Friday, November 29, 2013

What'cha Wearing?
Through the years that I worked, several men were hired at our hospital as nurses. Most have come and gone. One of these was a very intelligent young and amicable man. He had his Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at the ripe old age of nineteen. I think we were a just place for him to gain a little bit of clinical experience, before he moved on to other, bigger and hopefully better things.

Another was tall and very obese man. When he did chest compressions on an arresting person, he only used one arm. To tell the truth, I don’t think that he could get his hands together across his own thick chest to do the compressions with two hands.

There was another male nurse who caused quite a stir with the female workers. He would wear white scrubs and well….he had the nurses coming to me and saying, “You know, he isn’t wearing underwear. You need to talk to him and see why he’s not wearing underwear.”
It was obvious when he bent over that he was wearing nothing under his white scrubs. When the nurses would approach me to ask him about his under garments, I said, “I’m not asking him if he’s wearing underwear or not. If you want to know, you ask him.”
Our hospital policy stated only that “bright colors or bold prints should not be visible through the uniform” and he had no underwear to be visible through his nursing uniform, so he wasn’t actually in violation of the hospital’s policy.
He didn’t stay long either. I am not sure whether it was the lack of under clothes and the female nurses or something else, but I’m sure he could have afforded underwear and worn them if he had wanted.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Expanding my Writings
    I entered and won second place in a ghost story writing contest. I entered two stories, one about a child ghost who was lost and went back to his home because he was lonesome. He left little clues that he was there for his sister, dad, and mom. It was more of a poignant story than scary. His grandmother eventually comes and takes him with her into the great beyond. It won honorable mention in the contest.

   The second was a tale about a traveler who had been drawn into a situation of a man and woman who murdered unwary pioneers as they transversed old route 40 when it was just a trail. They would take the deceased person's belongings and sell them to other groups of pioneers.
   The man had figured out the couple's plan and foiled them at each try. Eventually the couple was killed in a house fire when they saw the skulls of previous men that they had killed.

   The next contest that will have one of my entries will happen during the month of December. Christmas themed stories written by our group of writers will be on display at the Mt. Pleasant public library. If a patron likes the story they can drop some money into a receptacle to vote.
   Each penny will count as a vote cast. The monies collected will be donated to the Mt. Pleasant library. The stories will be labeled by numbers only so the votes cast will be for the story most liked and not for the author. Please stop by and read the stories and cast your votes.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I am so sorry that there wasn't a post last night. I had a terrible headache.

Mentally, I have always had a difficult time dealing with people who try to commit suicide. It is the most cowardly and uncaring act a person can do, especially around the holidays or near a special event or occasion for the family. The suicide leaves untold tears and many lives in ruin. It forces others to clean up the emotional turmoil and deal with the tragic emptiness and loss that is left behind. If the act succeeds, it often leaves devastated families in its wake. The wounds are long lasting and the scars are permanent.
Yes, there may be loving people who will miss you, but you will not be there to know, care, or feel it. There are too many people who willing to help and so many places to get assistance before someone decides to take such a drastic, irreversible step.

While working as a corpsman in the emergency department in Orlando, Florida, we had a slightly past middle aged woman who was brought by ambulance for a drug overdose. She had taken an overdose of Darvocet. The bottle the ambulance crew brought in was empty and the date on the label showed that she had refilled it only a few days before.
We managed to start an intravenous access line and push fluids into her. We inserted a naso-gastric tube through her nose and down into her stomach. We continued to push massive amounts of fluids in through the tube and suction them back out in an attempt to remove any remaining pills.
The doctor told me to give an ampoule of Narcan I. V. push. “It can’t hurt.” he said.  “Let’s see what it does.”
Narcan is a drug used to counteract narotics and Darvocet isn't a narcotic.
We kept lavaging her by pushing the water in and pulling it back out and waited to see if the Narcan had any effect. It seemed to stabilize her blood pressure and her color seemed to improve. The doctor said, “Go ahead and give a second dose of Narcan to her.”
After pushing the medication intravenously, I turned to discard the syringe, I heard a noise behind me as the mattress on the bed squeaked. I turned and saw the woman as she sat up in the bed. It was an “all in one motion” and she quivered as she reached the apex of her sitting position. She seemed to vibrate just like the cartoon character of the road runner does when he stops and says, "Beep. Beep”.

She said, “My, that coffee was good.” and she lay back down. She was admitted to the intensive care unit pending her stabilization and then to be transferred to the psychiatric unit to finish her care.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Seeing is Believing
Dr. Jamie had his share of unusual occurrences in the emergency room. One evening he was in the doctors on call room and had a surprise. He would sometimes go into the doctor's call room between patients to catch a few winks or to use the bathroom. It was a steady evening and we were going from one patient to another.
A young woman came in with abdominal pain and Dr. Jamie ordered the usual testing for her; blood work, abdominal x-ray, and a urinalysis after he had seen her. I gave the woman a cup for her to give a sample of urine and directed her to the restroom, “Down the hallway and the second door on your left.” I said and went back to work charting at the nursing station.
When I didn’t hear the door open and close, I looked up. She had walked all the way down the short hallway and was opening the door to the doctor’s on-call room. Before I could say anything, I heard Dr. Jamie’s voice saying resounding from the doctor's room, “No! No! No!”
The woman hurriedly backed out of the room. Motioning with my hand, I quickly called to her saying, “Ma’am. The restroom is down here.” I walked down the hall to redirect her to the restroom.

Later, Dr. Jamie explained that had been standing at the commode and voiding in the restroom of the on call room. He had not closed the door separating the sleeping area from the bathroom. When the woman opened the outer door, she had a clear view of him standing with his manhood in his hand.
I cannot imagine the thoughts that were going on inside the doctor’s head when he had to talk to the woman later and explain the diagnosis to her and the treatment he was ordering for her.

Monday, November 18, 2013

When What to My Wandering Eyes Should Appear...
One of my more unforgettable moments occurred while I was working the emergency department in Orlando, Florida. A middle aged woman brought her son in to be seen. He was about three or four years old. He had the sniffles and a sore throat. I had already questioned the mother and squatted down to evaluate her son.
The beds in the emergency rooms in their low position were the height that an adult’s feet barely touched the floor when they sat on the edge of the mattress.
The kid's mom was wearing a shorter skirt, just above the knees. When I squatted, my face was almost at her knees. I was feeling the glands in boy's neck, when I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eyes. I glanced over to see what it was. The mother had spread her legs as wide as the narrow skirt would allow and what to my wandering eyes should appear but a pair of leopard print panties. That was only part of it. The panties were CROTCHLESS! It was the only time I ever saw a leopard in the bush or would it have been a bush in the leopard. I never did figure that one out.

After I finished the shortened, quick examination of the boy, I beat a hasty retreat out of the cubicle and left the patient and his mother for the physician to evaluate. I didn’t warn the physician of the amBUSH. After all, he had played enough tricks on me in the past.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thank You Applebees

This is a little different than my other posts. This is a thank you for the respect and honor that this restaurant chain affords veterans each year at this time. They serve a free meal from several menu selections to those who gave of their time to keep America free. They honor us, so I would like to let them know that it is appreciated.

Although it had been offered for many years now, I didn’t avail myself of their offer. I didn’t eat there and wasn’t a patron. I don’t drink alcohol and have never felt quite comfortable eating a place that had a bar.

This year was different. I have some friends who like to eat after a meeting that runs over the evening meal time and Applebees seemed like the place they wanted to gather. It meant that I was eating at about eight p.m. and often I didn’t want that much that late in the evening. Eating that late caused my blood sugar to be elevated in the morning.

I’ve been choosing a salad or some soup and that seems to suffice without interfering with my blood sugar.

I did go for the free meal this year because I was eating there. I was feeling less uncomfortable with the restaurant. While I was eating there, I met and talked with several of my friends. It was a great meal and now I want to thank Applebees for their generous and tasty offer.

Thank you again for recognizing the valor, courage, and sacrifice of our veterans.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Party Crasher
The phone rang in the emergency room late one afternoon shift. When I answered it, “Emergency room, may I help you.” I couldn’t hear anything at first. Suddenly, I heard the sound of breaking of something and the tinkling of the broken glass falling. A muffled male voice called out, “No! No!! Don’t…!” and then more sounds of breaking glass. “No, no, Freddie! No!”
Because the call came without any forewarning, my mind couldn’t grasp what in the world was going on. I was caught off guard and flat footed. I didn’t know what to make of the caller. I motioned for Bill who was sitting close by me. I whispered, “Listen to this. What do you think is going on?” I turned the telephone receiver on the side so that Bill could hear the conversation as well.
After a few seconds, Bill said, “I think it’s Zippy. Freddie is drunk again and is at Zippy’s house breaking out his windows again.” While I kept trying to talk to the voice on the other end of the call, Bill called the police and asked them to check on Zippy, explaining what he thought was happening there.
Awhile later, we got a call from an ambulance crew saying they were bringing a male patient with lacerations to both of his hands.
The ambulance crew smirked as they came into the emergency department. They had brought Freddie in quite often and thought they had one up on us. One of the crew said, “Guess who we have here?”
Before they finished, I said, “It’s Freddie. You picked him up at Zippy’s. He was drunk again and was breaking out Zippy’s windows.” The crew looked surprised.
I said, “We were the ones who sent the police to check on Zippy and then you got called out to take care of Freddie. We knew he would be in”
Freddie’s injuries were minor and after a few stitches, he was bandaged and sent home. Zippy didn’t press charged. He never did. After all, it was his brother.

Monday, November 11, 2013

It's Not What I Wanted
It was several years after my wife had died, when Mindy’s common-law-husband also passed away. Mindy was a large and sloppy woman. She knew from being at the hospital so often that my wife had passed away. When she would see me, she would say, “I heard your wife died. I am so sorry!” and I was given the customary bone crushing hug.
When I found out that her common-law-husband had died, I extended my condolences to her just as she had to me, without the hug, the next time I saw her. Tears came to her eyes and she said, “I know you understand what I am feeling” and gave me a bone crushing hug. She was still dirty, heavy, and dressed in her usual Banlon shirt and double knit pants, but she was going through hard times and it was a tender moment. I wouldn’t allow my squeamish feelings of being hugged by her to intrude.
After that, wherever she met me, I was greeted with the same hug. I started to watch for her and run the other way, long before we came within arm’s reach. Sometimes she would catch sight of me and call out. I would only wave and do a ninety degree turn down a hallway or find another reason to get away.
This worked for several months, until one night as I was making rounds. I was in the main lobby waiting for the elevator. When the doors popped open, there she was, standing in front of me in all of her glory. I couldn’t avoid her without seeming grossly offensive and rude. I cringed inside, knowing that the inevitable hug was coming. And it did. We talked for a few seconds and I made the excuse that I was in a hurry and needed to finish my rounds. She waved to me as I walked into the elevator.
Much later that evening, I tried to put a pen in my shirt pocket and it snagged on something. Now comes the good part.) It was a folded piece of paper. On it was Mindy’s telephone number. “How did she get it there without me feeling it?” I thought.
This was just too much not to share with someone. I went to the medical records department to see a nurse with whom I had worked in the emergency department. He had transferred to medical records when he got “burned out” in the emergency room. He looked a lot like me and often patients would get us confused.
When we were still both working in the emergency department, Mindy did confuse us and sometimes she would call me Bill or call Bill by my name. That was okay with me. Maybe he would be blamed for something I did.
When I showed him the note, he said, “She’s all yours buddy, I’m already married.”

Friday, November 8, 2013

Halt. Whoo Goes There; Friend or Enema.
We had a young man who was brought to the emergency room with complaints of abdominal pains. He was about ten years old. Questioning the boy and his family, we found that he hadn’t moved his bowels in nearly a week. After the physician examined him and did abdominal x-rays, the doctor made the diagnosis of a fecal impaction and ordered enemas until clear.
The young man was anything but cooperative and not at all enthusiastic about the whole affair. When we explained it to him what we were going to do, but he was dead set against it. He wanted no part of it, no way, no how.

We moved him into a small room with a restroom attached. We thought that when he had to expel the enema; we could walk him quickly to the commode to save the mess. It didn’t quite work out that way. He was a holy terror. Two of us had to hold him down, while the third nurse gave him the enema.
While William and I held him down, Ellen slowly emptied part of the enema inside the boy. He began to squirm and fuss. When it was almost all in, we felt the boy stiffen and then yell. We felt him bear down and the geyser of colored water barely missed hitting Eileen. It didn’t miss the wall, but splattered and ran in dirty streams down the wall.
Ellen took the young man to the restroom while William and I cleaned the worst of the mess from the wall, the floor, and the bed. When Ellen returned, she said, “Only colored water. We need another enema.”

William and I helped, actually it was more like forced, the boy back onto the bed. Ellen came in with another enema and we repeated the process. The enema would slowly disappear inside of him. He would grunt, yell, and then the water would explode as the fluid was forced back out. Then Bill and I would clean and Ellen would repeat the process. He did occasionally vary his routine squeezing it back out in small spurting, streams while he was still getting the enema. The water would shoot back out in all directions. We were fortunate that no one was splattered in the process.

Finally, after about six enemas, success, we hit pay dirt and it wasn’t highly colored water that hit the wall.
Long after the boy left with his parents, we were still cleaning the room. We had thankfully removed everything that was portable from the room before we had started. Housekeeping was summoned to finish wiping off the walls and the floor and housekeeping wasn’t happy about the enemas either.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This is something that I wrote in response to a prompt  for one of my writing groups.

Comment on a Proverb

Proverbs 21: 19 may be the reason that so many men enjoy going on camping trips, hunting trips, or to deer camps so much. Or it could be icing on the cake of those men who love to outdoors to hike, bike, or just go out for walks.
Proverbs 21: 19 reads, “It is better for a man to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and angry woman.”

A second proverb mirrors the first. Proverbs 21: 9 says “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”
Have you ever had to sit next to a contentious or angry person? I have and I could hardly wait until I could escape the proximity of that quarrelsome human being. It makes me want to put as much distance between me and that person as quickly as possible. It‘s difficult for me to watch another person berate or bully another. It causes me discomfort and distress.
A priest once told a man who was continuously at odds with his wife, “Even a cat and a dog get along better than you two.”
The man responded to the pastor, “Yes, father, but tie their tails together and see what happens.”

The last proverb that lends insight on contentiousness is found in Proverbs 27: 15. “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.”
Have you ever tried to sleep while hearing the dripping of a faucet, the buzzing of a fly in the room, or the tapping of a branch on the bedroom window? It is almost as irksome as fingernails on a blackboard and it is in the same vein for a person who continues to nag.
I had a boss who would target the first person to do something “wrong” and it would be her duty to correct them all day. The whole day she would continue to find sins with which she could confront us or keep harping on our “original sin.” She would often interrupt your lunch break to harass us as we tried to eat.
After several years I had had enough and said, “Helen, if you want something to ride, buy a horse, but get off my back.” She left me alone for that day, but she didn’t change.

Monday, November 4, 2013

It is getting too much to post every day. I am starting to post three times per week.
Dressed For Success
One night an elderly man dressed in tattered and filthy clothing was admitted to our med/ surg. floor. His wardrobe was a series of rips and tears held together by safety pins. The newest item that he owned which was still fairly intact was a suit coat that was about two sizes too big for him, but it was covered in grime as well.  All of his clothing was crusty and filthy. It looked as though he hadn’t had a bath or removed his clothing in months.
We placed each item in a bag as we removed it. Most of the clothing seemed to disintegrate in our hands as we undressed him, but the clothes were his belongings and I made sure each piece was logged as we placed it in the bag. When we had the old man completely naked, we started to bathe him. Dirt was crusted on him in layers. Several times we had to place wet cloths on the most thickened, dirty areas to loosen the grime. It took about an hour to wash him. He still wasn’t thoroughly clean, but could now see patches of bare skin.
One of the newer nurses wanted to toss the man’s clothing. “It’s so disgusting and smelly. It will stink up the room.”

I explained to her, “No matter what you think, these are his belongings and only he or his family has the right to tell us what they want us to do with them. Put the clothes in his closet for now.”
Later, when we were finally able to talk with the family on the telephone, I finished asking questions about the old man’s health history from the daughter. Just before we hung up, she asked, “Did you see how much money he had with him?”
I replied, “We didn’t find any money on him. We just removed his clothing and bagged them.” We hadn’t actually been searching pockets for money.
She explained, “He always had money tucked away in the linings of his jacket.”
“We can check it out and whatever money we find will be locked in the hospital’s safe for the night. You can check on his money when you come to visit.”
The new nurse and I gloved up and hoping that the smell had dissipated somewhat since it was no longer on the man and began the search. We had no such luck!
I’d gone through other patient’s belongings before and decided it was time for the new nurse to get a taste of reality or should I say smell and allowed her to do much of the searching.
Pulling the jacket from the tattered remnants of clothing in the bag, she began the search for holes in the lining. The smell hadn’t lessened. Perhaps because it had been enclosed in the bag, the odor seemed to have intensified.
Once we found the openings under each arm pit, we fished around inside the lining of the coat. The money began to tumble out; ten dollar bills, twenty dollar bills, several fifty dollar bills, a few five dollar bills and several one dollar bills. We sorted and stacked them on the over-the-bed table. The total was just a few dollars short of fifteen hundred dollars.
I turned to the new nurse and said, “Now you can see why we never throw the patient’s belongings away.”


Saturday, November 2, 2013

If You Don't Mean It...
A large black cloud seemed to follow me and another nurse that worked on our obstetric/ labor and delivery/ nursery units. When I supervised and we were on the same shift, bad things just seemed to happen. If she was working post partum, after the delivery, we had a problem with a patient there. If she worked the labor and delivery area, the black cloud descended. Even when she was in the nursery and we were on together, we had problems with a newborn.
In short, no matter what area of the hospital she worked, there was some kind of difficulty. She was a nurse on duty when the woman who called me the elephant who sat on her chest arrested.
When things began to settle after a particularly harrowing night in labor & delivery, I jokingly said, “Why don’t you just take that black cloud home with you.” We laughed and I immediately forgot that I had said it.

The very next day, she came to the emergency room with her husband. He was seen and admitted with a small bowel obstruction. I felt so guilty and embarrassed about what I had said to her. I know it was a coincidence, but I couldn’t shrug off the feeling of being responsible. I felt as though she might blame me. I went to his room and apologized to both of them, not knowing what else to do. They were gracious and laughed about it.
He managed to improve without surgery and was released after several days, but anytime that nurse and I worked together and we had a bad night, I would tell her to “take that black cloud halfway home and toss it on the porch of someone you don’t like.” We laughed when I said that and afterwards the shifts we shared didn’t seem quite so bad.


Friday, November 1, 2013

In a Volkswagen?
Margo was reviewing and updating the policies that dealt with the emergency room procedures. She assigned certain policies to the different nurses to review and to bring the old policies into compliance with new regulations and scope of practices. Annie and I were assigned the rape and sexual assault policy.

Annie was a good natured, older nurse who acted anything but old. It was great working with her.
We called several nearby hospitals and asked that they send a copy of their sexual assault policy to us. When we had six different versions, we reviewed them for their similarities. When a question or an item seemed to be a consistent through all of the different versions, we felt that it was a necessary component to a successful policy. It would be a policy that would treat the victim of the rape with compassion and yet make the gathering of evidence and information more complete for any police investigation. We felt that these were the basic items that needed to be included in our new policy.
We looked at our old policy and made an outline from it and then we reviewed the items gleaned from the other policies. Slowly, we integrated the two. We tossed out anything that seemed extraneous or repetitious. We streamlined and refined the whole policy, making it as concise as possible, and yet the process was going to take much more time to complete than the one we had now. We knew that there would be complaints from the other nurses.
We actually made a step by step check list and a questionnaire that would need to be completed by the nurse, as well as their assistance in the gathering of evidence. Even though our form was shorter than all of the other hospitals, completing our form was still time consuming, but we felt each question and each detail was necessary for the police who were investigating the assault. The data had to be available and correct to aid in the apprehension of the responsible person.

The nurses weren’t happy when they saw it. We tried to explain why each step was necessary, but we didn’t make any headway. The first nurse that had to use the new policy and questionnaire was not friendly to us at all. She pointed a finger at me specifically and said, “The next rape that comes in, you get to do it!”
Again I tried to explain that each step was necessary and that a woman would not be comfortable with a man examining her and asking these very personal questions. The nurse just gave me an icy stare.
“Okay.” I said half jokingly. “When a man who has been raped comes in to be treated, I’ll be glad to do it.”

Be careful what you say. You may have to back up those words with action. Before I left the emergency department a few months later to become a supervisor, a young man presented stating that he had been raped. And I got to use the policy for myself.
The rape had happened several days before, so I didn’t have to collect any evidence. My familiarity with the questions and not having to be careful in collecting evidence shortened the time consuming ordeal for me.
I still wonder to this very day, how two men could rape another guy in the back of a Volkswagen Beetle?