Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oh Yay!

Finally!  My Michigan 3 Day Movie.  Thank you Creed for the free use of your music for such a worthy cause.  I want to say a special thank you to everyone who supported me.  I'm truly grateful.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Me and my tent mate Linda. We met through corresponding on line in search of a tent mate. Oddly, we are both Knitting Nurses. And her husband is a weaver-he made that stunning scarf she is wearing. Look closely at Linda's credentials. She over did it and got placed on hold for the event late Saturday afternoon-after she got 2 liters of IV saline. She didn't give up and go home though, she stuck it out and returned to work on Sunday.

I wish you could all see the movie I've made with iMovie'08. It's pretty fabulous-if I must say so myself. I've tried various ways to publish it and have run into a few problems. I've given up for the time being. Once again, you'll have to be satisfied with some still shots of some amazing moments during the 3 Day event.

You know, sometimes items in the news can bring a girl right back down to earth. I was completely surprised to hear Paul Newman had died. We must have been living in a bubble for 3 days. After what happened yesterday, I wish I could go right back into that bubble.

If you're troubled about your future leaders and what kind of men we are raising, I'd like to put your mind at ease. Meet the Romeo High School football team-this event is a requirement for them and was arranged by their coach. They came to camp in two buses on Friday and Saturday. On the first day, they greeted walkers at the entrance to camp and walked them to their luggage and rolled up tents. They carried both items to the assigned tent address and set up the tents for walkers and crew.

Coach doesn't exactly put a gun to their heads, but for 3 days every year, these young men do a little community service. This year was their 3-peat and it appears to me, they enjoy it. On day two, they cheer every walker through the entry to camp. When they're done with that, they greet each walker as they come through the food line and carry their plates and drinks to their table for them. They are full of enthusiasm for what they do and it is so refreshing. Some of them wore angel's wings. Some paraded around with giant pink ribbons. I hope these pictures are proof that while some people in this country can't get anything right, others are picking up the slack.

I work for a really big health system in southeast Michigan. Like in every other aspect of life, our health system has a cross town competitor. Just as in sports, there will sometimes be gentle ribbing when employees of the competitors find themselves sharing the same spaces. Meet the girls from the competition. These ladies work in their hospital's rapid response department. They worked quite well together and when the going got rough for the lunch crew, they provided the comic relief.

Now their hospital always seems to have a lot of fluff in their budget. Our employees always bemoan how well their staff has it; it's like they live on easy street. For some reason, this doesn't look like easy street to me.

Here is your knitting nurse on day one of the event, well after her assigned post had closed up shop for the day. I don't know how wise it was of me to bring wool to this event. On the morning of day 2, the socks I'd brought with me to work on, pink of course, were wet from the moisture in the air. I was unable to work on them after the first day. Wool + moisture + agitation= felt.

Michigan has passed the 3 Day torch to Washington, D.C. I am hoping with all of my heart that the 3 Day spirit works its way through our nation's capital. I think our leaders could use it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Home Again, Home Again

Day 1 medical lunch stop crew. What wasn't divulged to me when I signed up was that we were to set up all of our own western exposure tents, pop tents and supplies. Yikes! In this picture, our mobile medical camp was only 30% complete. Notice we were still smiling.

What an amazing weekend I had. I'm quite simply exhausted and have muscle soreness where I didn't think muscles existed. But really, I'm not whining. I'm not! Detroit 3 Day walkers and crew raised an astounding 7.5 million dollars. I think that is incredible since the economic downturn in this area of the country has been one of the longest and most severe and still, we raised that much money for this very special cause. Eighty five percent of what we raise will go directly to Susan G. Komen For the Cure. The remainder goes to their partner, The National Philanthropic Trust which organizes and pulls off amazing events like this one. I am so proud to be a participant in such an important venture, so much so, I signed up for next year.

I'm totally exhausted, but in a good way. Everything aches a bit and I think my nose is still frozen from sleeping in an itty-bitty tent on a very cold night. I'm not whining though. Well, maybe a little. If I can figure out iMovie08, I'll post a slide show. Since that promises to be a bit of a challenge, some snapshots of my weekend will have to do. Right now, I have a date with a tempurpedic mattress.

Have You Made Your Appointment?

I should get home sometime tonight. If exhaustion is not an issue, I'll post some pictures. In the meantime, how about you make a note on your calendar to call for your mammogram appointment? October is breast cancer awareness month-tell a friend.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Have Your Say

We sure didn't get a say. I'm having my say this weekend.

Friday, September 26, 2008

One in Eight

This was not a video of my walk but is fairly representative-except for the sunshine. My 2004 and 2005 walks were marred by rain. This weekend, not a single raindrop is in the forecast.

I'm looking forward to this. If you've never participated in an event like this, you should consider it. It's life changing and guaranteed to make a do-gooder out of you. If you can't walk, why not consider being crew? It's just as rewarding. There are all sorts of crew members including many men. People are needed to handle logistics, camp site maintenance, camp services, food service, shower maintenance, check in and check out, meal services, road safety and medical staff. Medical crew includes physical therapists, nurses, emts, chiropractors, doctors and sports docs. Except for medical crew, you really don't need special training-just a heart and desire. Join me 09. You won't regret it.

I love Rod's rendition of this song, Embraceable You. Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Because Everyone Deserves a Lifetime

Today begins my three day extravaganza to help stomp out breast cancer. I've never crewed before, but as the past few months as a new hospice nurse have taught me, I know how to be a nurse anywhere. I'm quite certain I'll have a great time. I'll be in the medical tent at lunch. If you're a reader and a walker, come say hello. If you're a walker, don't panic-check in isn't until the wee hours of the 26th for you. Crew has to show up a day ahead of time for training. We also have to register by 4:30 AM on Friday. Consider yourself blessed that you aren't crew.

I have walked this event twice and all told, I've raised $6,600 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and I've helped others raise thousands of dollars too. I'll keep doing it until I can't.

I walked the 2004 event in San Francisco which was a leg lover's dream come true. We were accompanied by the San Jose Bike Police. Talk about your hotties on wheels, these guys were it. We were in a state of delirium on that walk and being so pumped full of endorphins, we signed up to do the 2005 event. This one, we walked in Michigan. By the time July had come around and it was time to walk again, my mother in law was actively dying. We never knew if it was primary breast, or primary lung cancer. She had hormonal characteristics of each-her tumors were so poorly differentiated that it was not diagnosable. I walked all 60 miles having herniated 2 lumbar discs halfway through the event. I felt driven to do this for Pat. I gave my finish shirt to my sister in law who had stayed home to tend her mother-she was the one who truly did battle that weekend. A few days after the walk, my mother in law, Patty, passed away in her sleep.

That's why I do this. Here is who I'm doing it for this year:

Because you are missed:

Pat: she lost her battle in 2005
Mia: lost her battle in 2006-she was in her thirties
Kristin: lost her battle after 7 years

In honor of their courageous battles:

Sandy: diagnosed 2008- she is younger than I am
Jane: survivor multiple times over-a few years older but way more tough than me
Kelly: diagnosed 2006- not quite 40
Lisa: diagnosed 2006- not quite 40-mother of 4
Kim: diagnosed last week-just turned 40, mother of 2
Maggie-just about thirty and diagnosed this month
Cynthia- a survivor
Phyllis-a survivor

And I do this for the breast cancer patients whose deaths I've pronounced in just a few short months as a hospice nurse. Their battles have touched my heart.

If you'd like me to put the name of your loved one up here, leave me a comment or email me. I'll put that name right on this page. If you'd like, there is a memorial tent at the event and I could put their names there too.

Wish us good weather and few injuries-we are off to wage a mighty battle.

ETA the names of your loved ones.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

As American as Apple Pie

Finally, I get it. I've never been an economic genius but for once, I'm finally understanding. Thank you Dubya for making things crystal clear!


I'm speechless tonight.   I've searched my heart for what I want to say and can't find what sounds right to me, or even what rings true.  I'll let Neil talk for me instead-I'm afraid I'll choke on my own words.


There is a town in north Ontario,
With dream comfort memory to spare,
And in my mind
I still need a place to go,
All my changes were there.

Blue, blue windows behind the stars,
Yellow moon on the rise,
Big birds flying across the sky,
Throwing shadows on our eyes.
Leave us

Helpless, helpless, helpless
Baby can you hear me now?
The chains are locked
and tied across the door,
Baby, sing with me somehow.

Blue, blue windows behind the stars,
Yellow moon on the rise,
Big birds flying across the sky,
Throwing shadows on our eyes.
Leave us

Helpless, helpless, helpless.

Neil Young

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Over the past couple of weeks, one of the hospitals I routinely start cases at has completed their change to the electronic health record. It's been interesting to watch the nurses as they struggle with this conversion. I'm so glad that for now, it isn't me that's going through this. I have enough trouble without having to chart in real time.

The first night they initiated this, they had employees who were experts with special training with the new computers. They had fluorescent vests on that marked them for all the world to see as the super nurses (it's not like they had a choice-the way it works is your boss identifies you as the sacrificial lamb and next thing you know, you're an expert at managing EHR software and simultaneous staff meltdowns). Really, all these experts lacked was a hard hat and they'd have blended right in on any construction site. Since this time a couple of weeks ago, the uber nurses have graduated to purple t-shirts that say in big white print on the back "SUPER USER." Couldn't they have just been identified as such during report at change of shift-without having to be forced into a costume? It's not like their colleagues don't know their names.

The nurses are pulling their hair out trying to get used to this new way of charting. None of them are happy because they don't have the time to actually provide care for their patients; they're too busy providing care to the electronic, inanimate object. I'm guessing that the patients aren't happy either. Come to think of it, neither am I. I don't like to bug people for information that two weeks ago, was a quick chart perusal away.  I think they're busy enough without me adding to their workload. Unfortunately, though I'm a system wide employee, I don't have computer access to their EHR. If I want recent vital signs or medication sheets, I have to ask a human to access her computer to tell me. Now, if not everyone has the same access, tell me how does this improve the continuity in patient care? Really, it's all a bit ridiculous. I feel bad for my colleagues-especially when I have to bug them for information; it's not like they're not busy enough. I feel really bad for the ones who have to take a patient assignment AND wear the costumes. I have to remember to take them some chocolate the next time I go.

Next time you're laid up in a hospital bed waiting for your nurse to bring your pain meds, remember please that all of this and the lack of care was brought to you by some politician with ties to lobbyists. That's who you want to go all Shirley MacLaine on-not your nurse who has just slipped a disk trying to balance all she has to do in a shift.

Photo of Nurse Ratched courtesy of Google Images

Monday, September 22, 2008

P is for Procrastination

I'd originally written a post for tonight about the melamine poisoning of babies in China. I just can't do it. I'm sick to death of stories like these and nothing ever changes. I deleted it and instead, I'm going to write about my knitting. Or rather, my lack of knitting.

I haven't done too much knitting this week and it's starting to take a toll on me. I use this kind of work as a way to calm myself; sort of like xanax, but soft and wooly and without side effects. I hurt my neck somehow and can barely stand to flex it so looking down at my hands while I knit, hurts. A lot. I have a roving band of knots between my shoulder blades. The knots move from one side of my body to the other. You can see them and, you can feel them by just touching. It feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. I've been to the chiropractor for two treatments this week and I'm scheduled to have a one hour massage followed by chiropractic treatment tomorrow. A little ultrasound may help. I bought a water pillow that's pretty fabulous. My neck feels good when lying down with that pillow. It's being upright that hurts. Turning to look at something requires turning my body at the same time I turn my head. Ouch.

My psyche is suffering for lack of a creative outlet. I've started to do an inventory of my knitting projects that I want to finish. Actually, I'm a little appalled at the extent of my failure to finish some of my projects. I know I'm not alone with this affliction. So many knitters have trouble with this that it has its own acronym to explain what these neglected projects are: UFOs. Unfinished objects.

For instance, I need to knit the sleeves of my pink alpaca boucle sweater I started in March. It's so close to being finished but for some reason, I've been struck by inertia where this project is concerned. It's beautiful and so soft. I don't know why I can't just pick up the needles and yarn and cast on the sleeves to finish it. I'm perplexed. I could be wearing this sweater for the 3 Day. Pink is perfect for this event and the evenings are chilly enough to consider taking it with me.

Laurie's mittens are almost done. I have worked on those this weekend-a little at a time and neck pain permitting. This project is OK to do since it's really pretty simple and I don't need to look down at my hands except when on rows where I place the thrums. I'm 20 rows and one thumb away from completion. I'm hoping to finish them sometime tomorrow then ship to Minnesota before it snows. I'd better hurry.

Clapotis made the half way mark toward completion and sits neglected in a heap on my hearth. Why? I haven't a clue. I'm also half way through a pair of lace socks. One done, the other not yet a twinkle in my eye. I have been halfway through with this pair since July 4th weekend. Things aren't looking too good for the second sock and I'm willing to send the only one that's finished to an amputee. Email me if you know someone who could use one very pretty and warm sock. If someone takes me up on that, I promise to graft the toes and send it.

I've purchased the yarn for my daughter's sweater and look at the shopping bag that's next to my chair every day. It's mocking me. Last week, I tried to spark my knitting enthusiasm by stopping by a yarn store. I looked and looked and finally found a yarn that appealed to me. I didn't buy it because once I picked it up, I realized I already owned it and that particular project is sitting in a different bag begging for completion. It's a beautiful sweater that's 60 percent done. The lace repeats are a pain in the ass and I continually lose my spot for lack of paying attention.

This week hasn't been a complete loss though. I'm all caught up on my paperwork for my job. I found my sleeping bag and thermal mattress pad for camping next weekend. Although my sweetie has offered to pick me up at night during the 3 Day so I can sleep in a real bed, I find the event's camp experience so fulfilling, I'm willing to rough it. I haven't come across my headlamp but I hope it shows up soon. I've a few closets to check out so there is hope.

Well, it's late so maybe I'll check those closets tomorrow. While surfing tonight, I came across this great procrastination algorithm. Check it out. It's certain to completely waste at least 10 minutes of your time and take your mind off the problems in our world.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Meet the Neighbors

Several years ago, my husband interviewed for a job that required an in-depth background investigation. This included interviews with our neighbors by very official people with badges. Our neighbors never really told us what was asked or what was said. It must have been OK since he got the job. I’ve been thinking lately that it would have been nice to interview the neighbors when we bought this house 15 years ago. I think perhaps what we now know would have influenced our purchase. If I’d had a crystal ball, there is no way I’d have bought this place.

I wonder how I'd conduct a preliminary neighbor survey. “Say, Mr. Farmer, what are your intentions for that really big lot you grow pumpkins in?” “Do you plan to continue growing pumpkins? No? You plan to sell it to a big dialysis group?” Wow. “Oh, and hey, Mr. Farmer? Why do you have such a big snow blower?” Suffice it to say, I may have thought twice about buying this place. It’s bad enough we were subjected to half rotted pumpkins tossed into our yard as gifts, but we must endure the early morning snow blowing of the yard all winter long too. Besides my neighbor and my brother, do others snowblow their lawns too? Not drives, lawns. The slamming car doors at the dialysis center are the icing on the cake. So's the occasional ambulance speeding very sick patients out of center to the hospital.

We had a lovely old lady (not) who let her son Wife Beater and his downtrodden wife live with her. They lived one house over and across the street, next to my lovely neighbor Jo. A day didn’t pass when one did not hear the words, “f**king b*tch! I’m gonna kill you.” Sounds of hands connecting with flesh and screaming were common. Routinely, their fights spilled outdoors so all the world could witness this despicable exhibition of abuse. Not one to suffer fools lightly, Rudee had the police on speed dial. Once or twice, I think I heard Wife Beater call me names but he never crossed the street. I wish he had, I’d have kicked that bastard’s ass. Well, me and my big ass dog would have. It was a relief when that family moved out, unfortunately, it was short lived.

Soon after they left, an eastern European family moved in and the house acquired a third world like look about it. These people were bizarre. They painted the driveway an odd color and put an oversized gigantic door on the front of the small ranch style house. I couldn’t figure that one out since their doors were open to the elements day and night. They just left them wide open with no screens. Why bother buying one when they had a perfectly good one they didn't use anyways? They had a LOT of birds they kept in cages on the front porch. I often wondered if the birds were what was for dinner. They also had their own share of fights in that house. Once, one of their son’s girlfriends came down the street in her car driving about 40 mph and rear ended the son’s car. She was flying. She was also upset about something since she totaled his car and it wasn’t an accident. When this same son was shot and killed in a nearby community, in drug deal gone bad, they abruptly picked up stakes and moved to Florida. They told another neighbor that the house brought bad luck. Their other son, such a good boy, was on the state’s sex offender list. I hope he went with them. We don’t live in a bad area, really, that particular house is cursed and it would seem, so are we.

So the eastern Europeans moved out and a single mother with 3 kids moved in. For the sake of argument, lets just call her Skank. She earned that name in one week because she routinely dressed like a hoe to do housework. Boobies would be flopping out of her skimpy little bikini-that’s not accurate, her silicone boobs didn’t really flop. It’s more like they popped out of the bikini. She also 'worked' the night shift if you get my meaning. She had a nice figure, but her face? Oy. She had a face even a mother wouldn't kiss and a filthy mouth to match. It wasn't that she was hideous, she just looked so damned mean. I think she dressed the way that she did to draw attention away from that scary face. On the other hand, she could have dressed that way simply because she was nuts. I tried being friendly with Skank because I know what it's like to be a single mom. She wasn't very friendly. Now, I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m picky, because I’m not. I don’t hate everyone that lives in that house, but I hated this one the most. H.A.T.E.D. What in the world could make me hate Skank more than Wife Beater? She hadn’t lived there a month when she took off for the weekend. She was gone 3, maybe 4 days. The bitch left her dog locked in the garage in 90 degree weather with no food and water. The poor dog howled, barked and cried until my husband and neighbor called the police to break down the door and rescue him. Unfortunately, the police gave her a second chance and gave the dog back to the nutcase only to have her do it again. Finally, the police took the dog away from her. That’s why I hated her. The treatment of the dog was a good reflection of how she treated her children-one of whom was disabled and you should all know how I feel about that. Mistreating or neglecting an animal burns my arse.  Neglecting a helpless and disabled child is beyond disturbing.  She neglected that boy of hers-more than she neglected the dog.  Sometimes, she'd just forget to be at home when the bus would come by to drop him off.  How do you forget your child?  Yes, I HATED her.

The straw that broke the camel’s back were the unsupervised parties Skank would let her 14 year old son throw. Oh, she was home alright, dressed like a hoe to entertain her son’s friends and party with them. After one particular party that the police had to break up, Skank’s son and friends egged my son’s used (but brand new to him) car and destroyed the finish. It was his high school graduation gift. We weren’t the ones who’d called the police, my long suffering neighbor who lived next to the Skank did. Jo’d had enough. It seems the Skank didn’t have shades or curtains on the side of the house and routinely paraded around the house nude-in front of her kids. Jo was horrified by this and had to keep her own shades down day and night. Jo is also Polish and scrubs the outside of her house and sidewalk every single day. That seems pretty common in some of our Polish neighborhoods. I think you call that pride of ownership. Skank had none of that. Her property was a mess and her in ground pool flooded Jo's pristine back yard at least once a week. After the egging, we'd had enough of Skank's son's destruction. We pressed charges which cost her $1,000 in fines and almost cost Skank her parental rights-she was well known to child protective services.  Since this wasn't her first dance with authorities, she was truly at risk.  I don't know that she cared.  Those CPS folks don't look too kindly on this type of parenting. For God's sake, she couldn't even care for a dog-let alone those kids. Hopefully, the kids will learn better but with such bad parenting, I sort of doubt it.

Ultimately, Skank and crew moved. The house had been foreclosed and the bank now owned it. A retired Detroit cop eventually bought the house and has paid a small fortune to repair and renovate the place. What Skank, her son and his friends had done to this rental home were criminal. There were swastikas and racial slurs written all over walls and cupboards in this home. Once they’d moved, it was like the whole neighborhood finally exhaled. The new couple that bought the house seem wonderful and work like Jo does on her house. Once again, it's nice to see Jo's shades up during the day and nobody does housework in a bikini.  I hope the new owners had an exorcism or at the least, a blessing done in this house.

If you thought I was done, you’d be wrong. You’ve not yet been properly introduced to my next door neighbors on either side, Skullduggery and Quickhide. More on them later-writing about the Skank has completely tired me out.

Photo Google Images

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Morgue

Even though it was a lifetime ago, I'll not forget how I felt the first time I had to take a patient to the hospital morgue: creeped out.  I've gotten over that-though I'd never make a trip to the bowels of the hospital alone.  You can go alone because most places have hydraulic lifts that guide the tray into the cooler and all the nurse does is hook the straps to the morgue tray and push the buttons. I don't recommend it because of the spooky factor.

That said, I spent 3 hours with the Wayne County Medical Examiner Thursday.  This is one of the busiest morgues in the country with 8 full time forensic pathologists, performing about about 12 autopsies per day. To put that in perspective, there are only 1,400 board certified forensic pathologists in the entire country.  We have 8 of them.  I thought this lecture  was to learn how to pronounce death.  Duh.  Nope.  It was more about how to identify monkey business and extract yourself quickly, before you are lying next to granny on the bed and looking just as dead as her.

Walking into the morgue, the visitor is greeted with a long aisle of glass enclosed artifacts from death scenes.  It was fascinating.  I found myself thinking, I could work in a place like this.  I walked very slowly down that hall looking at everything.  There were tools from the drug trade including tourniquets, syringes and spoon with drug residue.  There were envelopes and stamps for LSD and cocaine scale kits.  All very interesting.  I was standing and looking at the human remains section when I saw a full thickness piece of skin from a human foot.  Degloved.  It was pretty startling to look at.  I later learned that about 4 days or so after death, the unpreserved body will shed its skin.  The degloved hand will still give up information like fingerprints once it's dried.  

The medical examiner lectured us about drug overdoses. There was talk about the fentanyl laced heroin that made the rounds about 2 years ago. We'd had at least one patient who'd died from that in our ICU in suburban Detroit. All told, about 200 people died then of accidental heroin overdose. Recently, the ME says the new thing is to lace heroin with benadryl. Again, people are dying. We were told 8 had died in Detroit in as many hours-most of them in one hospital's emergency room in the downtown area.  All had bought their drugs from the same dealer.  Interesting.   The dealer was busted within hours due to the forensic sleuthing skills of the ME's office.  If I were a cop, I'd want to have a job investigating suspicious deaths.  Most of the investigators working for the ME are former cops.

During the lecture, I learned to always roll the patient to look for knives stuck inside people.  I understand the ME will be miffed if they get a call from the funeral home about a murder after I've pronounced a natural hospice death.  There was talk of livor mortis and rigor mortis and the timing of death.  I'd learned this stuff ages ago but more or less filed it away in a vault in my brain.  I didn't need to think about this information then.  A hospital setting is about the only time a patient dies where time of death is definitely known by officials. In a home setting, the time of death is the time I get there and pronounce it. If a caregiver tells me granny just took her last breath one hour ago, but I find she is in full rigor mortis, the caregiver speaks with forked tongue.  Granny has been dead about 12 hours.  If granny's skin is marbled looking, the livor mortis is breaking down and she took her last breath about 36 hours ago.  She'll no longer be in rigor.

There were lots of slides of fishy deaths with particular attention to poisoning, strangulation and smothering. It seems, there are people out there who, for whatever purpose, try to help granny to St. Peter's gate.  Sometimes it's because they don't want to see granny suffer anymore and sometimes it's because all that's between them and financial freedom, is granny's funeral.  It takes all kinds.  If you give in to granny's pleas for relief and help her into the next world, you're committing a crime.  Murder.  In Michigan, we are particularly sensitive to the topic of assisted suicides.  Jack Kervorkian made certain Michigan would be forever associated with assisted suicide. 

Jack's way was not particularly helpful for the hospice movement.  Ours is a field where we try with all of our skill to make a patient comfortable, in their own home, in the days, weeks or months preceding death.  It is a mission, a talent and an art form.  Jack's way was a crusade and I think he was a very sick man.  I don't believe he wanted to ease suffering-I think he wanted a name for himself.  We saw multiple slides from the death scenes of his victims, they were devoid of signs of compassion.  These were places like dirty motel rooms with no comforts of home.  There were suicide notes of a sort that just said, "call my lawyer, Geoffrey Feiger."  Not suicide notes like the ones I saw in the morgue's hall of death artifacts that were more like letters of apology, talk of horrific pain, fear, mental illness, love or unrequited love.  The Kervorkian suicide notes were pretty matter of fact. There was no dignity in this type of death.  None.  In certain counties where I pronounce death, I'm required to call the police to the home of a deceased patient.  The police will investigate this death to be sure it isn't a homicide.  They'll call the medical examiner to report and he or she will decide to release the body or investigate the death-all of this because of Jack and his legacy.  Not surprisingly, these counties are where Jack wreaked most of his havoc.  Some counties have done away with this and trust the hospice nurses out there to make their own decisions about the circumstances of death.  In those counties, we call the medical examiners ourselves.  We're given the responsibility to report findings inconsistent with a natural death-we are entrusted by the ME to do this.  Woe to the nurse who lets a knife in the back slip past her skillful gaze.

Late Thursday night, about 10 hours after my day began, I got to put my newly learned forensic skills to work.  I walked into the home of a patient who, while gone from this world, looked well tended and cared for.  All around her were the comforts of her home and people who loved her.  She'd been freshly bathed and looked at peace.  Thankfully, it was not at all like the slides I'd seen earlier in the day.  

Friday, September 19, 2008

I know how to fix this!

How about we hire this fella to knock some sense into our government officials?  He seems to have the muscle and the head for this sort of stuff.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee-while you can still brew it!

To whom do we owe this money?  Primarily Japan and China, Brazil, Venezuela, Great Britain and some of the Arabic Gulf states.  The cost of the Iraq war to date?  Around $265,000,000,000.  Billions.  What do we owe China?  Roughly the same.  This administration and the congress that allowed this should be ashamed.  Completely.  I hope you're brushing up on your foreign language skills.  How do you say "can I have a Grande Latte please" in Mandarin?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


This photo slide show and this one also from The New York Times boggle the mind. I simply can't imagine what this type of devastation is like.

Photo: Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Some people here are complaining about their flooded basements after the remnants of Ike blew through Detroit. It just doesn't compare. I thought the photo of the boats piled up at the marina looked surreal, like an enraged child had dumped his toy chest in a fit of temper. Ike was very, very bad. Even the dead weren't spared this storm's wrath. I imagine just the clean up will take months-let alone rebuilding.

It's easy for me to say since it's not my home or business, but I don't think I could rebuild in  this area so close to shore. I heard Texas law claims so much shore footage as belonging to the state-something like 200 feet. The Gulf of Mexico took a lot of shoreline back on Saturday. People lost more than their homes that day, they lost their land too. I don't envy these folks the task of trying to put their lives back to where they were.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's My Favorite Season

Gathering Leaves

by Robert Frost

Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.

I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.

But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.

I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?

Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.

Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who's to say where
The harvest shall stop?

I hope you all got a chance to enjoy the harvest moon. It was beautiful here in our partly cloudy skies. What I love best about autumn are honey crisp apples and the abundance of root vegetables roasted or grilled. I love the weather-cool and crisp and Neil Young singing Harvest Moon. What about you? What do you like about autumn?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays

Well I'm sure glad this rain is done. Today, most communities got between 4 and 5 inches of rain in just a couple of hours. I'm grateful we didn't get the wind Ohio (or Texas) got with this. I've heard from Mareseatoats and she says it's a mess. It's been about 25 years since she's experienced a direct hit hurricane (Alicia) and she says she has had her fill. Today, she has power but no water and her friend has water but no power. Together, they should muddle through.

It had been raining about an hour when it began to seriously rain. Torrential downpours. In 15 minutes, my street filled. I began to worry when it went over the curb and up onto the sidewalk.

I remember when I was young and used to make the best of a good downpour too. These girls lingered for a good long time just wading in the street. Even Duke yapping his head off did not deter them.

If I didn't make good use of the downpour, I made good use of my time. The first of Laurie's mittens is done. What a fun thing to make. I'm making these for all of my nieces and maybe a soldier I know who is shipping off to Afghanistan. It's cold there. I'll make his all black. Hmmm. I've never dyed fleece before. Any advice on dying fleece?

This is the flooding in my crazy neighbor's back yard. Now let me tell you, this guy is odd. Surely you recall the stories of him snow blowing his backyard last winter. If not, let me just say, if this were snow, my Monday would be awfully noisy. He'd fire up the snow blower about 6 am and not shut it off until the entire backyard was free of the snow. Any guesses where the snow would go?

The arc of snow is actually the snow being thrown from this nut's snow blower. Duke has a penchant for adding to the sound effects of this exercise.

On the bright side, although it's wet and muddy out there, at least I don't have to shovel it and I got a lot of knitting done!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Duke says: Ike, Ike Go Away

I'm hoping that this rain stops soon. In a matter of 15 minutes, my street flooded. This is my first attempt at posting a video, so bear with me here. Poor Dukealicious Dog does not like the rain. This poor dog has gotta go-what a stubborn beast! He loves the snow. He'll play all day in the snow and even though he gets just as wet, he hates rain. Just as much as he hates the rain, he hates my camera. Any other time, he'd be ogling me. He's good at the stare down.

About an hour after I took this, there was a lull in the rain. Duke finally got to relieve himself. He'd been holding it for about 8 hours.

Rainy Days

The remnants of Ike will be arriving in my neighborhood sometime around 2 PM today. This, on the heels of a front that dumped 4 inches of rain on us yesterday. There were tornadoes sited in Plymouth, Michigan last night. No doubt, this weather is wacky. By tomorrow, we'll be up about 8 inches total in rainfall for the weekend. What's a girl to do? Knit? Yep. And cook.

This is Clapotis half way completed. It's a rather easy knit once you wrap your head around the pattern. Even if I lose my place, it's easy to find where I'm at by counting rows of dropped stitches and counting stitches on the ends. Thank you Joyce for sending me the link to Soul Knitting's chart! It's a mind saver.

The yarn for my Clapotis is Sisik from Dalegarn. Love. It. As predicted, it's a pain in the behind dropping the stitches because of the mohair content. Mohair sticks. Fortunately, it hasn't felted with the fiddling. I love the color scattered throughout.

Flow is finished. Well, mostly. I have a couple of things to do yet-I need to do the finishing around the armholes. But, that hasn't stopped me from wearing it. One night, I paired it with jeans and a brown corduroy jacket. Another night, I paired it with black trousers and a black jacket.

I liked this yarn a lot but found I had some issues maintaining consistent gauge on my stitches due to it's slippery nature.

Flow, pattern by Nora Gaughan, in Seduce by Berocca. They have a name for this color, but I think it looks like pistachio.

This particular project is all Laurie's fault. It's a learning process as I've never really worked roving into a project before. The yarn is Cascade 220 and the roving is Louet merino top. Soft, soft, soft. And squishy.

These are thrummed mittens. Well, one of them anyway. They're knit in the round on US size 6 needles. The little blue stitch holder is where the thumb will go. The white stitches are where the roving is inserted.

Here is the inside stuffed with fluff. For whatever reason, I think of Winnie the Pooh when I say stuffed with fluff. I started the first mitten yesterday and plan to finish it today while a stew simmers on the stove and the rain totals continue to mount. Laurie, if you want this pair, you can have them. Your winters are colder than mine and I imagine, they'd come in handy for a cold morning walk with your dogs.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tales From the Front

Mareseatoats has been getting word out on her Blackberry. I'm thankful she is safe.

"Safe and sound but still under siege. At least it is daylight. No
doubt this will be a real mess with several weeks before all power is
restored. This is much worse than Alicia.

I'm curious why the news stations continue to put all these forecasters and reporters in harm's way. After all, I really am capable of using my overactive imagination. Last night, CNN's Anderson Cooper Show sent a slightly built woman out into this storm. She was holding on to a bush to keep from being spirited away. Do you think it's the fear factor or a type of entertainment? I just don't get it.

I'm looking forward to my sister's take on this storm and her description of what her night was like hunkered down with her friend. I know for certain, she did not get any outdoor photo ops with Stella Maria as her camera woman. She is far more sensible than that!

Here is an interesting clip of Hurricane Ike's surge washing over the monument that commemorates the 1900 hurricane known as Isaac's Storm:

ETA as of 4:30PM EST, Mares and Stella Maria are OK.  No flooding but no power.  We went many hours without news and were starting to worry so we were happy to get this little update.   According to Mare's husband, her corporate office has lost many windows and the area near her apartment may be close to downtown flooding-we were glad she went to her friend's.  I'll be glad when this has all settled down.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'll Say a Little Prayer For You

I'm sorry, but I have to interrupt my political pontificating to bring you a very important message. I've never been one who likes to worry alone. Now you all can worry with me.

Mareseatoats is staying in Houston. I've tried to convince her she needs a stat psych consult in respect to this decision but it seems, she's shit outta luck: all of the psychiatrists have evacuated. She promises to guest blog her experiences right here. We have discussed how much wine she should take to her friend's house. I encouraged her to triple her estimate. Here is her first news from the battleground state of Texas:

To all:

I have decided to stay put during Ike's visit. After the terrible experience of Rita, the cities and counties have done a great job. If you are not in the evacuation zone, we stay put. Run from the water, hide from the wind. My area is not in the storm surge zone. Evacuation has gone really well. Businesses have all sent their employees home until the storm passes. So now I'm home but it was a crazy day.

I am going to stay with my friend Stella-Maria just about 2 miles from here. Her husband Steve is on the disaster recovery team for ExxonMobil and that team is located in Dallas. Stella-Maria decided to stay here so we will stick it out together.

Watching this storm has been a wild ride. They are learning a lot . We are expecting winds 75-110 mph and 5-10 inches of rain. One good thing, there is cool front that will follow Ike. Unlike Alicia when the temperature was 95-100 with no power. This time we could have lows in the mid 60's at night, which would making sleeping without air conditioning tolerable.

So don't worry. I'll be safe and I'll let you know as soon as it is over.


***As we were talking on the phone tonight, Mareseatoats said "ooh, I feel a little breeze." I have an inkling she'll be feeling more than that soon. Stay safe Mares!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

If You Can't Run With the Big Dogs, Stay on the Porch!

Today went beyond ridiculous. I have carpal tunnel from flicking between The Weather Channel and MSNBC. My thumb hurts. I am somewhat worried. If Mareseatoats would call to tell me she is getting the hell out of Houston, I'll feel better. I'm also highly amused by the pot calling the kettle black politics. Miss Piggy is probably fuming with all this slanderous talk about pigs.

This little piggy picture was found by googling lipstick on a pig in google images. It's from May, 2008. Did she run crying foul in response to this? I don't really recall her doing that when this politician had this to say about her:

It's time for Sarah Palin to put her big girl panties on and quit whining about how the democrats are smearing her good name.

If you want someone to crucify for this, go after Torie Clarke. It's her fault for coining this dumb phrase. Her book ,is the root of this idiocy (look at her bio-if you dare). As for McCain's camp crying foul, what's good for the goose should be good for the gander. OK, I'm almost to the end of this exhaustive post. After this, it'll be all knitting, all the time here at The Knitting Nurse's house and you won't have to look at anymore pictures of dolled up pigs. At the least, I'll try hard to stay apolitical. I can't promise it'll work, but I'll try.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The 3 Day List

Lists are a great thing when you're juggling and find you have too many balls in the air.  That's my problem right now.  As far as the new job goes, it helps to be motivated enough that I keep on top of all the paper work.  Sometimes, if I don't write things down, I  find I quickly forget what I did.  I take a lot of calls from people while I'm out on the road.  If I don't jot down those calls, poof!  Gone.  I have little sticky notes all over the joint and my car.

One such sticky note was a reminder to send my Breast Cancer 3 Day team leader a check for my red medical crew fleece.  The deadline was yesterday.  Oops.  I need more 3 Day sticky notes because the Detroit event starts two weeks from tomorrow for crew.  Here is what I need for that:
  1. Stop being a sloth and download that CEU thingymabob so you can get those 21 credits.
  2. Find out where in the hell you stuck that sleeping bag you used 3 years ago.
  3. Come to think of it, where did you hide that not so luxurious pad to cushion your back?
  4. Where did you put your little pillow?
  5. Do you plan to freeze your ass off or should you get some jammies and warm clothes for this event?
  6. Don't you think you should put a last squeeze on friends and family for donations?
  7. Huh?  Well don't you?
  8. What unobtrusive knitting will you take with you?
  9. Don't you think you should give Sandy a buzz as a reminder that you're crewing for her soon?
  10. How about you wash those camouflage scrubs you plan on wearing?  They feel like sandpaper.
  11. Hows about you make a packing list now instead of waiting until the very last possible minute?
  12. Who will drive you to this thing and pick you up?
  13. Call Sebba.
  14. Call Sebba.
  15. Call Sebba.
Pretty soon I'll have enough sticky pads to wallpaper my house.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Oh Really?

I've made my decision in regard to who I'll vote for this November. I'm a pretty moderate person. I work, I pay my taxes, I abide by the laws in my community (well, occasionally, I've been accused of having a lead foot). I've listened to both sides speak, but the republican party just doesn't speak to me. Theirs is indeed the party of the intolerant far right wing. I know that the religious right does not represent the majority of Americans, but I'm completely perplexed why this is the card that is always played. One either agrees with them or is unpatriotic and Godless.

I get about 10 right wing, intolerant and questionably factual emails per day from various people (mostly my delusional brother) who try to sway my opinion. To them I say, please go back to the top and reread my first sentence. These missives are full of divisive hatred the likes of which I thought were gone, but aren't. I'm quite certain this type of shameful politics won't go until we see the backside of Karl Rove. Will this hateful mans legacy ever go away? Can our country take another four years of Bush's Brain Karl?

Here are some samples of my recent emails:

  • O'bama is shamefully unpatriotic. Really? I don't perceive this in him. This was in response to the fact that he had a plane detailed with his slogan for change instead of an American flag (this was only partly true-they detailed the plane to get rid of the previous company's logo). So? I don't know about anyone else here, but I am all over the idea of change. These past 8 years have been brutal from both a national/international aspect and a personal one. Remember, I live in Detroit where we have taken the brunt of the economic downturn. My home has lost close to $100,000 in value and our income has suffered as well. I've gone from part time to full time in an effort to make up what just one of us earned 8 years ago. As a nurse, I routinely care for people who can't afford their rent, their health care and medications. They delay care until it can't be ignored and many times by then, it's too late (it's also by then a medicaid case and your problem too). Am I bitter? You bet your ass I am.

  • O'bama, again, is unpatriotic for not putting his hand on his heart during The Pledge of Allegiance.   Really?  Oh, this one is so not true, it was the National Anthem during which he did not have his hand on his heart-nor was he required to. What is the purpose of a lie like this? Who exactly does it appeal to? Statements like this only cement for me the belief that the republican party is the party of intolerance and hate. Abraham Lincoln must be rolling in his grave. To my brother, specifically, have you looked up the definition of fascism recently?

  • Oh, I love the emails regarding Sarah Barracuda's creds. Ones that like to say she was in government while Barack was a community organizer. Really? Or was she a sports reporter at that time?  I'm sure, whichever, she took time to reapply her lipstick. To the men in my family who have blinders on and can't get past this woman's shapely ass, I ask you, where is her law degree? What is her understanding of constitutional law? What has she done to people who have pissed her off? It's a google search away. Lastly, when will the republicans finish with her tutoring so we can hear what she has to say? Never in my life did I think a campaign would resort to tits and ass to woo the masses. Never say never.

Where exactly are the discussions of issues? I don't care about Sarah's lipstick and sound bites. I want to hear solutions to the problems I see as pressing: education, health care, the mortgage debacle, an end to these wars and the energy problems facing this country.

By the way, to the senders of these emails, I just love my delete button.  Your political missives go the same way as the ones asking about the length a certain body part, counterfeit Viagra, what stocks I should buy, how someone should be pleasured, Brad and Jen gossip and MSNBC breaking news reports: the spam box.

I Love Cuban Pete

Welcome to lazy, movie clip Tuesday. Here is a bit of what I watched on Sunday and maybe, my favorite scene in this entire movie:

It's hard to believe that this movie is 18 years old. It seems like only yesterday when I first watched this.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Do Miracles Happen?

Recently, I had the privilege to witness joy at the passing of a patient. I got the call as I was on my way to dinner. I turned around and went to the address my triage nurse had given me. Let me preface by saying that I was not supposed to go to this house, it was my colleague's territory and she wasn't answering her phone. It turned out that she was home in bed and someone else was supposed to be covering her calls. That nurse didn't answer the phone either, so I went to do my duty in a place I wasn't supposed to be.

When I pulled up to the address, there was such joy and celebration going on in this home that it seemed more like a party atmosphere than the home where a death had just occurred. I thought this couldn't possibly be the right house. It was. It turns out that this patient was so labored in an effort to breathe that the family joined hands around the patient's bed and sang a traditional Catholic hymn. As they completed their singing, their loved one passed. The family was convinced that this soul had gone to heaven. Their celebration of joy was truly an affirmation of their faith.

With the anniversary of my own mother's passing, my heart and mind were heavy. Walking into this home made me feel that indeed, something special had happened here. Just like it had when my mother passed.

I know I've mentioned this story before, but at the anniversary of my mom's death, it bears repeating. My dad passed away in a local, small community hospital that has about 100 beds. Four years later, my mom passed away in the same hospital, in the same room and in the same bed. No person on earth can convince me that this was a coincidence. I know it wasn't. My Dad came that night to claim her back. The idea still brings me an overwhelming sense of peace. I miss both of my parents very much, but it's experiences like the ones I get to witness routinely as a hospice nurse, that convince me I'll see all of my loved ones again.

When all was said and done the other night and I'd pronounced my patient's death, I went home and pondered why it was me that this particular responsibility fell to. Was it a coincidence that nobody else answered their phones? I don't think so. And besides, I've never really cottoned to coincidence, I am of the belief that for every thing that happens, there is an explanation. Something greater was at work and recognizing my grief, had brought me solace at this, the anniversary of my mother's passing: I got to bear witness to another family's miracle and faith. Today, I give thanks for that.

I'm curious, have you experienced your own little miracles or signs? Do they bring you peace, or do you find these things unsettling?

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Our mom, Henrietta, early 1940s

I've been thinking a lot about our Mom, Henrietta. September 7th marks two years since we lost her, but it's not just this anniversary of her death that causes me to reflect on her life. Recently, I had the privilege to attend a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, the land of our grandparents, Irma and Leon.

Brussels, Belgium, August, 2008

Brussels is a charming city of about 1 million people. Today it is the capitol of the European Union. You hear many languages spoken on the streets. I wandered many of the streets, visited the Grand Palace, built by the guilds in the late 17th century - the Renaissance and some magnificent cathedrals. Sidewalk cafes are everywhere serving a local favorite of mussels, fries and of course, Belgian beer. The shops are filled with Belgian lace and tapestry as well as Belgian waffles and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. I took every opportunity to sit outdoors and enjoy the sights, the people and the mussels. I thought much about our mother and grandparents.

Irma and Leon relive their immigration

Irma and Leon immigrated to the United States following World War I. Our mother was born in her house in Detroit in 1926. Her brothers served the US in World War II. Flemish was the native tongue of Irma and Leon. Henrietta understood Flemish - but didn't speak it. Irma would frequently speak to Henrietta in Flemish which would upset Dad; Irma did speak English.

Brussels August, 2008

Catholicism was a major influence in their life. The main cathedral here is spectacular. I must admit, my meager knowledge of world history fails me here. This area was predominantly Flemish but I'm not sure what impact the Reformation had on this region. Food is hearty here just as it was in my grandmother's house. The locals say it is as good as the French but has the portions of the Germans. There were lots of stews in Irma's kitchen. Raisin bread was her specialty (kuka stuten); it was served at every holiday and at many other times of the year. I can still think about how good it tasted smothered with butter.

Augie, Henrietta and Rene- Mom and her brothers

Beer of course, was always present in their home. The Belgians know how to make beer. And now they own Anheuser-Busch (really????). They are cafe people who like to sit and talk while drinking beer or coffee. I have fond memories of our grandfather Leon sitting in his backyard, drinking beer and whistling for his birds to come home to roost. (He raced pigeons).

Irma and Leon-probably mid 1930s (Leon brewed "rootbeer" in the basement of their Detroit home during prohibition.)

I'm sure we kids all remember the brass ashtray of Mannekin Pis, Flemish for little man pee, that we had in our house. (Does anybody have that?) Mannekin Pis is a fountain in Brussels of a little boy peeing. This is probably the number one tourist attraction. It is a bit off the beaten path along the narrow streets. The story we were told growing up was that a merchant's son was missing, and a search party set out to find him. They did find him peeing in somebody's garden. The merchant was so grateful he decided to erect a statue. There are other stories dating from the 14-17 century. One is that the city was under seige and that the young boy peed on the fuse of a bomb and still another that he peed on soldiers entering the city (from a tree). I personally prefer the first story. People from this region don't take themselves too seriously. They enjoy a good time.

Mareseatoats and Mannekin Pis, August, 2008

Henrietta did enjoy a good time. I am sorry she didn't travel here to see the land of her heritage. I think she would have liked it.

Henrietta loved a photo op!

I hope you enjoy the pictures - I'm definitely going back to this region. It is rich in culture and without pretentiousness.

Today's post was brought to you by my sister Mareseatoats. Thank you Mares, I'm sending big hugs to you today.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Adventures in Knitting

My camera is not at home.  Today, it's been borrowed again to go to some dumb football game in South Bend, Indiana.  There was much talk about "Fighting Irish" and "game of my lifetime."  I don't really get this, I mean there are perfectly good football games right here in Michigan.  There was one just last night at the high school right across the street from our house (the band sounded a bit better at 8PM than they sounded at 8 AM for the past month.)  Being that I'm not a complete hardass in the electronics war- I relented and my camera went on vacation.  It left the house a few hours ago.  I hope my camera has a good time.  Too bad for you, I didn't download my pictures so you'll have to use your imagination here for my adventures in knitting.

Moving right along in the greater scheme of a knitter's life, I've completed Flow.  It's beautiful and ever so slightly out of season. That's OK though, it'll be great resort wear in February. The drape of this yarn, a linen blend, is very flattering.  I'm so happy I decided to make it a bit longer so that it falls to my hips.  I can't imagine it shorter as the pattern called for.  If you make Flow, add about an inch and a half before beginning your decreases-unless you're a twig and don't mind a peak a boo belly.

I'm working on my Clapotis now-today is the day I'll finally get to drop some of those stitches.  The yarn is beautifully soft and the pattern so far, is fun.  For the life of me, I don't know why they no longer make this yarn.  I can think of plenty of projects I could make from this.  It must not have been a big seller.  If you've never tried Sisik, you should.  If you're determined, once in a while, you can find it for sale on ebay.  I'm pretty sure what you'll get is either from a yarn store trying to unload it or from a knitter trying to destash.  I still have enough in my own stash to make a sweater after I'm done with this.  I've just the project in mind-a top down turtle neck from Pure and Simple.

I've started to swatch for the sweater election winner, Textured Tunic.  Size 8 needles were a no go-too many stitches to the inch.  So were the size 9 needles.  I've settled on Addi Turbos US size 10.  At least, prior to washing my swatch, that's the needle size that is giving me the gauge closest to 13 stitches to 4 inches that looks nice with my yarn.  I'll have to use a bit of math to make the rest of it work.  I might try to swatch with a 10.5 needle.  Size 11 was spot on but didn't look very nice, kind of sloppy.  I don't know if anyone else here swatches for a sweater, but I've learned the very hard way that it can be a complete waste of time and money if you don't.  Do you swatch?  Do you bind off your swatch and wash and dry prior to your final measurement?  I'd have nightmares about the outcome if I didn't swatch. 

My trick to the swatch is to start with the needle size recommended on the yarn ball band and knit a couple of inches in, usually, stockinette.  I then purl a row to separate one measurement from another and go up or down a size in needles (too many stitches to the inch, go up a size- too few, go down.)  Knit a couple of more inches and repeat until I think I've struck gauge paydirt.  Then, I do a bit of the pattern stitch to see how that will look.  In my swatch, I started with US size 8 and went on to 9, 10 and 11.  The pattern has that bust detail area that is box stitch, so I tried that.  I may go down a needle size when I do this area on the sweater, I think it's too loose looking.  I dunno.  I'll think on it.

The yarn my daughter has selected for her Textured Tunic is Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed, a blend of 85% wool and 15% angora.  The color (360011) is  variegated and the most similar to the wool used in the original pattern.  It's green.  The yarn store told me it's superwash wool which means you can wash it in the machine without ill effect.  I don't know about you, but I think this is a bad way to treat wool.  First, I don't dry clean.  You wouldn't dry clean a sheep, would you?  You wouldn't machine wash one either.  I think it's best to hand wash my knits then block them back into shape.  I know it's a pain in the  ass, but yarn isn't exactly cheap.  Neither is my time and it takes a bit of this to knit a sweater.  I think spending a little time on care of woolen items leads to less heartache all the way around.  They'll smell better without dry cleaners gunk on them too.

Tomorrow, I'll be taking a bit of a break.  My sister has written a lovely tribute to our mother and she'll be guest posting.  Thanks Mares.

Friday, September 5, 2008


The Jabberwocky
Lewis Carroll

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

From The Daily Show:

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I finally did it last night. I said the words, "are you an RN? Can I speak to The RN please?" The subtext is of course, you are a lowly LPN and unworthy of me even speaking to you. The reality is when one of my patients expires, it must be a RN who pronounces the death.

So I'm very sorry Nurse LPN, I know how it feels, but it had to be done. I'm quite certain you know what death looks like and are quite capable of listening to absent heart sounds for the required time. I'm also certain that when pressed, you know how to report a death to the medical examiner. I know why you were so passively aggressive toward me as I've been in your shoes.

One hundred and two years ago, when I first went to nursing school, I was looking ahead to my divorce and desperately needed a quick nursing program. Since I was going to be a single mother with bills to pay, I needed something that would get me a job somewhere rather fast. I chose a vocational program to be a Licensed Practical Nurse as my path of least resistance. It wasn't a bad little program and I learned a lot. Mostly, I learned that LPNs aren't highly respected-even when they're smart or have a boatload of experience. Many RNs and all administrators look down on them. I also learned there aren't too many jobs for the LPN. I had my choice of nursing homes to practice my trade, but that's about it.

My first job was at a horrendous little nursing home where the afternoon shift nurse (a RN), would prep the medications for the nightshift nurse. That's right. She'd take the pills for each patient out of their little identifying containers and place them in cups. The cups would go into a little well with the room number as the only identifier of the mysterious pills. This was to save the ONLY night shift nurse (me), some valuable time. Otherwise, I'd never get to go home and sleep. The most important things about a med pass, known as the five rights, are carved in stone AND written in Florence Nightengale's blood: right patient, right medication, right dose, right time and right route (and I didn't have to google the five rights to check these facts-neither did any nurses reading this.) Can you see the hamster in my brain having a massive seizure at this med set up? I remember asking the seasoned RN how I'd know which medication was which. She told me she didn't make mistakes. Okie dokie then. I quit after my one and only shift. I could not and would not work like this.

A bit later, I took a job at another nursing home. We had sixty patients on my unit, one RN, one LPN and one or two nurse assistants. The RN, a woman from India, seemed nice enough when I first met her. I thought, mistakenly, that she was joking when she told me, "IDRN, I Sit. UDLPN, udodmeds." What? For sixty people? Was she out of her mind? Apparently, she was. True to her word, she sat on her ass all night while I passed every single medication at midnight and then again, at 6 AM. Oh, she had lots of good tips about how to get this done quickly, none of them included her jumping in to help. I never finished my med pass before the end of my shift. Never.

Not once in one hundred and two years, have I forgotten DRN. I've not forgotten the way she made me feel either: small. Last night, not wanting to leave the confines of my home to go pronounce a facility death, I let the dreaded "RUDRN" leave my lips in a rather haughty way. I regret it. From DRN to DLPN, please accept my heartfelt apology.