Friday, January 29, 2010


I recently took my car in to get the standard oil change, no big deal. It's just an oil change, not very exciting, really. I mean, I was outta there in less than a half hour.

So I get a phone call today from the car company regarding the quality of the service...and I am quickly losing faith in the human population.

Survey Guy: On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the poorest, 2 being fair, 3 being satisfactory, 4 being above average and 5 being excellent, how would you rank the quality of your car servicing?

Me: Uh, 5 I guess.

Survey Guy: On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the poorest, 2 being fair, 3 being satisfactory, 4 being above average and 5 being excellent, how would you rank the staff performing the maintenance?

Me: 5.

Survey Guy: On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the poorest, 2 being fair, 3 being satisfactory, 4 being above average and 5 being excellent, how would you rank the outcome of your car maintenance?

Me: They just changed my oil. So 5.

Survey Guy: On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the poorest, 2 being fair, 3 being satisfactory, 4 being above average and 5 being excellent, how would you rank the overall experience?

Me: 5.

Survey Guy: On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the poorest, 2 being fair, 3 being satisfactory, 4 being above average and 5 being excellent, how would you rank the overall quality of We Make Great Cars?

Me: Sigh. 5.

Survey Guy: On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the poorest, 2 being fair, 3 being satisfactory, 4 being above average and 5 being excellent, how would you rank the likelihood that you will return to We Make Great Cars in the future?

Me: pause...1.

Survey Guy: Thank you very much for your time. Would you consider providing your email address to We Make Great Cars so that we could email you a survey regarding your experiences during your routine maintenance?

Me: Thanks, but no thanks.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Oh yeah, and vote for me!

It is a very big honor to be considered for the BigD NurseBlogger award for best nursing blog over at Ask an MD. Seriously. I'm a little baby nurse and it's just swell to know people enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy writing it. Even though I'm not all that funny or poignant or wacky. But whatev.

So go vote for me!

Thanks for the nomination, Doctor D! It's much appreciated.

And oh yeah, go read the other blogs up for voting. They're awesome!


Old Patient: How old are you? You look 16!

Shrtstormtrooper: I swear I'm old enough to work here, and to drive, too. I'm 24.

Patient: Well, you don't look it. Are you married?

Shrtstormtrooper: Nope, too young for that. I wanted to get my career straight first.

Patient: Good choice. I'm 91, and still too damn young to get married! Unless you want to marry me, then I'll tie the knot tomorrow.

Oh, to be old and to say whatever you want...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

One year

I recently celebrated the first year anniversary of starting my nursing career. It's a bunch of firsts, all wrapped into one: first year out of nursing school, first year as a real nurse (what we used to joke RN stood for), first year in the ER.

Sometimes it's been kinda overwhelming. To go from student to new grad orientee to shiny new nurse in the space of six months...there are days where I just shake my head and wonder how I got through it. When I signed up for this career, I knew it was what I wanted to do. But still, I was most definitely not prepared for most of it.

After starting last January, I spent 4 months on orientation. It was great. I had a nurse to follow and show me things, to harrass and play 20 Questions with, to cry on her shoulder, to buffer me against some of the saltier staff. I learned so much from my preceptor, and then I realized just how little I actually know. Very humbling.

I've been off orientation for quite a few months now, but I still go to work every day with that small knot in my belly. Every day on my drive to work I think, "is this the day I screw up? The day someone dies because of me, because I didn't know something?" And then I think that is awful, and resolve to do everything I can to avoid that - whether I ask 800 questions of the more senior nurse, admit to the doctor I don't know something, keep my mouth shut and let someone tell me how to do something instead of saying I know it already, tell a patient I don't know something but will find out for them, or whatever else it takes. It's a very humbling experience to know you don't know something and to let everyone else know too, but it's the only way to learn. And trust me, I want to learn. I want to be the best nurse possible, and I'll get there one day.

Monday, January 25, 2010


I'm jumping on the bandwagon and rooting for the Saints. No shame in my game. But I do sorta like the Colts. I mean, how can you dislike a QB who puts this on film?


I've mentioned how there is a small chance I'll end up as a crazy cat lady. Now I know - that chance is made possible through genetics. My mom has been married for years...but deep down, she's a crazy cat lady too. I knew it after this comment.

"The way to get a cat to really like you is to have a fuzzy bathrobe like mine."

I might swing by Target tomorrow and shop for a bathrobe.

Love you, Mom!

[This post is also directed at KL. Enjoy!]

Monday, January 18, 2010

Off to California!

I'm outta here, suckahs! Off to California for the week, so blogging will be sparse. Huzzah!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Let there be rain

I am visiting San Diego Jan 18-23. I'm very very excited to visit my friend.

I was looking forward to some sun, warm weather, beachy know, California weather.

This, my friends, is the forecast:

Un-fricking-believable. How does this even happen?!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Beware of impostors

Listen, I really like beards. A beard on a guy is like life's little bonus. I think every guy should have one, unless all they can grow is a few scraggly hairs. That's maybe the only situation in which to avoid a beard. At any rate, I'm not sure why I like beards so much, though I can postulate many theories.

My Dad did have a full beard when I was little. I was born in West Virginia. Beards are a sign of manliness. Beards are like coats for the face. Wolverine has facial hair. Lumberjacks have beards. Wolverine was a lumberjack!!

But I digress. Those who know me will laugh at this post and say, "Sloshy Larry, you're such a man." Which isn't true. To be a man, I'd have to want a beard for myself. I don't. I just want for myself a man who has a decent beard.

I know this is a silly post. But it emphasizes the greatness of beards, and thus I have nothing to apologize for.

At any rate, I just really love beards. Laugh if you must, but know that I stand firm in my adoration. Also, Sloshy Larry explanation to follow soon. I know you're excited.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Good thing I've got my WTF Blanket

Patient: I've been sick for days! Vomicking, feeling bad, and all that. It's been awful! What? No, I didn't take any tylenol. That doesn't work for me. Nothing works to make me feel better. Except my Snuggie!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm sitting on Baltic with crap...

So you come in on a backboard and c-collar, swearing with words that would make a sailor blush. You're pissed off, I understand. Why should we bring you in the ER, when you only caused a nice little accident? After all, it's only a major scene. You're right, it was silly for us to bring you in, and it was even sillier for that state police officer to come with you.

Sheesh, only four cars were involved. Your accident only caused six trauma patients; that's a measly little number. And anyway, you've got no license, were driving a stolen car, texting before the accident, and didn't hesitate to cuss out the first person on the scene. Who also happened to be a cop.

Not surprisingly, you're also now under arrest. I understand; you're a little upset. But really, does that make it necessary to throw your c-collar across the room at the very cop who was so nice as to escort you in? I understand that you also are now having chest pain, but please don't be so dramatic.

Please don't do that do us. We're only trying to make sure you don't die in our trauma room, though I think that unlikely due to the decibel level of your histrionics. Really. And oh! Look at that! The labwork and scans are negative. Well, except for the >5000 cocaine and >1000 cannabinoids in your pee pee. But don't you worry about that.

And also, please don't pass go. Don't collect $200. Don't do any of that.

Do please, however, go directly to jail.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Crisis averted

I generally try to not to get in the way of doctors who are obviously preoccupied or who are not nice or who are just dragged out of bed and kind of grouchy. Since I'm still relatively new and don't know them well, it's best not to antagonize them. There are some who I can joke around with a lot though, and it's a measure of how much I've grown this past year when I feel comfy enough to call them by first name or just simply insult them.

Take, for instance, this morning. We all carry department cell phones, so that no matter wherever you are or whatever you are doing you have no excuse to not come see or do something right this second. There are a bank of phone chargers on the corner of the desk, which during night shift has a few extra phones since we're awesome enough to work with less staff.

I'm minding my own business, and walking back from my patients room. I round the corner and hear a ring, so I check my own phone. Nope. Oh, now I see the unclaimed phone ringing. I turn and walk towards it. It stops ringing. I walk away. It rings again. I walk towards it. It stops again. The charge doc is holding a phone. I mockingly glare at him and tell him to stop calling the phone, because I'm not going to pick it up. He blankly looks at me and states he's not calling me. I walk away. The phone rings again, and I turn and pick it up - and answer it. Sucker! I fell for it! Hook line and sinker. He can't keep the giggles in.

This is a time when I'm not afraid to insult the doctor. I do everything I can to be snarky and harass him because he's doing it first. This is generally accepted behavior.

aaand segue back to the featured topic...
I'm jogging at an extremely brisk clip on the way to the cath lab with a patient. We're all pushing the stretcher past the max speed as tested by guys wearing nerdy glasses and pocket protectors. The cardiologist has very long legs, so he's taking more of a leisurely walk. I'm taking these super fast little baby steps behind him. He's grilling the patient on history, symptoms, what's going on, and he's also sort of grouchy from being dragged out during the wee hours of the morning. This is a "stay out of the way" situation.

Which I'm accomplishing pretty well, until it happens. Without warning. Mid step. I gave him the most massive flat tire I have ever given someone, ever, in my entire life. It was earth shaking.

I thought he was going to smash face first into the tile floor. He stops the stretcher. Stops. the. stretcher. With a heart attack-in-progress patient. And looks at me. I'm thinking shitshitshitshit and then man, he's going to be a jerk to me the rest of my career because we all know people hold grudges...

And then he starts laughing. Hysterically. And through his laughter goes "I haven't gotten a flat tire since fifth grade! What a flashback!" And then leisurely continues the pace towards the cath lab.

Utterly dumbfounding. I had to scrape my jaw off the floor on the way back to the ER.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


There are some things in life that are not anywhere close to being on my "this could happen" radar. Like winning the lottery, or discovering a new galaxy, or having Hugh Jackman move in next door and invite me (and only me) over for a housewarming party.

Putting in a foley and having neon blue urine come out is also one of those things.

Well, now I know it's possible. And knowing is half the battle.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"We need somebody to just do the right thing"

Is there any greater proof that our healthcare system is broken when I read this paragraph and think, "good god, I'd get written up if I straight up tell a patient this?"
"We don't throw antibiotics at every person with a fever. We tell them to hang on, wait and see, and we give them a Tylenol to feel better," says Haug.

Convenience stores in downtown Oslo are stocked with an amazing and colorful array — 42 different brands at one downtown 7-Eleven — of soothing, but non-medicated, lozenges, sprays and tablets. All workers are paid on days they, or their children, stay home sick. And drug makers aren't allowed to advertise, reducing patient demands for prescription drugs.
I knew it. Someone in the health care world is making sense, hell froze over, and that's why it's so cold here right now.

For all our technological coolness and fancy suit regulations and "quality control" and JCAHO crap...well, it's all kind of a moot point isn't it? Regulations mean nothing if we still fail at the basic goal of improving our health.
"Nobody is accountable to our recommendations," he [Dr. John Jernigan] said, "but I assume hospitals and institutions are interested in doing the right thing."
One would think. Unfortunately, until the low life knuckle dragging entitled lazy slobs who populate this country learn better...we're screwed.

Read the entire article here.

...The CDC needs to "eat a little crow and say, 'Yeah, it does work,'" he said. "There's example after example. We don't need another study. We need somebody to just do the right thing."

To health!

After many days on the vent, a lot of difficulties, setbacks, and lots of grandmother is improving! She's awake, out of the ICU, and most likely headed to rehab to rebuild her strength.

I am thankful. For her health, for her life, and for a family that cares about her as much as we do.

We're blessed to have her in our life.