose.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/the-lord-is-my-programmer/comment-page-1/#comment-476

 

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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.”

Backstory:

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.

 

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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.

Wow!

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: https://muskanlambablog.wordpress.com/

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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!

 

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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.

 

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