Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In a previous post (Nov 1), I wrote about symptoms of all kinds........and I'm revisiting the theme conceptualized by the flier for our Vascular Department.

This time, I'm "inspired" by that particular patient, that we see, who ignores even the most obvious and blatant signs of their serious disease: for example, a black toe falling off, before they seek medical treatment. Frickin' crazy!

Just A Symptom: Revisited

Is your leg pain just a symptom
Of some serious disease?
Do your toes seem loose and wobbly
Every time you sneeze?
Do your black and shiny feet
Give you cause to worry?
If you're just a couch potato
What's the rush, no need to hurry.

If your foot pain feels a little
Like an atom bomb exploding,
If your toes smell kind of bad
And it seems like they're eroding,
Do you leave a crusty trail
As you limp across the room?
Don't worry, what's the bother
Get the dustpan and the broom.

If you wake up, Sunday morning
And you can't seem to find your toes,
Maybe you remember, that about 2 am
You had that tickle in your nose,
And then it felt like five little rockets
Blasting off, on both of your feet,
Take a look down there, brother
Two black appendages, looking neat.

Yes, that leg pain could be a symptom
A harbinger of bad circulation,
What the heck, go ask a Doctor
Before you suffer abbreviation.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm a veteran of bedside nursing; a survivor of the system, and well on my way towards retirement. Do you think I really want to spend extra hours at work, on a whim? Sure, when I was younger, I wanted to tally as many hours I could, all for the bucks. But no longer; my body needs as much rest as I can acquire...........after all, bedside/gurney nursing is labor intensive.

So why is it, week after week, when we tally in an extra 15 minutes (or whatever is NECESSARY) at the end of a busy shift, the "Uppers", reprimand the "lowers" about the "strain" on the budget. And yet on the other hand, they don't applaud us for going home early (not paid)?

It's no mystery, and I know why.....Corporate/Business mentality is at play here. Ball and chain, whips and sour carrots. It's all in the coaxing, right?

Oh ya, how could I forget about "Nurses' Week and Nurses' Month in May"; I guess this is just the waiting period.


Instead of giving a reprimand,
How about a clapping hand?
I know it's radical, like any diet
But whuda-you say, we bother to try it?

We know that
Unexpected overtime,
Adds to cost
By nickel and dime,
It makes the bosses
Curse and cuss,
And they point fingers
Right at us.

Reprimanded overtime
Late discharge and departing,
'Tis just my patient-centered care
And the necessary charting,
The beds to clean, the charts to strip
The whiteboard, fill the blanks,
And tally up that billing, mate
Still we're scolded, never thanks.

But when we're saving money
By our unpaid, early, off-time,
No thanks are sent our way
And that feels like caustic lime,
I wasn't paid for H-C hours
'Tis my voluntary loss,
Let's prepare a balance sheet, my friend
And present it to the boss.

How much money do we save
Compared to what we lose,
We will only tally our nursing hours
To keep it simple how we choose,
No thoughts about productivity
That's a management realm, my friend,
I don't want a clap or reprimand
Until this tally-month shall end.

Plus or minus, that's so easy
Hours are dollars, and that makes sense,
Don't scold me for my overtime
Unless you can prove I caused expense.

Every nurse has had the experience of encountering an angry, out of control, irate, screaming, cussing, cursing family member, at one time or another. I was lucky this time, it was just a phone conversation, and not a face-to-face confrontation. I can't say that I enjoyed it, though.

Communication Fail

I think I may have flunked
A call-back review,
After a screaming conversation
With a patient's daughter, Betty Lou,
I called her on her cell-phone
What time, to pick up Mother,
She angrily responded
Why, you ugly son-of-a-brother.

Perhaps it was my error
When we had that conversation,
Pick up Momma, at four, today
But that was faulty information,
Learning more, I phoned again
But encountered her cellphone-mail,
Yes be damned I was that moment
'Twas a communication fail.

At four-thirty I answered her call
And she was clearly on attack,
She said a Discharge Nurse had told her
It was time to bring her Momma back,
Saying, “What do you think you're doing
By jacking me around”,
I said, Betty Lou, it's not that way..........
Then she called me a son-of-a-hound

She was screaming, ranting, raving
Yelling and accusing,
I tried calming, caring logic
But that doesn't trump abusing,
From the mouth of an angry daughter
Venting at my expense,
Like a pitbull on a rampage
On the other side of the fence.

We didn't resolve our issues
And I don't care, I'll tell you why,
I'd rather walk on gilded splinters
And mate with a tsetse fly.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Sure, it has been about 3 months since I had to confront excrement drainage, but it's still a fresh topic, although not exactly. I saw a flier in the breakroom, advertising the latest edition of that wonder-tube the Flexiseal, and once again I was inspired.

Happy Camper

Oh, Flexiseal,
It has a kind of
Sex appeal.

Just lubricate
And insert with a finger,
It’s up to you
How long you linger.

Inflate the bulb
With sterile N S,
If you warm it first
You’ll be sure to impress.

For Billy Bob’s bottom
We soothe and pamper,
With the new Flexiseal
He’s a happy camper.

__ __ __ __ __


Oh, Flexiseal,
The thought of it
Just makes me squeal.....
When I see that tube
I get nervous and antsy,
A preemptive trigger
For diarrhea, Nancy.

It just won't stay solid
My excrement,
But if liquid is bad
What about cement?,
Try coaxing that down
My Flexiseal tube,
You'll need WD-40
And Astroglide lube.

A dilemma for sure
My excrement collection,
The stuff is caustic to my skin
And I clearly need protection,
Please hang that bag, over the edge of the bed
I don't want to view that part of me,
Although I own it, I don't need to see it
In this age of transparency.

Oh, Flexiseal,
I'm willing to gamble
And make a deal,
Take away my drainage
And protect my skin,
And I promise to abstain
From original sin.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

I was reading a History & Physical the other day, and the physician was describing the ongoing health problems. Under the topic of "Substance Abuse", he described this as, "None, other than cigarettes and food". I think he nailed it on the head.

Cigarettes and Food

I saw this in a chart today
Health habits; described this way:

“No substance abuse
Except cigarettes and food”,
Clearly bad enough themselves
To allow illness to intrude.

Many sorts of health issues
Go hand in hand, with hand to mouth,
And if good health is towards the north
These bad habits will lead you south.


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Unfortunately, I had to have a root-canal done last week, after the onset of acute tooth pain. I was referred over to an Endodontist here in town, and bam-bam, he fixed it in 40 minutes. His office has one of those X-ray devices, where one can see the image instantly on a viewer.............definitely cool. So here you go, Dr. rock!

Pitfalls of the Canal

Dr. S., over on 12th Street
Excavates a quick canal,
Take a photo, shoot some pain killer
There is nothing sloppy or banal,
Regarding his gun-slinger approach
And an office, skillfully staffed;
For Endodontal pitfalls
Visit a master, of this craft.

Why do I enjoy hospital meetings, seminars and corporate pep rally's so much? Because there is always so much material to satirize.

Case in point:
Yesterday I finally attended the “must-go” Satisfaction class, at blah-blah hospital. For each table of hospital participants, we had one of those whopping big white paper flip charts to write our collective brilliant thoughts upon. I spent the 90 minutes drawing a cute little doodle-vignette, which included the what-where-when-why-how anagram Bear, the aidet-man super hero, and the nursing bundle dropping from the sky, like a giant turd, in the “no pass gas” zone.

I also keyed in on several hot phrases to turn into satirical poems, covering the hot topic of patient satisfaction. Have a look:

Bust or Boon

H-CAHPS, and Avatar scores
They’re shooting for the moon,
Blasting satisfaction surveys
Will it be, a bust or boon?

We’ll smile and wave to our customers
Hold hands and lookem’ in the eye,
Write two things that they want to do
On the white-board, before they die.

And if that ain’t satisfying
Oh surely, yes we’ve made it,
And thanks to all those trainers
Who taught us how to AIDET.

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ _

Peanuts and Candy

Always, usually, sometimes, never
Ambiguous terms, this primate lever,
Satisfaction scores, tell it all, aren’t they dandy?
Like training monkee’s in a cage, with peanuts and candy.

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

Satisfaction School

Sitting at the round table
At Satisfaction school,
Another Management exercise
Just who will they fool?

This time around.........
Same old stuff
Brand new wrapping,
Another AIDET revival
With all of that back-slapping.


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

America the beautiful; where even dogs and cats can have dialysis, race-horses are put away for a busted leg, and humans with severe dementia and a danger to themselves and their caregivers, can have a pacemaker to prolong their lives. I am not suggesting that I am self-appointed judge of ethics and morality, I am just a healthcare journalist and there are real-life stories that need to be reported.

What a Drama

She's confused and bipolar
She's a crazy holy Roller,
They give her Haldol
To make sure she stays happy,
She's a demented old lady
With severe Sinus brady,
And she's calling her doctor
My “chappie”.

Now, Dr. O'Heart
That dude's really smart,
And he knows how to charm
An old dame,
Whereas we minor nurses
Bear the brunt of her curses,
And Dr. “Chappie”
Collects all the fame.

The family finds relief
In the midst of their grief,
After all
They thought Momma was dying,
Now she's back in her room
Her dementia, in full bloom,
They're writing letters
“Thank you Doctor, for trying”.

We do our best to be kind
But family members are blind,
They think that we're
Torturing Momma,
Without restraints and a sitter
Watch out – she's a hitter,
Just maintaining her safety
What a drama!


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

At work, there is a flier on the wall, advertising the expertise of our Vascular Services. The question posed to the public is this: “Could Your Leg Pain Be The Symptom of Some Serious Disease?”

Now I suppose that is a worthy question to propose to society, but I noticed a nice rhythm and meter to that statement. Also, it caused me to ponder the proliferation of medical advertising that we are pummeled with, every day of our lives. I think just about every flippin' magazine, newspaper, website, radio, TV and even the movies with product placement, are carrying advertising to suck us into the idea that we are all sick, and we need a medicine or treatment.

So here's my take on it all:

Just a Symptom

Could your leg pain be a symptom
Of some serious disease,
Do you have Tuberculosis
Because you have a cough and sneeze,
Do you suffer from Meniere's
'Cause you're a dizzy, dipsy dame,
Do you practice hypochondria
Because you're seeking hospital fame?

Oh, first we had the word of mouth
And then the printing press,
The television and radio
And our digital age is a mess,
Of constant advertising
To your weakness and desires,
Drug companies and device makers
They love it, they need buyers.

Did your lifetime worldly savings
Disappear when you got sick,
Did you chase the cures and medicines
Hoping one of them would stick,
Did you follow healthy habits
Over the decades of your life,
Or did you hope for God's deliverance
When the surgeon cut you with a knife.

Could your life just be a symptom
Of a string of lousy choices,
Don't worry, our industry loves you
You are financing our Rolls-Royces.