Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Month of Scramble

I sold my mom's house last week; the buyers paid cash and are forgoing an inspection which means a fast closing. EEK. and Yay.

I'm scrambling to find new housing, storage for my parents' things that we're keeping, and all the little errands that one doesn't realize until that time of moving is upon them.

I received my second med school rejection, ironically from my #2 dream school. Bah.

Work is interesting. Last week, one of the patients developed a really weird icky crush on me. He followed me around and asked me every day to join him in a new activity. Play Scrabble? Go to the zoo? In all honesty, it was creepy because he was not mentally impaired in the slightest. Somehow it's easier to understand/think cute/tolerate a patient's romantic interest if they're elderly and demented or young and MR. I don't understand how a middle aged man could rationally think it a good idea to ask out the nurses/aides.

We had a mandatory aide meeting yesterday, a punitive grousefest. Apparently, the aides aren't doing their jobs properly, have bad attitudes and things need to change. This was all based on our recent Press Ganey scores. The nursing aides are the front line to patient care after all. Later, my manager pulled me aside, basically told me that he didn't have any problems with my work and asked me to 'keep an eye on the moods of my coworkers'. I don't really know what he meant by that but I felt manipulated nonetheless.

I love autumn. I drove to work today and noticed the trees preening at their reflection in the river. I can't remember seeing the leaves change last year. It's astonishing how grief and sadness can blind one to such beauty.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Nighttime Serenade

Tonight, I stayed several hours past my shift end to sit with a confused elderly patient. "George" had a psych history and a broken hip. For various reasons, he had a triple lumen catheter and an order for TPN. Just before 2nd shift he pulled out his line and offered it to his nurse like a wedding ring, asking her to marry him.

I had worked with George before. He was unfailingly cheerful and absolutely adorable in his confusion. He was definitely one of my favorite patients. Because he was tugging on his foley and newly placed peripheral line, I volunteered to stay and guard his wandering hands.

He called me his little black Jewish kitty-cat and asked to pet my fur (I'm neither black nor Jewish) but happily acknowledged that I was a cat who didn't like to be petted and sang to me instead: "Kitty-Cat I Love You" to the tune of Bull Moose Jackson's big hit.

George didn't seem to have any short term memory; he constantly asked where he was, did his parents know he was there, why we had kidnapped him, when I was going to have my baby. (I'm not pregnant). *sigh*

Despite his misinterpretation of my physical homage to all things cheese (my little potbelly), we had a great time together telling stories and tearing pictures of cats out of the stack of magazines that someone had left him.

Outwardly, he and my mother were complete opposites. He was a tall black millwright and my mom was a tiny white schoolteacher. She died young and he had reached a blessed age. But their eyes were the same: brown and slightly bulging. He and my mom were both confused but so very loving and so happy to meet new faces.

It breaks my heart that he's transferring tomorrow to a university hospital for surgery and I won't be able to follow up on him.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


My area is under a state of emergency right now. I worked a 20 hour shift at the hospital yesterday and am looking into another long shift today. The region is devastated, without drinkable water and many homes without electricity. Emergency command centers and shelters have been set up throughout the county.

I'm amazed at how well everyone worked together these last couple of days. The folks who actually made it, driving hours in convoluted directions, without complaint buckled down to work and spirits were remarkably high. We didn't know how long we would be the only ones who would be able to work and so my manager set up a rotating schedule partway through the day so that we could get some sleep.

A rep whose presentation was canceled, dropped the food off on our floor and so we dined. Because we couldn't use the municipal water, our coffee dispenser was shut off (it is connected directly to the water line.) A neighbor of the hospital dropped off a couple of percolators so that we could refuel.

Another aide came in to relieve me around 4:00 this morning and I began my journey home. Only one bridge in the area is functional and so I have to drive 2 hours on a winding path in the opposite direction to get on the right side of the hill/river in order to get home.

I was the only car in the middle of nowhere when a red sports car wheeled in front of me and then over-corrected to go flying into the tree in someone's front yard.

Immediately stopped, I put my hazards on and called 9 1 1. Describing what happened to the operator, I got out of my car to approach the accident. As I'm walking up, the boy who had been driving, stumbled into the yard, turned to look at the car, said "oh shit!" and took off across the road into the woods.

And so I told the operator. She said someone would be out as soon as they can. Considering the area was in a state of emergency, that 'as soon as they can' was 2 hours and 15 minutes. After giving my statement, they let me go and I began the long trek home.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Changes (and cleaning)

I know that I've been subtle about my frustrations with the folks at work. (tongue in cheek) A UA on the third shift has given her notice and I volunteered to step in. My manager is very thankful that I'm helping out and I'm really thankful that I get to work permanently with a stronger team.

I'm going to miss the greater opportunity to talk with patients during 2nd shift. I've found, though, the last few months I've been scrambling so much to do both the secretary's and aide's work I didn't have time to spend with patients anyway. I'll be glad to wear just one hat on this new shift.

On the cleaning note, I was out of town this weekend. I spent Saturday and Sunday up at my family's cabin. Coming home, I found my cat sitting on the window sill behind the kitchen sink watching the squirrels on the deck. Like she did all last winter...

As I turned to make a cup of tea, a mouse, A MOUSE!, ran across the stove and down into one of the burners. UGH! What's the point in having a pain-in-the-ass-she's-lucky-she's-so-cute cat if she doesn't mind roommates of the rodent extraction? I HATE rodents. Always have. I barely tolerate chipmunks and squirrels outside and the thought of them in my house makes my skin crawl. Their sharp pointy teeth that never stop growing are creepy. Besides, all of my work in Yellowstone has made me uber-aware of awful diseases (hantavirus, LCM etc) spread by little pointy toothed vermin.

I immediately pulled the stove out from the wall and, using a bottle of bleach, began scrubbing every surface I could reach. In my entire kitchen. For 3 hours. Then I went down to the 24hour drug store and bought a couple of traps. So far, I've only caught one and let it go across the street in the woods. My uncle mocks me for not killing them. He says that they'll just come back. But I can't rationalize killing something just because I hate them. Otherwise, all old drivers who go half the speed limit and don't use their turn signals...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Little Friends

I almost ran over this tiny snake with the lawn mower.

This salamander was hiding beneath the fallen leaves under the deck.

This monster joined me in my morning shower. I could see her even without my glasses... and I shrieked!!

Rejected and Dejected.

I received my first rejection today and to my first choice. It had been a shoot-for-the-moon dream but it still stings. I haven't heard anything positive yet. I'm trying very hard not to be pessimistic.