Don't Curse the Nurse!

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My Anniversary

This is my personal One year anniversary, that is, my one year ‘COVID’ anniversary because this is when I started cancelling things; plane trips ( three to be exact), my gym membership, and hotel arrangements for the U.S Gymnastics Olympic team trials, to name a few.

This is when I started wearing a mask to work.

I’ve come to believe that hospital employees might be wearing masks forever.

It might be a thing, like stopping at the dispenser and washing your hands before entering a patients’ room. And like all things, there will be rebels. The hard-headed ones will come to work with colorful masks until management catches them.

When unmasked ( I couldn’t ignore the pun here), they’ll switch to the standard Level 3 tangerine shaded mask until their supervisor walks away, then Boom! they’ll whip out their bedazzled royal purple linen mask the blends perfect with their navy blue scrubs.

The second time they’re caught, they’ll plead for understanding, claim the coordinated look helps with their stress level.

We’re adjusting. Like everyone else, we each have our own coping mechanisms 😉

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Reflection

If empathy is presented to you as a gift and it is not a part of the fabric of the soul, be wary.

It could simply be a metaphorical Trojan horse sent to expose your vulnerable side.

*Yes, this is the results of work events that have my guard up.

My patients continue to fill my cup.

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If There Are Any Angels in Heaven, They Are All Nurses — Atkins Bookshelf

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In a beautiful and moving evening vigil to remember the 400,000 lives lost to the Covid-19 pandemic, President-Elect Biden stood somberly at the end of the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool. Prior to his formal remarks he acknowledged that it was appropriate that a nurse, Lori Marie Key, sing the soaring hymn, “Amazing Grace.” Back in […]

If There Are Any Angels in Heaven, They Are All Nurses — Atkins Bookshelf
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It’s all about balance

Nurse A is on left. Nurse B is on the right.

Nurse A gave me a bright red cellophane wrapped ceramic tub, Christmas decorated, palm sized, filled with assorted chocolates and hard candies.

Nurse B saw me the next day waiting by the elevator and approached.

” Hey, I’ve lost a lot of weight and have scrubs that are way too big. Do you or do you know anyone who would want a set of three for only $40?”

She looked me up and down as she said this.

I said nothing.

” They’re a good deal. Set of three. They’re huge on me. I can’t wear them anymore.”

Good thing a mask covered half my expression.

Still love this place.

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Reason # 924 I love NYC

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What was I thinking

I sat, with the screen behind me – the one sometimes used for people that sign in remote for the meeting; the Nursing Programs coordinator on my right.

” Our upcoming December meeting will be short, bring your units End of Year summaries. The rest is more of a holiday lunch for all of us. Then in January Susan will be the group Chair and in charge.”

I looked around the room at critical care, ER, and floor nurses who juggled five to six patients at once for twelve hour days.

Co-chair. Co-chair. Please mention the needed co-chair.

“We will be voting for a Co-chair.”

Whew! I’ll have a sidekick.

I’ve always referred to Pre / Phase II post op nursing as a boutique job. Yes, there are moments of run run run, hurry and wait, and patients with blood sugars of over 400 that make you go ” Insulin order please, right now !” However, on the average, we’re like that Park Avenue shop with an edited assortment of cute clothes for people size 6 to 10 and coordinated accessories. You get what I mean. The critical care and floor nurses have a wider breadth of work responsibilities and unplanned events during their day.

So…

It’s humbling, for me, to be a part of this group.

My understanding of Imposter Syndrome has increased tenfold with the transition of responsibility looming right around the corner.

I avoided eye contact with anyone, not wanting to reveal just how intense my anxiety was.

We’ll see how this goes.

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Someone who used his Medicare Power for good!

I was busy trying to beat my mom at Bananagrams when she paused and retrieved an article about the passing of Dr. Phillip R. Lee. My first thought was This is a concocted distraction but deep down I knew better. My parents read a couple of newspapers and magazines a week.

            I took a glance and knew right away this was an article meant for me to read AND post on my blog.

            In the 1960’s, from his place in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Dr. Lee engineered the introduction of Medicare. He established provisions in Medicare legislation that subjected 7,000 hospitals nationwide to rules barring discrimination — basically, you discriminate the application of medical care or hiring /promotion practices and Medicare insurance reimbursement will not apply to your hospital.

            Before this law took effect in 1966, fewer than half the hospitals in the country met the desegregation standard, in the south — less than 25%.

            By February of 1967, 95% of hospitals were compliant.

            On the subject of Health insurance in general, I only hear cynicism, the moans and groans of family, friends, patients, regarding the endless phone calls, the hoops to jump through, copays, deductibles, required pre-authorizations.

            Medicare co-starred in this article and I loved every bit of this read.

            Dr. Lee, who several referred to as a socialist and communist (despite serving in the Korean war) took a newly created national healthcare plan and used it as a battering ram to place a big bruise on agencies practicing discrimination.

            Here’s the link  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/03/us/dr-philip-lee-dead.html

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Don’t do anything you can’t tell your nurse!

Micro Fiction

“Where is he?!”

Adorned in a bright pink sundress, spikey heels, and hair piled on top of her head, she stormed toward me and didn’t stop until she was inches from my face.

“Where is who?”

I said in a tone reserved for distressed patients (or angry family members).

“Gene Plunski!”

The last patient I discharged.

“Ma’am, I called the number he gave me for his ride home. That person arrived. I reviewed all needed instructions and they left together.

“Was his ride a skinny brunette?”

I stayed silent.

“Told me he was going fishing for a week. Fishing my ass!”

I opened my mouth to say something but she held up her hand like a guard at a crosswalk.

“That so-called hernia he’s been belly-aching about, he’s gonna have another one when I’m done with him!”

I cocked my head and tried not to appear shocked by her comment.

She took note.

“I’m his wife. I’m gonna knock him into the middle of next week!”

This was fury personified.

I put my hands together in prayer position before speaking.

“Ma’am, would you like some water or juice before you leave?”

She gave me a saccharine sweet smile and said “Bless your little heart, I can’t stay. Hunting season has started.”  

At the end of the hallway, she turned one last time.

“And, stop calling me Ma’am!”

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Reciprocity

The other day a nurse from a separate area came by and reported she had completed the phone calls for surgical patients coming in the following morning.

I expressed my appreciation with enthusiasm. We’d had one of those ‘back to back patients’ days and it was great to know that task was done.

Her response dampened my spirits.

” Hey, you do stuff for me, so I do stuff for you. That’s how it works.”

I reflected on this the way home.

rec·i·proc·i·ty /ˌresəˈpräsədē/

noun

  1. the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, especially privileges granted by one country or organization to another.

This creeps me out. Am I the Pollyanna I keep refusing to be called? Can’t people do things because it’s right to do them? Or simply because it’s a task needing to be done. Maybe because helping others feels good – Yep, I said it. It feels good.

And, I’m mature enough to realize that if I’m doing stuff for someone over and over and there a trend of what is starting to feel like a one way street, I need to come to terms with what is underneath my repetitive action( and I’m not talking about things like sponsoring a child in foster care).

I know what co- dependency is.

I decided to not let this take up any more space in my brain. I came to the realization my peer was just calling a spade a spade. And, that the next time she needs some help with something, I better say yes 😂

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The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Aug. 1/2020

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Every inch of sheet I pulled back – her feet, heels, hips – more decubiti ( bedsores to the lay person), pressure ulcers to the wound care specialist standing at my left side.

“Help me turn her on her side so I can look at her sacrum.”

“Of course,” I murmured.

Down to muscle; paper thin skin spread apart from the constant pressure revealed striated cords of pinky sized tendons with yellow pus oozing out.

Caretakers failing to help her up into a chair at least twice a day, failing to encourage nutritional intake to promote healthy tissue, failing to see so much going wrong.

One more reason I’m starting to hate people.

Not my patients.

Just people.

 

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Chen Song Ping

Cancer, Mental Health, Women, Nurse

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