Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Not Batting An Eye


I filled in at P.A.T (Pre- admission testing) last week. It’s a desk type job where surgical patients come in a week or so early, get interviewed by a nurse (in this case, me) and then anesthesiology staff.

A well-dressed petite Asian woman came, escorted by her son, at 9:00 am.

She was 84 years old with an angry gallbladder.

Because of chronic back pain, she entered the P.A.T. office using a walker. She also sat with a slight stoop.

As we went through the list of medications she currently took, she interrupted me near the end.

“Oh, and to help with back pain, I take CBD oil.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see her son squirm a little in his seat. He twisted his mouth in that maybe you shouldn’t have said anything manner.

Without missing a beat, I wrote the information down no different than I would any other medication; dose, frequency, how long she’s been using it, who prescribed it.

She took eight other medicines. Of those, five were vitamins, one was a cholesterol pill, and one was a medicated ointment for dry skin.

I saw her expression change. She softened her eyes and let the corners of her lips turn up into a small smile.

Now, what she’s going to say to her son later, I’m not sure, but there’s too much literature out there on the positive effect of CBD oil for me to have anything other than appreciation for advances in non-invasive therapies.


After the Tree Comes Down


There’s this season after we’ve gorged on Thanksgiving, the tree is down, and we’ve debated whether we’re going to make New Year’s resolutions, it’s called “Empty Stretcher Season.”

No one voluntarily wants to have surgery. That includes those with gallbladders that surely flared up eight hours after Thanksgiving dinner, the dads with tendon tearing pain in their shoulders after taking down the Christmas tree, or yours and my tipsy friend who fell  while “celebrating” on New Year’s and argued that they were fine — the swelling in their knee would be gone tomorrow.

In surgery centers all around, management adjusts for the low census days. People leave early. Some stay home (with no complaint). Those working catch up on mandatory education between cases, find nooks needing dusting, restock bays, and bond. Yes, that’s what I wrote, we bond, or I should say, I bond. In order to be objective, I should speak only for myself.

Things slow down enough that I get to have a tidbit of social interaction outside the twenty to thirty minute lunch that falls anywhere from 11:00 to 12:45.

“How are your kids?”

“Are you going to fly up this summer to see family?”

“Did you catch that movie?”

When worn out joints result in a tidal wave of late in the year arthroplasties and long days, it’s a sweet reward.

I saw tomorrow’s surgery schedule around 10:00 am and …

Empty Stretcher Season is over.


Chen Song Ping

Cancer, Mental Health, Women, Nurse


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