Category Archives: General bitching

Feast

I have over fifty mosquito bites on my legs below my knees. I woke twice last night to find myself scratching my legs furiously.

I have been taking benadryl and applying cortisone cream around the clock, but I still want to scratch my legs until they are bloody stumps. It’s even worse than the time we inadvertently kayaked into a stagnant marsh in Miami.

I now realize that there is another depth of misery to be reached beside pain and nausea. Itching.

Just drug me until they’re gone, okay?

Major venting

When I work, I do not sit at a desk all day. I work twelve straight hours, usually with no lunch except what I can choke down standing up betweens tasks. When I do get to sit, it’s briefly to do charting.

I get up to four patients to take care of at a time. Sometimes more, if another nurse is occupied. Any down time I get is spent helping my coworkers. They do the same for me. We work as a team.

When a patient comes in, I get vitals, perform triage, dress wounds, draw blood for labs, do a focused, then complete assessment. I record and reconcile all their medications, I put in orders for tests and procedures. I start IV lines, insert foley catheters, do EKGs, install nasogastric tubes, suction secretions. I apply pressure dressings, clean wounds, perform stroke assessments. I interview patients and their families, provide reassurance and give updates. I calm angry people, try to wake lethargic people, calculate IV drip rates and dosages. Most of this I do before the doctor has even seen the patient. I move quickly to provide comprehensive, exceptional care.

The patients do not come in at a steady, evenly spaced rate. We can get five ambulances within a half hour, along with two chest pains that walk in at the same time. We make sure patients are taken care of immediately, no matter what else is going on. That’s what patients want. When I am triaging one person, another may need medications or procedures. Another may need to be discharged or need a drip started, or be admitted. As soon as one room is emptied, it is usually filled again quickly.

Some patients require more care than others. A simple fracture may require pain med, xray and splinting. An abdominal pain requires a lot of time and work. A chest pain or a stroke must be taken care of very quickly. A psych patient can take a lot of a nurse’s time. A patient may have pain issues or toileting needs that cannot wait.

Today we had only three nurses all day when we should have had five. We had a great doctor and wonderful support staff, but each of the nurses had to perform the duties of 1.66 nurses. The computers were down for over half the shift, and when they came back up, there were many glitches to work out. It could have been much worse, but it wasn’t. We worked hard, we didn’t eat lunch, we didn’t sit much at all. But we gave great care.

So when I came home to a kitchen piled with dirty pans and cups and filthy counters and a sink full of dishes, I was unhappy. I didn’t want microwaved red meat for dinner. All I wanted was not to have to work anymore today. That’s all I wanted.

Well, that and maybe a hug.

News of the day

Thought I’d update since it’s been a while. And so much has been going on!

I am on my seventh week of methotrexate. I don’t feel anything but mild nausea, maybe a little inattention and spaciness, but that’s it. It’s no big deal. The iritis and scleritis are gone. The CT of my orbits and sinuses was negative, so there is really no reason for my behind-the-eye pain and headache. So I will just forget about them and carry on. I see my eye doctor and the orbit doctor next week, so maybe we can figure out why my left eye stays swollen.

Koby and Caitlyn are engaged and plan to marry toward the end of June. Her ring is beautiful and they are both so happy planning their honeymoon. We’re just psyched we get to have Owen while they’re gone!

Stefanie’s shower is this weekend. We have been planning and working on this for a while and it’s finally almost here – we’re so excited! Stefanie is gonna pass away when she sees what we have planned. I can’t wait!

Bill has figured out how to make separate playlists for his ipod so he can rotate content periodically, so he’s really happy. He’s working on this project for hours each day. I’m not so happy about this. He’s also in the best shape since he was a young man. He’s feeling great and I’m happy for him.

Ryan had the hardware in his leg removed and is now just about fully recovered. It was rough on him, but he got through it. I’m just glad it’s over and we don’t have to think about it anymore. He stays busy with work and friends and Michela. He seems happy but tired. I think he’s looking for a change.

Decky is busy drumming and playing tennis. He’s not been sleeping very well lately and I think it’s due to stress at school. He really doesn’t like it. They’re considering him for the gifted program, but the evaluation takes a few months. If he gets in, he’ll get out of his classroom for a while each day. I’m crossing my fingers. His second grade teacher is a fierce advocate for him. She’s a blessing to us.

Work is work. I gave my presentation to the nurse practice council last month, and now it looks like more people want me to give the talk to their departments. I don’t think I’ll be doing that until I get part-time status back. Why do all the extra work when I don’t get any credit toward the clinical ladder for it?

And I’ll be getting the veins on my left leg taken care of soon. I thought I would never bother with them again, but my brother has inspired me to do it. I have another thirty or so years left on these legs so I guess I better do the maintenance. I don’t want major problems down the road.

I haven’t been exercising lately because my eye pressure has been elevated. I’m hoping that gradual weaning off the steroid drops will resolve that issue, and I’ll be able to get back on the treadmill (or out on the trails) soon.

Cait and I leave for Chicago Friday, so we’re hustling to get everything done and settled before we leave. It’s stressful, but we’re going to have so much fun!

Charge

Those three dogs charged Cait and Owen again this afternoon. They were getting into her car in my driveway, and the dogs came out of nowhere.

I ran out the front door, screaming and waving my arms, charging them hard. I chased those sonsabitches all the way up to the holes in their fence, through which they returned to their yard. Their owner, who was sitting on his butt watching his giant-screen TV, came to the back door to let them in, and I started yelling at him.

I told him how we are getting charged by these dogs every single day, how my two-year-old grandson gets charged, my eight-year-old son can’t even ride his scooter without getting chased and barked at, how they might not bite, but who knows? I told him how aggressive they are, and pointed out the holes in the fence. Ryan was right behind me, yelling and backing me up. We were a sight, I admit.

The dog owner didn’t apologize, just told me it was on his list of things to do. I begged him to fix it right away. He shrugged and went inside.

I expected nothing and thought about what I would do when it happened again.

When we returned from a dinner out, Decky, Bill and I saw that the dog owner had put up some wire fencing by a couple of the holes. He left at least one or two still unblocked, but we were so happy to see that he had done something, anything.

All we can hope is that tomorrow he’ll cover the other holes, and we won’t ever have to be scared walking out our front door again.
Because, let me tell you, it won’t be pretty. Nobody threatens my babies’ safety – nobody.

Update #3409603

– Decky didn’t get a chance to practice his drums today. After early release from school, he went to Nick’s house, then straight to football practice, then did homework. There was just no time. Tomorrow morning, I expect to hear him. Real early.

– Ryan is probably already in St Louis with his friend Denys. Next stop tomorrow: Chicago!

– Worked all day. How come all the nice ones have something terribly wrong with them, like a new cancer?

– So far, I really like the new ED doctors.

– I got five pounds of Missouri pecans in the mail today. I can’t wait to use them!

– Tomorrow I have a cooking class on “The Magical Bean.” Yes, my family will be able to eat all kinds of beans now. I bet that’ll go over like a rock.

– The painter applied some samples to the exterior of the house. The trim is an off-white and the walls are a gray-putty color. Do you think that will go okay with the rusty red roof? Could somebody please come out and help me with this one? Mom?

– Didn’t see or talk to Owen, Cait or Stef today.

– We were invited to four weddings in October. One in Chicago, which we can’t attend. One on the 9th in KC that we can’t go to. One on the 2nd in Lawrence, one on the 23rd downtown. Then one weekend, we’ll be in Galena, one I have to work, and one is Halloween. Yeesh.

– Dani’s shower is the 25th of this month. Too bad the house won’t be painted by then, because we’re having it here. I wonder how many people are coming? Better make some calls.