Monday, October 29, 2007

Get over it already!

I got this email from one of my alma maters today:
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

Home alone

I just got back from taking U-J to the airport. He's off to Chicago for a few days for work. He is NOT happy about going.

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.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I blame PETA

"I'd rather go naked than wear fur."

My Anniversaquarium

U-J got me an aquarium for our anniversary. I LOVE aquariums and had one on and off for years. This is the biggest one I've ever had (18 gallons--I know that is not very big, but I've never had the space for a bigger one until now.)

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


Today was our first anniversary. U-J took me to the place where we were married. Someone was having a 50th Anniversary party there. Good sign if you ask me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Emergency Conference Call

Emergency conference calls are never a good thing.

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

It's been a year already?

This weekend will be U-J's and my first anniversary. What a year it has been! Actually, you have to go back a year and a half to appreciate the fact that we are still together and sane (well, he is anyway.)

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

Redneck Vasectomy

My dad sent me this:

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

Worker's Comp

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.

While I was getting treatment for my elbow, I saw the same physician for my annual tune-up (you know, oil change, tire rotation, pap smear....) Well, a month or so after my tune-up visit, I get a letter from Worker's Comp telling me that they aren't going to cover my pap smear.

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

This is freaking me out!

Ok, this is just freaking me out.

At first she was twirling clockwise for me. Guess that means I'm right-brained. But after a few minutes, I could make her "change directions" at will.

Grocery Store Escapades!

As I mentioned somewhere, I do not like to go to the grocery store. When I lived alone, I would wait until the only things left in the kitchen were ketchup, sour cream and flour before going to the store.

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 picnic.....has 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

Off with their heads!

While I don't know squat about art, I am particularly drawn to the impressionists. The picture I use on this blog is Monet's Impression, soleil levant, the painting for which the Impressionist movement was named.

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

Call the Whambulance

I'm not having such a great week. It's only Wednesday, and I don't have much hope for the rest of the week.

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

Dixie Laurel, RN, BSN, COHC.....

I just received a letter in the mail and this is how my name was written: Dixie Laurel, RN, BSN, COHC. Have you ever noticed nurses LOVE to add as many letters as possible after their names? Why is that? Are we so insecure about being "just a nurse" that we feel the need to show the world that we are more?