Grief Debriefing Versus Beer for Breakfast: Chapter 11 of The Adventures of Nurse Niki

The Adventures of Nurse Niki
The Adventures of Nurse Niki

The Adventures of Nurse Niki Chapter 11 is posted!

In this week’s episode, Niki reflects on sharing about patient deaths at grief debriefings, and how much extra time nurses already spend at the hospital for continuing education and skills training.

In contrast, Niki and friends from work finally make it to an after shift breakfast. There, they comment on men in nursing, the role of respiratory therapists (every ICU nurse knows skilled respiratory therapists are a crucial part of the health care team), and share thoughts on marriage.

Off the Charts has this to say about The Adventures of Nurse Niki:

This blog is made up entirely of first-person episodes told by a fictional nurse named Niki. Each episode is short, detailed, and engaging, and it’s easy to keep up with it on a regular basis, or quickly catch up if you haven’t yet read any episodes.

                      Jacob Molyneux, AJN senior editor/blog editor

Comments on The Adventures of Nurse Niki blog are limited, however, you can interact with Niki on The Adventures of Nurse Niki’s  Facebook page. Please don’t forget to “Like” it too. Show Niki some love!

Thank YOU!! to the readers following The Adventures of Nurse Niki, the retweets of  @NurseNikiAdven, and those who not only Like Nurse Niki’s Facebook Fan Page. The support is very much appreciated!

The Adventures of Nurse Niki Chapter 6: Sometimes The Job is a Diversion from Life

The Adventures of Nurse Niki
The Adventures of Nurse Niki

The Adventures of Nurse Niki Chapter 6 is posted. It’s not a happy chapter. Niki feels disappointed by marriage. Sometimes the best plans and intentions just don’t work out, and spouses shut down.

You can interact with Nurse Niki on her Facebook page, and don’t forget to “Like” it. Show Niki some love!

Many thanks to the readers following The Adventures of Nurse Niki blog, the retweets of  @NurseNikiAdven, and those who not only Like Nurse Niki’s Facebook Fan Page. The support is very much appreciated!

Hello, 911? My Coffee Maker Broke

Morning, Joe. photo: jparadisi 2012

It was a crisis that will never make the morning news: our coffee maker died suddenly, without a gasp. The “power on” light still blinks a brilliant blue, which makes me wonder if the machine is actually dead or merely in a coma. No matter, as I have already pulled the plug.

Speaking of comas, I cannot function without drinking coffee in the morning, everyday, whether working or not.

My morning coffee is so important that I have not left it to chance, having kept an old French press in case of just such an emergency. However, as events over the past few years have exposed, no emergency plan is without omission of certain important details. In this case, the first being that the coffee I brew is too finely ground to hold up in a French press. My attempt created something resembling cream of coffee soup more than the elixir that helps me hang on.

The second glitch in my plan was that David had the day off too. He possesses the ability to wait to get to work before having morning coffee, but for some reason is unable to wait that long after waking up when he is home. This meant I had to figure out, in my pre- caffeinated state of mind, how to make enough coffee for two with available tools, while he sat in the big green armchair, eating yogurt with peanut butter. I don’t know why he eats peanut butter with yogurt. It’s one of those questions I don’t ask, preserving the sanctity of our marriage.

I came up with another plan, because I’M A NURSE DAMMIT! Have I mentioned that when I was a new grad nurse, one of my many nicknames (I seem to collect them) was MacGyver because of my ability to jimmy-rig supplies at hand to do the job of equipment I can’t find. So, I think to myself, “Hmmm, what if I Ieave the coffee machine’s swing door open, boil water, and pour it over the ground coffee in the filter held by the machine, thereby creating manually dripped coffee?

It didn’t work. The water refused to flow through the ground coffee and filter by gravity. WTH? IV fluids flow by gravity, why not coffee? Dammn it!

This is why I am sitting in my neighborhood bakery, with a sixteen ounce paper cup containing four shots of espresso and just enough water to prevent the stir stick from standing upright. The girl at the counter told me I was doing pretty well for not having coffee yet, but she didn’t see my fumbling fingers while I poured soy milk into the cup, or the struggle to prevent spilling coffee as I found a seat. Thankfully, I’m not at work, trying to start an IV on an unsuspecting patient.

 Good news! Thousands of studies find that drinking coffee might actually be good for you. For more information, watch this video: The Truth About Coffee.

Thank You, Even If It Might be Random

Argonauta: My Back to The Beach mixed media on paper by jparadisi

If the only prayer you ever say is “thank you,” that would suffice.

Meister Eckhart

Thank You.

My oncologist called yesterday afternoon with the test results: I do not have cancer. I do have gi-normus bilateral implant ruptures, which need surgery. David and I saw the MRI results at the oncology office. The ruptures are so huge that the woman who used the word “explode” was actually right. The oncologist validates that my symptoms could definitely be the result of a spontaneous rupture this big. I’m waiting for the scheduler from the plastic surgeon’s office to call.

David was out on a bike ride when the oncologist called. I emailed all my family and friends with the good news before he came home, so he was the last to know. The expressions that flashed across his face when I told him I had the results went from tension, to fear, to joy in the span of a moment. I didn’t cry then, but tears are in my eyes as I write this post. I could see how worried he was, and I felt bad about being the cause of his concern. A part of the worry about recurrence is fear of becoming a burden to this man I love so much. I’m not the only cancer survivor I know who asked herself before she married if it is a fair thing to do to to someone you love. I counsel others that “cancer people need love too,” but I know how they feel.

When I went through surgery and chemotherapy twelve years ago, I made two wishes. I wished to become an artist, and I wished to fall deeply in love and be loved deeply back.

David and I worked together as pharmacist and nurse for ten years before we dated. I didn’t know him personally until I was working light duty during my cancer recovery. During that time, we sat on committees together, and developed a friendship. He knew about my treatment, all my coworkers did. He saw me lose my hair, saw me bald, and saw my hair grow back. Somewhere through all of that, he fell in love with me. I didn’t realize it at first. I mean, we’d worked together for ten years. What kind of man falls in love with a bald, breastless nurse? A damn fine man. The best person I have ever met, and that’s saying a lot, because I know lots of really good people.

We started dating a year after my recovery, and married three years later.

Two weeks ago, while we sat in the waiting room before my MRI, I took off my wedding ring for David to hold while I had the test. Out of his jacket pocket, he pulled the original cardboard box that held the small, velvet jewelry box our wedding rings came in. His ring was already inside the box. “They need to stay together,” he told me. If the tech hadn’t come to get me that moment, I would have cried. In fact, I did cry a little on the MRI table thinking about how good my life is, and how much would be lost if the cancer had recurred.
Thank You.
I don’t know why I am a lucky one. I’ve stopped wondering why I’ve been blessed with such a positive outcome when so many others are not. I am no more special than any of my patients or friends who have succumbed. Most of the time it feels like a poker game and all any of us can do is pick up the cards we are dealt. Maybe it is that random, I don’t know. But if it’s not, Thank You.