Monday, December 19, 2011

Don't Mess with Tough Biker Dudes

I was sitting in a parking lot with Mother, waiting for Mr. Recommendation, when I spied (with my little eye) a lady sitting behind my car on a pink scooter. With a matching pink helmet.

"Way cute!" Mom and I both exclaimed.

We noticed the red scooter next to her was riderless, probably because it's rider was in the store. Not to be disappointed, he popped out and went to join is companion. We knew it was him because he was wearing a helmet. Black, with flaming skulls, and the straps had little spikes on them. This helmet was serious business.

Mr. Hard-Core Bike Helmet guy walked over to his bad-assed red steel horse, mounted, and with Pink Lady, roared off into the sunset. More like whirred, or whatever little sounds scooters make when you drive away. Maybe I could replicate the noise with a food processor or something.

We made sure to laugh after they were gone. Wouldn't want the hard-core biker man to come back. He would have tried to use the Vulcan death grip or The Force or something.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

You Know What Sucks About Being Single?

Dating.

You meet a guy. Talk and talk and get to know him. Then, decide to go out on an official date. The date is good. The guy is great. You really like him. You really want to get to know him more. You wonder if the feeling was mutual.

Then the evil self-doubt monster rears his ugly head and tells you why he probably didn't like you. Why he will just go find someone else better suited to his tastes. So all day, you wrack yourself with worry. You try to relax and remind yourself that while this appears to be a great catch, there are other fish in the sea if this one doesn't work out. By the end of the day, you have a raging case of indigestion and your blood pressure is reaching Stroke Status.

I hate dating. I'd rather eat drywall, sit at home, and watch Top Chef. But then, how am I supposed to find someone who will be my champion, kill my spiders and take out the garbage on Mondays??

But I do miss having someone there. Miss the cuddling and kissing. Shared jokes. Putting yourself out there is hard. It's easier to just not do it. But at least no one can say I didn't try.

Grrr.

Nurse Follies: How to Make Your Nurse Your Best Friend

1. Call her waitress. She LOVES that! Because after 2-4 years of the hell that is nursing school, we really like being known for bringing you chocolate pudding.

2. Make sure your hand is hugging your penis whenever your nurse enters your room. If you happen to be jerking off at the time: bonus! Make sure you touch their bare skin with your bare, unwashed hand for maximum bonding moment. Their forearm works, so does the hand. Triple bonus if you manage to touch his/her face.

3. If you are fortunate enough to have a significant other, schedule a special visit from them to coincide with nurse rounds. Nurses really like to see their patients getting their freak on. We feel especially blessed when you send the girlfriend/wife out 10 minutes later for a towel.

4. If Matthew McConaughey doesn't use soap, neither should you! There's nothing better than the "I haven't bathed since Woodstock" smell. The crustier, the better!! Bonus points if you have an infestation of some sort. Nurses really like taking little guests home with them.

5. Make sure you tell your nurse all about your "gubment" checks and bennies. It will make them feel a lot better about having to work overtime to pay for them.

6. Got the flu or some other contagious respiratory thing? Caring is sharing! Be sure to cough in their face when he/she is bending over you, looking at your IV/warts/seeping wound. They could use a day off, and sickness is the best excuse to call in to work. Sure, they will be sick at home, but you have at least given them something to remember you by!

7. Nurses love to have visitors, so make sure every member of your family comes to visit at the exact same time...even the relatives you only see during reunions and funerals. Just so your family members can meet your nurse, have them go and find her, one at a time, to ask for a can of soda or a pudding cup. Pull them out of another patient's room if you have to.

8. Make sure you read up on the latest medical trends in Woman's Day and Readers Digest. You can discuss these subjects like an expert and your nurse will be wowed by your knowledge. You may even be awarded an honorary nursing degree.

9. Oprah Winfrey is a God, and therefor anything she says is gospel. Including the time she told you not to take a certain med because it was bad for you. So, when you go into the hospital as a direct result of not taking that particular med, make sure you explain to the nurse that Oprah directs your care, and not your doctor.

10. Don't touch those pimples/blackheads/boils. Save them for the nurses!! The bigger, the better. Nurses love to pop those suckers. It's like bubble wrap to them.

11. Call lights are for wieners. Send your family members out on a search party to find your nurse, even for the most trivial things...because there is no such thing as "trivial" to a nurse. It's all important!! They really want to know when you want your television dusted off and are eager to help.

12. Code Blue situations are really exciting. Like the television show!! Make sure you get a bird's eye view by standing right in the doorway, especially if it's not even your family member that's coded. Remember to ask questions. They really like that.

13. Don't designate one family member to call and check on your loved one, have them call all at once. Nurses are not busy at all and love to talk to all 20 of your family members in the course of their entire shift, including your ex-husband who lives in Ohio. Who needs a privacy code? You're love for said inpatient trumps any kind of federal privacy laws, and the nurse frequently needs to be reminded of thus.

14. Hospitals have the best free snacks! Make sure you ask your nurse for a round of Pepsi and pudding cups for all your visitors. Your guests will be impressed at your generosity and how much clout you have for such free service.

15. Hospitals are the perfect places for sleepovers. And when there isn't a sleeper chair available, have your significant other crawl in bed with you. Snarling at the nurse for waking your special little somebody with their menial lifesaving tasks is perfectly acceptable. Nurses frequently need to be reminded that your sweet wubbin-nubbins has been very stressed out about your hospital stay, and should be allowed to have uninterrupted sleep.

16. Your needs should take priority over everyone elses! Go find that nurse and remind her that your loved one's hamburger needs reheated. She can code that other patient after she's done...it's not like they are going to get any deader. Go into other rooms if you have to find your nurse. Your family member's dinner is at stake!

This has been a public service announcement.

The Tale of the Gimpy Aunt

A month ago, my Aunt JoJo fell ill and had to go to the hospital. My cousin, Rosie the Militant Lesbian (whom you may remember from here, here, and here), calls my mother and announces that she had a heart attack and is in the ICU. Mom freaks and calls me from work. In my experience, "heart attack" and "ICU" conjure up an image of someone who is getting ready to transfer to the Eternal Care Center.

But Rosie has a penchant for the dramatic, and all JoJo had was an irregular heartbeat that can cause some big problems if left untreated. Mom and I race to Bob's Community Hospital and Hot Dog Stand, to find JoJo awake, alert, and watching General Hospital. She didn't look so great, but she apparently had been feeling crappy for a while.

JoJo was sent home not even a week later, leaving me to question her spotty care at Bob's. Two weeks later, she is readmitted for the same thing. This time, she gets a smarter doctor who does all the things that should have been done the first time. One thing I notice is that her lower body is sorely de-conditioned. Then I find out that while she was at home, she fell twice, and was stuck on her toilet for six hours because she was too weak to get up on her own. I called and told the nurse that her strength needed addressed and that she could not go home alone until she had rehab.

So naturally, Bob's Community Hospital and Hot Dog Stand send her home less than a week later. She fell twice the day she was discharged.

During the second admission, Mom had invited her to come stay with us for a couple weeks for some R&R. Meanwhile, JoJo swears up and down she is completely independent.

Bullshit.

A friend of the family brings her, and we physically have to carry her up the short set of stairs to get into Mom's house. She has a walker, a stool riser for her toilet, and a gait belt. Mom has a crapped out shoulder and hip, and doesn't have the strength to get her from a sitting to a standing position. Nor does she even have the slightest inkling on how to move people without injuring yourself. But what has two thumbs and is trained to care for sick people? This nurse.

The first challenge presented was an ice cube tray, which made no sense because Mom's fridge has an ice cube maker. No, the ice cube tray is what JoJo used to sort out her medications. The home health nurses who used to visit were nice enough to write down on slips of paper when she should take certain meds in certain slots: morning, noon, night, bedtime. It was a huge overdose waiting to happen. The first thing I did was go buy a proper pill organizer, then I sat at the dining room table and sorted her pills for an entire week. One of those meds was Bumex.

Why this is important is that Bumex works like Lasix. It helps you get rid of excess fluid by making you pee like a racehorse. Now remember, no one but me can lift her from a sitting position to a standing position. Didn't matter, day or night. Every two hours, I would get a phone call from Mom..."she has to go again". So, I would put on my slippers, stagger over to Mom's house (usually in my pajamas), get JoJo off the couch, wait for her to walk to the bathroom and do her thing, help her off the toilet, and make sure she made it back to the couch without faceplanting on the carpet. Every. Two. Hours. (One time, a whole hour elapsed between phone calls.) We couldn't go anywhere unless someone was there to be with her.

You try waking up every two hours for this while working a three-day stretch of 12-hour shifts and see how you feel by the third day.

Mom felt bad. JoJo felt bad, but I couldn't help but harbor some resentment because I found out later that she lied to the doctor and said she was completely mobile when that clearly wasn't the case. She also thought that the two weeks at Mom's was going to be like a vacation. I have no idea what the hell she was thinking. It was a huge emotional strain on everyone.

So, four days pass and we bring in her son, who doesn't have a job and is kept under thumb by his sociopathic sister (i.e. Rosie). Because he has no real obligation, he can spend the week at Mom's house assisting his mother, save for the one day he has to go home. This is helpful because JoJo has to go get labwork done, and we have to physically carry her in and out of the house because she is still too weak to manage stairs. The next day, I could hardly get out of bed because I hurt so damn bad.

During that one day her son has gone home, I am assisting JoJo to the bathroom when her legs fold under her like a cheap suit. I had a hold of her gait belt, so she wasn't hurt as I lowered her to the floor. It was then that she realized a couple things: she was worse than she had previously admitted to herself and she couldn't rehab at home the way she thought she could.

At the hospital, we occasionally get what we call "Social Work Admits". Basically, the family brings in a loved one and says, "We can't take care of them." Said patient is admitted, and they hang out with us until a social worker works their mojo and gets the patient placed in a facility...whether it be nursing home, skilled nursing, or rehab. It's a huge waste of resources in a hospital setting, not to mention that it sounds mean of the family to seemingly "dump off" their loved one.

After a week helping with my aunt, I finally understand the bewildered desperation of the family members who bring their loved ones in for a Social Work Admit. The system is complex, and it is hard to know just where to begin, who to ask what questions to...not to mention the guilt you feel for "giving up" on your loved on. I've never dealt with this on a professional level...I've always just put in for a social work consult.

Thanksgiving comes and goes. The family is there, and Mom has outdone herself with the dinner. The following Saturday, "the fall" happens, and JoJo makes the decision that she really does need inpatient rehab if she expects to go home and live independently.

With that, calls are made, and the family friend (who is a former rehab nurse) makes some calls and JoJo gets a place at Bob's Rehab Center and Balloon Animal School. I suggested a place closer to us, but JoJo was firm that she wanted to be somewhere closer to home.

So, she left the following Monday. She was grateful for the time she got to spend with us. It gave her hope that there were family members who actually cared for her (Rosie sucks, and I will be blogging about her again). JoJo got the emotional recharge she needed, and entered into the rehab facility with hope and determination. Not to mention a threat from me that if she refused any of her rehab sessions, I would personally kick her ass from one end of the facility to the next.

She's been in for about a week now, and so far she is optimistic. She discovered that she has friends who are also there, in a similar boat...which is nice because they can work out together. She was also excited that they offered bingo. I think the social aspect of her stay will also benefit her just as much as the physical. Because up until now, she's just been a hermit and not leaving her house.

I have come out of this with a better understanding of just what families go through in situations similar. I can now relate to their feelings of frustration.

Who knows if this rehab stay will be the fix-all. Who knows if JoJo will be able to return home. I guess that is just a bridge we will have to cross when we get to it, but for now we remain hopeful.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Still Breathing...

I haven't fallen off the face of the planet. I swear.

Today is Thanksgiving. I'm working. Tonight is going so bad, that the other nurses and myself are making plans to go work at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch (you can google it, but definitely NSFW). We're discussing our gimmicks, our stage names. We'll be working in Quality Control, of course.

Life has been pretty crazy lately. My aunt, after repeated visits to the hospital, has come to stay at my mother's for a couple weeks. I've been running next door every two hours to help her to the bathroom. We've been punk'd by my aunt, would be a huge understatement. I will write a more detailed blog about it later.

Oh yeah, back to Thanksgiving.

Mom is going to be hosting dinner, with the added aunt, plus brothers, one of which is bringing his girlfriend. Then, my cousin on my dad's side, whom I haven't seen in almost 20 years, will also be stopping by. I'm looking forward to seeing her. We've been slowly making contact with dad's side of the family in the past couple of months. But only to a select few. There's still relatives that I have no desire to ever communicate with them again.

So, here's to a Happy Thanksgiving. May it be full of good food, quality naps, and minimal bloodshed.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Sun Sets on a Sea of Red

As some of you know, my big brother passed away last Tuesday. It was shocking, surreal, and somewhat of a relief. He was in so much pain, but he went so fast.

Cancer is a bitch.

Yesterday, we had his funeral. At his request, we wore casual and Chiefs apparel. He was a HUGE Chiefs fan. So much, that the Chiefs organization sent an autographed football for us to put in the casket with him. I'm not a die hard Chiefs fan, but acts like this could make me one.

Even though Mom and the Stepdad are divorced, the kids still look to the Stepdads family as our own. When our own father passed away, they accepted us as one of their own. Papa C has been more of a father to me that my own bio-dad. My own brother's have grown to be honorable men and devoted fathers. I credit this to the influence of Papa C and his family. However, Papa C remarried a guano-psychotic woman, and she always tries to make things about her. Before the funeral, she called my mother in an attempt to discourage us from going. We went anyway. The rest of the family was apprised of the phone call, appalled by it, and I trust they will deal with her in their own way.

That being said, big brother's funeral was one of the most unusual I have been to. It wasn't because of the Chiefs colors either. That part was actually cool to see.

So, everyone files in to building for the viewing. I will admit, I didn't get a good look at brother. His wasted, cancer-ridden frail body is not how I want to remember him. Instead, I caught up with family, exchanged hugs, stories.

When the service part began, we seated. Because so many people showed up, the funeral directors had to pull out all of their folding chairs. They were the Gestapo of funeral directors, barking out orders to well-wishers. "Go sit there!" "Don't stand there!" "No drinks allowed inside!"

At the beginning, various country songs played and we just sat there and listened. Country music wasn't Big Brother's cup of tea (he's more a Bob Seger kinda guy), so I guessed the wife and daughters picked the tunes out that they felt best reflected their own personal relationships with Big Brother. After a handful of song, a family friend who happened to be a Baptist minister (Big Brother is RLDS) got up and spoke his little sermon, which was a little disjointed because he sounded like Forest Gump ate up with religion. He then announced that he wanted to sing one verse from an old song he knew.

Five verses later, he finishes, arms waving around in the air, sounding like Hank Williams Sr on a bad acid trip. My cousins are sitting a few aisles away and are trying not to bust out laughing. I imagine Big Brother would have had a chuckle as well. We listen to another song. An open invitation is extended to anyone who wants to say a few words. One of the cousins is the only one put together enough to actually articulate anything, so he speaks. I liked his remarks best of all.

After the service, the funeral directors kick us outside and direct us to go to the back of the building for the procession, which consisted of the pallbearers carrying the coffin ten feet to the car, which would transport Big Brother to his final resting place 100 feet away. While we wait, about 25% of the well-wishers, in what could only be described as a tribute laden with heavy irony, light up cigarettes.

Big Brother happened to die from lung cancer, by the way. He smoked like a chimney.

Some words are given at the grave site, and we are dismissed. Redneck Brother and myself linger and talk to Papa C and Big Brother #2, rehashing funny family stories. Guano-Psychotic lingers nearby, ready to pee on Papa C's leg at a moment's notice. I make sure to cast "that look" at her a couple times. I usually reserve "that look" for my most idiot of patients.

We left, armed with current numbers and promises to gather for things besides a funeral.

So now, I sit here and reflect on the family. My heart goes out to his two daughters for I know what it is to lose your father as such a young age. My heart goes out to his wife, who is barely hanging onto sanity by a thread. I ache for Papa C, for no parent should have to bury a child. I hurt for my brothers, both bio and step, because there is a special bond between brothers that I cannot even begin to comprehend.

So life moves forward, never to forget those we lose along the way.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Tales From the Treadmill

So, I started going back to the gym. It's stupid to pay for a membership and not use it.

Out of all gym activities, I prefer swimming the best. It's a great workout, it's quiet, and I can think while I am cutting through the water. And, because I go late at night, the pool is almost deserted.

Of course, the trade off for going to the gym late at night is the fact that some very strange people can be found there at that hour. What does that say about me?

So there I am, trying to master the butterfly technique, which is a lot more complicated than it looks. You're body is doing two different things at once: a dolphin kick, and a "pull" with the up body. Michael Phelps makes it look so damn simple. At any rate, I'd get halfway down the pool, thinking I got the hang of it, and then try to increase my speed. Somehow, I'd lose my rhythm, and then look like I'm drowning and have to stop. Good thing there isn't a lifeguard, they would have mistaken me for drowning. THAT would have been awkward.

Back to strange people....

So, as I am plugging away, there are three people in the hot tub. A fluffy woman in what looks like a t-shirt and panties, talking to two guys who don't speak much English. She keeps going on about how smart she is. "I'm smart. I mean, I'm really smart. I was going to go to law school, I'm that smart."

Methinks that if you are trying to convince two strange men of your intelligence, you are probably anything but. Intelligent women don't have to announce it. People pretty much figure that out on their own.

There was another guy in the pool with me. A fluffy ginger who was standing in the pool, watching the tvs at the cardio station, and not doing much in terms of exercise. I'm guessing he was with Smart Lady. She got out of the hot tub, in her t-shirt and panties glory, and chastised him for not wearing a t-shirt. In a swimming pool. He grumbled something about it being swimming pool and got out, going to the men's locker room because the better half was apparently done in the hot tub.

I also spied, with my little gym eye:

- A guy working out while decked out in Real Tree camo clothes. Maybe he didn't want to be seen. He ducked into the steam room while I was floundering in the water.
- A meathead lifting weights and preening before the mirror. I always chuckled at the guys who did this. Like they were waiting for a muscle to bulge out while lifting that 10 lb weight. Finally! Affirmation that all those muscle-building protein shakes are paying off!

Sadly, the lady toting her bible was curiously absent. I've seen her a couple times, meandering around the gym with her little bible. Sometimes, she walks on the treadmill while reading it. I have no problems with people reading the bible. However, she likes to stop and read it to others. Other gym patrons are also aware of this lady, and they scatter when she hovers near.

My new obsession is obtaining a waterproof MP3 player. They exist. And I wouod much rather do laps listening to Kid Rock than of stupid people in the hot tub.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Now Preparing for Our Final Descent

My stepbrother went home yesterday with hospice.

Now, we wait.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Patriotism is Bigger Than Your Patriotism...

I was out and about with Mom and Tat Bro today, taking the Little Princess to lunch. Gosh, she's so damn cute, I ask Tat Bro if I can have her. He keeps saying no, but I hope to wear him down someday...hopefully before she hits puberty. Then, I take the offer off the table.

But I digress...

So, after lunch, Mom and I drive by a gas station with a sign in the window that proclaimed "American Owned and Operated". I vowed never to patronize that business.

Long ago, I was dating a guy who lived in Topeka. I went to school and worked part time during the week, and then spent weekends in Topeka. There was a donut shop Deon liked to go to. At one point, it used to be a Dunkin Donuts, but then something happened where the ownership changed hands to a man from India, who lived in Topeka with his family. For whatever reason, the new owner decided not to continue with the Dunkin franchise, and renamed it Dimple Donuts. Same donuts, clean place, brightly lit, the workers were friendly, and I guessed they were all related.

Across the street, there was another donut shop. A little darker, outdated on the inside, but the donuts were pretty good and they had their own loyal following as they always seemed busy.

A donut is a donut is a donut. And Deon had never met a donut he didn't like. So, he patronized both businesses equally. One weekend I was there, and I noticed that the older donut place had put up a sign in their window that read, "OUR PROFITS STAY IN THE US". Here was a guy, who was not born in this country, who was a business owner, and just doing what he could to provide for his family. Meanwhile, the Teabagging Palinites across the street thought he was pond scum for doing just that. Only because he wasn't born in this country.

I was incensed. Just because the Constitution defends your right to be a bigot, doesn't mean I have to bankroll it.

I have a HUGE issue with nation-centricity. Oh, it's okay to have patriotism...wave your flag, shoot off fireworks, say the Pledge, but a lot can be said for humility and accepting that there are people that you share this world with, who are different. And just because they don't share the same creed, race, religion, address as you, doesn't mean they are less than human.

I see and hear about it every day, and it makes me sick. Crispy Christians against anyone else who doesn't share their faith. Americans who look down upon those who were not birthed on American soil. Wealthy people who look upon those less fortunate as they were some sort of cancer. Bigotry is alive and well, prevalent and accepted...but I'm not supporting it.

The label "Buy American" doesn't hold a lot of water with me, not when it is implied that what I am getting is somehow more righteous just because it was made by someone who speaks my language.

Sometimes, I really hate this planet and wish the Big Rock would strike already.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

General Blather: The Official Blog of the Kansas City Chiefs

So, the parental units scored extra tickets to the first game of preseason, and I got to tag along. I was somewhat enthusiastic to go, and thought a game would get my mind off of "Does he like me, or doesn't he?"

We get there, admire all the people in their Chiefs attire. Quite a few people are there, which is funny considering this could basically be called a practice game. With no training for months, the pre-game now has to be used by the coaches as part of their process of culling the herd. Starters know that their jobs are safe, so the noobs are put in the game. I think Cassel was put in for the first two minutes and then he disappeared into a black hole.

The Chiefs Cheerleaders were marginally better than last year. Marginally. It must suck being a Chiefs cheerleader. You have to dance to music that is not even playing. You get oogled by middle-aged, fat, balding men while everyone else just ignores you. KC Wolf is loved more. So is Warpaint, and he's just a horse. Sure, you get to be in a calendar, but then again, some serial killer is going to masturbate over your picture while suffocating his neighbor's cat.

It was nice to see the new improvements my tax dollars paid for. Two huge jumbo LED screens that I would start to watch until I had to remind myself that I was essentially watching the game on tv at the game. The organization is jacking themselves off silly because Taylor Swift is going to have a concert there. Of all the people they finally allow to have a concert at Arrowhead, it is that abomination. I weep for Kansas City.

A big LED screen wrapped around the entire stadium, which just was a continuous cycle of ads. Just in case you were wondering on the offical sponsors of the Chiefs:

Soda Pop: Coke
Bank: Commerce Bank
Airline: United (be careful, I hear they break guitars)
Grocery store: HyVee (what happens if a Chiefs player is caught shopping at Price Chopper?)
Beer: Anheuser-Busch
Beauty Supplies (for the cheerleaders): Beauty Brands
Phone Service: Sprint
Sports Drink: Gatorade
Health Insurance: Blue Cross Blue Shield
Vehicle: Ford
Dairy Products: Roberts
Meat Not In a Can: Farmland
Meat Product in a Can: Spam
News Channel: KCTV5
Hospital: Truman Med Center
Fast Food: KFC
Cable: Time Warner
Printing Company: Pittcraft Printing
Douche: Massengil

Okay, so I may have made that last one up. Everyone knows they prefer Summer's Eve.

As usual, you have to mortgage your house to eat there, even more so since they added some familiar culunary faces to the menu: Jack Stack, Blanc, Peachtree. The also added a Pro Shop where you can sign away rights to your firstborn for a jersey. I thought I may have seen Mother whispering to a sales lady there, while pointing at me...but I can't be too sure.

The game rolled on. And on. And on. At one point, someone in our section produced a beach ball, and so that was tossed around, and for a while, was more interesting to watch than the game. The ball sailed dangerously close to the wall, until someone popped it back into the crowd. The crowd cheered, victorious.

A relatively new feature would be the KC Rumble, which is a drumline for the team. The announcer said it was the biggest and best in the NFL, which was discouraging because there were maybe 8-10 drummers. I'm going to assume it wasn't the entire line as I know they are currently holding auditions for the drumline. I have to admit, I like the drumline better than the band that used to play. The lead singer made my ears bleed. I will also admit that I am considering auditioning for the drumline. However, it's been years since I have picked up sticks. Maybe, it's like riding a bicycle...you don't forget. When I did play, people told me that I was pretty good at it. So, we will see.

There was the standard loud douchebag in our section who was for the opposing team. Then there was his counterpart, the douchebag white knight who defended the Chiefs' honor. In there, were people roaming around, trying to ninja seats that looked empty. We were in a good section, right be Chiefs endzone. We didn't see a lot of play on our end.

We, along with 90% of the crowd, cut out at the beginning of the 4th quarter. The Chiefs lost their shirt, but it was pre-season so no one give a rat's ass. Myself included.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Nurse Follies: Dr. Dumbass

Breaking in new doctors...gotta love it! I especially like the foreign ones that come with their own sense of entitlement and loathing of women.

Dr. Dumbass: Someone paged?

Me: Yes, I'm calling about Sally Sweetwater. She currently has a blood pressure of 220/112.

Dr. Dumbass: Is the patient symptomatic?

Me: Aside from the massive headache, no. She has not stroked out...yet.

Dr. Dumbass: Well, go ahead and give them some Tylenol.

Me: Fine. Now, what about something for the blood pressure?

Dr. Dumbass: No, just the Tylenol.

Me: You do realize that they have a history of stroke?

Dr. Dumbass: Um, yeah. Just give them the Tylenol. Their headache will go away and their blood pressure will come down.

Me: Ok. I'll be calling you again when I page the Stroke Team.

Dr. Dumbass: In my country, you would speak to me with more respect.

Me: In my country, you are an idiot.

Nurse Follies: What A Nurse Is...And Isn't

There are a couple nurse-specific sites I frequent, but usually just the message boards. One particular area that captures my attention is nurse activism. I'm not talking about lobbying for safer nurse-patient ratios. No, that's a good thing and I'm all for it. I'm talked about those obsessed with the image of nursing. I go between rolling my eyes, laughing out loud, and just wanting to find the ninnies and beat them with a bedpan.In 2004, Sketchers ran a series of ads featuring Christina Aguilera. She was dressed as a cop/criminal in one, a sexy teacher/student in another. And then there was this ad. It immediately raised the ire of nurses everywhere, and then some who wished they were nurses. There were letters, threats to boycott, and blah, blah, blah. They claimed that this ad was demeaning to nurses and all that other feminist bullshit, and the end result would be that no one would take nurses seriously because this ad portrayed nurses in an unflattering and undignified way. Eventually, Sketchers caved and pulled the nurse ad. The cop and teacher ads were not pulled because, apparently, teachers and cops are no where near the prudes that nurses are.
Those shoes are entirely inappropriate for floor nursing.

I personally loved this ad, and I could only wish I looked half as good in a nurse get-up. Anyone who makes a decision to view a nurse poorly because of a shoe ad has the IQ of a cat turd. Anyone with half a brain knows that Christina Aguilera in a nurse outfit does not equal a real nurse. When you've managed to blow your meth lab up with you in the vicinity, who do you want to take care of your stupid, crispy ass? Naughty Nurse dressed in lingerie? Or the veteran nurse in wrinkled scrubs who knows what the hell she is doing? Wait...don't answer that...

In our flannel pajamas, perhaps.

Say the word "nurse" and someone will inevitably put the word "naughty" in front of it. Tell a guy you are a nurse, you will get the whole "give me a bed bath" proposition (and the answer is still no).

I don't know when nurses became "naughty". I don't know what it is about my profession that makes us "naughty". While it's nice to be in a profession that is considered "sexy", most days, when I'm in my wrinkled scrubs covered in various body fluids, I feel anything but. I once dated a guy who went out with me just because I was a nurse, and he thought that was hot. It amused me because he had a high-profile job and he thought he was teh shit because he bagged a nurse. In fact, he was always begging me to wear my nurse cap. I never did (packed away).

Even so, this shoe is totally awesome!

Just because I'm a nurse, doesn't mean I'm automatically naughty and sexy. I was naughty and sexy long before I became a nurse.

When I am at work, I am the furthest thing from naughty and sexy. And in the end, that's best for everyone.

To God Himself We Cannot Give a Holier Name: Father

In predominantly African American culture, the mothers reign supreme, and the fathers (if he is present) is more along the periphery. The matriarchs are the ones who are the family leaders. My family is structured the same way.

When my grandmother was younger, she loved her mens. Six children with three different dads should stand as testament to that. Plus a couple other fellas that she never produced offspring with. I'm not going to bag on my late grandmother for her lifestyle, such a thing is common today, but probably considered extremely scandalous back in the 50's. But she was Queen Bee, who loved her children and provided for them in times men would not. My grandmother was a great lady, I have some hilarious memories of her, and I still miss her to this day.

But this post isn't really about my grandmother.

My aunt recently travelled to Louisiana to be reunited with her father, whom she hadn't seen since she was an infant. It was one of those cases that the new wife after my grandmother made certain that he never had a life before her, that included any children he previously had. Yes, this guy should have told the New Hotness to take a hike because his children came before a piece of ass. But that didn't happen, and my aunt, like my mother, grew up not knowing a father.

Anyway, with the help of Facebook, my aunt was able to reconnect with half-sisters, and then in turn reconnected with her father. And after almost 50 years, was able to see him again. She's sent my mother pictures of this reunion. An old man, and two middle-aged women, all smiling the same smiles for the camera.

I know what my mother is thinking.

My grandfather, my mom's sperm donor, his name is Jack. Jack Reed. I don't know much about him, but I know he was Navy man, and I know he was a colossal prick. Stories from my mom's older sister reveal to me that he was a hard man, almost abusive. He liked his clothes ironed a certain way, and if one shirt didn't meet his standards, he made my grandmother iron everything all over again.

When my grandmother found out she was pregnant with my mother, Jack left her. There may have been an ultimatum involved: me or the baby.

So, Asshole Jack abandons the woman who is carrying his child. She goes on and has my mother, who turns out to be a pretty spiffy lady in her own right. After all, only a truly magnificent person could have produced such awesome offspring as the one who writes this blog to you now.

So, Asshole Jack never comes looking for the child he didn't have the balls to stay and take care of. As far as I know, he went on to have another family with someone else. Or maybe he fell off a Navy destroyer and was eaten by a shark. One can only hope.

With the events surrounding her sister's reunion, I know what my mother is thinking...he own father. She wonders if she should look for him. There is an infinite number of resources to do it, companies who's only job is locate lost people. Even with a name as common as Jack Reed, it could be done.

I can understand the need to know your past, but I also fear it. I'm afraid that if she were to go looking for him, he would be alive and still be as disinterested as he was when she was the size of brine shrimp floating around in her mother's womb. I'm afraid of her disappointment that not all parents are happy and waiting for their children to find them. I don't understand why she's not angry. If I were her, I'd want to kick him in the nuts.

Best case scenario: he's taking a dirt nap, having died a bitter, lonely, old man because Karma is a bitch and that's what happens when you abandon children.

Nurse Follies: Overheard During Report

Nurse: Mrs. Bread has a yeast infection in her butt. I don't know how she got it. I don't want to know either.

Nurse Follies: The Race Card

Here at General Blather, we don't shy away from the controversial topics. No, we embrace them as the head cheerleader embraces the entire football team on Homecoming night. Not everyone likes what they read here. If you do, hooray. If not, hooray...and don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

Racism is alive and well in the good old U.S. of A. Now that I have established Obvious Day at Camp Stupid, I would just like to delve into the subject just a teensy bit further without starting a riot.

In the 30-some years I've been converting oxygen into carbon dioxide, I can honestly say that I haven't had a lot of direct dealings with issues of race. That is, until I started working as a nurse.

Yes, I encounter lots and lots of incidents of patients/family members pulling the race card, as in, "You only (fill in the blank) because I'm (pick a race, nationality, etc)."

I don't particularly care for these people because it undermines my nursing abilities. It's impossible to do anything right. I even encounter white patients who only want to be taken care of by white nurses. I hate these people even more. We once had a patient who was so outraged that her nurse was African, that she pitched the biggest fit that she wanted only white nurses to take care of her.

Now, sometimes we get that from ancient people. While unacceptable, you can sort of understand that archaic mindset. Different generation, different way of thinking that they never grew out of because they are old, ignorant, rednecks. Whatever, just die off and let humanity progress. Not this patient. She was young and should have known better. But instead, she was harping on me because she was a shameless bigot. Sadly, I changed the assignment. Not because I wanted to make the patient happy. She could have kissed the fattest part of my lily white ass for all I cared. No, I did it because the nurse deserved better. And, in an act of which I will wholly own up to being a complete asshole, I assigned her the dumbest fucking nurse on the planet.

Your nurse may have the IQ of a bologna sandwich, but, hey, at least she's white!

But I digress. I'm not here to discuss patients and family members. Otherwise, I'd be blogging about this subject until I retire, and really, it's not worth the effort. People are idiots, I recognize that, and I move on.

No, I'm just here to discuss the other end of the coin. Those employees who pull the race card.

I personally don't care what color you are. Black, white, red, yellow, titty pink with big, purple polka dots. Hell, add a horn growing out of your forehead for something interesting. I don't care. I hold all people to the higher standard. Understand that we are here to do a job, and I don't give two shits about whatever chip you have on your shoulder about something done to your ancestors long before I was a twinkle in my father's eye.

That being said...

I've encountered more than my fair share of employees that use this whole race card thing as a crutch. It's just another form of avoiding accountability, if you ask me. Frankly, it's getting to the point where I'm this close to going postal. It's almost a normal, everyday occurrence to come down on one employee for neglecting their patients, only to have them turn around and cry to the Bosshole that they are being picked on because they are black/red/paisley. No, you are getting reamed on a regular basis because you are a lazy twit and patients deserve better.

I was charging one night, and there was some sort of issue with staffing that was long, complicated, and confusing. It had one staff member floating to another floor while someone from a different floor floated to us. It happens, and there is usually a reason for it. As long as staffing is covered, and everyone gets their hours in, it's usually a non-issue. Right? Not according to the person who had to float. I explained to this staff member the reasons for doing what we did. She looked me in the eye and asked, "It's because I'm Asian, isn't it?"

Seriously???

I sighed and told her that her ethnicity had nothing to do with the larger picture. I reassured her that management screws us all equally regardless of reed, creed, or color.

And that's the truth!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

You Know What Sucks About Being a Nurse?

Last month, my older stepbrother was taken to the hospital with intractable back pain. He wasn't able to walk at all. A scan shows some unusual spots in his lungs. A biopsy reveals it's cancer. Further testing shows it has spread to his brain, his spine, and his adrenal glands. Stage Four Large Cell Carcinoma with Metastasis.

As a nurse, I know exactly what this means.

I have confided my professional opinion to some, but not to stepbrother's wife or daughters. They still have hope. They want to pull out all the stops for treatment. I can't blame them. It's human to want to fight. To want to at least try. Because when the dust settles, no one can ever ask, "What if...?"

Seven rounds of radiation with chemo treatments starting soon.

As a nurse, I know that while these things may buy some time, they will not buy a cure.

The picture gets bleaker and bleaker. Now, he's in the hospital with pneumonia, which is never a good thing when you have lung cancer. Everyone offers prayers. I gave up on prayer long ago when the words felt like sawdust in my mouth. Instead, I offer self. I have skills. I have knowledge. I can contribute in some way and leave faith to those who still have it. All the family members who are not in my field have hope and faith in unbundance. I don't begrudge them for it. I don't scoff or leer.

But as a nurse, I know that hope and faith are exercises in futility.

I see it everyday. Families, desperate for hope, cling to the words of the professionals. Looking for the faint glimmer of a silver lining. Anything they can use as a call to rally to fight. I see it in my family now. I see the set of their jaw and hear the determination in their words as they vow to "beat this".

As a nurse, I know the horrible truth.

As a sister, I can't bear to say it out loud.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Nurse Follies: A Fun New Game

Who says nursing has to be boring? Who says we can't have fun doing what we do?

A nurse revealed to me that a game she and a colleague like to play is to sit in the hospital lobby at the end of their shift and play "Patient or Employee". They watch people enter, and then guess whether they are a hospital employee or a patient. You'd think this would easy...staff usually wear scrubs, patients wear, well, gowns and pajamas. But sometimes our hospital pajamas which look a lot like scrubs.

I suppose you could go even further and say they are visitors, but where is the fun in that.

I suppose I could tweak this game to make it a drinking one, but I'm sure someone would take umbrage with a bunch of nurses lounging in the lobby, doing shots at random times.

For the time being, I'll just fine tune my Nursing Bingo card game.

Monday, May 30, 2011

When Things Fall Apart for Other People

Brother and Co whittled down their numbers earlier this year by the breaking of the relationship with the other half. She played a gambit, and lost. The thing is with men, when they are ready to get married...they will do it. Ultimatums for marriage from a guy who has already bought a nice house, converted his basement for your home salon, made your car payments, and created a stable home life for you and your children is generally not a good idea. My brother had already changed much of himself for her, and yet it wasn't nearly enough.

Brother isn't too horribly upset about it. He's got his little princess, and really has no burning desire to strap on the old ball and chain. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. His ambivalence towards Baby Mama infuriates her, now she's got her current boyfriend sending brothers emails on how to raise his own daughter. Baby Mama proofreads the emails before they are sent. How did we not pick up on The Crazy before?

Meanwhile, paradise for Redneck Brother has descended into hell as his wife has also become afflicted with The Crazy. She quit her job because she decided she didn't want to have one anymore. You'd think that without a job, she would tend to the home fires, but no. She doesn't cook, she doesn't clean. She barely cares for her two children. Instead, she spends all her time on the computer. Redneck Brother discovered a webcam and lingerie that she doesn't wear for him. She wants to go back to the days where she could go out and party and sleep with random men as long as they pay for her beer tab...which is pathetic when you are a haggard-looking 34 year old mother of two. Meanwhile, the two kids are bordering on beyond control because Crazy-Lazy Mom has already gone to work turning them against their father. So, with only one income, Redneck Brother is behind on all his bills, and is teetering on foreclosure, with a family that hates him.

Mother and I have decided that if the boys ever do decide to want to get into serious relationships down the road, we will have to personally interview them. I am currently designing a psychological test. Mother is formulating the application...complete with references: job, past boyfriends, and a full-scale workup for STDs.

I know my brothers will come out of these trials fine. We're a resilient, resourceful bunch. But still, I hate that they have gone through this. What's a big sister to do?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nurse Follies: One of the Grossest Moments in Nursing

My job is not always pieces of whole fruit and patient insults. Sometimes, we encounter things that are the equivalent of a neon sign screaming, "Get the hell out of nursing, you idiot!"

This is one of those stories. (Warning: Not for the faint of heart.)

We had a patient once, a paraplegic who had come in with something GI related that required a colonoscopy. As standard with our paraplegic folks, he got himself a nice Clinitron bed. For those who don't know what that is, it's a huge bed, that looks like Barbie's swimming pool. Filled with air around the perimeter, in the middle is a recessed area filled with sand. When turned on, hot air blows into the sand, creating a very soft, pressure-free, floaty environment that is supposed to be ideal to prevent skin-breakdown. Hot air blows up through the sandy part of the bed, but the sand stays in the baffle. The bed itself is a pain in the ass. Heavy to move. Patients hate it. Not to mention you get one tiny hole in the sandy part, your room turns into the beach minus the fruity rum drink with the little umbrella.

As also with patients who are lucky enough to win a colonoscopy, they get a bowel prep. Some places just give you repeated enemas, and you are done with it. Other places, the preference is Go-Lytely. A huge gallon jug that has some sort of additive to it, we fill with water, and you have to drink the WHOLE DAMN THING. The makers of Go-Lytely at one point decided to be a little more sympathetic to the plight of the poor person drinking it, and added little packets of flavoring. So, instead of drinking bland bowel prep, you get a choice of Cherry, Orange, Lime, or Pineapple. I once combined Lime and Cherry and told the patient to pretend it was a Cherry-Limeade from Sonic.

The end, and desired, result of drinking Go-Lytely, is that it cleans out your colon. And by clean, they want you shitting out Go-Lytely without an iota of color. But what if you don't run clear after your gallon? Well, you get gallon number 2, and you will be shitting until Rapture. For this reason, I have renamed Go-Lytely to Go-Lotly.

So, Paraplegic Man drinks his gallon of Go-Lotly because he's a good patient and doesn't want a tube down his nose. I don't remember what flavor he picked, and what's even more important is that I don't care.

Later that night, newish grad nurse pops out of the room, subdued and pale. She waves for me and Red to approach, looking very distressed. We answer the bat signal, and the smells hits us halfway down the hall. Immediately, my eyes begin to water.

"I need help." Newish RN tells us. Red holds her nose. Smo materializes, demanding to know what that smell is. Newish RN wrings her hands nervously, "I don't know how to begin..."

So, me and the others charge into the room like we're the Four Horseman riding into the Apocalypse (which is what the room smelled like). There's safety and numbers, and the faster we can clean this guy up, the faster we can get out of the room. The smell...OH MY GAWD THE SMELL!! A hot, thick odor that hung in the air and made you forget that there are good things in the world worth living for. Meanwhile, the patient, a middle-aged guy, is also holding his nose, and apologizing profusely because he couldn't control his bowels. It's okay, dude...you're a para and you can't be expected to control such things and we're not going to eat you lunch for this. In fact, after this episode, we're not going to eat anything for a long, long, LONG time.

Then, we hear bubbling.

With flourish, I pull the blanket off the patient, "Let's see what the damage is." One sight of the situation, I put the blanket back over the lower half of the patient, put my hands on my hips and stare speechless at the other nurses.

"Holy Mother of God." I mutter.

Smo rolls her eyes at my penchant for the dramatic, and pulls the covers back off the patient. The sight that greeted us was a Clinitron bed literally full of the foulest smelling poop to ever been expelled by a living organism. The entire sand-filled area was covered, and the patient's lower half immersed like he was at a dayspa soaking in a mud bath. To make matters even worse, the hot air from the bed is being blown up through the mattress, causing the contents to bubble and spew like a damn pot of chili. It had the same color and consistency of chili, too.

"It almost looks like an evil moat from Lord of the Rings" someone observed. This was met with groaning.

Meanwhile, a tech walks into the room, gags, and immediately runs out of the room. I assume she went to go fill out an online application to Walmart.

Just out of curiosity, I demand the patient tell me what the hell he ate that day.

The nurses stare at each other, each covering our noses. So is the patient. But because we are a resourceful bunch of of night nurses, we start brainstorming as to the best way we are going clean this mess. Some suggestions included:

- Crafting a suction system where we can suck up most of the mess like a Shop Vac. Unfortunately, our tubing is too narrow and would get clogged frequently. We wonder if Maintenance would loan us one of their Shop Vacs.

- Getting styrofoam cups and bailing out the bed until we excavated the patient.

- Finding some nursing students and making them clean it up and call it a "learning experience". Sadly, we don't get nursing students at night.

We decided the bed wasn't salvagable, so we just transferred the patient to an regular bed, cleaned up what we could off the Clinitron, covered it with blankets, and pushed into the dark recesses of the back hall. I suggested we torch the damn thing, but considering these beds can cost up to $50K, the others thought that might make the higher-ups unhappy, and may affect our whole piece of fruit gift for Nurses Week and leave us with a coupon for a free cup of ice water and bonus bendy straw.

The bed people came the next day and picked up the bed. I don't know what happened to the bed. I can't imagine how they even got that thing cleaned. Maybe they did torch it, but one thing is for sure...

I wouldn't even touch chili for two years after that incident.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Nurse Follies: The Impossible Situation

Mr. Pickled arrives to the hospital on a Friday, sporting a yellow skin tone that makes him glow in the dark. The family, brags that he has come in for a liver transplant that will take place the following Wednesday. Nurses are puzzled. Liver transplants generally aren't scheduled in advance as they are transplanted within hours of retrieving it from a donor. Donors aren't exactly something you can predict. Not to mention that the Transplant Gods refuse to give a new liver to someone who can't put the bottle down for six months before the transplant and promise not to drink after.

The disease process of a crapped-out liver runs its course, and inevitably we come to the part where Mr. Pickled is going to die, and the family has decided that they have no choice but to let him go. Wife and sister hold a beside vigil while Mr. Pickled prepares to transfer to the Eternal Care Center.

Now, palliative patients are near and dear to me. I find it rewarding to help in this transition. To help the patient be comfortable, to help the family cope with the impending loss. It's a highly personal experience, and I am honored that family members trust me enough to share in their journey. It's an area of nursing I am very good at, but have no inclination of doing it full time.

Sadly, I'm not taking care of Mr. Pickled, and get to wear the charge nurse hat. A friend and colleague (Salty) gets to care for the Pickled Family (because it Palliative Care, the focus is just as much on the family as it is on the patient). She is a newer nurse, and somewhat uncertain, so I help her when I am not dealing with the phantom toilet flushing in the staff bathroom that's causing the other nurses to freak out.

Mr. Pickled goes into his agonal breathing pattern, which is to say his breathing becomes shallow and slows to 2-4 breaths a minute. The first time this happens, the family assumes it's his last breath and begin the emotional release that comes with the death of a loved one. Then he takes a breath. The family stops crying, blinks their eyes, and the vigil resumes. This happens three other times. The crying stops and starts like a faucet. Emotions are raw. It's as if you relive the death of a loved one over and over again.

Death is different for everyone. Some go quick. Some like to hang out for a while. Mr. Pickled is unpredictable and no one can be sure how long he's going to keep this up. The family asks us to give them a time frame. We can't.

Finally, Mrs. Pickled cries, "Can't you do something to stop this? Can't you give him more Morphine to end this? I can't take it anymore!?"

Salty and I look at each other, speechless. Narcotics are given to keep the patient comfortable, alleviate air hunger, pain management. Yes, there is an unspoken understanding that it could hasten the inevitable, but never before has a family outright asked us to expedite the process.

Finally, Mr. Pickled passes away an hour or so later, without further nursing intervention. Mrs. Pickled crawls into bed and spends the rest of the night sleeping, for the last time, by her husband's side. It freaks out the younger nurses, but we just let them be until morning. When the wife leaves, she thanks the staff and makes no mention of her previous outburst. I wonder if she looked back upon it and kicked herself in the ass.

There are medications that some patients take that are life sustaining. Any cessation of these meds will result imminent death. Some patients, after a while, opt to stop the drugs, which results in their imminent death. The patient knows that this will be the end result because doctors and nurses make sure they know it. Would this be considered the same as an assisted suicide? Why is this more acceptable than giving someone a high dose of something that is going to hasten the death of a terminal patient? Euthanasia is not legal, but it also encompasses a HUGE gray area that no one speaks of.

Maybe, folks need to start talking about it. And not in the final hour when you want the nurse to do it.

Happy Nurses Week!!

This June, I will have been a nurse for seven years. SEVEN!! The time has raced by faster than a man to the bathroom after having a one-liter enema. In that SEVEN years, I have been hit, kicked, pinched, spit on, shit on, pissed on, vomited on, cursed at, threatened, injured, insulted, emotionally drained, and exhausted physically.

So, how does ACME Hospital honor me, honor us, on this most sacred and holy of holidays for nurses?

With coupons for a piece of whole fruit. We were puzzled it specified whole fruit. As opposed to what? A half-eaten banana? Last year, we got coupons for a service that turns out they didn't pay any money for, but was a promotional card for some spa business that they handed out to anyone who wanted one. For free.

I don't think I want to guess what the higher-ups get for their bonuses. It will probably throw me in a deep depression that ends with a full psychotic break and I run around the hospital lobby. Naked and covered in powdered sugar singing about being a donut in my former life. Trust me...it wouldn't be pretty.

I'm just going to assume they got two pieces of whole fruit instead.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nurse Follies: Accountants Don't Get to Have These Conversations

Mrs. Needlovin is a frequent flyer in our neck of the woods. She's a scary old woman who apparently needs some attention down there. She tries to use many tactics to get people to poke around down there. She has has tests and exams which have shown nothing wrong with her down there(other than it being a shriveled, old lady muffin). She even once asked the poor soul who brings the dinner trays to help her out.

Mrs. Needlovin: My vagina hurts.
Me: I'm giving you pain medicine for that right now.
Mrs. Needlovin: Can I have an ice pack?
Mr. Needlovin: What do you need and ice pack for?
Mrs. Needlovin: To put in my vagina.
Me: We are NOT putting an ice pack in your vagina.

Mrs. Needlovin takes her pills. I assess, the husband is still sitting at the bedside, clearly embarrassed. I finish my assessment and announce that I will return later.

Mrs. Needlovin: So, you're not going to do anything about my vagina?
Me: That's what the pain pills were for.
Mrs. Needlovin: Oh, but I need someone to squeeze my vagina. Can't you help?
Me: Uhh...no.
Mr. Needlovin: (rolls his eyes) This really isn't something I want to get into.
Mrs. Needlovin: Oh, trust me, there's been plenty of times when you want to get into it!

Flip-Top Head

A few months ago, a filling fell out of my back molar. It didn't hurt, but there was a nice little sharp spot that was annoying. I made an appointment with the dentist, only to cancel because I had work obligations. Being the procrastinator I am, I finally rescheduled and went yesterday.

Despite what my friends and family may tell you, I have a small mouth. In fact, I had to have teeth pulled because of crowding. I know a girl who can shove her whole fist in her mouth (making her very popular with the boys). I'm not such a person. You know how you are supposed to eat sushi in whole bites? I struggle with that too, which makes eating sushi a labor of love.

At some point in my formative years, I had some sort of TMD. The only residual now is that I get jaw fatigue easily (which doesn't make me popular with the boys). Now, try to imagine yourself spending an afternoon at the dentist's office with two people trying to cram their hands in your mouth.

At one point, I had wave my hands and tell them to stop trying to split my face open. When it came time to take pictures (they mill their own crowns in office and the images are done by computer), the dental assistant got all butthurt because the damn camera couldn't fit in my mouth. Oh, and I was drooling everywhere, which distorts the images. Sorry, Miss Perky Dental Assistant Who's Name Ends in IE, just because you can fit anything in your wide, open trap (and you probably do on the weekends), doesn't mean everyone else can.

On a side note, have you ever noticed that girls who's first names end in an IE-sound are too damn perky? Ashley, Britney, Amberlie, Buffy, Courtnie? Maybe if Mom would have given me a name like that, I'd be less of an asshole and more like a Johnson County sorority girl.

Three hours and almost $400 later, I walked out of the office. Because I was in the Northland, I thought I would run some errands. Midway, the Novocaine wore off and everything hurt. I ordered a soda to take an Aleve with, and drinking through a straw proved to be a disaster as I wore most of it. The guy at the counter was mortified and probably wondered about the lady who appeared to be having a stroke before his very eyes.

Now, I sit at home with a massive headache...but I have a new pearly white to show for it. Too bad it rests in the back of my mouth where no one will see it.

I hate you, dentist office. All that time and money, and you wouldn't even part with a free toothbrush. Go to hell.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Vacation Tales: Crystal River

I just got back from almost two weeks of vacation, just in time for Biggie Snows to make his appearance in my neighborhood. So much for escaping winter.

Vacation started harried enough. As usual, I put off packing until the last minute. Soph decided to help out.


So, I was up until 2am or so, our flight leaving KC at 7am. I told Mom to call at 4am to make sure I was awake, so I curled up in bed for what I thought would be a two-hour nap. An hour later, Mr. Recommendation calls and tells me that our flight was cancelled, and we would have to scramble for another flight. Mind you, a big, fat snowstorm was set to hit town around noon, and I had a planned excursion the following day. So, getting out of KC that morning was imperative.

Mom, with the help of a very nice Southwest agent, procured us another flight to leave at 6am. So, we hauled ass to the airport, arriving with 15 minutes to use the bathroom and then get groped by a TSA agent named Pam. I know her name because I made sure we were on a first name basis before she started the foreplay. The flight took us to Texas, then onward to Ft. Lauderdale. We got our rental, which was the equivalent to a suburban tank (Chrysler Town and Country to you), waited for Indy's plane to arrive, picked up Mom's sister, and then made the long-assed 4 hour drive across the state to Crystal River, Florida.

The next day, we woke up at 5am, Indy immediately grumbling that one should not have to wake up so early on vacation. We drove down the road to Birds Underwater where we pulled on unflattering full-length wetsuits an went out for our morning swim with manatees. I've done this excursion before, but the most of the manatees were out in the Gulf at the time, so my encounter was limited. However, we got plenty of manatee time in as they were quite abundant.


They would swim up to you, allow you to pet them, and they would even flip over so you could pet their bellies (they like that sort of thing). At one point, a little calf took a liking to me and followed me around.


I booked this excursion for my mom's birthday, and she absolutely loved it (I give the best birthday presents). She did have a habit of trying to pet the manatees who were busy getting their freak on, which really didn't look all that freaky. Apparently, manatees will have sex without prejudice when it comes to other manatees. Male, female...it doesn't matter. They are such whores that way.

video

Indy freaked out shorty after getting in the water (he's not a strong swimmer). Despite my best efforts to calm him, the water noodle, the wetsuit that makes you buoyant, and the water being 5 feet deep, he retreated to the boat to raid the box of donuts there. Oh well, just meant more manatee rubbin' for everyone else.


Swimming with the manatees is one of those Bucket List type things. Everyone should do it at least once in their lifetime. Mom is already planning on doing it again. But this time, we'll fly into Tampa. That drive sucked balls.



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tales of the Homeowner: FIRE!!!!! (...or not)

Monday started innocently enough. With the impending vacation, I decided a thorough cleaning was in order. I dusted places that haven't been dusted since I can't remember. I swept, vacuumed, drug out the carpet steamer. I was a woman on a mission.

In the afternoon, I climbed into the frigid attic to bring down my Autumn tote to put the autumn decorations and Halloween costume pieces in. Not to mention drag out the luggage. It was butt-assed cold up there, in my pajamas. Not to mention the lights decided not to work. I was also talking to Mother on the phone as I worked and we were talking about vacation things.

I came down the ladder and let the trap door slam shut when I sniffed the air. Smoke???


I came down the stairs and found a living room full of it. Entering the OH MY GOD, MY HOUSE IS ON FIRE mode, I shrieked for Mr. Recommendation to come over (thinking it was an electrical fire caused by aforementioned not-working attic lights), and hung up on my mother.
Meanwhile, I go tearing through the house trying to find the source of the fire. Sam and Lucy, sensing my excitement, think this is a new, fun game that Mommy is playing, and start chasing me. I go back upstairs, kick the dogs into the back yard, and start considering tossing both cats out there as well. Mom and Mr. Recommendation come over, and find me out of breath, hacking on smoke, running around the house like a dog chasing its tail, carrying a little home fire extinguisher.

"CALL 911!!!" I order, before grabbing my cell phone and placing the call myself.

Minutes later, two full-sized fire trucks come creeping up my unplowed street (thanks KCMO), sirens wailing, lights flashing. I have both front and back doors open, trying to air out the smoke in the house. I'm standing there, wearing pajamas and Ugg boots, with hair that's all nasty with dust.

Half a dozen fully decked out firemen come into my house. Two of them carry a big-assed metal spear-looking things. Those things are to poke holes in your ceiling. I sit on the couch and put my face in my hands, wondering how I am going to explain this to my insurance adjuster. At this point, we figure out that there is no immediate fire...but where in the hell did all the smoke come from???

Next thing you know, my house is crawling with firemen....sadly, none of them looked like these guys.

(You want me to clean you off?...With my tongue??)

(The decent-looking ones are married, the rest look like they are fourteen years old or Wilford Brimley.) They search my house so thoroughly, I'm convinced that if I had hemorrhoids, they probably would have found those as well. Fortunately, I didn't have anything out in plain site that would cause further embarrassment...such as dirty underwear, or, ahem...power tools. I have A LOT of power tools. I'd hate to see one of them get poked with my jigsaw.

I peek out the front door, and see half the neighborhood has vacated their houses, and are now standing in their driveways, watching the excitement unfold. Some were holding shovels, no one was using them. Did I mention that my neighborhood is full of cops???

After having tracked all the snow from the outside, to the inside of my house, the firemen deduce that the smoke came from my chimney, even though there hadn't been anything burning in it for almost a day and a half (and that was just some crappy little fire log). It is theorized that my chimney is clogged with something (a nest, leaves, Lindsay Lohan's career), and the smoke of whatever was smoldering for almost two days, became trapped. When I opened and shut the attic door, it created a vacuum that sucked the smoke out into the lower level, and caused me to panic, calling for people to come and admire my freshly shampooed carpet by tracking over it in wet, dirty boots.

As an added bonus, the firemen discover my furnace filter looks gross, and they bring it up to show me. I am lectured by four firemen on the importance of changing my filter. They were even nice enough to turn off my furnace until I could get a new filter. None of them offered to drive me to Lowes in their fire truck so I could get a replacement. Assholes.

The firemen take their leave, dejected because they didn't get to poke holes in my ceiling. The neighbors immediately retreat to their houses to talk about that weird lady running around her house wearing pajamas, Uggs, and carrying a little red fire extinguisher. Hell, if fire trucks were at a neighbor's house, I'd at least have the decency to stay inside and look out a window instead of gawking from my drive way.

Mom and Mr. Recommendation accompany me to Lowe's that evening so I can have heat again. They make fun of my fuzzy filter (which had absolutely nothing to do with the smoke event) the entire time.

So, tomorrow I get to clean the floors...again. The fire place is officially off limits until I can get a chimney sweep out to clean it. And maybe even after that. My entire house smells like I just hosted a Boy Scout camp minus the sweaty gym socks and nocturnal emissions. All that campfire smell, and not a marshmallow in sight.

I'm so ready for vacation. Of course, I still need to go back into the attic and get my luggage.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Weekend Blather

Vacation is on yonder horizon, and I only started getting excited just last week. I'm such a bad procrastinator, that I even put off getting excited for something I should have been excited about months ago. Not to worry, Mother has enough excitement for everyone.

Bought some clothes more fitting for beaches and 80-something degree weather, instead of of temps so cold that it will give a man two belly buttons. I finally sent in my paperwork for my dive card. Ordered a GPS so I don't get lost in Florida. Recharged the battery on the camera. Bought travelled sized soaps and things. Now, I just need to clean the house and pack. And figure out what to pay a house/dog sitter.

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In other news, the world is going batshit crazy. I hope the Giffords woman recovers. If she does without any residual effects, it will be nothing short of a miracle. Here's hoping that out of the ashes of such an event, positive things can happen, such as:

 - The Tea Party imploding
 - Sarah Palin being gored by a caribou
 - Democrats and Republicans quit being little bitches and actually work for the benefit of the country they were elected to serve

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Yesterday, I had the misfortune of watching Knowing on cable with Nicholas Cage. Talk about a depressing movie. I wanted to go drive off a bridge on my way to work. Not to mention it was just a bad movie and I actually felt smug when the female lead character was killed off.

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The Chiefs have a game today. I know this because traffic was insane around Arrowhead as I was coming home from work. Have fun getting your second belly button, boys. I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A Year In Review

I know I probably say this every year, but this year, really sucked. REALLY. Aside from the oil spill and all the horrible things that happened in the world, let's just revisit the crappy things that made me wish my Hoover sucked as hard.

1. Oz. All my complaints would result in a wall of text so big, that it would take until mid-2011 to read it, so I will keep it down to basics. I entered into a relationship with a seemingly great guy. He didn't want a girlfriend, he wanted someone he could own. Who would drop everything (even their job) to go tend to their needs. When he cheated on me, he got mad that I found out. I made all the effort to make this relationship work. He wanted to reap all the rewards. And in the end, he wanted to try to see if we could make things work, even maybe living together. While he had another girlfriend. Say it with me...douchebag.

2. Topher. He was such a good friend, and who knows...if we had sat down and actually talked about what we really wanted, we may have had the potential to be more. He was brilliant, funny, compassionate, and lived life the way he wanted it, not caring what others thought. Burdened with a self-imposed race to present a sick parent with the family that they always wanted for their son, he entered, hastily, into a relationship with Pollyanna. Engaged not even 7 months later, he has turned into the poster child for Stuff White People Like. Everyone has noticed and he is now the butt of jokes. The worst part, he has forsaken his old friends in favor of living the JoCo dream. Too bad, Topher. I liked you just as you were, and wouldn't have asked you to change a thing.

3. My job. With the forming of what I now call The Evil Trio, my job has turned into a nightmare. Nice to your face, but stabbing you in the back the minute you turn around. The latest and greatest was that one tattled to the Bosshole because she didn't like that I didn't announce a Code Blue overhead. I don't think she could believe (in all the two-years experience she has amassed), that a code could have successfully been done without her presence. The gloves have come off, as far as I am concerned. They wanted GB the Asshole. Well, ladies, the asshole is now here. Of course, it would be easier if I just transferred.

4. My friend Kant and her Kidney Quest. Nice people shouldn't people shouldn't have to go through shit like this. Why couldn't it have been on of the Evil Trio, they are far more deserving of such trials. I'm still waiting to be tested, along with a bunch of other people. I think that is a good show of just how much people love you...but the length of the list of people who are willing to give you one of their own kidneys.

5. The emergence of a gallbladder that hates me. And a uterus. My body is rebelling against me.

There are a bunch of other little things that didn't enhance my year, but I won't bore you with the details. Here's hoping that 2011 is a better year. Already, things are looking up.