Sunday, December 30, 2012

speaking of...

Oh hi. So I've had several half-done blog posts hanging around for, like, the last two months. I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea that I've grown tired of writing about myself, so now, in the midst of working 15 days (errr, nights) in a row with one day off, after working a particularly busy 7pm to 7am (errr, 8am) shift, while eating an obscene amount of Trader Joe's Thai Lime & Chili Cashews and drinking red wine, at 8:36am I have decided it is time to clean out the blog cobwebs.

Please pardon my grammar/formatting/whatever else you may find subpar and/or offensive. 

Speaking of Trader Joe's Thai Lime & Chili Cashews...



I think I have just entered into the Contemplation stage of what we in the biz call the "Stages of Change." No longer am I in denial that eating these delectable, multi-dimensional nuts with increasing frequency is causing me GI distress and my scrub pants to fit more tightly. But at the same time, thinking about "giving up [this] enjoyed behavior causes [me] to feel a [HUGE] sense of loss." I feel I may need to replace my beloved, comforting post-work snack with something a little lighter and less abrasive, but I am not quite ready yet. Whatever the replacement is, it will of course need to go well with boxed red wine. 

Speaking of change, I am hoping that by posting my blog cobwebs I will free myself to start posting other stuff on a more regular basis (probably still in Precontemplation on this front)...

TALKING SHOP
The other night (and by "other night" I mean like two months ago) I hung out with a whole buncha nurses without even planning to (one thing I love about living in a smallish city is that there are only so many areas people congregate). At one bar it was people who work on my unit including my bosses (I clearly work in the right place), and at the other people I went to school with who work elsewhere in the hospital. Our conversation topics were as follows:

*Calling the attending physician at home on a weekend in the middle of the night because you suspect your patient's urinary catheter is clogged, and the doctors on the floor aren't taking you, new nurse, seriously, and it turns out your patient's urinary catheter had like a three-inch clog in the tubing gaaaaaaaaah.

*Whether Resident MD So-and-So is or is not a player.

*How frustrating it is when doctors keep throwing out aggressive, debilitating treatment options at 87-year-old patients with inoperable cancer.

*What to do when you see a former patient out in the wild, i.e., at the Urban Outfitters downtown. Answer? Wait for them to initiate, or, in my case, turn away from them hoping they didn't see you and will therefore not initiate even though said patient was one of your all-time favorites and you'd just love to say hello to her and chat about overpriced faux-vintage clothing and the recognition probably would have made her freaking day, that sweet, shy little soul. GAAAAAAAH.

*How kale was soooo 2011 and swiss chard is the official bitter green of 2012.


SPEAKING OF KALE
I've said this a million (or at least like five) times, but Mimi Smartypants is one of my favorite bloggers in the short history of blogs. While some bloggers have had me utterly captivated, reading two years worth of posts for eight hours nonstop (not exaggerating--I used to work in finance), they generally haven't stuck. I have been reading Mimi's old-school semi-weeklyish posts for almost ten years now and she always makes me snort/restores my faith in humanity. Her description of trying a particular blended kale beverage is worth a read: 
There was no love and no light. There was a bit of energy, if you count how I stayed grimly present-in-the-moment in between sips, sure that if I lost focus I would either vomit or throw the whole thing out the window.


WORDS OF THE DAY/LAST TWO MONTHS
During my downtime at work I like to read all the doctors' notes. They help me put my patients' current presentations into context (don't even get me started on the percentage who have been physically and/or sexually abused as children Jesus Effing Christ), and they introduce me to new medical terminology and phenomena I didn't have time to learn in two years of task-focused nursing school. For example, the rhythmic hypnopompic. According to Wikipedia, this is "the state of consciousness leading out of sleep" in which our "emotional and credulous dreaming cognition [is] trying to make sense of real world stolidity." Which I think basically equates to the time when I was around eight years old and I dreamed I acquired this awesome new Trapper Keeper with dolphins on it, and I woke up and for a second was all excited about my new Trapper Keeper and quickly had to come to terms with how I remained pitifully, un-hiply Trapper Keeper-less. (I freely admit to having just had to look up the words "credulous" and "stolidity" in order to come up with this example.)

colonic seepage - I think this one pretty much speaks for itself, but in case you need clarification: IF YOU TAKE TOO MUCH IBUPROFEN YOU WILL GET TINY HOLES IN YOUR INTESTINES AND YOUR POOP WILL LEAK OUT INTO YOUR ABDOMINAL CAVITY. Thank you, New York Times

snuff box - We've had a patient recently whose coping skills are unfortunately limited to punching walls and other forms of self/object-harm, and she had an injured snuff box. According to my old friend Wikipedia: "The anatomical snuff box is a triangular deepening on the radial, dorsal aspect of the hand--at the level of the carpal bones, specifically, the scaphoid and trapezium bones forming the floor." In other words, it's that little groove on the side of your wrist between your thumb bone and your thumb tendon. Back in the day, people used to inhale powdered tobacco from this groove. Neat! 

SPEAKING OF NEAT
Here are some links, in case you are really looking to kill some time.

This is an article (with pictures!) about a guy who took photos of abandoned patient suitcases at an abandoned psych hospital, The Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane in the Fingerlakes region of New York.



This is a roundup of ancient and modern Chinese architecture that really makes me miss the weird-ugly-stunning-depressing-beautiful-dirty over-the-top-ness (I really can't think of any more eloquent way to put it) of China.


My kind of art:
Big Appetites is a series of fine art photographs by artist Christopher Boffoli. The series presents tiny, meticulously detailed figures posed in real food environments, referencing both a cultural fascination with tiny things as well as an American enthusiasm for excess, especially in the realm of food.



And last but not least, some serious, moving sadness from someone famous for his 99% hilariously unserious Tweets.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

fuckin' magnets

So I was all set to work on the post I've been "working" on for like the past two weeks, but something so awesome, so, uh, miraculous happened at work last night that I must share before anything else.

So I get to work last night and am reading though The Report Sheet and, under one new patient's updates is: "12/11: Insane Clown Posse is really a band."

Questioning of coworkers and reading of the patient's intake note revealed that doctors and nurses on the day of his admission thought he was delusional that he was a follower of some made-up "gang of clowns." In reality, the patient is a Juggalo, complete with ICP t-shirt and tattoos, and my coworkers had clearly not been spending much time on the internet in early 2010 when the Miracles video went viral.



The sad part is that the patient is, in fact, quite delusional and bizarre in other ways--his psychopathology just has nothing to do with his following of a band on a label called, wait for it, Psychopathic Records.


In other quirky patient news, we've recently had a sweet old chronic schizophrenic who is preoccupied with the drug Anacin, which he takes to "get wasted." The sad part of this story is that Anacin is a combination of aspirin and caffeine, so whenever he indulges, to the tune of 300 tabs per his report, he OD's on not only caffeine, but aspirin, which as you can probably imagine is toxic in large doses. I tried to do a little harm reduction teaching with him--"Next time you feel the urge, can you just, you know, go drink some coffee?" He stared blankly at me. I hope his discharge plan included a clause about having someone to keep him away from Rite Aid.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

i shouldn't laugh, but . . .


WORD OF THE DAY

Recently we had a patient who self-medicated in a weird way (I guess it wasn't that recent because I can't remember), and discussing him in Nursing Rounds brought up talk of a patient from several years back who also self-medicated in a weird way, for a gastrointestinal ailment. By drinking liquidized silver.* Apparently this is A Thing, and the result is called argyria. Argyria is when your skin turns irreversibly bluish-silver from consuming too much silver. It looks something like this:

Not our patient, but rather some guy from Oregon/Northern California (naturally) who has been ingesting liquidized silver for about a decade to help with a skin condition (??)

To these folks' credit, silver is widely used in the medical field for its antibacterial properties, though its use is generally limited to creams and extraordinarily expensive wound dressings.

*Technically it is colloidal silver that intrepid people are drinking, which for those of you who did not take any hard science classes after high school like I didn't is when two substances mix together to a microscopic degree but are not chemically bonded, as in a true liquid. I think.


PATIENT QUOTE OF THE DAY

From a personality-disordered patient whose husband had recently died and who was living in an unstable environment:
"I just want to go get his ashes and my flat screen and get out of there."
Everyone's gotta have priorities.


MEDICAL RESIDENT QUOTE OF THE DAY

From a patient's History and Physical document:
"Pt presents a risk to herself and others due to command auditory hallucinations telling her to eat people, and also pt has not eaten in several days."
Logic!

And speaking of eating, sometimes I have this surreal experience when I watch people eat that is akin to when you look at or think of a totally normal word for too long and then the word starts seeming profoundly weird. Sometimes I'll be watching someone eat, not on purpose--usually my gaze just landed on them and got stuck--and then I'll become overwhelmed by their humanity, in a kind of sad "we are all just a very elaborate collection of cells" kind of way. It is especially overwhelming on the psych unit, when I'll look out at my patient during mealtime, my patient who believes he or she is a prophet of God or Obama's campaign manager or Patti LaBelle's niece (I am making up none of these), but really it's just another unfortunate soul sitting at a plastic table eating overcooked hospital pasta, in a cotton gown worn by countless others before them and laundered with god-knows-what-chemicals, and wearing those little footie socks with the anti-slip grips. It breaks my heart.


LEARNING!

A lot of my patients experience hallucinations--usually auditory, but occasionally visual or even olfactory (once a patient asked me if I, too, smelled the barbeque in her room--sadly, I did not). Unlike a lot of other psychiatric symptoms that I can relate to at least on some level, e.g., depression, anxiety, addiction, mania, paranoia, delusions of grandeur hello ages 13-17, I have no idea what it feels like to hallucinate and I kind of wish I did. Take it away, NPR and neuroscientist/prolific writer Oliver Sacks.

Here is Oliver Sacks chillin' at home in his favorite t-shirt like a boss. 


RECENT HIGHLIGHT

There's this shy, sweet, quiet patient I've helped take care of for almost three months. Being on the shy, quiet end of the spectrum myself (I'd say I'm more on the sour side though, selectively sweet if we're being generous), I've often had a frustratingly difficult time engaging with her. When I've been her nurse, our typical, uncomfortable conversation would go something like this:

Me: "Hey [shy sweet quiet patient], how are you doing?"
SSQP: "Good."
Me: "Any thoughts of hurting yourself or others?"
SSQP: "No."
Me: "Hearing any voices?"
SSQP: "No."
Me: "Are you particularly worried about anything?"
SSQP: "No."
Me: "Okay then, lemme know if you need anything!"

Then the other day I was sitting at a table in the Day Area with another patient, and she was sitting nearby. When the other patient left, we started chatting, just a normal, not necessarily nurse-patient conversation. And then I suddenly felt comfortable and asked her how she was doing with her psych symptoms, which I knew she'd had all along but had been too uncomfortable to ask about directly, or in a way that she would feel comfortable to answer honestly. And she told me about the voices and the paranoia and the delusions, and how they were getting better, and how she felt about being a shy, sweet, quiet girl in her early 20's and newly diagnosed with a major mental illness. "You never think it's gonna happen to you," she said.

I discharged her last night, and she was, finally, smiling and healthy and optimistic. It is nice and refreshing, and way too rare, to watch a patient leave and feel optimistic myself.


ON A LIGHTER NOTE

Here is this:



I wonder if they ever had an article about a Silver Man...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

lazy sunday

If you, like me, woke up this morning and took two ibuprofen and three strips of bacon, perhaps you will find comfort in this compilation of internet stuff that other people found and then posted to their blogs or Facebook or Twitter pages and whom I am too lazy to credit.

60-Second Adventures in Religion is a series of cartoons explaining various theories of religion. I think I retained more from this than I did in my year-long Contemporary Civilization class in college. It's from a website I've never heard of but have a feeling I will be spending hours on during my next night shift. (The second vid is my fave.)

99 Life Hacks is a bunch of ideas to solve common household dilemmas. Some of these are kind of obvious or unnecessary but most of them ARE BLOWING MY MIND.





Buzzfeed is always good for a laugh. And laughing at the misfortune of others is one of life's simple pleasures.

Somewhat relatedly, here is a news item about an Alabama boy with down syndrome who was missing from his home overnight and then found the next day in the woods snuggling with a litter of puppies.
A volunteer who followed the family dog to a nearby creek bed eventually found the boy, along with the dog’s puppies. "I heard the dogs barking again and followed him down there and started hollering for the puppies and I hollered for him and he hollered back,” said volunteer searcher Jamie Swinney.
They sure do a lot of hollering down in Alabama!

Lastly, here is a video of a bird trying to wake up a cat.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

beeturia, and other important matters

WHY YOUR NURSE IS CRANKY

I would estimate that, on average, about 20% of my workday involves actual patient contact. The rest of it is documenting everything that happens and different protocols and parameters and blah blah blah and looking up orders and paging doctors to get things ordered and giving and getting Report and charging cell phones (patients aren't allowed to have their chargers because, you know, cords) and other little administrative-y type stuff. Today it took me two hours to obtain the appropriate container in which to put a urine specimen for a gonorrhea/chlamydia test.

It went something like this: print label through complicated label printing/scanning process--do not recognize type of specimen container specified on said label--ask coworker if she knows, coworker does not know know--call lab, go through automated system to get ahold of someone in microbiology--explain situation--get told that the particular container needs to be ordered from Central Stores; the various urine specimen containers on The Unit are not sufficient--call Central Stores, get placed on hold for 10 minutes--get sent container via tube system like those at drive-through ATMs--use critical thinking skills to recognize that "URETHRAL SWAB KIT" is wrong container for patient-provided urine sample--call Central Stores again--explain situation--get sent a second "URETHRAL SWAB KIT"--call Central Stores again--get sent correct container, finally--return two incorrect containers so that Unit is not billed for them--transfer urine specimen to correct container via pipette--get overhead-paged while in Treatment Room transferring urine via pipette--yell out into nurses' station: "I AM TRANSFERRING URINE IN A PIPETTE! PLEASE TAKE A MESSAGE!"--put specimen in a bag and into the drive-through-ATM-like tube system to send off to the lab--fin.

Also, I just have to say, I love the word "specimen."

BEETURIA

And speaking of words--I learned a new one last week. "Beeturia," according to Wikipedia, "is passing of pink or red urine after eating beets." [Also, passing of pink or red poop.] I came across this term while looking up another one, hematechezia, which I'd seen in a patient's chart. (Feel free to look up that one yourself.) I had no idea that having pink or red urine after eating beets was a real, medical thing. I thought it was something that just happened to everyone, like when your pee smells like coffee or asparagus after you consume coffee or asparagus. (Please tell me all your pee smells like coffee or asparagus after consuming those things.) But it turns out beeturia only happens to 11-14% of the population. And it is related to iron deficiency. So based on my informal reader poll which showed that 62% of you (including myself) suffer this affliction, I'd say we all need to eat more beef, beans, and spinach.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN DRUNK?

The other day, a coworker--a sweet older lady not from this country--asked me, "Have you ever been drunk?" I laughed. Then I Tweeted about it. Then I got to thinking...

I have been drinking alcoholic beverages for almost exactly 13 years--since the start of college in the fall of 1999. So let's say I've gotten drunk once per week, on average, considering that many weeks I did not get drunk at all, some weeks I got drunk more than once, and some weeks I got drunk much much more than once helloooo 2006. This means that I have been drunk approximately 676 times. So, yes, dear innocent coworker. I have indeed been drunk. Can I hug you?

THINGS I HAVE ENJOYED ON THE INTERNET RECENTLY

Here are some things I have enjoyed on the internet recently:

You know I love a good advice column, and I have just found a new one! It is called Turning the Screw and it's about existential issues and it's written by Heather Havrilesky who is a real live writer who's sold books and stuff. Here is an excerpt, from a column entitled, "I'm About To Have A Baby And I'm Freaking Out":
You know what's awesome, though? As petulant and unforgiving as they are, babies have a pretty singular way of distracting you from the brutal impact of your slow, sickening decline for a long, long time. They don't just distract, in fact, they create the illusion that you're building something important, rather than just decomposing in slow motion. This illusion of growth/importance is exactly what makes most parents so fucking insufferable. But it also keeps them from murdering themselves and each other. Most of the time.

What's funny about the eve of child-birthing is that you believe yourself to be teetering on the brink of a terrible new life, whereas those who've been there recognize that you're about to be handed a free pass from justifying your existence for the next decade. No one really thinks you're doing something good for the world by bringing another lazy, entitled future film student into the world, mind you. But your hormones are going to feed you that fairy tale, so lean into that shit and savor the hell out of it.
I also used to love Nerve.com and it hasn't been so great lately, but the new feature/hopefully-regular-column called "My Parents Grade My Exes" made me chuckle/wish I had the writer's parents.
Abby (2008-2009) 
Dad: When I think of her, I think of going to a carnival, going to the cotton-candy booth, and getting a white cone with no cotton candy on it.
Mom: Extremely bland. In the world of food, she'd be a big bowl of plain mashed potatoes. No salt. No pepper. No seasoning of any kind. Every once in a while, I wanted to poke her with a stick to see if she was still alive.

Emma (2011) 
Mom: I liked her a lot. What can I say? Too bad you gave her scabies. You guys were like a comedy team. She was very beautiful and she ate like a horse. I really admire that in a girl.
And lastly, a Jezebel.com article entitled, "The Silliest Pink Crap Money Can Buy, None of Which Will Cure Breast Cancer." This made me happy because I've long had a negative gut reaction whenever I see pink breast cancer "awareness" stuff for sale and I've never quite been able to pinpoint why. It's great that there is now widespread knowledge of this disease, but the way we've gone about creating that just seems tacky and disingenuous. And also, there are so many other diseases that could use having people guilt tripped into buying kitschy junk in order to make money for their treatment research.

But then again, maybe awareness regardless of the means is better than no awareness? Also, there is this product:
Like every busy mom, corporate hot shot, and college student, Poo~Pourri is learning how to multitask. They're keeping bathrooms odor free and creating more hostesses with the mostesses, all while raising awareness for breast cancer and aiding in the research for a cure.

I'm sold.

Monday, October 01, 2012

a very important reader poll


Please help out my highly scientific research! All responses are anonymous, and an explanation will come in due time. Thank you.








sweeping up the cobwebs

Oh hey. I keep meaning to blog and then I don't blog and then I feel bad about myself for not doing what I intend to do, and so then I put it off even more and just hope some magical inspiration will come down from the heavens.

And it totally will.

But until then...

Here are the notes I've emailed to myself for the last few weeks. The bold type is verbatim, the rest is my (probably semi-intoxicated) elaboration.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

These are the articles recommended to me by newyorktimes.com one day when I was on a work computer and TOTALLY CAUGHT UP WITH WORK AND ALL THE PATIENTS WERE SLEEPING:

"1. The Stone: Deluded Individualism [The article begins: "There is a curious passage early in Freud's 'Ego and the Id' where he remarks that the id behaves 'as if' it were unconscious. The phrase is puzzling, but the meaning is clear: the id is the secret driver of our desires, the desires that animate our conscious life, but the ego does not recognize it as such. The ego--what we take to be our conscious, autonomous self--is ignorant to the agency of the id, and sees itself in the driver seat instead."]
. . .
4. Summer Nights: Savoring the Illicit Thrill of a Glass of Something, Outside
. . .
7. The Lede: Handcuffed Man's Death Ruled a Suicide
8. National Briefing: Smithsonian Museum Emptied After Guard's Suicide
. . .
10. Do Argentines Need Therapy? Pull Up a Couch"

The internet is so smart, yo.

pt uses condoms on and off

This was a quote from a doctor's History and Physical note. ("pt" is shorthand for "patient.") I thought the wording was funny. Apparently I am a seventh-grade boy, with a high sensitivity for syntax.

nose grease for pyxis

The machine/robot-thingy that houses/keeps track of our frequently-used medications is called The Pyxis. It requires a username and a fingerprint scan to get into. The fingerprint part never works unless your finger is moist. The fastest way to facilitate finger moistness in an indoor setting under flourescent lighting and artificial air circulation, I have discovered? Nose grease. Moving on.

Some people want to design the building, and some people just want to swing a hammer.

One of my more outspoken coworkers said this during a night-shift conversation about the upcoming national requirement that all Nurse Practitioners get a doctoral degree instead of just a masters degree. This would mean an extra full year of research-based study, and it appears to be motivated by The Nursing Profession's desire to keep up with the Joneses (Physical Therapy now requires a PhD, for example, and also, of course, there's the Medical Doctors).

For most of my life, I thought I wanted to design the building. I was smart and special and good at things and should reach for the stars! And then I went to college and then I graduated and then I got some promising jobs but nothing was sticking. And then I started waiting tables in Upstate New York and I felt happy for the first time in years.

And I realized that designing the building is not about smarts or specialness or talent; it is about motivation. Because I could do something didn't mean I should. Maybe someday I'll want to get a doctorate in nursing but right now I just want to swing the damn hammer.

no Vaseline or anything else that will make her slippery

An update on the nurses' report for a patient that was too out of control to keep in a regular room, so she was penned in the activity room with sheets covering the windows. Sheets were also covering the patient, because she refused to wear clothing and underpants but was okay with wearing sheets in various toga configurations she'd adjust every 15 minutes or so. She was highly aggressive and oppositional and apparently a big fan of lotion and vaseline.

SINKY POOCH

We have a blackboard in the Day Area that is generally used to write the date and any notes the nurse wants to emphasize during Community Meeting or Goals Group. The chalk is left out, so sometimes a patient decides to contribute to the board. "SINKY POOCH" was one patient's contribution, and it stayed up for several days, to my great delight.

arguing with her baby daddy on the phone and not helping me

This is an accusation a patient made about me to another nurse. Note: I neither have a baby daddy nor have ever talked on the phone (for a non-work-related matter) while at work. The patient, on the other hand, spend lots of time arguing with her baby daddy on the phone. I think maybe this is what Freud called "projection"??

Okay, that is all for now! May you design your buildings and/or swing your hammers to your hearts' content.

Friday, August 24, 2012

home sweet home

This is probably the longest post I have ever posted. And I say posted because I did not actually write it. It consists, simply, of a local Baltimore weekly's reportage of local crime from the last two weeks, and my occasional attempts to mitigate fear and hopelessness with humor. 

Enjoy. And don't walk around late at night in Southeast Baltimore.


These images and headlines are from the online version of the paper. They are just a couple of the many reasons I love this column. Other reasons continue below.

THE MATTER-OF-FACT TONE!
Aug. 7, 3:35 p.m. Someone stole a package of medical instruments from the front steps.

Aug. 7, 9 a.m. A woman told police that an unknown suspect entered through her front door and exited through the rear.

Aug. 1, 10 a.m. Police report that road rage at the McDonald’s escalated into a fight, and the two drivers were arrested.

THE SPECIFICS!

Aug. 9, 1:00 a.m. Police were told that armed suspects entered the dwelling and told everyone to get on the floor and give them their money and jewelry. They then put everyone in the rear room and fled. A purse, 60 oxycodone pills and 94 percocet pills were stolen. [94!]

Aug. 3, 5:00 p.m.  A man told police he got very intoxicated with ten of his friends and felt someone reach in and steal his wallet. He doesn’t know who it was. [1 in 10 chance of figuring it out!]


Aug. 4, 5 p.m.  A clerk reports that a customer was rummaging through a bin. When the clerk offered assistance, the customer fled with nine “Boh Knows Football” t-shirts and other merchandise.


NOT TO MENTION THE DIVERSITY OF STOLEN ITEMS! TV'S, LAPTOPS, AND GPS'S ARE SO BORING.

Aug. 9, 2:30 p.m. Police report that a suspect broke in through a rear door and stole a collection of 15 Marilyn Monroe dolls and jewelry.

Aug. 5, 9:30 a.m. A man told police that someone broke into his car and stole his handicapped placard.


Aug. 2, 3:40 p.m. A woman reported that someone broke her right front window and stole her cane and her parking placard. [AND the cane?!!?]


[Incidentally, there are multiple other reports of stolen handicapped placards (which I always thought were called "dangly things"). Moral of the story, save your good parking spot privileges for when you're in The County?]


Aug. 6, 8:00 a.m. A man reported that someone stole his catalytic convertor [sic]. [I don't know what a catalytic converter is, but I do know how to spell it!]


Aug 6, 5:30 p.m. Police report that a man stole a Nestle strawberry drink and was arrested. [Gross]


Aug. 7, 1:20 a.m. A resident reported that someone entered a rear yard and stole four swivel-back chairs and a wine refrigerator. [Alright, now we're talkin'.]


Aug. 5, 8 p.m. A man reported that someone had kicked in the door to his shed and stolen a snowball machine. [What?]


July 30, 6 p.m.  It was reported that a man stole four bars of Dove soap.


INTERESTING WEAPONS!

Aug. 5, 12:50 a.m. Two men reported that a suspect has assaulted them with a machete. The two men were taken to the hospital with head wounds. [Machete!]

Aug. 9, 2:45 p.m. A woman reported that during a dispute, her boyfriend held a sword to her neck. They struggled until separated by family members. The police arrived and arrested the boyfriend. [Sword!]


July 10, 7:50 p.m. A woman reported that during an argument. another woman had produced a tire iron and hit her in the head. The first woman was taken to the hospital, and the second was arrested. [Produced a tire iron!]


Aug. 9, 11:16 p.m. A man reported that he was walking when one of three men approached him and said, “Amigo, give us your money.” The victim replied that he didn’t have any. The suspects then hit him with a two-by-four. The victim fled and received medical attention. [Were they just walking down the street with a two-by-four?]


THE EDITORIALIZING!
Aug. 11, 1:15 a.m. A man reported that he arrived at a gas station to complain to a drug dealer, “Tony,” that the drugs he had been sold were bad. His business practices insulted, Tony went to his car and came back with a knife, cutting the victim in the face. He then fled in his car. The victim refused to respond to the police station or to seek medical attention.

Aug. 5, 11:14 a.m. A woman reported hearing a suspect in her house upstairs. She called him and he fled to the basement in an attempt to escape. Officers responded and found him behind a locked door, crouched in a defensive stance. He was taken into custody without incident. The suspect had gained entry by removing a second-floor AC unit.


Aug. 10, 2:58 a.m. A man reported that while walking, one of three men approached him and said, “I just want your money.” He then began to reach into his pocket, but the victim smacked his hand and yelled at him. Another suspect implied that he was armed, and the victim challenged him as well. The suspects fled. [This one occurred about a block from my house. So if someone asks for my money, I should just give him a slap on the wrist?]

Aug. 17, 1:42 p.m. A man told police he was inside the bar and got in an argument with another male. The other male left and later returned with a knife and said: “I sharpened this knife just for you.” The owner of the bar took the knife from the suspect, who then fled.


Aug. 13, 10:35 a.m. A man told police that a woman called his house and said he owed several thousand dollars in back taxes. He said he only had $1,000 in cash. The woman said someone would come to collect the money. A male came to his door, shoved him in the face, and took $1,000.


DON'T SAY NO TO DRUGS?

Aug. 18, 2:20 p.m. A man told police another male asked if he wanted to buy drugs. When he said no, the suspect stabbed him in the right thigh.

Aug. 15, 1:14 p.m.  A woman told police she was assaulted by a man because she refused to buy crack cocaine.


POTPOURRI

Aug. 14, 2:53 p.m. A man told police he was walking when a man shouted out: “Stop, money!” He ran away.

Aug. 12, 3:00 p.m. A woman told police that when she was incarcerated for a few days someone broke into her house and stole $500 from a sock in her closet.


Aug. 17, 11:30 p.m., A victim reported that he was walking down the street when a man asked him for a cigarette and then a light. When the victim reached in his pocket for the light, he looked up to see the suspect holding a gun. The suspect demanded he take off and shake out his pants. About $250 was taken.


Aug. 4, 2 a.m.  A man reports that when he woke up in Federal Hill Park, his black iPhone was missing. [Not that I'm victim blaming, but I kinda think that if you pass out in a park until 2am, you don't get to call police when your shit gets stolen. Okay, maybe I am victim blaming.]


July 22, 1 p.m. A man reported that his handyman and the handyman’s girlfriend moved in to his property illegally. 

Thursday, August 09, 2012

"all i need is jesus . . . and two extra strength tylenol"

Greetings from my new home! That’s right, I moved, making the two-year stint in my last apartment the longest I’ve lived continuously in any one place since starting college. (Strangely, that’s also about the same amount of time I’ve ever stayed at a job, or sustained a romantic relationship … this doesn’t say anything about me, does it??? That I've had a lot of learning experiences? Yes! Good answer.) Anyway, here are some tips I gained from the latest of my many relocations.

1. If at all possible, move into a place with a garbage disposal. Seriously, it will change your life. My daily stress has been reduced by at least 20% now that I can just wash my strawberry tops, French-pressed coffee grounds, and stuck-to-the-bottom-of-the-pot rice grains down the drain.

2. Do not succumb to laziness and Oprah by hiring 1-800-GOT-JUNK to remove things you no longer want and don’t have the energy to list on Craigslist. Although they will ensure your old dust collectors don't go to waste if possible (like by finding places to donate working electronics so people will actually use them), they cost more than hiring movers to move ALL of your stuff, and they don't tell you this until they get there. Better to donate it to my favorite thrift store, The Sidewalk.

3. Speaking of, if you live in Baltimore, do go to the 7-Eleven on South Broadway in your U-Haul and hire the first three men from Central and South America who jump into the passenger seat to move all of your stuff. Overpay them, because they will be friendly and reassuring and make fun of you when you get the truck with a 14-foot trailer stuck in the alley behind your new house and have to back it out about 100 feet ("Ella esta nerviosa! Hahaha!"). They will then get behind the wheel and do it for you.

4. Don’t drink and move, as much as you feel you deserve it, especially if you have to work a bunch of days in a row afterward, because then you may weaken your immune system and come down with a nasty respiratory infection that will cause you to miss two 12-hour shifts while you are home feverish and "managing your respiratory secretions with a tissue," and you don't get sick time yet so your shenanigans just cost you, like, three times what 1-800-GOT-JUNK did. Just saying.


And last but not least, here are a few recent highlights and fun facts from the world of psych nursing... 

The title of this post is a quote from one of my favorite patients in recent memory. She was the first actively psychotic patient I got to interview. Psychosis is fascinating--in addition to typical hyperreligiosity, this patient also had delusions of grandeur, specifically that she was an undercover cop. She had come to our unit after real cops found her sleeping in an abandoned building. When I asked about her living situation, she told me she lived in an "abandominium." On a test of cognitive functioning, she was asked to write a sentence and wrote "[Patient] was here," in mirror writing. She stated that what she wrote looked normal to her. Apparently mirror writing can be caused by damage to the brain's left hemisphere. Also, by being Leonardo DaVinci. It even happens in Chinese!

I have learned lots of new vocabulary over the last few weeks. Here are a few of my favorites:

Intermittent Explosive Disorder -- "A behavioral disorder characterized by extreme expressions of anger, often to the point of violence, that are disproportionate to the situation at hand." To put it mildly.

Neurovegetative -- The definition isn't actually terribly exciting (pertaining to the autonomic, aka, apparently, "vegetative" nervous system; and for our purposes it refers to illness indicators such as sleep, appetite, and concentration). I just like that I now get to describe people as "neurovegetatively intact."

Zone of Helpfulness -- The zone to which all mental health practitioners should aspire to be in (i.e., neither underinvolved or overinvolved).

Humor -- On a textbook page of therapeutic communication techniques (e.g., active listening, broad openings, restating, theme identification), humor is described as "the discharge of energy through the comic enjoyment of the imperfect." I've never quite thought about it that way!

SPEAKING OF HUMOR
At the beginning of every shift we get a report sheet that contains a brief synopsis, pertinent information, and updates on each patient. After one patient's name, in bold: “Patient needs to wear pants when out of his room.” Ahem. Updates are noted daily and generally include a major treatment change, a discharge plan, etc. A recent update for another patient: "7/30/12: Patient is really a rapper." (Apparently a staff member had confirmed a prior rap career of a patient who claimed as much.)

A nurse told me a story of a former patient who was seen wearing sunglasses out in the Day Area of the unit. She asked him why he was wearing sunglasses. He responded, "Because my future looks bright."

Aaaand I'm out.

Friday, July 13, 2012

holy ***ing **** i'm a nurse: week two

There is something about watching an inspirational video in a drab conference room that makes me profoundly uncomfortable. Especially when said video features still pictures of nature with inspirational words running across them and a soundtrack of "Return to Innocence" by 90's one-hit wonder Enigma.* This experience was foisted upon me the other day during another corporate training and I spent most of the excruciating 4 minutes and 16 seconds picking at my cuticles and wishing my friend E had been sitting next to me so we could poke each other in the ribs and try to maintain straight faces. If you would like to recreate this magical moment for yourself (and I really think you should), just close your eyes . . . imagine you are in an old building in the inner city . . . the walls are beige . . . the chairs hurt your back . . . your business casual outfit restricts your ability to reposition yourself . . . the air conditioner is on a setting that is way too high . . . you have to pee because you've had way too much coffee today . . . the lights dim . . . 

Not the video I watched, but strikingly similar.

Here are some other highlights from Week Two!

1. Part of my training includes reading a whole bunch of hospital Policies and Procedures manuals. They are important and I'm reading them like I'm supposed to, but they are generally not so exciting. There are some hidden gems, however. According to the one for infection prevention and isolation precautions, blowing one’s nose = “managing respiratory secretions with a tissue.” I love hospital speak.

2. Desperately having to urinate/collect myself after watching the aforementioned video, I went into a public bathroom and was delighted to find that of the three stalls, one was empty. And then I realized the door was missing. I was tempted to make like the Chinese and just go, but I was wearing my lab coat and badge and didn't want to appear unprofessional/get in trouble. That's really all there is to the story, and I'm really only telling it so I can post this piss-poor illustration of one of my first public toileting experiences in China (no pun intended . . . okay maybe sort of):




3. On my unit there are many Groups, and they are mostly run by the RNs. Most start with a let's-go-around-the-room-and-share-something icebreaker. As you can probably imagine, when you're doing this multiple times a day, every day, it can be hard to come up with new icebreakers. During Substance Abuse Group this week, the nurse, presumably inspired by the foliage on the patio, spontaneously presented this one: “If you had a yard and could grow any plant in it, and it would grow in copious amounts, what would it be?” Hilarity ensued.

4. There are many reasons why I wanted to work in psych. Here is one. Typical medical/surgical nursing report: “Patient on four liters of oxygen via nasal cannula, has chest tube on the left side to suction with moderate amount of serosanguinous drainage.” Typical psychiatry nursing report: “Watch Patient A with Patient B. Overnight Patient A seen cuddling with Patient B in telephone cubby, and Patient A was really happy about it, if you know what I mean.”

5. Here is another: I had my first near tears experience because a patient’s comments during Substance Abuse Group were so insightful, moving, tragic. His head and his heart were in the right place, but due to a confluence of factors he was standing at the bottom of a very big hill. I wanted to snap my fingers and get him a job and a home and a new family and meaningful activities. But all I can really do at this point is sit there and listen. And hope it works out.

*No offense to Enigma fans out there. I loved that song when I was 12 and a part of me will always love everything I loved when I was 12. Except for Mountain Dew and a certain buck-toothed boy who I had a crush on and who later made fun of the size of my jean shorts because I'd gotten a little fat from being depressed and consuming too much Mountain Dew and low-fat Cool Ranch Pringles. Anyway.

Friday, July 06, 2012

holy ***ing **** i'm a nurse: week one

Oh hey there. It's been awhile. To pick up where we left off . . . I'm officially Nurse Gina now. I got back from China and then a whole bunch of stuff happened and then I got my RN license and an ID badge with letters after my name (and a new pair of Danksos, naturally) and now I have a job on a psychiatric unit where I'm walking around trying to look like I know what I'm doing.

Highlights from Week One:

1. I got through two days of general corporate orientation (i.e., lots and lots of PowerPoint presentations) with only minor back pain that lasted the next two days, and without doing anything unprofessional like passing a note to a friend saying "shoot me now" during a lecture on Professionalism, not that I felt any sort of impulse to do that, or anything.  

2. I ran into friends from nursing school at nursing school during lunch time, even though none of us had any legitimate reason to be at nursing school (and the food is nothing special). We are like little fledglings, not quite ready to fully leave the nest.

3. The first day on my new unit was a success, aside from the part where during morning report my cell phone alarm clock went off, TWICE (I was so mortified the first time it went off that I failed to turn it off and just hit snooze, apparently, as that is what my thumb is most used to doing), and I of course happened to be sitting next to the Nurse Educator and the attending physician.

4. I GET TO WEAR A LAB COAT. I'm sorry, but nothing makes me feel more badass than wearing a lab coat. Okay, maybe wearing OR scrubs. Or Carhartt overalls. Or a spacesuit, presumably, though I imagine you don't feel very badass when you're wearing a spacesuit and you have to pee. 

5. I sat with the patients and ate a banana and a hard-boiled egg (we are encouraged to eat the hospital food with the patients during mealtimes) and introduced myself and started conversations with several of them even though I felt totally awkward and shy. 

6. Guided group stretching time during Fresh Air Break! I love psych.

7. Things said to me today that I enjoyed:

New Coworker: You look a lot like a tech we just hired on [other unit].
Me: Yeah?
New Coworker: Yeah. But she's thicker.
Me: Oh! [nervous laughter]
Me [silently to myself]: I love you.

Patient: Where are you from?
Me: Wisconsin.
Patient: Do they have a lot of murders in Wisconsin?
Me: Oh, uh, I dunno, not that many, I don't think.*

*I do not purport to know anything about the murder statistics in Wisconsin. But something tells me Homicide: Sheboygan would be a lot less interesting than Homicide: Life on the Street, which I only recently learned takes place in good ol' B'more.

8. This newfound Career business has inspired me to live my life with a little more self-discipline. On Monday, I resolved that I would go to two yoga classes per week (at least), and write for 30 minutes a day (at least). I figured these were SMART goals, which in the world of psych nursing means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. I even created a measurement system, with timeframes. It is now Friday. 


Baby steps.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

a blog post about yoga

Today in yoga class I did Wheel Pose for the first time ever! Okay, for the first time since, like, 5th grade probably. Anyway, this is what Wheel Pose looks like:

 *Photo selected because it was the first result in a Google Image search. Okay that's a lie. It was the fourth result.

I looked pretty must just like that, minus the, um, bulge.

Okay, that's also a lie. I think I probably looked a little more like this:


But hey. As a 5'10" lady who regularly failed the flexibility portions of the Presidential Fitness Test, I think we can safely say GOLD STAR FOR ME.

And now...

Most Awesome Thing Said by Teacher in Yoga Class Today: "Pull your pelvic floor up to the soft palate in the roof of your mouth to create waves in the cerebrospinal fluid that will lead to happiness."

Most Awesome Thing That Happened in Yoga Class Today: Someone farted real loud and it was not me.

On a Related Note: Raw carrots and hummus is NOT an appropriate pre-yoga snack.

Percentage of Yoga Class Time I Spent Thinking About What I Was Going to Have for Dinner: 82%

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

welcome home

You know you are back in Baltimore when...

...you have to do a corporate compliance endless online learning module thingy for your job at a city hospital and this is one of your end-of-module multiple-choice quiz questions:

9. Strategies that may improve Patient Satisfaction regarding pain management include the following:
a. Allow patients to purchase street drugs to supplement their pain management plan. 
If only they were joking.

...it is raining and starting to get dark out and you are feeling tired and lazy and want to say screw financial responsibility and take a cab home and there is nothing to be found and you know if you called one it would take longer to get there than it would to walk home so you just walk home and get soaking wet.

...you meet a friend for lunch and have a delicious seafood salad sandwich with Old Bay mayonnaise at an outside table by the water and it smells like oysters down there, in a good way.

...you realize you don't have the key to your bike lock when you get to the restaurant down by the water and are so paranoid someone will steal your bike that you prop the bike next to the fence around the outdoor seating area and make your friend go inside and secure a table before leaving the bike for the 30 seconds it will take to enter the restaurant and make your way to the outdoor seating area.

I realize this is sounding mostly negative, but I'm mostly happy to be back. I missed Baltimore's gritty weirdness (although China was gritty and weird in its own special ways), I had a spontaneous hangout with four friends this afternoon, yesterday my friend found a custom-framed Pearl Jam poster in pristine condition discarded outside in my alleyway and gave it to me (he does not share my appreciation for Eddie Vedder, apparently), and during the car ride back from the airport I saw two people I knew walking down the street (and whom I was too shy to roll down the window and say hi to, of course).

Relatedly, one of my friends has this quote as her G-chat away message and I always pause on it:
A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it. -- George Moore
I think that's pretty beautiful. I also think that going to the other side of the world served as a reset button for my brain and I'm now able to see and appreciate my home in ways I couldn't before.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

bai bai

Today was my last day in Beijing. I did lots of things!

I visited the Great Wall, FINALLY. I had to go to the super touristy restored section, Badaling, because I procrastinated and did not do the adventurous Wall hike/camping trip I had envisioned, and it's the closest part to the city. It was still pretty awesome. There is an ancient cable car system that I became kind of obsessed with and now have dozens of photos and several videos of, Chinese tourists (the bulk of the tourists there) are a real hoot, and, also, it's the Great Freaking Wall. Here is my favorite photo from the trip.


I'm pretty sure this dude's (rather dangerous-looking) job is to clean up the trash that people throw over the side. N.B., not all trash made it over the side, such as the half-eaten chicken foot I also took a photo of.

I also got my last cheapo manicure and decided on a lovely jade color. Of course, I impatiently left the salon before it fully dried and now it's all smudgey, but whatever. Anyway, in addition to the cheapness, I love my nail place because it is in the back of a market full of stalls that sell junk souvenirs and knockoff North Face jackets and because the ladies that work there are SO NICE. They also wear some pretty awesome outfits. The last two times I went, one girl was wearing a t-shirt that said "Cogitation...arrive at beauty...silence." It looked something like this:


And I listened to the same song about 100 times. My unofficial guru of all things cool in Beijing (hi, J) turned me onto this Chinese indie-rock band called Carsick Cars and, because I am really bad about paying attention to song lyrics, I can fall in love with a song while having no clue what it's about. Turns out, it's about cigarettes. Or communism.



According to someone on the internet, the lyrics to "Zhongnanhai" are:

Zhongnanhai, Zhongnanhai… Zhongnanhai, Zhongnanhai
Zhongnanhai, Zhongnanhai… I only smoke Zhongnanhai
Zhongnanhai, Zhongnanhai… I can’t live without Zhongnanhai
Zhongnanhai, Zhongnanhai… who fucking smoke my Zhongnanhai?
 Zhongnanhai is a brand of cigarettes and also the name of the communist headquarters in Beijing. Carsick Cars opened for Sonic Youth in 2007 and they are young and adorable and you can read more about them here.

What else...I took a nap, had a nice American-ish dinner with my roommate at an outside restaurant at the Westernized Luxury Compound, said goodbye and brought unhealthy snacks (Snickers and Reese's) to the nurses I worked with in the ER, took a stroll under a full moon, and got an hour-long Traditional Chinese Medicine acupressure massage for $20 at 10 p.m. on a Sunday. I leave for the airport in about three hours (it's now 2 a.m.) and I haven't started packing.

I am going to miss this place.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

my guru

Oh, Carolyn Hax...I love you so much.

Advice to a lady who wrote in because her friends told her the reason she doesn't have a boyfriend is that she has sex too soon:
[. . .]

So I don’t think the issue here is your jumping into bed — it’s jumping into new men. I.e., it’s not the sex, it’s the hope for romance at breakfast afterward. If you’ve been with a guy for only a few dates or weeks, treating your involvement as a full-blown sexual and emotional commitment confers more status on your relationship than your knowledge of each other is ready to support.

Unfortunately, of the two, behavior is easier to change than expectations are; telling yourself “No sex until we’ve dated X months” and adhering to that isn’t easy, but it’s clear-cut. Telling your enthusiasm and daydreams to sit in a closet till your mutual affection, rapport and trust with a new boyfriend prove worthy of them? That involves the hard work of identifying, and admitting, why you so badly need the validation a "love life" provides.

Repairing the source of the need is the answer here. Then, more fulfilling things will follow, no matter how gaily you kick off your pants.
Amen.


the wild (and not so wild) life of inner mongolia

The wildlife of Inner Mongolia is, let’s say, not the most exotic, but I love me some animals and was excited to get up close and personal with pretty much anything that moved, including what may or may not have been dung beetles. Here is a rundown of my interactions with the Mongol fauna.

Sheep—I mentioned this in my last post so I’ll just go ahead and get it out of the way. On our first night, we got all Anthony Bourdain and asked our guide to arrange for a sheep to be slaughtered for us for dinner. The sheep was retrieved from the field and kept in the back of a pickup truck, along with the bloody, woolly skin of the one that went before him. He was hyperventilating (I assume...I do not claim to know the normal respiratory rate of a year-old male sheep). The slaughter was brutal and the man who did it was kind of scary. We ate the meat for dinner that night. The next day, we were served stewed innards for breakfast. I ate a bowl of rice. With some of the broth, which was, I have to admit, quite tasty.


Horses
—For a pittance, we went on an hour-and-a-half-long horseback ride through the grasslands. I galloped for the first time and it was fun and terrifying and I was bouncing all over the place and sustained a giant bruise on my inner ass cheek. Also notable: the alcoholic beverage of choice in Inner Mongolia, aside from warm 3% alcohol beer, is horse milk wine. That is, a 50% alcohol "wine" made from fermented horse milk. We bought the one with the old man's face on it hanging on the bottom right of this photo. We each took a few sips and did not save the rest.


Cows
—There were some cows. The most exciting thing about the cows was the fact that Mongolians use their dried poop to make fires for warmth at night. And, lo, a poop stove was assembled inside our yurt just before sundown. They rigged an exhaust pipe going out a hole in the top of the yurt, so, fortunately, we smelled nothing. Quoth my friend, “I’ve never had a shit fire before.”


Camels
—Camels! We were all very eager to ride the shaggy, two-humped Mongolian camels. We rode them over the sand dunes in the Gobi Desert, which were pretty and majestic and littered with trash and flanked by power plants. But back to the camels--they were super fun, and felt very safe and comfy because you sit between the two humps. They are gassy mofos. The camel in front of my camel farted pretty much continuously for the first half-hour of our ride. The one behind me was burping. We also went on a midnight camel ride, because it was my friend's birthday and he decided he wanted to go for a midnight camel ride for his birthday. One of the cool things about China--ask for what you want, offer up some money, and you will probably get it. One of the cool things about camels--when you pass by they all turn and stare at you.


Hamster
—During our midnight camel ride, a 17-year-old Mongolian fugitive gave me a desert hamster. He had him (or her, I suppose, but my childhood hamster was a him so that’s what I’m calling this one) in a little plastic baggie. I became fixated on the hamster and played with it for a while, and so the 17-year-old Mongolian fugitive offered him to me. And so I had a pet for two hours. I carried him home to our yurt in an Oreo box and set him free when his nocturnal scratching woke up my roommate. I felt bad about releasing him into the unknown, but, as my friend who actually did the deed said, “I put the box on its side and that way he has the choice to stay or go.” He chose to go. I can live with that.


Beetles
—I normally hate pretty much all insects, but these little guys were so seemingly harmless and, most importantly, wingless, and they made cool little patterns in the sand.


This one, apparently, had been drinking too much horse milk wine.


Chicks
—these are just some regular old baby chickens, but the little peeps they made were so cute I had to capture it on video.


We also saw some captive wolves, one solitary captive deer, a gaggle (or whatever) of ducks, the aforementioned giant Tibetan butt-biting dog, a few lizards, one running rabbit, and, unfortunately, no goats. I really like goats.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

6 reasons why it is good to travel with medical professionals

1. Drugs.
If, say, you were a nurse about to go on a four-day trip to rough it in Inner Mongolia with two doctors and two other nurses, and you were to meet them at the hospital at 5:15 in the morning to take a van to the airport, and you hadn't had a bowel movement in a few days and your abdomen was blown up like a balloon and you were worried because you are prone to travel-induced constipation, especially when you go to places where there are no toilets, you could text one of the doctors at 0500 hours about your condition and he could have his on-duty doctor friend put in STAT orders for lactulose (a laxative commonly given to liver-failure patients to make them poop out all their excess ammonia but which works gently and non-gut-spasm-inducingly in healthier folks) and simethicone (aka Gas-X) with the pharmacy, and then one of the nurses who works there could pick it up and hand it to you in time to leave for the airport, and then everyone would know about your condition but you wouldn't feel too embarrassed because, hey, you're all medical professionals. I'm just saying, that could happen.

2. First Aid.
When the driver of your van in Inner Mongolia is bitten on the ass by a roving Tibetan guard dog that looks like a cross between a Saint Bernard and a Rottweiler, your team leader can patch him up (but not his jeans, sadly) and you can all sustain interest in a discussion about the appropriateness and pros and cons of him getting rabies prophylaxis. And also, take pictures.


3. Anatomy Lessons.
You can watch a man slaughter a sheep for your dinner, and, after you--and only you--stop crying (because you are the only one that is crying) you can all marvel at the various stages of processing. Once the guts have been placed into a large metal bowl, you will hear comments such as, "It's still peristalsing!" and, "Is that the omentum? That's not the omentum...it IS the omentum?!" Then, when you get home and write about it on your blog, you will spend thirty minutes deciding whether or not to post one of the photos of the sheep in various stages of processing and ultimately decide against it because you have at least two readers (i.e., half your readership--hi, C.G. and D.S.) who are some degree of vegetarian.

Nota bene: if the two doctors would like to practice performing a cricothyrotomy on the sheep's trachea because apparently sheep tracheas are similar to human tracheas, the two doctors should probably do that pretty soon after the slaughter and you should not offer to keep said fresh trachea wrapped in a plastic bag in your backpack and then forget about it for the next three days.

4. Fun Accessories.
No campsite is complete without a guitar and an intubation kit.*


*Sadly, but practically, this is not actually an intubation kit, but rather a regular ol'--very well stocked--first aid kit. Opportunity for making fun of doctor for over-preparing = lost.

5. Attention.
If you get some teeny tiny splinters in your foot after you step on a desert plant that your Mongolian guide has just told you to make sure not to step on because "it is bad for the skin," and when you put your boots back on and start walking it kind of hurts so you sit down and take off a boot, you will have your entire group upon you before you can say, "I think there's something in my foot." They will then inquire about the status of your foot every four hours for the remainder of the trip, and you will feel loved.

6. Hour-long Conversations About Prostate Exams.
I think this one speaks for itself.