Sunday, October 29, 2006

I've added a rather important link to the sidebar...

It's for Condoms4Life, a group affiliated with Catholics for a Free Choice. The group's purpose is to get Benedict XVI to overturn the Church's ban on condoms for disease prevention.

This is a worthy thing. Most Catholics in this country are in favor of both contraception and disease prophylaxis; a growing number of Catholics in the countries hardest-hit by the AIDS epidemic are pro-condom. In areas where women have very little power, either politically or in personal relationships, condoms (both the male and female sort) offer another option a woman has to try to protect herself from contracting HIV.

What would be lovely would be an HIV-specific vaginal microbicide. Lovelier still would be a vaccine. Best of all would be a sea-change in societies where women don't have the power to refuse sex, prostitution is a means of survival (a very dangerous one) and education efforts on HIV have fallen woefully short.

Condoms are at least a start. We can't do a whole lot about the asinine policies of the present national leaders, but we can support private groups that work to prevent the spread of a disease that's knocking out an entire generation of folks.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Married off.

O God, who hast consecrated the state of Matrimony to such an excellent mystery...Look mercifully upon these thy servants. from "The form of Solemnization of Matrimony" in The Book of Common Prayer

Marriage. Marriage is what brings us together today. Marriage, that blessed arrangement, that dream within a dream. from The Princess Bride

Well, Mother, we were happily married this morning, and a very pretty wedding it was. from Busman's Honeymoon, Dorothy L. Sayers

*** *** *** ***

We did indeed get Beloved Sister married off. She is now Missus Beloved Sister, a title which made both of us say "Ack!" the first time we heard it.

There were no disasters. Well, there was one disaster, when the organ at the church shorted out and stopped playing, but that happened prior to the service. Double-stick tape and waterproof mascara stopped any other disasters dead in their disastrous tracks.

Beloved Sis looked amazing, like a portrait from the late Renaissance had walked out of its frame. The flowers and candles were lovely, and we didn't catch anybody on fire (thank God) or have any problems with arrangements of pepperberry and orange roses falling over on top of the ministers. Dad didn't trip on the way down the aisle, the groom didn't faint, the lights stayed on.

And it was a beautiful day. Seattle yanked out its best weather this weekend, with the fog burning off early and the sun shining its little sunny heart out. It was chilly, yes, but when you're wrapped up in silk and tulle (B. Sis) or black wool (me), who's going to complain about not sweating?

Everyone got enough to eat and drink at the reception, and the little groom on top of the cake only fell off a couple of times, which was funny rather than otherwise. Chef Boy and I had our foam fingers (the #1 foam fingers one waves at football games) at the ready, each decorated with names and dates.

All in all, it was quite pleasant. I have to go back to being a nurse this week, but this'll give me something to think about during unpleasant moments.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Not About Work

Let's review the bidding: T-minus some-odd days and counting

The Beloved Sister, aka The Bride, has her dress. She has her crinoline and her veil and her pearl and crystal necklace. She has her shoes; with luck, she'll have flowers which I have already categorically refused to help arrange, as flowers die at my touch. Instead, I will pour wine and keep the dog entertained.

The Bride looks, even when she's trying hard to be sexy, like a milkmaid. She's all blond hair and buxom figure and rosy cheeks. Thus, she'll look perfect and wholesome and bridelike in her cream-colored silk and Mom's veil ("If you're sure you want the kharma from that," I said, "you're welcome to it, since I wore it too") and pearls. The Groom will be pleased.

He'll probably be even more pleased once I walk down the aisle. See, I *don't* look milkmaidish and wholesome. I do not glow. Instead, from the time I was a child, I have looked as though I just got out of bed, no matter what I do. As I've gotten older, it looks as though I've gotten out of a very well-populated bed. (Hi, Mom!) I have a dress that could cause a riot, shoes that are a miracle of modern engineering, and pearls that say, "Yes, I'm black and shiny and irregular; screw you."

We'll be diametrically opposed, The Bride and Her Attendant. I'll pour the wine; she'll say the vows. I'll keep the annoying relatives and friends at bay; she'll glow cheerfully and cut cake. I'll be the bouncer, and retrieve whatever vases sticky-fingered guests have tried to steal; she'll be bridelike and happy and, probably, not eat.

Which reminds me to put aside a plate of food for her. Brides never eat enough on their wedding days.

When I got married, Beloved Sister went back to the house in the 100* heat to retrieve the flowers we'd left behind by mistake. She had to drive an unfamilliar car through an unfamilliar town to do that, and then she had to get past the watchful wolf-hybrid that lived at my house. She managed all of that, and was still back in time for the wedding, unfazed.

I owe her.

I especially owe her for the full cup of rice she managed to throw down my cleavage as Der Hub and I ran out of the reception.

Bride, be warned. I am practicing my overhand pitch.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Oh, dear. Now I can't sleep.

I watched the PBS special on the Freedom Riders and CORE and the SNCC tonight, the one about the downtown Nashville boycott and the nationwide Woolworth's boycott in the early 1960's. And I was gobsmacked, as I am every time I see that special, that the sort of racism and hatred shown existed in my sister's lifetime. And I wondered, as I do every time I see that special, what the hell people were thinking.

Well, well. Then I clicked over to Pandagon. One of the commenters there, Pam Spaulding, has a website of her own as well called Pam's House Blend. You'd figure, being an outspoken Black feminist lesbian, that she'd have to take some shit from people who seem to crawl out of the sewers from time to time...but she linked to a Blogger site that blew. My. Mind. Not only is it chock-full of the sorts of things that make me nauseated, but it's primarily focused on her. Which makes it not only hate speech but harassment.

And yes, I tagged that sumbitch and then sent Blogger an email, pointing out the site, pointing out that it was harassment, and said please do something about this now thank you.

Every time I think we've evolved as a society I run across weirdos like that. Pure kooks. Pure hate-filled, bile spewing kooks that literally make me throw up in my mouth a little bit. And I wonder: what would I do if I had to take care of one of those people?

I mean, I'm in the South. And I've heard some real gems come out of people's mouths in the last few years. For some reason, the folks with brain tumors or massive strokes are rarely the ones with outspoken, bigoted views, who find it acceptable to use racial slurs in public. It's the people who've just had, say, a lumbar laminectomy. They don't even have the excuse of having had a hole cut in their head.

But by the time I hear that sort of garbage from one of my patients, I'm already committed to taking care of them for the day. So I slap them down, as politely as I can, by telling them that a) that sort of language is *not* acceptable to me, b) they won't use it in front of me, and c) they've had their one chance. Next time, they get another nurse.

And yeah, I have had to turn over care a couple of times to the charge. I hate to do it; I'd frankly rather just leave those folks in the bed, but somebody has to make sure their miserable little shriveled souls don't leave their bodies in an untimely fashion.

But. What would I do if, say, a Klansman came in for surgery?

I know they exist. I know some of them live around here, probably in the same neighborhoods as the Birchers and the disciples of Phelps.

Would I take care of that person? *Could* I? I mean, I have a duty not to harm, right? And I have a duty to serve. All that stuff in the Nightingale Pledge is stuff I agree to do every day when I put my clogs on and head out the door. But could I, in good conscience, agree to help heal and succor somebody that I figure is better off dead?

What about a rapist? Child molester? The guy who starved his aunt to death? What if *he* came back? What about some dude who habitually beats up his wife? If I knew about it in advance, would I take them on?

All I know for sure is that if Red Peters shows up on my floor, he'd best be prepared to start his own damn IV.



Sunday, October 08, 2006

Why, yes, Questions 1 and 4 do have a practical application.

Friday afternoon at about 1530, I was hit by what can only be called a solid wall of ugh. I think it was brick ugh, perhaps coated on one side with titanium and on the other with lead. With little lead weights hanging down from strings of ugh at the top of the wall. Little lead weights filled with ugh that would bonk me on the head now and then and make me either sit down suddenly or run for the bathroom.

I spent Friday night ransacking my kitchen cabinet for drugs. (Note: don't keep drugs in the bathroom. The heat and humidity aren't good for them.) I think I took two allergy pills, a couple of decongestants, a Mucinex, perhaps a Dramamine (I don't really recall), a whole lot of zinc, some ibuprofen, and a couple of things from the bottom of my purse that, upon reflection, might've actually been Dentyne Ice gum covered with lint. Anyway, it seemed like a good idea at the time. And then I slept all night, in two-hour stretches each time.

I lathered, rinsed, and repeated all day yesterday, washing up on the shore at about 2030, convinced I would have to go to the doctor today, I felt so wretched. Then Chef Boy showed up, bearing a bottle of bourbon.

Say what you will about alcohol use and the immune system: When the Evil Exploding Butt Syndrome has stopped and you're dealing with nothing more than a nasty head cold, a couple of very powerful hot whiskeys with lemon can do a lot of good. I'm not sure that continuing the application of bourbon is all that good an idea; Chef Boy took a leaf from the old Johnny Walker ad, in which the influenza bug is repelled by the sight of cheap Scotch, and continued medical self-administration. He's not feeling nearly as good as I am today.

I'm feeling so good, in fact, that I'm bored. I'm not well enough to clean house, but not sick enough to sleep any more. I don't have cable. I've read the latest issue of "BARK" twice and gone through all my old books to see if there's anything I don't really remember that well. I suppose I could finish up some pre-Beloved-Sister's-Wedding shopping, but I don't feel well enough for that, either.

I think what I'll do instead is draw up and fabricate an ugh-proof suit to wear all winter long. That way, when the one person on the floor who handles every chart and piece of paper in the department comes in sick again, and when little Billy is garking in every available bathroom, I will stay well.

Or maybe I'll just carry around a bottle of Johnny.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A Quick Quiz

Do you qualify to be in or near my hospital? Take this simple quiz to find out!

1. Little Billy has had vomiting, diarrhea, and a low-grade fever for four days. Do you:
a. Keep him at home until his symptoms subside
b. Take him to the pediatrician for evaluation
c. Stock up on Pedialyte and ride it out
d. Take him to the hospital to see Grandma, who just had an open aneurysm clipping?

2. You arrive an hour and a half ahead of your admission time. On being told there will be no bed for fifteen minutes, do you:
a. Go outside and peacefully smoke a cigarette
b. Pick up a magazine and look at the pretty pictures
c. Engage in charming conversation with your spouse
d. Exhibit behavior that requires a visit by Security, a call to the cops, and an arrest on charges of assault and battery?

3. You are concerned about your mother's well-being. Do you:
a. Ask your mother's nurse for updates during the day
b. Ask the charge nurse for updates during the day
c. Ask the doctors for updates during the day
d. Walk into the nurses' station, open your mother's chart, and then exhibit behavior that requires a visit by Security?

4. You are an employee at a busy hospital. You have a cold. Do you:
a. Stay home with DayQuil and some movies
b. Sleep it off at home
c. Have friends bring chicken soup to your house
d. Come to work, snot and sneeze all over everything, and infect half the floor?

5. You are a doctor writing transfer orders for a patient. Do you:
a. Ask the charge nurse for the transfer order protocol
b. Write the transfer orders on independent order sheets
c. Make the effort to have legible handwriting
d. Jumble transfer and in-house orders together in an impossible scrawl and, when told that's not acceptable, exhibit behavior that requires a call to Security?

If you answered A, B, or C to any of the above questions, you are not qualified to come to the hospital in any capacity. If you answered D to any of the above questions, please come on down and join the herd of a whole lotta stupid that's been goin' on.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Happy Dance! It's a new Change of Shift!

Dammit. I almost typed "Change of Shirt" again.

Okay, fine. Here's the latest Change of Shirt.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Loopy, Lazy, and Linktastic.

I suppose I could post about the last couple of days at work, but I really don't feel like it. See, I got really sick yesterday after my workout from a combination of this week's stress and a huge bout of circuit training, and then I felt so bad last night that I forgot to take my antidepressant, and then I had weird dreams about planes nearly crashing and me nearly losing The Cat on the streets of Paris. So when I got up, I took the usual dose of antidepressant, but then discovered that I had no coffee (jarring music) and the combination of Lapsang Souchong tea and enough venlafexine to drop a rhino made me feel so bad that I had to go back to bed for a while.

Plus, The Cat is garking up hairballs and being lethargic. She doesn't feel so good, either.

But I *do* have links. I got one of those memes from Chocolate & Raspberries, along with a couple of other people (thanks, Crystal!) that asks for your seven favorite songs and your seven favorite blogs. I don't *have* seven favorite songs (well, I do, but they change every ten minutes), but I do have bloggy wonderment. So let's get to it:

Bad Hair Day is the less funny, more coarse sister of Go Fug Yourself...but it's worth reading anyhow. Good tips here on how not to end up looking like Fergie.

I've mentioned Dogblog before. It deserves mention again. I especially love the picture of the basset hound with glowing green eyes who has ACQUIRED TARGET LOCKED ON TARGET BASSET BOT SAYS HELLO in the archives.

For more critter fun, there's Cute Overload. CO is the hottest thing going right now; I feel quite smug that I've been reading it since its inception. The only drawback to CO is that some of the smaller animals tend to make their way into my non-antidepressant-brained dreams.

If you need a laugh, you must go to The Comics Curmudgeon. I discovered a real appreciation for bad comics here.

There's also Snarkywood. It's along the lines of GFY. My only complaint is that they don't update it enough (same deal as with Dogblog).

For those questions that just can't be answered well enough by Google, there's Wikipedia. If you're not already addicted to Wiki, you ought to be.

Shakespeare's Sister is a left-leaning (hell, it's a screaming liberal lefty commie blog, just like mine) group blog that's all about the politics.

I read The Disgruntled Chemist a lot, just for fun. It's nice to read somebody smarter than oneself.

That's eight. Have a good time. I'm going back to bed after I do some dishes.