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Little Package Archive : nurse

in 2002, I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon. I then practiced, mostly as a travel, agency and float nurse, until May 2009 when I decided the U.S. health care system is beyond broken and nursing is not good for my sanity. I sometimes wrote about it, but most the stories cannot be told. My training still applies to daily life situations, though.

Everybody Does It

After being a nurse for a few years I started to notice that I talked about poop more than most other things. Even in mixed company. I found talking about poop… easy. And humorous. Why didn’t everyone want to talk about the funniest thing, ever, in detail, all the time, I wondered?

For me, poop is hilarious because we all do it pretty much every day, but nobody talks about it. The less we talk about something, the funnier it can be if poked at. Beyond that, it’s this incredible by-product and proof of our metabolism — our living. It’s also pure, stinky death. That’s fascinating! And with all the stories I accumulated having to do with poop in the hospitals, I could talk about it all day. I am not exaggerating.

Now poop is taboo, but what’s even more taboo is pooping in anything but a toilet.

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Collarbone – 6 weeks, 5 days out

So this is my new right collarbone. I’m pretty happy — as happy as one can be, I guess — with the new shape. And I’m proud that I healed it myself, trusting nature to do its job (though that was tough sometimes). There are some fairly good resources online for people with broken collarbones wanting to know what to do. I really had no idea, and never went to the doctor, so I did a lot of Googling. I got the most (but not necessarily the best) information from these two websites:

Pinkbike broken collarbone recovery time Of course that’s the first thing people want to know. How long will I endure this hell? – John’s Clavicle Page Lay expert-ish, though a bit pro-surgery.

Some things I learned:

1) It doesn’t matter what sling you use, figure-8 or arm sling. Doctors will argue over… continue reading

Mr. Smith’s Deathbed Joke

I was telling this story last night and it’s just too good not to write up. I think it’s one of the very best penis-related stories I took away from my nursing career. You’re warned, so keep reading.

One fairly quiet evening on a orthopedic ward I entered another nurse’s patient’s room to request her help with my patient. Seeing that she was in the middle of bathing her patient, I stepped in to help her in the hopes she would then return the favor. She made it very clear she was very busy, probably too busy to help me afterward, so I just stayed to help her instead. Her patient was a very frail and dying elderly man, laying for the most part exposed for a bed bath. Right away I noticed there was a problem with his penis.

I won’t name names, because this nurse was someone I… continue reading

How to Visit a Sick Person in the Hospital

I’ve been meaning to write something like this for a long time. Even though I haven’t been working as a nurse for the past two years, I am still an RN, and have plenty experience in hospitals to write something didactic. Between 2001 and 2009 I had experience working in eleven different hospitals and over thirty different hospital units. My field was medical surgical nursing and my specialities were medicine, GI, Women’s Health, L&D, Mother/Baby, Ortho/Neuro, total joint, rehabilitation, cardiac/telemetry, renal/transplant, bariatrics, burns, trauma, and transplant. I did a little bit of everything… except OR, ICU, PACU, and ER. If you are visiting a sick person in the ICU or ER, parts of this primer won’t apply.

How to visit a sick person. I feel like this is a long lost etiquette. In simpler times and in many other countries but our own, family would assume a huge role in… continue reading

A Boost

In nursing lingo, a “boost” is where you use sheets placed underneath a patient to help lift the patient towards the head of the bed. Because the head of a hospital bed raises mechanically, patients just tend to slide down towards the foot. Boosting is something nursing staff do frequently, every day. In fact, boost is probably the most common word spoken in hospital hallways, and there is even universal pantomime for “Can I get a boost?,” which looks a little like a lateral jump-rope swing.

This afternoon I was boosting an elderly patient and her husband decided to help me on the other side of the bed. He pulled hard and the patient soared quickly towards the headboard, making me exclaim, “You almost put her through the headboard!” The old woman smiled and quipped, “He does that all the time at home.”

Oh dear. I felt my cheeks burning.

Peanut Butter Solution

I’m was thinking just now, and intermittently through Sunday, about the magic of peanut butter sandwiches. On Saturday I cared for a kind-souled quadriplegic man. After I remarked on the large scar on his coccyx, he told me that for five years he suffered a bedsore there. He, his wife, doctors and nurses tried everything to make it heal. When someone suggested he eat peanut butter sandwiches daily, he did, and within two weeks the sore magically healed. I think about it and want to say of course it was the extra protein that did the trick, but my whimsical side believes it was the trick that did the trick.

Speaking of tricks, I “sandbagged” the sport category at the Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Series last night, thinking I would be duelling it out with Susan for first place. She switched last minute to the expert category, leaving… continue reading

I Did What? Without Chapstick?

So the other evening I dragged myself out in 90+ degree weather and rode the Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Series without chapstick. I swear if I had had chapstick I could have won the race, but I didn’t. Stupid, stupid stupid.

The race was fun, especially the muddy parts (which I detoured through in order to get as muddy as possible, of course). I am feeling the rutted parts and whoop-dee’s in my lower back, though. Having low back pain makes me feel vulnerable, like an articulated insect must feel when the ground shakes.

This evening found me in the most wildly hilarious of positions. Never in a million years would I have believed it if someone had told me that one day I’d find myself on my belly at the end of an occupied patient’s bed, arms over one side, legs over the other, re-learning the yoga… continue reading

Things Other Nurses Do (Not for the Faint of Heart)

In the world of hospital nursing, there is not very much that makes me nauseated. But Lorna* got me nauseated.

You see, every once in a while a senior nurse will do something they don’t teach in school. Whether it be an outmoded technique, a time-saving trick, or something completely off-target, it always provides insight into the suspiciously – frighteningly – vast scope of nursing practice. What Lorna did had me thinking one of us had clear missed her calling.

Last year I wrote a rap about one nurse’s outmoded, off-target, time-saving trick (NSFW, ironically). This year I write a limerick about Lorna’s:

Whenever Lorna spots comedones Something inside her comes undone She launches her attack extracts noodles from a back And sure is proud of what she’s won

*Name changed for anonymity of the offender. Spurred by my facetious goading, Lorna did later obtain an unofficial… continue reading

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