Friday, August 31, 2007


Get your Colonial on.

Recently I took a quick trip through Williamsburg, VA, what some reading this may refer to as the Mother-Land/Mother-Ship/Place with Mug Night/Land of all that is warm and comforting about not being an adult or expected to be an adult.

Super-quick trip, really. But enough time, clearly, to stop at Snow-to-Go, drive my car-mate and Bestie by the old Soro house, art studio and frat row. Additionally stopping to balk at the new Barksdale dorms (which I'm sure are delightful to live in and bring much needed revenue to our Alma Mater.. BAH..), point out the Marketplace and the Greenleafe and stare blankly at what WAS Common-Glory and is now the new Amphitheater.

A power walk through the Colonial haunts provided a more picture-purging adventure.

I have to caption none of these photos for you.
You, who know these places as well as I do.
You, who have these same pictures with different heads on them in your collection somewhere.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


If you tell a joke in the woods and no one is around to hear it -- was it still funny?

I have a problem. Well, I have a lot of problems, but one in particular will drive this post.

I really like my job. Like, I really like it. I like it in the way they make movies about people who really like their jobs. My only complaint is that my coworkers, by and large, though wonderfully giving, talented and skilled professionals -- lack any semblance of a sense of humor. I tell jokes, I get confused looks, crickets chirping and then the pity laugh. This could be all about THEM -- in that they have no sense of humor. Or, I'm big enough to suggest that it could be all about ME -- in that I'm not as funny as I think I am. But let's be honest, that's not possible. I'm pretty damned funny.

However, in the few months that I have been at work, I have made hospital-humor jokes that have fallen on deaf, unfunny, PITY LAUGH ears. I have learned to curb my jokes -- which is kind of like holding back a sneeze. It doesn't come out as hard as it would have, but it hurts and your nose gets tinglie.

So I turn to you, my blogging buddies. I have to let out the funny. Please, don't feel obligated to laugh on my account.

1) The majority of my patient-load is geriatric. And when you've lived a long time, your body starts to show the wear of the years and the scars of your past adventures. Like most industries, things come in phases. Some weeks it's all about the poorly controlled diabetics. Or it's patients who don't speak a lick of English. Or it's poo. For the past few weeks, completely regardless of diagnosis, my patients have, for the most part, been missing all of or part of a single finger. Seriously. I have never seen so many 1-finger-short-of-a-high-five cases in my life. And really, it's such a minor observation when, say, they appear to be breathing through two lumps of coal and cigarette ash that were once called "lungs". Details like partial digits missing gets overlooked. So I have found myself coming out of patient rooms and commenting to my fellow nurses: "Hey, did you see that he's missing his entire ring finger?" or "So he apparently lost 3 toes and most of his middle finger in a mine accident."

THE UNTOLD JOKE: "I noticed he was missing a finger. I shook out the sheets and looked under the bed for it but I can't find it. Did he have it last night at change of shift? Think he'll sue?"

2) The proper title to my floor is : Medical Telemetry with a Renal Focus. Sure does pack a wordy punch, huh. None of you have any idea what I do anymore, do you. In any case, in addition to the elder folk, we get a fair amount of transplants. Transplants doing well, transplants on the brink and the organ-formerly-known-as-a-transplant. All of these patients at the time of transplant take oceans of expensive pills everyday for the rest of their lives. One of those pills is an "anti-rejection" pill that does just that -- prevents the body from kicking the new organ out of the abdominal-party. Because I'm new I frequently find myself on the buzzer holding end of a nurse quiz show by my bosses and new hire managers. The process makes me feel incredibly awkward and so I usually try to distract them with jokes they don't laugh at. Strangely, it works. While discussing the functionality and pharmakinetics of anti-rejection meds, I commented:

THE TOLD JOKE: "Anti-rejection meds. Huh. Too bad they're so expensive. I knew a lot of kids in highschool who could have really benefited from such a pill." *insert pause, slow understanding and then a slight pity laugh*

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Phrases you likely don't use at YOUR job.

1. "You got poop on my arm."

2. "Let me see your testicular swelling."

3. "When YOU'RE the nurse, you can make that decision. Right now, that's MY job so you'll need to back up."

4. "Don't let your fingers or your penis touch the inside of the specimen cup."

5. "I'm sorry, Doctor. I'm not here to hold your soda."

Man, and I got to say all of these THIS week.. Wow.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Finally facing my Waterloo

Who here can say with all honesty that high school wasn't the biggest social kick in the pants ever. I'd rather re-write my resume or move to a new house (packing, unpacking included) than do a day of high school over.

But I've moved on. I've grown up and am far too mature to dwell on the angst of high school. And really, it wasn't all that bad.

Except for gym class. Where I might be able to use multisyllabic words and find the hidden most meaning of a Toni Morrison book, I was a looser in gym class. I broke a girl's nose once in gym class with a Frisbee. Totally. But the absolute bane of my gym days was my complete and utter inability to ever do a chin up {Sidebar: Who here has ever done one chin up in their life? Seriously. Speak up. I'm curious if I would have hated you for your athletic prowess back then}. Once the gym teacher felt so bad for me (and a few other weak upper-bodied high school girls) that he hoisted us up so that we might feel some simulated version of chin up joy. I'd stand there in my county-issued cotton outfit and glare maliciously at the boys (and butch girls) who would do rapid fire sets of chin ups -- just because they could (and probably seething in my own jealousy because if I could do it, I would have been just another one of those assholes showing off too..).

And now that I've joined a new gym I find that my favorite machine has a direct view to the chin up bar where I spend 40 minutes watching the spirit of my macho high school classmates reincarnated into the young 20-something men that frequent my gym.

ENOUGH, I say! Damnit, teach me to do a chin up!

I met with a personal trainer last night with the simplest of requests --
Me: "My fitness goal? Oh, easy. To do one chin up."
Him: "Just one? You only want to do one?"
Me: "I'm ok with more than one, but one will complete me. Anything after one is chin up gravy."
Him: "I could have you doing a chin up in a month or so. How's that?"
Me: "Awesome."

Me Today: Holy crap. Ouch.

One month, huh. If my arms don't fall off before then.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Extra! Extra! Read about how I'm pretty awesome!

I like my job. A lot. Everyday I think about how much I didn't like that other job that I had and how I am so much more significantly happy at this job.

Better than that, my job likes me. I was hired to my hospital unit over two years ago -- before even starting nursing school. They felt I was a "sure thing", gave me lots of money and I signed away the next few years of my life to work there. Cha. Like I wouldn't be working there anyway. The lady who has been orchestrating this since 2005 in HR and I have developed a friendly relationship. We both drive 10+ year old Volvos with illuminated dashboard lights of some sort -- burned out bulb, check engine, service -- you know, the usual -- it's a good place to build a commonality, man.

Anyway, it would appear that this HR lady does a once-monthly piece for the Health Section of the Washington Post highlighting the awesome things going on at my awesome juggernaut-of-health-care-hospital. And she asked me to contribute this month. It's cheesy, it's saccharin sweet, (it's true..) but man, it's me on the cover of the Health Section of the Washington Post discussing my otherwise uninteresting reasons for choosing health care as my second career. (Me and a few others' reasons, I think, but let's just focus on me, shall we?) Sunday's paper man. Pick it up. If for nothing else, there's coupons in there.

Holy crap, I love my job.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Things I Learned This Week by: Cathy Laws

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