Saturday, January 30, 2010
So we told Redneck Brother, we can only attend his events if he gives ample notice. He took our words to heart, because three months before his "First Annual Blended Family Christmas Party", everyone got invites in the mail...party, Santa, dinner, and ~shudder~ karaoke.
Not wanting to endure this alone, I sought out an escort. Indy is an avid people-watcher. Not to mention he never met a meal he didn't like. So, one chilly Saturday night, Big City Family plus one, set out to the sprawling metropolis of St. Joseph, Missouri. I have it on authority that St. Joseph boasts the very first trailer park in the state of Missouri.
Immediately upon arriving, I get lost and we end up in a more seedier part of town because no one in St. Joe believes in putting numbers on their buildings. Making a quick u-turn, I finally find the place. Right next door to this place.
The location was a little banquet hall which also serves as a meeting place for some local union. Redneck Brother had initially reserved it for a wedding reception for a cousin of his wife (which I think is ridiculous to foot the bill for a cousin of a spouse), but for whatever reason, the wedding was postponed and so Redneck Brother came up with the Christmas party idea. At any rate, the hall was just an moderate-sized square room with a stage on one end, and stacks of folding chairs on the other, where all the children set to climbing over in a contest to see who could get sent to the hospital first.
And there was zero ventilation. And smoking was allowed. In a non-ventilated room with children. You know, normal people would have stepped outside to smoke. But you have to remember, that most of these people are denizens of the trailer park, and are governed by a completely different set of mores.
Indy was immediately sorry he didn't bring his inhaler.
The invite told everyone to bring their kids, because this was a blended family event. They even had a section where you could put your little ones.
Everyone came in their festive holiday best.
And what redneck holiday gathering would be complete without the appearance of the resplendent mullet?
Redneck Brother cooked a metric shitload of meat, which was very good, because folks in my family are talented cooks that way. So, the charge was put on everyone else to bring side dishes. And people answered the call.
And all was going well until Chester Molester showed up, who is really Redneck Brother's former brother-in-law, but for whatever reason, the guy still buzzes around the family. Now, I don't know that he's a molester...he just puts off that vibe.
Anyway, Chester saunters up to the food table, lit cigarette in hand, and starts picking food out of dishes...with his bare hands, and eating right there at the table. And just like that...dinner is over for Big City Family Plus One...which disappoints the hell out of Indy because he doesn't consider it a good meal until he's had at least four plates. Why that man doesn't weigh 500lbs, I will never know.
Mr. Recommendation revealed to us later that he earlier, he spotted Chester sitting at a table mining for gold. That's it to say, he was picking his nose. And you know guys like that only get soap on their hands is when they are in the shower (if that). Even later, we mentioned all this to Redneck Brother, who wasn't surprised, and told us that is why he waited to open the food trough until we arrived.
At any rate...
So, here comes Santa, of whom I am convinced was a homeless guy my brother paid to wear the Santa suit for an hour.
We made Mother go and sit on his lap. She came back, reporting he smelled of stale cigarettes, and had really, REALLY bad breath. I think she may have felt a little dirty. I hope Santa didn't touch her in her No-No Zone, because he did look a little shifty.
And look! Dessert is now ready. And for those who can't be bothered to leave their cigarettes unattended for two seconds, someone was thoughtful enough to put an ashtray at the dessert and beverage table.
And finally, to cap off the night, out comes the karaoke machine, and as expected, Mullet Man got up and grunted through a Garth Brooks song. It was then that Big City Family Plus One made a hasty retreat.
It sounds like the Redneck Christmas Extravaganza is going to be an annual event. To prepare, we are going to bring a shit load of Purell, a portable air purifier, and we're going out to eat before we get to the party. Because it is a Prime People Watching Event of Epic Proportions, I may just raffle off tickets to be my date.
Friday, January 22, 2010
So, in honor of Conan's departure, I have found some fun nuggets to share. I laughed pretty hard, so I may have to check out Conan when he goes to his new home...wherever it may be.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
And to reward her, I made sure she had the Pants On the Ground song in her head. For a twelve hour shift. Because it's a snappy little tune, and everyone should have a snappy little tune in their head while they work.
I'm sure she was very appreciative and will thank me later.
Monday, January 18, 2010
At any rate, it's not uncommon for patients and/or family members to write stuff down. This can be to either ask the nurse to translate it later, or to relay to family members and friends who call. (There's a big difference between lobotomy and lobectomy.) Sometimes, families will write stuff down so they can do their own research later. All of this is good and fine as having information is a good thing...as long as it's from a reputable source.
Oprah Winfrey's website is not a reputable source.
Then, there are those who come armed with THE Notebook. This innocuous little spiral-bound book is the biggest weapon in the family's arsenal...to them anyway. That notebook gets handled more than Lindsey Lohan at a coke party. Whenever anyone walks in the door, out comes the little notebook, and little ink pen. With beady eyes, the family member scribbles every little move you make. Every single word you say. It becomes a minute-by-minute transcript of the entire hospital stay, right down to the corn the patient ate for lunch, and subsequently deposited into the bedpan later that day.
You may wonder why someone would go to such lengths? Apparently, ambulance-chasing lawyers like that sort of thing when the family decides to sue you for their loved one getting pneumonia when you refused antibiotics and pulmonary treatments on their behalf. Or that their coffee was cold. Or that you gave your family member the Swine Flu because you didn't have the good sense to keep your ass at home. Or that they would like a big settlement so they don't have to go back to work at Taco Bell.
But what family members don't realize, is that nurses and doctors have their own little notebook, too. In the form of the patient chart, which becomes their permanent record. Nurses and Doctors should chart thoroughly anyway, but the appearance of THE Notebook, tends to make staff engage in hyper-vigilant, or as I like to call, defensive charting.
What Family Wrote
12:35 pm...Nurse Polly Perky came into room. Gave Mom medicine (lists off specific medicine). Nurse Perky listened to Mom's chest. Mom farted. Nurse then checked Mom to make sure she didn't shit the bed. The fart smelled really bad, and I requested tests to be done to find out why. The nurse refused.
What the Nurse Charted
1235 RN went to room to see pt, give scheduled meds. Family member at bedside eating large amount of pork and beans from local BBQ place. Pt reassessed, no changes from previous assessment. Denies pain/discomfort. Family member passed large amount of flatus, stated that the patient did it. Questioned pt, who refused passing gas. Flatus had bad smell, family member demanded further testing. RN explained that flatulence could not be tested as it was impossible to send specimen to lab. Family member upset that room now smells bad. RN offered room spray to family member, who accepted. Family demanding free cola from pt nutrition room. RN directed family member to the vending machines by the waiting room, stated that nutrition room contents were for patients only. Family member stood up from chair, noted brown stool-like substance running down leg. RN offered towels, and use of shower in pt bathroom. Family member accepted.
What the Family Member Wrote
745pm Nurse Sally Stern came into room. She ordered us to leave the room while we were visiting Dad, and called police to kick us out. She was rude to us because we are poor. Dad started to cry.
What the Nurse Wrote
1945 RN entered room and discovered family members drinking beer and smoking methamphetamine. Pt currently on 15L high flow oxygen. RN told family members this was unacceptable behavior, and asked them to leave the room. Family became belligerent, threatening staff by stating they had a gun and would come back and "shoot everyone". Security notified, immediately arrived et arrested family members. Dad became emotional, later told nurse that his family often does drugs around him, that they take his social security money and spends it on drugs and alcohol, and that he never gets his prescribed medicines at home because he has no money for the co-pays. Even said that the son beats him on occasion. Social Worker notified. Family barred from unit per pt request. Security notified.
Besides the obvious difference in the two, THE Notebook goes home with the family, subject to be amended at any time. Our charting stands once we hit the ENTER key. Oh sure, you can go back and edit, but the computer shows that too.
I hate THE Notebook. Most people do. It doesn't scare us. It pisses us off because we know that we have to now chart every single little minute detail, which takes us away from taking care of our other sick patients.
Friday, January 15, 2010
So, when an ad on television for Match boasts their membership numbers, they are also including profiles waiting to be deleted.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I recently met a guy. We started to see each other. He was perfect. It was as if some grand architect took my exact specifications as to what I wanted and needed, and then plopped the finished product into my lap. I felt that for all the bad things I have gone through in my life, he was my reward for enduring. It was an amazing feeling. And it scared the hell out of me.
He said all the right things. Got my humor. Made me think. Challenged the way I viewed things. We liked the same things. Believed the same things. The Laurel to my Hardy. The Good Cop to my Bad Cop. All the while, I would look at him and wonder, "How could something so magnificent be meant for me?" Things like this never happen to me. Guys crawl over me to get to whomever is sitting next to me. I've met sheep all the time who later revealed the wolf within.
Surely, I thought, this rug will be pulled out from under me. And so the defense mechanisms kicked in.
He told me there was no rug. No other shoe that would be dropped. He is old-fashioned in his thinking in that his word is his honor, and a handshake is a binding contract. Men like him do not exist in this day and age where everyone is out for themselves. Only hipster-douche bags who will tell you whatever you want to hear to get what they want.
But he told me to trust him, and on the periphery I did, but deep in my brain, came that voice that flipped the red-alarm and reminded me that I've heard this all before, and it ended very, very poorly. Don't get hurt, it warned.
And then came the doubts. And the baseless scenarios played out in my mind. If nothing but to start building up that wall that would protect me from what would be certain disappointment. He didn't understand it, when he had been honest with me. His word should be good enough, then why was I not believing him?
Then, a breakdown in trust occurred. Not that he didn't trust me...he trusted everything I said. But apparently, I didn't trust him. And therein lies my greatest flaw, the one thing that keeps me from having what I want the most. My inability to trust. And it stems all the way back to the 18 year old that realized that her own dad thought that death was a better alternative than living and watching his children grow. Because if you can't trust your own father, isn't everyone else just going to jump ship and bail on you as well?
And I recognize that. And it kills me when I think of all the personal relationships that I have subconsciously sabotaged as a result of it.
Where does that leave me now? I may have ruined my one chance at being happy, and I have no one to blame but myself.
So here we are. I'm damaged goods, and he is at home coming to this realization, that the idea of "us" is not worth the effort. I wish I could convey the feelings in spoken words that so easily come to me on paper, because then I wouldn't sound like such a dithering moron.
I would love to just open up and let someone in. I would love to have that peace that I have been searching for. I long for it as a parched man longs for a drink of water.
Maybe I am truly destined to be alone.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Isn't that like Octomom working at a Family Planning Clinic? Paris Hilton teaching Abstinence classes? Sarah Palin being president of Mensa???
I'll stick to burying my money in the back yard in pickle jars.
For veteran nurses, it is understood that you have work experience. Otherwise, the term "veteran nurses" wouldn't exist. You go to work at a new facility as a veteran nurse, it is assumed that you already know fundamental nursing things. Dependent on your previous work history, there may be some degree of expectation that you have a working knowledge of a nursing specialty: ER, ICU, Cardiac, etc.
Your new coworkers may ask you upon the first time of meeting you where you worked before, they are just curious, or making idle conversation during down time or lunch break. Then, it is appropriate to expound on your resume. You can wow us with your experiences, about the time you saved a patient from the brink of death with your ingenuity, a Styrofoam cup, and some duct tape.
However, a little humility goes a long way.
Constantly telling us about your other job wears thin. Especially when you are using it as a comparison to show us that we are doing it all wrong. We don't care. If we did care, we'd work for the crap hole you just came from. And if the other place was so damn perfect, why did you leave them to come work for us in the first place? Oh right, you're other employer is hemorrhaging money and is this close to closing.
At the beginning of the shift, I was gracious. And patient. And fun. I didn't lecture you on nursing, because you've been a nurse longer than I have. I wasn't there to teach you nursing. I was there to teach you ACME Hospital's way of doing things, which apparently is different than the way they do it at Bob's Community Hospital because you were mentioning it every ten minutes. I let it slide because I thought you were nervous. However, when you decided to pick away at how I do things, how I governed the floor when I was in charge because it's not how you do it when you get to be charge nurse, I decided I didn't like you.
So, do not act surprised when you come to me to point out another thing we are doing wrong and openly stating that it's a horrible policy/practice, and I wryly reply, "Oh, that's just because we suck around here."
Twelve hours of this, you got lucky...I only snapped at you once. What you didn't see were my coworkers keeping sharp objects out of my reach.
To orient a new hire, we get paid $2 more an hour. That's $24 extra for one shift, but after taxes is probably closer to $20. So, for twelve hours, I had to listen to, "At my other job..." and was compensated with $20 and high blood pressure.
NOT worth it.
So, thank you, for reminding me why I don't like training new hires. Have fun with the rest of your employment at ACME Hospital, Vortex of Suck (according to you).
Your Preceptor/Charge Nurse.
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
I spent my early childhood in Denver, Colorado. I was there when the worst blizzard on record for Denver occurred on Christmas Eve. I remember waking up Christmas morning, looking out the window and seeing our entire neighborhood buried in snow. Buried. You couldn't even see where the cars were parked. Later that day, Dad and the manly men of the neighborhood got out and shoveled little paths from house to house. Like a maze.
As far as us kids were concerned, it was the best Christmas break. Ever.
So bring it on, Mother Nature. I've seen worse.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Ever wonder how long I can carry a grudge? A well-deserved grudge? This would be my longest, and it's against family members. Namely, the aunts and uncles on my father's side. The cousins, I have no animosity towards. They were far too young when, as my father would say, "Shit went down".
So, imagine my mild surprise when I stumbled upon a post from a cousin on Brother's facebook page announcing that his mother (my aunt) died last summer. His father (my uncle and Dad's brother) wasn't doing so hot.
Call me a cold-hearted bitch, but I'm ambivalent. You may as well tell me a stranger died to get the same reaction. Sorry.
The cousin in question, sent me a message, demanding to know why I have the same last name as his. Only with lots of spelling and grammar errors.
"My father gave it to me" I replied. I then asked him if he knew who I was. Nope.
Funny, you're talking to my younger brother on facebook. After spelling it out to him (I'm your COUSIN), he still didn't have a clue. Whatever, dude.
So I asked him what he was up to. He tells me about the other aunts and uncles I really don't give a shit about anymore. Then, he tells me that he's been to prison...twice. He's got to be in his early 20's.
I'm convinced that if I dug in deep into my ancestral background, you would find that I am somehow related to Larry the Cable Guy or Roseanne Barr.
You may wonder why I bring this up. Well, I'm going to get to that in a minute.
I do bag on the White Trash demographic quite a bit. But the way I see it, I can and be without guilt. Because within my family tree, lies enough Whiskey Tango to sell out a Garth Brooks concert. Mostly on my Dad's side. If you were in northern Kansas, southern Nebraska, and chucked an empty Milwaukee's Best can, you would hit someone I am related to.
You still may be wondering why I mention this. Well, it's a disclaimer of sorts. You know, before anyone harps on me for making fun of NASCAR Nation. I am somewhat of an ex-patriot. I can speak the language. I understand the customs.
And I die a little inside knowing this.
With that in mind...I will share with you my Christmas activities. Stay tuned.