Saturday, March 28, 2009

Blurbs

I don't have enough to present a fully functional blog post for you, so let me just toss out some blurbs for your enjoyment...

***
While sitting in EKG class the other day, it became apparent that our instructor had way too many cups of coffee to be appropriate.

When perusing an EKG with ST elevations that jumped out and all but punched you in the face, she goes, "Look at those ST elevations! Even Helen Keller could see those!"

The other glorious quote from our instructor? (This one is for you, KL!) "I'm not real good with heart sounds though. They're like a fundus, I wouldn't know it even if I fell over one."

***
I just discovered the joys of iChat this weekend. I've had my mac for about 7 months now, and never tried iChat before. I did yesterday, and it was awesome!

While talking with a friend, she blurts out this little gem: "Remember that time I told you you looked like Gollum? I'm glad you didn't hate me after that!"

***
I watched the Watchmen comic-within-a-comic, Tales of the Black Freighter. It was awesome. Pure awesome. Also included on the DVD was the mockumentary Under The Hood, the fictional book written by Hollis Mason (first Nite Owl) and included as book excerpts throughout the comic. Also pure awesomeness.

***
I am gearing up for the switch to night shift in another week. I'm excited to not have to get up at the asscrack of dawn anymore, but not so excited about the prospect of losing my social life. Ah well, little sacrifices for the greater good I suppose.

***
I'm also trying to face the music. I come off of orientation in one month, and I am terrified. Like, pee in my pants sort of terrified. I've gotten to see a lot of stuff in my two months of RN orientation, but I still feel so inadequate.

I have had the people who are already very very sick (or already dying) and I've had the people who are only moderately ill. I haven't had anyone decompensate on me yet, and I'm not sure that I'll be able to see the small signs or react quick enough. I just don't have the experience yet. At this point in time, I'm reacting to what's happening. I'm not pre-emptive. Which is bad for patients, because things have to happen to them before my butt gets moving, whereas the mark of a good nurse is to be able to see things before the patient goes downhill.

It's a scary feeling, knowing that I'm always behind the 8-ball. Hopefully soon I'll make it past "new nurse" and become a good nurse.

***
I feel more and more reassured though, because I have learned that no one is ever alone in the ER. Someone is always there to help. Unfortunately, so far that someone has been my preceptor. The rest of the staff is in for a surprise when they discover they have to keep my butt from drowning.

***
I am SO EXCITED for HP: Half Blood Prince to come out. A new trailer is up, and I bring it to you for your viewing pleasure.



***
I don't know how to end this blog post gracefully.

***
Fin.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In the family

It's never easy to lose someone to a trauma-induced cardiac arrest.

It's harder to lose someone in the prime of their life.

It's even harder to lose someone who has given so much in service of our country.

But above all that, it's devastating to find out that the someone you just lost is the kid of a nurse who works at your same hospital.

Sometimes, this job sucks.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Moving on

Folks, I'm heartbroken. My favorite band, the John Butler Trio, is disbanding its current lineup. JB has consistently rotated musicians through the band, but it is Michael Barker and Shannon Birchall that I first saw live and loved. I was a huge fan even before the current members, but this is the group that I love most. It's sad to see it disappearing.

I hope the next phase is as good as this one was!

***
In other news, I was the guest speaker for the third grade at Kaley's school this past friday, and it went much better than I anticipated. After hearing some of her stories about the completely insane behavior of the kids, I was ready for a wild day. It ended up being pretty tame. I got a lot of questions about why smoking is so bad for you, what's actually in cigarettes, what a hospital is like, and so forth. The questions were par for a third grade level, until one kid raised his hand. I called on him, and in perfect enunciation he asks this question: "Is it true that asbestos really causes mesothelioma?"

Needless to say, I was shocked the kid could even pronounce that. I had to check the spelling on that word before I posted this. Perhaps the future of America isn't so bleak after all!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The origin of breast cancer

I am going to visit my friend Kaley tomorrow and speak to the third grade class where she teaches. I'm going to be talking about nursing in general, emergency nursing specifically, and why smoking is bad for you. I've been forewarned about how some of these kids are kind of dense. Here is what one of Kaley's kids told her today:

Third grade boy: Did you know that breast cancer is caused by getting punched in the chest?


Yes, it's going to be an interesting day. Blogging will surely follow.

Summer

Ocean City, MD is a resort town on the Atlantic ocean where everyone and their mother comes in the summer. Most of the town is sort of tacky and geared towards cheap sunglasses, teeny bathing suits and boozing, but there are a few places that are just awesome.

Fager's Island is one such place. During the summer season, they play Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture perfectly timed to the sunset. It really is a glorious sight to behold.

Take a look at this video, and try to ignore the various background voices.



This, my friends, is why I'm ready for summer - and why I'm always game for the three hour drive to visit OCMD.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Imposter!

Today is the first day that I felt truly overwhelmed in the ER. I'm with a different preceptor since my normal one is on vacation, so I'm out of my element anyway. Just for kicks, s**t picked today to hit the fan. Here's what I had today (as in, they were in my room and not just patients that I poked my head in on):
  • Intoxicated heroine user who repeatedly banged head against wall and tried to escape the ED. We didn't put her in mental health, because her sister was on her way to get her. Was never EP'ed, so security refused to sit with her.
  • Code blue in progress, ended up calling it 10 minutes in.
  • Unresponsive man found at his home, agonal breathing, O2 sats 60-70% room air. Awake on arrival. H&H of 7 and 28. Probable GI bleed.
  • Massive STEMI. Gave lopressor, heparin, integrilin, plavix, and ASA. Up to cath lab.
  • Helicopter trauma patient, assaulted and found unresponsive facedown by EMS. Celebrating a little too hard for St. Patty's day, discovered that at the end of the drunk rainbow, there is no pot of gold. Only lots of fists from those beating the crap out of you.
  • A severe mitral valve prolapse patient, chest pain with dizziness.
  • Teenager with severe Crohn's Disease, might need surgery. Jackass for a mother.
I think I'd be able to handle one of these at a time, but trying to take on three serious to critical patients at once is just overwhelming. I sort of know what I'm doing, but not enough to feel confident in myself. I've been told that the ED is one of the hardest places to start out, and I'm finally feeling as incompetent as I bet I look.

Let's just hope tomorrow is a better day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's all fun and games...

I make a mean pot of chili. Those gut-warming, cold afternoon, football lovin' sorts of pots of chili? Yeah, those are the ones I make. It's pretty impressive, considering I don't know how to cook at all. But chili is my game, so I guess God took pity on my complete lack of culinary skills and gave me a golden spoon for peppers 'n meat stew instead.

In college (the first time around), I would often make giant pots of chili for all the guys that I watched football with. It wasn't often enough to be a tradition, but it was enough that my chili was well-respected and the guys looked forward to when I would make it.

This one time, I made a huge pot but didn't have the space in our apartment fridge to keep it until the game the next day. You see, 8 girls lived in a suite on campus, and we had a teeny fridge. So I took it on up to the boys' apartment and stuck it in their expansive fridge space.

That Sunday, the game was fun, conversation was great, and the chili was awesome. It was a good day.

That Sunday night, I had to run to the bathroom with my cheeks clenched so tightly I tasted underwear. It was awful. I went upstairs to check on the guys, and was greeted with the sound of toilets flushing and TP unrolling. It continued the next day, and one guy even missed a midterm. While impressive, I felt terrible - both because I was the cause of all this, and because my own butt hurt.

Monday night, I ran into a friend on campus. Normal idle conversation happened, then he goes, "so how did John and Joe's chili prank go?"

Apparently it was a bad decision to keep the chili in their fridge overnight. John and Joe went to Wal-mart at 04:00 and bought an entire box of laxatives. Which was promptly emptied into my pot of delicious chili. And then emptied again later that day into multiple toilets...multiple times...by multiple people...



















Needless to say, I felt a lot of things at that moment. Relieved because it wasn't my fault that the chili was tainted, furious because a great bowl of chili was ruined, mortified that my chili caused everyone's sphincter to go on strike for a day, and most strangely, humored because this was by far the best prank that has ever been pulled on me. As much as we all paid for it, this was an excellent prank.

Now, I tell you that story so I can show you this next bit o' goodness. I'm a big fan of Maryland Terps Basketball (hecks yea for the men making the tourney!), and the prank pulled in this video clip is perhaps one of the best I've ever seen. I feel honored that my own pranked self got to partake in something half as good as this one!



I know it's long, but it's worth it!

***
It's worth mentioning that I haven't made chili since then, except for one time where a girl I knew convinced me to make it with her for the guys last year. Somehow, it ended up with ground turkey (turkey?!), no beans, and far less spice than I require. Simply put, it was awful.

I never did redeem myself from the original debacle. But people on campus still meet me and go, "oh, you're that girl that made the ex-lax chili, right?" Good times.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Second chances

It's humbling to see someone who, by all rights, shouldn't be alive right now. It's humbling to see someone be in the process of death and then be brought out of it. It's humbling to see a husband who is dying get a chance to live and see his wife again.

I've been orienting in Trauma since the past week or so, and I've seen some interesting but not too wild stuff. Critical but not fatal has been the name of the game, which makes for nice learning opportunities but few oh-s**t moments. I've dealt with a few MVCs, codes in progress, some chest pain workups, an electrocution, but no patients who went from alive to in danger of dying in the next 8 seconds without intervention.

Enter Chest Pain Sweaty Man. He came in by ambulance, and when he rolled through the doors we all did a double take. The Rosetta EKG sent in by EMS was clean, but we've been taught to treat the patient and not the machines. Chest Pain Sweaty Man looked like utter crap. He was talking fine, but had that weird gray color to him and was in danger of dehydrating solely through sweat. As EMS was sliding him from their stretcher to ours, a nurse was getting report. Chest Pain Sweaty Man took that moment to pass Go and collect his V fib and unconsciousness.

My preceptor grabbed the crash cart while I snagged the defibrillator, and we ran to the room. I charted, pads were placed, and we shocked Chest Pain Sweaty Dying At This Moment Man. I have seen plenty of unsuccessful codes, and I have seen the ones where a rhythm comes back but the person doesn't, but I have never seen a person get shocked and just...wake up.

Chest Pain Sweaty Alive Again Man opened his eyes, looks at us, and goes "oww, that hurt!" We all stared at him for a second, then snapped into action again. EKG showed tombstones that I could see from across the room. From V fib to cath lab was 12 minutes. It was impressive. Last I heard, Chest Pain Sweaty Man is back to being Husband and Father Man.
I have been blessed in almost all aspects of my life, from the mundane to the big. But Chest Pain Sweaty Man? Being given a second chance at life is the ultimate blessing. I can't help but be humbled every time I think of him. He should be dead right now. But because we were able to get to him quickly and work efficiently, he will wake up tomorrow and spend time with his wife and family.

It's been two months since I started in this career, and Chest Pain Sweaty Man drove home why I'm in it. Thanks, CPSM.

***
Crass-Pollination had a very similar incident happen at her hospital. I don't think, when I was deciding to go into nursing, that I was expecting this stuff to happen all that often. Sadly, it does.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Laundry Win

I'm all for equal rights and that good stuff. I believe that while men and women are not equally good at all things, we are equals in life - we complement each other and fill those gaps that the other gender lacks.

That being said, I do love a good sexist joke now and then...



Let's be real. That s**t is funny.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Seasons, they are a-changin

I have to wonder if perhaps I am being punished for something. You see, I love warm weather. Weather below 50 degrees makes me cranky.

For the past three days here, it's been extremely warm. Like flip flops and tee shirts kind of warm. Incidentally, I had to work all three days. While the walk from the ambo entrance doors to my car was nice, it just wasn't the same as having that day free to sunbake outside.

Today I'm off, and it's below 50. Not exactly flip flop weather.

I just checked the weather for tomorrow, and it's going to be 70. As for me? I'll be at work. All day.

Sad.

I guess this is the real world, where classes don't break for lunch and no one cares if you have cabin fever. I sorta miss college!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Watchmen verdict

Who watches the Watchmen? I did, and let me say: It is awesome.

I loved the graphic novel and how complex it was. It took me two reads through it to catch the major plot points and foreshadowing, and I guarantee that I'll find new things every time I pick it up from now on. I was apprehensive about how much of the dense, intricate, and sheer awesomeness of the novel would actually make it into the movie - after all, this isn't a novel that you can just cut parts out of and paste onscreen.

I just got home from the movie though, and the director hit it perfectly. The story flowed well, the actors nailed it, the visuals were amazing, and the dense and intricate story was pared down to a very concise chunk of good movie. While the soundtrack could have been better and I could have done with less of Billy Crudup's naked blue wanker, this movie was excellent.

So much was packed into this movie, but it never felt rushed or crammed in. Everything had a purpose for being on screen, and everything flowed with the overall narrative. I'm amazed at how much they had to leave out, but I'm even more amazed at what made it in. It just worked.

I always love the source novels better than their movies, simply because no detail is too small for the written page. This isn't an exception, but I think it came pretty dang close to being equally as good. I can't wait for the DVD!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Just say no to T.O.

Dallas just released Terrell Owens. The Redskins need another wide receiver. This is bad news.

If Washington signs Owens, I'm rescinding my fan membership and rooting for the Giants - who will be the only NFC team smart enough to have stayed away from his evil me-ness. Dan Snyder, hear my plea. Just because tax dollars pay your salary cap ability doesn't give you the right to sign a tool like Owens. Please, Dan. Please. Don't do it.

Love,
Shrtstormtrooper.

No criminal record?!

Apparently if you murder a fellow bus member by a brutal stabbing attack, dismember him, eat a few parts, and finally save a few pieces for later, it's okay. No criminal record for you. You'll get away with a few years in a mental institution with reevaluation every year until you are sufficiently rehabilitated and released into the community.

Article can be read here.

The argument between whether mentally ill people can be held criminally responsible or not has been a long one. I do understand that some mental disorders can alter your world to the point that your reality is different than mine. But you know what, Vince Li? You effing murdered an innocent kid who by chance sat next to you on that bus. I don't care if you have a history of mental illness or not. You murdered him. Whether God or Satan or your mother told you to do it, you did it. You committed murder in the most gruesome way possible. And for that, you need to go to jail. Not reassessed every year until you can be released into the community to do it again.

Just because you might have a mental disorder doesn't make murder okay.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Did it go Poof?

No matter how many times I've seen this, I laugh hysterically every time.



May be unsuitable for minors...oh what the heck, watch it anyway! It's not just for jackasses!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Attention all shoppers

So the whole East Coast is getting slammed with winter storms right now. Big surprise, considering it's wintertime. Our area is calling for a few inches of sleet and snow, and you'd think it's the end of the world or something.

I just popped over to Wal-mart for some coffee creamer and lunch supplies, and encountered a horde of shoppers frantically running around with a crazed look in their eyes. I know it's the East Coast and we don't get a ton of snow, but come on people, seriously. It's a few inches of snow. God forbid you don't have enough eggs to last you three days - do you really need six dozen of them? And there were people with like 7 gallons of milk, a dozen loaves of bread and 6 packs of toilet paper in their cart. Unless the coming winter storm is going to cause you to eat and shit yourself into oblivion, I don't understand why it's necessary to get enough supplies for a nuclear holocaust. Calm the heck down, people. It's going to be two days of weather just annoying enough to make you have to start your car 15 minutes early. Suck it up.

Oh, and please use some common sense if you have to drive. 50 mph on a snowy road is not okay. Drive slow, be careful, and don't be a tard.

Agh, I should have known not to go to Wal-mart at a time like this. All it does is aggravate me. And on that note, good night! I'll be up way early, to de-ice my car and go to work - the real world kind of sucks!

Pure awesomeness

Who watches the Watchmen? I do!

I am SO EXCITED for this movie to come out. I even bought my ticket today, so I don't have to worry about them selling out. Like, I'm so excited. I can barely contain myself! I'm going to the midnight opening, and I haven't been this pumped about a movie since Star Wars came out. Although, Revenge of the Sith sucked a big one, so I'm hoping my enthusiasm doesn't produce the same results this time.

Eee I'm excited!