Monday, May 26, 2008

Every night, the craziness continues. The general public is clueless about what goes on in the hospital when the sun goes down.

Agents of Chaos

The unforeseen consequences

Of unraveling spirals,

I am telling you, it's more than

Bacterial virals,

When your patient gets up

And whirls like a dervish,

It's crazy, whacked out

And makes me totally nervish.

Kate was with me that morning

And so was Ms. B,

When way over yonder

In room 893,

Mr. Whatzit got up

Spun in circles and cables,

Wound up like a top

In old Aesop's Fables.

He killed 6, with one blow

He fired mortars, o'er the wall,

And our biggest concern

Was that he would fall,

Because his left-arm was missing

And his right-brain was bonkers,

And I'd heard some big lawyer

Was driving up from New Yonkers.

The worst of our fears

Like whirling twisters,

Bosses from the big house

Were developing blisters,

From the tickets they'd written

Regarding the fouls of this case,

What a collective embarrassment

On dear, sisters' face.

Our careers were on the line

Our licenses in peril,

This whirling dervish

Had us over a barrel,

And collectively we three

Had over a hundred years knowing,

Cyclonic phenomenon

Like an ill wind, were blowing.

We gathered our thoughts

And pondered each option,

We knew if we failed

We'd be up for adoption,

Three orphans of nursing

Tossed out with the trash,

When suddenly, Kate

Had a powerful flash,

Of woman's intuition and

Her Feng Shui power,

She said, this agent of chaos

Needs a bath or a shower.

Ms. B gathered towels

While I warmed the water,

We all prayed to Gaea

And Chaos, her daughter,

To reveal to us the means

To find peace amidst fury,

Then we soaped up our washcloths

And bathed in a hurry.

The spirals unraveled

The twisters tore down,

The cyclones collapsed

Into fairy-tale town,

While the bystanders cheered

And authorities arrived,

Ms. B, Kate and I

Why we, just high-fived!

Heroes of Nursing

They called us, that day,

Be we all knew better

With a smirk, as if to say,

Our backs will be stabbed

Before the sun goes down,

Because heroes are orphans

In fairy-tale town.



Saturday, May 24, 2008

HOH - Hard of Hearing. We've all been there with the individual who can't hear a pin drop, let alone an H-bomb drop. But, what if it was you?

Cousin Vinnie

I haven't heard a thing in 34 years
Everyone is giving me lip,
Yelling at me like I'm a crazy person
I tell them to just get a grip,
Because what is the point of the yelling
It's obvious I'm as deaf as an adder,
In a way, it's all kind of humorous
To watch them get madder and madder.

Of course, some of the time I get irritated
Some people are dumber than dirt,
It appears that they think that a deaf person
Has lost the capacity to hurt,
They don't think that I know what they're saying
With their wise-cracks, as they exit the room,
Little do they know, my cousin Vinnie
Will blow up their car, Ba-da-boom!


Friday, May 23, 2008

Sometimes talk is cheap and other times it's dangerous, because it may delay treatment. "Nuff" said.

Wizards of the Badlands

Can you tell what's real

Do you know what's not,

Can you determine from 50 yards

If it's sputum or snot?

Does an elevated CO2

Of one-twenty-five,

Give you any indication

About the odds, if he's alive?

Well, maybe for a while

But I wouldn't place any bets,

I think it's time to call your markers

And pay off any debts,

Because arguments at this time

Are pointless and invalidated,

Just get the flippin' ventilator

Before you're excommunicated.

Now don't take this personal

We're all hired hands,

It's just that some of us call the shots

While other's holler from the stands,

With an opinion here and there

About what ought-to-be,

And at this very moment

You should be listening to me,

Because this dude is going south

He needs an endotracheal tube,

Please don't stand there arguing

Like some existential rube,

Quoting laboratory data

And his history of CO2,

We're the wizards of the badlands

And we know much more than you.

We don't want to code this sucker

We don't want a Rapid Response,

We don't want to toast his remains

With a sterling-silver sconce,

No, all we want to do

Is the best right thing, right now,

And that my friend, is to intubate

Before I have a cow!



Perhaps you've seen the weekend news regarding the West Virginia woman who had a cardiac arrest, brain-dead EEG, rigor mortis setting in, and had been slated for donor status, when she abruptly came back to life, and has been found to have absolutely nothing wrong with her heart!

Here's the link:

This prompted me, to once again write about the miraculous events, that some of us have been participants in or witnesses to:

The Miracle Flavor

Miracles happen

Oh, yes they do indeed,

It has nothing to do with religion

Or the basis of your creed,

It has to do with the unbelievable

Beyond any science we know,

But in the presence of our sophistication

The most scientific mind will grow;

Knowing miracles truly can happen

I'm not talking about blind faith or dreams -


When the dead come to life

Beyond the limits of survival,

And there is proof beyond truth

Without electrical revival,

Too many witnesses

To possibly discount,

Not one of them cares

About the Sermon on the Mount,

No one of them talking

About the power of prayer,

Not a single one thing

About the power up there,

Those pragmatic, no nonsense

Scientific minds,

Totally surprised

With the results of their finds,

Everyone of them halting

In wonder, amazed,

Whispering to each other

Quite totally dazed,

Holding precious, this moment

In their own way, to savor,

Finally knowing they've tasted

The miracle flavor.



Go figure! We admit a DNR and then she died in about 4 hours. Now, that was one heck of a waste of resources, I'm telling you. So I think we need to revisit the whole DNR thing.

Too Damn Late

DNR by definition
Means, Do Not Resuscitate,
You don't belong in the ICU
Because it's too damn late,
You shouldn't be admitted
In the notorious 11th hour,
We don't do resurrections -
We don't have the power.

DNR, should mean
Do not re-locate,
A sudden change of scenery
Has no effect on your fate,
And though the nurses look like models
From the pages of the New York Times,
DNR, is just abbreviated nonsense
That fits into this funeral rhyme.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

I'd been looking for the Underside of Nursing, 1998 archive, and at last I realize I found it! Just a few entries that year, and quite a few are funny. This one must have been inspired by some news report of a Surgery gone awry. One of those instances, where the wrong body part is removed.


Doctor, dear doctor
I thank you
That medicine sure did the trick,
The minor complaints I was suffering
Are gone, because now I am sick,
The pill that you gave for my tremors
A side effect from some other med,
Has been making my heart so irregular
Tomorrow, I just might be dead.

Doctor, dear doctor
I’m speechless
It shouldn’t have happened this way,
You cut out my tongue and my larynx
And replaced them with paper mache’,
I have a buzzer
Where I once had a voice-box
I pour dinner
Through a tube in my gut,
When all I needed
Was a simple excision,
To take out a mole on my butt.

Back when I worked at the "Big House" (name hidden to protect the innocent), it was a place that encompassed Medical doctor training. Working in the ICU's, a nurse had to stand by, when those trainees, were doing all sorts of line-placements. Some of those blokes, didn't remember landmarks of anatomy very well. For example, when searching for the femoral artery, one is supposed to remember the following mnemonic: Nerve, artery, vein.
This poem describes my frustration, watching an untrained operator, poking around in the groin area, of some unfortunate male subject.

Back to School

Nerve, artery, vein, uh-oh
Be careful where you poke,
Your next testiculectomy
Won't understand the joke.

Nerve, artery, vein, oh darn
You missed again, you fool,
One more try and if you fail
You're going back to school.

Nerve, artery, vein, oh well
You missed it by a mile,
You'll be a great success at Burger Boy
With your attitude and smile.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

10 Years ago, I wrote this one about suicide. And I think it was in regards to the one who suffers first, relentless pain, and then this leads to a severe depression.

The End of All Dreams

The future has ended
Tomorrow is past,
The end of all dreams
Happens way too fast.

It's the uncommon denominator
Of depression and pain,
When the cleanup is over
There is hardly a stain.

What do they think?
The family, the friend,
When the one that they loved
Orchestrated the end,
With a bullet or poison
Or exhaust-pipe inhaled,
They'll spend the rest of their lives
Wondering how they had failed.

Have you ever been a bystander
Reviewing the remains,
After Jo-Jo, the party guy
Blew out his brains,
You think over and over
If only I knew,
But you can't buy enough
Of miracle glue.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Working night-shift, some nurses depend on caffeine to help them through the night. One night there were complaints, regarding the making of coffee, and the possible absence of caffeine.

Coffee Rapture

It was a coffee calamity

Of epic proportion,

Where I promised caffeine

But gave a decaf distortion.

Humor was absent

And tempers were hot,

I felt there was a chance

That I might get shot,

With a bolus of potassium

In my right cheek,

Don't mess with a woman

On her PMS peak.

It was a caffeine debacle

I made a mistake,

It was steamy and hot

But the coffee was fake,

'Twasn't Starbucks or Peets

Or even Java City,

The abuse I was rendered

I can tell you, wasn't pretty.

My rep, to that point

Was looking pretty good,

I'd saved a few lives

In my new neighborhood,

But in 7 minutes time

It all went down the drain,

Believe me when I tell you

That Nurses know pain.

Well, I got on my knees

In the eye of my mind,

I pondered deep and hard

For a solution to my bind,

To vanquish my transgression,

In the eyes of my peers,

After all, I had planned

To work a few years.

I'd bribe them with food

And bargain days off,

I'd take all the patients

That spit, puke and cough,

The multi-organ failures

On week thirty-three,

If only they would forget about -

That night..................caffeine-free.

Some committee is reviewing

My position at this joint,

Wiser heads, than those I work with

Have a task-force to anoint,

So they can banter back and forth

Like a political machine,

Recommendations to our boss

A referendum for caffeine.

Policies and Procedures

Are like the Constitution,

When the word becomes law

It's time to stop the retribution,

And just forget the whole story

Behind my reputation capture,

Knowing some night very soon

We'll experience caffeine rapture.



Friday, May 16, 2008

This 3-word line popped into my head; so I ran with it.

Tall as Wide

It's a very bad thing
If you're tall as wide,
It's not one of those things
You can easily hide,
And you just might think
That you're on the ball,
But to everyone else
You're just rolling down the hall.

I can't say that I know
What to do about this condition,
But one thing's for certain
It's not a dietary omission,
Though it might possibly reflect
On some lifestyle choices,
Some of us drive Yugo's
And others Rolls-Royces.

What I possibly allude to
Is the dichotomy of this age,
When all things regarding good
Can be read upon a page,
And advertised on TV
The radio and wireless,
Perhaps the populace is inured
Because advertising is tireless.

Because it's hard to believe
That you can't control your weight,
Although certainly there are disorders
And diseases of the state,
Of the homeostasis of your
Body and your mind,
That are beyond lifestyle choices
And all the fun you can find.

When you are as tall as you are wide
Presents problems you must endure,
If preventable, we'd be happy
Because we all love a cure.



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A family of trolls, they were. You had to be there, but I wouldn't advise it.

Still Doing Dope

72 years old
And still doing dope,
Maybe she needs more length
In her self-hanging rope,
But then I saw her kids
And saw what-is-to-be,
I'd like to give them all ropes
Guaranteed and free.

Now, I know that's not cozy
I'm a nurse, after all,
All lives are redeemable
There's a tide before the fall,
But I don't have time
In critical-care,
To sling hopeful platitudes
While they are gasping for air.

I met four offspring
And they were short in the tooth,
I guess they traded them in
At the methamphetamine booth,
And they swagger through life
Just like Momma-dearest,
In a family contest
They were the queerest!



(Part II)

All In the Family

The 8th decade of life
Could be one of reflection,
But in your case, you're still fighting
A ravaging infection,
Brought on by stupid choices
And tired excuses,
Ill-devised foolishness
And substance abuses.

Having met your progeny
Perhaps you're attempting to escape,
Collectively I was impressed
By their sorry-assed shape,
And you know that the apple
Doesn't fall far from the tree,
A whole family abusing drugs
Is the way it looks to me.

I was creeped-out for sure
When your number one daughter,
Made a beeline for me
With her eyes full of slaughter,
Demanding I call the Doctor
About methadone for Momma,
I figured she was a dead-ringer
For the wife of Osama.

I called Central Services
For pepper-spray and mace,
While she pulled out a Taser
And aimed it at my face;
I drew down on her with a scalpel
And dove under my chair,
Remembering "duck and cover"
While gasping for air.

She fired that Taser
And it hit Betty Lou,
There wasn't a damn thing
That anyone could do,
As Betty hit the floor
With a resounding thump,
That daughter was reloading
When I got the jump,
And I knocked her on the head
With the PDR,
While silently praying
I hadn't gone too far,
Such that I might get sued
By the family from hell,
But all she got was a bump
And man, did it swell.

Now she swung up that Taser
For shot number two,
While screaming, “Dear Momma
I do it for you”,
And in the midst of her soliloquy
I grabbed the defibrillator,
Zapped her at 360, saying
“Sayonara, see you later”.

It was a terrific free-for-all
That night in CCU,
Did you hear, that we're hiring
We're looking for you,
Fringe benefits are awesome
Martial Arts are a plus,
Just don't read the fine print
When you jump on our bus.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Here is a topic that never grows old; the incredibly sloppy handwriting of Doctors. Quite frankly, if you were to read my sloppy script, you might be of the same opinion. Maybe the greatest upcoming news, is that the health-care system is attempting to convert to computer charting, ordering, note-taking and so on: the Electronic Medical Record. So, it's probably my last chance to rail about it.

Your Writing

We've endured 25 years
Of your ineligible writing,
Frequent arguments
And frequent fighting,
Taxing your patience
Taxing mine,
Suits of malpractice
With threats of a fine.

You claim that your writing
Is easily understood,
But maybe you learned to write
In your old neighborhood,
Spray painting graffiti
On back alley walls,
Darkened parking structures
Behind shopping malls,
Gang rants and ravings
Bravado in paint,
Long before Med-school
And your status as saint.

Your beginnings are well hidden
Amidst your professional scrawl,
Hidden by your plaques and diplomas
On your office wall,
But for those of us who must decipher
Your scribbled orders and notes,
If this was a handwriting competition
You wouldn't get any votes.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Finally the end.........of the latest fugue* of writing.

Rhyming as Remedy

'Twas a high-output weekend
Of poetry and pain,
This rhyming as remedy
Is a panacea to my brain,
And the fictitious characters
Though realistic in their pose,
Are but whims of imagination
Unrelated to those,
In the narrow proximity
Of the proposed field of action,
All the truths I tell, are lies;
Should shield me from retraction.


*Fugue: A dream-like state of altered consciousness.
The truth, is sometimes, long in the tooth.

Surrounded By Girth

I lost my hand
In Billy-Bob's belly,
During an application
Of Nystatin jelly,
His pannus was huge
A multi-fold monstrosity,
I tried to escape
But it slowed my velocity,
When entropy ensued
And I was trapped in the fold,
My life passed ‘fore my eyes
Was I getting too old?
To partake in these shenanigans
Also known as, nursing care,
I’m fifty-five and puny
Compared to those who pay the fare.

My elbow disappeared
In Billy-Bob’s fold,
It was a scary situation
While I was hunting for mold,
And that’s one of those conditions
Of nightmarish ideation,
A multi-cellular symbiosis
Like the dawn of creation,
What would I be like
If I survived the ordeal,
Reduced to protoplasm
Or look like a wheal,
Of antagonized tissue
At the scene of the crime;
Mold is slippery stuff
It’s intelligent slime.

Buried to my shoulders
In Billy-Bob’s bowels,
The odor was horrific
And I was gasping for vowels,
To express my consternation
In my time of greatest need,
Looking back in retrospect
I prefer it when they bleed,
Because I can fix it with a bag
From a universal donor,
But now I’ve been reduced
To an air-gasping moaner,
With barely enough strength
To call out for a mate,
I’m left pondering my demise
Should I reincarnate?

We’re surrounded by girth
It’s a scary situation,
An elephantiasis epidemic?
Or obesity maturation,
You can’t tell from the surface
Though it’s a menace for sure,
But the ultimate question -
How will Nurses endure?

There is a "story teller" wherever one works, isn't that right?

Drama Queen

She's a drama queen
There is no doubt,
She'll use every opportunity
To shake and shout,
Like she's on a mission
Of pain and glory,
If you stick around
And bear witness to her story.

She's a drama queen
And if she spots a crowd,
She'll go from quiet thoughts
To being very loud,
Her lack of respect
Is boorish and operatic,
While her demand for attention
Is so friggin' dramatic!

She's a drama-queen

I tell you no lie,

New episodes will be written

Until the day she dies,

Every waking moment

She's like a target, waiting

A ready recipient

For drama-mating.

She's a drama queen
I'm telling you,
She has a distorted
Point of view,
As if the world revolves
Around her little old self,
Without attention
She'd rot on a shelf.

Here is quicky about personalities at work.


Personalities at work
Are so diverse,
Sometimes it's a blessing
At other times a curse.

This is one of those universal statements, that describes a type of person who is always found in large, megalithic organizations. I'm sure you'll recognize the character.

Personality Deficit Syndrome

Personality Deficit Syndrome
Runs rampant in this joint,
Every time someone retires
There's a new one to anoint,
The candidates are racing forward
Aimed at the Administrators door,
Filling out forms in triplicate
Just praying, they'll be the one to score.

There must be a certain kind of engineering
Is it culture, genetics or what?
Some type of specialized grooming
To become, a pain in the butt,
Devoid of a qualifying personality
Lacking interpersonal skills,
If I'm around a person like this, too long
I come down with a case of the chills.

Personality Deficit Syndrome
Is dangerous, of that I am sure,
Despite decades and piles of research
There's no evidence of a successful cure,
And so, the candidates keep rolling in
Lacking any notable capabilities,
And the official stance of our management?
Who cares, you can't deny their servility!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

There has been an excess of girth in our neck of the woods lately, with the end result being this pathetic stab at humor.

From Dearth to Girth

From breath to death
And from dearth to girth,
It's all strain and pain
From birth unto earth.

Is there any correlation
Connection or mate,
To the auspicious signs
A birth-plan or fate?

Life is a passage
A journey, a fjord,
Live a long arduous life
And fall on thy sword.

There are circumstances where (if I had the power) I would occasionally bestow honorary sainthood upon one of my coworkers, for deeds done, way beyond the call of duty.


Beatified, dear Betty should be
After cleaning vomit, poop and pee,
And before the lights went down
And she'd raised the rails,
She washed the hair, and teeth and nails.

Her advice to me, and I'll heed it well
Patient's do better, when they have a good smell,
And pad the bed; why, that's her creed
Because patient's will vomit, poop and bleed.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I speak for myself, but perhaps others have similar impressions. Working in a critical care setting for 25 years now, I've witnessed hundreds of deaths / passings. These experiences are influenced by the persons / families associated with that patient who is dying. At the same time, our perceptions are influenced by who we are and what members of the staff, are also sharing in that death experience. It can become very disruptive and disconcerting, or it can be a time of peace and healing. It may be tragic or revelatory, horrific or ordinary. But as long as we remain human and compassionate, each death will be unique and worthy of respect.

See the Angels

"If only we could see the angels taking her away"
I heard those very words, when I was present the other day,
When that good woman died, at the end of her shortened life
She'd been a loving mother, she'd been a wonderful wife.

I can't say that I knew her
We had the briefest of introductions,
I can say that I cared for her
Because those were my instructions,
And during those few hours of care
Her spirit, I came to know,
Such that I can tell you truthfully
I felt her spirit go.

If only we could see the angels
Taking her away,
I didn't see them, but they were present
When she departed yesterday.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I posted this about 2 years ago, but thought I would display it one more time, because this is an important workplace topic that is being talked about in my local environ. Here is the whole piece:

For 15 years, I was a member of a bargaining unit, a union, and Nursing hammered out an agreement every few revolutions around the sun. We earned 1 sick day a month, had 3 weeks of vacation, holidays, education days, and who knows what else. But there was an undeclared and secret rule; "don't use your sick days too much". You would be shocked to see how many sick hospital personnel, go to work, because they are afraid of "calling in sick", because this might garner a reprimand, that would go into their personnel file. Talk about a freakin' walking, talking, fomite under power!

A Bitter Pill

A reprimand
If you are ill,
Is what I call
A bitter pill,
Though I know the system
Gets abused;
When reprimanded
I feel used.

I know my Nursing
Contract states,
That I'm allotted
Sickness dates,
To use at my
Mature discretion,
Without requiring
An employee confession.

So please don't try
To threaten me,
With some secret
Unit policy,
Nor threaten my yearly
Pay raise portion,
Or I will charge you
With extortion.

Fibril_late; 5/94

Monday, May 05, 2008

Here are two poems from my 2001 Archive.


Your Excellence
Your Compassion
And your Soul,
Enhance the healing
That is imbued
Within your role,
To reach out
To offer comfort
To another,
Maybe an enemy
A neighbor
Or a brother.

Like a magnet
You have invisible power,
This path of healing
Is a beautiful flower;
With the water of compassion
And the sunlight of your care,
No words can describe
The divinity that you share.

Will you heal all the people that you treat?
It's not your role to accomplish such a feat,
Like an ocean with a shore upon each side
The continuum of life is deep and wide.


Ode to the Recoverers

They stand beyond the Surgeons gate
Dressed in sheens of life,
Waiting to receive the Sacred ones
Who touched the Surgeons' knife.

Masters of assessment
They're always poised for action,
Amidst chaos and disorder
They exhibit no distraction.

Every little vital sign
Is examined for perfection,
Should one deviate the slightest
They will seek the best correction,
To stabilize your system
To the nth of nth degree,
The Recoverers will protect you
It's their duty bound decree.

Suffice to say, a surgery
Like a minefield, has its dangers,
And when you rouse to wakefulness
You don't want to deal with strangers,
The Recoverers will care for you
Like a member of their clan,
They're agents of goodwill and hope
Because that's their master plan.

What purpose is their calling
What caused them to enroll,
What secrets do they harbor
In the depths of mind and soul,
The answer to these questions
Is never understood,
A thousand words can not define
The blessed and the good.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

It's about neatness...................

Tangled-String Theory

We talked about this
Just last night,
How some people are neatniks
And are willing to fight,
About the necessity of order
And the fixed way of things,
While others like myself
Give disorder a fling.

It would be totally untrue
To call me a slob,
But a passion for neatness
Isn't a part of my job,
I just can't get fanatical
About the placement of the linen,
I place vital signs and viability
At the end and the beginnin'.

I admit to being totally frenzied
When the lines are all twisted and coiled,
In a moment, I nearly lose all control
As if my brain and my blood have been boiled,
And according to tangled-string theory
This phenomenon cannot be prevented,
Like a contortionist freebasing adrenaline
Within minutes, I am totally demented.

Suffice to say, in the above scenario
The neatness of my lines, holds no rival,
I say, screw all the linen and the plastic essentials
I know the secret to my survival,
And if I know where the essential cables and IV's
Are attached to the patient and pumps,
I can pretty much guarantee, that after 12 hours
My patient won't be in the dumps.

Every nurse has their particulars
And our priorities, don't necessarily match,
I've seen so many patients die, during a bath
The group qualifies as a classified batch,
And if you're rustling around, with your mind on the neatness
Of the furniture, room and possessions,
You might overlook some physiological disaster
While attending to your neatness obsessions.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Today, 12 hours post night shift, my brain-waves are flipping and flopping. The following poem is about duality.


There's a flip side to everything
And here's the flip,
No matter where your journey leads
It's still a crazy trip.

There's a flap side to everything
And here's the flap,
What flies through the air
Just might land in your lap,
When it gets in the air
It has a tendency to hover,
And should that stuff hit the fan
You better duck and cover.

There's a flop side to everything
And here's the flop,
You can sow some good seeds
And still get a bad crop,
You can cut out the deadwood
To eradicate the weevil,
But still, the best intentions
May turn out to be evil.

The best laid plans of
Big mice and little men,
Are often torn asunder
By the power of the pen,
And while the downside type of person
Will tell you, what they should have had,
Each experience will be tainted
When all they see is bad.

So the flip side to me
Might be the flop side to you,
It's just a matter of perspective
A singular point of view,
And there is a flip side to everything
But to me, it's all the same,
The experience is the reward
It's a unique kind of game.

Fibril_late; 5/1/08