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?"


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.