Sunday, November 27, 2005

Not Dead

But not alive, either. I am finding myself more interested in the unconscious, the semi conscious, and the unaware. Not by choice- my interest, I mean. I'm talking about people- children, really- who cannot swallow, eat, move much, speak, sign, or otherwise communicate, but are still "in there". SOme of them breathe on their own, some do not. Not every person in this state has given me the feeling that they are in there, locked into their body somehow. Some people seem merely vegetative. I don't judge. Every patient get spoken to, warned of my intentions to wash them or turn them or put meds through their G tube. Every patient gets TV or music or videos. We dim the lights at night and turn the lights on during the day, even for those whose brain injuries have most likely rendered them centrally blind. ( This is blindness not because the eye has failed, but because the brain has been injured and cannot interpret what the eye sees. Or, perhaps, has no connection to what the eye sees.)

Some children are just as unresponsive to the world and yet still have such pesence. I have puzzled over why this is. There are the outside cues, like photos of the child when well, or at least less sick. A lot of bedsides are festooned with these heart lacerating photos. Some children's beds are decorated with toys and stuffed animals that they seem unaware off, yet are ritually and tenderly arranged by family and nurses. But some of the children with the most stuff surrounding them are the most gone, and I do not get that mild electricity that signals someone at home.

I do not know who, or how, or why. I only know it is so.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Out of my mind

It's really ungracious of me, I know. Everywhere, there are orphans and people whose families are truly evil. Mine is just whacko. I am so disoriented that I just flipped off the dog. She won't pay any attention, I know. My family is visiting and they refuse to go home. Also, they want to know why I knit so much. I don't know, to keep from speaking my mind?

The sleeve from the eco wool sweater.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Support The Bottom

That's what it says on the bottom of the turkey roasting pan. Wouldn't it be nice if that's what society did? Support the bottom> Feed the hungry, clothe the cold, treat the sick, you know, all that stuff. Listen to the lonely. Smile at the tentative. Anything.

Pouting because I lost the blog again, when my laptop crashed. Hopefully, fixed soon. Currently forced to use the clunky desktop with the weird clicky keyboard and the flikerey monitor. Also, have 11 people to cook for tomorrow, and a turkey skulking in brine in the cooler. Should I wash the kitchen floor before, or after? Or both?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Is status a bitch, or am I?

Our hospital recently created a lovely web site for each unit. Pictures, profiles of the docs, the whole nice thing. There's even a list of nearby restaurants and hotels, for family from far away. And on this site, under the smiling photos of each they list the names of our esteemed surgeons, our intensivists, dieticians, pharmacists, secretaries, physical therapists, respiratory therapists. Then there are the pictures of the nurses. We are smiling, too. Our names are not listed. We are "staff".

Why do I care? I don't know. Don't I know that nurses are seen as glorified waitresses? Yeah I do. Didn't I hope for better? I did.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Bad Day Knitting...

is better than a good day at work. In fact, a whole lot better. I have very little tolerance for the whole knitting as spirituality thing that's going on. I don't begrudge any one any peace they find, but for me, it's just yarn. I like it. It soothes me, it amuses me, and I get to have some thing to show for my time. But today, cynical ol' me managed to eke out a life lesson from the knitting. Remember the first Turkish sock? I was thinking to have the second be different, but the same colors. But, I found I didn't want to knit it. I didn't like the new pattern, it didn't have the fun 4 stitch variation of the first. I ripped back. It was going in the wrong direction. So, O started again, at the toe, and did the pattern I wanted. It is so much better. So, onward to life! Rip back when it's wrong, stay up too late and knit when it's right! Tomorrow: work.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Can I believe I had two nice days at work? Not crazy busy, just nice. It makes such a difference when I work with nice people. The staffer actually apologized to me when she phoned the unit to say that the secretary was sick and she had no replacement to send. A staffer, apologizing to a nurse? Never happened to me before.

Now, I have fed the dogs, the boys are at a field trip, and I am blogging. How nice life is. Last year I bought a lot of those instant firelogs, and now I am studiously burning one a night. Our 1917 house has no central heat, and we are thinking we will put a gas log with a blower in the fire place. I need to get rid of these logs, and having one flicker away every night is very pleasant. I'm also baking brownies. Nice how seamlessly my reentry into family life can be when work is pleasant.

Still knitting the EPS sweater. Just bought Knitting Way by Linda Skolnick.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Clean Laundry

...As in, I want some. I know how it works, natch, I just don't want to do it. I just want to HAVE it. Sort of like a flat stomach, a clean house, and a balanced check book. Hmmm.

Spent the first of two days off obsessing about work, cleaning, folding, washing, with intermittent knitting. I'm doing an EPS sweater (see for all thing Zimmerman/Swansen). I think I will do the yoke as a Box the Compass from Meg's book. In a nice dark brown of Cascade Eco Wool, from the best yarn store in the East Bay, Creative Accents. (sadly, no web site. It's a hands on place, in San Leandro.)

In other world news, I went to Target and spent less than $50. I shall check my temperature and take two tylenol, just to be sure.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


This from May: google the word failure, no quotes, and hit "I'm feeling lucky"

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I will not be staying late tonight

Did you vote? Did you vote NO? (Californians, that is.) I was so damn tired after work. I picked up the kids, drove thru for food and odd plastic toys, and carried the sleeping three year old into vote. Did anyone let me cut in line? A nurse in her uniform, carrying sleeping child, 8 year old in tow, well, no. So what, I voted anyway.

Worked so hard today that I briefly wished for some kind of slip and fall in the parking garage- nothing serious- the kind of thing where you get six weeks off. Maybe my gall bladder will act up. A girl can dream, can't she?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Overstaffed, under-wanted

OK, work today. Very sick kid, not getting better, not responding, still vented. Busy, Busy Busy. It takes two people to turn him in the bed, one to watch the ET tube, one to do the turning. And, he can't take it. He's too fragile to turn, can't keep his oxygen sats up, has to go back onto his back. Where he will probably get a bedsore, but there's not a whole lot to do about it. And so, I'm busting ass, all day, with this patient and another one, and we get an extra nurse at 11. Aha- I think, I'll give the second, less sick kid to the extra nurse, and then when the sick kid goes to CT, for a scan, I can go with the transport nurse and RT, and Doc, and it will all go well. I mean, I'm suctioning his airway, giving his meds- at least two an hour, blood gases to see if the ventilator is adequately oxygenating him, the works. He keeps waking up and fighting, and I hate that. It must be so damn scary for him.

An hour after the other nurse takes my patient, The charge nurse- who has not offered me one break, one chance to sit down, one chance to go pee- the charge nurse tells me to take the other patient back, the assignment is too cushy and a nurse needs to go home or go to staffing to do paperwork. Yeah. And, since it was my great idea, I need to be the one to go home, unless, like an idiot, I want to walk back into the not so sick patient room and explain that yes, I will be their nurse again, for an hour, and then they'll have the other one back- it just seems too damn disruptive.

At the last moment, before I punch out, I have an idea. I go eat lunch. Then I punch out.

Knitting: Turkish sock number two, not matching. More of a life partner kind of thing. And, a nice sweater made of Cascades Eco wool, of which there is only an inch or so.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


L A Z Y I ain't got no alibi!!!! Behold the bitter nurse chant. Actually, I had a lovely day. I waxed the kitchen floor, I cast off the sock, and I took a monster good nap. Pictures tommorow.

Friday, November 04, 2005

oops, the sock

Forgot to show you the progress on the sock

Back at it

Worked today. Had about six hours before I could pee, eat, or drink anything. There was no amount of time management that could have ameliorated today. The manager was all excited by how busy it was. What can I say? My back hurts, my feets hurt, my head hurts, and I'm wicked tired. I also worked with this whiny manipulative BABY of a nurse, and that sucked.

On the other hand, I carped so much to the doc about how I could not turn my kid with out his oxygen saturation dropping that she carped to the pulmonologist and he bronched the kid at the bedside. Where we found a little piece of ballon right above the carina. Acting tlike a little valve, and occluding the airway. He went to the OR for a rigid bronch where they could remove it, and he was much less work after this. But, of course, it was time for me to go home. SO, I get the satisfaction of being part of finding out why this kid was so sick, and maybe now he will get better.

My turkish sock maically fell off the needles, and so I have a fun filled evening of getting it back on.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Too Curly For Me

When the youngest son, the Charmer, doesn't want to do something, he always gives a reason. It may be a completely nonsensical reason, but it will be, none the less, his final word on the activity. Today, when asked to put the raincoat on, he said quite convincingly, "oh no, it's too curly for me." And that was it. It was a raincoat- not a boucle sweater. But none the less, too curly.

Well, my best friend got on the airplane today, back to work in her ICU, and tomorrow I go back to work in my ICU, and our parting words, after the kind of long, hard hugs that almost help say goodbye were these: "I'm very curly about leaving you".

Here is the little tree she bought as a souvenir, packed by moi so that it cannot be damaged en route. When you work every day with people who have been maimed, twisted, harmed, damaged, and half destroyed by random and non random accidents, missteps, mistakes and bad luck, it is hard to let your loved ones go out into the world.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


The scarf knitter? Pain In The Ass. It takes two balls of eyelash to make a respectable scarf, and I only have one ball of each. Also, immpossible to do stripes. Brings out the worst in eyelash, as mistakes cannot be seen untill the whole damn thing unravels. Argghhhh. There is no shortcut on the road to hell.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Not Proud

There's a whole lot of fun fur here. All the floofy yarn I ever bought, thinking of whipping up a cute scarf as a present for a ward clerk, or a preschool teacher, or whomever. Well, a few rows into those things, my cells begin to cry out for oxygen, and then the stuff lurks around . Enter the Sew Easy Knitting Machine, although my bestest friend Mary swears it is just like the Wonder Knitter of Christmas 1980. We cranked a few balls of yarn before returning to a few more normal projects, such as Turkish Socks. If I can only concentrate long enough on the plastic cranking thing, I can rid my house of these dust bunny balls of yarn. And never buy another ball again.