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


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."


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.


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?


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 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 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.


These are the articles recommended to me by 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.


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.