A Nurse With Attitude

Where Dark Cynical Humor, Nursing Issues, and Politics Seem to Merge

Archive for the month “March, 2013”

Happy Easter



Well, it’s the most holiest day of the year for us Christians.  Most people don’t understand.  Yes, Jesus was born, but without the death and resurrection, he’s be just another guy crucified by those evil Romans.  Heck they crucified millions of people.

For Christians and probably a lot of non-Christians, Easter is a time of contemplation and introspection. Whether you are a believer or not you are probably intelligent enough to understand that the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ really changed the world. You don’t have to even believe the story to be able to recognize that fact. That alone is enough to make just about anyone who knows even a little bit about the chain of events  leading up to the Easter holiday a bit more contemplative of the bigger lifelong questions about what life here on Earth is all about.

What kind of love must God have for us, to send his only Son down here to be born in a stable and be immediately jumped by men with evil in their hearts and such men would one day have him beaten and nailed to a cross so that all of his children who he loves, most of whom would never love him back, would have the opportunity to spend all eternity in Heaven with him?


So it is proper that this Easter I will contemplate what Almighty God has done for me. The more I think about what He has done for me,  the more I will what it is that I am to do to love Him and his children the way He loves us all.


Hair Appointment Advice



I had to go to work alone today. I usually carpool with my wife. We’ve gotten on the same shift. Pretty nice and saves gas money too. Today is different, however. She can’t work today because she’s got a hair appointment. She arranged to be off and she traded a day for later next week or something. Oh well.

Once in a while, I’ll overhear a conversation that concerns me.

“You should really see my psychic.”

“Oh, I’ve got this great psychic; you’ll just love her.”

You have a psychic. In this day and age. Really? I know you’re not talking about a ‘one-time thing’ where you and your friend were drunk at the county fair and you stopped at a dirty tent with a buzzing neon sign that says “TAROT” and you decided that it would be fun to have your fortune told, just this once, by a one-eyed carnie. It’s ok. People make mistakes.

But no, you have a psychic that you see regularly enough to call them ‘yours’. And you’re paying them to tell you things about you that you already know. After all, most of their advice or ‘visions’ are so general that they apply to most people and you will nod when they get to some statement that sounds remotely familiar. We’re humans. We naturally make connections in our minds.

Now, I’m going to save some of the ladies (and maybe some of the men) out there a good deal of money and dignity by sharing a little secret with you. What if I told you that you might already have your very own psychic? Look no further than your very own hairdresser. If you have a hairdresser, and I mean one that you see regularly, they provide the exact same service as a psychic, with the added benefits of a) making you look awesome, b) not making creepy wavy hand gestures unless there’s a pair of scissors involved, and c) probably not ripping you off.

How does your hairdresser do this feat you ask? You sit in the stylist’s chair and you tell them your life’s story. Your money problems, boyfriend problems, mother-in-law problems, you tell it all. The issues just spill out to this person who hardly knows you, yet they know you so well. Your third-party hairdresser pretends to understand, nodding all the while and at least appearing to agree with you. After careful consideration, they then give you unrehearsed, opinionated advice that you take seriously because they don’t really know you and must be able to see something that you, your friends, and family can’t.

“You should totally dump him. He’s cheating on you.”

“You have great ideas! You’re going to be rich. And I’ll keep doing your hair without raising the price!”

In the end, you’re welcome to believe whatever you’d like to believe. I’m not saying psychics aren’t intuitive or can’t give you good advice. I’m saying they’re like unlicensed counselors, they may have good intuition and may give you some good pieces of advice, but they don’t see your future.

Anyway, I’ll be at work and my wife will be at her hair dresser all day today. I look forward to getting home and our dinner table discussion. I’m curious to hear all about her new advice that she has just received while getting her hair done!

Modern Feminism



I know I’m gonna get some heat from my female co-workers on this one… but here goes.

My wife is also a nurse. So we frequently talk about work on the way home or over dinner. The other day wife was complaining about the female surgeon she was working with. My wife said, although Dr. X said that she was a female from New York, she was wining that her peers had assumed that simply because she was a female, she was expected to spend more time “getting to know” her patients. She was suppose to “be more personal” with her patients than her male counterparts. Female doctors are expected to be more approachable and more empathetic. My wife was in disagreement saying that all doctors are expected to have a approachable bed side manner. Some physicians are good doctors but have a terrible bed side manner. Some are terrible doctors but have a great personal and empathic bed side manner. It is common knowledge that no matter how good a doctor you might be, the bed side manner that you show to your patient is directly related to how many law suits you acquire. I personally have know terrible dangerous doctors but they skate free of lawsuits because they have a very nice and approachable bed side manner. So being a woman is irrelevant in this instant in the doctor world.

On the other hand, being a nurse is different. I had a tough day with a female anesthesiologist. I’ve worked with this resident before, but it’s been a while. She’s a feminist and she doesn’t mind telling me so. She would berate me for not recycling my trash when opening for the next case. And in the next breath she would be upset that the room turnover was taking more than 15 minutes. Like I said, it’s been a while since we’ve worked together. Much to my surprise, she was suddenly 8 months pregnant. I’m a natural born citizen of Alabama. If there is anything about the “gentleman thing” I know it. On the other hand, if you’re a feminist and you throw it in my face, I’ll let you sink. Today, she was determined to nickel and dime me to death… can you get this, can you hand me that, can you plug this in for me… it’s too low, that’s too high… blah, blah. I finally said, “if you’re so helpless, please call your anesthesia tech, I have my own job to do!” She was incensed, but didn’t bother me any more.

At the end of the case, the PACU nurse, looked at me and said, “shame on you. You shouldn’t let that poor pregnant girl push that stretcher, you should help her.”

OK, here’s my dilemma… Why is there a double standard? If you’re a feminist most of the time, but when you get pregnant, you want all the services of a damsel in distress complete with all of the gentlemanly courtesy and such. You want people to make over you, “oh, you’re so cute,” or “oh, do you know what you’re gonna have?” Yet another woman is exempt from such extra duties cast about by this “poor pregnant” woman. Women rant non stop for “equality” in the work place, and “equal pay for equal work.” I will admit that I believe in inequity between the sexes. If a woman can pull her weight and do the same work, then by all means, she should do get the same pay. But that is rarely the case. A lot of women want the same pay for a lot less work. Businesses are getting heat for this, because by pure economics, an employer will only pay for what they get in productive work. I get paid more than most women of equal seniority. The reason, I come to work. Most women take time off for maternity, or to care for the sick kids. I don’t. Most women will take a “family medical leave” for their family. When they do, their seniority accrual stops. Mine doesn’t. Suddenly, I have more seniority, and more pay. That’s the simple method of how most guys get better pay then women.

Back to my wife’s story with her wining doctor… Dr. X is probably complaining more because she’s just now realizing that a “medical practice” is just like what I explained with the time accrual and pay, except without all the labor laws. A medical practice is sort of like a business. If you are there every day and work at it, you will not only have a larger customer base, but you will have a larger group of very loyal customers. If you are available only on a sporadic schedule, you will have no loyal customers and even your regular customers will head off to another physician who takes his or her practice more seriously.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I just get frustrated as being a guy who’s suppose to acknowledge that a feminist declaring her independence is still suppose to be supported and helped along. Maybe I just had this discussion with my sister who has given the same complaints about her ailing medical practice. I explain it the same way and she got just as mad.

Old School Nurse




By Webster’s Dictionary: noun – adhering to traditional policies or practices

We sometimes hear a nurse referred to as “old school.” I take that to mean “in practice” for twenty years or more, I for some reason, I never considered myself as an old nurse, but I have been doing it for a long time.

Weather you consider yourself there or not, here are a few comments I found from my friends at the forum “Allnurses.com” which may help define the old school nurse!

The old school nurse:

  1. Still wears her hair ABOVE the collar at work.
  2. Knows how to use a bath blanket and still prefers soap and water to body cleanser wipes.
  3. Owns a case of white leather shoe polish for a VERY distinctive pair of lace-up nursing shoes.
  4. Keeps a pack of mints in her pocket for post-op patients who have sore throats from the intubation.
  5. Wears ONLY two pieces of jewelry to work–a wristwatch and (if married) a plain wedding band.
  6. Keeps her school cap in a clear plastic tote on the shelf of her closet.
  7. Makes hospital corners on her home bed sheets.
  8. Always carries an extra pen–with BLUE ink to distinguish an original form from a copy–just in case the doctor “forgets” to return the one he or she borrowed.
  9. Looks the other way if something which breaks the rules is in the best interest of the patient.
  10. Believes that nursing is a calling.
  11. Still likes to wear her nursing pin.
  12. You never throw anything on the floor especially linen
  13. When putting a pillowcase on the pillow, the open end faces away from the door… to keep the TB at bay.
  14. You only have white underwear, to keep from showing through your uniforms.
  15. You believe that patient care comes before documentation.
  16. You still abbreviate everything.
  17. You thing Demerol and Phenergan mixed was better than the “pain pump.”
  18. You’re older than the doctors you work with.
  19. You tell the wining new nurses how you took care of 30 patients vs. their 6.
  20. “Treatment nurse,” Med nurse,” Ostomy nurse,” what’s the difference, you did it all.
  21. You’ll give a patient a bedpan and not wait for an aid.
  22. Your starting salary was $5.50/hr when factory workers made $7.20/hr.
  23. The way you checked sugar levels was with a “dip stick”
  24. You don’t recognize the sound of an IV pump (you never used them.)
  25. You wore white shoes and a uniform, and never in public.
  26. You remember smoking at the nurses station
  27. You remember glass syringes and paraldehyde
  28. You remember dying tube feedings blue to help distinguish between phlegm and aspiration.
  29. You remember glass thermometers being issued with the admit kit.
  30. There was no such thing as a “pyxis.” All drugs were kept in the unlocked patient drawer.
  31. TV wasn’t free. Patients had to pay the daily rate for the use of the TV. Then they had to wait for the attendant to come and turn the TV on.
  32. Not only could the nurses smoke cigarettes, but the patients could smoke in their rooms.
  33. PRBC’s were never given on a pump. You had to drip them in, and you had to keep checking to be sure they were actually dripping and not clotting.
  34. There was no such thing as a portable pulse ox. You checked a patients “saturation” by how well their nail beds blanched.
  35. Blood pressures were always taken manually and using real mercury.
  36. There were no such thing as IV pumps that figured your med dose and rate. You figured “drops per minute” on the 60 gtt. drip chamber.
  37. Remember mixing your own drips and potassium replacement using a Buretrol.
  38. You have ever measured medications in “grains” or “minims.”
  39. You remember mercury calibrating your ICU transducers.
  40. You have washed out the red rubber NGT to be resterilized.
  41. You remember when the narcs were kept in a locked drawer and you counted them against a big three ring book each shift.
  42. You remember filling all of the AM lab slips by hand
  43. You remember when candy stripers actually worked in the hospital.
  44. Manual crank beds!
  45. Paper and pencil Kardexes that you were expected to update every shift.
  46. On rounds you carried all the meds in little cups in a large tray.
  47. You remember tying the sheets behind the head and foot of the bed to keep them on straight because there were no fitted sheets?

To all of the old school nurses who are still out there: Thank you and wear that cap proudly! What would you add to this list?

Strange Nurse Food


I was eating my lunch the other day.  I had jokingly claimed that it was “fish heads and rice”  “A well known Vietnamese delicacy.” I told my oncology surgeon. He sounded like a squeamish  little girl,  “Eeeeewwwww!”  I laughed and told him  It wasn’t actually the heads of fish.  It was chopped tilapia filets, rice and a few vegetables.  He still seemed a little squeamish over what I had.  I would have had the actual heads if I could ever find someone that actually sold them. 

On occasion, I forget to pack my lunch.  When I get hungry, I’ll eat most anything.  I’ve eaten some strange things in my days as an ICU nurse.  I’ve consumed everything from saltines to tube feeding. Obviously, this is not an uncommon issue with nurses.  I looked it  up the other day and found this article at Scrubsmag.com…


 Everyone knows a nurse’s lunch break goes something like this: You take your lunch exactly at noon and relax for a full hour in peace and quiet while you eat a wholesome and delicious homemade meal. Right?

Wrong! Unfortunately, most nurses barely get the chance to scarf down some Doritos on their lunch break—if they get one at all! We were curious about the weird lunch combinations nurses are forced to put together, so here’s a list of nurses commenting on the strangest lunch they’ve ever eaten at work. Can you top these?

The top 10 weirdest things you’ve ever eaten for lunch on the job!

1. Pickles and chocolate. It goes well with coffee, LOL. I was STARVING!
—Conni Errickson Miller

2. A pack of mint M&Ms, BBQ beef jerky, a pack of my son’s Scooby-Doo fruit snacks and milk! LOL. I work in the ICU, which means sometimes you eat whatever is in your purse that day, IF you get to eat at all!
—Jennifer Lockhart Dodd

3. Pork chops cooked via coffee pot.
—Tameka Hardy

4. Leftover corn tortilla with mustard and sauerkraut. COLD!
—Sharma Joyce

5. Coffee from a sterile urine specimen cup ’cause there were no cups to be had.
—Susan Madonia Schrank

6. Oatmeal with strawberry Pop Rocks.
—Robert Steven Gazaway

7. Ice cream float…made with strawberry Ensure…very interesting.
—Brittany Tessier RN

8. Crab bites that fell on the floor…three-second rule! I was that hungry!
—Melanie Whittington

9. A bottle of bacon bits.
—Kristen Natali

10. I swallowed my chewing gum….
—Susie K. Adams-LeValley

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten for lunch on the job?

AT&T fail



I realize that I am, unfortunately, a child of the 70′s. I didn’t have computers to chat with. I didn’t have calculators to do my math with. I didn’t have MP3 players… I had 8-track tapes and 33rpm LP records. I didn’t even have a cell phone to keep in touch. I had to keep an eye out for a phone booth to make my call. Those were the days.

Of all the modern conveniences, I’ll have to admit that I’ve embraced the cell phone as an every day device. Probably because phone booths are now no where to be found.

Unfortunately, I have some difficulties with the maintenance of these unusually sensitive devices. I have been labeled as “The Destroyer of Cell Phones” by my wife and the guy at the AT&T store. My wife purchased me, as advertised, shock proof and water proof cell phone. I have to give them credit. This phone lasted longer than most. It survived being dropped into mud puddles, ditches, toilets, mop water, and even into a bucket of boiling hot oil. I had just changed the oil in my wife’s Subaru and was getting up from my creeper. The phone slipped from my pocket and went directly into the fresh oil. Once I locate the appropriate tool to retrieve the hapless device without burns to my hands, I washed it in soap and water. Miracle of miracles, it still worked. I was finally sold on this new indestructible electronic device.

Time marched on for another month. This morning, my oldest son called from YelmWA to discuss an emergency ammo reloading question. After about ten minutes of dies, powder, bullet weights and such, the discussion was getting my stomach to growling. I haven’t even had breakfast yet. I got up to get a snack. I was stirring up a cup of coffee to the perfect color and sweetness, then the cell phone accidentally slipped from the grip held between my chin and my left shoulder and clattered to the floor. Much to my surprise, the thing must have landed just perfectly on the kitchen threshold. Because of this precise fall, it cleaved in half perfectly at the hinge joint. Much to my surprise, the advertised in-destructible phone was found to be, indeed destructible.

I picked up the “land line” to call my son back. At this point, I realized another dilemma of the cell phone age… all my stored phone numbers are suddenly and permanently lost. Dang!… I had grown so confident in my new indestructible device after the oil incident, that when January rolled around and my date book ran out, instead of copying a new 2013 version, I discarded it.

My son eventually called me back on the “land line” phone. He was perplexed as to why I was suddenly disconnected. He said, “I thought you were suddenly struck ill with a heart attack or something.” He said, “hey, I was worried, you refused to answer your cell phone and you didn’t call me back. I thought I’d call the other line to get mom to come out to the shop to check on you… are you OK?” He was relieved to hear abut the cell phone destruction and it was not my health. I sat down in my EZ chair to finish my conversation and drink my coffee. I then had to contemplate how to get back my extensive phone book and calendar of events from a destroyed, in-destructible phone… Any ideas?

For Those Who Say, “That Could Never Happen Here”



Does anyone remember or even care what happened 71 years ago?

On February 19th, 1942 FDR willfully and intentionally violated The Constitution, an act for which he should have been impeached.

I am speaking of the Japanese internment — the rounding up of over 100,000 people who were marched into Concentration Camps on American soil. Most of them were American Citizens with a full and complete set of Constitutional Rights.

I bring this up because I just finished an article about George Takei . Everyone knows the actor “Sulu” from Star Trek. He was actually imprisoned in an internment camp!

We, America, imprisoned our own citizens without trial, without suspicion, without due process of law and without any shred of evidence. We did so merely because of the ancestry of their parents. We did this on American soil, not in some foreign combat zone. You think that this cannot happen again? I laugh at my liberal friends who scoff at me and my accusations about the FEMA camps. I remember it was just like yesterday back in 2008, my friend Patch, along with several other liberal friends were teasing me… “you’re an alarmist, you’re stupid, you’re crazy for ever thinking Obama could, or would ever do anything to limit your freedom and your precious gun rights. He’s a Constitutional scholar for goodness sake. He knows more than any republican… he knows all about the Constitution and how to protect it!” Yea, right… Sure he does.

More at Guns Save Life
Hat tip to Jim22 on this one

Snap, Crackle, Pop



When you’re a kid, that’s your cereal. When you hit 50, that’s your body after painting the bathroom. I’m doing a little better after a few Advil and a hot pack. I’m only half done, but his coming weekend I’m going to pace myself more. I’m probably gonna even relax a bit. Who knows, I may take a nap in the middle of the day… something I haven’t done in years. I went for a walk and I forced myself to work out a little last night and am feeling that now.

Last night I played a video game. My middle son gave me classic shooter for a Christmas present and I’m just now getting around to playing a little. It was a lot of fun. “Feral Ghouls” and mutant animals running amuck and I my only job is to stay alive by shooting them. I put a cable into my 47 inch flat screen TV, connected the Bose surround system and used my wireless keyboard and mouse. It was like an Imax event. It was great. I’m not a “gamer,” but it was pretty amazing. I got killed several times, but I would reset the game and work out what I did wrong so I could survive the next attack. Things were going great and then the wife walks by. “Hey, I can’t believe you’re going to just sit there playing that stupid game!”

What’s the beef… I was not bothering anyone. I couldn’t understand why she would be upset. So I kept playing.

The next time she came through, she got even madder. ”That game is going to kill you!” she yelled.

“Yea, you ain’t kidding, I’ve already died, like seven times.”

She didn’t see the humor. She scowled saying, “you are sitting there in that chair, taking enormous stress trying to kill strange monsters, all the while you are not doing anything actually to benefit your health. You are completely sedentary. You could be getting clots or something right now, for goodness sake. You get up right now and do something… I don’t care, exercise or something.”

Oh well, it was nice while it lasted. I was still sore from yesterday’s events. I was still tired too. The honey-do list was getting to me. I’m thinking I just might be looking forward to getting back to work work… where I get paid for doing work.

I’ll get up and head outside… Owe, my back hurts. Mortality really sucks.

Budget Cuttin Time



Our Congress is currently at an impasse on the budget crisis claiming to be “unable to decide” what to cut. Obama can’t decide. Congress can’t decide. They both can’t come to any agreement. I say why can’t the Congress come to a budget agreement and then pass it. After all, congress is responsible for the budget, not the Executive branch of the government. Obama’s responsibility has nothing to do with the budget. So, in reality, Congress can pass a budget and Obama would have to go along with it, like it or not. Yes, he could veto it. But Congress has the power to override it and that would be the end of the story. If they wanted, they could de-fund Obama care, if they really didn’t like… as they say they do. I think that they simply haven’t the spine to do anything that might make Obama upset. They continue to say that they can come to a “compromise.” Obama threatens to cut the US military, Homeland Security, Medicare, Social Security, release hardened criminals from prison, and a few other big ticket items that are guaranteed to cause a media frenzy and blame it on the republican led congress. The truth is, most of the people in Congress, for that matter, has some pet project or funding agenda that somehow greatly enriches a friend, family member or them personally. They couldn’t bear to jeopardize a kick-back in order to do the right thing.

Every American that works and pays bills, knows that you pay for the important stuff first. Stuff like the power, water and food. The mortgage is the top of the list. Blockbuster video, guitar lessons, and dining out all go on the back burner until the finances become more stable. I tell you this isn’t rocket science. Running the government should be just like home finance. The first thing to cut in the government is the frivolous stuff. Stuff like NPR, PBS and the National Foundation for the Arts should be the first to go. There are several special interest groups that seem to keep this frivolous stuff rolling along, no matter what. On the medical scene, Congress has cut funding for prenatal care and birth control for women, yet they have dramatically increased funding to pay for Viagra. I get it… most of those in Congress are geriatric males who want to have sex with very young women and want their medication for free. That’s an easy one. One that I can’t understand is why are we still using tax dollars to pay for “art” that depicts The Virgin Mary in elephant dung? With the economy the way it is, why are our tax dollars still funding gay themed films about Jesus? I guess this stuff is not considered as frivolous as our military and our national security!


These are the hard questions that our Congressmen should be forced to answer!

Roadkill is still good eating



I have never understood why there is actually a law preventing you from going out and scraping up an animal from the highway for supper. I guess it’s because I’m from Alabama. Maybe I’ve just had one too many Opossums in my time… So, I really don’t understand a law that requires that you leave a deer you just hit on a roadside. I lived almost seven years in Montana and deer vs. auto collisions were very common. Fortunately, the lawmakers in Montana are about to put an end to that silly law. If I accidentally run over a deer, I’d really like to be able to eat it. I mean my car is already really messed up, Why couldn’t I prevent the day from being a total loss.

Elk, deer, antelope and moose: If Montana residents can scrape it up, they can eat it.

State lawmakers are poised to say just that after the Senate gave its initial backing Wednesday to a bill that would allow people to salvage roadkill for food. The measure is now a final vote from heading to Gov. Steve Bullock.

It makes no sense to let the carcasses of game animals go to waste on Montana’s roadways, supporters said.

“It really is a sin to waste a good meat,” said state Sen. Larry Jent, D-Bozeman.

I recall my grandmother Mayberry pulling over and scooping up a rabbit that she hit when I was a kid. It was for supper. She fried it up crispy… just like chicken.

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