Wednesday, November 9, 2011


There's a nurse on our unit who come in nightly to regale us with tales of how awful her husband is. She dyes her hair only because he prefers blondes. She can't eat this or that because he thinks she's fat. He won't help her at all. He expects her to support them with her night shift and then take care of everything like chores, shopping, all aspects of child care while he sits on his duff and watches television during the day. She's always so tired blah blah blah.

Tonight's tale was about how he controls all of the money including her wages using direct deposit into in accounts that she has no access to. If he's feeling generous, he allots her a $5 weekly allowance. If she ¡misbehaves!, he'll take the money back.

First, I think she's totally full of crap. I don't doubt that the husband is a total jackass, but I'm pretty sure she stretches the truth unrecognizably.

She comes in with her stories and everyone fawns over her.. "oh he's awful!" "He should be shot for or " "You should kick his ass to the curb" and she preens under the attention.

I usually try to avoid engaging with the more manipulative staff but she put me on the spot and directly asked me what I thought in front of the rest of the crew. I tried to prevaricate but she was a bloodhound, asking me over and over.

I finally turned and told her that I thought she was spineless, that if she had such an issue with his money control to deposit her paycheck into her own damn account. He didn't hold a gun to her head when she signed up for direct deposit.

After that, she answered every phone call with "U8, Spineless speaking." Seriously, how old is she?

I would love to be a fly on the wall when she goes home and regales her husband to all of the stretched stories of how awful everyone is toward her at work.

On a more positive note, tonight was hellishly busy but I was working with my two all time favorite nurses and we totally rocked it. I love how efficient, sensitive and cool they are with the patients. Over the last year, I've learned so much from them about how to work with even the craziest, most difficult patients calmly and effectively.

Around 0300, "Dr. Armstrong" was paged to U7, one of the more dangerous pysch floors. We then heard thumping and shouts in the south stairwell. Unperturbed, Jackie, not taking her eyes off the IV line she was priming, strolls over and flips the lock on the door knob. A "Dr. Armstrong" is the hospital code for a combative patient. Moments after she locked the door, we heard a thud and more yelling.

Later, we discovered from the nursing supervisor, that one of the patients actually kicked in the door of the secured ward and escaped into the stairwell. I only caught some of the details in passing. Apparently, the patient had enough time to defecate on the stairs before pushing past the security guards to escape downtown. He assaulted one of the police officers chasing him and is now in jail. It capped the already crazy night.


  1. I think you should apply for Canadian medical schools, because based on this post I would love to work with you. I hate, HATE, people who regularly throw their own pity parties and refuse to acknowledge that they play a role in their own misery. Spineless indeed.

  2. Thanks. It's one of my pet peeves too. It's provoking to see body-healthy, brain-whole (well.. relatively, as the case may be), people not own their own agency in life. I want to shake them and tell them to do something if they're not happy. I hate self-victimizing behavior.

    Oh, and I'd happily go to a Canadian school if they saw fit to accept a middle-of-the-road international applicant. Unfortunately, they don't seem to accept us very often. Too many smart Canadians to compete with :).