Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Someone taking a journey on so many levels… say Hello to a new blogger!

Crossing the Jordan

pathCheck out the link above in the blue ( Crossing The Jordan) !

This young lady, after successfully completing a college education, getting out in the world, and functioning as a responsible conscientious adult, kept going.

I went into my job young – stumbling through the minutiae of what it takes to be a ‘good nurse,’ wanting only to not do anything wrong and not understanding how much ‘right’ I could do for people. She’s bringing to the Nursing profession a maturity I admire. I look forward to what she shares on her blog.



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tearsJoy brings people together. Fear heightens awareness. Grief, more times than not, isolates us and covers us with a heavy blanket difficult to pull off. Some are never able.

Then there are some that go through incredible loss and proceed to find ways to comfort others undergoing similar suffering.

I met a patient a couple of weeks ago that shared her role in our city’s chapter of a national nonprofit called The TEARS Foundation. Founded in 2002 by Sarah Slack after experiencing the stillbirth of her son Jessie Curtis Slack, this agency provides emotional and financial support for families who have lost a child.

This patient of mine shared her own story of loss and how it led her to her involvement with TEARS. She graciously offered me the opportunity to follow up with her through the agency if I wanted to learn more about The TEARS Foundation.

I left work that day thinking about it. The heartache of  this kind of loss, I understood it. Years ago, my first pregnancy ended at the twenty-two week mark on an evening filled with physical and emotional pain.

A couple of weeks later, I had an opportunity to learn more about the kind of people that donate their time and fund raising efforts for TEARS.

People that do this kind of work are angels with broad shoulders and hearts made strong by not letting grief pull them to a dark impenetrable place. On the surface they might look like petite blonds just getting vegetables at the local market. Look closer. You can see the endless abundance of compassion in their eyes. 



IMG_3591Clinton Cargill, assistant editor to the National desk, Simone Landon, assistant editor to the Graphics desk, researcher Alan Delaqueriere,  and writer John Grippe, with help from various members of the TIMES team combed various sources across the country to get the names and gleaned phrases from people who’ve lost their lives to Coronavirus.

Editors and graduate students pitched in, and in a time when politicizing this pandemic is reaching a high, the New York Times went higher and humanized it in the way it should be.

I appreciate the heartfelt manner in which they came up with a way to acknowledge the people behind these numbers.





You ever misplace a gem? Not lost it, just misplaced it?  A ring or a pair of earrings that when you put on, you felt a little extra special. For you guys, that watch or favorite shirt that made you feel sharp — on your toes.

There are some gems where I work, but not having worked surgical services for the last four weeks, I forgot just how cool they were.

Until yesterday.

I put in my obligatory weekend call hours, came in for two surgeries, and prepared the next day’s paperwork before starting to head out for the evening.

Walking toward the back exit with the PACU RN, we slowed and checked in with the OR nurse before leaving.

“We’re leaving. You need anything?”

She popped her head around the desk where she was entering data for next day needed surgical trays.

“No, I’m good. Almost done.”

“Hey, either one of you interested in grabbing a beer and some Cuban food? The place is close by.”

The PACU RN and I both declined, but then I remembered that any conversation I’d had with this OR RN was introspective, informative, and there was always equitable sharing of how life in general was going. There was never constant interruption or a scenario where I felt like I was being talked at instead of to.


I had a wonderful ‘post call’ Cuban dinner, the coldest yummy draft, and the best conversation with a valued peer who, due to the differences in our work hours, I rarely saw.

And the icing on the cake is this:

I learned that this Operating room RN is gifted with the ability to emote words of prayer that have a gentle and at the same time direct ring to them — transparent chords that point to grace and trust.  I gave her my prayer request to add to the list of people already in her heart. And of course, a big smile in lieu of the ‘not allowed’ hugs.

What a nice and unexpected way to end my day on call!


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Necessary Eye Roll


When I make my necessary gas station or grocery store visit, I’ve seen some people with their masks so loosely tied that there are gaps around their cheeks or, those with somehow acquired medical masks with the top line of the mask sitting dainty on their nose.  ( Like,Lord forbid you bend the soft underwire threaded through the top edge and cause a potential indent to your delicate skin.)

 I don’t know if my episodes have been caffeine related or what, but a few times I couldn’t , even with my mask on, keep my mouth shut.

I introduce  myself from six feet away, quickly give my professional credentials so they don’t think I’m some cuckoo bird and hopefully understand I only want to help. I give a quick pointer on how to make their mask more occlusive. It’s gone over okay. ( However,  I don’t stick around, so who knows, maybe there is a brief exchange about ‘ the crazy lady at the gas station’.)

But then, there are the handful of twenty-somethings walking around with their masks slung around their necks, whether in a building or not.

I want to smack them upside the head, but like my mother taught me… I keep my hands to myself.

And do the best eye roll possible.


I Should have called her the gardener…

Hey y’all,

I’ve been struggling with making progress on a few writing projects then something came up and the words came easy.

About a month ago, I’d previously posted about a nursing instructor that made an impact on me. More recently, on Instagram, a site called Vocal invited people to write about a woman that influenced them for Women’s History month.

I thought about that instructor and wrote a more detailed / refined essay. I shared a little more than I did in my prior post. Below is the address:

*I think you might need to put this up in your address bar to avoid the nuisance of creating an account on Vocal Media to get in.

If your able to take a few minutes to read it, I’d be so grateful!

Please never mind the tip thing at the bottom!




Maybe I'm not an introvert

A week ago Saturday, I deferred going to the gym, figuring outdoor walks were safer, so on Saturday and Sunday I took a brisk one hour walk. Through and out my Oak tree lined neighborhood I went, then onto a side street shaded by various trees with new greenery. A powder of yellow pollen buds coated the sidewalk.

I was proud of myself for displaying some self-discipline and finding a healthy outlet for the increased tension in the air at the hospital where I work. We are getting ready. Our suspected cases ( admitted and in isolation) are few, but we are not naïve about the seriousness of this.

By Tuesday morning, all eight sinus cavities in my head were blocked up and my head felt heavy. I was sneezing into the elbow of my arm at work and apologetically telling everyone it was sinuses and how I got this way. I already was assigned Wednesday off.

I thought to myself This will resolve.

Wednesday I had a low grade fever and sore throat. Being responsible, I ignored my diagnosis of the problem and did all the required phone calls -my MD, then the Health Dept, then back to work.

A low number of surgeries scheduled and my allergies bought me three days off.

And here I am on day four of being at home

It’s Saturday afternoon and I can’t wait to get back to work.

I’ve gone to the drive thru Starbucks daily despite having plenty of coffee pods at home. I’m unusually chatty with the cashier at the window, even asking what she’d recommend as a breakfast sandwich to go with my coffee. So thankful they are open, my tips are generous.

My quiet home has always been a luxury after a day of sensory overload. Now it feels like a low security prison – okay, that’s an exaggeration. I like helping people and my status is making me feel hog-tied.

Feeling useless to my daughter in NYC ( who’s moving to a new apartment this week), I’ve Venmo’d her money for the silliest things. All you mom’s out there – I know you understand.

I’ve cleaned all the cabinets in my kitchen, cleaned my baseboards. Next is the garage. These things only have importance so that I won’t let my fears for my older parents, my other family members, and peers working in ER / Critical care get the best of me.

My Faith.

My faith.

It’s my comfort.

And maybe I’m not an introvert anymore.


There’s one you always remember

Prompted by a call for essays on women that have inspired you, I immediately thought of Professor Susie Forehand, a Nursing school instructor that I feared, then respected and admired because she had enough faith in me to push me to be the best I could, even when I wasn’t so sure I’d made the right choice in picking Nursing as my course of study.

Only wanting to confirm dates of her tenure at Valencia, I googled her name and found this great article.

At 19, I didn’t understand why her comportment made me feel as if I didn’t deserve to be in the Program. Reading the article, I understand now that she had to work so much harder then I to just be allowed to study Nursing.

On one clinical day, I remember the sweat dripping from my forehead as she stood at my shoulder and quizzed me on the two pills I’d just placed in a medicine cup. She stood close enough that she noticed a drop on my brow.

“Don’t be nervous. You know this.”

That was about as nurturing as she ever got. ( It’s okay – I had cheerleaders in my family wanting only success for me and generous with words of support.)

Better late than never, I need to look her up and find out some way to thank her!


Power in Small Packages

This is a story about resilience and what an honor it is when someone shares their fears with you.


Not long ago, I prepped someone for back surgery, their third back surgery, and this was no ordinary patient.


I had met her and her spouse a year prior. Through conversation I learned they both had military backgrounds. His — I could have guessed. He had the bearings, the posture of someone who understood regiment. Hers — a little bit of as surprise. Petite and effervescent – imagine a young Michele Pfeiffer.  Somehow, through natural flow of conversation, I learned she had suffered much loss at a very young age and built her future with a lot of hard work and determination.


Before going in for this surgery, her mood quieted, she called me over. “You got my back, right?”

She said it with a straight face. I couldn’t tell if the pun was intended, but then her eyes welled.

“Of course, of course I do. Your surgeon, he’s the one I went to see last year myself.”

She relaxed some. Minutes later the OR team entered and she gave them the most genuine smile a patient could give. I gave her the pre-op meds ordered for her.

Off to the operating room she went. I talked to her husband for a moment before he exited.

An hour and a half later I heard a rapid response call to the recovery room. I looked at the schedule at the desk, wondering Who had a problem post-surgery?

Walking over to PACU later, I learned it had been her and she was now in ICU.

My heart sank.

I went to the waiting room to see her husband and to see how she was doing. He, I learned, was upstairs with her. With permission from the nurse and an affirmative head nod from my patient’s spouse, I stepped into her room and over to her bedside. She had just been extubated.

This tiny package of dynamite wasn’t content to have an Endotracheal tube down her throat. Less than six hours after it had been placed, she had improved enough to have it removed.

Quite uncommon

Some people will never let life knock them down.



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