In the Trenches NYE

Once again I found myself ringing in the New Year with co-workers.  Not that they’re not fun to be around, but it’s not like I can dance and kiss them at midnight.

It’s funny though to watch the admissions though the night.  Until midnight, there was nothing.  The ED was dead.  Just a couple of the usual detritus of abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting and the requisite psych hold.  But after midnight it was all ETOH-related.  ETOH/Fall, knee injury, ETOH, fall with back pain and since I was in charge of the observation unit as well that night, I was getting the calls.

“Yeah, we need an obs bed for a “syncope” patient.”  said the house supervisor

“Syncope huh?  You mean falling down drunk, right?”

And the night continued like that.  Syncope chick tested positive for coke, ETOH, a UTI and Trich.  But denied that she drank, takes drugs or smokes (we didn’t go into the sleeping around part…)  I learned that you could test positive for coke just by  being around people smoking meth!  I never knew!

All in all it was much the same as every other night.  But for a New Year, with a full moon it could have been much worse.

How I Spent New Year’s

Being the lucky devil I am, I spent the start of 2008 at work.  But what a night it was.  So instead of a New Year’s look back or Top Ten list or any other nonsense fun stuff that bloggers usually trot out to end the ear with, I present my favorite things from working New Year’s Eve.

Best thing overheard: “Yes, that’s right, the Beverly Hillbillies are coming to pick me up to take me home!” said the slightly demented older lady.

Best thing said by a patient’s friend:  “So how is that crazy bitch?” said with a spot-on English accent.

Best patient-family interaction:  “Shut up momma’! Everyone here is telling the truth now go back to sleep!”  said the daughter of the slightly paranoid older woman claiming no one had been telling her the truth all night.

Best moment by our intrepid tele tech:  not notifying the nurse that her patient’s heart rate had shot up to 180.  And also missing another patient converting to sinus, then a-fib, then back to sinus and another dropping out of a-fib into a junctional rhythm. Yes, we are responsible for the monitor, but when you’re elbow deep in something lovely, you need someone to watch your back.  He got set straight and afterward each time a patient broke wind our pagers went off.

Best way to ring in the New Year: cleaning up a minor blowout of tube feeding fecal matter at 5 minutes past midnight on a total care patient.

Sure it wasn’t the best way to ring in the New Year, nor the worst, but based on that, there’s only one way to go:  up.

Oh yeah, someone got a new laptop for Christmas…now they can blog from the living room, or Starbucks, or the mall, or downtown or…


It’s quarter to seven in the AM and I’ve slept all of about 3 hours.  I laid down to sleep and fell asleep, only to wake about 3 hours later.  I didn’t think I would have a problem flipping to day-side this time.  But I am having trouble.  I’ve been on nights schedule for 3 three weeks straight thanks to “issues” with my (read: the floor ) schedule.  Y’know, the lovely 3 on, 1 off, 1 on, 1 off, 2 on…and on, never fully able to flip into day-side, nor completely on the night-side.  Kind of in a temporal purgatory, where one is always tired, no matter what you do.

My doc (bless her) wrote Ambien for me, to help, “ease the transition.”  I felt like I wouldn’t need it tonight.  And, when I realized I did, it was far too late to take it.  I can’t be sporting and Ambien hangover for half of the day.   As is the norm this time of year there is much to do.  Presents to wrap, cookies to bake, houses to clean, in-laws to run away from and the general manic overload of the season.  I’m glad I don’t have to drive anywhere for Christmas.  For once, everyone is headed our way.  And methinks that is the root of the problem.

Honestly, I do like my in-laws.  My mother-in-law is great.  Her words of encouragement in nursing school always haunt me, “if I ever heard that you said ‘this is the CNA’s job,’ I (all $1.25, soaking wet of her) will personally kick your butt!”  Her ex-husband, my wife’s stepfather (guess that makes him my ex-stepfather-in-law?) is a whole other ballgame.  I know everything I have heard about him is tainted by the experience of those who lived through it, but I have seen his worst side on more than one occasion.  It ain’t pretty.  Like many of my difficult patients, I have learned to handle him and at times like him a little.  But having him here carrying along the tension that exists between him and the rest of the family will make life a little more difficult.

It appears that I will have to “cowboy-up” and muddle through this episode much like any other I have muddled through in the last 9 years (soon to be 10) I have been a part of the family.  And I hate to say it, but I’m almost looking forward to going back to work next week.

Besides the nagging dread of the in-laws, to top it all off, the cherry on top, I’m coming down with the “crud” as well.  Sniffling, coughing, general malaise, post-nasal drip – the works.  Yes, it going to be a Merry Christmas indeed.

Now that I’ve cast a pall on anyone reading this, let me reassure you: I have grown to love the Holidays.  After working in the airline industry, I hated the Holidays.  It was the busiest time of the year.  Now, I love it.  I will enjoy it.  Now as in “Christmas Vacation” it may take a little help from Jack Daniels, or in this case, Captain Morgan, but I will survive.  And maybe even have a little fun!

Wishing all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

WTF?! It’s only November.

That’s what I said as I cruised down auto row this evening on the way home with teriyaki take away.  The big dealership already had Christmas decorations up.  Yes.  Gaudy tinsel scenes hanging from the multitude of light poles, lit up like the Vegas strip.  C’mon folks, it’s only the 5th of November.  Aren’t we supposed to wait until at least Thanksgiving?  That and I saw Christmas commercials this week.  When will the madness stop?  Then my wife tells me they’ve had decorations up at the malls since before Halloween!  It just ain’t right.

I’ve seen a lot of helmet related posts out there lately, but this one here takes the cake.  ‘Tis why I wear a helmet in the first place.