Monday, December 31, 2007
Update: Y'all are making feel like I'm not doing my fair share to make Algore cry :(
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Hey, what can I do for you?
I don't feel good, I'm having some pain in my chest. Can you take my blood pressure?
Didn't you have some chest pain while I was out and go to the ED?
They said it was heartburn and gave me a prescription for Zantac.
Does this feel the same? (taking BP as we talk)
Well, your BP is 130/82 and your pulse is 88. When did you last take the Zantac?
Oh, I ran out and haven't gotten anymore.
Well, since you just ate lunch and don't have any other symptoms, I think you are just having more heartburn. You need to see your doctor and have it treated.
Do you have a doctor?
Where do you go when you are sick?
You really need a doctor. You may have something more serious than just plain heartburn. You could have an ulcer or acid reflux disease......
Why didn't they test me for all that when I was in the emergency room?
Well, you went in with chest pain. They determined it wasn't a heart attack or some other emergency. They released you so you could see your doctor for treatment.
But why didn't they......
The emergency department treats emergencies. They determined your chest pain wasn't an emergency. They don't treat chronic problems.
You see your doctor for non emergency problems--not the emergency department. They treat emergencies. Your heartburn wasn't an emergency.
(dying a little inside) Here's some Tums and a list of local doctors.........
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
He was in the hospital for 3 weeks. He has triple bypass last Thursday, and 3 short days later he's finally home.
The doctor says in 6 weeks he'll feel like a new man.
Thanks to all of you who had kind words to say and kept him in your thoughts and prayers.
It's going to be a very Merry Christmas this year.
Friday, December 7, 2007
We dropped off the prescriptions at the pharmacy letting them know which ones needed to be filled right away and preceded to kill some time at Home Depot and the pet supply store while we waited.
We returned to the pharmacy to pick everything up. There was a woman in front of me picking up her stuff.
"Why dees pills look diff'rent?" she asks the pharmacist.
"Those are the ones Medicaid will pay for."
"You gots any smaller ones?"
"No, these are the ones Medicaid will pay for."
"Well, I guess I takes dees din," she says with disgust.
She and her 2 kids, both of whom have been running around the store while this conversation occurred, take the pills and leave.
I go up to the counter and fork over $80 in copays.
Dear Medicaid Loser,
If you don't like the free freaking drugs Medicaid will pay for, get a freaking job and some insurance!
The angry, working, tax paying woman in line behind you
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Lay down and relax. This might hurts a little. I'm going to feel around a little bit until I find your knot. Tell me when I hit the right spot.
"Oooooo, that's it, right there."
Wow, you're really tight.
"Ahhhhh, that's making my arm go numb. I think I'm starting to drool a little on the pillow."
Am I doing it to hard?
"No, it's starting to tingle."
Ok, I'm going to concentrate on your knot for a minute. Tell me when you can't take anymore.
You ok? Your face is starting to get really red.
"Ooooo no, I'm just fine. Ahhhhhhh, that feels soooooo good."
And then we put on our pajamas and had a pillow fight....
Monday, December 3, 2007
My dad finally had his heart cath today. He has blockages in 2 coronary arteries and one in his leg. Because of the location of the blockages in his coronary arteries, the doctor couldn't place stents. So, either Wednesday or Thursday he's going to have a triple bypass.
I'm worried about my dad, but I know he's being taken care of. At the moment I'm more worried about my mom. I can't imagine how tired she is. The hospital Pops is at now is 75 miles from their home. He's being kept in a small room in the Cardiac Intervention Lab. There is no where for her to stay, so she's been driving back and forth everyday. The only good part about that is at least she's getting to sleep in her own bed instead of on a hospital cot.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I'll try to post something else besides family stuff soon. Right now I'm too tired and distracted to think about anything else.....
Monday, November 26, 2007
Pops really wants to go home. I guess this is the longest he's been away from home in years and years. He was really hoping to be able to go home today. No such luck. He's going by ambulance to a much bigger hospital about 100 miles away for a heart cath tomorrow.
The past week has been surreal. Some events are permanently burned into my memory....
My mom's shaky hand signing Pops' DNR....
Pops telling me that he didn't want an open casket....
My mom, brother, U-J and I sitting and standing around Pops' bed holding hands while he tells us to take care of each other....
Seeing my dad walk down the hall 2 days after the doctors told us he wouldn't make it....
As emotional draining and stressful as this week has been, there has been beauty and love.....lots and lots of love....
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Thanks for all the kind words and prayers. U-J and I will be headed home tomorrow....
Saturday, November 24, 2007
The hospital called us about 15 minutes before we were planning on leaving for the hospital and told us we needed to get to the hospital ASAP. My heart dropped into my stomach. I've made that call to families before......
We (U-J, Mom and me) arrive at the hospital and Mom and U-J immediately go to see Pops. The nurse holds me up and tells me I need to get Mom to sign Pops' DNR. That is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.....
His nurse tells me he is probably not going to make it through the day. His pastor is an RT at the hospital, and the nurse has already called him. Thankfully, he tells Pops what is going on (I don't think I could have told him) and that he needs to tell us goodbye.....
My mom is in pieces. They began dating when they were 16 and have been married for 43 years. Pops is asking for my brother. I have to tell my brother that Pops is going to die and he's waiting for him to get there so he can say goodbye.....
I begin to call family. Pops gives me a list of friends to call. Then he begins to plan his funeral. I spent rest of the morning calling family and friends, taking care of my mom, saying goodbye to my dad and crying. Pops keeps asking for my brother. I desperately want my brother to get to the hospital (he made a 5 hour drive in less than 4 hours), and at the same time I dread him arriving. I fully believe that once Pops has us all together and tells us he loves us, he is going to go.....
My brother arrives. We spend time as a family. Tons of tears are shed. This is the first time I have ever seen U-J cry. Pops keeps telling my mom to smile....
The ICU nurses are GREAT. He is the only patient in the ICU, so we have the floor to ourselves. They set as many chairs up in the room as they could and let him have as many visitors as he wants--and he wants to see everyone.
Several of his friends scrap their Thanksgiving plans and drive 2, 3, 4 hours to see him. Once he has a room full of people, U-J, my brother and I slip out to get something to eat (none of are hungry, but we know we need to eat and decompress a little.) My dad won't let my mom out of his sight, so she stays.....
We return to the hospital an hour or so later after the worst Thanksgiving meal ever. When we return, he has a room full of friends, he's telling stories and smiling. He's at peace, and miraculously, a little stronger....
I send my brother and U-J home for the night. Mom stays in his room, and I try to sleep in the waiting room. I don't want her to be at the hospital alone if he passes away.....
This morning the doctor comes in and says that he has to spend one more day in the ICU. The next day he can go to a regular room, and then if all goes well he can go home.....
It isn't over, but it been one hell of an emotional rollercoaster ride......
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
U-J and I will be going to my aunt's tomorrow for T-giving (she only lives an hour from the hospital.) Mom is going to spend the day with Pops at the hospital.
I'm going to bed--so tired......
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
For any medical people who read this, his pH was 7.68 and potassium was 2.5 this morning. He's got an NG tube and he's on BiPAP. His lungs are getting clearer, the ascites is better and the swelling in his extremities is going down. He had to be on a dopamine drip earlier today and be restrained.
My mom is worn out and relieved we are here. We'll go back in the morning and see what tomorrow brings. Thanks to those of you who are keeping us in your thoughts.
Monday, November 19, 2007
He's had a really bad cold for a couple of weeks. I talked to him on Friday and he sounded really funny. He was slurring his words and repeating himself. My mom assured me it was just because he hadn't been sleeping well. He'd been to the doctor the day before and gotten some antibiotics.
Today his legs were very swollen and he was complaining about being short of breath. My mom took him back to the doctor. His oxygen saturation was in the 80's, his lungs had fluid in them and his EKG was abnormal. So, the doctor sent him to the ED.
His lab work came back. His potassium is critically low at 1.6, his sodium is critically low (mom didn't know the number) and all his other electrolytes are abnormal. He's being admitted, possibly to the ICU. The low potassium explains the abnormal EKG and the low sodium plus the low oxygen explain the altered mental status. So, he's getting lasix to pull off the excess fluid and K-riders to replace his potassium.
U-J and I are debating going down early for Thanksgiving. Sigh.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Once we determined it wasn't the Kitty From Hell (aka U-J cat) crying, we went out on the deck. And there she was, on the roof, crying pitifully to get down. We finally got her down. She was scrawny and very hungry. So, of course we fed her. Despite being scared and hungry, she was very lovey.
The next day when I got home, she was gone. Ok, well, she got a little food and moved on. We really don't need another animal. Then it got dark and she reappeared. That has happened every night for the last 2 weeks except one.
She's not afraid of the dogs even though our goofy black lab keeps trying to taste her. I did make the mistake of introducing her to KFH. After much hissing back and forth, I got peed on.
We have no idea what we are going to do with her. We REALLY don't need another pet. But dammit, she's so sweet......
The next visit was 18 months later. This time it was my roommate who took me to the ED in the middle of the night. Again, I was doubled over in pain and vomiting. Again, I was taken immediately to a room. I remember a nurse saying, "Honey, I have kidney stones too, and I'm going right now to get you some pain medicine."
A year ago today, I broke my ankle. After arriving at the ED, I was triaged by a nice nurse and promptly taken back to a room. My total time in the ED-- triage, x-rays, MD visit, splinting-- took less than an hour.
And just so you know, all this happened at 3 different hospitals, in 2 different states.
I've only had to go the ED 3 times in my entire life, and all 3 times were emergencies. Maybe that is why my experiences with the ED have been positive.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
So, I begin to interview him with the standard questions.
When did you start feeling bad?
Where do you hurt?
Back of my neck.
Do you hurt anywhere else?
Has this happened before?
Do you have high blood pressure?
Any other health problems or conditions?
When did you last take your medicine?
What do you take?
Do you know the names?
No. I can't remember right now.
And so on, and so on......
I take his BP and its 188/111. I do an assessment and find nothing else unusual. So I get him to lay down, give him something for his headache, arrange for him to be taken home and called his doctor.
After I do all this, I go back to check on him and take his BP again. It's gone down a good bit.
You feeling any better?
Any chest pain?
No. You know I had one of those things done to my heart a few months ago (as he points to his groin.)
A heart cath?
One of those things where they go in your leg......
Did they put anything in your heart, a stent?
I don't know.
Did they give you a card to keep in your wallet? (for those who don't know, you usually get a card to carry saying what kind of stent was placed)
(digging around in his wallet) Yeah, this.
Have you been able to remember what medicines you take?
But you did take them this morning?
Yes, but that is the first time in about 2 weeks. I just got it refilled yesterday.
Why didn't you get them filled when you ran out? Are you having trouble paying for them? You know, some pharmacies have some medicines for $4......I can help you.....
No, I don't pay for them, I get them from the health department.
How's your head feeling now? (because mine is about to spin around.)
Well its not as bad as when I have migraines.
Why in the hell didn't you tell me about the cath, the history of migraines, and not taking your medicine for 2 weeks when I first talked to you? And, how in the hell do you not know what someone did to your freaking heart and what the names are of the freaking pills you take?
Friday, November 9, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Yes, my friends, kids are now using piss and poo to get high. I'm sure either Law and Order or CSI will have it in a show soon........
Monday, November 5, 2007
"What happened here?"
"Oh, I caught an employee stealing, and when I confronted her, she bit me."
Sunday, November 4, 2007
The safety officer pops into my office and says there is an associate who needs a drug test and for me to send him home afterwards, or the safety officer adds as a afterthought, send him back to work if its negative. Weird.
A manager escorts the associate to my office and says the exact same thing, and leaves us to the test.
I smile at the associate and say, "Everything's going to be ok, right?"
I get a sideways glance and silence.
"Please don't tell me you did some weed or something this weekend."
Again, I get silence.
"You know you are going to lose your job, right,"
The associate finally responds, "I know."
"Ok, here's the cup, go pee."
The associate goes to the bathroom, shoulders slumped and a resigned look.
Not surprisingly, the test is positive for marijuana. So, I do my thing to send it off to the lab for confirmation and send the associate home.
A few minutes later the safety officer sits down in my office to tell me the story. The associate dropped nearly $4000 worth of product. When told that there would be a drug test, the response was, "I won't pass."
Apparently the associate had been under a lot of stress at home and smoked a dime bag the night before to relax.
Now this person (who was a really good worker) has gone from making $35K a year (not a small amount in the rural community where the plant is located) to being fired for drug use.
Friday, November 2, 2007
"Hey, this is the nurse. I was just calling to see how you are."
"The doctor says I have migraines. My mom and sister have them, so they must be generic."
Thursday, November 1, 2007
There have been several questions on campus about a reported bomb threat this morning. I'm writing now to tell you what happened. A caller made the threat to the Podunk Police Department at 8:30 this morning, saying a "faculty building" would be targeted at 11 a.m. University Police was notified and we called in Podunk Police, the Sheriff's Office and the Bomb Squad. After extensive investigation, and consultation with university administration, we decided to evacuate the Faculty Office Building at 10:30 this morning until early afternoon. No other buildings on campus were deemed to be in any danger whatsoever.
Since there are no classes held in Faculty Office Building, there was no need to cancel any classes or disrupt any other business operations on campus today, except those in the Faculty Office Building.
I'd like to thank the many people who helped during this process and made everything progress smoothly. And I'd like to thank the campus community for all you do to help keep our campus safe.
Barney Fife, Chief
Monday, October 29, 2007
On Friday afternoon, a student group decorated the second floor of the Davidson Student Center with various props as part of a Halloween haunted house that was held this past weekend. One of those props was a rope noose that hung in a stairwell. Several people saw the noose before administrators or student leaders realized that this prop was a Halloween decoration put up as a component of the haunted house. Upon notification, Student Affairs administration immediately removed the noose. There was absolutely no offense intended toward any group or individual.Good grief! I'm so tired of people being so easily offended and self centered. Guess what? Everything is not about you or someone trying to offend you.
Sometimes a rope tied into a knot is just a rope tied into a knot.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
But, I get to have the house to myself. I can watch whatever I want, eat whatever I want, do whatever I want!! Woohoo, let the party begin!
So, my mind is wondering, pondering all the possibilities, as I drive home. I get close to the house and see his red SUV in the driveway. Automatically, my heart skips a beat and I think, "Oh good, he's home!"
Dammit, I'm going to miss him.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
So in honor of my new aquarium, I thought I'd tell a story....
When I was around 4 years old, I wanted a dog. So I asked my parents for one. What I got was a 10 gallon aquarium with some fish.
I suppose my mother thought that with 2 kids to raise, a husband, a house to take care of and a full time job, she didn't have time to house break a puppy and make sure it got fed (I'm sure if any mothers reading this, they are nodding their heads.)
The fish kept dying. Not all at once, but one at a time. My parents couldn't figure out why the fish were dying. My mom kept cleaning the tank thinking that something in the water was the culprit.
Finally the woman who kept me during the day could no longer stand by and let the lives of innocent fish be flushed down the toilet. She broke the code of silence sacred between babysitter and kid and told my parents what was happening.
I was catching the fish, petting them and putting them back in the tank.
I got a dog soon afterwards.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Today I had to rearrange my schedule for an hour long conference call. Since most of the people who work in the occupational health department of the hospital are out in businesses, a conference call is a fairly good way to let us all know what's going on.
So here's what's going on. The hospital is WAY over budget. Positions are being eliminated and hours are being cut. Occupational health was less affected than most departments, but we lost one part-time medical assistant, and the office manager got cut back to part-time.
Fortunately the other nurses in the department and I generate tangible revenue. Unfortunately, in the hospital setting, nurses don't generate tangible revenue. No where on your hospital bill is there a line item for nursing care. So, guess which people have had their hours reduced or their job eliminated?
People get irate when they get their hospital bill. Five dollars for a Tylenol! Twenty dollars for an IV catheter! I'm being ripped off! So, they complain. In order to maintain patient satisfaction, the hospital absorbs a lot of those costs.
Well guess what? You are not only paying for the Tylenol. You are paying for a nurse to verify the doctors orders, confirm that you aren't allergic to Tylenol, bring you the Tylenol and assess the outcome of you taking the Tylenol.
You are not just paying for the IV catheter. You are paying for the nurse to put the IV catheter in, keep the catheter patent, administer drugs through the IV, assess the site for infection and infiltration, and disconnect the IV catheter.
Nurses do the majority of patient care in the hospital but they don't get to bill for their services. Maybe hospitals should start to bill per hour for nursing care. Just a thought.....
Monday, October 15, 2007
A year and a half ago, U-J proposed.
Two days later one of my dogs (my precious standard dachshund Sherman) died. We spent over 2 months and $5000 to keep him alive. It was worth every penny to know that I did everything I could for him. He was a great dog. I have tears in my eyes just writing about him. I still miss him.
The following month I graduated from nursing school, moved in with U-J and started working in the hospital.
A month later I took NCLEX and proudly passed needing only 75 questions and 45 minutes to take it. After I passed, I became Charge Nurse on a 31 bed medical/telemetry floor with almost no orientation.
July, August and September consisted of planning the wedding and struggling to learn to become a nurse.
We were married on the most beautiful October day. Ten days later, we bought a house.
Eleven days after that, my cousin's husband had a massive heart attack and died at the age of 47. We went to his funeral. As we were leaving my aunt's house, I fell down a step and broke my left ankle. Do I know how to make a funeral all about me, or what?
I tried to go back to work, but you can't really do any nursing when you can't put any weight on your foot. So, I jumped through all the hoops to get a medical leave of absence. Ten days before Christmas I get an email, yes and email, saying that I have been fired because the hospital can't hold my position open. Never mind that the floor is already down 3 RNs.
I finally got the cast off in January and began to walk again. I also started searching for a new job. The medical bills started rolling in. Apparently the hospital canceled my insurance a day before the last day I was actually at work (20 days before they fired me.) Luckily, I also had insurance through U-J also, but trying to change everything became a nightmare.
I got a job offer a few days before Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, I also got in a wreck on I-20 on the way home from the interview. Luckily no one was hurt.
I started working on a renal/telemetry floor and HATED it. I also began having anxiety attacks. I think my body was just in a constant state of vigilance wondering what was going to happen next.
Guess what happens next? My house, which I haven't sold yet, got vandalized. A 1o year old, very disturbed little girl did $5000 dollars worth of damage to my house.
By this time, the anxiety has gotten the better of me, and I can't work anymore. So, I quit my job.
I took the next month or so to get myself some help.
In July I found the job I have now. I love it!
So, things have finally calmed down. I figure if we survived the last 18 months, we are going to be okay.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
A Kentucky couple, both bonified rednecks, had 9 children.
They went to the doctor to see about getting the husband "fixed". The doctor gladly started the required procedure and asked them what finally made them make the decision. Why after nine children, would they choose to do this?
The husband and wife replied that they had read in a recent article that one out of every ten children being born in the United States was Mexican, and they didn't want to take a chance on having a Mexican baby because neither of them could speak Spanish.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
An Indiana appeals court upheld a worker's compensation award Tuesday for an exotic dancer who was injured while performing on a pole at a strip club.
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Angela Hobson and ordered the state Worker's Compensation Board to determine if she was entitled to double compensation.
Hobson claimed she suffered neck pain and numbness after injuring herself while dancing at the Shangri-La West club in Fort Wayne on Dec. 20, 2001. She underwent surgery for a herniated disc in her cervical spine, according to court records.
I wasn't going to write anything tonight because I'm dead tired, but this reminded me of my personal experience with Worker's Comp. No, I was never a stripper.
While working in horticulture, I injured my elbow. I was seeing the local doctor (ok, only doctor in a 30 mile radius) for treatment.
I started laughing right there in the post office. My doctor's office had billed my pap smear to Worker's Comp!
I've always wondered what must have gone through that claims agent's mind when he got the bill.
"Damn, no wonder they call it HORticulture!"
Monday, October 8, 2007
On my way home I started craving some spinach and artichoke dip for supper, which meant that a trip to the store for ingredients was warranted.
A few of blocks from our house is the "10% over cost" grocery store. I pull into the trash strewn parking lot and begin to mentally prepare myself to enter the store.
After taking a couple of deep breaths, placing my phone, pepper spray, organ donor card and money in my pocket, I open the door with shaking hands. I will survive.
I walk through the doors, and I'll be damned if it isn't Welfare Check Day and Social Security Check Day. The sight of $500 cars with $5000 spinning wheels and Crown Victorias with handicap parking decals crowding the parking lot should have been my first clue. Sigh. I will survive.
4:30pm I grab a buggy (or cart to you yankees) and begin the gauntlet.
4:31pm I get stuck behind Big Momma and her 14 chirren. As I wait, I marvel at the power of the knit pants she is wearing. They must be holding in 200 pounds of flesh--in each leg.
4:35pm I'm still stuck behind Big Momma and the Momettes. I'd take some deep breaths, but someone just hit puberty and hasn't yet discovered deodorant.
4:36pm There's an opening around Big Momma, and I make a run for it. I'm bobbing and weaving. I can SEE the aisle where the jar of artichokes will be.
4:37pm I'm stuck behind Eugenia and Betty. Seems they haven't seen each other for months....church picnic.....has cancer....is getting divorced..... Apparently, now is the perfect time to catch up.
4:38pm Seeing that visiting time at the old folks home is going to take a while, I turn my buggy around and take the long way.
4:39pm Artichokes are successfully placed in the buggy!
4:40pm I'm on my way to the frozen food aisle to get spinach. "Hey, Nurse!" Why do I ever go to the store in my scrubs? I turn around and see a guy from work. "When are you giving flu shots?" I try to finish the conversation politely and quickly.
4:45pm There is a buggy parked in front of the freezer case. The owner is just standing there transfixed by all the choices. I try to be patient. Ok, forget being patient, but I don't know how to say "excuse me" in spanish.
4:50pm Success! Spinach is in the buggy, and I practically skip as I head to the checkout. I may make it out of the store before nightfall!
4:51pm Stuck behind Big Momma and the Momettes again. "Momma, can I has dis?" I hope that the Momette has a bottle of deodorant in her hand. Sadly, it is some sort of cereal. "Put dat back! I dun tole you, you ain't getting nothin'. Don't you ax again!" "Waaaaaaaa, but....."
4:55pm I made it. I made it to the check out lines. And each one is 3 deep with someone with at least a cart full of groceries. I choose the line with the only checker who has any sense and knows how to bag groceries.
5:00pm I'm in line behind a new WIC mother who doesn't understand what she can and can't buy on WIC. The fact that she isn't old enough to have finished the eighth grade doesn't help. It's not like they have signs that say "WIC Approved" under appropriate items. And no, cigarettes are not WIC approved!
5:05pm The lady in line behind me sees that I'm a nurse and begins to tell me all about her blah, blah, blah. I smile politely and think to myself, seeing as how you have a fresh bandage over your fistula from your 5 hour dialysis treatment, you might want to put the 2 family-sized bags of potato chips, 3 packages of honey buns and bottle of regular Coke back on the shelf.
5:10pm MY TURN! And it only took 40 minutes to buy 2 items.
I need a drink, but that would probably take another 40 minutes.......
Sunday, October 7, 2007
I spent a week in London between my junior and senior year of high school. While I was there, I got to see my first Monets and Renoirs.
The colors, brush strokes and plays on light combined with the serenity and beauty of these masterpieces touched my soul. I will never forget seeing Monet's The Waterlily Pond in all its majesty.
So, why someone would want to damage one of these masterpieces is beyond my comprehension.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
U-J and I went to a Welcome Back from Iraq party for a friend's son Saturday night. There were puppies, apparently flea ridden puppies, everywhere. Sunday I woke up with flea bites ALL OVER. And they ITCH!
Monday I had to be at work at 5:30am to begin the 450 audiograms I have to get finished this month. An HR associate went back to the head of HR after her audiogram and reported that it took 13 minutes! So, the head of HR runs into the Health Center to tell me I'll hold up production if each tests takes 13 minutes!
First of all, annual audiograms are required by OSHA, I'm not just doing these for the fun of it.
Second of all, the actual hearing test takes 8 minutes. Plus, everyone has to fill out a hearing history form. And I'm required by OSHA to go over test results with each employee. This has been explained repeatedly to the head of HR.
Finally, tattling HR associate neglects to tell the head of HR that she hung around in the Health Center chatting as part of her 13 minutes of test time.
On Tuesday a department manager sends an associate to the Health Center for a post-accident drug test.
Of course the employee tests "non-negative" (positive) for not one, but 2, drugs.
When that happens, I have to go through a ton of "chain of custody" paperwork to have the specimen sent to a lab for further analysis. Meanwhile, I'm trying to do audiograms AND a pre-employment physical.
I call the manager to tell them the associate has a "non-negative" test result, and I'm sending her home until we have lab confirmation.
I get a call back from the manager. "Could antibiotics cause the test to be positive?"
"Anything is possible, but antibiotics causing a non-negative test result would be unusual. That is why the specimen will be sent to the lab for confirmation."
In rushes the manager with the associate and a prescription bottle for hydrocodone. Last time I checked, that wasn't an antibiotic.
"Can you clear the associate if you see the prescription bottle?"
"No, that is not in my scope of practice (and that wouldn't account for the positive meth reading, I think to myself.) The sample has to be sent to the lab for confirmation."
"But that means it will be 3 days before the associate can return to work."
"If you want the associate to remain at work, that is your decision, but I will not be responsible."
At this point, the manager tries to go over my head to the Safety Manager. Thankfully, I work with a very good and supportive safety manager.
Oh, BTW, with all this going on, I manage to be 9 audiograms ahead of schedule by the end of the day.
And then we come to Today.
I have to go to the monthly staff meeting for the occupational health company I work for, which is 75 miles from my house. We all know how I feel about other drivers.
After the meeting is over, I stop by a fast food restaurant to grab a sandwich to eat on the drive back to my work site.
There are 2 high school dropouts taking orders at the front counter, one taking orders at the drive-thru window and one cooking. Yes, that is 3 people taking orders and only one person in the kitchen. The manager finally lumbers out of his office to turn off the fry cooker which has been beeping very loudly for the last 5 minutes, sees what is going on, and goes back into his office.
I finally get my order and an explanation. Apparently it "takes a long time to make a ham sandwich."
Twenty-two minutes to be exact.
After work ,I head to the health food store to buy dog food. There are only 2 parking places in the front of the store. The person turning into the parking lot in front of me parks her car diagonally across both spaces. Instead of straightening her car when she sees me pull in the driveway behind her, she gets out of her car, looks directly at me, and goes in the store.
So, I have to park in the back. Normally that wouldn't bother me, but today I'm buying a 40 pound bag of dog food.
After lugging my bag of dog food to the car, I go to the grocery store. I do not like going to the grocery store, but I think that will be a separate entry.
Oh, the flea bites? They still itch!!
Monday, October 1, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
My mother taught special education for 27 years and had one autistic student. If autism were really that common, I would think she would have had more than one student with the condition.
The diagnosis of autism has gone the way of the diagnosis of ADD. I'm afraid it has become a fad and children are getting wrongly labeled. Also, those who purport that vaccines cause autism has done a great disservice to children. Childhood diseases like mumps are on the rise because of the hysteria and subsequent decision of parents to deny vaccines to their children.
Now there is an Autism Quotient test where adults can see if they have autistic traits. I scored a 37 which puts me in the "very high" designation.
Any idea why I scored so high? I don't like parties, find small talk difficult and annoying, like a routine, and am able to block out distractions so that I can concentrate on a task. Sigh.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Apparently between my new job (I've entered over 450 audiogram records manually into my audiogram software in the last 2 weeks) and my blog addiction, I have developed major eye strain from looking at computer screens. I've been having bad headaches, and my left eyelid has been twitching for 2 weeks and driving me NUTZ!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Have doctors never heard of the $4 prescription plan offered by several chain pharmacies? There are plenty of generic beta-blockers, calcium blockers and cholesterol medicines. She says she asked her doctor if there weren't some generic alternatives, and he told her no. Now, I realize I'm not a cardiologist, but surely some of these $4 drugs are just as effective as the pricey, brand-new, shiny drugs.
Of course, pretty drug reps in short tight skirts don't offer you glamorous trips to exotic locations for prescribing generics.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Needless to say, I wasn't comfortable telling my parents or family how I met U-J. The internet was just too radical! So, when the subject of how we met came up, I'd either change the subject or stretch the truth and say we met through a mutual friend.
Now, U-J's parents knew how we met. As a matter of fact, his mother promised to pay for his membership in eHarmony. I was never really concerned that our parents would discuss how we met.
But I should have been.
<in Sophia Petrillo's voice>
Picture it, wedding rehearsal dinner, 2006. Family and friends are seated in the back room of a very nice restaurant. Wine is flowing, good food is being consumed, toasts are being given. And then it happens. U-J's mother arises from her seat, lifts up a glass in one hand and an envelope in the other. The envelope contains a check to pay for U-J membership to eHarmony and her toast contains the story of how we met.
All I have to say is, she better leave me something good in her will to make up for the teasing I endured that night and the next day from my family.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
I was living in a rural west Georgia town with a population of about 700 people working at a botanical garden. I'd been working there for 7 years and was getting nowhere with my career despite taking on tons of additional responsibilities and working my butt off. Plus, upper management had changed 2 years prior and everyone was bailing ship. We lost 90% of the managerial staff in the horticulture department before it was over. (I was the 10th out of 13 people who left.) I began to look for other jobs in horticulture, but there wasn't much call for someone with a specialty in the native plants of Georgia. So, on a trip to visit my parents I came up with the idea to go to nursing school.
At the same time, I decided that too much time had passed without me dating. (There wasn't much to choose from in the town I lived in.) But the question was, how to meet someone. I was going back to college, but not too many guys go to nursing school, and chances were they would be far younger than me. I HATE going to bars because of all the smoke and noise and all the, well, people (yeah, I know, I was trying to meet people.) What about.......the internet?
I thought about it for a week or two. Finally, I decided to give it a shot. I did a little research and decided to try eHarmony. To my surprise, I met several nice guys. I dated some of them, but none for more than a couple of months. I also decided to try Match.com.
One night I was browsing on Match.com and came along a guy who sounded interesting and sent him a message. I got nothing back. (Now, I fully expect U-J to have some things to say about that.) A few weeks later, guess who I got matched up with on eHarmony? It was the same guy who hadn't responded to me on Match.com. And now he wanted to talk to me.
The mean girl came out in me, and I thought I'd get my revenge. So, the plan became to date him, make him really like me, and dump his ass.
I ended up marrying him 2 years later.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Vital signs are vital for life. You must have a blood pressure to be alive. You must have respirations to be alive. You must have a pulse to be alive. You must have a body temperature to be alive. You DO NOT have to have pain to be alive.
BP, pulse, respirations and temperature can be measured quantitatively. Pain level is a quality of life measurement. For those of you who haven't been to the hospital or doctor's office in a while, the pain assessment goes like this:
On a scale of zero to ten, zero being no pain and ten being the worst pain you can have, where would you rate your pain?
So, what is an example of the worst pain you can have? It differs with everyone. And motivation often determines the answer.
In the health center I run, I find that there are 2 pain scales.
If motivation is to file a false worker's comp claim, the "worker's comp" pain scale doesn't go below an 8 and is often a 10.
If motivation is to be able to work and not get sent home or to the doctor for the day, the "working" pain scale rarely goes above a 5. The fact that Tylenol is the strongest thing I can give you for pain doesn't hurt (sorry for the pun.)
I wonder what JCAHO will decide is the 6th vital sign? I know, patient satisfaction!
Monday, September 17, 2007
I was told in report that my patient didn't have a penis anymore. As if needing a penile implant wasn't bad enough, he got a post-op infection and his willy had to be amputated. So, as I headed to his room to do my assessment, I was confident that nothing else about this guy could rattle me. I go to lift up his gown assess his abdomen and what do I see......
.....a tattoo of a cat's butt with his bellybutton as the cat's butt hole.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
2 Cups White Lily self-rising flour
1 Cup of heavy cream (may take a little more or a little less)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Mix the flour and sugar in a bowl and stir in cream until you get a slightly sticky consistency. Place on a floured surface and kneed lightly until the dough comes together (only about 2 or 3 turns). Pat dough out to 3/4 of an inch and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place on lightly greased pan. Bake at 450 for 10 to 12 minutes.
I was charge nurse on the floor one night and inherited a huge stack of charts from the previous shift (charge nurse checked off all new orders in this wacky hospital.) I got to one chart where blood sugar checks were ordered every 4 hours. I looked back over my notes because I didn't remember getting information that the patient was diabetic. I checked her medical history. She wasn't. So I looked to see if she had been put on steroids. No.
Just then the doctor ordering the blood sugar checks walks by and puts another chart on my already towering stack.
"Doctor, can you tell me why this patient has blood sugar checks every 4 hours? She's not a diabetic and she's not on steroids."
"I know her history! Give me that chart!"
He scribbles something on the chart and hands it back to me in a huff.
What do I see? A new order for IV steroids.
You're welcome, a**hole.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
I was showing all the classic signs and symptoms:
Rushing home from work to look at the sitemeter to see how many people had visited today and where they live (I think it's sooooo cool that I have readers in Africa, Australia and New Zealand-not that I don't really appreciate my American and European readers.)
Lying awake at night wondering what to write about tomorrow.
Seeing something on TV or in another blog and thinking, "Oh, that reminds me of XXX, and I need to blog about it."
Posting 37 entries in less than a month.
But, I refused to admit I had a problem...until today. You see, last night I dreamed that Ambulance Driver was a patient. All I could think of was, "Ooo, now that he knows me, he'll send blog traffic my way."
My name is Dixie, and I'm addicted to my blog.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Homeostastication: the state of being good
Sedimentary: a lifestyle characterized by little or no movement. Being sedimentary will make you fat.
Discomfortability: the inability to be comfortable
Yogurt: A system of exercises which help you control the body and mind
Now, let's put it all together:
If you have a sedimentary lifestyle, you should do yogurt to reduce your discomfortability and restore your body's homeostastication.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Some of the more notable things this teacher "taught" us were:
1. People don't like feeling uptight like they are in a luggage.
I swear that is a direct quote.
2. Dealing with someone who has been on crack for 3 days straight, 24/7 is difficult.
Wouldn't that be 24/3?
3. Episcopalians don't eat mustard.
Guess they prefer mayo.
4. Drunk people often run off the road and hit telegraph poles.
Can you get a DUI while driving a horse and buggy?
5. You can look in someone's eyes and see the devil in them.
That must come in handy.
6. If you have sex you will get an STD and die.
Sister Mary Katherine, is that you?
Stay tuned. Tomorrow we will have a vocabulary lesson from crazy nurse teacher.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
When I was in college (the first time around) my boyfriend decided I needed a ferret for my birthday. Why? I have no idea. So, Ferris the ferret came to live with us.
About the same time, my boyfriend decided that he would try making his own beer.
We were sitting in the living room resting after a long evening of bottling the latest brew.
Pop....pop....pop, pop, pop....pop, pop...........
"Honey, what was that?"
"Oh crap, we got too much carbonation in the beer and the tops are popping off."
We walk into the kitchen to see beer spilling out of the cabinet onto the floor and there's Ferris drinking his fill of home brew.
You want funny? You can't handle the funny of a drunk ferret. Imagine having a fur-covered miniature Jerry Lewis in your house. His usually lithe movements became clumsy. He staggered around the house forgetting where his litter box was and finally passed out in a corner full of ferret pee.
BTW, a hungover, piss-covered ferret is one mean SOB.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Am I the only one who finds the fact that the Health Minister's name is Kaput a tiny bit apropos?
You remember kindergarten? The place where you colored, sang "The wheels on the bus go round and round....", took naps, learned to shoot milk through your nose......
Once you apply to the schools of your choice, the candidate, i.e. a 4 year old, is interviewed by representatives from the schools. Then the parents get the preschool little Johnny is currently in to lobby the kindergartens on behalf of the kid. Next, the parents must decide what to wear while hand delivering letters of intent to the schools. Finally, after all the interviews are done, all the outfits picked out and worn, the parents eagerly await letters from the schools. Tears are shed as the school of choice either rejects the kid or places them on the waiting list. Elation is felt when little Johnny is accepted to a suitable kindergarten.
And what does kindergarten cost? Apparently your kid can pick his nose, play tag and nap at the best private schools in NYC for the bargain price of $20,000 a year or more. But don't be dismayed, there are scholarships for kindergarten!
The pressure that is put on these kids is unreal. They are 4 years old. Does a 4 year old ego really deserved to be damaged by watching mommy and daddy cry because he "wasn't good enough" to get into kindergarten?
One of the grandparents had it right when she said her daughter should just move back to Wisconsin where kids can go to a good school for FREE.
Dumb blonde #1 yells to dumb blonde #2, "Hurry, call 9-11."
Several seconds pass and DB #2 hasn't called. DB #1 screams, "What is taking you so long? Just dial 9-11!"
Helplessly DB #2 hollers back, "I would, but I can't find the eleven on the phone."
Here's to hoping you always remember 9-11.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
2 cups of mixed peppers chopped (we had banana, pimento and bell peppers)
one medium vidalia onion chopped
3 gala apples chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
4 cups white vinegar
1 cup sugar
4 tsp kosher salt
Bring to a boil for 45 minutes. Makes 1 and a half quarts.
U-J says it's good on hotdogs.
March 2007 pet food companies begin recalling products containing contaminated Chinese vegetable proteins.
June 2007 customers are advised to avoid using toothpaste made in China because it may contain a poisonous chemical used in antifreeze.
June 2007 the FDA imposed import restrictions on five types of Chinese-raised fish, because many have been found to contain chemicals that pose health risks, including long-term cancer risks.
August 2007 toys made in China are recalled because they contain paint with high levels of lead.
So in the last 6 months the Chinese poisoned our pets, then the hygienic and ichthophagic (ok, I made that word up) and now they are trying to poison our kids. Acts of terrorism, you tell me.
Friday, September 7, 2007
The definition of a liberal (you may substitute democrat here) is someone who has never been affected by the problem.
The Dachshund only ate the apple and pineapple then finished it off with cat poop. ICK.
The Black Lab and Catahoula mix ate EVERYTHING.
We have yet to find a vegetable or fruit (that is safe for canine consumption) that the Catahoula won't eat. Other things he likes include squash, zucchini, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, strawberries, cranberries, potatoes, sweet potatoes, watermelon, green beans....
I wouldn't be surprised if he became a vegetarian, took up yoga and started driving a hybrid.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
After report was over, I beebopped myself in to Mr. Jones' and Mr. Smith's room. Mr. Smith was downstairs having a fem-pop bypass. Mr. Jones and his wife were waiting for him to get called down for his surgery.
"Good morning. I'm Dixie. I'm a nursing student and I'm working with Nurse Ann today. Is there anything I can do for you?"
Mrs. Jones immediately lays into me.
"Yes, I want my husband in a private room. I called this hospital 3 months ago and reserved a private room for my husband. Not only did he not get a private room, he was assigned to a room with a black man!"
"I understand that you are unhappy with your husband's room assignment. The hospital does not take 'reservations' for private rooms, rather you may request a private room. If one is not available you will be placed in a semi-private room until a private room is available. I will be happy to put you on the list for a private room. Additionally, room assignments are not made based on race. Is there anything else I can do for you?"
"Not right now, just make sure you put our name on the list for a private room."
"Consider it done. I'll be back in a little while to check on you Mr. Jones."
I finish checking on patients and find Nurse Ann (who happens to be black) to give her an update on our patients and find out what she needs me to do.
"I put Mr. Jones on the list for a private room. His wife is VERY unhappy that he is in a semi-private room."
"Thanks, I'll be by to check on him in a minute. Please let him know that his surgery is scheduled for 11:00am."
So, I head back to Mr. Jones' room.
"Mr. Jones, I have put you on the list for a private room. Nurse Ann asked me to tell you that your surgery is scheduled for 11:00am. She'll be in to see you in a few minutes. Is there anything else I can do for you?"
Again Mrs. Jones lays into me.
"I walked down the hall and there is an empty private room 3 doors down. Why can't we have that one? I did call 3 months in advance to reserve a private room."
"Yes ma'am there is an empty private room a few doors down. That is an isolation room. It has a special air system in it. We are required to keep one isolation room open if possible in case we get a patient who needs it. We can not put a non-isolation patient in that room."
"But I reserved a private room............and my husband is in here with a black man......and waaaaaaaa........why can't we have that room?"
"As I explained, that room is for patients who require special isolation. It is not a regular private room. It is reserved for patients who have contagious diseases like TB or patients who have a very low immunity because of chemotherapy."
At this point Nurse Ann walks in and wants to know what the problem is. I explain the problem, and she reiterates what I have just said to Mrs. Jones.
I can see the anger in Mrs. Jones' eyes. Not only is her husband in the room with a black man, his nurse is black. I fully expect her to ask for another nurse, but surprisingly, she doesn't.
Finally around 11:00 Mr. Jones goes down for his surgery and I know that I'm going to have a few hours of peace while Mrs. Jones is downstairs in the surgery waiting room. Oh NO. She decides to wait in his room where she can see patients coming and going. Every time she sees a patients who appears to be going home she finds me and asks me if that person was in a private room and if her husband can have the room. I try to avoid her as much as possible. But, Mr. Smith comes back to the floor from having his surgery and he has to be checked on frequently.
Mr. Smith is one of the nicest, quietest patients I have ever had. He has no visitors making noise, he doesn't turn the TV on, he even speaks in a quite voice. A person could not ask for a better roommate.
I have been checking on him about every 15 minutes to check for bleeding. I go to check on him again and the bed is RED. I hit the call button and say that Mr. Smith has some heavy bleeding and I need a nurse, fast.
As I'm putting pressure on his leg to slow the bleeding I hear from the other side of the curtain, "Miss, the remote isn't working on this TV. Can you go get me another one?"
"Mrs. Jones, I am busy with Mr. Smith. I'll get you a new remote when I get a chance."
"But I want to watch TV now. Can't you stop what you are doing and get me another one."
I'm trying REALLY hard not tell the stupid racist selfish bitch to shut her pie hole.
"No. As a matter of fact I CAN NOT stop what I'm doing. You are just going to have to wait."
Luckily the calvary comes a few seconds later to help me with Mr. Smith.
The last room I go to at the end of my shift is Mr. Jones' room.
I looked right at Mrs. Jones and said, "By the way, I'm married to a black man."
It wasn't true, I wasn't even married, but the look on her face was priceless.
1. Slower traffic keep RIGHT. This means YOU. I don't care if you are turning left in 10 miles. If you are the slowest thing on the road you need to drive in the right lane. You may get in the left lane when you get close to your turn. Ten miles from the turn is not CLOSE.
2. Driving up as close as you can to my bumper as fast as your hooptie will go will NOT make me drive faster. As a matter of fact, your actions may make me drive slower.
3. Do not start flashing your lights at me to get over when it is obvious that I can not. If there is a car in front of me, a semi beside me and you behind me, there is no where I can go. You will just have to wait.
4. You have these amazing things on your car called turn signals. Please use them.
5. If you can not drive, apply make-up, eat your breakfast and talk on the phone all at the same time AND stay in your own lane, perhaps you should limit yourself to just driving.
6. On passing--please do not pass me and then slow down to a speed slower than what I was driving. This will piss me off. Also, if I try to pass you, please do not speed up. This will piss me off more. Me passing you is not an insult or a challenge. It simply means that you are not driving as fast as I would like to travel, and I'd like to get in front of you so that I can drive a faster speed than you are currently driving.
7. If you can see that the road is clear for several miles except for my car, please do not pull out in front of me and drive 10 mph. If you are going to drive 10 mph, you are not in a hurry and can wait until I have driven by.
8. If traffic is backed up for miles and your exit is coming up, please just wait your turn in the right lane with the rest of us. Do not drive past all of us who have been waiting to get off the exit and then expect me to let you in. You are NOT special. And in fact, you are causing traffic to back up more.
Of course I know that no one who reads my blog would commit any of these driving faux pas. But, I'm sick and grumpy and complaining makes me feel better.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Today Whoopi Goldberg defended Michael Vick saying that dogfighting is "part of his cultural background" and that it's "not an unusual thing for where he comes from."
I guess Ms. Goldberg doesn't know that the first place dogfighting started in the U.S. was New York and some of the cities where dogfighting is most prevalent are Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles.....
Dogfighting isn't cultural or regional. There is no excuse for killing, torturing, electrocuting, drowning or beating dogs for sport, I don't care where you grew up.
Monday, September 3, 2007
Could we have purchased a bigger, fancier house than the one we have? Sure. It's called a subprime mortgage. For the same monthly payment we make now ,we could have a house that cost twice what our costs. Problem is that the low payment only lasts for a few years and then the payment skyrockets.
Poor owners of subprime mortgages, they were tricked! Why were they "tricked"? Because they were greedy, stupid, wanted to keep up with the Joneses--take your pick. Again, it goes back to the need for instant gratification.
Who wants to work and save for years to buy a $500,000 home when you can get one now for the low monthly mortgage of $1000 a month? Sure, the payment is going to quadruple in 2 years, but that is 2 years from now. In the meantime, we can use all that extra money to buy 65" plasma TVs and new furniture, go to Disney World--life is good!
Then when the 2 years of living high is up, subprime mortgage owners face foreclosure. And I'm supposed to feel sorry for them and want the government to help them out. Sorry, that is as likely to happen as me stopping a lion from preying on the slowest, weakest gazelle in the herd.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Several hours after Dan was due to arrive at work he walks into the shop looking a little frazzled.
"Where ya been?"
"I had car trouble."
Knowing that about every 2 weeks he had a flat tire which he replaced with yet another $20 retread, I didn't probe further.
"Well we're glad you are okay."
"Did you know that you have to change the oil in a car?"
"My car caught on fire. When I got it into the shop the guy said it was because I didn't have any oil in the car. He wanted to know how long it had been since I had checked or changed the oil."
You know I had to ask.
"So you have never checked or changed the oil in your car?"
"How long have you owned the car?"
"I'm sorry, let me get this straight. You have had the car for 1o years and never changed the oil? Never, ever?"
"No one ever told me you had to do that...."
Apparently a Chrysler can run for 10 years on the same oil if there is an idiot behind the wheel.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
I was 21 and working in a flower shop while I was going to a major university to get a degree in Horticulture. (I have a bachelor's degree in Horticulture, too.) One slow Saturday those of us working were talking about movies. Dan starting talking about the new VCR he had just gotten from a Rent-to-Own store. Yes, I said VCR, I'm old.
"Why would you rent-to-own a VCR?"
"Well, my wife is home all day with the baby and she wanted something to do, and we can't afford to buy a VCR. So I went to the place where we are renting all our furniture and got one."
"So, how much are you paying for the VCR?"
"Oh, only $7 a week."
"For how long?"
"Only a year."
"So, at the end of a year you will have paid $364 for a $100 VCR. Why don't you just save the $7 a week for 3 and a half months and go to Wallyworld and buy a VCR?"
"Well, we need one now. Plus, if my wife finds out I'm saving money she'll spend it."
Another conversation later that day:
"Did you get the phone turned back on at your house?"
"No, I decided not to have it turned back on because if I do the wife just talks to her mom all day long distance and then I can't afford to pay the bill."
"Have you explained to her that she can only use the phone for local calls and the occasional call to her mom?"
"Yes, but if the phone is on she'll just call her mom anyway."
"So, your wife and kid are at home all day in a house without a way to call 911 if there is an emergency because your wife can't understand that she can't call long distance and run the bill up?"
I just shook my head and went back to work.
These people aren't poor because companies are taking advantage of them. They are poor because they have a need for instant gratification, consequences be damned.