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Monthly Archives: May 2012
My mother believed in food. It was her remedy for everything that bothered us. If I was constipated, she’d say, “Stop complaining and eat prunes. I don’t care what color they coat your tongue, they clean you out.” If I had a fever, she never called the doctor. She fed me an apple and told me to watch my sister while she went to the movies. She said she had to get away from all my complaining, but I think she needed a cheap babysitter.
If I was listless, she’d cook up a batch of spinach, sprinkled it with lemon juice and said, “There. That’ll put hair on your chest.” What she meant was, it would make me strong. But I had no ambition to lift weights. Bulging biceps can spoil the effect of a strapless dress. The cleavage is all wrong. My mother thought spinach was the answer to anything fruit didn’t cure. If I gained weight, she’d boil another batch of spinach with even more lemon juice and say, “Eat that and you’ll get thin.” Actually, that worked really well, because I hate spinach. When she put it on my plate, the smell made me so ill, I couldn’t eat anything. It certainly made me thin. I got so skinny that you couldn’t see me when I stood sideways and that’s why I don’t have to wear a bra. Read more…
Coming up on the show: A salute to teachers, great advice for parents of babies, defining lollygag and other popular sayings plus Donna Smith and Marsha Podd.
Donna Smith, our National Nurses United D.C. correspondent brings us up to speed on all things Washington. Donna also shares a bit of personal news about her own health. Donna Smith is best known as one of the documentary subjects of Michael Moore’s 2007 movie, “SiCKO.” Donna now works as a national single-payer healthcare advocate and community organizer for National Nurses United. Read more about Donna.
And, it’s always a treat to have our friend RN Marsha Podd with us in the studio. A.K.A. the “Baby Whisperer.” When Marsha comes to the studio we all go to sleep. We mean that in a good way, as Marsha has one of the most soothing voices you’ll ever hear. Marsha, is the author of Secrets of a Baby Nurse. The book is getting rave reviews and if you know of anyone that is expecting a child, has babies or toddlers already, has looked at a child or even thought of a child–you need this book!
Being a nurse is hard work! There are the perennial issues of not enough…staffing, time, appreciation. But on the blog this week, Love Your Nursing Life RN author Bobbi McCarthy writes about one of the ways nursing renews the spirit in The Gift in Room 3.
Win FREE TICKETS to RN Alison Whitaker’s play “Vital Signs” at the Marsh Theatre in San Francisco June 8 thru July 21. Read more…
Donna Smith on All Things Washington | National Nurses United Sponsored Segment | June 2, 2012 | Show 438
Donna Smith, our National Nurses United D.C. correspondent brings us up to speed on all things Washington. Donna also shares a bit of personal news about her own health. Donna Smith is best known as one of the documentary subjects of Michael Moore’s 2007 movie, “SiCKO.” Her journalism career includes 15 regional awards from the AP Managing Editors. Donna now works as a national single-payer healthcare advocate and community organizer for National Nurses United, and co-chairs the Progressive Democrats of America’s national “Healthcare Not Warfare” campaign. She also blogs at MichaelMoore.com. Read more…
On the show this week: a salute to teachers, great advice for parents of babies, defining lollygag and other popular sayings.
Donna Smith, our National Nurses United D.C. correspondent brings us up to speed on all things Washington. Donna also shares a bit of personal news about her own health. Donna Smith is best known as one of the documentary subjects of Michael Moore’s 2007 movie, “SiCKO.” Her journalism career includes 15 regional awards from the AP Managing Editors. Donna now works as a national single-payer healthcare advocate and community organizer for National Nurses United, and co-chairs the Progressive Democrats of America’s national “Healthcare Not Warfare” campaign. She also blogs at MichaelMoore.com.
And, it’s always a treat to have our friend RN Marsha Podd with us in the studio. A.K.A. the “baby whisperer”. When Marsha comes to the studio we all go to sleep. We mean that in a good way, as Marsha has one of the most soothing voices you’ll ever hear. Marsha, is the author of Secrets of a Baby Nurse. The book is getting rave reviews and if you know of anyone that is expecting a child, has babies or toddlers already, has looked at a child or even thought of a child–you need this book! To read more about Marsha and her advice for babies and parents visit her website at www.gotosleepbaby.com. Read more…
My mother has been writing me little notes, simple little notes, because she can not write very well anymore. She hides them everywhere, hoping I will find them. I think she began doing it, hoping that years from now I will find the notes tucked away in her things and remember her and smile. Today I found a little note written in pencil tucked in the drawer in the bathroom. It said, “Remember when we went to McDonald’s together, I will never forget…”
Another note was in her pocket, I found it when I was getting ready to do the wash, it said, barely legible, “Never forget how much I loved you my sunshine…” I told her tonight I had found them, she giggled and said, “Oh I didn’t hide them very well did I?” She patted my hand and said, “I just never want you to forget me or to be sad, I always want you to look forward to a surprise from me…”I hugged her extra long tonight, I whispered to her, “You are always a surprise mommy, always a wonderful surprise.” Read more…
Standing in the middle of the nurse’s station, I faxed a chart to Spring Harbor for our psych patient in room 11 and I watched the patient in room 3. Her twisted body was lying on the stretcher in a semi-sitting position. She was covered in a blanket and her feet were hanging out, uncovered. I chuckled to myself because that is how I lay as well—I hate my feet covered! She was talking to her husband. He was gently rubbing her crooked hand…they noticed me watching and both smiled at me, so I smiled back.
I finished faxing the chart and then went into room 3. “So how ya doin in here?” I asked her.
“Just fine.” She answered with a smile.
“Can I get you anything, or reposition you?”
“I would like to be turned.”
I grabbed our tech Paula to help me and we gently turned and repositioned her to the left side, propping pillows behind her and under her legs and between her knees. I gave her a back rub, applied some lotion and covered her with a warm blanket. She thanked us and then said “I’m so sorry to make so much work for you girls.”
“Please don’t say that…it is our pleasure to help you.” I answered with a smile, and I meant it.
This woman has MS and it has ravaged her body…she is not old…she fully has her mind and can breathe on her own but she has no use of her body whatsoever! Read more…
The biggest problem I had was with my body not functioning like it used to. I wasn’t walking independently, and sitting on a regular chair was a challenge. But that’s what the wheelchair was for. I didn’t need to walk–yet, and the wheelchair forced me to sit upright, even if the staff had to strap me in. But all systems were “go,” if you got my drift, and that was one less thing to worry about.
It was in the beginning of the fourth week at Rehab X that I had a problem that I couldn’t surmount. It involved a CNA (no surprise there) and getting up in the middle of the night. Your first question would probably be, “What was I doing up in the middle of the night?”
But if you really thought about it for a nanosecond, you will probably come with the answer: I had to go to the bathroom, and that was because I kept hydrated all day, so afraid my “peeing” would stop working again. That was MY idea, but the doctor assured me that wasn’t the case. I didn’t wholeheartedly believe him and I was incurring another problem: skepticism.
I awakened at 3am, even with my headset, to the sound of snoring. At first, I couldn’t decide if the snoring bothered me more than getting up when all I wanted to do was sleep. But after one minute, I had no choice. I pushed the call button. A CNA arrived after about ten minutes. Read more…
“Going to bed now, it has been a good day..today Missy and I talked and talked all day, we said things that I want to tell her, I am so afraid that one day I will go to sleep and wake up and have Alzheimer’s and never come back…sometimes the words that I want to say will not come out. I have to work fast, I don’t know how much longer I have as the real me…” –Barbara Taylor Vaughan
Somebody asked me this week how my mom was…I don’t know how to answer that. She has good days and bad…that’s all I can think to say. Today was a good day, she had fun, she talked and talked and talked, she ate fresh fruit salad till I thought she would explode. She asked me if I would tell her I forgave her, and if I would tell her she was a good mommy, she said she needed to hear that one more time. I told her, and I wrote it on a piece of paper.
Later I went in her room and she had folded the paper and pinned it to her shirt, she said she wanted to be able to hold and read it whenever she wants. She remembered how she used to kiss the palm of my hand so I could put it to my face when I was scared, so all day she would kiss the palm of my hand and have me kiss hers. Tonight as I was putting her to bed, she said her prayers, and had both of her hands cupping her face…somebody asked me how mom was this week…how do I answer that? Read more…
First off, I’ve been peeing like a race horse for days. I don’t write this to be crass, but because I learned last night that there’s a reason for the expression related to my treatment. Race horses are often given “lasix” to make them pee, so they will have empty bladders and therefore run faster. My nurse Tony told me this during a discussion over my “hat” and the number of times its been emptied, and the lasix in my drip. More on this later if you are interested. Hospital hats are not for heads
Anyway, like a racehorse I’m out of the gate, going on a stroll around the ward. (In Utah its Waard, not Ward). These strolls are really important, and I’ll need lots of encouragement to take them, pukey or no. I get to get all dressed up with almost nowhere to go. Hey Marlene, check out the legwarmers, they are they height of style with my yellow robe, hazmat mask, and rubber gloves—LDS Hospital winter collection 2008.
I never travel alone. I always have my buddy, the drip, nearby. I’m looking for a good name for it, since no one likes to be called a “drip” even if it is what you do for a living. If you have an idea for a name, post it on the facebook group. If I choose your name, well, I’ll use it. Maybe I’ll have a prize for the winner.
On they way towards the hall where I am developing my silly walk for the Ministry of Silly Walks I stop to enjoy the fresh flowers that arrived today from the mysterious J and J. Read more…
It has been said that Smith created a new form of theater with her last one-woman show called Let Me Down Easy, a play to give voice to questions of life and death, sickness and healthcare.
When granted the prestigious MacArthur Award, her work was described as “a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism and intimate reverie.” She has performed in film and TV as well as on stage. She currently plays Gloria Akalitus on Showtime’s hit series Nurse Jackie. She’s probably most recognizable in popular culture as Nancy McNally, national security advisor on NBC’s former hit The West Wing.
Her newest show, Tell Us Where It Hurts, debuted in Chicago at the National Nurses United Staff Nurse Assembly last week to raves.
“Tell Us is one of the most relevant current theatrical pieces and will hopefully be taken on the road across the country…Revealed in the dialog of the show is the courage of nurses in face of a system which places barriers on their ability to heal.”
Member of the American Theater Critics Association; New York Times Company Foundation-sponsored critic fellow
Smith listened and tells your stories nurses. Keep your eye out for this one in a theatre near you. Read more…