Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Baby Daddy Throwdown

Is anyone else nearly as disturbed as I am that there are actually TWO, red-blooded (or so we can assume) men out there ready to take it to the mats about which one of them is the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby?

Ew. Who would willingly admit, on TV, to having had "hit that"?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006



I have always been a big, nay, HUGE fan of blood donation. I donate as often as I can, as often as the bone marrow permits (every 56 days) and as often as the schedule allows. In the INOVA Blood Donation system, I am currently 3 pints from my first gallon. That rules. I'm going to get a "1 Gallon" pin and probably a t-shirt. In all, I've donated over 2 gallons over my lifetime. Which means that over 50 people have ultimately benefited from my donation -- and that feels good, people.

I spent today at the main office for the INOVA Blood Donor Services in the Dulles Towne Center. Which was cool. Much like seeing the waste treatment plant showed me what happens to my poop when I flush, or seeing where my burger was borne in the recesses of Red Robin, this site visit explained to me the intricate and elaborate process my pint o' O+ goes through. (Sidebar: be good to me. O+ is the universal donor. You could be getting my blood.)

At INOVA: Dulles, not only can they accomodate a large number of donors on site, but they perform the testing for all of the donated blood from all of the INOVA donation sites and blood drives. They store it on site, too. All of it. And they ship it from this site to 15 area hospitals.

And while blood may not be your thing -- a place such as this is literally awe-inspiring. This place deals in life. Everything they do there promotes and attempts to ensure life.

So imagine my absoloute shock and indeed HORROR when I saw today's blood supply. All of it. People, no lie. If that's all we have today and potentially tomorrow, we, as a metropolitan area, are in a whole heaping helping of hema-trouble. I probably could have held all those bags in my arms. And when they run out, they're out.

People just aren't aware of the dwindling supply because they.. well, they just aren't. Take a look here. Scroll down and see the levels of your blood type available today.

Blood donation isn't the civic-duty it used to be. Once upon a time, our parents and our grandparents donated blood frequently and reguarly because it was what made you a good American. It helped a war effort. It was "doing your part" for society. It gave, costlessly, to others what they did not have for themselves. What has happened? Apparently America now assumes that someone else is donating enough for everyone. They're assuming that if I should need blood at a hospital, it'll be there. They're assuming that it hurts too much, takes too much of their precious time and their little pint won't make the difference.

It does.

Should the DC-Metro area (and indeed, I'm sure the blood banks outside of this area are as bare as ours.. ) suffer any large-scale crisis, there would not be enough blood. Let me repeat: THERE WOULD NOT BE ENOUGH BLOOD. Sure, everyone donated like crazy for 9-11, but did you know that it really didn't help those injured during 9-11? The people needing blood on 9-11 only had access to blood stores donated a week prior to the attacks.

Please, give blood. It doesn't hurt. Like this blog, it's a quick sting and a burn. It may cause you some anxiety to think about needles and veins and such, but don't look. Anemic? Take 2 multivitamins the night before and snack on some rasins and a steak. Seriously. Think of that person who has anxiety about whether or not their 6 year old child with leukemia will get their transfusion today or not. That child doesn't mind needles and would gladly take the prick of it. The anxiety of a wife with children wondering if her husband will survive the night after suffering injuries from being hit by a drunk driver.

Otherwise, don't assume that there will be a bobblie-red bag with your name on it when you might (heaven forbid) need it. It IS about being an American citizen. But it's also about being a Global Citizen. Help your unseen fellow man and give a pint. It takes 15 minutes to donate, maybe a total of 30 -45 minutes in the blood mobile or the donation center -- but it could add precious years to someone's life. Be brave. Take one for the team -- and give one for the team at the same time.

Blood truly is the gift of life. And we can't ignore the absolute desperate need for it. I was told today that people are more likely to give if they are asked personally to give. Consider this my plea to all of you to donate this week.

Alright. I'm off my soap box. Carry on.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Buy, buy, buy

Good thing I'm in nursing school. I think I might have to give my credit card mouth-to-metallic strip resucsitation. But why buy things if you can't share the joy of a purchase with your friends?

This weekend I bought (in no particular order):

As my friend I'd let you borrow anything but #3 and #5. You understand, I'm sure.

Friday, September 22, 2006


The Cat's Pajamas (OR-- the cat's IN pajamas..)

I love some good, old fashioned, harmless animal humiliation. Esspecially when it involves a cat -- God's most self-centered, egotistical and ungrateful creature. (Except for MY two angels, natch. Well, one of them.)

I haven't been able to discern if the point of this website is to merely outdo your fellow cat-owner with wackier accessories to adorn the feline, OR if it is to document with photographic evidence that "I hate you the most right now" face that every owner gets from their cat at some juncture.

My two fur-heads are therefore going to live the next few weeks in fearful anticipation of what I will try to put on them when they least suspect it. And then photograph them. And then post them like billboards on the information superhighway for all to giggle at.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Getting shafted.

I do enjoy a good medically centered story on, but I feel that this one, by far, is most intriguing.

Some interesting points I'd like to bring to your attention:

And just to keep the topic rolling:

I signed on to my computer last night to be assailed by a dear nursing classmate of mine sending me an instant message that read:

"I grabbed some old guy's scrotum today..... by mistake, of course."

Of COURSE, by mistake. I'd hope she wasn't aiming. And more importantly, I'd hope she was wearing gloves. My next inquiry was as to exactly where this alleged molestation took place -- Wegman's? The bathroom in the college library? A dark parking lot? No, you'll be relieved to know that the gent was far too mentally removed from the situation to really appreciate the gesture and indeed, didn't even notice the tug. It all occured within the safe and cozy confines of a temporary-stay mental hospital. (The real explaination was: a diaper change gone horribly awry. Word to the wise: don't reach behind an old dude to grab anything unless you're prepared to grab anything.)

(Sidebar: Ah, while *I'm* not yet in my psych rotation collecting wonderfully horrid stories, my friends are and I am able to tap into their ever-growing wealth of anecdotes. That is if a woman who refuses to remove her shower cap, or a man found at Dulles Airport trying to buy an international ticket whilist he was attired in safety goggles, shin guards and a hospital gown, can be considered a trival, cocktail-party anecdote. And if it is, then I want to be invited to that cocktail party. )

I totally love my job.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Things that seriously entertained me today....

1. How easily you can forget that you're on a college campus. That is, until the first week of classes when every club and organization is hounding you like cheap whore (so I hear) to join them. When every freshman is dressed to the NINES in their finest of fineries to impress anyone who might care to look in their direction. When every college administration puts the spit shine on all the campus buildings, eateries and outdoor patio places. This is not an event soley reserved for George Mason University. Oh, heavens, no. This happened at YOUR alma mater. It happened at mine. It probably still does.

But my absoloute favorite part of the whole "first few weeks back" of the BTS thing is the COLLEGE POSTER SALE. And I always forget about it until that first week when my eyes are assaulted by the requisite Bob Marley with his requisite joint and knowing (if not unbathed) look, the mind-boggling Escher prints or maybe even get a glimpse of a favorite medieval Lady of Shalott/Any Chick From Tennyson picture. Who buys this crap? I especially like the "100% unique" sign tacked onto the sandwich board outside the student center. What's unique about it? Is even 15% really unique? Doubt it. I remember freshman year being lured to the expanse of tables with large bound books of these images -- but I managed to escape that year -- and every year following without making a purchase. Not even a totally-sweet tie-dye wall hanging-sheet-like-thing. Blacklight poster? No thank you. Scarface movie poster? All stocked up, thanks. Maybe a large portraiture homage to Tupac? Another time, perhaps.

1.5 It never ceases to amaze me how freed-up college parking lots are in the morning round about the second week of class. Seems about 30% of the students can make pretty fair estimates of their course loads within the first few class meetings and then just maintain a decent blood alcohol level and sleep in the rest of the semester. Hey, no sweat off my back, though. While they're enjoying their plastic-coated, college-issue, extra-long twin in their cinderblock confines, I'm getting a sweet spot.

2. The nurse I shadowed yesterday's name was So-And-So Glasscock. Seriously. I don't have enough TIME to crack all the obligatory jokes here. I'll give you a moment to let it all sink in. Let the Glasscock sink in. And the best part was that she introduced herself to me like there was absoloutly nothing hilarious about her last name.

3. Dateline's To Catch A Predator. I swear it was a repeat tonight, and damned if I still watched it again. I want to get a beer with Chris Hansen -- the literal cock-block of the whole operation. (I've typed "cock" more times in this blog...) There is something so charming about the way Chris Hansen can read back the explicit chat room conversations to the alleged predator that makes you just want to cuddle him -- cuddle him and get the shivers all at the same time. It makes you feel all dirty, in a good Dateline kind of way. Tonight's sound bite was: "You said to her, 'I want to put my thang in your mouth.'" It's not at all unlike how your mom would sound if she were reading the screenplay of the X-rated version of the last time you did it. Well articulated, read with the genius of a Shakespearian actor and yet, extraordinarily disturbing to hear it outloud. I esspecially appreciated Mr. Hansen's true-to-the-text pronunciation of "thang". No wonder it was nominated for an Emmy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Nice girls STILL don't finish last.

I thought it best that I bring my recent running successes back to you all so that we may all revel in victory.

Saturday morning the Betrothed and I drove through early morning fog and darkness to Charlottesville to be at my first 10K race. The race course was mapped out on a very scenic, tree lined, two-laned road. The air was crisp and I was ready for action.

It's safe to say that UVA sent every single running group, team, club, intramural, people who once had a dream about running, people who once watched someone run somewhere once from a distance to this race. It was like someone vomited orange and blue all over the runners. Additionaly, I appeared to have underestimated the sheer number of people in Charlottesville who have even the slightest interest in obtaining their own physical fitness through running.

258 entrants all clustered around the start area -- and it was such a low-key race that a woman yelled (however officially qualified she was to do so..) "Ready? Set! GO!" to start the race. No gun, no horn, no whistle. A post-menopausal (I find myself aging people by medical phases rather than chronological age these days..) cupping her hands and shouting started the race. Well, it got us all moving anyway.

I started my race in the middle of the cluster. I didn't want to shortchange myself to much as to assume that I might as well START in the back of the race since that's where I'd finish. And yet, my runner's-ego wasn't polished enough to handle the swarms of people passing me should I decide to wear my balls outside of my shorts and run in the front of the pack.

It ended up not mattering. I spent a good 4.5 miles out of the 6.2 as the very, very last runner in the race. Yes, 258th place. At mile 5 I managed to pass a girl who was never more than 10 or 15 feet ahead of me. I assume her "off like a shot" start hurt her endurance at this point and it permitted me to keep my lead on her for the rest of the race. Cause Lord knows it was the only lead I had at this point. I finished the race in 1:14 and some change and in 257th place -- which is CLEARLY not last. I ran the entire race and maintained my pace the entire time.

Don't feel sorry for me. Feel free to snicker at my finishing place -- I still am. This race was a true personal victory for me. I accomplished an all-time high in mileage and I fought and won a great battle with my own personal discipline (which was half discipline and half "I can't go back and tell them I didn't run the whole thing.." ). And if the word "race" must be taken ever so literally in this case, I beat one person. Which is all you need to win, right? Have at least one person who didn't perform nearly as well as you? {speaking of, the dude who really won the race finished 6.2 miles in about 35 minutes -- the freak.}

I have to say that I was surprised (and very warmed) at how supportive and motivating my fellow 257 runners were. I don't know what I was expecting, really -- maybe a more cutthroat attitude, but it wasn't there. Those on their final return leg of the run still clapped and cheered on those of us that were still running towards the turn around. As I ran down the finish lanes, there were hoards of people cheering and encouraging me to stay strong. Though I admit to mocking the "stay strong" "you can do it" cheering mentality in the past, I have to say that when it's aimed at you after 6.2 miles, it means a great deal. Truly, it didn't matter to them that I finished 257th -- it was as if they all really respected the fact that I finished at all and that maybe it made them all recall that time when they ran their first 10K.

And on the level -- in my own defense -- number #256, 255, 254, 253 weren't far ahead of me -- maybe 30 - 50 feet. It wasn't as if everyone was waiting for prolonged periods of time for the last two runners to arrive. So yeah, I don't suck as much as you were just thinking I did, really.

Honestly, though, the cheering was bonus -- because with my own 3-manned cheering section, I'm quite sure I could have managed at least another .13 of a mile at that point. Maybe even secured the coveted 256th place.

Friday, September 08, 2006


No matter WHAT you did today.....

.... my day was WAY cooler than yours.

I spent the day with the local Medevac helicopter flight crew. And though I am probably bound by some HIPAA regulation to not disclose details of the trauma we (ha, I say "we" like I did little more than glove up, hold the oxygen tank and write stuff down) picked up today, as if you'd really want to hear them, suffice to say -- it was WAY interesting (self-inflicted gun shot wound).

I think I could safely classify this as the COOLEST several hours of my life. And better yet, I was assured that I could easily have this career before my 40th birthday -- which, hey, is great news. I didn't have any other career specialities planned before my 40th birthday so it fits right in.

So, yeah. How was your day?

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Food for thought. Really.

Nursing School is an ever multi-faceted beast at George Mason University. Part of my semester's clinical requirements have me spending 7 weeks on a psychiatric unit (oh, the stories are about to get a lot better. October 17th: Be there. BOYA - Bring Your Own Adderall.) and 7 weeks in a Community Health setting. So before I'm able to apply 4-point restraints to anyone or participate in a "take-down", I have to put in my time with the Health Department, Free Clinic and go on field-trips to the water treatment plant. Seems like a fair trade off, right?

Today started early with some AM radio (there are obviously some hold-outs who still listen... Good to know. I've managed to break both my AM and FM {thank you Exxon Car Wash}, so I XM. I'm so futuristic.) and the remnants of the health inspector's green chai tea on my passenger seat. We'd met briefly at her office and quickly set out to begin a day of scaring the hell out of local restaurant managers all over Loundon County. It was awesome.

Don't be fooled, however. I had some apprehension about today. Spending all day with someone who was likely to trek through some of my favorite eateries and point out all the unsanitary and bacterial reasons why I should cook at home more? I ended up completely rationalizing it to mean that I didn't eat in Loudon County now and could probably make a lifelong aim of never doing so -- so the day's outting was safe.

Until our first stop.
Which was Red Robin.
Which happens to be only the effing best place to get a good burger and eat your weight in bottomless fries (no lie. Would I lie to you about something as magical and wonderous as bottomless fries?! Please. ).
Which also happens to be the place the Betrothed and I ate dinner last night. Different location, but still. Did I really want to see how my burger was born and tressed up when I was pretty sure it was probably currently making it's move through my cecum (see, I could have said something more anatomically gross like COLON, but I didn't. I said cecum. And that means if you want to know where that is, you'll have to look it up. And by then you'll have forgotten about me mentioning my own digestion. Genius).

Once we arrived it was clear we were being likened to the gestapo. Everyone scurried around like bouncy balls being dropped on the floor. Clearly, a health inspector is like the king of food service. And with all this power and authority floating around, I was afraid I could be associated to any potentially bad reviews and then I'd be blacklisted from ever getting bottomless fries at any Red Robin ever again (an idea to which my arteries and ass were probably cheering loudly for..). I decided I had to launch my own personal "I'm with her, but not with her" facial campaign. I followed her around sweetly smiling at all the employees and giving the manager frequent "I'm just here for the learning!" shrug/smiles. I don't think it furthered my cause more than to make them think I was maniacly happy.

However, watching them drain and clean the fry cooker made my aforementioned fears of loosing bottomless fried obsolete. I think I could liken it to a person being vegetarian after going to a slaughterhouse. While we've all seen fry cookers in hot action, I don't know that many of us have seen what gets drained OUT of fry cookers after all their hours of hot action. I think my cholesterol went up at least 17 points just by watching.

All in all the inspection went well. A few minor violations that won't contaminate your bottomless fries, so please feel free to eat at the Loudon County Red Robin. It's safe. After it was all over I wanted to give the manager a big hug, but he appeared to be wound so tight I was afraid that if flicked, he might pop like a twisted Red Robin red drinking straw. So I thought I better pass on hugging it out with the man.

Our next stop was Taco Bell. For lunch. For us. What? A health inspector literally just drove us to a TACO BELL for lunch. What is this world coming to? Wouldn't that be like a health inspector mecca? Eh, I figured if she was initiating the run for the border, then it was probably safe. I don't know about you, but it's been a spell since I've partaken of the Bell. They may have a clean kitchen, but it still feels like intestinal spackle.

After some delightful conversation over burritos and a mexican pizza we decided to launch another sneak attack -- but this time on an unsuspecting Panera Bread that opened just 3 weeks ago. As the delightful inspector scribbled little notes on her pad while she walked through the food prep area, I saw the manager mouthing "Oh shit" repeatedly behind her. Another manager in sore need of a hug I knew I couldn't give him. Mind you, they weren't terrible violations and I am not discrediting Panera Bread. Mainly because I hope to have another Fugi Apple Salad in my future. A few fridges without visible thermometers (they were in the back and hard to see) and some structural issues that were to be taken up with the landlord, but all in all, we can feel safe to have our bread bowls and cinnamon crunch bagels without fear of being too far from a restroom for the rest of the day.

So, today I learned that ignorance really is bliss. I'm happy thinking that the stork brings my food to the restaurant and leaves it on the tray before it comes out to me. Too many cooks don't spoil the stew man, they just make for more bacterial hosts. The kitchens were all clean and we didn't get to shut anyplace down (which I was secretly hoping to be a part of sheerly for the T.V. drama of it all) . Again, another day with a county employee who loves her job and executes it very well -- thankfully.

A few of today's tidbits worth mentioning:

Friday, September 01, 2006


Back To School: I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight

I swear. At 27, this Back To School (hereafter: BTS) never gets old.

Psych! Its wicked old. I found myself having to consciously restrain myself from buying the obligatory BTS spiral notebook, black&white composition notebook and compass at every store I've entered since July. I'm in nursing school and I'm trying to buy the 10-pack markers and staring at all the Trapper Keepers. Ugh. I still have notebooks, #2 pencils and all the Bic pens I can stuff in my backpack from last year's inability to walk past the swell Target displays of all the sweet BTS supplies that I can buy en mass and not have to beg my mom for.

Well, thankfully, this is the last year -- for an extremely long time, anyway. The plan for the next 10 months is basically that I'll get a few blood pressures, pass some pills, physically restrain a psych patient, use some scantrons, put some tubes in and, yes, out of people and take the boards. With any luck, by this time next year: I'll be a nurse. (And probably a mental case due to impending nuptials post-nursing school -- but that's another blog for another day.)

I'm pleased to say that since the official kick-off of BTS this past Monday, it's been a mostly smooth ride (Not so fast, GMU parking services. Yeah, you heard me. All of you guys can bite me. I've a good mind to park my ride in your asses -- with or without your precious $180 pass.). The best part of the first week was probably the field trip. Yeah, I said it. Quit being all jealous. Not only am I, theoretically, a senior in college, but I'm also in nursing school. Other than a hospital unit or some other locale with relatively ill persons therein, what other location could be beneficial to a nursing student and earn real field-trip appeal?

Why, it would be your local, friendly (and surprisingly stink-free) neighborhood sewage treatment facility. You see, and here's the nursing relevance, it's important for nurses to understand why the WHO ranks sewage management & drinking water treatment with fluoride and chlorine as two of the top 10 best contributions to public health -- ever. And no lie, it was way interesting. A thousand years ago my 8th grade class visited the Charlottesville/Albemarle County sewage treatment facility (yeah, most people never visit these places, and here I've been twice. It almost seems unfair!) as part of our city/county units in Social Studies. I have truly fond memories of staring at enormous vats of my community's refuse & listening intently to stories of what people attempt to (with varying amounts of success) to flush : alligators, babies and pythons. I was only all-to-thrilled to learn that I'd spend Thursday doing it again, Northern Virginia-style.

What I learned: Loudon County poop doesn't smell bad. Or maybe it was just because it was a way small treatment plant that served only a small development (a mere 60,000 gallons processed a day.. compared to Fairfax County's largest plant at 225,000 rank gallons or DC's 350,000 politically incorrect gallons). Our kind and, strangely, overly enthusiastic tour guide explained that most of yesterday's "inflow" was already aerated and lost its methane (read: stink). In fact, once they remove all of their "solid sludge", a septic company comes and collects it and then sells it back to Loudon County agricultural groups to use as fertilizer. A larger Loudon plant dries it into pellets and then will give it to any L.C. residents free of charge. Amazing. I give you my poop, and you dry it and give it back to me. That's modern, metropolitan living, friends.

Additionally, I learned where people who really love their jobs work. Mr. Sewage Treatment has a Masters degree from a fairly impressive alma mater. And he loves your poop. He, actually, contacted GMU years ago and offered to set up tours for any of the students. He's been giving 3 tours a semester for nearly 3 years now. And he was wonderful and frighteningly knowledgeable about poop Post-Flush. And you know what? If you even knew the public health crisis that could happen if your waste and sewage wasn't managed for even a day, you'd be sending dude a Christmas card (and even your cheesy newsletter) twice a year for being so damned into and on his job.

Oh, and dude mentioned that flushing condoms is a bit of a problem for most plants. It jacks their machinery since it's pretty un-biodegradable. Sadly, the county can't see a way of asking or educating homeowners to quit flushing their sex supplies in a way that won't out said homeowners to their children in a non-embarassing, mommies-and-daddies-who-love-eachother-talks kinda way. So quit flushing your condoms. As a nurse, I applaud your safe sexual practices but really, destroying the evidence is pointless. We all know you're hittin' it. Yeee-ah.

Our afternoon field trip took us to a drinking water treatment plant -- actually the drinking water treatment plant of Northern Virginia. If you live in 703/202/571, chances are you're drinking water that's run through their pipes - and be damned glad of it. Why? Because the other 75 % of people who love their jobs work there. Nerds and geeks who filled our college chemistry and biology labs are tittering around the labs of the treatment plant making sure that not only is your water drinkable, but that it is "aesthetic". We're all so fashionable here in the DC Metro -- heaven forbid that our water be totally safe to drink but "unaesthetic".

My next field trip is more self-scheduled. Over the summer I had contacted the Fairfax County EMS groups asking if they would take me for ride-alongs in the ambulances. While they all were congratulating me for entering the medical profession in the midst of a bad shortage, sadly they could not invite me to join them due to HIPAA limitations and insurance liabilities. Not quite crestfallen, I accepted their refusal. And then I got to visit the flight-school. Because few of you know that I aspire to actually be a flight-nurse, you may not understand how giddy I was to be able to go to their hanger and ask a myriad of geeky questions. {Basically, due to all of the training, certifications and experience needed to be a flight nurse, and rightly so, they told me to aim for it for my 40th birthday. Yowzers. Alright, I can get on board with 13-year goals.. }

Before I knew it, they were offering me a seat on the helicopter during a 12 hour shift solely for observation. Yeah, I know. The ambulance cock-blocks me and the helicopters are already buckling me in for lift off. So next Friday I'm airborne. I hate to wish for a gruesome accident scene or advocate for human injury, but I am not getting this amped up to sit in their lounge with no calls for 12 hours. But if you choose to not wear a seatbelt next Friday, maybe we can get together a lot sooner than we had originally planned. In any case I.CAN'T.WAIT. Ah, I get to spend a day observing what I think I'd like to do with my Over-The-Hill years AND I get to cross "fly in a helicopter" off my list of "Things To Do Before I Die". Suh-weet.

Phew. All that being said, it promises to be a busy semester. The sooner we get this semester over with, the sooner I get to start the last one. And the sooner I get reminded what a pay-check looks like.


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