Thursday, May 30, 2013

Truer Words...

Spent more time than usual perusing facebook and instagram and found a few gems too good not to share.  Including this

And this:

But the pinnacle was the following article I found on facebook. I guess technically it was from tumblr written by the husband of a nurse (you can find the original link here), but either way, truer words have never been spoken.

The Reality About Nurses
Written by a husband of a nurse...

Ah, such mysterious wondrous creatures are nurses. What treasures lurk beneath those crisp, white uniforms... What young man doesn't have fantasies of discovering those secrets for himself?

SCREEEEEECH!!!!!!!!!!! Reality check!  I've been married to a nurse for a quarter of a century, and let me tell you, nurses are not what you expect (and I don't even care what you expect, because you are wrong!).  Let's begin by tearing down some of the more famous assumptions about nurses right off the top:

The Nurse as Sex Kitten: Any man who lived through the early seventies or has made it a point to rent such famous videos as "Night Duty Nurses" or "Student Nurses" or "Night Duty Student Nurses" or any one of several dozen nurse-centric skin flicks will immediately believe that all nurses have heaving bosoms, just millimeters away from popping out of skin tight white uniforms. you will also believe that nurses always wear garters, fish-net hose, and stilettos. This, of course, is a handy dress code because movie nurses spend *a lot* of time hopping in and out of patient's beds.

The reality is that most nurses wear scrubs --shapeless, draping hunks of cotton that could cause you to breeze past Pamela Anderson without a second look. Shoes are white and chunky with blobs of things on them better left unexplored. Socks replace white hose and garters, and when is the last time anyone saw a nursing cap? Graduation, perhaps?

The Nurse as an Angel:  If you want to hear the latest gross jokes, just find a nurse. Some uninformed males seem to think of nurses as angelic creatures: demure and loving, a cross between a nun and their mom. Well, hate to bust your bubble guy, but as a group, nurses are some of the rawest folks you'll ever run into. I don't care how sweet and demure they may look on the outside, inside is someone who has seen things that would gag a maggot, break your heart, and drive a normal person nuts. So most nurses develop a very wicked sense of humour squarely lodged in the black-to-sick side of the scale.

Also, in case you are looking for angelic sympathy for the little boo-boo you had in the shop, forget it!! Let's say as a typical male klutz, you manage to saw your finger off. You go running to your nurse wife who is on the phone with a nurse friend of hers. As she continues to talk to her friend, she gives the stub a good eyeballing, slaps a towel on it, takes out a baggie to put the severed digit in, and tells you to get some ice while she is explaining to her friend that her dummy husband just sawed his finger off. As you stand there bleeding profusely for 15 minutes she calmly finished her conversation as though nothing is going on until finally she says, "Well, I guess I better get him to the hospital." She hangs up the phone, looks at you, sighs, and calmly says, "Let's go."  You have just learned an important lesson. On the nurse scale of emergencies, yours is about a minus nine! As my wife has told me, "When you are on a ventilator with six drips running, your head down and your feet up, then you're sick. Anything less than that isn't worth getting excited over."

The Nurses Mutual Benefit Network:  As a male either dating or married to a nurse, you should realize one important thing. There are nurses everywhere.  That, in itself, is no big deal. The fact is, every nurse knows other nurses who know more nurses, so that by the time you are finished, a nurse of the Island Nation of Chuuk who observes you doing something you shouldn't has the immediate capability of getting word to your wife. This system is way more reliable and efficient than the internet and has existed for a much longer time. Take it for granted that your nurse wife will know anything you have done, good or bad, before you get home!

Your Social Life With Nurses:  Nurses hang out with other nurses and soon you may find that all your friends are married to nurses. The reason this happens is because in situations where nurses mingle with non-medical folks things can get ugly. For example, you are out to dinner with your nurse wife, another nurse couple, and two civilian couples. The nurses sit and chat, discussing fun things like bleeding bowels, open sores, how much fat was sucked out of some patient, projectile vomiting, traumatic amputations, etc., all over a nice pasta dinner. The nurses carry on talking as the civilian couples turn funny colors, make faces, and suppress their gag reflexes (and this is if the nurses don't have any really gross things to share like the homeless guy with maggots in his bleeding sores!) After several dinners and gathering like this, you will soon find your circle of friends has shrunk significantly.

The key to avoiding this is to do the following:  Never go out in mixed groups with more than one nurse. A lone nurse is ok. The trouble starts when you have more than one, and when that happens, keep the regular folks away. Also, get used to the idea that some friends and neighbors will take advantage of the fact that your wife is a nurse by calling at all hours of the day and night for advice.  This may include male friends "dropping by" to show your sweetie his rash. The best advice I can give is to just deal with it and hope it isn't contagious.

The Health Ramifications of Being With a Nurse:  Most nurses have been described as having the constitution of horses which isn't true, because I've been around horses and they get sick more often.  The reason for this is pretty simple. After about 3-5 years on the job, nurses have been exposed to so many bugs that they either end up dead of full of every antibody known to mankind. (If you want the ultimate booster shot, just get a blood transfusion from a nurse who's worked in a hospital for 20 years!) You don't have all these antibodies though, so when she does come home with mild sniffles, a week later you're flat on your back with the worst case of the flu in your life!! Oh, and if you are the least bit squeamish, don't even think about the bugs she brings home on her clothes. It will mess with your mind as she talks about her resistant TB patient, the patient full of body lice, or the one with poison ivy in his mouth. So don't ask.

Conclusion: Ah such mysterious wondrous creatures are nurses.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


My marathon of exciting events and first world problems is continuing and going quite well. Presently a dear friend is in town from Asheville, North Carolina. We met when we were both travel nurses here in Seattle five long years ago. We worked together for the summer, each went our separate ways and then both ended up back at the same hospital near the start of the next year -where we both stayed for a year. She has since moved home to NC, traded the ER for case management, and had a baby who is now three. I went out to visit her there three years ago when Kannon was three months old. We also met up in New Orleans for Mardi Gras two years ago. I've really been looking forward to her coming back to Seattle, and I've thoroughly enjoyed having her here.

It is odd though how different we are. Today as we were getting ready to go to Alki and do some sightseeing as tourists in the place where we both live(d) I was lounging on my couch in khakis and a peasant blouse waiting for her to finish getting ready for the day. She said to me, "I'm just not used to this Toni that doesn't have to get all glossed up before we go out!"  I was a bit taken aback at first. I mean, my hair was done, my makeup was done, I was wearing cute but casual clothes --what was she talking about? And then I realized, yeah, this is not the way it would have rolled five years ago. I shrugged it off, smiled, and continued flipping through stuff on my iPad. I related the happening to a coworker tonight who was around back in the day when Serena and I first came to Seattle. Before I could even finish the story, she said, "Oh my gosh, you're a completely different person!" And that was the nail on the head. I really am! I was 25 when we used to go out all the time. I'm a very different person now than I was when I was 25. Wow. The things I've gone through, lived through, seen, on and on!  It was really remarkable to think back at how starkly different the person that she was used to and expecting was. And that's what true friendships are about. We haven't seen each other for over two years, and each of our lives and selves are vastly different than when we lived so close, but despite the changes the friendship remains. And that is a beautiful thing.






Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Little Reminder

When your life is giving you an ulcer, just remember what you learned in your "working full time plus going to nursing school full time" days. Take a deep breath and don't look beyond what you have to do today. Right now. One day at a time. You can do this!  Deep breath, put the good tunes on in the background, and tackle one task at a time....

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Working Playlist Update

I got home from New Orleans yesterday. Note to self, in the future avoid scheduling layovers in the Midwest during tornado season. Amazing trip filled with amazing experiences. And I should be telling you all about it. But this is my one day to myself before my friend Serena gets into town for the weekend. And while on the one hand, I should get the purging of one amazing weekend's worth of experiences out of the way before another begins, I just want to recoop.  Read: Lay on my couch enjoying a moment of solitude --while doing laundry, dishes, and unpacking --things that CAN'T be put off.  What I did do today though was send my sister a copy of a playlist that I posted about earlier. It's kind of a working playlist and I thought I'd update those of you keeping track.  Here's the latest additions:

It is truly amazing to me the way music speaks to the soul. Amazing songs --all of them. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Take Me Away

Today I opened a bottle, lotioned my arms and found myself standing on a warm tile floor in a room with white-washed plaster walls. White canvas canopies hung from the ceiling over plush white bedding. The mahogany armoire standing majestic in the corner. The windows open, the white curtains blowing with the ocean breeze, the sound of waves crashing from not-so-far away. The Mediterranean sun glistened off the cerulean water and in the doors of our private balcony and I was in heaven. And then I shed a tear, because I had to leave this paradise and go to work. But I was there. Only for a moment, but it was so visceral a moment. Real. I miss you Mykonos. Do you miss me?

Friday, May 10, 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes

Yesterday on my walk the first thing I saw was a crow picking up a rigor-mortised mouse and flying off with it. Not normal. And then I went to work and within the first hour of my shift one of my patients unexpectedly died. He was 93 and a DNR, but I had left his room from having a full conversation and checking his vitals five minutes before, and when I ran back to check the alarms he was dead. Weird.

Today on my walk I saw baby geese and toddler geese and a mommy daddy and baby turtle, and even a blue jay! Much more normal stuff. Here's to a less-strange night at work!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Sigh. Sometimes it feels as if the universe is trying to tell you something. Over and over and over. Or maybe you should just stop following beautiful men you don't know on instagram... None the less, as I was getting ready for bed I came across this quote on Ian Somerhalder's instagram account. Hello, my existential crisis!!! (see last post)

"Something changes the moment you decide
you've found a person you are ready to reveal parts of your soul to.
Something stands out and makes the moment unique.
A profound multidimensional clarity resembling
a piece of carefully gathered stardust; 
As if you are whispering "finally" and
your eyes fill with light and spontaneity.
As if you do not care whether your heart will
melt or crumble in the process 
because your brief courage
undoes your tremendous fear of disbelief.
You live for these moments;
For you are, maybe for one second or more, 
sweetly forced to surrender yourself to unconditional intimacy.
A moment of psychological reward smashing
all self-imposed disciplines founded on terror.
This is all you need."

-Anais Nin