Friday, February 18, 2005

The name is "Jo". Not "Job", *JO*.

This is ridiculous. I thought, after dealing with The Real, Live Flu, that my immune system would be fully cranked and happy. I was wrong.

Thanks to the vagaries of viruses, I now have a head cold. (See why I blog? I can whine to thousands of readers [actually both of you] about this and spare my family and friends.)

Yesterday I woke up with one of those horrible sore throats that makes one unenthusiastic about swallowing. I also had no voice. None. Not even a croak, squeak, or growl. I'm not sure where the voice went; in twenty years of singing with choirs and on my own, I've only lost my voice that completely once before--and that was when I coughed it out with bronchitis.

Anyhow, no voice. Sore throat. Vaguely stuffy head. Gotta go to work anyhow. So what does a nurse with no voice do?

She communicates in squeaks and growls to her patients and with sign language and flashcards to her co-workers. This was, of course, a source of endless amusement for said co-workers, especially as the ol' speechbox started to rev up about 1100 but wasn't totally reliable 'till about 1500.

I managed to trade off a patient assignment with a coworker, too. Although I'd had him the day before, there was no way I could take him back yesterday--he's stone deaf. And his wife takes his hearing aids with him whenever she leaves. (Side note: why do family members do this? I understand that there's a problem with dentures, glasses, or hearing aids getting lost or stolen in healthcare facilities, but you'd think that the risk of that would be outweighed by the benefit of Grampa or Grandma being able to eat, hear, and see while you're not in the room.)

(Speaking of which, I had a patient whose daughter used to take his top denture plate with her when she left, but not his lower one. This meant that for about eight hours of the day, he was reduced to "grphmmrrr fffllllrrrp ggg rrrphlllllllmmmm" instead of actual speech, and that he couldn't eat. What's up with that?)

Anyway. I was getting ready to discharge one very understanding and amused patient at about noon. Walked into the room with all the requisite paperwork and Soforth and So-on, and she asked, "How on earth are you going to do this if you can't talk?" By that time, I had a sort of Eartha Kitt/Katharine Hepburn growl going, so I just said, "I'll do an interpretive dance about how to take care of your incision."

I'm off for three days, Thank Frogs. That'll give me time to go from Really Supremely Congested to Unbelievably Gross and Snotty, catch up on some other blogs, and maybe do some grocery shopping (chicken soup with rice. Chicken soup with noodles. Chicken soup with vegetables. Chicken soup with roasted garlic. Chicken soup with mushrooms).

How much Mucinex can one person take before they start to rattle? Stay tuned.

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