Fun With Suits! · Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

Snippets, again

@@ Please, do NOT tell me that Bonine is 125 (or 12.5: she was not speaking clearly) milligrams, over the counter. I happen to know that OTC Bonine is Meclizine 25 mg, the same strength anti vertigo medication I prescribe as Antivert, and I know this for reasons. These reasons include (a) I kinda went to school for this stuff, (b) I prescribe Antivert/Meclizine several times a week, (c) TDW and I enjoy taking cruises, and she is somewhat susceptible to seasickness. Therefore, I am familiar with Bonine in it’s seasickness/motion sickness indication. Therefore I purchase it, OTC. Ya know, like last week. (d) When I acquire a medication, I (pay attention now! This one weird trick will help you manage your medicines!) RTFL. (Read The Freaking Label). (e) I have a functioning memory, not blown out by continuous applications of high serum levels of cannabinoids. Therefore I can remember this stuff, along with other stuff I find useful.

Finally, please, Please, PLEASE! Consider the possibility that I, indeed, am trying to both help you, as well as make your life easier.

The above is my internal monologue, which is considerably lengthier than my first pass response, also stifled, of “Hmm. Weird. Ok, then, don’t take it. Good talk. Have a nice day! Buh-bye, now!”

@@ So, TINS, TIWFDASL, as an ED nurse, long ago and far away. It came to pass that my manager invited me to join her in her office, where she told me that several of my colleagues had come to her, concerned with what they esteemed to be my taking overly long to triage patients.

For those in the studio audience who do not know, “triage”, in the ED setting, is the process wherein a nurse interviews the patient to elicit chief complaint (“What motivated you to come to ER tonight?”), history of present illness (“How long have you been ill? What have you done to address it? How did that work for you?”), allergies/medications/history, and vital signs. In the course of that conversation, the goal is to identify unstable folks, and truck them right back to care, and differentiate them from stable folks (like a broken limb with intact downstream circulation), and invite those folks to be patient.

I asked my manager how long I was taking, on average, to triage? This information ought to be readily available from our electronic medical record system.

“I don’t know.” was her reply.

I asked how my triage times compared to the average of my peers.

“I don’t know.”

I asked if the acuity of the patients I triaged was similar, greater, or less than the average of my peers.

“I don’t know.”

I asked if the complexity of the patients I triaged differed in any identifiable way from my peers (think psych requiring lots of redirection).

“I don’t know.”

I contemplated this for a second. “Wouldn’t it be a lot easier for me to improve, if I understood the manner in which I am falling behind my peers? I had thought that one of the advantages of an EMR was the ease with which just this sort of information could be abstracted.”

@@ In my clinic, folks who are currently afflicted with covid, or who fail the screening interview/temperature taking, get seen as “covid + other” patients. They are invited to wait for their turn in their vehicles (or, in nice weather, outside), rather than in our waiting room. Inasmuch as we are a walk in clinic, there are no appointments, and, if you are at the shag end of “The Wave”, well, you face a lengthy wait.

Some of these individuals drive off, thinking (not altogether wrongly) that a lengthy wait=an opportunity to get other stuff done.

The problem with this plan, is that, should a number of the other folks in line ahead of you, either spontaneously cure themselves, or decide, in essence, “F&@k this, I’m not all that sick”, and depart, your turn may arrive earlier than your errands anticipated. So, when the MA calls you on the phone number you provided today at registration, (a) it might be useful if you answered it, as well as (b) if the phone in question was actually in service.

Among the souls who successfully pass these two tests, there are those who respond, when told that their turn was at hand, and we (the MA) had some questions for them preparatory to actually seeing them in the office, “I can be there in 25 minutes!”

Well, that is kind of a fail. The MA will then tell them, “Sorry, we’ll call the next person on the list, who is here now. You will be at the bottom of the list, since leaving the line loses you your place in line.”

Duty · Fun And Games · guns · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

SNIPPETS

So, TINS, TIWFDASL, and one of the registrars walked back, and informed us, “They say that there is a man out there with a gun!”

My response was to ask, “Is there any reason that you are NOT telling the police this, rather than telling me?”

“Oh, should I call the police?”

“Ah-yep! Right freaking now would be very nice!”

@@@

If you have COPD (emphysema), it is likely not so very helpful to smoke marijuana.

@@@

Me: “So, you’re here for your cough. When is your cough worse?”

Them: “When I cough.”

@@@

Please, after I have explained my plan of care for your cough, which is caused by the irritation caused to your throat by the mucus in your throat, mucus originating in your sinuses, Please do not correct me with the observation that “My mucus is in my throat”.

It is very likely that, when I illuminated and inspected your throat, I DID notice, and, indeed, did comment upon, the tsunami of snot therein. Further, it is likely that every child of Ghawd that I have seen today has, also, snot streams running down their posterior pharynx: their throat.

So, when I explained to you that that mucus is irritating to your throat, since your throat is not well designed to tolerate that event, and that irritation manifests as a sore throat, or a tickle and a cough, or both, did you consider the possibility that the mucus originated, oh, gosh, I don’t know, IN YOUR SINUSES, AS I, INDEED, MENTIONED IN MY DETAILED EXPLANATION OF YOUR MALADY AND MY PLAN TO MANAGE SAME?

So, the nasal steroid that I recommended to you, over the counter, will suppress the inflammation (that I mentioned was the root cause of your woe), and thereby suppress the outpouring of snot which is the proximate cause of your cough, and, therefore, end (or really, really suppress) your cough, which was the ostensible purpose of your visit in the first place.

Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

Kitten Tails

So, TINS, TIW, NOT FDASL, at home. As it turns out, I am a cat lover. Indeed, my Darling Daughter has wondered out loud “…Dad? Are we going to have to arrange an intervention?” We had three cats, early in the spring. Then a stray, known around our house as Momma Kitty, decided that our window well would be a nice place to deliver, and nurture, her litter. I learned this as she was in the midst of moving her litter from one window well to another, and appeared to have left one kitten behind.

I came to this realization as I heard plaintive meowing from the window well. I investigated and found one forlorn NOT weaned little kitten, and no mother in evidence. I scooped this furball up, and contacted our vet, he of the “Wrecks” story .

Once Furball had been examined, our vet advised that this kitten, well shy of being weaned, needed to be fostered, and likely our local Humane Society could hook us up.

We contacted them, they accepted the kitten, and promised to let us know once he was weaned and adoptable.

Weeks later, Momma Kitty wandered up on our porch, in company of three other kittens. TDW-Mark II noted that they appeared to hole up beneath our porch, and her observations suggested that they were accessible. She, as well, had observed the kittens eating from the dry food we had been placing for Momma Kitty, suggesting that they were weaned, or nearly so.

After an adventure that I might describe later, TDW-Mark II had retrieved all three kittens, although Momma Kitty escaped our clutches.

We had the kittens vaccinated, and quarantined them for a while, both to he;lp assure that they would not transmit unknown Dread Cat Disease to out three incumbent cats, as well as provide an opportunity to try to socialize them to life as housecats.

As they matured, we arranged for two of them to be neutered, and have their front claws removed. It seems that TDW-Mark II does not like her furniture shredded. Well, to be honest, neither do I.

We brought our two post op cats home, and observed them carefully. A couple of days later, one of the cats appeared to be bleeding. Closer inspection appeared to show that one of her paws had a skin flap, and this appeared to be the source of the sluggish bleeding.

Out came the medic bag, and I attempted to dress and bandage the wound.

It turns out that your average cat is not a fan of the entire wound cleaning/dressing/bandaging thing. Bad News: the entire experience is reminiscent of wrestling with a tiny fur coat full of razor blades. Good News: Olivia The Cat (for it was Olivia who was bleeding post operatively) is a very, very placid cat. Yeah, she let me know that she had hind claws and fangs, but she never once broke my skin. She would occasionally take my hand or fingers in her mouth, teeth resting on me, but hardly any pressure. Her hind feet, claws extended, would contact my other hand, and push me away, but with a gentle pressure, not with a rapid or forceful motion.

With the able assistance of TDW-Mark II, Olivia was dressed and bandaged, and I carried her to our bed, laying on top of the covers, cat cradled beside me, holding the bleeding limb elevated somewhat. She began to purr, and lay with me for nearly 40 minutes before she had Cat! Things! To! Do!, and got up, galumping around the house.

Me? I had work in the morning, and went to bed. TDW-Mark II informed me the next morning that Olivia had untangled her bandage, and slipped the entire mess down her leg, just like a sock balling up around your instep in boots on a wet, cold wintry day. So, TDW-Mark II re dressed the wound, and rebandaged it, this time using veterinary Co-Ban.

This was a much more satisfactory arrangement (well, for us at least….), and lasted until our vet could unravel things and provide some expert analysis of affairs.

A day later, Olivia returned home, and we all lived happily ever after. (well, THAT’S my story, and I’m sticking to it!)

Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

Fighting Disease, And Saving Lives

Gather ’round, boys and girls, and let Uncle Stretcher Ape regale you with another tale of FDASL.

So, the other week, I meandered into work, safely early (or so I thought). I was just about to drop my lunch, backpack, and coat, when the overhead page alerted: “Code Alert to walk in!”

Well, that was odd. I grabbed my stethoscope, and walked out of the office, simply to be certain that I was, indeed, in the walk in. Yep, I certainly was.

One of the MAs, looking excited, directed me to the room adjacent to where I was standing.

I entered to find a flaccid child, eyes literally rolled up into her head, as the MA at the bedside was busily obtaining vital signs. She gave me hurried report: child had arrived looking unsteady, reception had twigged, promptly to my FAVORITE “vital sign”: (“Dude Don’t Look Right”), summoned the MA staff, and, well, then things got exciting.

The child, as soon as she had been laid down, had gone unresponsive, per the report I got. I auscultated, verifying presence of air movement and heart beat. Finding a radial pulse, I went to the registrar, and asked, “Where is my bus?”

She smiled, knowing how I think, and replied, “I’ve called the ambulance already”

“Outstanding!” was my reply, and I returned to the room.

As I turned around, I noticed my physician supervisor, as well as my pediatric supervisor. I gave them a brief synopsis of what I knew, and what my plan was (“get her off to ED, as soon as humanly possible”, if I recall correctly).

Soon, EMS arrived. I gave them report, as best I could, and they packed her up and skedaddled (No, that is not strictly speaking a medical term. But, it worked for me!)

I subsequently spoke with the registrar who had first contacted mom and child. She had determined, indeed, that this child very much did not look right, and had promptly summoned assistance.

The first MA to respond, had promptly identified that this was way, Way, WAY beyond our level of care, and had initiated calling EMS, RFN (Right Freaking Now), as well as the “Code Alert”.

Good call.

So, a couple of days later, my physician supervisor, along with the administrator, passed through for a weekly review of our quality indicators. Winding up their pitch, they asked if we had anything to call to their attention. Yep, I did.

I praised the registrar who correctly, and promptly made the triage call. I praised the MA who had responded, and initiated the “Code Alert”, as well as the EMS call, properly, promptly, and effectively. I wound up by stating that they deserved praise for responding appropriately and calmly in a crisis.

This is to illustrate, again, quiet people who, taking pride in what they do, strive to improve, attend to duty, and take care of business. As Heinlein said, “Take a look around you. There never were enough bosses to check up on all that work. From Independence Hall to the Grand Coulee Dam, these things were built level and square by craftsmen who were honest in their bones.” (https://thisibelieve.org/essay/16630/)

I work with these folks. I rely on their intelligence, their judgment, their engagement with what they do. As Eaton Rapids Joe noted, “You get more of what you recognize”.

Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

SURPRISE!

So, there I was, fighting disease and saving lives, and my MA came to me, regarding somebody who had arrived for a subsequent Covid inoculation. This soul had informed my MA, AFTER THE INJECTION HAD BEEN ADMINISTERED, that she, the patient, had had a reaction to her first inoculation. She described this reaction as swelling, itching, and feeling ill. This had developed in a couple of hours after the injection.

It turned out that, today, this patient had, indeed, developed swelling, runny nose, cough, and whole body itching within FREAKING MINUTES after her injection. (those of my studio audience who have some sick people experience might recognize these indications as harbingers of anaphylaxis)

Weellll, we administered some IM Benadryl, some IM steroids, a breathing treatment, and close attention from my MA. Several repetitions of vital signs and reassessments later, this lady had seen her breathing improve, her itching subside, her swelling tapered, and the cough and runny nose reduced.

So, pro tip: If you swell up after the first dose of whatever the frack you are being injected with, tell a motherfucker, ya know, like, BEFORE you get the next injection. Personally, my geezerly ass will very, very much appreciate it.

Fun With Suits! · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Pre Planning Your Scene

Interview Skills

A long, long time ago, in a Galaxy not so very far away, TWWWBTP (The Woman Who Would become The Plaintiff) had graduated LPN school, and was starting her LPN-to-RN studies, and I was seeking a change of employment. I was looking to add ICU to my resume, since the grad school I had my sights on required it. This one hospital was recruiting, and proclaiming that nurses who accepted positions in their ICU, would receive a $10,000 sign on bonus.

I investigated, and learned that one half of this bonus would be paid upon completion of one year of employment, and the second half would be forthcoming after completion of the second year of employment. Sounded good to me, and so I arranged an interview.

Since TWWWBTP, at that point TDW-Mark I, thought that it would be problematic should I accept a job requiring me to drive halfway across the state, as this position would, perhaps she should investigate employment (and schooling) opportunities there, as well.

Sounded good to me.

On the appointed day, she and I arrived for our interviews. I learned of the position, and they told me, “You do know, don’t you, that we require a two year commitment from nurses in order to qualify for this bonus, right?”

I acknowledged that I did, indeed, comprehend this aspect of the arrangement, and stated, “Yep, I expect that I can wait two years before going to grad school!”

They acknowledged my comment, and we proceeded.

So, we concluded our interview, TDW-Mark I and I, and we sat in the lobby, awaiting their offer(s). We were summoned, and received the news: TDW-Mark I was offered a PART TIME, LPN job. As for me, well, I did not receive an offer. They informed me, “We are looking for nurses who want to come here, and settle down here, in our community. With your grad school plans, well, you do not appear to be a good fit for that sort of longevity.”

Cool story. We drove home, TDW-Mark I composing her “Thanks but no thanks” letter in her head, and I remarked, “Ya know, honey, I believe that I have figured out what I did wrong!”

She replied, with some side-eye, “Oh, really? What was that? Other than being truthful about your higher education plans, I mean?”

“Well, you see, I should have walked in there, paused just inside the door, and, James T. Kirk like, spread my arms in an all encompassing gesture, slowly turned, taken in a deep breath, and declaimed, “I…I..feel, I feel as if I have come….HOME! I….I want my children…to grow, TALL, under these…these Blue ! Skies!…I want to spend my days….Breathing! This! Clean! Air! I…I want…my..bones, to rest…to, REST…beneath …these green hills! I…I feel as if…I am…at..HOME!”

I looked over at my bride. She smiled, and responded, “So, you are telling me that you should have lied your ass off, right?”

“Of course, right!”

Fun And Games · Life in Da City!

RANDOM THOUGHTS, INSTALLMENT NUMBER VIII

@The other day, my MA gave me the typical “thumbnail” report of my next patient. “(sick person of some sort”), (vitals), ….And, you know, he’s older.”

This particular soul was born TEN YEARS after I was!

@ROBOCALLS: I receive telephone calls, from time to time, from unknown numbers. Almost every one is from some computer dialed bullshit. My practice is to say “Hello”, and then begin to count ten seconds. If there is no human being on the line by then, according to my (it’s a robo call: I’m not particularly patient) timer, I hang up.

If there is some human on the line by then, they have, maybe, ten or fifteen seconds to convince me that I have any interest whatsoever in speaking to them.

And, if it’s one of those “we need to speak to you about your computer repair the other day” idiots, it depends: if I’m feeling froggy, I may stay on the line simply to trifle with them and waste their time. If I’m feeling curmudgeonly (which, to be honest, is most of the time), I hang up. In mid word.

OVERHEARD THE OTHER DAY:

Joe-Bob arrives, asking if he could get the work note written for Cletus. The clerk inquired after Cletus’ last name. Joe-Bob did not know Cletus’ last name.

She asked if Joe-Bob knew Cletus’ date of birth? “Nope.”

Cletus’ phone number?

“Nope.”

Cletus’ SSN?

(surprisingly/sarc) “Nope!”

Did Joe-Bob know the date of the visit which elicited Cletus’ work note?

(say it with me, now…) “Nope.”

She wrote down *OUR* phone number, and suggested that, once Joe-Bob rejoined Cletus, perhaps he, Joe-Bob, could invite him, Cletus, to telephone us, and at that point arrangements could be made.

@ Life Lesson: A lesson learned from hard experience: No matter how frequently you look at your watch, in the middle of an awful shift, it is still 3 o’clock!

Life in Da City!

Questions Above My Pay Grade

A long, long time ago, back in Da City, I had left EMS, and was employed as a nursing house supervisor. In the course of my rounds, I stopped by ER. The staff chatted with me, revealed that things appeared to be under control, and they needed for nothing at that time.

One of the staff nurses drew me aside, and murmured, “Check out the ER doc that they sent us!”

I asked, of course, “Why?”, and was told, “Never mind! Once you chat with him, you will know!”

I approached him, introducing myself, and asked how his night was going. I was struck by the fact that he appeared to have several freckles about his face, each with a glint as of metal. Each, in fact, about the size of a pin head. I figured that was odd, concluded my conversation, and moved on.

I subsequently encountered one of the ER nurses in the cafeteria. “What did you make of Dr. Pins?”

“Couldn’t tell you. Never seen anything like it, before!”

So, a little later that night, I cruised through ER, again. (part of my “management by wandering around” strategy). The doc asked me if he could speak to me, in private. That was odd, but, sure, whatev’s.

So, back in the physician’s office, he began to describe a patient. I mean, as in how a resident (or a midlevel) would staff a patient with an attending. He wound up with his query: what did *I* (remember: the NURSING supervisor, with no provider chops whatsoever at this time) think that the patient ought to have done?

I tried not to stutter: I really, really did. I suspect that I failed, but I did manage to observe that other physicians had ordered this, or that test, and not uncommonly had discharged the patient with a prescription for this, that, or the other thing.

The following afternoon, my boss, the afternoon Nursing Director, and I had a chat. A lengthy chat. About Dr. Pins.

Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

The Sunshine Rule, Revisited

As you may recall, my go-to principle is that everybody brings sunshine into my life. Sometimes, that is when a soul arrives……

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL© one sunny Saturday morning, and my very first child of Ghawd rolled his eyes when I asked, “do you have any allergies to medication?”, which is part of my Mark I-Mod Ø interview question set.

My inattentive friend responded, “Of course I have allergies! My nose has been stuffy and runny for a week!”

I tried it, once more. “Do you have any MEDICATION allergies?”

“I dunno”

(sigh) “Are you taking any prescription medication?”

“Yeah….”

“Can you tell me what medication you are taking?”

“Nope. Cannot remember.” (eye roll)

I concluded that further interview would waste my time and annoy this gentleman, further. And so, a surly exam followed.

COMMENTARY: Simply so you know, IDGAF what you are allergic to, nor do I care what medication you are/are not taking, despite your physician’s goading, instruction, entreaties, or hectoring.

I *DO* care, very much, that I do *NOT* prescribe prescribe a medication that will cause your immune system to turn you into a fireball. Similarly, I really, really do *NOT* want to prescribe a medication that, in concert with whatever the (expletive) you are, indeed, taking, will perhaps form a binary explosive in your bloodstream. Because you could not/would not tell me whatever else you are, indeed, taking.

So, to me, this sort of thing is kind of important. Please, try to keep up.

Fun And Games · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City! · Pre Planning Your Scene

“Reading the Room”, or, Situational Awareness

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL© as an ED RN. At this point in time, the ED employing me (which was Middling Freestanding ED (MFSED) was an entertainment subsidiary of Enormous Hospital System With Delusions Of Grandeur (EHSWDoG).

My subsidiary hospital had the system’s psych ward upstairs, and therefore we appeared to be the psych intake for the three or four county area at which we were the center. So, this one night, an enormous dude, dressed in a three piece suit, perfectly buttoned etc, and BACKWARDS appeared. There were no police accompanying him (so I assume he was not a police psych hold). For some reason, Mr. backwards Suit had decided that he needed to go for a stroll.

As I became aware of the excitement, I noticed a cloud of nurses, as well as several security, negotiating with him to lay back down for assessment, and so forth. Somebody had given him a pen (for Ghawd only knows what reason), and he was appearing to become more excited as time passed. I noticed him only paying attention to the officers, with his (pen holding) hand behind him. He was standing in a doorway from one hallway to another, and I was down the one hall to his right. I strode past him, as if going down that hallway, and, as I passed, I snatched the pen from his hands, and continued down the hallway, as if that were the only reason for my passage.

Mr. Backwards Suit soon de-escalated, was assessed, and (unsurprisingly) admitted for psych evaluation. And, nobody else gave him a pen.