Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last post of 2008

Wow, the last post of 2008....hard to believe!!!!

The other night I went to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button & wouldn't you know it.....with about 40 min left to go (the movie is nearly 3 hours long)....the fire alarm at the theater went off. So we all had to go outside & they said they would give us a free ticket, but we couldn't go back & watch our movie. What??? Luckily the fire dept got there quick & cleared it so we were able to watch the ending & get a free ticket too. Whew! It kinda helped that we had a fire drill as the majority of women seeing the movie seemed to need a bathroom break that worked out. The movie was pretty good.....good message I suppose, but I certainly wouldn't call it one of the best movies of the decade like the commercials say. I did admire Brad Pitt as an actor though. I don't usually like him all that much, but he did a good job in this movie.

Last night I didn't work, but I heard they had a Code Black. That is a bomb threat. Eeeeekkkk...scary!!!!!! Turns out it was some idiot in the ER that made a comment in passing about how we hope we don't remember his name when this place blows up later. Ummmm, not the thing to say in a hospital because staff takes that seriously. Police were called, hospital was on lockdown, 2 hour search for a possible bomb and the idiot was arrested & taken to jail. Maybe he learned his lesson.

This friend of my nephew's....I probably mentioned him a long time ago in this blog somewhere. I don't want to say his name, but he was drafted in 2006 & got over a million dollar sign-on bonus because he was such a good baseball player. Anyways, he thought he had the flu...but it turns out it was meningitis. He passed out while at the gym & was rushed to the hospital. He's been on life support for the last 2 to 3 weeks. Every time they try to take him off the respirator, he would have major seizures. No one really knows why. As a result, the respirator would have to remain in place. He's only 20 yrs old - he should be getting better, not worse. Because of the seizures....they would have to give him major doses of anti-seizure medication (hence the reason he needs a respirator). So basically they've had him in a medically induced coma to control the seizures. As of yesterday, he has been breathing on his own & hasn't had anymore seizures...but he has major memory loss. I'm not sure how extensive it is, but I'm hearing it's serious. If you all could say a prayer for him, it would be appreciated. I will keep you updated on his condition. There was a time during the last 2 or 3 weeks that they didn't think he would live. He's not out of the woods yet, but hopefully on his way to a good recovery.

I've got to go now....I'm working tonight....ugh. Oh well, I got to have Thanksgiving & Christmas with my family, so it's time to work the holiday I signed up for. I hope everyone has a safe night tonight & Happy New Year!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Best Reason of All

I heard yesterday the greatest news sister-in-law is now cancer free!!!!!! She had the double mastectomy just over a week ago and they had taken a couple of suspicious lymph nodes at the same time...they turned out to be non-cancerous. Ahhh, I couldn't be happier. Definitely the best reason of all to celebrate.

Merry Christmas!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Few Good Reasons to Celebrate

The first reason to's almost Christmas! I love Christmas even though it seems like it goes by so fast. And I'm 99% done with my shopping thanks to the wild shopping spree I did yesterday. Now I need to wrap...ugh, wrapping. Luckily my niece has volunteered to wrap - so that will help.

Second reason to sister in law is doing quite well after her surgery. She sounded upbeat & like her usual self when I talked to her on Saturday. I'll see her on Christmas day as she is insisting she wants to continue to have the big Christmas celebration we have at her house. It started becoming the tradition 21 years ago...when my oldest nephew was born on Christmas Day. Man, time flies!

Third reason to celebrate...I don't go back to work until Dec 31st. Yay for me! I stopped by last night to drop off my secret Santa gift. I brought my youngest niece with me. It's always so pleasant bringing a non-hospital person into the hospital to see their reactions to all that goes on. According to her...the hospital smells.....I guess I have become immune to that.

Fourth reason to more team nursing at the other hospital. It's about time they came to their senses! Needless to say, it wasn't in time as my other hospital hired yet another one of their nurses. We don't need any more nurses at my regular hospital. Stop hiring! I got called off last week because we are too overstaffed.

Fifth reason to snow. I am watching on tv all the snowstorms around the country & am pleased that it is predicted to be 79 degrees & sunny here on Christmas Day.

I could go on & on.....there are just so many reasons to celebrate life. My back is so sore, my house is a mess & I have a million things to do....but I am happy & thankful for all that I do have.

I bought myself a couple of gifts this year & because I bought them, I get to use them I bought myself a new digital camera and a new cell phone.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas!!! Stay safe & warm!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Is this legal?

I went to the staff meeting today and found out that starting next year (which is next month...eek), my employer is requiring us to divulge any type of history we have. Let me clarify this - they started out saying we need to report if we have been arrested in the past year. Now that is sort of understandable as we don't want some wacko working with the public. Then they went on to say that this includes anything to do with tickets.....except parking tickets. So if we jaywalked, sped, car accident, etc....they need us to be "honest" & list everything that has happened with the law in the last year in our personal life outside of work. What????

Is this even legal? What does my driving record have to do with being a nurse? I swear it's a ploy to decrease the 3% raise we usually get. Is there anyone else whose employer does this? Please let me know!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Just Awesome

Saturday was awesome....just awesome. I got to sleep in, my back felt a million times better, I finished the book Twilight and immediately went to see the movie. I liked the movie better than the book - which was surprising, but they are both pretty entertaining. I'm still not hooked, but I will continue to read the series & see if it gets better. Especially since I heard they are making possibly 3 more movies to follow the books.

The best part of Saturday was seeing Carrie Underwood in concert. She was fantastic. I took my niece Elizabeth and we met Linda (hi Linda!) before the concert to hang out. Our seats were perfect, the music sounded great and Carrie is so beautiful. The concert was long...started around 7:30 and I don't think it ended until about 10:30. Little Big Town opened the show - they were pretty good too, even though I'm not much of a fan of theirs. Time was so much fun. And best of back didn't bother me at all!

Now it's late Sunday afternoon & I have to go get ready for work. Hopefully it will be a good night and that it will go by quickly.

Have a good night everyone!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Whole New Respect

I have a whole new respect for people that are actually able to comply with being on bedrest. Not that I've been ordered to be on bedrest or anything...but I think my back is screaming loud & clear that it would prefer to be in a horizontal stationery position. I just am not able to stay in bed for more than an hour at a time unless I am sleeping.

I've seen plenty of those baby shows on tv where the mom-to-be is ordered to be on bedrest & then they show the mom not complying at all. I remember thinking "I wish someone would order me to stop working and be on bedrest." Now I understand why it's so difficult.

I'm sure it's psychological because if my back were fine and I was able to do the 29,304 things that I need to do, I would be procrastinating by lying in bed for hours at a time. That's just the way my brain works.

Things I have been doing (while trying to rest) to pass the time:

1) Watching the 10 ER's that I had on my DVR. I'm gonna miss that show since this is the last season.

2) Playing "Hospital Hustle" online to make up for calling in sick twice this week. They actually have a game where the nurse runs around doing patient care!

3) Started reading "Twilight", but have yet to see what is so thrilling & addictive about this book. My 12-yr old niece swoons just looking at the cover - she read it in less than 2 days. I'm on page 70...still not loving it, but hoping that I will. I bought the other 3 books that go with the a present to my niece of course (which I plan to read, if I can ever get thru the first one). Amanda....will this pick up or am I just not a Twilight follower???

4) Checking repeatedly to see if the laptop I got for my niece has shipped yet. They say Dec. 18th, but I'm hoping it will be sooner. I got her a pink laptop!

5) Celebrating that I saved about $100 on xbox 360 elite...thanks to If anyone likes the latest deals...that's the place to look. My nephew is gonna be thrilled.

6) Comparing routers as I attempt to get both my niece (with her laptop) and my nephew (with his xbox 360) online. It's confusing to me as 10 people can say "this is the best router ever" while the next 10 say "this is the worst thing ever made." I guess I need to just buy one, hook the stuff up & hope for the best.

7) Thinking of other Christmas presents to buy.

8) Soooooooooo glad I didn't schedule myself to work between Dec 19th & Dec 31st.

9) Thinking about my sister-in-law, her surgery is this Monday.

10) Thinking about my cousin who has stage 4 breast and liver cancer. :(

11) Enjoying as I have run into so many high school classmates on there. And I also get to see (via pictures and video) how my oldest niece is doing in her first year of college.

12) Missing my puppy dog she is at my brother's house as I try to get better.

13) Only 2 more days until my niece & I are going to see Carrie Underwood in concert. Luckily when I bought the tickets...I picked the last row in the first section - which means I don't have to walk down many stairs. And now with the achy back, I can stand up & stretch whenever I want as no one is behind us. Weird how those things work out.

I called in sick to work again yesterday. It was the same charge nurse, but she seemed to be in a better mood. She joked around, didn't ask what was wrong....just said "If you're sick, you're sick." My thoughts exactly. And yes, hardly being able to walk counts as being sick in my world.

It is raining today & I love it. Gives me even more of a reason (mentally) to stay home & inside & in bed.

Hope everyone is having a good day!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


That guilt I was feeling earlier about calling in to's gone. My back is improving, but now it's like the parts of my back, legs & hips that have been compensating for my lower back...well they are stiff & achy. There is no way I could have made it 12 hours at work.

Pam...are they not allowed to ask us why we are calling in? Because they still ask us specifically what is wrong.

Pssst....Santa....please bring me a new heating pad and massager to help this back pain go away. What I have now isn't working.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why Is It.....

Why is it that when a nurse calls in sick to work, the charge nurse has to act like the end of the world will be here at shift change? I could maybe understand if my hospital didn't have enough staff...but trust me when I say the nightshift is filled to its capacity & beyond. Why can't they just say "I hope you feel better soon" instead of "Oh nooooo, that means I need to find another nurse...%@$%&."

As you could probably tell from the paragraph above, I called in to work today. I am still very achy, stiff & sore. It's better...but I haven't really walked around for more than 5 minutes at a the thought of dedicating 12 hours straight of the unknown...well, that's not happening for me tonight.

I am fine if I am sitting or laying down, it's the walking around part that is difficult. I'm trying to think back to last year when I hurt my back very badly or the times before that - how long it took until I was feeling much better......but I can't remember. I suppose that is a good thing as I also can't remember how painful it was either. Guess that's the mind's way of blocking out the pain...erase the memory nearly completely.

Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow as I am scheduled to work. If not, I won't hesitate to call in - no matter how much of a guilt trip they try. I'm not going to prolong my pain, I want to heal & be better. I know moving around is good & I'm fine with that...but some shifts can be non-stop & I know I can't handle that physically right at this moment. And really...what patient wants their nurse to be hobbling around in pain? How safe would that patient feel? So it's not only good for me, but also my potential patients.

I'm left wondering & hoping some of you will I the only one that gets the guilt trip when calling off of work? I mean we are entitled to sick days - so why do they make such a big deal when we actually use them?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Another Why Did I Do That?

I was taking a shower before going to work last night. I leaned over to start shaving my leg & I heard a "pop"....then pain. Ugh! It was after 5, so I couldn't call in....I hobbled to work hoping for a good night. It was my lucky night - when I got there I saw that they had me down as a unit secretary. I love that because it is an easy job & I mostly was able to sit in one spot so I wasn't really straining my already injured back. Plus I got to go home at 11 as it wasn't very busy.

I came home, went to bed and woke up sorer than ever. Back pain like this happens to me about once or twice a year - so I'm no stranger to it. Of course, at the moment, it feels like this pain will never get better...but I know it takes time. I'm off of work until Tuesday. I hope I feel better by then...back to bed I go.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Why Did I Do That?

I went to work last night and forgot to bring some coke. Not the illegal stuff, but the drink brand. It's not so much that I forgot it, rather I left it in my car & I was too lazy to walk out to my car to get it. So what happens when one (such as me) does that? It makes me crave it more than ever. I'm sure if I had it sitting in my bag, I wouldn't have wanted it...but reverse psychology got me.

I left work & while driving by a Wendy's restaurant - it suddenly dawns on me that a large diet coke sounds like a lifesaver at 7:30 in the morning. I'm not a coffee drinker, but a coke drinker. Fast forward approx an hour & my 64 oz of diet coke is gone. No, not gone as in missing.....but gone as I drank the whole gigantic cup.

Now I'm asking myself...why in the world would I drink 64 ozs of liquid right before going to bed??? Why??????

My evening started out a little chaotic last night - due to staffing. They have this new rule that when they float us an ICU nurse...she can only float to the second floor - because the poor lil ICU nurses are not used to having to take care of 5 patients at a time and we need to keep them as close to their unit as possible - because they are familiar with their unit & supply location, etc. So then that forces the 2nd floor PCU nurse to then have to float to Med-Surg or the 3rd floor.

Needless to say, we 2nd floor nurses are getting tired of being moved all over the place to accomodate everyone else. Personally I think that is ICU is overstaffed...then send home the extras rather than calling off PCU nurses in order to make room for ICU. I know this isn't making sense to most of you, but I think any nurse would somewhat understand this.

I'm exhausted...heading to bed.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Team Nursing - who came up with this crappy idea?

Anyone ever had to do team nursing before? Does it ever work? At the other hospital I work at PRN, they decided to try this concept (yet again) starting last August or so. I think it's the main reason why I don't work there very often. This is the scenario:

One RN, another RN or an LPN and one care for up to 12 patients. The RN does all of the assessments and all of the charting. The other RN or LPN does the meds, dressing changes, etc. And the PCT does the patient care. Now it sounds ideal on paper, but in reality, it's a lot of responsibility for the RN. So on the night shift, we tend to cheat a little bit...instead of one nurse assessing 12 patients, we split the patient load and make it 6 patients for one nurse, 6 patients for the other nurse. You know....what normal nursing take care of your patients, I'll take care of mine. If you need any help, let me know. Well, seems administration has caught on to this & wants it stopped. They want us to follow the exact model they have laid out.

I just don't think my brain has the ability &/or the capacity to take care of 12 patients. 5 seems to be my limit, but I can adjust to 6 if I absolutely have to...but that's pushing it. I am willing to bet that I wouldn't even be able to remember 12 patients names & room numbers - much less why they are here, what the treatment plan is, how they are doing, assessments, meeting their needs, etc. At first I thought maybe I was getting old & alzheimers (or mad cow if you're a Boston Legal fan) was kicking in...but there have been about 10 staff RN's at that hospital that have quit due to the stress of being forced to take care of up to 12 patients at a time. Something like 5 of them are now hired at my usual hospital - because we do normal nursing with a max patient load of 5 per nurse.

I think if we were well-staffed, it could maybeeeeeeee work...but how often is a hospital well-staffed? For instance, the other night we had one patient care tech for almost 30 patients. That is insane. This isn't a nursing home we are running - it's an acute care hospital. So all the tech was capable of doing was vital signs. The rest of the patient care fell on us...the nurses. It's impossible to do what they require us to do. And it's unfortunate because administration is determined to make it work. Hence, I will not be working there all that often unless things improve. Not only is my nursing license at risk, but patient care is also risky. I wish that the administrators would come to the floor & work as a nurse even if for only one shift. Yes...I know, I'm dreaming. That would never happen.

I also wish that instead of administration looking for ways to cut costs, that they'd instead focus on finding ways to increase revenue. I know...yet another dream of mine.

I can see why so many nurses leave bedside nursing these days. So much responsibility and stress falls on us....we can't please administration, we can't please the doctors, we can't please the patients....we can't even do the true job of nursing the way it should be done.

I had to call a doctor last night at 2:30 in the morning because my patient's heart rate was sustaining 140's-150's. This is not a pleasant doctor, but I had to make the call. I wake him up & he's trying to figure out who the patient is that I'm calling about. He says to me "Isn't she a DNR?" Even if she was.....we still treat the elevated heart rate. DNR does not mean do not treat. Anyways, I assure him that no...there is no order in her chart saying she is a DNR. He says "Well, make her one." What? No. I'm not taking that order considering the circumstances...I just woke him up, he isn't even sure which patient this is or what her code status no, I'm not taking that order over the phone. He can write it when he comes in.............really though, out of all the forms we make patients sign while they are in the hospital - I don't understand why we don't have a mandatory code status type form - so there is no doubt whatsoever. Nope, all a doctor has to do is write DNR and it's an order. We don't truly know if the patient or their family has consented to it - we're just supposed to take the doctor's word for it. Kind of ridiculous, if you ask me.

So, after refusing - politely of course - to take that order....he starts to order a medication to treat her heart rate. He has this accent that makes it nearly impossible for me to understand what he's saying & add into it that he's still half asleep. So I keep trying to repeat what I think he might be saying...which annoys him even more. I mean how awful of me to want to confirm the order to make sure it's correct. What's wrong with me? So half way thru that order he says forget it & starts ordering another medication. He was making me mad because he was ordering Cardizem...which is fine....but by mouth. How long will that take to kick in & lower her heart rate? A few hours? I looked it up on the drug handbook & sure said it takes 2 to 3 hours to start working. Ugh....I don't like seeing my patients heart rate tacking away at 150 for 3 hours waiting for the medicine to take effect. I don't know if the doctor was just an idiot & didn't know to order something IV or he was just going along in his mind that she was a DNR & there was no real rush to do anything to help her. So aggravating. By the time I left, her heart rate was still in the 120's.

I'm working 3 more shifts this week - need to make a little extra money for Christmas. I'm at my usual hospital - so even if things are awful - it's still ok. We don't have team nursing there, but we work together a zillion times better than this other hospital. Someone is always willing to help...most times without you even having to ask. I think it's because as staff...we get along well & it makes us want to help each other - as opposed to being forced into it.

I have a travel nurse recruiter offering me a job in West Palm Beach. There are some days I feel like I should take it....

Monday, December 1, 2008

Insane I tell you...insane

I have been quite happy the last few hours and you want to know why? Because for the first time in about 3 or 4 months...I finally got the schedule I wanted at work. This is the highlight of my week...maybe even my month. You see...we have self-scheduling, which is kind of a joke now that we have 93428094 night nurses all vying for approx 12 openings on the night shift per night. I am usually one of the last to know about when the schedule is available to sign up & by the time I get there - I am pretty much guaranteed the only thing open is Wednesdays and the weekends. I don't mind working Wednesdays and the weekends...just not every single week!

I managed to sign up today on the very first day the schedule was available. This is rare...purely lucky. I'm thinking I should run out & buy a lottery ticket. I'm insane I tell you...insane!

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. Mine was happy and sad. It is always nice having the family together. As I get older, I cherish this more & more. In the back of my mind, I'm always thinking "I wonder how many more of these we have left." I know...that's grim - not a good thought. My greatest fear is losing someone close to me. So it was a blessing to all be together if only for a few hours. We have fun Thanksgivings too. No fighting - everyone gets along rather well.

The downside of Thanksgiving was seeing my sister-in-law's sister who had the brain aneurysm. She was so different than usual. Any noise really bothered her - her head hurt. She spent most of the afternoon laying down and left early. This is not the woman that I know. She is usually perky & fun. I hope she is able to recover from this.

I also got news that my sister-in-law's surgery is scheduled for Dec. 15th. She's having a double mastectomy and they will also be checking to see if any of the lymph nodes have cancer. I'm praying she will be ok. In a weird way it has made our family closer, but still, I wish she didn't have to be dealing with this. She is one of the most wonderful women that I have ever met. It just isn't fair.

I'll be off of work from Dec 19th until the be available if she needs me. It will also be the break I need before heading into January & focusing on a month full of overtime. It's our busy season at work & my savings account is really hurting. So it's time I buckled down & do what I need to do.

I worked last night. It was rather bizarre. I don't think I've ever encountered so many confused patients before. And they feed off of what the others are doing. One joke, would press his call light at least 50 times an hour. He didn't want anything...just felt like pressing it. He said it was his schizophrenia making him do it. Ummm, ok. One of my patients...she would literally be drinking water & at the same time...yelling at me for not getting her any water. I'd have to remind her it was in her hand & she was currently drinking which she'd reply "Oh." Then 10 seconds later it would start all over again. Another patient was a 100 yrs old & at 2:30 in the morning, she decided she had to be somewhere. Anywhere but at the hospital. She didn't know where she was going, but she had to be there. We had another patient yelling from her bed "Are you all running a restaurant out there? You seem pretty busy." You can't help but smile with some of the comments they come up with. For all those nursing students who are declaring they don't want to go into psych me....all nursing is a form of psych nursing!

I had a doctor come up to me this morning - he wasn't on call over the weekend and another doctor admitted a patient under his name. So he asks me what is going on with the patient. I give him the brief rundown & he remains standing there looking at me. Ummm...what else ya need to know doc? His reply "What am I suppose to be doing for this patient?" What kind of question is that? You're the primary doctor, go in & assess him & take it from there. I know it's a Monday, but come on!

On a final note...vampires seem to be the latest trend in my house. My 12 yr old niece decided this past weekend she had to read the book Twilight. I figured it was a good idea - as she wants to see the movie & why not read the book first. This book has something like 500 pages. I thought it would take her at least a week to read it. less than a day & a half...she was finished & repeatedly saying "This is the best book ever!" We ran out on Sunday hoping to find the second part - but it's nowhere to be found. I ordered it on Amazon, but it seems to be backordered & who knows when we'll get it. I plan on reading Twilight in the next week or two.

Plus I discovered HBO's series "True Blood." Is anyone else watching this fascinating series? I'm hooked! More later.