Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

My Cup


waterOver a year ago, during a long conversation with the Director of Surgery. I told her that patient care “…fills my cup.”

I’m entering my third year as the Chairperson for the Surgical Services Unit Practice council. This is because no one will step as Vice Chair and prepare to do it the following year. Via e-mail exchange, leadership reported no success in getting one of my peers to take on the role.

This responsibility is draining my cup.

Warning to younger/newer nurses: If patient care brings you joy, don’t let anyone  fool you into to thinking leadership on a committee is just a ‘once a month thing’!



Early Christmas Gifts

As I left bay #5, I almost bumped into what I thought was a visitor, and she was, but she was more.

“Hi, Remember me? I was here a few months ago. You took care of me.”

I didn’t recognize her face or name, but  I recognized her genuine smile.

“There is something …, but I can’t put my finger on it.”

She waited for a sign of recognition. “You must meet so many people, I’m so sorry. I’m here supporting a friend. ”

I really wish I could have remembered her name. I think what I remember was her fear.

“Oh,, please, don’ t apologize.”

” Susan, I just  wanted to tell you everything  turned out well. They did wide margins and got all the cancer out!”

I was so happy I almost lunged at her with a hug.


Christmas gifts are everywhere.



Leaving New York on September 11th

fullsizerenderI watched the Manhattan skyline disappear as we advanced over 10,000 feet and turned south. All I could think of was that fifteen years ago today over four hundred people also got on a plane thinking they too were returning home to loved ones. Another three thousand plus people thought they were just beginning another normal day at work.

I don’t know how to describe the feeling.

Alongside the joy of seeing my grown daughter for three days was an ache in my soul that was slowly building since Saturday afternoon as we passed a small cluster of fire fighters and later heard sirens as we walked down  Prince street.  I knew there were ceremonies happening over the weekend. I saw people in large groups leaving St. Patrick’s cathedral Sunday morning, most in Dress Blues.

The angst of going back home distracted me for the last four hours I was in Manhattan. (I only have one child I’ve raised  mostly on my own – some of you single moms surely understand.)

It wasn’t until I reached the terminal that I noticed some differences. Sunday is usually a busy airport day. Not today. Getting through security to have my carry on scanned took only five minutes. Here’s the catch – any, and I mean any abnormality on the  walk  through scanner resulted in a “pat down”. The only thing that helped minimize the awkwardness of it was seeing two other people also getting “checked”, one person looked like someone’s grandmother and the other was a woman about my age. The airport is doing their job – that’s all that mattered.

The humor of my first official “frisking” was ellipsed by hearing Taps being played off in the distance as I seated myself by my gate.

I questioned whether I was going to post tonight until a few minutes after I found my sear on the plane,  11D. A gentleman in dark  pressed pants, a white dress shirt with stripes on the arm and airport badge sat next  to me.

I couldn’t help myself. I turned to him.

” Is there anything special done today to help the people  that work for the airport?”

He looked at me quizzically. I added more.

“I mean, um, spiritually, emotionally.”

He looked straight ahead at the T.V. in front of him. Fox T.V. was beginning a special on the anniversary of 9/11. In the background was a picture of the first plane hitting one of the Twin Towers.


He said it slowly and never looked at me again for the 2 1/2 hour flight home.


Heartfelt prayers to the families and friends that have suffered a loss of a loved one and don’t get to make more memories with them.




We Call Him Eeyore

We call him Eeyore for a reason. His head hangs low on shoulder unusually wide for his frame, and the corners of his mouth drop in perfect symmetry. I can’t tell you his real name. He’s one of our doctors. This anesthesiologist, he doesn’t mince words. If asked, he speaks candidly about his constant state of unhappiness and dares you to try and change him.

Today, I wasn’t in the procedure room so my only interaction with him was at 7:00 am and again at 11:00 am when he walked toward the front and cut through our waiting area. The only people sitting there were the wife of our last patient and their three year old daughter. The little girl was constantly jumping from her seat and spinning around on the tiled floor.

 Ten minutes later, I turned my head just in time to see our gloomy anesthesiologist walk back through and encounter that little girl. She twirled around in front of him with her arms outstretched, the same broad grin on her face despite being chastised by her mom for getting up so much. It surprised me to see that he had stopped and I partially turned my head away. I didn’t want to stare. But then, I didn’t want to miss a chance to see what happens when joy meets misery.

  Breaking into a hardly seen smile and a twinkle in his eyes, he leaned over to her and asked, “You wanna dance with me?”

 It was ten seconds, ten seconds that I saw the human side of him.

 He can go back to being Eeyore; gloomy and cynical, irritable at the drop of a hat, but I’ll swear in a court of law. When he wants to, our resident grump can be a real teddy bear.

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