Sunday, May 09, 2021

Agents of Chaos


This is an epic poem regarding the chaos of confusion that sometimes overwhelms patient's in the hospital in the midst of their illness. Nurses are the safety net and in the midst of providing that critical protection, they often brainstorm with their companions to come up with a safe solution, that will hopefully defuse the moment of delirium. 

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 six with one blow
He fired mortars over 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 the corporate face.

Our careers were on the line
Our licenses in peril,
This whirling dervish
Had us over a barrel,
And collectively we three
Had a hundred years of 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 fairytale town,
While the bystanders cheered
And authorities arrived,
Ms. B, Kate and I
Well, 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 fairytale town.

Friday, April 02, 2021

Over Branded


As I recall, during the 1990's Hospital Corporate management began to take advertising campaign's seriously and learned about branding and image from the traditional business sector. This was also the period where the idea of guiding the language that employees should use to promote that image, came into play. This practice is known as scripting and for the next twenty years, Nursing had this junk thrown at them on a regular basis.

And then came the over-the-top branding.

At Hospital X
Almost everything is branded,
This overt attempt at public awareness
Is decidedly overhanded,
Pencils, pens and notepads
Facial tissue, hats and flags,
Everything shows the logo
Except the vomit bags.

Sanitizer for your hands
A sweatshirt and a baseball cap,
If you're heading out to the stadium
A logo blanket on your lap,
The mascot for the team
Is an orange Humpback Whale,
Yes, everything is branded
Except the potty pail.

Advertising contracts
Consume a lot of money,
Do they guarantee the best of care?
It's hard to prove that, Sonny,
It's all about the image
And how that makes you feel,,
Yes, everything is branded
But not the Flexiseal.

Blow your nose with our namesake napkin
Dry your eyes with our branded tissue,
If you need some kind of assistance
Code-Orange can solve your issue,
Imagine ducks and deer lost on the road
Puppies in wheelchairs and saving whales,
It looks we're running an animal hospital
Yes, our branding campaign has gone off the rails.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Attack of the Variants


Coronavirus; it's been a long tough 15 months. I believe this bugger will stick around like Influenza, and we'll be prompted to do booster shots every year, just like the Flu shot. That's okay with me; I've had plenty of other vaccinations and appreciate the work done and the protection they have offered me. 

The variants are attacking
That's what the experts say,
I guess old coronavirus
Isn't gone yet today,
And I'm telling you I'm thrilled
That I've been vaccinated,
My odds are lesser now
That I'll be deactivated.

We should have kept the memory
Of the 1918 flu,
But I wasn't born yet
And probably not you,
Plus, I didn't like history class
During my high school years,
The teacher was a tough nut
Willing to suffer students to tears.

I must have heard about that flu
I have read a gazillion books,
Avoiding history of course
I cater to the fictional cooks,
Writing delicious make-believe stories
About plagues and biologic disasters,
What we need are some folks
Who are prognostic forecasters.

Every week I hear about
Another variant piece of virus,
Maybe it's time to review
The Osiris Papyrus. 

Saturday, January 09, 2021

Changes of Absence

Retirement brought some changes that I enjoy:

Now two years from leaving the workplace my hands have healed. All those alcohols, sanitizers and skin strippers kept my finger tips in a perpetual state of cracking and shedding. No longer am I exposed on a daily basis with all the toxic cleaning products found in hospitals. The worse stuff was the product used to strip the floors and carpets; it made me nauseated and caused my eyes to burn. On a similar topic, no longer am I continuously assaulted by the detergent perfumes off-gassing from my fellow workers clothing.

What I miss are all my work pals especially because the pandemic has truly separated us; I can't make an occasional visit to them. That's a bummer. Secondly, without working in the joint I have lost contact with all of the daily irritants that influenced my years of writing. 

Anyway, here is a silly attempt at humor:

ABS versus IBS
If you study this
Don't make a mess,
One slows the car
In a uniform way,
Whereas IBS
Can ruin your day.

Automatic Braking System (ABS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome  (IBS)

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Ten to One Ratio


November 12, 2020.
There is a newspaper story sourced to an Italian hospital, where a patient suspected of suffering from Coronavirus, died prior to being admitted to a hospital room. In fact, the story refers to the incident where the man died while using the restroom, presumably in the Emergency Department.

In the course of my career as a Nurse, death did occur several times in bathrooms. It is not advised, because usually the room is small, and should you be discovered unconscious on the floor, about 25 people respond to your Code Blue, and we can't fit in the room. Of the hundreds of Code Blue situations I attended, family was present at maybe 20% of those events. It is always hard for loved ones to grasp what is truly going on. 


A dead man was spotted
In a hospital restroom.
As a Nurse I can tell you
That's not the  best room,
To discover a death
The recently deceased,
Both administrators and family
Are most certainly not pleased.

Where were the attendants?
The authorities will ask,
The family will shriek
And take us to task,
Blaming doctors and nurses
For ignoring Uncle Jerry,
Hell, he was gasping for breath
Didn't you notice?; It was scary!

Normally ICU patients
Are but two for any Nurse,
In these COVID days
Take ten patients and curse,
And if you work in North Dakota now
It's okay if you're infected,
Just don't expect bonus pay
You're disposable and not protected. 

I retired two years ago
In just the nick of time,
I feel bad for my brethren
And that's why I still rhyme,
Expressing frustration
Regarding this dire situation,
We are all in this together
But that's no consolation.

Friday, November 06, 2020

Invested in Sickness

Sooner or later every nurse will enounter a patient who loves to talk about their health issues. A month by year dissertation of procedures, surgeries, inflammations, trauma and so on. It is nearly impossible to turn off this faucet of misery. It is an attention seeking behavior and usually a huge waste of your precious time. After all, it's probably in the EMR by now. Alternately, they may actually have Munchausen Syndrome which is indeed a mental illness. 

Invested in Sickness

Agnes says she has HOCUM
Bobby declares he has POTS,
Juniper states she has COPD
And brags about Prednisone shots.

I nod my head and move on
To a question that demands a clear answer,
Sir or Madam please tell me right now
Were you ever an exotic dancer?
Because the woman who said she had HOCUM
I'll pretend that she really said hooker,
Trying to distract the launch of her story;
If she slugs me, I'll call Security to book her.

I met a few folks over the years
Heavily invested in their sickness,
Taking command of a regular conversation
With an extraordinary powerful quickness,
Naming their six favorite doctors
All their surgeries, therapies and more,
The numerous hospitals and procedures
As if they were keeping score.

It is hard to put a stop to this train
'Twould be better to never get on,
Prompt them with yes or no questions
With the demeanor of Genghis Khan.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

A Bloody Requirement

I retired two years ago and still I have the dreams.

Flashbacks of bleeding

No, never my own,

Billy Bob and Esther

Patient's I have known,

Was it ever my fault?

Yes, a couple of times,

Caught my foot on an Art-line

Was one of the crimes.

ICU is a tangled place of

Wires, tubings and clutter,

Careful maneuvering advised

But what if your patient is a nutter?

Delirium in progress

Thrashing and flailing,

I was kicked in the head once

And I went sailing.

Nightmares of bleeding

Have followed me into retirement,

This burden in my dreams

Must be some kind of requirement.