Friday, June 30, 2006

The Human Forklift:
An honest to goodness mobile, morgue machine. Not quite the nitro-burning funny car that I suggest; more like a lumbering behemoth of death.

The Human Forklift

When the heat inside the body
Leaks out through every hole,
When the stiff you knew as Harry
Has given up his soul,
When you've got him bagged and tagged
Just like a Christmas gift,
It's time to move him out
You need to get the human forklift.

It's a custom made machine
Designed to take abuse,
When lifting human shells
That are stiff or limbs are loose,
It had a fancy paint job
But now it's stained dull red,
When parked and not in use
It doubles as a bed.

I love to drive that baby
Up and down the wards at night,
I do donuts in the hallways
Laying rubber left and right,
It's all the more amazing
When I'm carrying a load,
I can hardly wait the day
When I'm licensed for the road.

Fibril_late; 10/92

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Laboratory Triumvirate comes to the final end with:

On The Rack

I think that I am going to be in trouble
Because I didn''t read the book from front to back,
The one about all specimen collections
Now the laboratory wants me on their rack.

I sent the sputum in the wrong container
The urine leaked and soiled someones coat,
The blood cultures were mixed up with the salsa
Now everybody wants me by the throat.

The guiac cards were dripping with the brown stuff
The difficele was difficult to test,
And when I sent a bedpan for pan-cultures
The laboratory really was impressed.

Oh, they want me by the neck at noon tomorrow
They'd like to string me up by my entrails,
My fate could be decided by a phone call
As their specimen, I'll be lost; it never fails.

Fibril_late; 9/92

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Television; TV. Ugh, I avoid it if all possible. However, CNN does have a tendency to focus on the madness, megalomaniacs and mayhem in the world. Otherwise, their quality stinks (according to me). So, I had to write something about the truly whacked out whacko's in the world. Enjoy.

Megalomaniacs Anonymous

It’s good to have
At least one fan,
When executing
Your master plan,
A devotee
To support your vision,
To help protect you
From derision.

A megalomaniac
Needs a crowd of supporters,
Obedient minions
To follow his orders,
He’s got a message to spread
And it isn’t easy,
When half of his ideas
Make most of us queasy.

It’s good to belong
To a group or a charter,
Though the crazier you are
It seems a little harder,
To find like minded souls
Who share your ideals,
But, there are plenty of whacko’s
Who will respond to your appeals.

Even a tyrant needs love
A deep need to be wanted,
They have self-esteem issues
And often feel haunted,
Hearing voices, having visions
Making plans for all us sinners,
They need an entourage of peons
To plan for all the dinners.

It's a huge amount of work
To get ready for "the End",
Complicated logistics
A million details to attend,
And when you're a megalomaniac
You don't like to delegate,
Everyone else is stupid
Too bad; it's their fate.

There are plenty of role models
To imitate and adore,
Many famous religionists
Could show you the score,
With their well crafted teachings
Of eternal fire and pain;
Your pathway to success
Will be easy to attain.

Jim Jones had it down
And David Koresh,
Why, they were messiah's
Right here in the flesh,
Professing their craziness
Believed by their troops,
While the rest of us whispered
"Just look at those dupes".

Yes, it's good to have
At least one fan,
A million is better
With a helluva plan,
But should the day come
Where you just can't deal,
Megalomaniacs Anonymous
Will hear your appeal.

Fibril_late; 6/24/06

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Remember a time, back in the day, when there was a public outcry to save the trees (oh, so you don't know what trees are?!?) because we wasted so much paper. I had to speak out.

The Paper Caper

I really have to wonder
About a lab that's sending,
Frequent test results
Identified as pending,
I think of all the trees
And all the wasted lumber,
To manufacture paper
That doesn't have a number,
It can't be cost effective
But no one's losing sleep,
They spend so much on paper
Their wallets must be deep,
I have a small suggestion
Stop wasting all that paper,
Award me with the refund
In this money saving caper.

Fibril_late; 9/92

Monday, June 26, 2006

Laboratory Lolligagging.
That's what it was all about in September of 1992, when I pointed my poisoned pen at the men and women of Laboratory science. We nurses would have our running battles with them occasionally, most often when chaos ruled.

Wild Eyed Kooks

I called the central lab
Because I needed a result,
I'm most certainly convinced
That it's run by some weird cult,
They've got a fatal fetish
For fluids, flesh and flukes,
There's no way that I would mingle
With those crazy wild eyed kooks.

Should you fail to label properly
You're bound to draw a curse,
A basic job requirement
Is to irritate each nurse,
Their skin is pale and shrivelled
I suspect their brains are rotted,
You'll know you've been defeated, when
They call and say, "It's clotted".

The rumors float around this place
About the missing nurse,
This lab escapes reality
It's in another universe,
A parallel projection
That belies a deadly mystery,
Should you dare to cross the threshold
Your name will soon be history.

So beware and hold it sacred
Genuflect before the lab,
Should you violate its sanctity
You may end up on a slab,
Prepared for vivisection
They love it when you're fresh,
Because they've got a special thing for
The fluids, flukes and flesh.

Fibril_late; 9/92

Friday, June 23, 2006

Phantomology: The Codex
Here is a look at the personal side of the phantom phenomenon.

The Phantom Race

Phantom parts
Of limbs long gone,
From the king, the bishop
Or the pawn,
Get together
Once a year,
To talk about
Their phantom fear.

They discuss
The sudden separation,
And the lack
Of proper preparation,
From a scene
Of undue stress,
To a place considered
As nothingness.

Unlike their matching
Physical twins,
Phantom parts
Accrue no sin,
There’s no divorce
And no one’s married,
All that stuff
Was properly buried.
So it’s pretty much
A hang-out place,
For the members of
The phantom race.

The Sum Of Many Portions

Phantom gals
And phantom guys,
Cruise around
The friendly skies,
Invisible to
The unknowing,
Their numbers growing.

Now phantom folks
Rather often,
Come from more
Than just one coffin,
The sum of many
Body portions,
Put together
Despite distortions.

So just because you can not see
You have to be aware,
No matter where you go today
A phantom may be there.

Fibrillate; 8/92

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A look at Kidney disease:

My Good Health

When my Doctor said dialysis
I said, “I’d rather die”,
I thought I’d get my affairs in order
But then I heard that baby cry,
My first little grandkid
All peaches and cream,
I’ve got a reason to live
My nightmare became a happy dream.

Hypertension runs in my family
That I know for sure,
Diabetes comes along with it
And I know there ain’t no cure,
But I didn’t pay attention
Nor get a decent education,
I was more interested in having fun
On a life-long fools vacation.

When I was getting older
My weight was going up,
It seemed like every minute
I had to pee, about a cup,
I paid a visit to my Doctor
And he listened to my tale,
After doing a bunch of tests
He said my kidneys were about to fail,
I said, what the heck
I don’t get it, what do you mean,
He said, full blown diabetes
I’m afraid, I made a scene,
I wailed and I hollered
And then I began to shout,
Listen up, you crazy doctor
It’s not me you’re talkin’ about,
You must have got my blood tests
Mixed up with some other chick,
I know I pee a lot
But I’m healthy, I’m not sick,
So you can take these results and place them
Where the sun don’t shine today,
I ain’t got no diabetes
Not now, not tomorrow, no way.

Well, I went home and suffered
My good health for 90 days,
When my toe turned black, and then fell off
I knew I had to change my ways,
So I walked my 9 toes back to him
And apologized for hours,
I swore I’d do whatever I could
And did he have the power,
To restore my little toe to me
But he shook his head so sadly,
And though I’m short a toe today
I do not feel so badly.

Now I check my sugar QID
And read my sliding scale,
I take the pills prescribed to me
I swear I never fail,
To follow all the orders
And do what must be done,
The purpose of my life today
Is to appreciate everyone.

How long I’ll live, is hard to tell
I’ll do the best I can,
I’ll change my diet and exercise
And face it like a man,
Because the cards are dealt
The bets are placed
And the audience holds their breath,
I’m in charge of the person
That I want to be
Until, my timely death.

Fibril_late; 4/05

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Phantomology: an update.
More on this exciting topic.

A Voluntary Trim

I am most sincerely stumped
Given any lost of limb,
By traumatic amputation
Or a voluntary trim,
Mysterious ideas
Of phantom this or that,
With the loss of excess adipose
Would you still feel "Phantom Fat?"

With a small cerebralectomy
Are the memories erased,
Can you measure phantom brainwaves
Are they twisted or displaced.

I'm considering a book
To address the phantom issue,
If your nose is lopped by accident
Do you wipe with phantom tissue?

If cranial nerves are missing
It's a major phantom deal,
You might lose a few sensations
Like hearing, sight and feel.

So I wouldn't recommend
Losing any pieces,
Just iron all your perma-press
And deal with phantom creases.

Fibri_late; 8/92

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Memories of pain.
Most nurses become walking libraries of pharmaceuticals, and many of us pride ourselves on knowing all the pain killers, sedatives, anxiolytics, hallucinogenics, anesthetic agents, etc, that are our favorite tools in the proper setting. Certainly one of my missions was to eliminate pain, and I have vivid emotional memories of some of those occasions. And it wasn't always physical pain, that fires my remembrances.

Life after Death

Yes, I look back
At the places I have been,
The tragedies and wonders
And the vagaries of sin,
The multitudes of people
Who crossed my path, in pain,
Did I do enough
I ask myself
To help them on this plane.

There were a couple moments
Where I lost my cool, I slipped,
‘Twas a weakness in my character
My morals dived and dipped,
And those things are mighty memories
That will dog me all my days,
No matter what you do my friend
Karma always pays.

But the moments of the mysteries
Are burned within my brain,
I really did the best I could
To relieve them of their pain,
To act, with mindful motion
In the midst of all disaster,
To deliver all the best of care
And even call the Pastor.

My shoulder wasn’t cried upon
That was someone else,
Later, when I reached my home
My heart and soul would melt,
To eradicate the feeling
I’d take a 50 mile ride,
Biking, to heal me deep within;
So many people died.

It’s been about 5 years now
Since I played a part with death,
Yet, not a single day goes by
Where I don’t feel it in my breath,
It’s a haunting, to every nurse
Who’s been on the side of saving,
We walk away, we shake our heads
But deep inside we’re craving;

Fibril_late; 2005

Monday, June 19, 2006

Nursing is a fascinating field.
It is not for the faint of heart, nor for underachievers. It requires mental discipline, a sense of purpose and a good imagination. I think I have a penchant for discovering the absurd within the imaginative. The next 5 poems have to do with the little known science of "Phantomology". You may have heard of the phantom pain that persons who have lost a limb, report feeling. This concept fired up my imagination indeed. It will keep this blog going for a couple of days.

Phantom Body Weight

What’s the phantom body weight
Of your dismembered clients,
Do you guestimate or utilize
Some fancy new appliance,
That measures aura waveforms
In the realm of the unseen,
It must take into account
If they’re fat if they’re lean.

Now, this may seem insignificant
To the man out on the street,
But up here in the ICU
The concept has us beat,
Because we’re always fascinated
By the elements we can measure,
The collection of meaningless data
Is something that we treasure.

Now consider, just for instance
There’s a diabetic man,
His right leg is ischemic
And we’re doing all we can,
To preserve his viability
And maintain his self esteem,
With the increasing probability
He’ll become a phantom dream.

So what we get excited about
Are trends we can’t control,
From a pathologic process
Or halving something whole,
A fractionated human
Is never quite the same,
There’s a whole new set of rules
In the phantom body game.


Let's say you claim an ailment
But it isn't really there,
Or if you lose a body part
And would like to have a spare,
Perhaps you lost your mind
And you'd like the sponge replaced,
You should hire a consultant
Before you're totally erased.

Problems such as these
That are invisible to most,
Have been treated quite successfully
By a guy named, Dr. Ghost,
He has written several books
On the phantomistic theme,
And has tons of valid data
To prove it's more than just a dream.

To treat a phantom sufferer
You must get an understanding,
Of forces in the ether
And an occasional martian landing,
In other words, an open mind
A flexible sense of being,
It's hard to treat an ailment
That no one else is seeing.

You must treat the phantom client
Cautiously indeed,
They could die before you know it
If they have a phantom bleed,
Because you might not see the symptoms
Nor hear their phantom cries,
And whoops, before you know it
They disappear before your eyes.

It's a whole new branch of medicine
Says our expert, Dr. Ghost,
And it's a well established fact
That this fellow knows the most,
He will gladly share his knowledge
To anyone who asks,
It is one of his commitments
When it comes to phantom tasks.

I'll end this on the note
That phantomology exists,
It may be in its infancy
But I've started making lists,
A record keeping effort
To document the history,
So there's hope for understanding
To solve the phantom mystery.

Fibril_late; 8/92

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Today, being sunday and all, I'm dropping in a much more recent poem (as if 2004 was recent), written for some friends of mine in the Ophthalmology Clinic. I did a 6 month stint there back in 2002. Periodically, I will place a few poems that are out of the regular placement of the Underside.

Ophtho Christmas

'Twas the 3 weeks before Christmas
And all through the clinic,
Not a patient was griping
Only the poet-cynic,
Things were just too darned easy
And the phone never rang,
Except a chorus of angels
And even, they Sang............
Oh, it's grand to be in Ophthalmology
We're not working, we're not paid
Because we're free,
To do whatever anything we like
Take a 2 hour lunch
And use the treadmill or a bike,
Our boss named Bob
Gives us bon-bons
With our coffee,
The medical director
Gives us
Almond roca toffee,
The patients tip us grandly
As they smile,
Paying homage to the lowly
Rank and file,
All of a sudden every each of them
Is screaming,
And I lift my head and realize
I've been dreaming,
It's just an ordinary day
In this here clinic,
Thank goodness for the
Expatriated cynic!

Fibril_late; 12/04
"Maternity, Paternity" was written for a friend of mine, when the first baby was on the way. Then more absolute nonsense with, "Sneezer Pleaser". You will see that in moments of desperation, I will slaughter the english grammar and spelling rules, when trying to find the "what word rhymes with twizzle" kind of situation. Consider that poetic license.

Maternity, Paternity

Maternity, paternity
Seems to take an eternity,
To watch that stomach
Ever growing,
And time, it seems
Is ever slowing,
And speculation
Runs amuck,
About who’s inside
Charlene or Chuck,
As time creeps on
You can’t turn back,
And you realize
That the two room shack,
That you call home
Is just too small,
For mom and dad
And kids and all,
And then there’s cribs
And diaper pails,
An endless list
It never fails,
To blow away
The mind of dad,
Who starts to feel
That he’s been had,
Realizing this
He starts to scream,
And wakes up sweating
It was just a dream,
His wife says, “Honey
Are you all right there”,
And he says, “Yes,
It was just a nightmare”.

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** *

The Sneezer Pleaser

Isn’t it beautiful, it’s springtime
You can feel it in your bones,
I just received a postcard
From poor old, Mr. Jones,
He said the winter months were awful
He had bronchial pneumonia,
And he missed a short vacation
To picturesque Fredonia,
A famous aunt and uncle
Resided in that nation,
They were experts in the field
Of micro automation,
They’d had a recent breakthrough
In the treatment of disease,
A concept so remarkable
To cure the common sneeze,
It involves a micro-sensor
Pushed way up in the nose,
It’s waiting for the tickle
That comes before she blows,
When it happens, there’s a stimulus
To counteract the urge,
The end result, there is no sneeze
The stimuli doth merge,
Instead, a pleasant feeling
Shall permeate the brain,
This secondary side effect
Eliminates all pain.

The public will go bonkers
To purchase this device,
The chronic multi-sneezers
Won’t bicker at the price,
Along with curing sneezes
It’s claimed to fix what ails’ya,
With a lifetime guarantee
In case it ever fails’ya,
Specifically designed to treat
The sniffler or the wheezer,
Don’t miss the opportunity
To buy the sneezer-pleaser.

Fibril_late; 7/92

Friday, June 16, 2006

Nonsense! That's all it is. Funny? Heck ya!

Rubber Gasket

I was all shook up
When I heard the awful news,
That the plate up in my head
Was missing several screws,
It seems the doctor had forgotten
To implant a rubber gasket,
And now my brains are leaking out
So I’m shopping for my casket.

I thought I’d sue that doctor
But then I changed my mind,
He said he’d fill my brain up
With watermelon rind,
And then he’d seal the holes
With good old crazy glue,
Why, in just a couple minutes
I’d be feeling just like new.

The Bermuda Rectangle

There's a spot where I work
In one of the hallways,
Where my memory goes blank
Not once, but always,
A vacuous vortex
Like that Bermuda place,
To be more specific
It's a rectangular space.

I have several theories
That I can expound,
Till the day comes along
When the real one is found.

I think it's just one
Of several collectors,
That somehow is trapping
Invisible vectors,
From gamma ray fields
And thallium scans,
Magnetic images
And full body tans,
The morning chest X-rays
With their particle spray,
Are sucked into the vortex
Where the beams are at play.

In previous jobs
And all types of work,
I don't ever recall
This strange memory quirk,
Then one day I sought
Some workplace enjoyment,
And I went and acquired
University employment,
I trusted that foxy
Nursing recruiter,
Knowing what I know now
I should go back and shoot her,
Because each time I step
In the Bermuda rectangle,
My brainwaves acquire
A new twisted angle,
My memories are stolen
While lives are at stake,
What was planned as a broil
Turns into a bake.

I think I am done
Is this June or September,
Just what did I write about
I don't remember.

Fibril_late; 7/92

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A double dose of the Underside today.

Moving right along to an aberrant view of nurses. If you take offense, I can't help you. We are an easy bunch to make fun of. "Looking For Lipstick"; well you see, I worked with a nurse, she was funnier than heck, but she kept her lip gloss in her bra. There we'd be talking, I guess her lips got dry and she would just dip her hand into her shirt and pluck out that lip gloss, thus she became the inspiration for this one. The poem is written from the dying man's view.
Then, you'll read the trilogy of Satanic Nurses.

Looking For Lipstick

A sudden pain
The threat of death,
Impending doom
With lack of breath,
A crushing weight
Upon my chest,
My cardiac function
So depressed,
My skin is pale
So damp and clammy,
I think this is
The final whammy,
The room goes dark
I see a light,
Like through a tunnel
To my right,
Then looking down
I see my nurse,
Looking for lipstick
Inside of her purse,
Her favorite, single
Unattached doctor,
Just asked for her number
(Oh my, how he shocked her),
Now she's trembling all over
With nervous delight,
As my vision of earth
Fades slowly from sight,
Hey, suddenly I've sprouted
A pair of white wings,
I feel free as a bird
(How do I work these darn things?)

Prelude To Night Of The Living Dead Nurses

Did you ever have the feeling
After a long horrific night,
That you were no longer one of the living
And repelled by blazing sunlight,
And you wonder, with growing conviction
That life just couldn't be worse,
A bold realization soon comes to you
You're a night-of-the-living-dead nurse.

Fibril_late; 5/92
Another Top-Ten favorite; "Satanic Nurses". I like the way that nurses, curses and purses all rhyme so well. Try doing that with "wallet"; see, it just doesn't cut it. Actually, this theme of Satanic Nurses, was in response to the way horribly-sick people become wildly disoriented, paranoid and delusional and sometimes see their caregivers as demons. Or maybe it's just because I worked 19 years on graveyard shift.

The Night Of The Living Dead Nurses

Don't mess around with
The night of the living dead nurses,
They'll make your life miserable
They guarantee all of their curses,
You may think life is hell
But it's rosy, compared to their view,
No end to the pain
They make every torture seem new,
You'll beg for some mercy
It's futile, their hearts are like ice,
To them blood and guts
Are what you might call sugar and spice,
You'll find shrunken heads
Of their victims, inside of their purses,
There's just no escaping
The night of the living dead nurses.

Satanic Nurses

When I went into the hospital
I took my holy water,
That place is surely haunted
Said my one and only daughter,
Take my rabbits foot as well, she said
To ward off evil curses,
But most of all watch out for
Those satanic nurses.

My surgery was tenuous
My post-op course was more so,
I was leaking from a gaping wound
That wrapped around my torso,
And as my essence slowly drained
I thought upon these verses,
I want to warn the world about
Those satanic nurses.

They’ve infiltrated high command
And caused a great upheaval,
Their ways are sly and devious
The epitome of evil,
They come to work equipped with death
Hidden in their purses,
Beware, there’s no escaping
From those satanic nurses.

Fibril_late; 5/’92

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Just a little more fun aimed at doctors on this go-around. The one titled, "Cadillac Lungs" is one of my all-time favorites, because I love the last line. "Dr. Z" was actually a nurse poem in disguise, addressed to a long time nurse colleague, though I doubt that she ever knew this.

Oh, Dr. Z

Oh, Dr. Z, we look to thee
For words of wise uncounted,
To honor thee, when death has come
We'll have thy body mounted,
Upon the wall, so all receive
The blessing that you grant,
For the sick, the septic and the sinner
There's a seed of hope you plant,
Now it's obvious, that words can not
Describe one great as thee,
We'll have a monument constructed
And charge a modest fee,
So that all that view your sacred shrine
Will earn a little grace,
So rest assured now Dr. Z
We'll put you in your place.

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** *** * *** ** ** *

Cadillac Lungs

I had a bout of surgery
I had a bout of pain,
I had old Doctor what's his name
Make swiss cheese of my brain,
He said, "You need a couple lungs
So come into my shop",
But he didn't know quite where they were
So he started up on top;
He hacked apart the hair
I had grafted weeks ago,
And he placed it in a petri dish
To see if it would grow,
Then he gave it to his son
For the local science fair,
And he promptly won a scholarship
For hydroponic hair.

Well, the cut was so successful
I will gladly pay my bill,
'Cause now my lungs, work like the airbags
On the Cadillac SeVille.

Fibril_late; 3/92

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Who among us, has never complained about physicians? Or poked fun, at least. Far be it from me to avoid that subject. The majority of the doctors I worked along side of over the years, were great. Like any profession, there were a few bad apples, and I have certainly aimed my pen at nurses as well. But in April of '92, I first set my sights on the realm of the M.D.

A Great Discovery

As a doctor of new medicine
Training at the U.C.,
I practice my procedures
While watching, "I Love Lucy",
I'm performing vital research
In a field of great concern,
A scientific formula
To project how much I'll earn.

I've had many sleepless nights
On this path of great discovery,
My formula will pinpoint
The med-school loan recovery,
Then I'll sell a little software
And retire filthy rich,
Having never practiced medicine
Now, isn't that a bitch?

Brand New Parts

The doctors
Bless their bleeding hearts,
They'll gladly sell you
Brand new parts,
Or fix the busted ones
You've got,
And keep them running
Up to snot.

The adage
That we all have heard
That a life of crime won't pay,
Like old wives tales
It's just not true
In medicine today,
With years of training
Beneath their belts
They've borrowed to the hilt,
Heroic measures
Pay those debts
There is no room for guilt.

So, you know why
These supermen
Work so hard to earn your thanks,
You can see them
In their Porsche's
As they're racing to their banks.

Fibril_late; 3/92

Monday, June 12, 2006

Following in yesterdays theme, I'll change systems and move up to the lungs. Surely the #2 place of gross secretions. I know, because before I became a Nurse, I was a Respiratory Therapist. That's like having a double major in secretion technology!

Hack and Spit

Sometimes I feel I'd like to shootem'
Those guys that hack and spit their sputum,
They'll launch their slime, like Haley's comet
An event that makes me want to vomit,
And there's something else, I hate a bunch
It's when I see a loogie lunch,
I want to beat them to a pulp
Each time I see the sputum gulp,
It isn't pleasant, I report
To listen to them suck and snort,
Some spit it out, all over the place
The walls, the floor and even their face,
So, frankly when I have to pick
The patients who are really sick,
I'll avoid the ones that spit and cough
'Cause I might be tempted, to bump'em off.

Just a Target

At times I seem preoccupied
With sputum, blood and crap,
But many nights when I'm at work
It's sprayed upon my lap,
And so, I have a cynical
Outlook on this job,
My appearance hardly matters
I'm just a target for some blob,
An ejected, slimy specimen
That will fly in my direction,
And Universal Precautions
Will offer me little protection.

But I predict the time will come
When my risk is eliminated,
We'll keep the sick people in their homes
Till their diseases have abated.

Pseudomonas Salvo

It's just another tale
Of saliva, spit and sputum,
A pseudomonas salvo
Will make you want to shootem',
You can wear some safety glasses
And a gown for flying mucus,
But if the spray should hit your face
You'll have the urge to pukus,
So honestly, I ask you
Do you find it appetizing?
Who would want this awful job
It's really quite surprising,
That folks from every walk of life
Would choose this kind of task,
If I ever have to do it
I'll demand a body mask.

Fibril_late; 3/92

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Dear reader,

Of the many poems I produced, one might say my writing niche or favorite genre would be describing with delicacy, the gross things a nurse encounters on a daily basis. So, in March of 1992, I plunged into those substances right away. This is truly adolescent humor at its best.

Charcoal Stools

We come from every walk of life
Some poor and some with jewels,
We cast aside extravagance
And spent some years in schools,
Some label us as nightingales
And others call us fools,
So, ask me why I did it?
'Cause I love those charcoal stools.

I have friends who are mechanics
I admire all their tools,
My daddy was a contractor
He specialized in pools,
I could have been a lawyer
And surrounded myself with rules,
But ask me why I did this?
'Cause I love those charcoal stools.

I love the way you can't detect
Just where that charcoal will eject,
From yonder patient in bed seven
But when it happens, I'm in heaven,
'Cause I've got a thing for charcoal crap
I love to hold it in my lap,
And I keep a little in my purse
It's why I chose to be a nurse.

Cardio Floppin Crappen

I think that I've discovered
A cardiac invention,
For treating vagal stimuli
A result from gas distension,
As the effort of expulsion
On yonder friend, commode,
Overstrains the boggy heart
To drop the mighty load.

The heart rate slows quite drastically
And the old boy passes out,
There's no way you can pick him up
Because this old fart is stout,
As he slumps, the chair tips over
And the dump spills on the floor,
Contaminating all the shoes
That come runnin' through the door.

Now, who among you can deny
You've never seen this happen,
My invention will short circuit
The cardio floppin crappen,
My commodes will have heart sensors
In the sanitary wrapper,
Should dysrhythmia's occur
We'll defibrillate the crapper.

I'll make a lot of money
'Cause this commode's the one to chose,
We might save a couple patients
And without a doubt, we'll save our shoes.

Fibril_late; 3/92

Thursday, June 08, 2006

This poem, I wrote in memory of a remarkable man who survived not only a massive MI, but then had his left ventricle rupture, whereupon he was rushed to open-heart surgery and miraculously saved. I was his nurse during the night his ventricle was tearing and many other nights during his post-operative recovery. The poem is written in first-person, as though I was him; as he thinks about his wonderful life companion, who seemed to be always at his side.

Your Love

I'm living out a fantasy
Of a dream I never dreamt,
Just take it step by step they say
You'll never know till you attempt,
To strike a fair impression
Of the matter close at hand;
Can you wait with me a moment
It's time for me to stand,
Let me hold your hand, support me
I need you by my side,
Can you take the time to help me
I know I almost died,
But your love, it was the thread
That kept me on this plane,
And your love that still sustains me
It eliminates the pain.

Fibril_late; 11/87
As many nurses know, "doing everything" to save mom or dad who might be on thier last skinny leg (so to speak) is often like, flogging a dying horse. But our medical system promises a miracle around every corner, so we flog away...........thus inspiring, the battlecry of the pacemaker diehards.

You Can't Pace Meatloaf

You can't pace meatloaf
No matter how you try,
You can whip a dying horse
But you'll never make it fly,
You can do an E.E.G.
On a brain that's turned to mush,
You can buy a fancy comb
But you'll never make it brush,
You can treat the hypochondriac
But he'll always think he's sick,
You can train your good old dog
But he'll never learn the trick,
You can lead a cat to water
But you'll never make it dive,
You can zap the sudden deather
But never bring'em back alive,
No, you can't pace the meatloaf
Or defibrillate the salad,
And that's the way it goes
When you do the meatload ballad.

Fibril_late; 2/92
As many of you know, a Vector can be many things, but in the realm of cardiology we usually consider it as a sum total of energetic forces, travelling in some direction in the heart and then we record this on an ECG. The title of the poem is:

My Little Vector

I Have a little vector
Living in my heart,
He always knows the moment
It's time to stop or start,
There are a couple things
The little fellow needs,
He wants a balanced diet
And a bandage if he bleeds.

One day while I was hiking
I overworked my heart,
I hurt my little vector
And he forgot to start,
Passing out, I then collapsed
And fell upon a stump,
That startled little vector
Like a wallop on the rump.

He awoke and said, "What happened
Why, is it so dark,
The last thing I remembered
We were hiking in the park,
Now I have to get this floppy heart
In shape or we're dead meat,
As a vector, I'm not worried
Because I always have the beat".

So the little fellow raced around
He's such a fine protector,
I could never live without him
How I love my little vector.

Fibril_late; 2/92

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The second issue or TUoN was published in February of 1992. I got into the nitty-gritty of heart disease in a funny way. The first poem had to do with the unfortunate incident of defibrillating someone whom appeared to be in the sometimes fatal rhythm of Ventricular Tachycardia. In fact he was not, but rather his monitoring equipment was malfunctioning and it caused a simulated V.Tach rhythm to appear on monitor-scope. So, he was shocked a couple of times, when he didn't need to be. Luckily, no horrid outcomes ensued.

Tiny Bolts of Lightning

What if that V-tach, was not
You defibrillate, then what have you got,
An angry man, he's hurtin' too
And he'd like to get his hands on you,
Give him Versed, he'll forget his pain
Put an amnesia implant into his brain.

Defibrillate his wife
His kids and cousins too,
Synchronized electroshock
Can be very good for you.

It's better than, just vitamins
Minerals or yeast,
The stories that you've heard are true
It works on man or beast.

The synergistic step approach
Is the recommended style,
You build on each preceding jolt
As you're turning up the dial.

You'll know they've reached their nadir
When they're floating above the bed,
And tiny bolts of lightning
Come shooting from their head.

The public has acclaimed
That it's so rejuvenating,
They're signing up ahead of time
To try electroplating.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Many of the places I worked at over the years, had archaic rules regarding break-time for the night shift crew. You'd think that people working 12 hour shifts from 7p-7a, might benefit from a little shuteye during the night, and since most places don't pay you for your lunch period, common sense might prevail and let the hearty graveyard worker catch some zzzzz's. But no, that just ain't the way it is baby. Heck, sometimes it was so stinkin' boring, I might just have gotten drowsy now or then................the next two poems are a result of my crime of dozing off.

Alert At Any Hour

Oh, what a shock!
Today I wept,
The supervisor
Claimed I slept,
My head was down
Yes, that is true,
Stuck to the tabletop
With glue,
Her accusation
Was out of place,
If only, she
Had seen my face.

Alert, am I
At any hour,
Because I'm infused
With nightshift power,
To prove henceforth
That I'm correct,
My posture will
Remain correct.

Always Look Awake

Imagine the anguish
To be falsely accused,
Why there is surely no question
That the boss was confused,
A chance observation
In the workplace at night,
A misleading impression -
(I was resting my sight).

I might be just a hired hand
At this towering institution,
But I should be insulated
From public execution,
My career has been exemplary
My record scarcely smudged,
I declare with no uncertainty;
I've been unfairly judged.

I've survived, my wound has healed
But I'll never be the same,
I'll keep practicing my art
Yet, I'm conscious of the game,
So I'll paint my handsome countenance
On the backside of my head,
Then I'll always look awake
Even if I'm dead.

Fibril_late: 1/'92

Monday, June 05, 2006

OK, dear readers. We are about to plunge into the origin of "The Underside of Nursing". In this post I present my initial editorial** and the first poem. I will try to add one poem per day. That should keep this going for at least a year! Then I'll reconnoiter.

**By now, I think all of us have heard enough about nursing practice, nursing standards, nursing credibility, professionalism, evidenced based practice, blah-blah, etc, etc., ad nauseum. But who out there really writes about life in the trenches, life down on the street of nursing, the ongoing daily life of Nancy/Neo Nurse, as only a nurse can write it? I do! Maybe you do too. I won't know unless you tell me. Each month (day) you will receive a humorously written episode about us! - Ok, ok, I'm not you, you're not me, but in all likelihood we have touched the same stuff somewhere. Enough!
Now, a few of you may know me (though, most likely not), but regardless, I expect you to spread the word about this bold new venture and pretty soon it will be a veritable partay! The whole idea is for us to share, get to know each other, commisserate about our lot in life and so on.
And you will soon see that indeed, we all touch the same stuff sooner or later.

The Underside of Nursing

The underside of nursing
Is a place where few, dare tread,
Where the overlords of the afterlife
Come calling for the dead,
Long before those sorry citizens
Announce their kickoff date,
And the denizens of nightfall, whisper
"Mister, don't be late".

The underside of nursing
Is a lighthouse in the midst,
Where multi-system failures
Change their shape at every twist,
And the spirits of great medicine
Are heard chanting in the halls,
While the nurses write graffiti care-plans
On the station walls.

The underside of nursing
Is a campfire on the plain,
A camaraderie of creatures
Seeking shelter from the rain,
Boldly treading lifetimes
In shark infested seas,
Confronting fearsome monsters
Masquerading as disease.

The underside of nursing
Cries, to have a voice,
Every face contains a story
Each moment brings a choice,
But like the scriptures, of the Masters
Who came before their time,
They hid thier truths in parables
And today it's heard in rhyme.

Fibril-late; 1/'92
I begin with a poem that heralds the return of "The Underside of Nursing".

An Underside Resurrection

Some old timers might remember
The rants, the raves, the cursing,
Within the soiled pages
Of "The Underside of Nursing",
The author disappeared
Some say he went sabbatical,
Others knew him better
They said, seven shades fanatical,
A deep end, nose dive plunge
A wormhole in reality,
The rumors blossomed mightily
He succumbed to some fatality.

Though hidden from the public eye
The pen continued writing,
Some future date was beckoning
An audience inviting,
New nurses, just weaned from the classroom
Seeking guidance and good common sense,
Have questions their mentors can't answer
Some topics where they might take offense.

For a while, back in the gay nineties
One writer interrogated life,
No topic too sacred to plunder
All subjects dissected with his knife,
Dismembered and tossed on the table
The essence of truth was revealed,
The answers to all of the questions
No longer were hidden and sealed.

A resurrection may be in the making
Though the author retired from nursing,
Thanks to his post-traumatic syndrome
He's still ranting and raving and cursing,
So his judgment's are second to none
Wisdom gleaned from dissected disaster's,
Insights, perception and knowledge
From the realm of the Underside Masters.

Fibril_late; '04
As mentioned in my last posting, the zine, "The Underside of Nursing" was published between 1992-98. The whole zine revolution mostly faded, or rather, surfed onto the Internet. I had to wait until it became really-mega easy, because although I utilize this fabulous medium for fun and research, I couldn't write a line of code if you held a loaded syringe at my carotid.
However, as advanced as some things have become, when one steps into the somewhat sterile world of a hospital, you are truly stepping into a series of repetitive historical events. Like history which keeps repeating itself, while only the players and the props (technological advances) change over time.
What's the point?
Well, all the stuff I wrote about in the past 20 years is relevant, even though today seems so much more "modern". So what I am about to do, is to present the once-been-told/original story of "The Underside of Nursing", in all of its chronological glory; piece by piece, with whatever commentary I see fit.
I hope you like it and hopefully, you will comment and my greatest wish, is that other nurse-writers will come out of the woodwork and contribute as well.



Friday, June 02, 2006

Welcome to all readers and contributors to this blog.
The Underside of Nursing is a place for Nurses to share thier poetry/writings. I have been a writer for over 40 years, but once I entered the field of Nursing 25 years ago, I began to use poetry as a personal outlet as a means of processing the many powerful experiences I had during the course of my daily nursing practice. You might call it catharsis, or perhaps a way to work through post-traumatic distress. For the most part, I tried to make it funny (cynical and sarcastic, too).
From the years of 1992 to1998, I actually self-published my own little nursing-zine, with the same name as this blog and mailed it to a handful of subscribers to a few corners of the world. Perhaps you were one of them; if so, welcome back.
One thing I do know, we all have a story (or many) to tell. I like to make mine rhyme, but that isn't everyone's method. Merely the telling and sharing is where the true value lies. Please join me where few have dared to go..................deep into The Underside of Nursing.