Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy holidays

Working in a hospital creates some interesting moments. It's Christmas time for me right now but for a lot of the people I work with it's just another week. Over Christmas we close beds and shut down the operating room. We limit everything to emergency only.
I wonder ..Is that really fair?
Some of our doctors aren't Christians or even worse don't celebrate Christmas and yes, I can feel their frustration with this interference in their income. You don't make any money not operating.
We don't close the OR down this long for any other holiday in the year. Passover gets one day.
I love Christmas and I am very glad to get the break but I do wonder how much longer we can demand it.
The resentment rises every year.
I think it's only a matter of time before religious holidays are no longer included in our vacation package.
It's also weird when inevitably you say "have a merry Christmas" to one of your non Christian/non Christmas co-workers. I never know what to do because I have already said it at the very same moment I remember they don't celebrate the same holidays I do. I always feel like an ass, an insensitive ass.
Why ? I guess it's that politically correct straight jacket we all got fitted for in the nineties.
What is wrong with someone who doesn't do the Jesus thing enjoying Christmas too? Nothing wrong with wishing them a happy day right?

I wish we could just blurt out have a merry Christmas and have no one take offense or demand we take those awful fake Christmas trees out of the lobby.

So, I mumble something lame about have a good vacation or ineptly repeat "oh, sorry , Happy New year then" and slink off.
I am left with happy holidays, that painful walmart greeting that means nothing except "look at me not offending your religious affiliation".
The truly weird thing about Christmas is people who like me who have no religious sentiment at all but celebrate anyway.
I ignore or try to anyway the fake birthday aspect because we all know Jesus wasn't born on Christmas day, the church co-opted a pagan winter solstice celebration for their own purposes.
I celebrate it for the idea that for one day a year a lot of people are thinking the very same thing. Let's have some peace, let's be nice to each other and let's eat some good food.
So, to hell with it..Merry Christmas to every one....

Monday, December 18, 2006


So, three guys go up the mountain and in all their male testosterone fueled glory summit. Yeah us!
Except all three broke the only rule of mountain climbing.
The rule is to stick to the time you set to leave the mountain.
It takes time to climb a mountain. Every experienced climber makes a timetable and no matter where they are on the mountain they begin their descent at a safe time. Even if that means they don't get to summit. Even if it means all that money they spent on the trip goes to waste.
Because every good climber knows if you don't get off the mountain at the right time you probably aren't getting off the mountain at all.
Everest climbers know this rule. More than a few have died by ignoring it because they wanted, no, needed the glory of the summit.
Mt.Hood is a summer climb. Only the very best winter climbers would attempt it. Most experienced winter climbers would have checked the weather too.

I want to feel something for these men but I don't. I think they were ridiculous and have caused terrible pain and sorrow for their families .
They made a deliberate and reckless choice to climb a mountain in the winter time.
This just a week after the death of a guy whose entire family nearly died along with him in their car on the way home.
I feel tremendous sorrow for Mr Kim and his family because he made an honest mistake, He missed his turn and died for it.
These men threw their lives away on a gamble. They spent large amounts of money, they stole time from their wives and children to go climb a mountain nobody gave a shit about .

They died.

And what is the American response? Twenty four hour news coverage...A saga of hardy heroes blah blah blah bullshit cakes.
These three have put hundreds of lives at stake. Every searcher, rescuer is at risk of dying in an attempt to "save" them. The resources and money being expended to find three bodies on a snow covered mountain would fund a hundred AIDS clinics. A thousand pregnant mothers could be receiving drugs that protect their children from AIDS.
Instead we throw it away on fuel for helicopters and planes.

When is it time to tell reckless people they are on their own? Why can't we get these glory hounds who spout poetry and tell their families fabulous bs about" nearer to God" to sign a waiver that says "if you fall into the shit I hope you brought a shovel cause we aren't rescuing your dumb ass".

Why is it our collective responsibility to save fools from themselves?
These aren't children full of indestructibility and foolish pride, these are grown ass men who made a choice to put their lives at risk.
Where is the obligation?
I have no interest in this story and yet I am made to believe I am some kind of cold hearted monster because I refuse to swallow the movie of the week plot line the media is force feeding me.

Why is it a rich mans hobby creates such angst?

If you have a weekend hobby that involves life and death don't expect me to give a shit when you die. I think you are an idiot, A spoiled brat looking for thrills and chills when you have a family sitting at home waiting for you to put away your toys and grow up.

There is only one hero who got lost in the cold this month. He went looking for help to save his wife and babies . It's what grown men do.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Let's make a list!
Things that make me want to hit you really hard:
1 When approaching a doc to tell a laundry list of shit that has gone wrong I get the response "oh, not getting enough attention today?"
2 When standing beside doc doc says " I am glad this isn't your patient, you wouldn't leave me alone all day".
When offering an opinion about a situation said doc waves her hand over her back and says "get off my back"
Dear Doc
You aren't half as cute as you think you are. Just because you are a woman and I am a woman doesn't make us friends ..I don't have to put up with shit because it's your passive aggressive expression of "humour".

I bought Christmas presents today and I can honestly say I liked them all. It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I was buying for myself. I believe everybody's presents can be shared so why not get things I actually want to share?
That's not selfish it's practical..Right?

I am creakingly tired
I creak.
I watched Ron White tonight and I have to say I was a little disappointed. Too much reliance on dirty. I like some foul jokes. I love Chris Rock. But it has to be used carefully and it has to feel right. Sometimes no other word will work but fuck. Other times fuck is wasted, misused. Fuck should be celebrated. Throwing it away is sucking all it's lovely power.
Soon we will be left only with cunt.
That for me remains the only swear with real power. Roll that over your tongue and you can feel it's power.
It should be used very carefully as it could back fire badly. I love a swear word that still retains the ability to cause a fist fight.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I don't want to fight anymore

I used to be one of those zealots. The"I can change the world right now dammit" kind of zealot. I used to believe through sheer force of will I could make people do the right thing. Then I missed too much sleep. Being this tired triggered an epiphany. I don't care anymore.
Not the I don't care anymore so I will do a shitty job, spend all my time on the phone or even better doing my BScN homework at the desk while my patients monitor alarms and alarms.
Not that kind. The I don't care anymore I speak of is I don't give a shit what other people are doing or saying. I no longer have an opinion on anything. I give the fastest report in the well not west but east? Okay central.. anyway, my report? Fast.
I then tune out everything else and repeat in a monotone: "put it in the orders".I don't take verbals anymore. I ignore them completely. If it ain't written down I ain't doing it.
That has lead to some interesting times. Docs love verbals. They slide by mumbling under their breath and fully expect you to not only hear but understand and then dictate. Fuck'em I say.
The law of the hospital is if it ain't written down it didn't happen. Ordering drugs ain't my order? Not my problem.
The second part is I will no longer tell the fellow the patients diagnosis or surgery. I know that sounds insane but let me clarify. We have the laziest student docs in the damn world.
I don't know when it happened but our "learning" docs no longer bother to read the chart, they don't carry stethoscopes and they lift word for word the nurses entire assessment straight into their notes. This has lead to some very funny moments.
Sometimes nurses are tired, they get a little confused and can mix up one patient for happens. Usually a nurse will catch it pretty quickly and correct their mistake. But the docs are oblivious. So when rounds start here is the doc announcing to all involved the wrong diagnosis.
What is funny is they will fight to death over it..waving the nursing notes as proof. When asked if they assessed the patient they will lie their ass off.
Maybe that is when I stopped caring about rounds.
It could have been when the staff doc agreed with the fellow about the wrong diagnosis and created an amazing care plan...Except the patient would have died from it.
Or it could have been when the staff doc and the fellow yelled at the nurse for her mistake and accused her of nearly killing the patient.
I mean why should two docs who are too damn lazy to actually assess the patient or read their chart be responsible for the medical treatment of that patient? It's got to be the nurses fault. So I never tell them anything, gotta reduce the threat.

I maybe stopped caring when I read the notes of three different docs having a brutal fight on paper. For those who don't know the progress note in your medical chart is where the docs write about your condition , your past and present treatment and their plan to fix you so you can leave the ICU, one way or another. Docs are passive aggressive by nature towards other docs. They will never confront another doc head on, that's reserved for nursing. Instead they write vicious little progress notes. Each blaming the other for the patients decline.
Surgery will NEVER accept any blame. Just because a surgeon agreed to do a massive open heart surgery on a diabetic, hypertensive, renal failure, dialysis dependent, alzheimers patient with a fifty year history of smoking with COPD on home oxygen doesn't mean it's their fault the patient is refusing to recover.
The surgeon will cheerfully announce "there is nothing wrong with the heart" and stomp around demanding to know why the patient is so sick. The other services all blame the intensivist and infection control blames that nurse who once wore her wedding ring to work and quite possibly, just may have, brought in some kind of bacteria, maybe..But it's her fault.

So now I just step back. I let all the blame bounce off. I know who is responsible. The patient is. Any sensible person who was that sick without surgery should have known surgery was a really bad idea. But they took a shot and it failed.
I wish everyone would stop trying to be the very best. You are patronizing and irritating. Your quest to be the best makes you stupid. All you care about is you and how you feel and how other people will feel about you.
You are very boring.

I am not going to fight anymore because it isn't about you, or me or that other guy..It's about that person laying in the bed. They don't care who is to blame, I have a sneaking suspicion they already know it's probably them so give it a break okay?

I go to work and look after the gambler in the bed. I follow the orders that are written for me. I call the doctor when my patient is not staying within the parameters you, the doctor have written down.I implement any new orders. I speak with the family when you sneak out.I keep the patient clean and comfortable. I keep all my lines and machines in good order. I stay organized and do whatever needs to be done when it needs to be done. I write pages and pages of paperwork. That is my job, that is the job I care about.
All the rest? I couldn't give a damn.
And why you still care baffles me everyday.
Highschool is over kiddies..How about growing the fuck up already?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I am challenged....

Lord help me I am so challenged. I hate technology. Well. That's not true. Technology hates my guts. I don't know when this happened. I used to be able to touch computers without them sighing quietly and then going dark.
This week I have killed off beds, monitors and other pretty critical machines effortlessly.
Honestly I didn't mean to but maybe I have some superpower. I have the power to send society back into the stone age! Go me!
I am hoping this computer doesn't die, it's my kids and pissed off won't even describe that reaction.

Just a random thought..Dear Dini Petty
No your skin doesn't look great. I don't know who fed you that line of bull but they lied. Put the glasses back on and try some cover up. And get off my TV.
And while I am at it : Sally I don't want to know about your osteo whatever or what your drug company is exploiting your situation. I think you have enough money already, stop the awkward commercials .
Isn't Wilfred Brimley just about the worst spokesman for diabetes you could find? How about hiring someone who doesn't represent all the worst reasons for getting type II diabetes?

Why are commercials so awful?
I see the Geico ones and they are cute and funny. They aren't complicated or arty, they just have a little bit of wit.
Are the people who create commercials shut ins locked into fifties television programming?
If I am forced to watch entertain me dammit or I wont buy your product. I mean it.
I will literally make an effort to NOT I am just full of empty threats..

So as I sit here waiting, waiting, waiting for the arbitrator to decide if we get a new contract the politicians are happily voting themselves a new raise.
Screw you Smitherman you don't deserve a dime. In fact I think all nurses should be given your pay, consider it a Brinks truck just for us.
I cannot wait to vote these assholes out.

I am having real trouble with Christmas. I can't get into it. I have no idea what to get anyone. I am tired of buying shit no one wants. My hard earned cash going to stupid coffee table books and skin care products.
I really want to just give everyone cash. Then you can buy what you want. Put it towards a vacation or a new sweater..See I have no idea what you want...
Gift cards for everyone!!!!!
Some think it's lazy and thoughtless but hey I love them. Give me a gift card for a good bookstore and I will be happy. Instead I get weird sweaters made of some shiny thread with reindeers that goes straight to good will. Then I wonder about what poor homeless person has to wear that sweater and I feel guilty.
Why can't Christmas be about good food and good company? Why do we have to buy crap?

ALL I want for Christmas is a good book and a nice pair of socks, instead I get pj's with cartoon characters two sizes too small...Sigh.

Don't ignore the Tanzania fundraising......

Friday, December 08, 2006

I knew it couldn't last

I have had a mad run of wonderful patients and families. I am not talking about your generally pleasant completely forgettable here. I am talking about people I could have been friends with, allowed into my house to play with my dog .
Ofcourse it had to end. But why so spectacularly? Why such an asshole sir? No, really why?
I bent over backwards. I gave you whatever you needed. I was your cheerleader. I didn't smack you really hard when you called your wife a bitch and told her to shut the f up.
So why me?
I understand that being sick is scary but there is no need to act like a jerk. Why do you tell me you have no pain and then tell your son you are in agony and that "bitch" wont give me any pain medicine?. Why is the lie worth it? Does it gain sympathy? Does it give you a warm comfy feeling watching your drunk son attempt to complain but his speech is so slurred no one can understand him?
And why would you get really drunk and then come visit Dad in the ICU?

I really didn't like you at all.
You ruined my happy streak and I think that sucks.

I did love your neighbour. He was horrified by you and your family and that made me feel a little better. It's nice to know that most of our patients are pretty normal people resisting the urge to hurl obscenities.
Wow, I really have lowered my standards when all I need is the absence of the word mother fucker to affirm my belief in humanity.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Do you think I'm that stupid?

Being a Canadian is sometimes painful and embarrassing. Watching the Liberal leadership convention was a cringe fest. Dorky, socially retarded white guys mumbling about a "new" liberal party blah, blah bullshit.
The liberals robbed us. They brazenly stole millions of dollars and they actually believe if they throw up a new leader we will forget what a disaster they were.
The federal liberal party was the worst example of graft we have ever experienced and I refuse to vote for them again. It is doubly insulting that Bob Rae is running. That bastard ruined more nursing careers than SARS. He arrogantly assumed that because he had tons of money to fall back on all the nurses did too. They went years without a contract and worse had to give back any gains they had made in the past. Nurses and teachers were the whipping boys of the NDP government.
The public was told we were service workers..Doing everything we do out of love.
This has been the bullshit nurses have had to live with for years.
People assume because we clean puke and poop we must be saintly creatures. We aren't. We are highly skilled, highly educated professionals that care for well and sick people. The Florence Nightingale myth has always been bull and I am sick of it.
I want to be treated like a professional. Professionals get paid for their services. You don't want to pay that's your problem but you will pay for that choice . Imagine a hospital with no nursing staff. I hope you have a big family willing to care for you twenty four seven. I hope they have a clear understanding of critical care medicine.
The public likes to make a grandiose statement about how valuable nurses are but when we ask to get paid what we are worth we get cursed out by that raging asshole George Smitherman, a complete joke of a human being.
George Smitherman and Bob Rae are prime examples of why no nurse would ever vote Liberal. George announced to a meeting of nurses that we were whiners, waiting for a Brinks truck every morning He used obscenities when describing nursing requesting a new contract.
We have been without a contract for almost a year and the arbitrator shows no signs of getting to work.
When our contract goes to arbitration we have no choice but to accept it. All our flimsy benefits could be stripped and we would be helpless. Nurses are forbidden by law to strike or impose any job action. We can work to rule but without a contract what rules are there?
We are being constantly harassed about being sick. One sick day and we have to produce a note from the doctor and report to Occupational health . It's harassment.
Nurses make less than municipal workers. Your garbage man makes way more than me. Is that right?
Don't I have the right to fair pay? Or is it because the majority of nurses are women and it's discrimination on a huge scale?. I think it's because we are women fighting a Hospital Association filled with old, white men. These guys have been arrogant asshole doctors for years and there is no way in hell they will ever recognize nurses as professionals.
To think of us as equals whose work may be different but equally important and necessary makes this bunch laugh in derision.
In fifteen years the majority of all nurses working in Canada will have hit retirement age. Most nurses are taking early retirement. Meaning in ten years we could lose twenty five percent of all nursing. It has become obvious that no one really wants to be a nurse and enrollment is down severely, worse we can't find qualified instructors as most have retired or moved into management.
So, very few new nurses and hell who can blame them? Four years of University and a starting wage of twenty dollars an hour and a lifetime of shift work. Who can live on that and pay back thousands of dollars in loans? The housekeeping staff makes more than a first year nurse.

How can we make nursing a palatable career when you will never make enough to ever own your own home? Never get to buy a new car? Hell, you have to get married and double your income to enjoy any of the benefits of incredibly hard work.
Sometimes I think the public only cares about nursing when they become patients and then only to complain constantly about how they didn't get what they wanted the very second they demanded it. They refuse to acknowledge that the workload is unmanageable and in their selfishness they would rather complain then work to help make the hospital a safer place by adding more nursing staff.
If your hospital experience was trying call your government and demand change.
Demand more nurses.
If nurses didn't have to care for five or six patients at a time you would get better care. If some patients didn't hog the complete attention of the nurse through selfishness and obnoxiousness the other patients would get some quality time too.

All I can say is support nursing, one day it might be you that needs your puke or poop cleaned up and wouldn't it be nice if someone was there to help?
Wouldn't be nice to wake up after open heart surgery and have an incredibly well trained nurse there to manage your recovery? Or would you rather have someone who never got past grade ten and took a two week course?
Your choice, your future.

Please check out the Tanzania fundraising link. It is World AIDS day today..Give a few bucks so this smart kid can go and help out with this epidemic. Come on guys..give a little or at least tell a friend or add a link.

I have become ambivalent about the AIDS situation. I think it is because it has been so many years ago that I witnessed the awful death of an AIDS patient. Now, in the Western world AIDS has become a chronic illness. Patients are sick sometimes but can get better, they live longer and their quality of life has improved. I think we have settled into a kind of awful complacency here.
In Africa the ambivalence is terrifying. They have no excuse. Their AIDS patients still die horribly, treatment is difficult and rare.In Africa an entire generation has been disappeared. Those in their twenties and thirties have died, leaving their children orphans.
When the crack epidemic was at it's height grandparents in the thousands were raising their grandchildren...Africa is the same. Worse because the stigma is so awful some children are abandoned completely creating a generation of child parents. Ten year olds caring for their siblings...finding work so they can feed them, clothe them.
I cannot wrap my head around this. I can only sit in shock. Maybe that is what is wrong, the problem is so damn huge, so overwhelming you can't find a handle for it.
The loss of an entire work force decimates the local economy. The children are at the mercy of whoever walks by. Boys are abducted and forced to become soldiers..cannon fodder for wars they know nothing about. Girl children are forced into prostitution to avoid starving.
The AIDS pandemic is the entire worlds problem. Every lost life reflects on the that butterflys wings. Who knows who we have lost? The child that would have grown up and found the cure for AIDS?
Support anyone who wants to help. Give a little of what you have. You wont miss that mocha latte grand whatever the hell I promise.

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