28 February 2008

Fit and Forty My Right Eyeball

I really don't mind the quirks of getting older for the most part. I deal with the need for Metamucil with equanimity. I'm understand the supplement fest that my life has become. And I am resigned to the fact that I have enough powersurges to light up Times Square during New Year's. Okay, I get it. I understand. FINE! But what I refuse to accept is the new and disturbing anomolies in my anatomy. For instance, the other day was a busy day at work and, while I was able to stay well hydrated, I was not as able to deliver myself from said hydration once my body was done with it, if you get the way I'm drifting. So, I prudently decided to visit the loo before changing into my clothes as I was getting in near dire straits by this time. Unbeknownst to me, however, the devil's own sneeze was lurking in my sinuses for the most opportune moment (for whom?). The sneeze exploded and so did my bladder. WTF?!? I mean I've had to cross my legs before during a sneeze, but actual loss of bodily fluid? (Heh. My maiden name was Bodily, all my fluids are bodily fluids. Whoop! Whoop! Dork alert!) Needless to say, I was appalled, nay, nearly distraught! Let the Kegel marathon begin!!!

Then there is my other problem, which is a trifle more delicate ....suffice to say, I am slightly more sympathetic to Jody's plight. Insurance being what it is, I don't want to go to the doc, and besides, who wants to have that checked? I know how it's done, and it's a procedure I'd like to forego, thank you very much. So, I won't know if I have a thrombosed 'rhoid until the sucker is big enough to vote. I don't know what else it could be....what else causes you a pain in the ass that beats in time with your heart? Outside of work, I mean? It's pretty sad when you have to eat 800 of Ibuprofen like it's tic-tacs because you have a pain in your tuckus!

Such is my life.

27 February 2008

I have nothing in common with Pony-boy

I love my job! Once upon a time, I was a young, (well, semi-young) naive (really!), nurse, filled with compassion, empathy, and the need to serve others. Nine years later, I've become a bitter, cynical, walking bullshit detector. Case in point: my patient today. This young lady is a fair representation of our client base at Screwed-up-life General. You would think that labor and delivery would be all sunshine and roses, birds singing in the trees, and woodland creatures decorating the delivery room with gossamer bunting in anticipation of the joyous arrival. You poor fools. My little 19 year old patient comes in by ambulance. Most people that come in by ambulance are either A) one centimeter and not in labor, B) 10 centimeters and trying to spit out a baby in the rig (which paramedics do NOT dig) or C) suffering from the common cold and didn't have a ride in. You did know that AMR does not stand for American Medical Response, right? It is actually a code for "Ah, My Ride." I digress.

I had been really hoping that the ambulance would be an engine (firefighter) unit rather than a private service. (Paramedics share the same level of disillusionment and cynicism as I, where the EMTs from the private service are distressingly trustful.) AMR. There goes my day. The patient is uncomfortable and this is her 3rd baby. So, pretty good chance that she might actually be in labor. After she is transferred to the bed, one of the EMTs pulls me outside her room to let me know that the pt has a drug history and her family wanted to make sure that the baby was checked. I asked him if she admitted to any drug use recently, he said she denied using. I walk back into the room and this converstaion ensued:
Me: "Hi. Any alcohol use in the pregnancy?"
She: "Yeah, a little in the beginning."
"Okay, how about cigarettes?"
"Yes, like a half a pack a day."
"All right. Any history of drug use?"
"Yeah, in the past."
"Oh? When was the last time you used?"
"Last week." (Well, that was in the past.)
"What did you do?"
I think you get the drift. She then said that she had had seizures before. I inquired whether these seizures were the result of epilepsy, or some other cause. Yes, she informed me, she had epilepsy. "You know, it was the time I almost swallowed my tongue." As this was the first time we had met, I did not know, but, in the interest of keeping the conversation flowing, agreed with her. I then asked if she were on any medication to control the epilepsy, when she informed me that she wasn't because the seizures only occured when she did cocaine. Well, stop cutting your coke with Draino then. The sad part is that I now laugh at such things instead of being appalled by the tragedy.
After her epidural, I put in a catheter and sent off a drug screen, with her permission. I tested the urine before it got sent to the lab and lo, and behold, got the same results as if I had stuck the test strip in tap water. Had I not gotten this straight from the horse's....er...bladder, I would have thought she had given me tap water. As it was, she most likely over hydrated herself in an effort to dilute out any possible drug screen. And, as it turned out, her screen was negative. Worry not, we put a bag in the baby's diaper. Althoug CPS's new policy is to not get involved , even for a positive screen, unless the baby is ACTIVELY withdrawing from drugs. Okey-doke.
All this occured while the patient's mother and her boyfriend are tweaking all over the room. I was going to request a drug screen on them just on general principles. So, now you know why I am the way I am. My job rocks! I do, however, enjoy listening to what relatives are going in and out of jail, who broke probabtion, and what cut of beef goes best with MD 20-20

26 February 2008

Oh, just pooh.

I haven't run in over a week . I've tried. I've thought, "I need to haul my carcass off this couch and run." and then I snuggle up in a blanket and give in to the fatigue that has been doggin' my every movement. You know, the bone deep tired where even the effort of moving your arm to scratch your eye is more than the situation really warrants. I've put my running clothes on, down to the shoes, gotten the dog ready, primed the iPod, and then said, "I'm not feeling this." The one day I did run, I ran for a total of 20 feet, and FORCED myself to walk the rest of the half mile circuit to bring me back to the house. Couldn't quite figure it out. Do I need to be more diligent in my vitamin regimen? Am I trying to duck whatever creeping crud is rounding the hospital like a hummingbird on crack, leaving us more understaffed than usual? Is Mercury in retrograde? What the hell? Ahh, the light went on. I'm a fairly well educated person, but I have a PhD in denial. You see, in 24 short days, it will be what should have been my 10th anniversary. I waited until I was nearly 31 to get married, had 5 good years, one confusing, maddening year, and one year of unadulterated hell. His disease didn't just affect his body; it took him from me in every way possible, until his body figured out it was time to go. In one fell swoop, I went from wife with a husband to caregiver with one more dependent. The blessings of caring for my dying husband at home, and realizing, through that service to him, the depth of my love, does not mitigate the hell of watching someone actively dying in front of you. And trying to explain what is happening to your 6 and 2 year old sons, can't leave out that part. Good times. So, in true doctorate of denial fashion, I took that grief and that rage and stuffed it deep inside my psyche, telling myself I had his whole last year to grieve, now I needed to make up for my boys losing their father. Well, hell, dumbass, what about losing your husband? Can't think about that now, too busy being everything to everyone, soothing his family's grief, and being strong, dammit! Until, times like these when it bursts forth in either tears, mania, or my favorite, the desire to snuggle on the couch with Ben, Jerry, and a hundred of their little Girl Scout pals.
I dragged my sorry behind out the door and forced myself to run a mile in a valiant effort to alleviate the rushing darkness and stay the potential of me turning into crazy cat lady after the kids are grown. And to tell the truth, endorphins are a good thing. I feel better, and the overwhelming fatigue is a shadow of its former self. So, hopefully, by March 21st I will be able to withstand all the universe feels fit to throw at me on such an auspicious day. Damn Nietzsche and his "that which does not kill you makes you stronger" ideal. I get it. Doesn't mean I have to like it, now does it? Same with that whole not getting any challenge greater than your ability to withstand... I'd like a recount on that vote, please.

14 February 2008

Dog doo and a dipper or two

When it comes to physical activity, running has never been at the top of my list. Most often heard from my lips when the subject came up was "if I'm running, rest assured there is a big guy with a bigger knife chasing me." I hated the gasping like a landed trout, the coppery taste in my mouth, and the muscle fatigue. So, imagine my surprise when, at the ripe old age of 40, I started running and actually began to enjoy it. Oh it didn't happen all at once. I had decided that, having already lost their father, my children might not react well if their mother made them an orphan. I started running. Well, I started some activity that might loosely be called running. More of a slow jog interspersed with long periods of walking. (Complete with the aforementioned gasping, coppery aura, and FATIGUE.) Being of a rather stubborn nature, I sucked it up and now do my little 2 miles quite easily. Crap. That probably means I should increase my distance...or my speed. Which is the least painful option? Being a basically lazy person, I definitely want the path of least resistance here. But I digress.

My point is that on these little jaunts around my neighborhood, while my children are locked securely in the house, dreaming little boy dreams of mayhem and chaos, I have started to enjoy this most hated form of exercise. Tonight was a fabulous night for a run. The sky was remarkably clear for a Washington winter. The waning quarter moon was brilliant enough to light my way in the darkened areas of the neighborhood where the porchlights didn't reach. As I ran, my breath coming in steaming puffs, Lenny Kravitz singing about going his way, I looked up into that clear black night, and smiled at the stars. It's been a long time since I've noticed the stars and how vast the night sky can be. I recognized my elementary school constellations of the Dippers (can't call them the Ursas...my brain cannot fashion any bear-like shape from those two ladles in the sky), and wondered why it was I've never learned to tell the difference between a planet and a satellite.

In the midst of all this musing, I felt a resistance on the end of the leash. Experience has taught me that this can only mean one thing. Which is why the dog always goes out before we go run. Which is why I no longer carry poo bags with me. Which is why I now needed one, because Murphy is a sneaky little bastard and he tries to screw with the uptight homeowners association at every turn. As this all happened at the farthest end of the neighborhood from my house, I had to continue running until I reached the house and my supply of pooper bags. We then ran to the general area and began a search mission that I ferverently hoped would not end with my shoes in a mess. Success (and mess free). I now had in my possession a bag of aromatic poo. I decided, as these are biodegradble bags, that we would walk the rest of the way to the house, as I didn't know what kind of stress test these bags undergo. My only consolation was that if, by some strange chance, I was accosted, I had a near perfect weapon to dissuade an attacker. If only I had a lighter, it could have then been the perfect weapon, favored by redneck juvies everywhere. We arrived home in time to hear Shaggy singing about "couscous perfume, I love your sweet smell." Irony. Har.

11 February 2008


Some imponderables I've been pondering...
Can you ponder an imponderable? By virtue of the name doesn't that make it unable to be pondered? Why is the interest of the creepy older guy exponentially proportional to how creeped out by him you are? Why would a mother tell her pregnant, laboring 16 year old daughter to stop worrying about people looking at her butt as she walks in a hospital gown to the bathroom? Wouldn't most mothers want, or even require, their 16 year olds to be modest? And if said mom WERE concerned about who was looking at her daughter's naked ass, would said daughter be less likely to become preggers? Can your brain actually atrophy to the size of a raisin and fall out your ears from lack of adult conversation and constant bombardment of Nicktoons? Will referring to doctors as "infants" negatively impact your work relationship? Even if they were still potty training when you graduated from high school? Is there such a thing as a clinical nurse manager who is competent to work the floor? Or is that just a naive fantasy on my part? Does catnip go bad? How would you know? Same with sour cream. Who in the hell developed the Brazilian Wax and how in the hell did he get women to go for it? And then how did they sell it to men? Wouldn't having scalding wax poured on his scrotum and then the hair forcibly and violently removed be a non-choice for a sane man? Or woman? Except women don't have scrotums. Would a valium salt lick in the waiting room and the nurses station be a bad thing? Does pondering impoderables and then posting them in a blog indicate a severe sleep deprivation or the early signs of psychosis?

10 February 2008

Death of an orthographer

I used to be a good writer. I pull out papers from college when I was still steeped in the words and traditions of Shakespeare, Trollope, Shelley and the like, and I am pleasantly surprised at what I read. Now my literary skills have been stunted, if not outright slain, by 9 years of medical abbrieviation, nurses charting and doc speak. Not to mention the dreaded Pokemon dissertations I am daily privy to thanks to my wonderful, albeit, single minded children. So this here little adventure is a vain attempt to polish those rusty skills in the unlikely event I force myself into a master's degree. I'm really not excited about taking the GRE again. ENGLISH major! Translation: poor math skills or fairly good math skills, but doesn't test well.

I may even repost items from my Myspace page....who knows? And before I'm ridiculed for being 40 and having a Myspace page...it's the way I keep in contact with my girls from nightshift since going to days. Also, I read the average age of a Myspace user is 35. Of course that may be, as one of my favorite anesthesiologists opined, because they are all pedophiles. But most of his opinions are suspect, so I don't give them much heed. Or it may just be that I'm a hardheaded, opinionated, firetruckin' beyotch, who's to say?

A little retro verbal incontinence from 2006:

I try to be a part of the 21st century, but I'm this close to smashing all the technology in the house and resorting to sending smoke signals. I realize that will be difficult with a burn ban in effect, but I am a very determined individual who is suffering from a deplorable lack of computer savvy right now!
I love my laptop. I love my wireless router that allows my lap top to be connected to the internet from anywhere in the house. I'm about ready to smash both because I'm not being allowed to add my printer so I can wirelessly (is that a word?) print from anywhere in the house. Add printer, browse printer, search for file, server does not have driver, printer not found....the angst goes on and on! I can't be tied to the desktop computer, because I now have computer ADD, and I start frothing at the mouth if my desires are not instantly gratified. *sigh*
So, here I am, rolling from desktop to laptop like a squirrel on crack in a vain and tiring effort to firmly entrench myself in the hip world of wireless technology. Meanwhile, the dishwasher goes unrun, the clothes unfolded and the bed unmade, causing my parents to wonder where they went wrong.

A few hours later:

I have outwitted the evil computer gremlins and defeated them at their own game! La la la! Success! The printer has been added, it actually WORKS, and I'm feeling such joy as to label it nearly orgasmic! Which is a dang good indication of how long it's been since I've had sex, but that is another issue. So, here's a cheers to moi! Given enough time I can figure out even the most basic problem.