Uh Oh!

I used to moonlight at an urgent care clinic. Mother called me at my regular RN job one day to complain of an earache. Like I always do when people ask advice, I recommended she see a doctor. She decided to go to the urgent care clinic where I sometimes worked. I called to speak to my friend, Judy, who was working that day. I asked her to surprise Mother by telling her she had to have a full internal pelvic exam. She knew Mother, and was delighted to pull a little trick on her. Sure enough, she showed Mother to the OB/GYN exam room, telling her to prepare for a full exam. Naturally, Mother was stunned, protesting she only had an earache. Of course, my friend quickly gave the joke up.

They turned the tables on me. Judy, the nurse called me. “Linda, your mom was so shocked she fell and her head. She’s gonna have to have stitches. You are gonna have to come see about her.”

“Oh my God, I never dreamed that would happen! Let me get someone to cover for me. I’ll be there as soon as I can. At that, They started laughing. The last laugh was on me.


“Help, I’ve fallen and can’t get up!”

Help! I've fallen and I can't get up.

Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.

Please don’t read if you are easily offended.  This is nursing humor.

My husband I are both retired RNs so we frequently spot errors in commercials.  The other evening, one of those frequent “Help, I’ve fallen and can’t get up!” commercials came on.

Bud watched the poor woman intently for a moment and said, “I know damn good and well she didn’t fall.  She didn’t piss her pants.”

He knows whereof he speaks, having worked on a physical rehab floor for more than twenty years.

My Condolences

imageOne of the hardest parts of  being a nurse is comforting and supporting the bereaved family at the time of death.  Normally, family members are heartbroken, grieving at the death.  On a few occasions, I witnessed something different.  Mr. Jones, an elderly patient owned a successful insurance agency. Every morning, he donned freshly laundered silk pajamas.  When discharged,  He wore a fine finest suit, shirt, shoes, and hat and took great pride in being noticed.  He bragged of buying a new Cadillac every year, dining at the most prestigious restaurants, and enjoying a membership at The Country Club.

His son, Junior Jones was in his late fifties and had always worked for Daddy.  It appeared Mr. Jones was none to generous nor kind to Junior.  Junior dressed in cheap clothes and drove an ancient compact car.  It must have been miserable since he was so tall he had to fold up like a jackknife to fit in it.  When Junior came to the hospital to consult with Daddy about the business, Daddy was condescending, snide, and critical, never showing Junior the least respect.

One the morning Daddy died, we’d called to notify Junior his father’s death appeared imminent.  Junior came streaking into his father’s room just moments before Mr. Jones’ death.  I offered my condolences.  Junior ignored me, opened the drawer of the bedside table, dug out the keys to his father’s Cadillac, his father’s checkbook and left the room without speaking.  A nursing assistant who was a friend of the family walked him out to the parking garage.  He handed her the keys to his small car and drove off in his father’s big, black Cadillac.  That was different!  I guess he’d had enough.

Mrs. Johnson Sets Me Straight

imageThe time I spent getting to know my patients was the best part of nursing.  As a hospital dialysis nurse, during the course of a four-hour treatment, we had a lot of time to talk.  One of my favorite patients was a lively little seventy-year old lady, the mother of twenty-one children.  I never knew what she’d have to say.  When I expressed my amazement at her having so had many, she told me, “It wasn’t so bad. I had a set of twins, so I was only pregnant twenty times.”

“You must be proud of your kids,” I answered.

“Huh,” she snorted.  “Ain’t half of ’em worth the powder it’d take to blow ’em away.  I gotta keep my purse right with me.”

“Oh.”  I had no other response to that.

She was always full of wild tales about getting the best of her “old man” who was twenty years older than she.  I inferred they had a warm relationship, but she straightened me out when  I expressed my condolences at her next treatment after his death.

“Mrs. Johnson, I ‘m sorry to her of your loss.  I know you must miss your husband.”  I dreaded the lonely times ahead for her.

She cackled.  “I’m glad that old devil from hell is gone.  I thought for sure he was gonna outlive me.  My daddy gave me to him when I wad’n but thirteen years old.  He beat me ever’day long as he was able.  I was so proud when he got old and stoved up so I could take a piece of a firewood to him any time I got ready.  I mean to tell you I whooped him many a time.”

She always gave me plenty to think about.

True Love

imageJerry and JoEllen had been childhood sweethearts.  He had Cystic Fibrosis but did really well. He and JoEllen drifted apart while he was in college. JoElllen had left an abusive husband and was struggling to raise two toddlers on her own by the time they reconnected.   He was well-established at his engineering firm and anxious to offer JoEllen and her boys a solid life.

Things were going well for them.  They were buying a house and planning a wedding when Jerry became jaundiced.  He was found to be in acute liver failure as a result of his long and complicated medical history.   I met them when it was my privilege to be  his nurse.  JoEllen never left his side if she didn’t have to. They were such a loving couple.  It was heartbreaking to know their future together couldn’t be too long.

When it was obvious Jerry was becoming rapidly worse, they made arrangements to get a marriage license so they could marry before his death.  They were married just a day or so before Jerry died, but not before he was able to make sure JoEllen and “his” boys would be well taken care of.

Curtis, the Church Lady, and Pecan Pie

imageWith thirty years in nursing, you can well imagine I have my share of strange stories.  I worked in acute dialysis in the hospital, so knew my patients very well.  We talked about their lives, familis, dogs, whatever was on their minds.  One of my favorite patients was Curtis, a huge man, perfectly delightful, but developmentally challenged.  His thinking was about on the level of a eight-year-old.  Curtis had somehow gotten credit at a furniture store, bought a houseful of furniture, and not made a single payment.  He was being hounded for payment, so decided the best course of action was to go in the hospital, where he wouldn’t be bothered. When he told the nurse at the outpatient dialysis clinic he needed to go to the hospital, she explained he couldn’t be admitted unless sick.  He did some thinking and called her back to his chair telling her he had something for her.  (I can’t imagine how she fell for that.). He dropped an impressive lump of excrement into her outstretched hand and was admitted into the psychiatric unit of the hospital in short order.

He was happily ensconced at the hospital, soon moved to the medical floor.  One day he walked into my unit asking for a large patient gown.  He went on his way.  Curtis was not on my mind when I heard a lady out in the hall exclaim. “Oh my God! Take it!”  It seems she had been bringing a pecan pie to her hospitalized friend from church when she encountered seven-foot-tall Curtis, walking naked down the hall, looking for hospital staff to help him with his gown.  Curtis, hadn’t seen a pecan pie in way too long.  He dropped the gown, grabbed the pie and raised a clumsy fist when the poor woman resisted.  She gave up on the pie and fled shrieking.  Eventually, the whole thing smoothed over.  Curtis had his pie and his gown.  The hospital gave the lady another pecan pie and an apology.  By the time Curtis got home, his furniture had been repossessed, so he wasn’t harassed any more.  They all lived happily ever after, except of course for the nurse who got a handful of doo-doo.

Knot on Head

imageI used to moonlight at an urgent care clinic.  Mother called me at my regular RN job one day to complain of an earache.  Like I always do when people ask advice, I recommended she see a doctor. She decided to go to the urgent care clinic where I sometimes worked.  I called to speak to my friend, Judy, who was working that day.  I asked her to surprise Mother by telling her she had to have a full internal pelvic exam.  She knew Mother, and was delighted to pull a little trick on her.  Sure enough, she showed Mother to the OB/GYN exam room, telling her to prepare Continue reading

I Want It! I Want It!

imageI was an acute hemodialysis nurse for thirty years, caring for thousands of patients over that time.  The most important thing I learned was listen to your patient.  I’d cared for Miss Ann for many years, through numerous hospitalizations, surgeries, and procedures.  Prior to this admission, she’d told her husband, “I don’t ever want any more surgery.”

Unfortunately, this time she was in ICU on a ventilator and couldn’t speak for herself.  She appeared to be unaware of what the doctor was explaining to her, so he asked her husband for surgical consent.  Sadly, her husband refused, citing Miss Ann’s intention not to have surgery again.  Meanwhile, behind the two of them, Miss Ann was frantically waving her arms trying to get their attention.  She wanted surgery.

Miss Ann got her surgery, recovered, and did well for quite a while after that.

Guest Post All in a Day’s Work From Edwina’s Episodes

What a thrill!  I have been able to snag the lovely and talented Judy Martin from Edwina’s Episodes to Guest Post on Nutsrok.  This is particularly apropos, since we share being nurses and messing up a lot.  I am so happy to have her here.  Be sure to check her blog!

I had only been on my new ward less than a month and nobody really knew what to make of me. I was training to do a new job that nobody had heard of, as it was just being introduced (a similar role to the State Enrolled Nurse which had been disbanded 10 years before)! I was very quiet as I was still getting to know people, and getting used to the way the ward worked.

Patient care was still top priority and I was working in a bay, looking after six elderly ladies, one of whom had been given some ‘prep’ ahead of her scheduled colonoscopy. It duly did its job, rather too well, as the poor woman had little time to react to the explosion that ensued. I cleaned her up as best as I could as well as the chair. Unfortunately liquid, molten poo has a habit of getting everywhere and I was slipping around in it, as it was also on the floor.

Eventually I got the lot cleaned up, but did not realise that I had some of it spattered on my uniform, which did not go unnoticed by a senior nurse, so I was sent off to theatres to get some scrubs to change into. Immediately! I dabbed at the mess with a cleansing wipe trying to get some of it off before I went, but succeeded in making it look worse.

I arrived at theatres where it seems, part of the criteria of working there is a snooty, not to mention snotty attitude. I asked politely if I could have some scrubs, which I was then made to repeat, When asked why I needed them I explained, and gestured to the poo for good measure, which was met with such a look of disdain that I commented huffily that it wasn’t my poo! I don’t know why I thought it sounded any better, but the scrubs were reluctantly handed over, and I was ordered to return them ASAP.

I went off to the loos and changed into the scrubs. Great, she had given me a ginormous top (I know I am not skinny but this was massive) and long trousers (I am only 5ft 2”). I trotted back to the ward looking ridiculous and noticed a couple of sympathetic smiles aimed my way.

I went to put my soiled uniform in my locker (most people didn’t bother with lockers but I was new so thought it a good idea) and went rummaged around my outsized shirt but I couldn’t find the key! Panic! I scrabbled about frantically searching my person for it. Nothing! I asked the Ward Clerk if she had a spare key. She didn’t.

I retraced my steps to the loos and back to the dreaded theatres, who looked at my wild-eyed red-faced demeanour and desperate to get rid of me, didn’t even bother looking, just said they hadn’t got it. I was really upset by now and more than a little het up. It was now coming up for break time and I was told to go on first break. I was glad of this as I thought I could relax, have a cigarette (or three) as I was smoking then, and start the search for me key afresh.

Wonderful except that my cigarettes were in my locker! Sod it! I was nearly on the verge of tears, but one of the other nurses was a smoker and I bit the bullet and asked her if I could please have one of hers (I have never done that in my life before and felt awful). She was great and let me have one.

Anyway, suffice it to say, the key was not found. Estates had to be called, and when they came onto the ward were moaning about people losing keys and that they should have to pay for it blah, blah. I stayed out the way! They had to break the bloody lock off in the end. What a day!

Link to my guest post on Edwina’s Episodes