Thinkin', Bitchin' & Nursin'

Archive for April, 2012

When Stress Crosses the Abyss into Insanity…

How many of you out there talk to yourselves?  Oh, I’m not talking the occasional thump on the head with an out loud, “You idiot!”  I’m not talking about verbally remembering something in the grocery store.  I’m not even talking about that occasional mumble to yourself because you are irritated, or the shout out to the idiot driver who just cut you off or (in my sister’s case) honked at you at a stop light.

I am talking about full-fledged, out loud, actual conversations or speeches.  I’m talking about the kind of talking to yourself that leads to an “Ah ha!” moment wherein you REALIZE you are talking to yourself and then look around to make sure no one heard you.  The kind of talking to yourself that sucks you in, because you feel the conversation deep into your very core.

I have started doing this.

I believe stress is causing it.

Just the other day, while blow drying my hair, looking strait in the mirror at myself, I had a conversation with my son – a WHOLE conversation – wherein I told him how ridiculously irritating his princess of a wife was in my eyes.  Yep.  I was telling him everything about her that pisses me off.  The blow dryer was running at a deafening roar (I have a lot of hair) and my mouth was moving as if there was a freight train coming to knock me off the tracks!

“You don’t know what it’s like to be home with her day in and day out!  When she does the dishes, she puts things away wherever she wants to, and never in the same place twice!  Since WHEN do we put the knives in the drawer when there is a block for the knives right on the counter?  And when we put the knives in the block, why can’t we figure out that the LARGE knives go at the top together where there are three slots for the three large knives, and there are six steak knives with six slots all in a row for them.  Count them!  SIX!!!  And how many times do I have to tell her that you do NOT put large items on the top of the dishwasher and leave the bottom empty?  Oh, and speaking of the dishwasher, this business of realizing AFTER dinner that the dishes were never run from earlier in the day, and then not doing dinner dishes because she has to start the dishwasher that is already full?  Yeah, THAT better stop!  Or she will lose her seat at the table!  And tell her that asking ME what is for dinner is NOT ACCEPTABLE!  She can eat whatever I serve, without knowing in advance since she is so lazy she cannot cook.  If she doesn’t like it, she can buy more food!  Or she can starve!!  I realize you love her, but son, enough is enough.  Look, just tell me one thing:  WHY, when she finds the fudging sweeper in the closet with the handle to the back so the door to the closet will close, does she put the damned thing away with the handle facing the door and then struggle to close the closet, only to leave it partially open, EVERY FREAKING TIME??  I’ll tell you what.  I cannot take an unruly, unmanageable house.  And if I hear her say she is an adult and can do whatever she wants to my grandson one more time?  I’m going to beat the poop out of her to prove just what a fudging child she IS!”  On and on it went.  It takes me 20 minutes to blow dry my hair.  Somewhere around the time I shut the blow dryer off and started applying hair spray, I stopped mid-sentence, looked at myself in the mirror, and thought,

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“Holy bananas!  I’m nuts!  I’ve lost my mind!”

Thinking to myself, “Ooohhh, a banana for breakfast sounds good!”

The last couple of weeks have been days sent straight from Hades.  On a Tuesday, my youngest son (age 24) called to ask me if I could come get him because he got a flat tire on the freeway.  Not just a flat tire, really, but the FOURTH flat tire in about six months.  We had offered to replace this exact tire, in fact, when he got the LAST flat tire, Flat Tire No. 3.  He refused because he didn’t want to accept the help.  Very brave, but it may have saved some trouble down the line, right?

The next day, Wednesday, my oldest son (the one I had the last imaginary conversation with) screwed up his medications and ended up zoning out on his way home from work, pulling into the parking lot to the apartment complex next to us, and falling asleep in the parking lot – FOR THREE HOURS!  I had called the phone company to trace the location of his phone who told me they couldn’t do it unless a cop called them.  I called the cops to have them come over and make the call.  I called his dad and he and his girlfriend went out looking for him at the bars his co-workers frequent to no avail.  I called his brother who all but blew up his phone.  Finally he answered his phone, disoriented, and said he didn’t know where he was but there were buildings all around.  His brother guided him home, and thank God he didn’t get pulled over because he is in nursing school, and a DUI is a DUI, no matter the reason.  Add to that the fact that when he pulled into the parking lot, his wife (the daughter-in-law in the conversation above) went out the door as if she was a lower class hill rat, flung open the car door, and smacked him in the face!  WTF!! It was an episode straight out of Cops or Cheaters!

That night, in the bathroom, after everything calmed down, I’d had a few glasses of wine, and the hubby and I had decided to go to bed, I picked up a book (don’t judge – you ALL know you read on the toilet), and my mouth started as I stared blankly at the words on the page.  “You boys just don’t understand a damned thing about being a mother.  Just because you are grown men doesn’t mean I am not protective of you and want to keep you sheltered in life.  Just because you are grown doesn’t mean I don’t want to be part of those areas in life you need a little assistance.  However, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!  The problem isn’t having to give assistance to you.  The problem is the amount of assistance you require!!  You are 25 and 26 years old this year and at some point, you have to be able to compensate for your own errors.  I cannot keep coming to your aid like this.  You have to get a fudging grip on life – that’s right, grab life by the horns – and steer it already!   Accept help when it’s offered so that maybe next time, you won’t need help!  You are stressing me out!!  You have no idea what these phone calls do to me.  You have no inkling as to what my body goes through each time you guys cause me stress!  DO YOU SEE THIS GRAY HAIR???  (Tugging at my hair.)  YOU gave me this gray hair!  You need to start handling your business or I’m going to handle it for you and you won’t want me meddling that deeply in your business!  Trust me on THAT one!  So the next time there is an emergency, I want you to forget…”

In the background I hear, “Good night girls.”  That’s the hubby saying good night to our nine month old puppies.  Then I realize I have not only been talking out loud for 10 minutes, but my butt cheeks are sore because I was sitting on the freaking toilet seat that long!  I was sure I had a ring around my ass cheeks…tsk tsk tsk.  I am nuts!!  I really am!!

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The other day, I had blood drawn.  I have an issue keeping my Potassium level up.  Anyhow, this blood was drawn on Monday, and the results should have been available to me by Tuesday.  It was a BMP (Basic Metabolic Panel) and those only take a day.  Here it is Thursday, and I haven’t gotten them yet.  This morning I checked MyChart, and they still weren’t there.  My mouth started.  “I have asked you people three times to post those results and yesterday you told me Dr. Garwood was the only one who could release them.  Who in the hell is Dr. Garwood?  I have never met this guy!  He has never seen me in the office.  I couldn’t find him in a Where’s Waldo picture let alone if he were standing in my own front yard.  What is the freaking hold up?  Why is this taking so long?  I have emailed and left two messages on the nurse line.  I have talked to the receptionist twice.  What in the fudging hell is the hold up?  I am sick to death of pulling teeth to get my own freaking medical information.  HIPAA laws aside, I am not asking for the Pope’s information.  I am asking for my own!  It’s MINE!  That’s why it’s called “MyChart”.  Give it to me already before I come down there and punch you in the face!”

“Grama, what’s wrong?”

UGH!  Caught!  “Grama is just mad the doctor won’t give her the test results she wants, that’s all.  It’s nothing for you to worry about.”

“Can I have Doritos for breakfast?”  Thank GOD he’s only four.  Teehee!  He has no clue his Grama is an absolutely certifiable insane woman!

“No you may not.  Have some Fruit Loops!”  (No pun intended! Ha!)

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Anxiety much?

I need one of these in my home…

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It sure would make life easier…and might actually quiet my mind and my mouth!

To Conscience or Not to Consience…

Why couldn’t I have been born one of those people who just doesn’t given a damn about anything or anyone?  Sometimes, it seems that it would be very easy to live a life of not caring if I just could have been born without a conscience.  You know, all my fingers and toes are there, both legs and both arms, and my head has a brain in it, just no conscience.

Seriously, if I had no conscience, I might be sitting in prison like this guy…

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…thinking I actually deserve a break and should be granted parole.

(For those of you uninformed, this is Charles Manson.  If you don’t know why he doesn’t deserve parole, you have been living under a rock and it’s best to let you live out the rest of your life inside the innocent bubble you’ve built for yourself.)

If I had no conscience, I might hit the gas pedal instead of the brake when a squirrel, raccoon, or goose crosses the road in front of me.

Seriously, I am the type to swerve off the road to avoid killing an animal.

And if I had no conscience, I might allow my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson to live like this:

…but, of course, I house them instead.

In fact, my husband and I house them, and provide heat, water, electricity, cable, and internet.  We give gas when it’s needed.  We buy food.  In return, we only ask that they use their food card from welfare to pay for the first week of food for the month.  My son works part time, and goes to nursing school.  I want to encourage that.  His wife has yet to start her job, but is starting one on Friday.  Her mother has offered to babysit.  I will be working full time during the week.  I won’t be able to babysit.  Her mother is usually a cop-out.  We will see how long the daughter-in-law, AKA Princess, holds this job.  In the meantime, my son is expecting to have back surgery in a month or so.  Once he does, he will be off work for 8-10 weeks.  In fact, he told his employer, he would probably be off work until his son starts kindergarten in the fall. This way they don’t have to pay for a babysitter.

Oh yeah.

But I have a conscience.

So I ask all the right questions:  Do you know for sure she will work her job?  He said she would HAVE to.  I told him that HAVE TO is NOT in the Princess’ vocabulary.  I asked him what about the new job HE was supposed to be starting soon.  He told me he would just stay with the old one.  The old one is fine with that.  He followed all of this up with asking to borrow some gas money until Friday.

I just don’t understand this business of not having a conscience.  However, I might like to take a class or two in it.  You know, study it a  little and find out how to use it to my own advantage.

Then again, I’m a hospice nurse.

I am sure my brain just doesn’t work that way.

Groundhog Day…and the full moon

I absolutely adore my job.  I am a hospice nurse.  Soon I will be a Hospice Case Manager.  This has to be the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done in my life.  And that includes motherhood!  I sincerely like being there for people and their families at the time when the patient is transitioning toward whatever it is they personally believe is happening next in their life.

At any rate, Friday night was a full moon.

Everyone in nursing knows what this means!

Dementia and psychiatric units everywhere go haywire!  The moon affects patients the same way it affects everyone.  I remember back in the day working as a cashier in a convenient store.  Oh my God, the nuts who would come into the store would make you nuts yourself!

Anyhow, it started a weekend from hell.

I am currently the weekend on call hospice nurse for my firm.  This means I go on call from Friday afternoon through Monday morning.

I love what I do.  But holy cow, this was a rough weekend!

It started with a patient who was starting to transition, or die.  I got called out right after another nurse went off duty and left that facility, after having been in overtime because of the visit.

That facility apparently has nurses that are not comfortable with death, although I cannot understand that because it is a long-term care facility where death occurs on a regular basis.  At any rate, I got called out just as I’d returned to my hometown from another visit 30 miles away.  This patient was another 30 miles away in a different direction.  I got off the freeway exit, and while I was getting back on the freeway at the entrance, I called my husband to let him know to start dinner and eat because I would be late.

I finished up with the patient, who looked as if she was sleeping comfortably, a couple of hours later.  Mind you, I had started my shift exactly at 4:00 p.m. which never happens.  It was now after 10:00 p.m. and I had not had anything to eat since lunch.  I reached my exit off the freeway, and the phone rang again.  This time, the same facility wanted me back.  They insisted this patient was near death, with a very low blood pressure and almost no audible heart beat.  I told my triage nurse I simply HAD to go home and eat something, and then I would be on my way.

It was then that I noticed:

the full moon!

I thought to myself, OK, this figures.

Even the triage nurse said she didn’t know if it was the family or the nurse that needed me more that night.

I ran into the house, “wolfed” down a chicken breast (no pun intended), and hit the road.  I got back on the freeway and headed to the facility.

This time, I spent about three hours with the patient and family.  When I went to leave, I was a little leery, but she really looked very comfortable and I figured the staff could handle it this time because there had been a shift change and the new nurse was very nonchalant about giving the morphine as needed.

I got home, changed and got into bed.  Ten minutes…YES…TEN MINUTES later, the phone rang.  Triage was sending me back out to the SAME facility because the patient had died and the family wanted me there.

That’s the face I SWEAR I saw…that is EXACTLY what the man in the moon looked like to ME!

This night turned into that movie, Groundhog Day, where Bill Murray kept getting up in the morning to the same song, the same place, the same people, the same events, etc.

Anyhow, I was very glad I got to go back out.  The family was Hindu and practiced the death rituals that go along with that.  The patient’s body was now wrapped in a beautiful golden shroud.  She had a coins on her forehead and in her hands.  She was laying on the floor where the family had put her after bathing her.  I was very impressed with the whole thing.  It was absolutely beautiful.

So, after that, my weekend just kept going and going.  I left there at 6:30 in the morning and went to do an opening that lasted until noon.  After that I saw another patient in the area.  I went home and managed a couple of naps before bedtime.  Once my head hit the pillow, however, I was only allowed about an hour of sleep before I had to go out again, this time for my second death.  That family was at an assisted living facility, so I had to stay until the nurses arrived at 6:00 a.m. because the family didn’t want the body picked up until after 9:00.  I went to do another visit after that and went home to rest.

During dinner, I was called out to yet another person who was dying.  This time I stayed.  I was not going to allow this person to die without me being present.  However, after four hours, he seemed to fall into a pattern, and I felt it was safe to go home.  He died about an hour later.

The full moon.

What a piece of work.

Ugh! Pennies!!!

Who here has ever been in a hurry and just wanted a quick coffee from McDonald’s on their way to wherever they have to go? Well, I am a hospice nurse. In fact, I am the weekend on-call nurse. This means that I get called out any time of the day or night, from Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. straight up until Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. I love what I do! BUT…first thing in the morning…
I mean, sometimes I am called out after only four hours of sleep, like at 4:00 in the morning, with only a few hours of sleep.
A couple of weekends ago, I was called out at about 9:00 at night on Friday night only to get home at about 1:30 in the morning. Then I was called out Saturday morning at 5:30 a.m. Believe me, I was tired. No problem. (I usually whine at our triage nurse when she calls about how I haven’t gotten enough sleep, then bitch while I’m getting ready, but then settle down once I’m in the car LOL!)

So I head on down the road thinking, “I’ll stop and get a coffee at McDonald’s…”

I pull up behind this brand new Kia…

In fact, the plate was still a cardboard temporary plate! Beautiful new Kia Sorento. And the lady was leaning out the window trying to bargain price her breakfast!

McDs: “Hello, welcome to McDonald’s, may I take your order?”KIA LADY: “Yes, I’d like to get two Sausage Biscuits, two hash browns, hold on…how much will that cost so far?”McDs: “$5.85.”KIA LADY: “Ok…wait a minute…ok…how much would it be if you add two Big Breakfasts to that?”

McDs: “$12.85.”

KIA LADY: “Hold on…ummmmm…ok…wait a minute…ummmm…”

ME: “OH COME ON!!! I JUST WANT COFFEE!!!”

KIA LADY: “Ok, how much are the Big Breakfasts if you just give us pancakes and sausage and one biscuit?”

McDs: “It’s the same. We can’t change the price of the Big Breakfast if you alter it.”

KIA LADY: “How much is an order of pancakes then?”

McDs: “Well, if you get just pancakes then it’s $1,50.”

KIA LADY: “If you add sausage to that?”

McDs: “Then it’s a Big Breakfast price.”

KIA LADY: “How about if I just get a couple of Sausage Biscuits with the pancakes?”

McDs: “Then it would be $3.00 for two orders of pancakes and another $2.00 for the two Sausage Biscuits.”

KIA LADY: “Ummmm ok….wait a minute….ok….and my total would be?”

McDs: “$10.85.”

ME: “HELLOOOOOOOOOO!!! I NEED COFFEE!!!”

KIA LADY: “Hmmmm…and how much is another hashbrown?”

McDs: “$1.00.”

KIA LADY: “Ok, add one more hashbrown. That’s it. Can I have a total?”

ME:

McDs: “Ok, your total is 11.85, please pull around.”

I get to the window and am just….UGH!! I am really pissed off at this point because I should have been able to zip into line, get a coffee, and zippity-do-dah my ass right out.

McDs: “Welcome to McDonald’s, may I take your order?”

ME: “I’d like a large coffee.”

McDs: “Any cream or sugar with that?”

ME: “No thank you.”

McDs: “Your total is $1.80, please pull around.”

So I pull around, and I have to wait, and wait and wait….and wait………………….still waiting…..

The guy behind the window finally opens the window and what do I see?

Yep.

No lie!

So I chuckled and said, “Wow, I bet you’re glad I just ordered a coffee, huh?”

Geez.

Some people have no sense of humor! (Of course, I was the one who was just recently screaming at the top of my lungs inside my closed car because I had to wait for coffee!)

So I handed him my debit card (HAHA!) to pay for my $1.80 coffee and went on my merry way! If I’d have had more time, I would have started counting the pennies in the center console of my car 🙂 This guy would have had a stroke!

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