Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

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.


Outwitted them again!

Outwitted Then Again!

I heard them on my way back from lunch, “Dashing through the snow, in a one horse…”, so I turned sharply to my left and took the stairs. With a bum leg from what, I don’t know, I plodded up a flight to the first floor and turned left. It was imperative that I avoided them — the holiday carolers.

They were a rowdy bunch, prone to pull a nurse or two into the center of their traveling circus and close in ranks until you have walked (and sung ) in front of nurses and patients from at least two units.

Sharp pain from my hip to my ankle forced me to stop at the elevator for the next flight up.

It was taking forever. And here they came. They must have taken the south elevator! And they were moving quick!

I walked in a direction I knew they wouldn’t go – radiology.

These people were boisterous, but they weren’t gowned in lead aprons. I was out of danger for a moment. While there I learned there were no Interventional cases being done tomorrow. Yay! (I have to help Ultrasound once in a while.)

It looked safe, or should I say sounded safe, in the hallway, so I made a U-turn back to the elevator and got off on the second floor.

I was down the long hallway and had just made a right at the dead end when lo and behold, there they were, coming at me and there was nowhere for me to turn. “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the …” The group filled the hallway and moved in my direction like a tidal wave.

They were twenty yards away, then fifteen, then ten, their eyes widening, their smiles getting bigger.

I stretched my arm out toward the silver button on the wall and lengthened my stride. It was going to be close, but I was determined. I did not want to sing. I reached to door button just as a hatted singer pointed a finger at me and let out a chuckle.


The door to pre-op opened and it was slivers from being closed when they passed.

The last verse I heard was “You better watch out, you better…”


The holidays are always so exciting!


Chen Song Ping

Cancer, Mental Health, Women, Nurse


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