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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Sacred Space

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As much as I sometimes hate the hospital, I can’t help but feel that it is almost a sacred space.  Leaving work the other day I saw a middle-aged women sobbing uncontrollably on her way to the parking garage.  Her teenage daughters were holding her up and pushing her onward.  I don’t know what their family’s tragedy was and never will. But I know that their lives were changed forever. I just hope that the nurses and staff were a sign of mercy and grace to this family in their time of need.

It’s an honor to touch their lives and do our best to relieve their suffering.


A Favor

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Yesterday I took care of this sweet little old lady, Mrs. M, with a gorgeous foreign accent.  She said, “I’d like to put a word in for my aide last night.”

“Sure, if you tell the manager she was good, the aide will be rewarded.”

“Well, I could do that, but what I would like to ask is if you will do me a favor.  Can she have the night off tonight?  She had such a stressful night last night.”

Um, no. Sarah will have to come in tonight and work her tail off all night, just like last night.

But what a sweet lady! Going in her room and helping her with even the simple stuff was such a joy. I wish she could teach the other patients that being kind to the staff has its benefits.  Mrs. M, no matter how busy I am, I will gladly bring you fresh coffee, fluff your pillow, and listen to your stories of your childhood!

The Thirteenth Hour

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A twelve hour shift as a nurse really lasts 13 hours.  I get there at 6:45AM and usually finish up at 7:45 PM.  Today I didn’t get done until about 8:30.  Boooh! My feet are killing me! Usually after a really long day my very sweet husband fixes me some food and even brings me a glass of water.  He knows my exhaustion will win out over the need to eat a healthy meal and I’ll go to bed hungry or I’ll eat something horrendously bad for me. He’s not home yet tonight so I’m tempted to go for ice cream or cookie dough!

However, after today’s shift, I may have earned the cookie dough.  It was a long shift and sooo busy that I barely got to breathe.  It was frustrating because I let my patients and co-workers down when I can’t accomplish everything I want to.  Then, to top the shift off, I got a mixture of tube feed (read: baby formula) and gastric contents (read: vomit) on my arm when d/cing an NG tube (read: pulling an 18 inch long tube out of someone’s nose).  Yuck!

By the end of the day I had to refuse to take report on a patient coming up from the Emergency Department because there just wasn’t any time for it.  I was struggling to keep up as it was!  Thankfully I get two glorious days of sleeping in before I go back Sunday.

And, breathe!

A Nurse’s Prayer

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No matter how tired my feet and sore my back, may I always be grateful that I am the one next to the sick bed, not in it.

No matter the long hours, may I always be awed at the birth of life.

No matter the number of times I’ve seen a body pass into death, may I never forget to grieve.

And Lord, when my time comes and delirium sets in, may all my confusions be pleasant!

All Three

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:::After a patient being a bit fussy with me all morning:::

Me: Are you fussing at me?

Patient: What do you mean?

Me: Well, either you’re teasing me, fussing at me, or being mean to me. Which is it?

Patient: I’m probably being all three.

Me: Um, okay. Please don’t be mean to me.


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For the most part, I’m glad we have strong drug companies to make new medications and push the barriers of what is possible.  And I don’t really mind that they market directly to consumers through TV commercials and other media.  However, the Abilify commercials from Bristol-Myers Squibb drive me crazy.

If your depression isn’t well controlled, add Abilify.  You may get diabetes or tardive dyskinesia.  But there is also a chance that potentially your depression could get a tiny bit better.  Yeah, because having an expensive, life-altering chronic illness (diabetes)  won’t make you more depressed.  I don’t know about you but tardive dyskinesia (a disorder in which you uncontrollably move your mouth, face, and/or exteremities) really lifts my spirits.

Oh, and according to the commercial Abilify may also make you kill yourself or have a stroke.  Can’t wait to get my hands on it!