Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

What’s the first sound you hear in the morning?

Last week was a long week, and I began Friday morning not with a sense of enthusiasm for the tasks to come, but with only a steely resolve  to stay focused and give good nursing care.

My first patient broke  through my guarded demeanor in the most wonderful way.

Her care involved me getting a nurse specialist to come from the third floor to do one  task.

Within five minutes of her arrival, I heard the steady wavelike swish with a regular pop-like drum sound every  half a second coming from behind the curtain.

They’re fetal heart tones, and if you’re not one to find coffee as the salve to getting through the day, I’d say this is actually a better deal. ( This is one of those cool perks to being a nurse.

*My patient was there for a procedure to help her carry her baby to term.

Fetal heart tones, when you hear them, sync with yours. Even if it is not you carrying the baby. There is a power behind them. I could sit here at the computer for hours and still not figure out how to describe it. All I can say is…

My day improved tenfold.



I went to the memorial service of a nurse I worked with twenty years ago.

A Facebook acquaintance made me aware of this elderly nurse’s passing.

The Facebook/nurse friend has quite conservative views compared to mine. I did not expect a friendship to be rekindled at the service. I just wanted to pay my respects. Jean was a strong nurse, a presence. You knew when you looked in her eyes that she’d seen a lot. And helped many people.

The service — nothing in particular stood out. I had heard the stories told by speakers who walked to the front. The last song played surprised me. Jean had specifically picked a country tune. I was thinking it’d be Frank Sinatra or another crooner.

So then I made conversation, left the parlor, got in my car, saw a green funeral procession visor tag stuck under my wiper and that’s when it all changed.

In bolder vertical letters on one side of it was the word ‘FUNERAL’. Something in much small print covered the other side. A commitment prevented me from going on to the cemetery and not having to sneak away before the end ( tacky), so I hurriedly placed the tag on the seat and headed down the road.

When I later got home, I flipped the card over to the other side. It was a poem, Desiderata.

I read it

I’m in love with it, not the author; this is not an envy issue. It’s the intent, the instruction is priceless, lyrical and at the same time crystal clear.

I’ve typed it below. The acknowledgment is at the end.


                                                              By Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise, and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune but do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here. Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be and whatever your labors and aspirations, In the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.


I love how this was placed in my path.


Word tags – Gratitude and Humility

I was angry about my doctor putting me on more medication. Then I clocked in and  met a guy angry  he didn’t have any legs.


Dancing on the Dark Side

darthYes, the title is a teaser.

This post is about running a meeting, my first, at work. My shame will pass. If you’ve read the title, it  means you opened the post, so I’m halfway to getting a comment – that warm fuzzy feeling of having connected with friends and my WordPress family will propel me forward…

My loyal subjects were members of different areas in surgical services. The Director of surgery, she came for the first twenty minutes as she had things to share from our JCAHO visit ( A visit from JCAHO is like having Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Kylo Ren, Supreme leader Snork all come to see how things are going).

When she left, I put on my ‘Don’t Mess with Me, I’m in charge ‘ face. I got through half the agenda. Too many eyes were staring at me. Too many “Really, we’re away from our real jobs for this?” looks. Some appeared interested – I think it was a perfected practice. ( I know because I’ve done it)

See, I ran out of steam. I couldn’t pull it off. My eyes dropped to the paper in front of me. Thankfully, I had informative sheets to share from a meeting I attended a month earlier. A good five minutes was spent summarizing each.

After, two attendees from different departments discussed a solution regarding patient positioning for ERCP procedures. I beamed like a proud momma as they interacted in our little professional peer setting.

We adjourned the meeting and I walked away with the feeling that I could do this.

For another ten months.

Only ten months.

No more.


It’s just a number

So, I’ve been fifty two for twenty four hour.

It physically feels the same as fifty-one. For now.


An incredible surprise visit from my daughter made day #1 simply amazing – a virtual cake walk.

Pun intended.




bicepJust when I was reaching a low point in my self discipline regarding exercise, hope came at 0900 this last Wednesday. “Hope” ( can’t   tell you his real name) walked down the hall, quadriceps flexing, causing a rivet of wrinkling in his Bermuda shorts, his arms jutting out from his side. A chest that must have measured almost two yards made it impossible for his arms to drop lower toward his hips.

Breezing through his history to confirm the main reason for his visit, I saw the word ‘bodybuilder’.

No kidding.

I stayed oh so professional until a coworker that recognized him from her gym, stopped and said “Hello”. Then the Anesthesiologist came. He made reference to how long ‘Hope’ would have to wait before returning to his workout regime.

I was mesmerized by his muscles. No funny stuff here people. Half a century ago I was an athlete. It was all respect. All respect. But I dropped the bar a little just before starting his IV. I asked him to flex his arm for me.

He did.

And I’ve been to the gym every day since. 🙂


Black History Month

Please read from fellow blogger : Pearls Before Swine

Black History Fun Fact Friday – The Attica Massacre



Picking My Plot – No, not that kind.

I got an invitation in the mail to plan my burial. You know, one of those things. The card had a glossy finish, discrete, but classy chestnut brown and dark gold background, the font, italic. Dinner included – at Red Lobster.

When I opened the envelope, I was thrown at first. Baldwin Fairchild did the mail out. I had no spouse in Hospice. My parents — alive and kicking, out daily, hobbies, traveling, yada yada.

I’ve seen something similar to this, except it was for future planning, investing, IRA’s. So into planning my financial future, yes I am, but do I get one of those in the mail like my parents…


I get an invitation to decide if I want cremation or an open viewing, a mahogany or a pine casket; burial in a fancy- dancy cemetery with a view of a lake (like it’s really going to matter to me), or a local plot next to the fine/ expired residents of the city I live in.

I smirk at the irony of this because, see, I made no big deal about turning fifty over a year ago, but obviously Big Brother wants to acknowledge it. Flyers from AARP have gone in the trash. No disrespect to them, but at age fifty-one and far from being able to touch my IRA or Social Security without big penalties, what is the purpose of being inundated with this mail?

Especially mail to pick your burial site.

Let me say that I am an advocate of Advance Directives and making an effort to decrease the minutia of things your family has to do with your passing. The most important thing is to let them know what life saving efforts you want made in the case of significant health decline.

But this stuff in the mail. Geez!

I’m tempted to go to the dinner and ask questions like, “Would if I want to be buried in my back yard? Will this plan pay for it?” Or “I’d like to be buried next to Robert Frost. Is that possible?”

I won’t get any more insensitive about this. (You know what they say about Karma)

Someone told me a long time ago I had to deal with my issues about death.

Silly Rabbit. I’m a nurse. Death strolls through hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics picking and choosing whose time it is. I don’t know him personally, but sometimes I swear, I feel a draft and I know he’s just walked by.

You don’t stay in medicine without giving a head nod to Death and respecting his significance

I’m not afraid of Death. Sometimes I fear I’m not living enough, but I’m not afraid of death. I placed my life in someone else’s hands a long time ago.

When I’m ready to sit back, start counting my days left, and stop living. I’ll let Big Brother know. In the meantime, I have to finish this and go.

I have another doctor’s appointment.



Instant Weight Loss

So I leave the dentist, stop for gas, grab a Gatorade, and three minutes later I’ve discovered the secret for fast weight loss…


To be more specific, Lidocaine injected into either your right or left buccal sac ( cheek for you non-medical people).

I had twisted off the cap to  the bottle and was looking forward to the orangey taste of my potassium loaded drink. Lifting it slightly higher than chin level, but not too high that I couldn’t  see the road ahead of me, I puckered my lips. Or at  least I thought I had.

As I placed the plastic rim against my mouth and realized I couldn’t contract the muscles on the right side of my face, there was a split second debate going on in my head: Do I dare take a sip or not ? Am I going to dribble liquid down my shirt?  I pushed the lip of the bottle harder against my mouth. Nope. No feeling at all . Like a baby squirrel, I sucked a few drops from the left side of my mouth.

I put the drink down.

I looked mournfully over at the baked chips I picked up just before paying for the gas. They probably wouldn’t taste good being as the right side of my tongue was also numb. I couldn’t roll the sour cream powdered flavoring around in my mouth.

I whimpered a little. The 460 calories sat there while I drove on.

Damn cavity !

The scale better be half a pound lighter in the morning.


A Visit From Don Juan

Either he had slept little the night before, or he always had the seductively lowered lids  that drew you in. Then there was his slow drawl with the slight accent – a male version of the come hither tone you might hear on a T.V. show – but he was sincere – that’s what him so appealing – and made me smile at his response to my question.

“I need a phone number of the person who is going to take you home after your surgery.”

Fingers on the keyboard, I was ready to type in a name and number.

It will be one of my girlfriends.”

“Ah, um, okay. Pick one and give me her name and number.”

“Well…,” He dragged the word out. “I’m not sure which one is best. It depends on what time I am ready to go.”

I can do this. It’s none of my business. Just  take both names down and the window of time for pick-up appropriate for each.

I jotted the names and numbers. All was well until four hours later. The waiting area receptionist called.

“Hello. Just wanted to let you all know that Mr. ___________’s girlfriend called and said she was on her way.”

His comment about the fact that he had more than one  girlfriend came back to mind. I quickly asked, “Did she say what her name was?”

“Gosh no, Susan. Sorry, I didn’t ask.”

I advised the nurse recovering ‘Romeo’ that he had a visitor coming, that one of the girlfriend’s took a proactive approach and didn’t wait  for a phone call.  As she turned back toward his bay, I took note of the look on her face.  Priceless.

What would happen if the other girlfriend showed up would be even more special!


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