Saturday, December 26, 2015

Hugging, Mrs. Beaumont, and the Fat Cunt Guy

Let’s just get this out of the way: I’m weird about hugging. I’m not the type to have anxiety attacks when someone invades my space, although I know plenty of people who are. I just grew up in Texas. The sheer number of people who’ve armpitted me in Wal-Mart on the grounds that our grandparents used to go to the same hairdresser…

And while we’re admitting things, I’ll get this off my chest: I think pts are gross. Their families are gross. I, while I’m inside the hospital, am gross. Literally everything and everyone within a block of my job is disgusting and I generally assume that anything touching me while I’m at work is probably covered in a thick fondant of shit and dead roaches.

It might be a little dysfunctional, but this is just how my brain works. It helps me keep track of who’s touching me and how much shit I have on my body at any given time.

So you can imagine how delighted I was when I introduced myself to my pt and her daughter and was immediately greeted with a full-frontal hug.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Lucy, Ed, and Carl Hamilton Park

First impressions, outside the hospital, are predictable. Height, weight, color of skin, expression; handshake, attention span, first and last name. Maybe you find out what their laugh sounds like, or you notice how everyone else in the room watches them with wary admiration, or you discover that they spit when they pronounce their sibilants.

Inside the hospital, first impressions are just as predictable, but in different ways. Every shift begins and ends with report, and every report follows the same structure, a whole unit reciting the history and status of each patient every eight to twelve hours, in unison.

This is an anxious fifty-year-old woman, the night nurse told me, patient of Dr. Ling, here for hyperkalemia and possible sepsis secondary to C.diff superinfection. Here is her entire medical history: bowel cancer, diarrhea, multiple intestinal fistulae to both internal and external abdomen, repeated surgical revisions, perineal remodeling with multiple additional fistulae, urinary tract infections, incontinence. Here, look at these reports: learn all about her rectum, her vagina, her most private processes.

Here is a picture of her chest, a scan of her abdomen. Look at her body, right down to the bones. Look inside her. Here are all the molecules we’ve found in her blood, in their rightful and wrongful proportions. Here is a transcription of her heartbeat from twelve separate axes.

Oh, her name is Lucita. She goes by Lucy. Want to go in and meet her now?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A young stroke pt, a bit of fetal physiology, and some pettiness on my part

I genuinely wasn’t prepared for the popularity of this blog, or for some of the sequelae that followed it. I thought a few people might read it, get a chuckle, and glide on by. So I wrote like the blog would be gone in a month, a forgotten vanity, an echo chamber for my rambling thoughts.

Instead, you liked it. Which is alien and bizarre to me, like discovering that other people really do like the smell of your farts. Are you guys… okay?

Anyway, a lot of things happened while I was on hiatus.

I launched my kid sister at the end of the summer. It was not easy and I spent virtually all my downtime helping her fill out paperwork, set up and attend interviews, and move into her own tiny room in a house where girls rent rooms to sleep in between classes. She has a job now, and passed her GED. I am so proud.

Also, I am so glad that I can flop on my sofa in my underwear when I get home from a shift.

Aside from all that, I also went to Yellowstone for five days because I was losing my mind and my first response to stress is to go camping, and I went to a cheese festival and got constipated and drunk, and I had a shitty run-in with a pt family who heard only what they wanted to hear and reported to my manager that I had lied to them. Fortunately, my manager knows that I am a thousand percent more likely to overshare than I am to conceal, and has been my facebook friend long enough to know that withholding information about medications is not something I am physically capable of doing.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Mrs Leakey, Jelena, and Wen Li

So, uh, I’ve been on hiatus.

I’ve been working on a few chapters for a book proposal, and trying to get things pretty enough to be useful for publication, but I really REALLY prefer blogging to book writing (at least in this format) and I’d like to get back to this. So I plan to keep working on the blog, not necessarily shift-by-shift but following specific batches of pts, and work on the book between posts.

The upside to this is: I have a lot to tell you guys about. I expect to update once a week from here on out, and I actually have a backlog of posts ready to go, so there shouldn’t be any major hiccups for a while.

You have been wonderful and supportive, all of you, and I promise that if any of you is ever unfortunate enough to end up under my care, I will wipe your asses with the warm wet wipes.

(I also told a trio of trusted coworkers about my blog, so they could peek over it and make sure it’s both factual and HIPPA-compliant. All three of them immediately identified Crowbarrens. Life is good.)

Anyway. Let me tell you about Mrs. Leakey.