Thursday, July 9, 2015

Introductory blatherings

My name is Elise. I am an ICU nurse, and I'm here to tell you what it's like in the disgusting, heartbreaking, obsessive, foul-smelling world of intensive care.

First off, I'm gonna come clean: sometimes I change details in my stories. Nothing to interfere with the mundane horror of the stories, of course, but you wouldn't be able to recognize any of these people from the info I give. Dates are altered; shift end reports are offset by varying times. I work in one main hospital, which is an amazing facility; I've also worked in six other hospitals in this city, and two others in a different state, which means that from time to time I will be dropping in tales from other facilities and past shifts when things are running dry.

If you really wanted to find my main workplace, you could, although I would appreciate it if you didn't. They might not understand.

If you wanted to find me, you probably could, although you're better off just dropping me a note.

If you wanted to find one of my pts, you shouldn't be able to.

If you are one of my pts, and you want a story removed, I will do so immediately-- just let me know. I will ask you for some verification, since with the identifying details stripped from my stories, it could very well be someone else's story you're recognizing.


I will post anywhere from three to five shift stories per week, depending on how many shifts I work.

I will not embroider anything to make it more sensational or more dramatic. ICU work is dramatic enough without any yarn-spinning faffery to tidy up the edges. Where I change details, I will stay true to the spirit of the story; where those details are improbable, I will clarify whenever possible, so that you can trust what I write here.

I will respect my coworkers, my pts, and their families. Where I have a conflict with another person, I will not sugarcoat it-- but I will hide their identity even more thoroughly, and approach their story with empathy. I see people at their most vulnerable, at points of high stress, in moments of crisis and terror, in contexts of immediate tragedy or chronic suffering. I can't promise to like everyone, but I can promise to treat everyone with humanity, compassion, and dedicated care.

I will indulge in stupid derails, frothy diatribes about pathophysiology, and occasional rants about the things I like or hate. I will use clear language whenever possible, and clarify whenever I've been confusing. I will make disgusting metaphors about food and inappropriate jokes about death. I will mess up my details and fuck up my patho and drive everyone crazy with my profane explanations for basic medical matters. I will take requests. I will take criticism. I will not take bullshit.

See you guys at the end of shift.


  1. Elise I was reading your stories elsewhere but I read the thread so intermittently that I didn't even realize this new blog existed. THANK YOU!

  2. Elise I was reading your stories elsewhere but I read the thread so intermittently that I didn't even realize this new blog existed. THANK YOU!

  3. Found you in another place and this is a delight. As a professional blogger, myself, I would like to suggest you move to Wordpress dot org (not dot com). I've seen great blogs removed at Google's whim. This is also wise if you are, indeed, planning on a book. Feel free to message me.

    1. Oh dang, I have zero idea how to blog professionally and would very, very much welcome any insight or advice you can give me!

    2. This stuff is extraordinary, Elise. I would say the single main criterion for as professional is regular content. Find a schedule that you can live with, that pushes your talent, and stick to it, so your readers know when they can expect more. Consistency is golden.

  4. Hi Elise, I'm interviewing for nursing school next week. Any advice? Thanks!

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