Thursday, April 27, 2006

Shake Your Moneymaker!

My mother thinks we should do more things together in an effort to bond and stuff. Her latest outing was to go see the Chippendale dancers at Harrahs. Initially, I wasn't going to blog about it, but after having seen the show, I feel I owe it to the women of KC, the women with standards...that this show sucked something awful.

I've never been to such a show. My mother did when I was around 15, and she brought me back a t-shirt signed by the guy who looked like Conan the Barbarian. I don't think I went because I wanted to see a bunch of sweaty guys dance around in barely there outfits, but I wanted to go to see everyone else.

While the performance of the dancers left a lot to be desired, the spectators didn't let me down. Hee!

We got to Harrah's with some time to spare to grab a bite to eat at nearby Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill. We mentioned to the waitress we were going to see the show, and she told us that they had been watching the dancers come in, and boy, were some of them sure ugly. She did say there was one cute one that another waitress thought she might go introduce herself to. So, she saunters over thinking she's pretty hot stuff, introduces herself to said dancer, and he merely looks her way, then turns back to talking with the other guys.

Ouch! Now, if this waitress had known that roughly 80% of the dancers played for the opposite team, she could have saved herself the embarrassment of being shunned, and just sent over Bob the Cook instead. The stories are well known...the dancers shake their moneymaker for the screaming, bored housewives, then after the show, hit the gay bars to score some sausage...

...Which was probably one of the reasons I wasn't overly thrilled about going.

After dinner, we go over to the Voodoo lounge. Our tickets said we has assigned seating. The truth was it was first come, first served. Mom and a couple of her friends set up camp somewhere on the floor. Myself and two other girls settled off to the side out of the line of fire. In front of us was Meth Row. Of the five women sitting on Meth Row, cumulatively, they might have had one full set of teeth.

Oh look, here comes some guy who's supposed to look like Fabio. Not Fabio is the MC for the evening...oh joy. He tells us we are going to indulge in our wildest fantasies tonight.

Lies!!! George Clooney never even showed up, and my apartment is still a mess.

Not Fabio gives some sexual innuendo blather before the music starts, and here come the dancers. Women go apeshit, my mother included. The guys are dressed in leather pants, the obligatory bowtie and cuffs, and black jackets. They begin to dance...badly.

When I was in high school, I was on the pom-pon squad. I must say, we danced a helluva lot better then they did. They were all out of sync, and everytime they grabbed their crotch, women screamed because apparently that's sexy.

Watch a guy in public "make an adjustment", and you will see a woman nearby make a face...but it's perfectly acceptable and encouraged if the guy is wearing leather pants and dancing poorly.

So the, ahem, dancers come out and grab their crotch. Yay. The first feature dancer is some dude wearing a suit, he "dances" and grabs his crotch. He looks like Clay Aiken, which gives an entirely new meaning to "A Measure of a Man".

The second act is a set of three dancers and they come out dressed as doctors. This is where I retch. They are in scrubs, and the dancing and crotch grabbing ensues. They pull three women from the audience and proceed to give them an "assessment" with their stethoscope. How could anyone believe this bullshit?!? Everyone knows the docs just make the nurses do everything...

At this point, I decide to forfeit my chair and stand in the corner where the other two girls with me have retreated.

Oh joy! It's Chippendale Time! This is where the "dancers" come out into the audience for some touchy-feely for a buck. We decide that if we just face each other, the dancers will assume we are lesbians and leave us alone. It works, plus is also helps that we were not waving money in the air, which I am ashamed to say, like my mother was.

I was amused by the lengths some women will go to to get noticed. Some came in dressed like, well, whores. We saw one girl who looked like Dolly Parton on meth, stuffing dollar bills down her shirt in hopes that one of the dancers would go after them. Puh-lease! Unless you are smuggling a bone in your pants, the dude is NOT going to be interested. The little old ladies were a lot more fun to watch. I saw one being brought in a wheelchair. I was almost prepared to do CPR in the event she keeled over from over-excitement.

Thankfully, it never came to that.

This goes on for an hour and 15 minutes, bad dancing and much crotch grabbing that one might think they enjoyed a little too much. Some of them did an interpretive dance to some love song while dressed in Navy costumes. HELLO!!! If that didn't scream "ghey", I don't know what does!!

Then there is the group dance where they are dressed like cowboys. Brokeback Mountain jokes ensue from my huddle. The dancing doesn't get any better. They really need to consider hiring a different choreographer.

I was waiting for the YMCA skit to come out. I was disappointed that it never did. They did have the cowboy, the construction worker, and the guy in leather. I don't know where the Indian was.

While I will concede that the guys had pretty nice bodies, some of them had faces that would stop a train. One guy looked like at some point his face had been on fire, and a Good Samaritan put it out with a rake. Another just looked liked he had been beaten with a bag of hot quarters. Maybe that is the reason the theme of the show was "Look At My Crotch" we wouldn't have to look at their faces.

Now I can say I've been to a Chippendales show. Would I ever go to another one? Hell no!

So, if any guys out there are wondering what makes the Chippendales so special...absolutely nothing. I'll take a Midwestern guy anyday...just don't grab your crotch.

Stupid People Abound!

Things seen today...

Man with a mullet smoking a cigarette...while pumping gas into his truck.

Woman in her late 40's with smurf-blue hair and a nose ring. (Note to women: punk hair and piercings do not make you look youthful, they make you look like a dumbass...and it gives us something to laugh at.)

This is a stupid world, people, and we just live in it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nurse Follies: The Drug Seeker

We can smell you a mile bastards.

If you went around and talked to nurses and doctors nationwide, they would probably tell you that one of the things they don't like about their jobs are the drug seekers. They clog up our hospitals with inflated claims of pain, just to suck down meds, and J.Q. Public generally gets stuck with the tab.

Oh, there are people out there who have legitimate claims...I'm not talking about you.

I'm talking about the stipper who comes in with an ankle injury claiming she twisted it doing something off the pole, only for the nurse to discover that the big purple bruise on her ankle is really eyeshadow.

I'm talking about the person who comes in and tells us their allergies are every narcotic on the planet, except for the one they want.

I'm talking about the person who deliberately dislocates something so they can come in and get shnockered up on mild sedatives that we use so we can pop whatever it is back in place.

I'm talking about the crack whore who comes in claiming to be afflicted with a blood disorder that causes great pain, to be admitted, suck down narcs (while being an asshole to the staff), only to find there is nothing wrong from her from the TEN other hospitals she has visited before us with the same problem.

I'm also talking about he asshole who's calls us back after being discharged claiming he lost his prescriptions for his pain meds, and can he have another copy? Only to call back later saying he found his scripts, but the pharmacy only gave him an empty bottle.

I'm talking about the man who asks us if we have any cocaine, because that really helps with his headaches.

Or that lady who demands we push her pain meds fast, full strength, and at the closest IV port. (Most nurses never give narcs full strength)

Or the little shit who feigns a heart attack so they can move to the head of the line and be seen first, while the little old man in the triage area keels over with a massive coronary.

Drug seekers are usually flagged, but sometimes that's not necessary when their charts come in volumes, and the visits are all the same. I've heard of some even banned from certain hospitals, but I don't know how true this is.

We are told that pain is subjective, and we should always believe the patient. We are told to treat whatever pain is indicated by whatever means necessary. The very idea of customer service is crammed down our throats so much, that some docs just give these people whatever the hell they want because it's easier than arguing with them, and they don't want to lose that hospital another patient. In some respects, we are creating a problem of drug seekers all for the sake of high patient satisfaction numbers.

But there are some doctors out there who don't cowtow to drug seekers. These are the guys who give you Extra Strength Tylenol for your pain and tell you to lay off the crack pipe. After a couple visits of not getting what they want, the drug seekers usually move on to the next hospital, and in KC, there are many other places to chose from.

I'm fortunate enough to work with good doctors who don't give in, and refused to be bullied.

We are in the practice of healing...not in the practice of making you high. I didn't put myself through years of hell (nursing school) just so I could make you see pink elephants.

You want to get high, go see your drug dealer and leave us the hell alone so we can take care of the people who are truly sick and need help.

Fun With Arts and Crafts!

I don't know why, but for some reason, I just have the urge to make things right now. I'm seduced by yarns and fabrics, needles and hooks. My mecca is Hobby Lobby.

It must be the Mormon in me. We're big about being crafty. Go to any Sunday meeting and you will see at least five women knitting while listening to the lesson. The Relief Society is a powerhouse, teeming with women who can do just about anything from making a wedding cake consisting only of jello, or fashioning an extravagant pageant outfit using only a needle, some thread, and toilet paper.

Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. That's our motto!

I'm not the most craftiest person in our church membership. I can only cross-stitch, scrapbook, crochet, make cream cheese mints, make toothbrush rugs, sew some simple patterns (my main thing is scrubs), photography, and make strawberry jam. Clearly, I am not in the upper echelons of R.S. crafters, but I'm happy with my meager talents.

Like I said, as of late, I'm been in a crafting sort of mood. I am just finishing up a baby blanket for Peanut. I would have liked to have had it done by the time she was born, but I am horrible procrastinator when it comes to crafts, which might be another reason why I was never entrusted with Homemaking/Enrichment meetings.

A friend of mine found out today that I know how to crochet. A talent about me he wasn't aware of, he mused. Would I mind making him a blanket? Oh sure...I have a pattern I can use that I can crank out a blanket in the matter of two weeks using a hook the size of a hotdog.

Me: What colors would you like?
Friend: I like KU...why not those colors?
Me: (I can't stand KU) Why not a nice patriotic colored blanket?
Friend:, white and yellow will do nicely.
Me: How big do you want it?
Friend: Dunno...I like 'em big!
Me: (ignoring the obvious because I'm in craft mode!) Do you want a blanket you can use as a throw, or do you want something that will cover your bed?
Friend: I dunno. I guess something big enough to throw my woman down on and have my way with her.
Me: (inward groan) So a throw blanket it is!

I am constantly reminded how strange my friends are...

So, not only do I have to make a blanket out of, urp, KU colors, I will be reminded that this blanket will have X-rated purposes as I work on it. Oh well, I suppose it could be worse...but I don't know how. He could have asked me to fashion a blanket in the pattern of a penis...but I already said I don't know how to knit.

I also bought a ton of fabric on the clearance table to start on a toothbrush rug for my kitchen. Kant's Mom, who is the guru of crafts in my book, (In the echelons of R.S. Crafters...she's top tier...but I digress.) taught me how to make these neat little things when I was in Atlanta. I'm very excited about it. People make these and sell them of obscene amounts of money. I'm making mine for the cost of clearance table fabric.

How sad is it that I am excited about making a rug?!? I guess I have to have something to get excited about, the Royals certainly are not doing me any favors this season.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Stupid JoCo People!

I just read a report that police arrested 20-some teens for drinking at a party. While teens drinking is not unheard of, the story should be enough to illustrate just how stupid Johnson county kids are today.

Police go to a Leawood home on a report of a wild party. They find teens drinking, give them a warning, and most the kids leave. Police deem the situation handled and leave.

Police are called again for the same house later that night and return to find that most the teens who had left, had returned, and were still drinking. Then, the arresting begins!

I find it somewhat amusing that after the po-po pay you a visit, you would even consider returning to the scene of the crime. The teenage girl who was hosting the party is a tard for letting them back in. The parents (who were out of town at the time) are retarded for producing such stupid offspring. But this is Leawood we are talking about it should be no surprise that no one was called to the mat in the first place (had it been anywhere else, arrests would have been made the first visit, in addition to strip searches and drug sniffing dogs).

(On a side note: Leawood cops are not so generous as to give you a warning the first time you are caught going 2 miles over the speed limit. Nope...big, fat ticket for you!)

I'm sure the parents of the teenager will be thrilled when they get home. I think their anger won't stem from the fact that their teen had a party while they were away and was doing illegal things and stuff, but because it's all over the news, with the street address PLUS pictures of the house.

Oh, the shame and embarassment!!! Now everyone in KC knows what crappy parents they are.

The Unwanted Houseguest

No...I'm not talking about my mother.

This weekend, my brother brought the little family over so we could go have breakfast. That was the plan anyway. Mom said John and Co. would be here early so we could go to breakfast and I would still have time to sleep before work.

My brother, in true form, didn't show up until 2:30pm.

At any rate, we went out and had dinner, and came back home. I got ready for work, then left, had the longest night ever with little sleep under my belt, then came home dog-ass-tired. Ever been so tired that you couldn't fall asleep? I had to medicate myself just so I could.

Sunday evening, before I went in to work, Mom mentioned there was "an incident" Sunday night. She goes on to say that John found my cat, George, outside and brought him back in. As Mom was cleaning the kitchen, she heard George growling, and thought that Sam was tormenting him again, and didn't think anything of it. George kept growling, and finally it dawned on Mom that George doesn't growl at she went to my room to investigate.

George was sitting on my bed, and his evil twin, Not-George, was sitting on the floor. Mom chased Not-George around until she caught him, and then put him back outside. My brother had brought in a stray, mistaking him for my cat.

Now, my room smells bad. Idon't know where it's coming from, but I am stripping everything and washing it just in case. I am shampooing the carpet. I am scrubbing the walls. I am burning incense and candles.

I'm going to kick John's ass next time I see him.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Yay for the PT!!

I finally got my trusty car back. I took the rental, a lovely Nissan Murano, back from whence it came. I was sad to see it go, until I remembered it cost almost $50 to fill the tank before I took it back. Plus, it had Johnson County plates on it, and I felt my driver's IQ drop by 10 points everytime I started. I was compelled to engage in naughty driving habits like not using my turn signal, cutting people off, and driving like an overall idiot.

So, good-bye, Murano, in the past 3 weeks I have known thee, I'm afraid my affair with you must end. You are too high maintenance, and my one and only PT has come home.

I'm such an auto whore.

The manager of the rental place recognized me immediately. Oh, look, the Surly Lady, he must have thought. I'm not sure why he did it,but he gave me a card good for 20% off my next rental PLUS a free upgrade. Maybe it's because he had a weakness for crabby redheads.

I picked up my PT, but visually scrutinized it before I drove her home. I blanched when I saw part of the blue pinstripping had not been replaced. So, now I have to call Adjustor Guy on Monday and find out why. And for some reason, my satellite radio isn't working. The outside is a nice, shiny black, and when you sit in it, you can still smell the paint.

Which put me in a relatively giddy mood by the time I arrived for work.

However, there is evidence that grubby mechanics had been in my car. That will be fun to clean off, plus I need to figure out how they molested my satellite radio.

Overall, I am glad to have my car back, and now I am $700 poorer. Sure, the PT doesn't have the power the Murano had, but it is better on gas, and I will have the last laugh at those beady-eyed little soccer mom's as they are filling up their SUVs at Quick Trip.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Family Blather: Redux

In one of the few instances in my life that I can remember, I am powerless and helpless. I, being the one who is always in control, must sit on the sidelines. I'm not cheering for anyone, and you might be able to say I am rooting against certain forces at work.

Mom moved in with me back in September after her house sold. The premise was that she would stay with me during the week and work, while going home on the weekends, all the while looking for a job down there. When the move first occurred, there were some things we all understood because she told us: she hated her current job, she was looking forward to being down at the cabin full time, and there was nothing wrong in her marriage.

The other day after grocery shopping, Mom decided to drop a big bomb on my head. She was no longer in love my stepdad, and was wanting out. She said that is was such a weight off her shoulders to tell me this. Yes, weight off her shoulders, and directly onto mine.

For the past couple of months, I figured something was amiss. She would take small quirks about my stepdad and pick them apart as if they were great human flaws. She was spending a significant time on the computer and being secretive about it. She was dressing differently. She was wearing more makeup (this, my brother had to point out). It was as if the world shifted on it's axis. Something was wrong, and I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I knew it because I have felt it before.

She says she's not doing this because she thinks the grass is greener in Singleland (where I seem to be a permanent resident). She denies that there is a third party. She loves her job so much, and she can't wait to advance.

I find all of the above to be bullshit, despite what she says.

Yes, there is a third party. I know this because she has been careless enough to leave her instant messages on my computer. Some mornings, when I get up to go read the news, that is the morning greeting I get: my mother telling some stranger over the internet how much she loves him, and denying the fact that she is even married. I fairly confident she has talked with this guy over the phone, but whether they have met in person...I don't know. I don't know if I want to know.

When my mother and my biological father separated, my mother went the route of the party girl...and I got to hear about her antics from a lot of kids at school. I hated her for it. I hated her for leaving her kids with a monster, so she could go out partying. She left my father because of his excessive drinking and womanizing...only for her to go out and do the same thing (but with men). It took me a long, long time to get over that.

When I was about 15, I remember that my parents went out one night and came home late. I remember being awake and sitting at the top of the stairs and listening to them argue. I remember Mom crying to my Dad that he didn't love her, and asking him to tell her that he did. So, I sat there on the stairs, my fist in my mouth, silently willing my Dad to tell Mom what she wanted to hear, just thinking that it would make everything better. Well, Dad never said anything...he just went to his room and passed out, leaving Mom sobbing in the living room.

I'm 31 years old now, and once again, I feel like that 15 year old sitting on the top of the stairs. My mother has taken my father's place in this little scene, and my stepdad is now the one who just wants his wife to tell him that she loves him.

My stepdad...who has never hit her, never cheated on her. He stills calls her Darlin'. He is the one who took my brothers in when my father died. He's been more of a father to us than our real father. He's a great person, and when my mother married him, her children were relieved. She had said she found her soulmate.

Most women go their entire lives looking for the very thing my mother is going to throw away for some illusion she has created for herself...because she thinks that life should be more exciting for a 51 year old. She's so wrapped up in her job now, but I can't tell her that no person on earth died wishing they had spent more time at work. I think your job is just something that pays the bills, but shouldn't define you as a person.

In some ways, I feel horrible guilt, and I don't know why. I have always, ALWAYS taken a hard line against adultery in marriage, and it's made worse when it happens close to home. Even if nothing has happened, the concept of it happening is just as bad...if you do it in your heart, you're just as guilty.

I feel immense sadness for the man who only wanted to take care of his wife, the one I have come to know as my Dad. I feel immense anger at my mother for the collision course she has set us on...and I am powerless to prevent.

And in some ways, I feel as though I am losing my father all over again. I am reliving things I shouldn't be. I'm finding that I am starting to have doubt in marriage, but the one thing that saves me is thinking about Kathryn's parents.

I don't know if this is something appropriate to write, but sometimes, it just helps me to see my words. Plus I thought that maybe somebody out there might have some words of advice, or even encouragement. Lord knows I need it right now, because right now, I feel as though I carry the weight of the world on my back...all the while wearing a brave face.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Family Blather

Monday night, we found out that my brother was having a disagreement with the missus. Mom and I wondered what they could be fighting about. Tuesday night, he elaborated.

For Valentine's Day, my brother gave his wife a pair of earrings to the tune of $300. She was wearing them to the hospital when she was going to have Peanut, but the docs made her take them off prior to surgery. The nurses taped the earrings to some paper, and secured them inside a drawer in the room. (Had it been me, I would have sent the earrings to the hospital vault for safe keeping, but I digress...)

The c-section goes without incident, and everyone returns to the room. Surprise, surprise...the earrings are gone. So, some nurses as well as my brother and Kelli's sister tear the room apart looking for the earrings. They were never found, and until now, it was just assumed that someone from the hospital took them.

Until now...

I guess Kelli's sister came over to their house the other day actually wearing the very exact earrings. John and Kelli didn't mention anything to her at the time, but they will. The disagreement stems from how they are going to approach her. No matter what tactic they use, she will deny it, and there will be contention. Also, stealing is not new for this woman as she has stolen from her son's girlfriend. She also works for Sam's Club in St. it stands to reason that she probably steals from them as well.

If that doesn't scream White Trash, I don't know what does. My brother spends money on something he really couldn't afford, and this loser just comes along and takes it while her younger sister is in the surgical room. Tacky, tacky, tacky!!

If it were me, I would just call the police and be done with it...but I am an asshole. I would make life very, very hard for the theif in question. You don't steal from your own family.

I told my brother that Kelli's sister is not welcome into my house because I can't nail everything down. Mom and I have decided that if we go anywhere, and she is in the vicinity, our valuables are getting locked into the car.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Bad night...go away!!

I knew I should have gone into real estate.

Last night was one of the worst nights ever. It only could have been made worse had someone actually died. At the hands of a staff member wouldn't have counted.

I go to work, Starbucks in hand. Report. A few assessments. Then, some leisurely voice wafts through the halls.

"Code Gray. Code Gray."

Yeah, the weather was crappy. So, we begin pushing people out into the hall. (A code gray indicates severe weather.) The ones we can't move, we pad them with pillows because in the event a Dodge Dakota is hurled through one of the windows by a twister, the patient will be protected. Halfway through our moving-into-the-hall business, a more frantic voice comes over the PA.


We finish pulling people out of the rooms, and into the hall, closing all the glass doors behind them. One little old lady is zipping around in a hospital gown on her red motorized scooter. The only thing missing is pizza and a circus midget.

For 45 minutes, everyone is sitting around, chatting excitedly about tornados. Meanwhile, the nurses are still running their asses off. Sweat is rolling down the back of my neck. If I had balls, I'm sure I would have been sweating there as well.

The Code Gray is finally cleared and we are allowed to move patients back into their rooms. A large swarm of patients who can walk, in addition to the visitors, exit the unit so they can go downstairs, go outside, and look at the weather.

These are probably the same people who slow traffic down just to look at a car accident.

I immediately am accosted by a patient who wants drugs. DRUGS!! She demands that I knock her out so she can sleep. Believe me, I would like to...but we simply don't do that on my floor. She goes bananas and starts to scream and yell. I want to go jump off the helipad. I give her everything she has ordered, plus some extra I was able to beg the doctor for, and she is still not happy.

Patient: Where's my husband!?!
Me: He went home to check on your house. He will be back in the morning.
Patient: NO! I want you to call him and tell him to come back.
Me: I'll see what I can do.

I step out of the room and seconds later, she hits her call light. I go back inside.

Me: Do you need something?
Patient: Did you call my husband?
Me: No, I haven't even been out of your room long enough to.
Patient: I want you to call my husband!!
Me: (nearing the point to annoyance) I can't call your husband if you are constantly calling me to come into your room.
Patient: Call him from there! (pointing at the wall)
Me: Where?
Patient: That phone right there!! (jabbing a finger in the air for emphasis)
Me: There's no phone there.
Patient: Yes, there is! Right next to that dog!
Me: Your husband said he wanted to get some sleep so he could come in early in the morning. Don't you want him to get some rest?
Patient: No! I don't care about him sleeping! He needs to come in RIGHT NOW!

No wonder the national divorce rate is almost 75%.

Sighing, I take leave and look over the patient chart. The husband has left express orders not to call him at home unless it is an absolute emergency. After spending a couple hours with his wife, I can see why he wouldn't want to be disturbed. One of the residents from ICU saunters over to where I am seconds shy of having a nervous breakdown and asks me if I am torturing patients. I want to poke his eye out with my ink pen.

The rest of the night sucks in grand fashion. A very large person damn near passes out and almost smooshes me. Unable to hit a panic button, the staff is alerted by my muffled cries for help.

By 2 am, the entire staff was a herd of raging crab asses. I was the team captain. To entertain themselves, my colleagues decide I am pregnant and gush about my wedding plans.

I am neither expecting or engaged. Both would decidedly require an act of God.

A couple visiting Respiratory Therapists overheard the banter. So, I am fairly certain my big news will be housewide by the end of this week. I fully expect a phone call from Paul by Monday. I think was assigned to be the father/groom anyway.

By the grace of God, 7 am rolls around. We blast through our reports and run for the time clock like someone announced George Clooney was in the hospital lobby wearing only a loin cloth. I decide I am hungry, so I stop by the cafeteria to grab something to take home. Standing in line, I am dismayed to see the biggest, dumbest, douchebag of a resident standing in front of me. While he blathers on about something, I am fighting the urge to push his head into the pot of oatmeal, and hold him there until he stops thrashing.

Now, I am home. My bed is calling me, and I am going to go and try to forget this whole night ever happened. Hopefully, tonight will be a better night.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

One Less Thing to Have to Worry About

I have been somewhat worried about the whole hotel debacle for our precruise stay. Thus far, the cruise coordinator of our group has yet to hear anything from the asshats at Ramada, which makes me think they are trying to ignore us in hopes that we will just go away. So, I did what any girl in my position would do...

I cried to my mother.

Being the nurturing maternal type she is, she contacted one of her good friends (who happens to be a travel agent) to see if there was anything else available. After a day of searching, Renee finally found me a hotel in Boca Raton (some 24 miles north of the airport) at a fraction of what the crappy Ramada wanted to gouge me for, plus she secured me a rental car at no additional charge.

It pays to have connections.

I have to remember to buy Renee something fun while I am on my trip because she is the most awesome travel agent to roam the land. I'll go to her for any of my travel needs. What to bring? I will be visiting Tortola...home of Bicardi Rum. Or maybe some Jamaican coffee...

Meanwhile, I referred some of my fellow cruisers her way in hopes that Renee can work some mojo for them (sans the free rental car).

So, if anyone out there is looking for a travel agent, email me and I can send you Renee's email.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hair Blather

I usually don't pimp anything on my blog, but I will make an exception this time.

I went and got my hair done yesterday. I get it done, like clockwork, every 6 weeks. My natural color being a very pale blonde; my current color a very sassy red. At the end of 6 weeks, I start to get strange looks because my roots are showing. Most people can't figure out why a blonde would want to be any other color besides blonde.

I suppose it's the same reasons a lot of you dark-headed folks out there want to be blonde. I don't buy into the brand that blondes are the most desirous in all the world. It's just a hair color, people. You can be desirous and have fun no matter what your hair color is. I can't help but get annoyed when I see women out there who are obviously not a natural blonde, but go to great pretenses that they are...even though the black roots are waving hello to me. There are a lot of people out there who look like crap with blonde hair. I, sometimes, even look like crap with my natural hair color, which is why I occasionally shift to red in the colder months.

Sometimes, you just have to forego what the popular consensus is on beauty, and go with what works best for you.

Sometimes, I go red just so I won't look anemic in the winter. Everyone I work with says I should just keep the red on a more permanent scale, but it's a pain in the ass to maintain. I suspect with my next visit we will slowly introduce the blonde back into my haid in the form of highlights. I've been vigilant about not getting a lot of sun damage, so I will probably look pasty all summer as well, which means the red will probably stay in one form or another.

I took a page from Kant's book about being out in the sun. I figure I still have time to avoid looking like a weathered prune when I am older if I just avoid the sun damage now. I think it's one buys it for one minute that I am 31.

At any rate, I love going to get my hair done. The girl I see, I have been seeing her since she finished cosmetology school. In fact, that is where I found her. She did awesome things to my hair, just as a student, and when I tell her what I want, she seems to know exactly what my vision is. She is any of Kant's family will probably confirm as I have them going to see her as well.

So, I am here to say that Amy is the the best gal in Kansas City to do hair. Her salon Lady Luck Hair Parlor is in Westport. She doesn't have a website up yet, but there is one in the works. She can work magic with color and hair, not to mention she's just the sweetest girl you could ever meet.

Go see Amy...and tell her that Heather sent you!!!

Monday, April 10, 2006

This Morning...

Sitting at Quick Trip after work, next to the gas pumps.

The rental is on empty.

Thumbing through the owner's manual trying to figure out how to open the damn gas door.


My Public Service Announcement for this Quarter

This month, the hospitals in KC are running a special on those who decide that they don't want to go on living. I've talked to other folks who work at other hospitals, and they report an increase in suicide attempt patients. I did some digging, the rate for suicide increases in the spring. Does it have anything to do with tax season? Are the Jackson county folks starting to feel despair for voting "yes" on the stadium initiative??

I once read a joke: How to Tell You Are in the Medical Field. One of the items said, "If you feel like there should be a book called Suicide: Getting it Right the First Time." As of late, I'm finding I agree with that more and more. I am also fighting the urge to actually write the book and distribute it to the Greater KC area.

While I recognize that there are sick people out there who are in need of help, and their attempt is a cry for that help...I (along with a majority of the medical community) am amazed at how many people out there attempt end their pain and suffering with a shit ton of Tylenol. TYLENOL!

People...Tylenol will not kill least not right away. You want to know what happens? I'm going to tell you, but I am mostly going to hit the highlights.

You take an amount that exceeds the dosage amount on the bottle. We avoid giving more than 4 grams a day to any single patient, and somehow, you manage to take 26 grams, which is the equivalent of 80 pills. At some point, you either tell someone what you did because you changed your mind, or someone figures it out. At any rate, the ambulance is called, and you are taken to the ER. Now this is where the fun begins.

The happy nurses in the ER proceed to cram and NG tube up your nose, down your throat, and into your stomach. This tube is not small. After the tube is placed, they squirt this black stuff which is the consistency of cream of wheat into the tube. This black stuff is active charcoal and will absorb anything you have in your stomach. It smells exactly like charcoal, so when they are finished, you will smell like you just came from a family barbeque. We call this procedure a gastric lavage. To the layperson, you have just had your stomach pumped.

You are sent to the ICU, then to the floor because you are not dead. You have too much Tylenol in your system so the docs order something called Mucomyst. Sound gross? It is. We mix it in cola to try to mask the taste. It doesn't help. We bring you a small cup with the Mucomyst cocktail and tell you to down it like a shot because we know that you know how to do that. You bring the cup to your face and recoil because it smells like we just dumped the contents of a turtle bowl into the cup...but you drink it because we are assholes and we don't take no for an answer. That and the fact that we had to smell this stuff full strength in the med room while we were preparing it...and it is the vilest, most foul-smelling stuff on the planet. You get to drink this at least every 4 hours, which means we have to smell it every 4 hours. We make you drink this stuff until the Tylenol levels in your blood come down.

What? You're starting to turn yellow? Oh yeah...Tylenol is very toxic to the liver, particularly in high doses, and you have done lots and lots of damage to your liver in a very short time. Your abdomen hurts, you start to bloat. You are in liver failure. Your ammonia level is off the charts, so we drag out the lactulose.

Lactulose, while it does not taste as bad as Mucomyst, the expected effects are much, much worse. We have to pull that ammonia out of your blood, and that happens with lots, and lots of diarrhea. If you are too out of it to drink the lactulose, we will either put another NG tube in and give it to you that way, or you get it in enema form, which could be every two hours. You will crap so much, you will almost expect your liver to be sitting in the toilet when all is said and done.

If you are one of the lucky ones, your liver will recover with little to no residual. If you are not so lucky, you will go into End Stage Liver Failure. I suppose you could try to get another liver, but the last I heard, people who deliberately overdose on Tylenol and kill their liver, are not candidates for a new liver. Instead, you will keep turning yellow to the point that you practically glow in the dark. Your mental faculties will take leave, you may bleed out internally, but eventually, you will die...which is pretty much what your goal was to start with. It can take a few days, or it can take months. It's not pretty, and it's not peaceful. It is a horrible, horrible way to die.

(And don't even think about trying this with Advil because you will only suceed in destroying your kidneys. Which means you be on a first-name basis with the nurses at the Dialysis Center. You will retain fluid, you will have high blood pressure, and your 3 gallon of milk a week habit is going to come to a screeching, grinding halt.)

I think it would be easier to just forgo the Tylenol overdose altogether, and seek help for whatever is making you depressed enough to make the ultimate selfish decision.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Ramada Sucks!

In preparations for my cruise next year, I booked a hotel room in Ft. Lauderdale. Yeah, so I booked it almost a year in advance, but the cruise also happens to set sail on Superbowl weekend, which will also be in the area. This is important because I always fly in a day early so I don't miss the boat. The fact that is it also Superbowl weekend is important because all hotels and other businesses see big, fat dollar signs and hike up their rates to obscene figures. I secured a room (along with most everyone else cruising in my group), at a decent, pre-Superbowl rate at a Ramada in Ft. Lauderdale. Just a bare bones, no frills hotel.

Then, the big-wig bastards at the hotel pulled our reserved bookings. Out of the 40 rooms we booked, our agent was able to scramble and re-secure 13 of those rooms at a slightly more inflated rate than I originally booked. I don't know if there is some sort of legal loophole that enables them to do this, but we have people looking into it now. For the time being, we are told that if we still want the 13 rooms, perhaps we can bunk up with other people in our group so we can camp out for an even cheaper rate. $155 between 4 people is, what, roughly $40 a person?

Even so, I am still hacked. I've got a separate travel agent looking into finding alternative hotel arrangements, preferably NOT at any Ramada. I'd much prefer staying at a Marriott-based hotel because I always get good service there, but I doubt I can find anything less than $150 a night.

However, I am open to any suggestions to help out in this matter. Does anyone have any frequent hotel points they care to donate??? A guest house on the beach I could stay at for the night???


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Taking One for the Team

It's no big secret. I have a human quaalude for an aunt...and it just gets worse the older she gets. She used to be somewhat fun when she was younger, at least she kept her opinions to herself. While I respect that everyone has their own distinct and unique opinions, it is never a good thing to voice those opinions to make other people feel bad so you can feel superior.

My mom's half sister, and the oldest, she sort of established herself as the matriarch of the family, and apparently it went to her head. As everyone has grown up, they have moved away, gone on to live productive and busy lives while she stays in the same place, and life has seemingly stood still for her. Big life decisions are made without her input. I'd like to think that she is somewhat bitter that everyone has moved ahead, leaving her behind.

My aunt is also the inventor of the Guilt Trip.

With that in mind, I spoke with her yesterday on the phone and got the same song I always hear: Woe is me. Everyone moved away and no one calls me. No one comes to visit. Your mother doesn't even come to see me since she moved away. No one loves me. Blah, blah, blah.

As I have been sick, all my mental faculties were still not at peak form, I felt sorry and promised I would take her to lunch today.

What in God's name was I thinking?

I got up this morning, got dressed, drove the 50-some miles north. Picked her up, and she immediately began harping on my driving. I'm not a bad driver. I always wear my seatbelt, which she always associates with bad driving.

Aunt: Plan on getting in a wreck?
Me: Not today. Why do you ask?
Aunt: You are wearing your seatbelt.
Me: I always wear my seatbelt. It's the law.

Mind you, I'm still driving the rental, which is bigger than my PT, and certainly has more power than my PT. I'm still trying to get used to the fact that one nudge of the gas pedal, and it takes off. I cross an intersection with no incident, and Aunt grabs the "Oh crap" bar with much dramatic flair.

Aunt: Are you trying to kill me?
Me: No, the car just has more power. We are perfectly fine.
Aunt: Well, you take off like a rocket. I don't want to be thrown out the front window.
Me: You should wear your seatbelt, then you won't be thrown from the car.

For the rest of the trip to the restaurant, she procedes to point out every stop sign, what every speed limit is, all the while glancing at at my speedometer to make certain I am not going 1 mile over the speed limit.

Lunch passes with little fanfare at a truckstop that she picked out. I scarf down my food in an attempt to make lunch pass by faster. It doesn't. Aunt takes her time. Meanwhile, she picks apart my life. She manages to insult my profession, insult my friends, and makes me want to drive off a bridge.

Overall, an average visit. The things we tolerate in the name of family.

I dropped her off, and then sped out of town, my good service done for this quarter. I called Mom at work when I got home and told her about my good deed, and how she needs to do something really, REALLY nice for me.

A month of Starbucks would be great.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Election Day: The Aftermath

Today. The day after the big election. In a result that probably stunned everyone, Jackson county voters were split on their big decision.They voted yes to the renovations and no to the rolling roof. I think they voted yes to the first initiative because they were being told that they were really voting whether to keep the teams in KC. A scare tactic, and they bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Idiots. It was a game of chicken and you guys bailed before your car shifted out of first.

But hey, I don't live in Jackson county, so I don't have to pay for it. Crappy attitude to have, I guess...but they asked for it, and it's not like they didn't get a warning.

As for the rolling roof, I suspect it will pass eventually. That tax initiative will be put on the ballots until voters get sick and tired of hearing about it, they will just pass it to make it go away.

It will be the nagging girlfriend you give an engagement ring to just to shut her up.

With all the money the sports teams make, is a damn shame they don't want to chip in for the rolling roof.

Think about that the next time you pay $30 just to park there.

Monday, April 03, 2006

We'll pick you up...LATE!

I worked last night, it was boring. However, I started having a scratchy throat Saturday night and just chalked it up to allergies. Seasonal changes, pollen, mold, etc. It happens.

Last night, I spent the evening sneezing and blowing my nose on tissue that was roughly the equivalent to sandpaper. By morning, my nose was so red, I looked one of my alcoholic relatives on my father's side of the family. My voice was raspy. My throat on FIRE. I was running a low grade temp, and I was EXHAUSTED. I was looking forward to going home and going to bed because I was so tired, but I had to stay up til 10am because that was when I was to take the car in to the shop.

I had it all worked out: coffee with Paul, clean out the car of anything I might need during it's absence, take the car to the shop, go get the rental car, go home, go to bed. A plan that was beautiful in it's simplicity.

Coffee went accordingly. So did the cleaning of the car. With 15 minutes to spare, I just drove down the road to the body shop and turned my poor, dented little car over. Then, I waited...and waited...and waited for the Enterprise people to come pick me up so I could go get a rental. It's their slogan. "We'll pick you up!" (I know this because Kant used to work for Budget rental, and that was one of the biggest complaints from their customers.)

After waiting 40 minutes, the receptionist took pity on me and called Enterprise, who assured her that someone was on their way. Some fat guy came over to tell me that I needed to say something about their lateness and maybe I would get something to compensate. Go away, fat guy.

The driver finally arrived and took me to the rental center. Tired, sick, sulking...I sat stone-faced in the seat while the Crispy Christian station played on the radio. I secretly prayed that God would smite me dead at that given moment.

I am deposited at the rental center and I go to the counter to prepare for my pickup. I calmly asked if there was a mix-up with my ride, and the manager told me they had been busy, blah, blah, blah. He did assure me they would make things right. I feel a little better. Then, the crusty woman who was processing my information announces she is not giving me a car because my driver's license is expired.


I call Trish and almost cry. She says she will come and get me. Crusty lady says they can take me back home if I want. I tell her no, because I have to go get a new driver's license...and I REALLY don't want to hear some preacher yelling on the radio again. Trish arrives in 15 minutes, but not before the manager takes pity upon me and gives me a cup of coffee. Or maybe he thought I was going to go postal. I call Mom and give her an update. She laughs like it's the funniest thing she has ever heard.

First stop: home. I have a hard time stumbling through the house looking for a utility bill (because we now have to have one when we renew our license as proof of residency). Then, I can't locate my passport. I can't find a birth certificate. I can't locate my social security card. I dump out two drawers, and three baskets before finding my passport and a gas bill from two months ago (I pay all my utilities online).

Trish then drives me to the DMV, the last place where anything goes right, and there is no line. I do the obligatory eye exam. Yes, I am a registered organ donor. Yes, I would like to register to vote. No, I don't want to donate a dollar to the Transplant Network, they already have dibs on my kidneys and my pancreas. Just give me my damn license!

She takes my picture. I'm still wearing my wrinkled scrubs. My face is pale. I look like a bag of chewed up assholes, and dirty feet. I'm sick, I'm tired, I'm extremely hostile. I get my license and my pic looks horrible. I look like I am all bloated like Jerry Lewis, and in need of a blood transfusion. Six years I get to deal with this fugly picture.

I wonder if they do retakes...

And I am not going to show you my license picture, so don't even bother asking!

Trish takes me back to the rental place where I go back inside...still hostile. Crusty lady isn't there, which was probably a good thing. A young guy helps me get processed. He blathered about insurance options, but none of it registered in my sleep-deprived brain. I just pointed to an option and grunted. He then leads me out to the parking lot, where I almost expect to find a Ford Pinto waiting for me. With the way my day is going, I figured that Enterprise has a car like this just for crabby people like me. Rental boy tells me to pick a car out. Some people like to relish such a decision and pick out something much nicer than what they usually drive.

I just point to a champagne colored vehicle in the corner and grunt. I'm fairly certain I'm drooling at this time.

Given my mental state, I am still amazed that they let me drive away with one of their cars.

I came home, got into my toasty pj's and settled into the bliss that is my bed. I'm just about ready to fall asleep when someone knocks on my door.

I charge to the front door and wing it open, ready to rip the head off of who was on the other side.

Too bad it was a police officer...

He was investigating a break-in that occurred last night across the street. How reassuring! Thousands of dollars of tools were stolen from an empty apartment that was being remodeled. Did I see anything suspicious? I tell him that I work nights, and wasn't home, so I didn't see anything (but smelly wounds and a patient pissing on the floor).

He presses further. Not anyone carrying a large circular saw? A truck that would be used to load stolen goods in?? Someone walking around late at night who looked like he didn't belong???

What part of working night shift do you not understand, Barney?!?

I resist the urge to take his taser and give him a jolt in his nutsack. A few more questions along the same lines, he goes away. I vow that if he is ever my patient, I am going to stick the biggest catheter I can find down his penis.

This is why cops should never piss off nurses.

I stop by the bathroom on my way back to bed and proceed to cough up my right lung. Out of curiousity, I shine a light into my mouth and examine the back of my throat. My tonsils red, angry, and are covered with white pockets. Fantastic! A shitty Monday isn't complete without a case of strep throat.

Luckily, I had a bottle of antibiotics in my cabinet that I was saving for such an occasion. I also took some lovely Tylenol with Benadryl so I may be put into a coma for the remainder of the day.

I just want to sleep and forget this day ever happened.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Work Errors in Your Favor - Collect $1500

I've been stewing about this for the past year.

When I reached my 1 year anniversary, I was told by another nurse that all the new grads got two separate raises. One promotional for us making it to somewhat seasoned nurse status. The second one a mandatory cost of living increase. Much to our dismay, we only got the former. Bosshole was relatively new to the game, and I was met with a blank stare when I asked about the second increase.

Life went on, but I never forgot about that second raise.

At the dinner the other night, we started discussing the second raise. My suspicions, it turned out, were founded. However, everyone I talked to also claimed they received no such raise either. The cost of living increase was the equivalent of Bigfoot. Everyone had heard stories about it, but no one had actually ever seen one.

I emailed the Bosshole about my concerns, and he called HR. HR reports they are in the process of compiling a report of everyone who has missed getting raises. Mandatory raises. Housewide, affecting hundreds of employees, dating as far back as a year, sometimes more. Bosshole even remarked that he was shortchanged on a raise. When they figure things out, we will be getting backpay for what is owed. I figured mine out, and I should be getting something to the tune of $1500.

When you initially get your raise, it seems paltry on paper...but not getting it for an entire year can certainly add up.

The bitch is that it will count as income for 2006, putting me in a higher tax bracket. Great! As if Uncle Sam wasn't sticking it to me enough as it was.

With my newfound wealth, I plan on putting it all towards my Caribbean trip. So much for funneling it back into the American economy.

In other news, the asshats who run my apartment complex sent someone over to cut down the tree that shades my patio. Bastards. Now, I have no shade for the summer, not to mention the tree served as a good privacy tool to guard against the pot smokers that live in the building next door. They also cut down a pretty weeping willow that is next to my building. I don't know what they have against trees, but it really pisses me off.

I hate apartment life.