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Friday, July 26, 2013

My Vacation?

I got a phone call this morning from the nurse who has been seeing my patients this week.  I thought that two of them would pass before I got back to work, and I was correct.  Today, she was calling me about another patient who isn't doing well, and after the second call, she promised not to call me any more today.  She asked how my vacation is going.  The simple answer is that I need to go back to work so that I can give my back a rest.

I thought I would be done unloading and putting all my stuff away by Wednesday and have the rest of the week to myself to bask in the glory of the sun out by our gorgeous pool.  You can probably guess that I haven't made it there yet.  M went back to work Wednesday, so it has been largely up to me to unload, unpack, and get some things organized.  It hasn't been pretty, and it's still not all the way done.  The kitchen is clean and organized.  The bathroom is well on its way to being organized.  We're operating without a linen closet and a medicine cabinet (things that we had in the old place), and we're having to adapt to a new arrangement of space.  I'm giving away my oak furniture, and we're replacing big items with smaller ones. The exception to that is the TV.  Until two weeks ago, I still had my old fashioned HUGE TV.  It has since been replaced by a new smart TV that makes the geek in M very happy.  I wonder where all the cords, plugs, and gizmos will go in this new place.  Personally, I vote for the garage.  However, that has yet to be determined.

Yesterday, I did take a break.  Before I went to get under-cabinet shelving, I went to see Sarah the acupuncturist.  We had a great session.  Afterward, I got an over-priced pedicure from a place that did not much care for customer service.  The price on the list showed 25.00, and I thought I was getting a great deal for the mint scrub and hot towels, etc.  I was a surprised at the 45.00 charge at the end of the session.  The lady doing my pedicure wasn't interested in engaging me in conversation or in listening when I asked her to pay more attention to one of my toes.  She was busy speaking Vietnamese to her friend working on the lady next to me.   Someone forgot to teach an etiquette class in their cosmetology school.  Fortunately, the pedicure looks great, but I will be happy to find somewhere else to get my next one.  It's highly likely that I will repaint my nails with the red color I have here at home.

My highlight for today, so far, has been reading my friend's blog, Of Pie and Palestrina.  I got a couple of good recipes for cool, refreshing summertime foods.  I will try making some hummus this weekend!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Medical Center Memories and Gratitude for Today

A large group of my Facebook friends are people I have worked with through the years, a significant number of them from my time at the Medical Center.  Lots of people have speculated on the mental health of doctors and  nurses as a general population.  We do this among ourselves from time to time as well.  One thing is for sure, we are all a bunch of characters.  Recently, I heard about one of these characters passing away.  He was the cool dude, "too cool for school," one post said of him.  I know a few funny stories on him, and it made me think of lots of other people I have worked with through the years.  

Sometimes we had to laugh so we wouldn't cry.  Sometimes we cried anyway.  Way too many shifts, we were short staffed, struggling to do the best we could to take care of our patients. Lots of times, we were short on equipment or supplies, and sometimes we managed to make a difference.  Many shifts, we would come to work even though we didn't feel the greatest because we didn't want to let our co-workers down. Sometimes, we didn't hold it together, and there was a meltdown or a battle between two big egos anyway. No matter which department in the hospital, the politics of the moment prevailed.  Sometimes it left us feeling unappreciated, disposable. Memories of patients, workplace friendships, and working conditions have shaped who we are as caregivers.  

In another Facebook post from some of this group of nurses, they remembered someone whom they attempted to resuscitate, their best effort given.  Over the years, I have been involved in more human attempts at resurrection than I care to remember.  It is there that I realize that although I miss my buddies, I don't miss working in the hospital.  It was during a night shift in ER that I was involved in a resuscitation attempt that it occurred to me that this might not be the best thing for our patient, but being bound by law to make every effort to preserve life, I was obliged to perform chest compressions (thereby cracking ribs) on a dead woman.  She didn't live through this attempt.  The doctor came into the room shortly after the attempt started to tell us to stop.  If the medics couldn't get in an ET tube and get her heart started again during that 20 minute ambulance ride, what would this woman have had to look forward to if we had been successful?

As I write this, I remember the five Reiki principles.  When I'm in a work environment whose mission is in line with my personal beliefs, it is much easier to remember these things throughout my day.  Hospice seems to be the right fit for me at this time in my life.  

1:  Just for today, I will not be angry
2:  Just for today, I will not worry
3:  Just for today, I will be grateful
4:  Just for today, I will do my work honestly
5:  Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Adventitious Breath Sounds

Those of you who know me personally understand that I am not one to let things just roll off my back. Today was one of those days that I lost my zen. In hospice, it is required by medicare that we have an interdisciplinary team meeting every two weeks. It was there the drama occurred.

I got a text from a daughter about some changes in her mother's condition. She asked for advice. As it was Sunday, and I wasn't on call, I instructed her to call the triage nurse. The nurse made a visit and left report on our voice mail service for me to pick up. In that report, she described some abnormal breath sounds. By the time of the meeting, I didn't remember what her exact words were to describe those breath sounds, so in my report, I said that the nurse auscultated some adventitious breath sounds. The doctor at the meeting ridiculed me for using the word 'adventitious.' He thought it was an archaic word that isn't used any more. He said that I used it incorrectly because it is used to describe normal breath sounds. I spelled the word, as it could easily be mistaken for the word 'advantageous' (you feel my blood pressure rising,  right?) He proceeded to continue his derogatory tirade, when I demanded to know what this actually has to do with patient care. I continued to talk about my patient's condition. My supervisor was at this meeting. She and one of my colleagues looked up the word as I was giving report. They showed that definition to Dr. Congeniality when I finished. The word means 'abnormal' and is used to describe sounds auscultated through a stethoscope pertaining to the lungs (not chest wall sounds or the friction heard from the stethoscope rubbing on clothing). 

When I got home, I told Mark about the meeting. I was still upset about the 'bitch' coming out. It is an energy drain to defend oneself from a bully and to not tolerate being bullied. Mark's advice is to turn the tables with the phrase, "Oh, really, " in an equally condescending tone. Maybe I will try that, or maybe I will refuse to go to the meeting again until the culture in the workplace is cleaned up.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


The last post was about someone I had been thinking of, but don't care to contact again. Today,  the opposite is true. I met a friend whom I haven't seen in a year. We picked up where we left off. We talked about friends, our latest hairstyles, and our men (Of course, I saw her latest photos of her grandson). There wasn't any drama about our visit, but that's what I appreciated the most. We just made plans to do it again soon and invite another friend to join the party.