Tuesday, November 29, 2011

More notes to self because apparently, I'm a slow learner

"It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent. " ~ Dave Barry

Or in my case, if you leave the sunroof ajar, rain will seek out every crevice, cup well and seat in which to accumulate in your car. Doh!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Home Alone

I'm feeling rather hungover today. Since no alcohol was consumed yesterday, I think it was the combination of cooking all day in the kitchen and then starting a 12 hour on call work schedule. Working a midnight shift does that to me, but I'm required to work one holiday a year and Thanksgiving seems to work out best. Last year I got no calls, and this year I got only one call for all 12 hours. I did have to go out, but I was back home in no time at all. I waited another couple of hours to see if my hospice phone would ring again and finally threw in the towel and went to bed. I tossed and turned all night because I think, worried I'd miss a page, I slept with one eye and one ear open.

I'd briefly considered going to either Target or Kohls at 1AM, but simply could not muster the desire to feed the Black Friday Machine. I felt even less compelled when my alarm awakened me at 7:30AM to send report. Rather, I spent the day as I imagine a sloth would. I'm so glad I did.

The reports of violence at 9 different Walmart stores is really disturbing and I can't help but think the frenzied ads leading up to BF feed this insanity. There were reports of fist fights, and fights over towels that cost $1.88. There was one armed robbery with a shooting, and no surprise here, the stereotypical trampling of another human being in the rush to feed the greed machine. Oddly, there was only one account of a woman who pepper sprayed people to get to the items she wanted first. You'd think more people would have thought of that one!

Instead of surrounding myself in lunacy, I stayed home in my jammies all day long. Oh, I mustered enough energy to watch a little college football, eat some leftovers (more than 1 trip to the fridge), read a bit of the Yarn Harlot's book, and of course, knit. I also gave Pepe le Pew Leo a bath.

It's almost time to call it a day and go back to bed. I'm betting the retail workers of America are as relieved as me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Things that keep me awake at night

Somehow when I got my new iphone, my digits were likely sold and now I get calls from all over the country. Utah, Washington, New York, Maine...You name it, the calls are coming in and I don't answer them. The callers, likely machines, don't leave a message, either. As irritating as these calls are, they can't compare to what I encountered yesterday. Last night, I sat in an ICU taking care of a patient for four very long hours. Every two minutes, the unit's phone rang and the caller on the other end was a fax machine. Talk about disruptive! It's not like a busy neuro ICU staff has anything better to do, right? Since I was the only one sitting at the desk for a bit, I took to answering the phone line and hanging up on the computerized fax machine. I have to apologize to the cat scan department though because after the 90th call from the phantom fax machine, I hung up on them once, too.

Why don't Stub Hub and Art Fire get the message that I've unsubscribed to their daily emails more than once? They're still emailing me every day. I abhor junk email. I used to have a wowway email, but got so annoyed by junk--and by junk I mean viagra ads--that I started using gmail to escape, but that's become an issue, too. Yesterday I went into that long ignored wowway account and deleted 891 junk mails. My mac.com email doesn't ever get junk, but then I don't give that email address out to anyone but family and friends. I used to have to pay for the mobile me (mac) account, but realized that they weren't billing me anymore and sometime over the last year, mobile me became a free service. Even though it's free, I still don't get junk. Thanks, Steve!

Can holiday advertising be any more frantic? Talk about annoying! The Target and Kohls commercials are beyond obnoxious. And another thing, I think it's shameful that these stores are opening at midnight, and some even 10PM on Thursday night. I feel sorry for their employees who can't even enjoy the holiday before they descend into retail hell on Friday. I recall the days when you got what you needed before a big holiday because everyone was at home celebrating and spending time with their families. If you forgot an ingredient, you were out of luck. You couldn't even get gasoline on a holiday (or even a Sunday). Now it seems every single store or big chain is open. Nothing is sacred. Even the local CVS is open 7AM to 10 PM Thursday. I think that's sad. What's even sadder is the amount of people who've been camping outside some stores since Saturday. Really? Maybe we can see a picture of them in the dictionary under the definition of insanity. I hope they enjoyed the nearly 2 inches of rain we got yesterday.

Why so bitchy, Nurse Rudee? After all, it's warm(er) today and the sun is shining in the glorious blue sky. I think I must be missing Mr. Larger Than Life and his drama this holiday and it all feels weird. It'll be our first peaceful holiday without the stick in the mud spoiling the day him. To commemorate the occasion, I bought two lovely bottles of pinot noir and even got the wine glasses out so the wine doesn't have to be served in disguise. There will be no fight over the television and Rachel can watch Winnie the Pooh to her heart's delight. What's to miss? To make me feel more myself at this holiday, my son is insisting on buying a ham. And day old vegetable trays. I hope he doesn't expect me to fawn over his offerings.

That is all. Perhaps I should open the wine early.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's all good

Or it will be. Just as soon as these contractors get out of my house.

Wurm, modeled by my friend Judi.

Wurm in closeup. It took awhile to knit (and purl), but I think mainly because my paws needed frequent breaks. I'm all healed now and it's knitting like a maniac as usual. Hey, Christmas is only a few weeks away!

Today there are electricians here to hang our new fixtures. When they opened the box for the chandelier, the special order fixture was in a dozen different pieces. Of course it was. It's Monday. The Monday before a big holiday. It would be bizarre if it all went smoothly--what was I thinking? I called the store and they gave us their fixture off the ceiling. Back at the ranch with the new fixture, and the electrician discovered a screw is missing. The screw that holds the support brackets for the heavy chandelier. Oy.

Can you believe this scarf practically crocheted itself in 20 minutes? The yarn, the star of this attraction, does all the work. It's Rowan's Kidsilk Creation, and while kind of costly, being able to create a last minute gift during the holidays is something I consider priceless.

The hideous living room fixture is gone, but the new one needed to be rigged so the fixture lined up straight. The electrician kept telling me it wouldn't work, but when I handed him the bracket for the old fixture and asked if that would work, I could see the light slowly dawning for him. Ugh.

The kitchen fixture is fine, but while trying to put the bulbs in, the electrician dropped one. There were shards of glass everywhere and when they're gone, I'll have to vacuum to be sure there aren't any bits that could snag Leo's paws.

Speaking of paws, I'm knitting Bella's Mittens for a colleague who is hooked on those Twilight books and movies. She's also a hockey mom who spends hours and hours in cold arenas. She should like these. While these don't exactly knit themselves, they are a really fast knit.

It's only 11 AM. The sparkys aren't done yet and come noon, we're expecting the carpenters to come and start repairing the parts of the basement that were destroyed when the drain tiles were placed. The electricians, two of them, are perplexed over how to put my chandelier together. It doesn't look that hard to me, and would probably be a snap if one of these two would look at the instructions that came with the fixture. Oh wait, how foolish to think of that. Real men don't need directions.

I am so tired of contractors.

Oh...and now it's after noon, I start work at 4 and of course the carpenters aren't here yet.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Post op day 1

The patient is doing quite well today, but after several calls to the house and being told by her caregivers that she's still sleeping, I had to go and see for myself. I blew into the house like a know it all nurse, dragged her out of bed, got her to eat a bowl of pasta and mashed bananas and drink a giant glass of soda. Then I washed her mouth for her and left the patient sitting up watching a little television. So much for a slow night for the staff. I think the codeine was a little more than she could manage and so all she did was sleep. Tonight she'll get the codeine before bed, but tomorrow it needs to stop. I wish all my patients were so sensitive to opiates.

Her smile is beautiful!

Mumma is relieved.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fingers crossed

Wednesday is a big day for Stinkerbell McBookeater. She is having some fairly major oral surgery to correct damage to her teeth that incurred from a fall at school a few years ago. She fractured her maxilla at that time and the fall pushed her two front teeth up into her jaw.

It was an awful, awful event, followed by a horrific oral surgery done in the hospital and attended by the worst anesthesiologist I've ever met in my life. When I told this doctor that benzodiazepenes made her nuts, he pooh-poohed me and went ahead and used Versed anyways. I know in my heart she was awake during nasal intubation and the wiring of her jaw. She came out of recovery screaming bloody murder and my heart broke for her that day. When that doctor made rounds past her bed after surgery, I accused him of being neglectful and told him he was to have nothing else to do with her care. I could see the guilt all over his face. Asshole. I told him that, too.

Six weeks later, when we went back for the removal of the wires, I told the staff that particular anesthesiologist was to have nothing to do with her care and if the staff did not promise to use propofol for sedation, I would leave and find another hospital that would. Those promises were made and kept, though the pin head anesthesiologist did try to interact once. I shamed him and shooed him away. Rachel came out of the O.R. that morning singing and happy. What an incredible difference!

So tomorrow morning, bright and early, she'll be getting some root canals, an extraction or two and a bridge. Her palate isn't right to do implants, so a bridge will have to do. By tomorrow afternoon, she should have a brand new smile.

Wish us well, but mostly her. It's bound to be a long, long day. Poor Stinkerbell.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Love. True love

Watching CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood has become a favorite way to watch snippets of news without immersing ourselves in the 24 hour news feeds that can only lead to anxiety and subsequently, depression. It's an upbeat show that often captures the better parts of our collective nature.

If you watched the show this morning, you could not have missed the story of Tarra and Bella, an unlikely tale of the love and devotion between an elephant and a dog. I recall watching the first story about these two when Bella was injured awhile ago and Tarra stood vigil.

I'm pretty certain I'm going to have this unlikely devoted duo on my mind for quite awhile. I think we could all take a lesson from their story.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nurse Crankybritches

Blame it on the full moon, or even the alignment of all of those ones in the date yesterday, but I am one ill tempered woman this week and I think I know the cause: Inability to knit. Whenever I'm annoyed or overwhelmed, I sit down for a spell and knit my troubles away. This small act helps me cope with whatever the cosmos has sent my way. I've had this addiction with this particular anti-anxiety coping mechanism for about 8 years now. Knitting is what I do to get by. With bilateral hand injuries, I've been thwarted in the coping department and minor annoyances have become thorns in my side.

Today I was abruptly awakened at the butt crack of dawn by two babies crying. They sounded like they were being beaten and there was no way I was going to let that happen. Dressed only in my pajamas (thank God I don't sleep in the buff), I ran out the front door--barefoot in freezing weather--to track down the culprits beating their helpless offspring. I was in the mood to garrote someone with a sturdy cabled circular knitting needle or more likely, throw some well aimed verbal barbs at those vicious parents. Never mind that this scenario made no sense at all to my sleep deprived brain since none of my neighbors have babies. I was convinced that this was indeed what I was hearing. Now outside and frozen solid, reality was setting in. I wasn't hearing babies, I was hearing caterwauling. Really...my neighbor's cats were under another neighbor's truck (right next to my bedroom window) and they were crying...like babies being beaten. What caring parent can ignore a baby's cries for help? Now wide awake early on a Saturday, it would have been perfect for me to grab my wheel and go to spinning circle, except I can't pick up and carry two cups of coffee in my hands, let alone a wheel and project bag. Ugh.

After the feline incident, I turned on my phone to see how little the midnight shift nurse worked. Talk about a thorn in the side--this woman never gets a call and because she works nights, she earns more than the rest of us and primarily sleeps through her shift. Around midnight last night, I sent report on my busy, busy shift, including information on an emergency hospice admission I did late last night. This morning, she reports she got a call regarding the same patient and thought he needed an emergency hospice admission. If she'd bothered to read my report, she'd have known it was already done and the facility was likely calling for some other problem. I texted her as much and she texted this back: "I'm never sure what's going on." WHAT??? Now I know for certain that not only does she rarely get patient calls, she doesn't read reports she does get about patients the rest of us handle. If I could, I'd reach through that phone and stab her in her apathetic eye with one of my idle knitting needles.

See? I can't cope. I.Must.Knit.

Even though my hands hurt, I've been searching for a way to knit without pain. I've discovered purling continental style hurts my left thumb the least and my right hand not at all, so I cast on Wurm. So far I'm still knitting the brim of the hat and though it's taken me 2 days to knit a mere 26 rows, I'm nearly done with that and soon I'll be purling several rows between the knitted rows and that, I'm hoping, should bring some solace, or at least raise my bullshit tolerance up to a more manageable level.

It's either that or I'll have to open a Paypal account so together we can start raising my bond money. Y'all would have my back, wouldn't you?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

No arrests in Saturday night attack on knitter

The LG refrigerator denies its roll in the Saturday night suburban Detroit attack on Knitting Nurse Rudee. In a sworn statement, the refrigerator stated it was minding its own business keeping its contents cold or frozen, when the dishwasher (a Maytag hack), stuck out its door and tripped the hapless nurse. The refrigerator stated, "well, she threw herself at me and there is no truth to the rumor that I kicked her back into play and bruised her rib cage."

Likewise, the stove denied its roll in the vicious attack though it was plainly guilty of causing that hematoma on the left wrist of the victim.

The dishwasher, true to its advertising, has been running silent on the issue.

The victim has been checked out by her doctor who had himself a good laugh over the retelling of the attack of the appliances. Nothing was found to be broken. The doctor advised Nurse Rudee that in the future, she should watch where she is going.

The victim's husband has been staging daily reenactments of the attack for any who wish to see and listen.

Nurse Rudee would like to extend her thanks to all who left comments, and especially commiserates with the spouse of ztoamom. OUCH!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

If it weren't for bad luck

I'd have none at all. Even though I know this, I still bought a Powerball lottery ticket this week. It should come as no surprise that I didn't win.

Today we did a little power shopping for light fixtures. I needed 2 ceiling fixtures and a chandelier for the dining room. While at the lighting store, I picked up some battery operated task lights that I thought could augment the kitchen lighting as I have nothing except the center fixture and we all know that we can pretty much kiss daylight goodbye tonight. I can't live in the dark any longer.

From there we headed off to the mall to try and get into the Apple store. It was so crowded they were taking reservations just to get in the door. No mind, we headed off the The North Face instead. If I'm going to continue this late night hospice career, I'm not going to freeze my ass off doing so. I scored a beautiful coat that can convert to handle anything winter has to dish out to me this year. It's three coats in one depending on whether you wear the quilted down lining by itself, or just the outer shell or when it's really cold, combine the two. It's perfect.

Back home, and I promise, here is where my bad luck story gets good (or bad, depending how you look at this), I started knitting my brother's Christmas present. He asked for something to keep his tea warm this winter in his home on the Lake Erie shore and I'm obliging him. I found this pattern on Ravelry, it's free and it's lovely. The yarn is free, too, since I'm knitting it in Galway that I had in the stash. That's free, right?

Anyways, the pattern is fiddly and full of errors, but I was making headway. I promised myself if I got through the first pattern repeat, I could get up and make a cup of tea. I set my knitting aside and got immediately distracted by my still packaged task lights. Off I went to the kitchen to set the first one up. Getting it out of the package was hard, so I looked for a knife to help me. All the sharp ones were in the dishwasher so I fished in there for the right one, opened the package without self injury and attached the light to the underside of the cabinet.

Ta-da! Perfection. And so easy!

I backed up to admire my handiwork and fell ass over tea kettle when I bumped into the still open door of the dishwasher. It was a surreal fall. I knew what was happening, but in the tight squeeze that doubles as my kitchen, there weren't many options on how I was going down. How I managed to hurt BOTH of my wrists, I don't know. I had a goose egg, which is now a bruise on my left radius, and this is the wound that had me howling. The right didn't hurt until my husband tried to pull me up by that hand. It's not that it wasn't immediately injured, it's because the brain can only process so many pain messages at once and it was busy with my squeaky wheel of a left wrist. It crossed my mind for a fleeting moment that if both hands were casted, I couldn't knit. I couldn't wipe my own behind, either, but that wasn't my first thought.

I have a sneaking suspicion the right wrist is fractured. It's not swollen or deformed, but I cannot flex or extend it without feeling exquisitely sharp pain that starts the wrist, moves deep into my thumb then shoots up my forearm . There are, approximately, 800,000 bones in the wrist. I just know in my heart that one of them, probably that pain in the butt and hard to heal scaphoid bone is likely cracked.

For my pragmatic friends, don't worry...the dishwasher is fine.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Out of the blue

Out with the old

Apparently, I'm still indulging the color blue. Not as an emotion, mind you, but more as my palette in life. I chose blue for my yarn room last year. Bathroom, too. Last week, I got a manicure and painted my fingernails in OPI's, Yoga Ta Ya Get This Blue. I've also been on a blue yarn binge since the first of the year and seem unusually drawn to any shade of this color. About a year ago, I saw the color my friend had painted her son's room and had to have the details. About two weeks later, she thoughtfully mailed me the color card that I promptly taped to the dining room wall and there it stayed for the better part of a year as I wondered if it was a color that spoke to me.

Last week, my husband asked for a to-do list while he was on a two week vacation and I told him he could paint the dining room. I didn't think he would get to it quite so quickly, but he did and I'm so thankful. I went out to lunch with a friend last week and came home to the freshly painted room all dolled up in Sherwin-Williams, Aqua Sphere. I loved it, but of course this led to me confiding that I thought the green in the living room was a mistake, and now a sore spot against the better color in the dining room.

In with the new

Today the living room harmonizes with the dining room and is all decked out in Breezy. Of course, we couldn't have that gilt mirror sticking out like a sore thumb against the cool blue colors, so while I was listening to Bob Seger last night (who, at 66 years old, was very awesome), the substantial mirror frame got a fresh coat of Martha Stewart's metallic decorative paint in the color, Thundercloud. In a word...awesome!

The foyer and hall got painted in, On the Rocks. While this was a lighter color shown with the cool blue families, it's really a lavender-gray and looks so pretty. When the light hits it a certain way, the lavender seems more prominent. I checked the can, and yep, there it is in the formula...maroon tint. I wasn't imagining things, and it really has some lavender there. I'm pleased with the way it looks and decided to indulge my hunch that what this living room needs now is a punch of color in a vibrant purple. I'm thinking pillows or an afghan. That should keep me away from blue yarn for awhile.

I'm not going to think too much about why these colors appeal to me or read too much into my mood. They make me happy and that should be enough of a reason to paint the whole place blue if that's what I want.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I'm still the same

Don't send the dogs out to find me. I'm not lost. I've just been lazy. It crossed my mind that maybe I just didn't have much to say anymore, but being the big mouth in my family, they all know, and you should, too, that's just not true.

Last week was so busy. I accumulated a lot of miles in my hospice-mobile starting each night on one end of town and ending on the exact opposite end way after midnight. I was a Traveling Wo Man. Weeks like that really suck the soul right out of me and on several of those days I found that in addition to fuel, I was fresh out of empathy. When that happens, it's usually time for a vacation. One day will have to do, and today is it.

I have a date tonight with my daughter and my best friend. There will be no late night calls out to ply my trade, though it may be a late night.

Any thieves who now know I won't be home tonight can rest assured I've left someone in charge of protecting our domain. He'll be armed. OK, he only has teeth to attack with, but he can be fierce. Just sayin'.

A note on that cowl: The yarn is 82 yards of hand spun by Emilee and is super bulky. The free pattern on Ravelry is Marian. It took about two hours to knit, maybe three. My model is so patient with me. Handsome, too.