Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Mandatory Overtime


Newspaper articles and uproar in the media regarding the "worldwide" Nursing shortage are part of the news cycle. Some hospitals in the US are even threatening Mandatory Overtime for their remaining staff, while management scrambles and gambles for some warm bodies to take up much needed positions. 

I worked plenty of overtime and some of it was "Mandatory". Here is my message for the Hour-Brokers. 

Mr. Management: Do take note you better promise big bonus pay for that extra time you tack on at the end of any Nurse Shift. One winter, where our max-capacity hospital was always full, Managers promised a $100 bonus for each extra shift (or overtime). That only lasted for two weeks, when we busy beavers noted (angrily) that we did not get $100, but rather, about $53 because taxes had been removed. Suddenly, no one wanted to work extra!

Mandatory Overtime
Sure, it happened to me,
We had Out-Patients
Not ready to leave, you see,
And even though my 12-hours
Was all said and done,
There were no replacements
To join in the fun.

Technically our shift ended
At eleven pm,
But Betty Joe Bolotnick
Hocked up bloody phlegm,
Near the end of her recovery
After an infusion of Reopro,
Damn, that stuff can make you bleed
Don't you know?

Instead, she needed to be admitted
But there were no beds,
We called Tom, Dick and Harry
And even some Fred's,
They had no answer
Other than, just wait and see,
Two more hours rolled past
And finally a bed was free. 

Working the Recovery shift from
10:30 am, to eleven P,
That was perfectly
All right with me,
But we were supposed to close
The unit and tuck it in,
For the five in the morning crew
Neat as a pin.

Mandatory Overtime 
Is okay if you know,
When they told you about it yesterday
You would be ready to go,
Just a while longer
At the end of your day,
But: They better pay you DOUBLE!
Otherwise; NO WAY!

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Sushi and Cod

If you're a Nurse, you know that patient's and their family do lie to you. Most usually about their extracurricular activities. Frankly, I don't care if they are running an illegal confederation; what I care about is their drug, nicotine and alcohol habits. Some people will develop withdrawal symptoms within 6 hours of not using.

To any colleagues I may have had
Over the years,
I wrote most of it on paper
There's laughter and tears,
From sputum to lymph
The blood and all that crap,
I wrote about all of it
Because it landed on my lap.

Television Nurses
Are rarely depicted,
Covered head to toe
With crap unpredicted,
Or ascites fluid spraying
All over their back,
A lake of it accumulating
All the way out of the shack.

I always shielded names
No one ever could know,
About Billy Bob Borko
And his psychedelic show,
When he consumed mushrooms
Heroin and meth,
Not to mention the alcohol
Saturating his breath.

His family told me
He would never do drugs,
They did not believe the tox-screen
Praise Jesus and all the hugs,
But we knew better
It was all one grand facade,
Like a public display
Of Sushi and Cod.

Nurses Retired


I've kept up with a few of my retired friend Nurses over the years. We know that we were control freaks (I'm talking about ICU Nurses); it was our duty and job to be that way. If you the patient weren't behaving, you earned some drugs to relax you. If family was too irritating, there were channels to go through to stop that crap. But what about when we retire?

I’m just a simple control-freak
That’s what Nurses become,
We like to control situations
The to and the from,
During that 12-hour period
While you were in my care,
It was my duty to protect you
From the door to the bed to the chair.

I’m just a simple control-freak
I expect your best behavior,
You need to understand
That I am your savior,
When I’m in the room
Please do what I ask,
Best result, best outcome
If I can complete my task

I’m an elderly control freak
And I have no control,
Life is so simple
And that is my goal,
But those jerks on the freeway
With their bad driving behavior?
Make trouble for me
You’re going to need a savior.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Going Home


How the majority of Nurses feel when it's time to go home from work.

I have to go home
When I'm tired of the bull,
All the idiotic innuendo
I eventually get full,
All the Care-plan duplications
And the relentless charting,
I have to go home now
Goodbye, I'm departing.

I have to go home
When my inertia is lost,
It was stolen by someone
Or maybe it was tossed,
Into the trash by mistake
By the legally blind,
I have to go home now
I hope you don't mind.

I can't stay any longer
Unless you're willing to pay,
Double-time for my troubles
There's just no other way,
That I can put up with this garbage
That I shoveled all night,
Don't threaten to keep me
I'll put up a fight.

I'm home now and happy
Just typing this note,
A glass of wine in my hand
While my thoughts drift and float,
On the stream of contentment
Amidst bubbles and foam,
I'm so glad I left work
Because now I am home.

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Shot of Ice


I did write this back in 2016 and if you have done a look-back you would have found it. Recently a close family member had surgery that resulted in prolonged NPO status (I mean 3 months long). This poem came to mind and now seems even more appropriate. The premise of the poem is another one of my insane inventions.

For the patient who is requesting every 5-10 minutes some ice to satisfy their water cravings. (typically when they are NPO or fluid restricted).
The device could be set for time intervals or number of allotments.

Automatic spoonful of ice - injector. Hangs from ceiling or a shelf unit. It might look like a movie projector. Pull the trigger and it drops ice into patient’s mouth. Alternate delivery where a targeting laser finds the patient's mouth and the device shoots an aliquot of ice directly into the orifice. 

Secondary benefit: Range-of-motion exercise for patient's head and neck. 

Best benefit: Nurse doesn't have to go in room every 10 minutes to deal with whiny patient.

There's a brand new gadget
A medical device, 
It will solve a problem
At a reasonable price,
A germ of an idea
That sprouted and grew,
After consulting
With thousands of you.

In the hospital setting
There are certain reasons,
We withhold fluids
Even in the rainy season,
Except for meds,
Makes patients crazy
Jacked up in their beds.

A genius idea
Came to me,
After 30 years
Of singing la-dee-dee,
As patients whined
And threatened with violence,
Why even an ice-chip
Would provide us with silence.

After mulling ideas
And asking advice,
I have finally released
The "Shot of Ice",
A revolutionary tool
With multiple uses,
No need to fall back
On ridiculous excuses.

Set-up is simple
Quick and easy,
It has a high-tech look
Nothing cheesy,
Plug it in, turn it on
Just follow directions,
One minute or less
It's ready for ejections.

Have the patient hold still
To adjust aim and distance,
Or set it on automatic 
For the path of least resistance,
It can be voice actuated
With timing controls,
Adjust by the teaspoon
Or set it on, "Bowls".

The patient can choose
What they say for the trigger,
Like, "hit me again, baby
But this time, something bigger",
Or maybe a whistle 
A clap or a moan,
For the technocrats
There's an app for the phone. 

"Siri, hit me up
I want to roll the dice,
Shoot me, babe
With some flavored ice!"


Thursday, April 07, 2022

When Colleagues Die

This is an "old" poem from thirty years ago. A highly respected, universally loved physician had a cardiac arrest at a nearby tennis court. Paramedics brought him to the hospital for direct delivery to the Cardiac Cath lab and then he was rushed to our Coronary Care ICU. I volunteered to be the receiving nurse. Our new patient was completely unstable, in cardiogenic shock and as soon as he was brought to the room his cardiac rhythm was V.Fib. The code-blue was run for about thirty minutes without success and his loss was a devastating blow to everyone who knew and worked with him.

A couple weeks later, I wrote the following poem.

Our Colleague, Our Friend

The sadness comes and goes
But never really leaves,
Good friends die on our doorstep
And everybody grieves,
Most of us struggle home
Drained to the core of our being,
I was there at his side
And now I am fleeing,
Running and hiding
With a feeling I can't shake,
I want to retire
Because there's too much at stake.

A glass of wine helps
I can rhyme with real meaning,
The feelings tumble out
Without desensitized screening,
I can talk the emotion
Though I don’t know the price,
Will it ever be resolved?
When my soul feels like ice.

There’s so much at stake
But I keep going back,
There are people to care for
And we have the knack,
To reach into their lives
And find a place where we fit,
Everybody’s different
It just takes a little bit,
Of thoughtfulness and attention
To inspire some hope,
But for us, the noble caregivers
How do we cope?

This was the end of the road
The last of all dances,
Where everyone in the room 
Ran out of chances,
And I walked away
Feeling empty and sad,
This unfortunate fellow
A husband and Dad,
And I silently prayed
Until the very end,
Lord, comfort this soul
Of our colleague and friend.


I still feel the emotion + sadness to this day, every time I read this poem

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Back Then


Something in the news about the renaming of a planetary observation platform (telescope) caused me to think about the advances in the science of human medicine. I have worked in healthcare more than forty years and have witnessed all kinds of great ideas, advancements, groundbreaking therapies, medications that came and left due to dangerous side effects and so on. Some inventions were worth keeping and some were cast aside.

Persons of all disciplines must be careful how they view past history and try not to bash it too much. After all, your own history might become controversial later on too. 

We did a lot of things back then
That we don’t do now,
Heck, we didn’t even have the science
To clone a cow.

So don’t take it upon yourself
To destroy our reputations,
We saved thousands of lives
And deserve salutations.

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Food Poisoning

I suspect everyone has had a bout of food poisoning. In 2008 at the hospital there was an annual event breakfast, where the Physicians cooked and served other staff members. I opted for the pancakes and potatoes and about an hour after arriving at home, my GI tract rejected the recent input. 

This current poem describes a different incident and it was only 4 days ago. Packaged salsa from the new neighborhood grocery store. However, the disturbing GI development occurred soon after arriving at the ACLS renewal the next morning; that was unexpected!

I think I got food poisoning
From yesterday’s Salsa,
The substance coming out of me
Looked like finely ground balsa,
I can not think of any
Other probable cause,
It was an unwelcome incident
Giving a momentary pause.

Now it’s three hours later
And I wonder what will happen,
When I return home
Will there be more bouts of crappen?
Well one thing for certain
I won’t buy that stuff again,
Unless I need to prep for a colonoscopy
That’s the only time when.