Monday, December 26, 2022



Unaverge: What does that mean? 

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, it allows for "uncommon, unusual and not ordinary". I like to think that it is a good description of my own self. After all, I certainly know I am not a great writer, but not so many "writer-poets" diligently pursue rhyming as their chosen medium. Therefore, I'll settle for "unaverage".

Was I the best ICU Nurse to walk the hallways of  Tinseltown? Assuredly not, but I did attempt to be one of the best, wheresoever I worked. So again, I like the identification of "Unaverage". And now that I ponder that, I believe it is a reasonable description of the multitudes of Doctors and Nurses (and others) I worked with, who made a point of staying current in skills and knowledge in their field of expertise.

I dedicate this to those of you who might identify as Unaverage:

I'm just an Unaverage MD
Don't tell anyone
I got through Med-school for free,
While attending an Ivy League Residency
I found myself in play for the Presidency,
I had to turn it down, of course,
Because I might have suffered Med School remorse.

I'm just an Unaverage RN;
If they knew my history
I might be locked in the pen,
But I learned early 
To keep a low profile,
Plus, have all the answers 
On speed-dial.

Yes, the two of us together
Would have been a heck of a team,
Our ingenuity and brilliance
Could capture a dream.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Golden Retriever, RN

 I retired from the hospital almost four years ago, but I keep in contact with my old crew via an occasional visit to their battlefield. 

The latest news included a couple recent retirements, an EP doctor departed without a replacement, the work flow has not changed at all (still supremely understaffed at times) and the arrival of two new staff members with purported ICU experience. Oh ya, one of them came from an ICU but did not complete the three months in training (never had gone solo). The other hiree came from an outpatient surgery setting, where the day ends at 5:30pm. Now, being assigned to a shift that is 11a-11p, this person wants to leave early every day. What the fooey??

Here is my solution:

Last year, the hospital advertised
“Hiring experienced nurses”,
This year they hired the uneducated
Because they tightened the purses,
How is it working out?
Not too well, it was a lousy solution,
I think a Golden Retriever
Would be a better substitution.

And energetic, 
That is not cosmetic,
Never tiring
Until they are told to rest,
About any test.

Not prone to fail
With standard training,
With no complaining, 
They won’t pretend
To do things well,
Hire a Golden Retriever?
What the Hell!

Everyone knows
I’m no fan of the canine,
But where I work
I think they’ll be just fine.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

New Hospital Equipment

In 2010 at our Level I trauma center there was a new wing of the hospital and the opening of a 20-bed ICU for Neuro, Cardiac, Thoracic and Medical acute care. What a combo! There were four large rooms designed to accommodate Bariatric patients and in general, people weighing 400 pounds and more. Lift tools and devices hanging from the ceiling on movable tracks were part of the standard room setup. Plus, there were new air beds designed for really big clients. The Administration had their fill of hype on all of this stuff, but we nurse discovered things were not so rosy when working with the equipment.

These hot new Bariatric beds
Are super mondo slalom sleds,
We position patients every hour
They slide right down under gravity power.

The bed hydraulics are definitely weak
I'll explain it now, just let me speak,
When we lower the head below the feet
It’s easy to move the patient, slick and neat,
But to bring the head up beyond a 30 degree angle
The hydraulics are too feeble, oh what a fandangle!
The nurse at the bedside must help raise the head 
Another “safety” device, liable to make me dead.

These new tech beds are for the super-heavies
Supposedly stronger than Sacramento levies,
Holding back the 100 year flood
But I'm not too sure about this BillyBob stud,
He weighed in at two hundred and twenty kilo's
And we weren't even weighing the pillows,
On beds that are rated to 500 pounds
We're approaching that number in leaps and bounds.
Beds with all the bells and whistles
Not suitable for an ICBM missile.

The beds can rotate side to side
It's really quite a pleasant ride,
But here again this weight thing irks
If you're really heavy it barely jerks,
There's a tendency for big boy Jimmy
To get stuck on one side while the bed just shimmies,
It wiggles and strains to pump air through the bellows
I wonder, “Where is the lift team, I really need those fellows?”

There are lifts on the ceiling with slings down below
When Jimmy's feeling better we can swing him real slow,
Into the chair by the window to improve his outlook on life
Then the bed will be vacant for his long suffering wife,
Her kilo's are many, her cankles are like stumps
I'm praying to Euphemia, “Dear Sister, bless these chumps”
Don't let either of them have a cardiac arrest
Our defibrillators aren't prepared for that test.

We have negative airflow isolation rooms
With lifts on the ceiling on super-strong booms,
But honestly, I'm wary about the safety of it all
Bad things happen when big people fall,
Caregivers damaged, lawsuits are brewing
When the dust has all settled, corporate will be screwing,
Around with the numbers, statistics and more
The science of big is a titanic chore.

Please, don't misinterpret my harangue on what's big
It's really an expose on the bureaucratic jig,
Million-dollar decisions from dubious advice
High cost vendor contracts at an unbelievable price,
End-users suffer at the whim of corporate decisions
Are Workers Comp injuries in the provision?

This light-hearted muse ended somber and dark
But the business of healthcare is no walk in the park.


Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Getting Promoted


In my Nursing career I never did aspire for multiple degrees, all kinds of abbreviations after my name or stuff like that. My plan was to be the best ICU nurse in my realm and I studied accordingly. Yes, I attained the CCRN certification and kept it renewed for about 18 years until I was sidelined by an injury and I had to leave bedside care. Would you believe that when I was sidelined I applied (and interviewed) for 32 different positions in that organization and was not selected? It was very clear to me the facility was worried that I would get injured again. It's time on disability counted for employment service and I retired when I achieved year 20. 

Then, I went back to work at another hospital agency in town (for 11 years). While I was there, I did apply for a Clinical Coordinator position in the Neuro ICU. Now I'm glad I was not chosen because I never did like Neuro care.

Off The Bus

We interviewed

The four of us,

And then they left us

Off the bus;

It wasn't moving

But it was gentle,

But I guess too much talent

Can be detrimental.

I interviewed

'Twas a lengthy affair,

Two separate times

In the victims chair,

The jury's decision

Was just executed,

And like a computer

I've been rebooted.

My grandiose dreams

Of wealth and power,

Lasted for only

About one hour,

Now I must return

As the horse with no fable,

Just chewing my oats

In the nursing stable.


Friday, September 02, 2022

Went Viral @ Daycare

Millions of parents send their children to childcare / daycare during the hours the parents work. It never happened to me as a child and likewise, my kids never had to endure it either. Nonetheless, I understand the commonality of it. One of the chief risks to the kids and their own family revolves around the likelihood of community spread of common illnesses. I am betting that the same healthcare workers who came to work sick are the ones sending their kids to daycare, when their children are sick too.

Going Viral @ Daycare

2-year-old Bobby went viral
After he chewed on the rubber ducky,
Now 45 toddlers have herpes
This kid is more dangerous than Chucky.
Lulu is coughing and won't cover her mouth
Her parents don't believe in vaccines,
Another kid has just gone viral
And Pertussis is now on your jeans.

Your nine-month old baby is ready
To be dropped off while mom and dad work,
You'll pick up the kid on the drive back home
From an overpaid babysitting clerk,
Are you concerned at all about cleanliness?
Do you admit to a number of maybes?
Are there cats or dogs at the facility?
Then keep your eyes open for tapeworms and rabies.

Airborne and contact precautions
Are not practiced at your average play-care,
Children are carriers of community illness
Are you willing to send yours to daycare?

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.