Musings of a Night Nurse

My journal for musing about being a night nurse, life and death, life in general and my passion for knitting

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Location: New York, United States

I have been a nurse for 30 years in long term care. Now don't make that face! I believe we need to care for our elderly and they deserve a loving, dignified end of life experience. I am married to the most wonderful man in the world for 18 years. I have no children of my own, but due to my step-sons I have a wonderful 5 year old grandson! I am mom to 2 17 year old cats and a BIG black lab/great dane Buddy (yes he weighs 146 lbs) that is either the dumbest or smartest dog around! LOL

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Back from being MIA

Ok, like a lot of other things in my life, I swore I was going to keep up this blog........didn't happen! LOL But I am now back and just wanted to do a small update!
First off, many many people have asked about my patient in the previous post, thankfully he went home the day after I wrote that post, so he is no longer suffering. However it truly has taken me much longer to get over the trauma!

Now on to knitting! I have started many projects and again, finished none! I have a baby sweater almost done for a friend, but haven't had the ambition to finish. It is HOT here in Western NY. Well today it is much cooler, but it will only last a few days.

I received a wonderful package in the mail yesterday from my swap partner Fran! OHHHHHHHH it is gorgeous! A BIG cake of sock yarn in a wonderful blue color way with some cream and green, and 2 wonderful cakes of soap that she made herself! If you could just smell how wonderful they are! I plan on using one for my shower this morning, just can't figure out which one!

The picture just doesn't do justice to the yarn, the colors are really gorgeous!
Thank you Fran!

Now speaking of socks, I have yet to finish a sock. I was tooling along having a grand time last night on Jeanne Townsends Pretty Petals ( I joined the KAL but um decided I needed to start before August 1, good thing too!) when I notice a long strip of yarn on the inside of my sock. Apparently while fighting with 4 dpn's the yarn got in between and around and made quite the mess. I refused to panic. So I gingerly removed all 4 dpn and began to frog to that area. So far so good, but trying to put the stitches back on with all the yarn overs and k2tog and psso, I found it impossible. So I frogged the whole thing and put it away. I will give it another go, but needed to chill for the night.

As soon as I remember how I will put the button for the Pretty Petals KAL on the sidebar along with the button for the MSampler KAL. Oh and I promise to take a picture of the sampler to date. We are on pattern 4 and it is so pretty! Well I need to shower and get the day going, I will be back as promised this time. LOL REALLY!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A need to vent on a barbaric happening

OMG! In 30 years of nursing, I have never, ever seen anything so barbaric. I am shaking so badly that it is hard to type. My heart is breaking, I want to smash something (or someone) and I want to get falling down stupid drunk! I do NOT drink! so does that give you an idea of where my mind is right now?

How do I start..........with the HIPPA laws as they are I have to be very careful and not give out any identifying information. Oh Hell here goes. I have a 69 year old resident that is a stroke victim. He is aphasic (can't really speak, but is able to get his wants and needs known) This man never complains about anything! He may swear at you now and then if he doesn't like whats happening but I have never known him to complain.

Friday night I went to work and the evening nurse tells me that he is complaining of abdomenal pain. Now this is the deal. you ask him a question he says yes or no. So I ask him if he is in pain, he answers yes, I ask him to show me where the pain is, he puts his hand on his abdomen. Now the evening nurse has alread gone thru the bowel movement thing, and given him a suppository which did not relieve his pain. I take his temp, hmmmmm its 103. Ok, time to do a full assessment. Lungs clear, uring clear, palpate the abdomen.......uh oh, guarding on the right and a very definite positive rebound. I call my supervisor and tell her I believe he has a hot appendix. She comes up does the same thing I did and agrees with me. Simple so far right?

She calls the doc, first roadblock. Resident is comfort care which means no lab draws, no x-rays, no hospitalization. With alot of convincing on the part of my supervisor and myself we get him to agree to send the resident out for evaluation to the ED IFFFFFFFF his wife says it is ok. Ok, this should be simple right??? WRONG!!!!

The wife refuses to let us send him to the ED. WTF???????? sorry about the language! So I give him an IM narcotic analgesic. NO effect from it. I spend all night trying to make this man comfortable.

The next AFTERNOON the wife finally agrees to let him go to the ED to be evaluated. Can you all guess what they found? A RUPTURED appendix! DAMN! if we had sent him in the night like we wanted, it would have been a simple lap appendectomy, and boom back at the nursing home within 24 hours. Now once the appendix ruptures, they have to make a large incision, do a peritoneal lavage (flushing out the infection and gunk) LEAVE the incision open and let it heal from the inside out. Meanwhile the patient would be on heavy duty IV antibiotics and be in the hospital a while.

Do they do this? Hell no! The wife wants him to stay at the nursing home. So they send the man back to me in excruciating pain to die of peritonitis. Again excuse the language but WTF!!!!!!!! Saturday night, Sunday night and last night I am with this man while he is in indescribable pain. The doc keeps upping the Morophine but it isn't helping.

Last night I was giving Roxinal (liquid morophine) 10mg by mouth every hour and still could not control this mans pain! Dear Lord! I had to go into the med room and close the door and kick something. I wanted to hit someone! Just wasn't sure if it was the wife for being a heartless bitch, or the doc for possibly not explaining to the family how horrific this death would be!

I so wanted to call in sick Sunday and Monday night. I did not want to be any part of this barbarism. The only that stopped me was knowing that I would do my damndest to make him comfortable. The family was not there all night to hear this man in pain, I was. My poor CNA's did not know what to do when I burst into tears this morning. But I knew there are a lot of nurses that are hesitant to give morophine when respirations are already suppressed as morophine will suppress the respirations more.

As I said, I have been doing this for 30 years and in that time I certainly have learned to be able to take a step back and do my job with out letting my spirit be crushed each time there is a death. Of course there are always those that get to you no matter what, but you learn to be objective and proud of being able to be part of a loving and peaceful passing. Just couldn't freaking do it this time.

If you read this far, thank you. I think I will go take my Vicodin and flexaril and Elavil and try to sleep and hope I don't have any more nightmares.

Please folks, be very careful and choosy who you pick to be your health care proxy, who you choose to make medical decisions for you, and make sure they know what your wishes are!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Long time no post!

well as you can see it has been a long long time since I posted! LOL My FLAK is left in purgatory for now, just haven't had the ambition and/or bravery to get it out and give it another shot! Besides, I have a bunch of baby things to get done! Everyone is having babies it seems. I have been asked about the sweater set that I did for the Olympics. It is called Suzanne's Matinee Jacket and you can only get it by joining Babysweaters and last I knew there was a waiting list to join! It really is my favorite type of sweater, raglan sleeves knit from the top down, not a bunches of "pieces" to sew together!

I am doing another one now, called Rindy's Raglan top down sweater for a co-worker that is having a little boy, such a soft blue! I haven't found the hat and booties/socks I want to do with it yet, but as soon as I sew the buttons on, I will post a pic. Oh and sorry, that pattern is in the files of Babysweaters too! Next on my list is to finally sew together and put buttons on mint green Beribboned sweater, and then I will post that. Ohhhhhhh and I have to get the pattern for Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket! ohhhhhhhh you should see the variations that Rindy does on that one! I hope Rindy won't mind me putting the URL to her pictures here. I will have to ask her! Rindy

On the health front, and here is the real reason I haven't been updating!
I am still in Back HELL! I am taking a break from Physical Therapy, cause I am just sooo discouraged! I did visit the pain clinic, and the doc there says that it is my sacral-iliac joint that is unstable and causing most of the pain. hmmmmmmmm ok, soooooooo I have had one injection into the SI joint with probably 5 more to follow, and along with that! about six injections into the L-5 area, not sure if it is into the disc or not. Spring is here, and I soooooooo want to do thorough, deep spring cleaning, but nooooooooooooo, if I clean, I won't be able to work, so I am stuck just doing the lick and a promise that started back in September. All the winter yuk is building up and I am NOT happy!

And just to add to the fun, my DH has severe emphysema, last year he wound up in the hospital and I almost lost him. The solumedrol they gave me IV to help the inflammation so he could breath, sent him into another world where monsters and snakes and spiders live! Also a good dose of paranoia, he wouldn't take any meds unless I was there to tell him it was ok. So he came home on 6L of O2 and nebulizers every 4 hours. He did really well and we were able to decrease the O2 to 2L. Yesterday morning he wakes with body shaking chills. Yup you guessed it, Fever of 104, lungs sounds were disgusting with every rale, rhonchi, crackle and wheeze you could imagine. Here comes super nurse!!!!!!!!!! LOL Gave him the only 2 tylenol in the house, made him do a neb treatment, then ran to the store for advil (works better on fevers) and mucinex to thin the secretions,hounded him to take my vitamin C and zinc. And insisted on nebs every 4 hours. I even came home last night on my lunch break to check on him. This morning his lungs sound good and no temp! yeah!!!!!!! but as I told him, " I am the nurse, the doctor, and your mother today, you WILL do everything I tell you too unless you want to vist the hospital again. So far so good! Well off to catch a few hours of sleep.
Hope to post some pics shortly!

Sunday, March 19, 2006


ok, well I know I promised pictures. I was down to the elbow on my sleeve, and it fit! HOWEVER.........there had been a little bitty mistake on the underside of the sleeve in my moss stitch. I ignored it, thought no one is going to see it, I can work around this! You know, the guy on the galloping horse thing? Well it just kept getting worse, no matter how I tried to "correct" it, til finally there was an area, that instead of looking like moss stitch, had taken on the appearance of 1x1 rib for about 10 stitches. Still, I know no one else but me would notice right? But I couldn't ignore it, so I frogged! the whole blessed thing all the way back to stitches being picked up.

So I picked up the stitches, but now for some unknown reason, my first baby rope that should correspond with the baby rope on the saddle is sadly screwed up.

Yes the FLAK has gone into the knitting bag while I get over my frustration once again, I took a break to work on the mid March KAL from my dishcloths group. Very nice pattern (round flower petal)and very easy!

I also began a sweater for my 1 year old niece from a leisure arts booklet, Knitting for Little Darlings, or something like that. I am doing 18 months size even tho Maysa is a peanut! Because I know she will need it in the fall! Now I wish I could find a sweater pattern I like for her big sister Isabella who is about to turn 4. Oh and their big brother Dakota, who is 8. And then there is my niece Christa, who is 6. I will try to take some pics later today of the sweater from the booklet, and also to show you the hideous mess I have made of my FLAK! LOL

Yes I must keep repeating, KNITTING IS CALMING!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A bit of Irish!

Your Irish Name Is...

Isobel MacMahon

LOL gotta love St. Paddy's Day, especially if you have any Irish in you at all! Me great-grandmather was of County Cork, name of Mamie Callory, immigrated to the United States around 1890. To celebrate, I have again taken up my FLAK, finally finished the left front and have picked up the right sleeve and am working in the round. No pictures yet, but I promise soon!

Also I think my epitath is very much like me! Take a look!

Take this quiz at

Monday, March 06, 2006

Brain disconnedt

Well I spent all day yesterday trying to do the left side of my FLAK. ripped it out x3. Finally tossed it into the knitting bag to wait for today. I have no idea why my brain cannot figure out how to make it match the right front exactly. I know that this should be a no brainer, maybe today my brain will reconnect and I can finish the front and go on to brain freeze for the sleeves. I am thinking that somehow I may have truly messed up the right front, thus causing the problems with the left. If so, too bad, I am NOT going to tear out the right front, the left will match somehow, someway! Stay tuned! Hopefully by this time tomorrow I will have the left front done and a pic on this blog!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

back in the FLAK saddle

First let me tell you that I won a prize from the Knitting Olympics! Can ya believe it? 2 skeins of hand-dyed sock yarn! Can't wait to get it and get serious about knitting socks! I have practiced with the dpn on worsted weight, and I am really looking forward to having a pair of socks that I knit myself!

Ok, onward, no pictures, but yesterday (my birthday LOL) I had a very quiet day where I could sit and really figure out how to pick up the stitches and do the neck shaping for my FLAK cardigan. Ok, so I did visit the Frog pond once. I had all of my increases on when low and behold, I had a really bad cross on my braid about six rows down. I tried laddering down to fix it, but somehow my brain cannot wrap itself around that concept. Soooooooooo I frogged the whole thing, picked up the stitches again and started over! I have now cast on all the extra stitches for my right front and have about 2 inches done. So what am I doing now while I continue knitting the right front? Stressing about the left front of course! LOL stay tuned, I will post a pic when both fronts are completed before I start stressing about the sleeves!

Awwwwwwwwww Knitting is sooooooooo relaxing! LOL
(oh and I think my right front neck edge does not look as neat and nice as Janets does in the instructions!