Zombie Nurse

29 12 2009

When I work 3rd shift, everyday is like waking up with a hangover. Body aches, head aches. Nothing that Motrin or Tylenol can really touch. A constant fuzziness in my brain, like the grey matter started to mold up there. Put that Reticular Activating System back in the crisper would you? Oops someone forgot to close the cerebellum bag. Now it’s all crusty and dry. Damn it. I was going to use that.

Can’t get enough sleep—ever. After three 12 hour shifts in a row, I crash. I go to bed during day light hours, but don’t wake up until it’s dark again. The daylight never happened. It’s winter in Michigan; there’s no daylight anyway.  In my dreams, I pop vitamin D pills like their M&Ms and visit long hallways filled with tanning beds and UV lights.  

The zombie apocalypse is real. We are the living zombies. We eat. We sleep. Sometimes we shit and shower. We go to work. And then we do it all over again. Notice that glazed look in our eyes. bRaIns! BrAiNs! We can’t seem to wake our brains. So we crave yours hoping that if we eat your dayshift brains, we will feel the sun on our pale dead bodies.

I watch other people sleep. I’m the night shift nurse with the squeaky shoes that opens the door every hour to make sure that you’re sleeping. This is why you can’t sleep in the hospital. I can’t sleep, so neither should you.

“Are you having any chest pain?” I ask.

“No, not right now. I’m sleeping,” You say.

“I could have sworn you said you were having chest pain.”

“I was sleeping”.

“Does this hurt?” I ask as I punch you in the chest.


“Better get you some nitro. Let me get your vital signs. While we’re at it, we should get a troponin and an EKG.”

The phlebotomist jabs a needle in your vein while the respiratory therapist places cold electrodes on your chest.

“But it doesn’t really hurt that much,” You say.

I pump the blood pressure cuff up to 250mmHg.

When I’m not working, I have found that activities that used to be enjoyable have lost their appeal.

Instead of cooking, I point and click on Facebook’s Café World.  I point and click an entire meal, watching virtual people enjoy gingerbread houses, pot roasts and gourmet duck. Wish I felt like cooking.

Instead of writing, I watch Buck Roger’s Episodes on Hulu.

Instead of going to the movies, I stream movies through the Xbox from Netflix.

Eating? Brains sound good. Otherwise I’m a little nauseated. Healthy choices like vegetables and fruits seem obsolete. I want brains and junk food. Brains and chocolate chip cookies. Brains and chips.

Why bother getting dressed on my days off? For that matter, why bother showering? I’m probably just going to get back into bed in a few hours anyway, so that I can sleep during those normal sleeping hours when it’s dark–instead of working under fluorescent lights. So off days become pajama days on the couch. Followed by more sleeping in the bed.

Naptime replaces all favorite hobbies, interests and relationships.


The Longest Relationship I Ever Had

25 09 2009

10 years and 7 months—something like that. Almost everything I know about nursing, I learned there. My job has probably been the only stable thing in my life. I have moved 8 times, lost 2 partners, almost lost my mom, watched my father-in-law die, started and abandoned the MSN program and finished my MFA. That’s the short version.

 Even before the restructuring, I knew the end was drawing near.  I could feel it at 6:30 am as I walked down the long corridor. I wondered how many more times I would ride the elevator to my floor. What was next? I kept having dreams about tornadoes and tsunamis. These dreams are often about change and rebirth. I thought maybe I would die in a fiery plane crash on my way to Nebraska. That obviously didn’t happen.

 Yesterday I worked the last day at my 1st nursing job. I didn’t know it was going to be my last day until the day before. It was anti-climatic. A regular let’s discharge everybody Friday. No bangles. No buzzers. No banners. Just an e-mail on how I’ll leave a void. Assholes leave voids too.

 Packed up my stash of snacks. Emptied the freezer. Shredded my mail file and evaluation portfolio. Picked out the books that were still relevant.

All day I made a list in my head of the things that I won’t miss. All the discharge paper work—not many people are discharged on the night shift. Not having a bright light over the bed. Being on the last floor the doctors come to round. Getting up at 4:30am. The constant ring of the phone. Semi-private rooms. Medications in a million different places. Being Vocera-ed for stupid ass shit—but maybe that will be somebody else’s job.

J.G. asked me if I was a little sad. She asked if I was going to miss them. I said that I was and that I would, but I hesitated a little and laughed at the end. So she didn’t believe me. You’re not really sad, she said. Well, I am, but I don’t want to be. And I most certainly don’t want to be in front of people. It’s hard to be sad when I know I’m only going to be 5 floors down, and in all likelihood will be back as a float staff from my new floor. And it’s hard to be sad when I don’t feel anything yet. Except a sinking, nauseated feeling in my stomach. Besides nobody died. Everybody is still right there where I left them—for now.

I stood in my boss’s office to say good-bye. I think maybe she was holding back tears. Maybe. It was verging on something emotional, and I didn’t like it. I had this compulsion to hug her, but I know she doesn’t like hugs. Instead I said, this feels weird, so I’m out of here.

Truthfully, I’m scared shitless. I’ll be the one orientating, not mentoring someone else.  I’ll be the new person. I’ll be the person who doesn’t know stuff. And I’m really going to miss them.

Naked Moms & Notes on being even more pathetic

28 08 2009

Goddamn it. Mom wants to be my Facebook friend. WTF? She’s not the most computer literate person. But I’m sure one thing will lead to another, and she’ll find my irreverent blog. Fucking A. So much for getting myself out there.

Any suggestions? I can’t not friend my own mother. I’m sorry you gave birth to me, but you can’t be my Facebook friend. Letting Mom read my stuff is like being naked. It’s not cool to be naked in front of your mom. Not cool at all.

Speaking of nakedness and mothers–not to be confused with naked mothers. Mom’s been wearing this rather thin, worn night gown. She needs a new one. It’s so thin she wears a robe over it. She says they don’t have nightgowns anymore only pjs. I find this hard to believe. Anyway . . .I ask her what’s wrong with pjs. She says that she wears a nightgown because Dad likes easy access. I can’t believe my mother is saying shit like this. My mother who doesn’t like to discuss sex, religion or politics.

On another note –the bitching about work note–I applied for the ICU/TU position again. Never got an interview the last time. That’s pathetic. Not being able to even get an interview with the organization I currently work for. Please hire me. I’m pathetic and poor. I can be cute too if you just give me a chance. Smart? We’ll have to work on smart.

Changed my cover letter. Cited specific examples of how awesome I was the last time I worked on their floor. If this doesn’t work, I may have to resort to a fictional resume or maybe a creative non-fiction with a disclaimer. *Certain facts were embellished. *Certain events were manufactured. *References may be manufactured for aesthetic reasons.

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20 08 2009

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Shameless Prostitution

9 08 2009

Maureen suggested that I start a Blog to create a web presence. She suggested I do that rather than mope on the couch and eat brownies for breakfast and be depressed about being graduated and mostly unpublished with nothing to look forward to except for $40,000 in student loans. This is where I insert a commercial for bringtheink.com. That is where you will find my dystopic short story “People Factory.”  Someone asked me if I felt differently now that I had my MFA. It’s not any different than turning 33. But that was silly of me to expect that I would feel something else. That’s like an alcoholic trying to find happiness at the bottom of the Popov—when there’s nothing but a cheap head ache.

This is my shameless attempt to get myself out there. My family is waiting for me to create the next Harry Potter so that I can put them in a luxurious retirement community rather than a stinky nursing home. I keep telling them that I write short stories and that nobody pays. It’s like playing the lottery. I submit a short story with a $10 to $25 fee for contests with higher odds of being rejected than accepted. So in actuality I have a gambling problem. I’ll be lucky if I can give my stories away. I’ll be prostituting myself on Division Street. Instead of wearing short skirts and fishnet stockings, I’ll be standing there in Birkenstocks and a bathrobe with an extension cord running to my laptop from the independent coffee shop (because they feel sorry for vagrant writers). I’ll scream of cheapness. I’ll give you my story for free. Just pick me up and we can drive around the block. I’ll tell you that it costs more to print it out than it does just to lick the screen. After a while, I’ll start to worry that I have some sort of disease for pedaling my stories to strangers. I’ll wonder if I have brain cancer from sitting in front of the computer screen too long or maybe the electromagnetic waves have effected my girl parts from too many late night lap dances.

Every writer is a narcissist. Even when we’re not writing about ourselves, we’re still writing about ourselves. We project ourselves onto real characters and into the fictional ones—they’re all versions of ourselves. But this blog isn’t going to be all about writing. Writers writing about writing—Jesus, isn’t that what they always do?

So it’s a good thing I have a real job, so I can bitch about nursing. In my real life, I’m a Registered Nurse. RN also stands for Registered Narcotics Pusher and Registered Nag. Or maybe Registed Narcissist? Due to the unfortunate circumstances with the Michigan economy, my place of employment has felt it necessary to restructure. My hours were cut. Instead of working 60 hours every 2 weeks, I’ll be working 40 hours every 2 weeks. This brings me back to prostitution and homelessness. All that bullshit about a nursing shortage—not true.

So I hope to blog about injustice, politics, health care, LGBTQ issues, various current events, food, death, tattoos, mental illness and myself. Not in any particular order. Names may or may not be changed to protect guilty or innocent parties. And some seemingly non-fiction parts may or may not be fictionalized.