Grande Dames of Nursing
Wednesday afternoon I met with about twenty of retired nurses for our monthly luncheon. We gathered at a restaurant in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania. While we waited to order and then for our food to arrive we talked, sharing memories and stories of our past. Sometimes we ask questions to keep facts straight in our aging minds.
Each time we meet, the names of nurses vary some only coming when they are able. We were blessed to have one of our retirees make a rare appearance. I worked with her when I claimed the emergency department as my home. I reminded her of the time that several of the emergency nurses and physicians ate at a Hawaiian restaurant in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. One of the items on the menu was called the Poo-poo platter. We chuckled at the name. One of the nurses went table hopping tasting other peoples drinks. She was so tipsy that she tried to drink from a paper umbrella garnish instead of the straw.
I reminded her of another incident that she was the center of attention. An elderly man came in to the hospital complaining of abdominal cramping and constipation. The doctor diagnosed the man as being definitely constipated. Dr. V. decided that it was time for someone to digitally manipulate and dislodge the impacted fecal blockage. The doc came out from behind the curtain and walked into the nursing station saying, “Hand check.”
We looked at each other with a puzzled look in our eyes, but we held out our hands for him to inspect.
“You,” Dr. V. called, pointing with his pen. “You with the long fingernails, there’s an old man who needs assistance with his impaction.”
The nurse he picked was a very prim and prim person who always dressed neatly and her make-up was always perfect. Her nails were almost three quarter of an inch long. They were buffed and coated with several layers of clear fingernail polish. Rolling her eyes and giving a disgusted sigh, she disappeared behind the curtain to do her duty.
Later, she revealed that she’d doubled her exam gloves. She was afraid her nails might push through if she wore just one pair and that “just wouldn’t be good.” The patient left the emergency room happy, leaving behind several pounds of feces and one disgruntled nurse.
When she arrived at the hospital the next day, her nails were again impeccable, but they were only a quarter of an inch long. She trimmed them.