Sunday, July 31, 2011

The perils of changing the subject

My patient was quite the talker.

This can be a problem when I have a narrow window in which to see all my patients and get vital signs, pass medications, listen to hearts and lungs, and put out fires. Talkers, while fun to be around, slow me down.

Thus, I have been carefully honing the art of integrating conversation with necessary nursing tasks. We chat while I chart on the computer, put pills in little paper cups, check oxygen levels, and hunt around for the ever-elusive pulses in their feet.

This time it backfired.

Patient: Talk talk talk talk talk talk talk

Me: Oh yeah? Uh huh, uh huh. Take a deep breath for me.

Patient: Talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk

Me: No way! What's your pain level at from 0-10?

Patient: Talk talk talk...I have a huge movie collection at home.

Me: Wow, you must really like movies. When was your last bowel movement?

Patient: This morning. A big one.


Patient: I'd say you could fill up that wall by the window and this wall next to me with it.


Me: Um, your bowel movement?

Patient: NO! My movie collection!

Me: [Rendered speechless by giggling]

Me: [Composure regained] Sorry, you changed the subject on me!

Patient: No, I think you were the one that changed the subject.


Note to readers: If you don't know what a bowel movement is, you can learn more about it here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nurses make a difference every day

Today constituted 14 hours of unscheduled bliss. No work. No traveling. Nada.

So I binged.

On cleaning, that is.

-Swept and mopped the kitchen floors
-Filled the dishwasher, ran it, and filled it again
-Baked bread and cookies and made hummus
-Returned library books
-Grocery shopped and put that away too
-Found an inspiring blog
-Cleaned the bathroom (ugh)
-Cleaned the stove (double ugh)

And saved a life.

An intruder came uninvited into my kitchen. I found him running for his life. Then he changed tactics and froze. Bad tactic. He stopped way out there in the open. I could smell his fear. I'm sure he could smell mine. And hear it, because I yelped like a sissy.

I looked around for instruments of murder. Something that would quickly and easily squelch the life out of him and put me out of my misery.

Then, inexplicably, I felt a new sensation rising in my chest. Kinda warm and soft and calming. The murderous gleam began to leave my eyes. I decided violence wasn't the answer. There's room enough in this big world for both of us! We can all live together in peace.

And I took the little arachnid outside, heart pounding and palms sweating. But I did it.

Nurses make a difference every day.

A conversation in the morning

[Isaac is wearing a dark gray shirt and brown shorts]

C: Isaac, I don't think gray and brown go together

I: So?

C: Well, they don't go together

I: Are you telling me this for you or for me?

C: Huh?

I: Are you telling me this so I don't embarrass myself or because you don't want to look at me? Because if it's for me, I don't care.

C: Well, I guess it's for you, because I don't really care what you're wearing. I didn't marry you just because of your looks

I: For me it was 70/30

C: 70% looks and 30% personality? 

I: Yup

C: What happens when I get old and ugly?

I: You'll still have the 30%. And I promise to love you the full 30%

Note: He didn't change his clothes.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The good stuff

I think it's important to have a positive outlook on life. I'm trying to focus on the good stuff right now.

So I'm not going to mention the abominable heat and humidity wave that is keeping me as housebound as I was in the dead of winter.

And I wouldn't dream of bringing up my four mosquito bites.

Or the fact that my body is trying once again to switch back to Central time from Tokyo time (or night shift time).

Nor could I ever be so heartless as to complain about the confused old woman I had the other night that screamed the f-word at me while I tried to draw her blood and put in a urinary catheter.

And of course this would be the last place I would ever mention how some of her urine splashed on my face during that process.

And because none of that was worth mentioning, I also won't bring up her reeking gangrenous foot ulcer.

Since I'm not brining any of that stuff up, instead I will show you what I found on my doorstep when I came home after the urine-splashing incident:

Cutest. Cookies. Ever.
Also on that doorstep was a thank-you note from my neighbor, which I have no picture for but which probably made me equally happy. 

And this is what my rock star husband sent me for the 5-year anniversary of when we started dating:

Other good things in my life: 

-A trip to Nauvoo to see the pageant and Carthage with two old roommates and a very cute baby

-Free ginger cookies at the bakery during the afore-mentioned trip

-Isaac's internship countdown: only 9 days until he comes home!

-I'm in Chicago visiting him right now anyway

-I have two nephews on the way

-And the mosquito bites are healing nicely. Thanks for asking. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Life in the Windy City

As previously alluded to, Isaac is living in Chicago for the summer doing a marketing internship for his MBA. I am still in Iowa, working away at the hospital and trying not to get scared at night.

Because even though I know that the area underneath our bed is entirely occupied with boxes, part of me still fears getting under the covers at night.

What if something grabs my ankle as I climb into bed? Someone could be hiding under there all day long, just waiting for me to turn off the lights at bedtime.

The 3 seconds from light switch to mattress are pure terror.

Luckily for my sanity Chicago is close enough to visit fairly frequently, and we've had a wonderful time exploring it together.

Isaac and I standing on Navy Pier. That's Chicago in the background.

There is a glass shelf at the top of the Willis tower that allows you to see all the way down. You can't tell from a photo, but we're quaking in our boots. It's surprisingly scary.

Probably the best part of Chicago. Giordano's stuffed pizza. So. Much. Cheese.

The Bean. A famous but weird...sculpture? Monument? 

The face fountain in Millenium Park. The face on that screen changes occasionally. Kinda weird, but all the water on the ground was very refreshing on a hot day.
Fun as visiting Chicago is, I just want my husband back in the same city as me. Protecting me from whatever is under the bed.