A Nurse With Attitude

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

Weeks Worth

Posted by jdtaylor on May 12, 2013


I have sold my house and moved to a crappy apartment as my primary living space.  Unfortunately, I have no internet service here.  I write all week and eventually I will make it to a Starbucks or somewhere that has free Wi-Fi to load all of my random scribblings up to the website. So that’s why I haven’t written in a while and also why my posts seem sporadic and disjointed.  I hope  to get a real internet connection of my own soon.


Cinco De Mayo was just last weekend.  I’m not a party animal, so the very idea of staying out all night and abusing my body is somewhat foreign to me.  (especially now that I’ve passed 50)  Monday I checked in a guy for  a urology surgery.  His girlfriend was with him.  She looked disheveled and sported a large Starbucks coffee and some amazing bloodshot eyes.  I must have looked strangely at her,  because she looked back at me and immediately started to explain.  “Hey, I went to the Cinco De Mayo celebration and I it was great,” she said in a tired voice.  “It was so great, I think I just may be suffering from Post-Party-Depression.”  We both laughed at her joke, but her boyfriend didn’t seem at all amused.  I was a little unsure of the dynamics of this relationship, so I said, “that’s great, but I’m here for him,”  and I tried to be all business in getting him checked in as promptly as possible.  It was a start of a strange week.

Where I currently work, the management staff  arbitrarily decided all first cases simply must start at 0730.  Anything that shows 0731 calls for an inquisition along with paperwork that shows exactly why it was not “on time.”   Although most staff, physicians, nurses,  or anyone who actually spends time doing actual work in an actual operating room knows how stupid this type of blanket rule really is.   If the case starts at 0730 or 0731,  in the real world, it doesn’t make any difference in work flow, quality of patient care, finish time,  or anything at all for that matter.   It’s just a goal that someone dreamed up to be able to say, “yep, all cases start at 0730 sharp.”  Most  staff are so beaten down by whimsical demands from the leadership, they just do whatever they’re told.  Anything to get to the end of the day without drama or unnecessary added stress becomes the goal.  On the upside of this, it hasn’t been too much of a challenge to get in the room “on time” for my department. We have had a pretty good record … so far.

With this in mind, on Tuesday I had a case with this particular surgeon.  Although he has a scheduled  “0730, first case start,”  he has never in his career shown up before 0740.  For some reason, today was different.  Dr. Bosley was there at 0640 and was anxious to go.  I loaded up the patient and assisted anesthesia in the transport to the OR at an amazing 0720.  Strangely, Dr. Bosley was on time for the first time in history.  The charge nurse told me that this one event must have upset the cosmos.  Our department has had a flawless record of “on time first starts” for over a month.  Today, somehow, be it skewed lab values, informed consent, or unexplained fever, all of the other rooms in the entire department (except for Dr. Bosley’s room) was a “late start.”  Yep, simply amazing.

I had insomnia the other night.  It’s an old problem that has plagued me, on occasion, for many years.  I’ve worked night shift on and off since about 1986.  I get up and I call work. If they need me, I’ll go in and help.  If they don’t need me, I’ll start a project in my workshop.   Don’t say it… I know I should really get a life (outside of the hospital).  The problem is that it seems that all of my friends seem to be health care providers.  I changed from night shift to day shift and I occasionally miss some of my old night sift friends.  I quit doing extra / overtime shifts after my health issues.  So, last night I called and asked if it was busy.   Monte the charge nurse,  said that it wasn’t.  I went and got a few large pizza’s and delivered straight to the OR front desk.  The whole crew was happy to get an impromptu  pizza party.  Some were happy to see me too.  I had a nice visit with the crew and, not wanting to distract them from their down-time duties, I made my visit relatively brief.  But it was good to see the whole crew once again.

My night shift reunion and our reminisce of “old times” gave me some writing material.  It’s fun stuff that I have actually seen as an ER or an OR nurse.  So I’ve gotten a list of advice given by night shift trauma patients…


  • Never try to operate a table saw, router, band saw, or attempt repair on your girlfriend’s garbage disposal after “a few beers.”
  • Never try to remove Norplant by yourself with kitchen implements.
  • Never drink creek-water, even if you’re “really thirsty,” especially if there’s a dead deer just upstream.
  • Do not hold anything other people intend to hit with a sledge hammer.
  • Never put anything into your rectum you’re not prepared to explain to an ER or OR nurse just how it got there.
  • Never run away from cops for any reason
  • If any part of your body itches, never, ever scratch it with a nail gun
  • Never drink and drive, especially if you own a motorcycle
  • About that drinking and driving rule… the same rule applies to chain saws
  • Never drive yourself to the hospital when need emergency help especially if you have had a “drinking and chain sawing  accident”
  • No matter where you go, what you are doing,  or plan on doing, always have identification on your person.


I’ll think of some more next week.  Take care and have fun.


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