JParadisiRN is on vacation this week. I’ll write a new post soon from a refreshed perspective. Meanwhile, if you haven’t read my oncology blog for TheONC, or latest post for AJN Off The Charts, this is a good week to catch up.
Be Loving, and change when you need to.
Keep your chin up,
No one expected you to save the world,
Otherwise, you would have been born wearing a cape and tights.
Just do the best you can.
TEN POINTS TO PONDER!
Life is sexually transmitted.
Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
Men have two emotions : Hungry and Horny. If you see him without an erection, make him a sandwich .
Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.
Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospitals, dying of nothing.
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
Why does a slight tax increase cost you $800.00, and a substantial tax cut saves you $30.00?
In the 60′s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.
Life is like a jar of Jalapeno peppers–what you do today, might burn your ass tomorrow.
And The Number 1 Thought
- – - as someone recently said to me:
“Don’t worry about old age – it doesn’t last that long.”
Once you accept the universe as being something expanding into an infinite nothing which is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.
New Yorker Cartoon by William Haefeli (May 9, 2011 issue)
I’ve written before that I am happily married to a pharmacist. Sometimes when we come home from work, we commiserate together in shorthand about our hospital shifts. When we are grumpy, we play “I work harder than you do,” in which we childishly throw out episodes from our day to prove who had a harder shift and should buy dinner. Usually I win, because as a nurse, I am the one working hands-on with patients. However, I concede that being responsible for every medication calculation, preparation, and drug interaction (and more) is a tough and stressful job. Safe medication administration is a foundation of patient care. I also acknowledge that nurses are occasionally a little difficult to work with (I was actually once present for a code blue when a stool softener was ordered STAT).
Anyway, for David and all my pharmacist friends, this one’s for you. Special thanks to the friend who brought this video to my attention.
Late Entry: I did have the Pharmacy Respect video here earlier, but I have removed it. Unfortunately, I cannot unlink it from the YouTube playlist that I do not want to post to this site. So, watch the Pharmacy Respect video, click the link or go to YouTube and type Pharmacy Respect into the search bar. It will come right up. Sorry for the inconvenience, but it is a cute video.
Trudging out of an Oregon rainstorm into the Post Office, I found a line of 30 people like me with Christmas packages to mail. In a poorly ventilated building, a crowd of wet people smells like wet dogs, but less so. John Lennon’s voice sounded scratchy singing “And so this is Christmas” from a poor quality speaker. I knew the late afternoon was a bad time to go, but I’ve never been a morning person, a characteristic that served me well for twelve years of night shifts. I started thinking that a busy hospital is a model for Post Office chaos during the holiday season. Each type of health care provider or patient personalities exists in this parallel universe, the Post Office.
For example, attempting to speed things up, a woman wearing a name badge triaged the swelling line of package bearing humanity, asking who needs insurance forms to fill out. Someone at the back of the line asks her what time the Post Office closes. She says she doesn’t know, because she usually doesn’t work in this area. Apparently postal workers float to unfamiliar departments like nurses do during staffing shortages.
In front of me, a woman with silver hair converses with a younger woman. I suspect the silver-haired woman is a retired nurse, because she hands out an endless supply of clicky-pens to other customers in the line in need of writing implements, then pulls a Sharpie out of the same pocket for her own use. The younger woman has long hair pulled back in a barrette. She is sans makeup and wears what we call in Oregon, “tree-hugger” shoes. She is overweight, but kindly attentive to the silver-haired woman. While she speaks, a similar looking man I take for her husband appears and gives her a peck on the mouth. It makes me happy.
I watch a woman wrapping packages in tissue paper and bar code stickers. In front of her, a man loudly complains on a cell phone, “Those #$*#-ing doctors give you a bunch of pills and then you can’t get a hold of them!” He never stops talking the entire time the clerk processes his packages. When he’s finished, she says “Merry Christmas, Sir”, which I think is more than he deserves.
Finally, it’s my turn. Oh no, it’s that clerk, the one who is Newman to my Jerry Seinfeld. She annoys the hell out of me because she doesn’t ask if the contents of a package are dangerous, instead she asks, “What’s in the package?” Once, David and I got into a disagreement when he told her what was in my package. I insisted she was violating my privacy. I’m not special: In the past, I’ve heard her say rude things to other customers and her coworkers too. I brace myself for the encounter, because I have to get these damn packages in the mail in time for Christmas and I’ve been in line for an hour.
She does not ask what’s in my packages. “Anything hazardous, flammable, toxic or a combination thereof?” is all she asks. I say “No.” “How do you want this posted?” she asks. I say “First class,” but she informs me that anything over 13 ounces cannot be First Class. “Priority?” I say as nicely as possible. She pulls out some tape, and fixes a loose corner on one of my packages. “Sorry,” I say, “I never get it perfect.” “Forget perfect, my dear,” she says to me while I pay for the postage. Then she hands me a candy cane. “It’s always a pleasure to serve someone who comes in with a smile. Merry Christmas.”
You know it’s going to be a long shift when you open your first chart of the morning, and the doctor’s orders are written on a Post-It.
I admit it: I’m feeling kind of overwhelmed this week. November begins what I fondly dub “The Season of Poverty.” I’m not really impoverished. It just feels that way in November, as soon as the property tax bill arrives, followed by Thanksgiving, a couple of family members birthdays, then Christmas, then more family members birthdays clear through the end of February. * Before spinning out of control, I remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and regain my perspective. Holiday anxiety is a luxury.
In the midst of this angst, something happened last week and I keep replaying it in the YouTube of my mind.
I was walking on a downtown street, minding my own business, when seemingly out of no where a man walked up to a metal street sign and, with his bare fist, slammed it with such violence I thought he was going to bend it. Shouting obscenities, he hit it again and again, barely a few feet in front of me. I froze where I stood, looking for the nearest exit to safety, as the man came forward in my direction. From behind, a woman wearing dirty clothes said, “Ma’am, come here, behind this chain,” as she lifted the chain blocking off a driveway. Grateful, I did as directed, waiting until the man I was afraid of passed by.
That’s it, nothing more. But I keep thinking about the concern this woman showed for my safety. If someday she seeks help in the emergency department of a hospital or becomes a patient, I hope she receives the same concern and courtesy she gave to me. She didn’t judge me by my clothes for not belonging in her neighborhood. She did not think that I deserved to suffer violence for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She simply extended safety to me.
*Dr. Dean Burke offers financial advice to nurses at The Millionaire Nurse Blog.
You can show your concern for the homeless in Portland, Oregon by donating to Sisters of the Road.
“You can either buy clothes or buy pictures,” she said. “It’s that simple. No one who is not very rich can do both. Pay no attention to your clothes and no attention at all to the mode, and buy your clothes for comfort and durability, and you will have the clothes money to buy pictures.”
“But even if I never bought any more clothing ever,” I said, “I wouldn’t have enough money to buy the Picassos that I want.”
“No. He’s out of your range. You have to buy the people of your own age-of your own military service group. You’ll know them. You’ll meet them around the quarter. There are always good new serious painters. But it’s not you buying clothes so much. It’s your wife always. It’s women’s clothes that are expensive.”
I saw my wife trying not to look at the strange, steerage clothes that Miss Stein wore and she was successful. When they left we were still popular, I thought, and we were asked to come again to 27 rue de Fleurus.”
Ernest Hemingway writing about Gertrude Stein, A Moveable Feast