Charge Nurse:  Are you single?

Me: (suspiciously and defensively) WHY?

Charge Nurse: Remember that day when I introduced you the ortho-tech?  He wanted to ask you out, but you ran away so quick!

Me: It was the end of the shift!  I just wanted to go home and sleep!

Needless to say, I was utterly horrified.  Of course a small crowd surrounded me, looking to pick up the juicy gossip.  For two years, I separated my work and personal life.  I don’t even have any of my coworkers (aside from former classmates who I now work with) on my Facebook.  Seeing that my unit is 99.9999% women, word will spread like fire. 

I just want to lay low. 

Patient was on meth when he decided that he has tumors in his testicles. Bought a chainsaw and destroyed his genitals.

Gets admitted to the hospital and then says “Why can’t I go home?! I have work tomorrow!”

Don’t do drugs…

Just about every time I see someone I stop. I kind of got out of the habit in the last couple of years, moved to a big city and all that, my girlfriend wasn’t too stoked on the practice. Then some shit happened to me that changed me and I am back to offering rides habitually. If you would indulge me, it is long story and has almost nothing to do with hitch hiking other than happening on a road.

This past year I have had 3 instances of car trouble. A blow out on a freeway, a bunch of blown fuses and an out of gas situation. All of them were while driving other people’s cars which, for some reason, makes it worse on an emotional level. It makes it worse on a practical level as well, what with the fact that I carry things like a jack and extra fuses in my car, and know enough not to park, facing downhill, on a steep incline with less than a gallon of fuel.

Anyway, each of these times this shit happened I was DISGUSTED with how people would not bother to help me. I spent hours on the side of the freeway waiting, watching roadside assistance vehicles blow past me, for AAA to show. The 4 gas stations I asked for a gas can at told me that they couldn’t loan them out “for my safety” but I could buy a really shitty 1-gallon one with no cap for $15. It was enough, each time, to make you say shit like “this country is going to hell in a handbasket.”
But you know who came to my rescue all three times? Immigrants. Mexican immigrants. None of them spoke a lick of the language. But one of those dudes had a profound affect on me.

He was the guy that stopped to help me with a blow out with his whole family of 6 in tow. I was on the side of the road for close to 4 hours. Big jeep, blown rear tire, had a spare but no jack. I had signs in the windows of the car, big signs that said NEED A JACK and offered money. No dice. Right as I am about to give up and just hitch out there a van pulls over and dude bounds out. He sizes the situation up and calls for his youngest daughter who speaks english. He conveys through her that he has a jack but it is too small for the Jeep so we will need to brace it. He produces a saw from the van and cuts a log out of a downed tree on the side of the road. We rolled it over, put his jack on top, and bam, in business. I start taking the wheel off and, if you can believe it, I broke his tire iron. It was one of those collapsible ones and I wasn’t careful and I snapped the head I needed clean off. Fuck.
No worries, he runs to the van, gives it to his wife and she is gone in a flash, down the road to buy a tire iron. She is back in 15 minutes, we finish the job with a little sweat and cussing (stupid log was starting to give), and I am a very happy man. We are both filthy and sweaty. The wife produces a large water jug for us to wash our hands in. I tried to put a 20 in the man’s hand but he wouldn’t take it so I instead gave it to his wife as quietly as I could. I thanked them up one side and down the other. I asked the little girl where they lived, thinking maybe I could send them a gift for being so awesome. She says they live in Mexico. They are here so mommy and daddy can pick peaches for the next few weeks. After that they are going to pick cherries then go back home. She asks if I have had lunch and when I told her no she gave me a tamale from their cooler, the best fucking tamale I have ever had.

So, to clarify, a family that is undoubtedly poorer than you, me, and just about everyone else on that stretch of road, working on a seasonal basis where time is money, took an hour or two out of their day to help some strange dude on the side of the road when people in tow trucks were just passing me by. Wow…
But we aren’t done yet. I thank them again and walk back to my car and open the foil on the tamale cause I am starving at this point and what do I find inside? My fucking $20 bill! I whirl around and run up to the van and the guy rolls his window down. He sees the $20 in my hand and just shaking his head no like he won’t take it. All I can think to say is “Por Favor, Por Favor, Por Favor” with my hands out. Dude just smiles, shakes his head and, with what looked like great concentration, tried his hardest to speak to me in English:

"Today you…. tomorrow me."

Rolled up his window, drove away, his daughter waving to me in the rear view. I sat in my car eating the best fucking tamale of all time and I just cried. Like a little girl. It has been a rough year and nothing has broke my way. This was so out of left field I just couldn’t deal.

In the 5 months since I have changed a couple of tires, given a few rides to gas stations and, once, went 50 miles out of my way to get a girl to an airport. I won’t accept money. Every time I tell them the same thing when we are through:

"Today you…. tomorrow me."

Last night, we had no assistants or break nurse.

Having to clean a pooping, 300+ lbs, elderly man with a hip fracture all by myself was a daunting task. I was visibly stressed, and when that happens, my communication is short and to the point. The fluffy, nurturing nurse is out the window. Turning this patient was like pushing a boulder. Did I mention he was also confused and screaming for his son the entire night? Yep.

However, after I had cleaned him, gave him clean sheets, and covered him in a new blanket, he must have had a moment of clarity.

Patient: Give me your hand
Me: (tired and spent) what do you need, sir?
Patient: Your hand.
(Gives him my hand)
Patient: Thank you.
Me: Sir, it was tough, but we made it through. You did great.

Whatever frustrations I had dissipated into a wave of relief. Prior to this moment, I was a tense ball of knots and this confused old man just melted me. Compassion transcends all barriers.

Ah, Dr. D… Why are you so handsome and nice and married and with kids?

Remembering the things you didn’t do after you’ve already gone home and slept for 6 hours.

My entry into the new year was very anticlimatic. It was below anticlimatic.  The floor was understaffed due to a code green in the emergency room, so I had to go into work four hours early, doing a 13.5 hour shift that was probably the catalyst to my illness. 

On New Year’s Day, after that horrific shift, I caught a glimpse of myself in the car mirror and my face was literally green.  Any evidence of life was drained out of me.   That night I curled up into the fetal position to ward off bodyaches and a cough so persistent that I ended up vomiting all over my blanket.  It had been years since the last time I vomited (that didn’t involve alcohol).  I was partly bewildered and partly amused because it seemed like such a childish thing, to vomit in bed.

From what I can understand of my Vietnamese-French doctor (her accent is so strange), she put me on antibiotics, codeine and an inhaler.  Got an excuse note to be off work this weekend (yay), but pretty much losing half of my income for this payperiod (meh). 

Last week I scored a teal yoga mat for $20 (originally $70), and am aching to go to bikram, but that could be considered a form of bioterrorism in my current condition.   Back in the corner you go…


When the professor asks a question to the front row: 


When the professor asks a question to the back row: 


I’m Not the Cursing Kind, But…

"Jesus fucking Christ…"

It’s out of my character to say such offensive things, but after agreeing to stay overtime after my night shift, I found myself completely overwhelmed when right at shift change, my patients went downhill. 

Systolic blood pressure in the 80’s.  Tachycardic in the high 130’s.  Jackson Pratt draining 300cc+ of serous liquid.  Urine output in the last 8 hours is 200cc.  Speaks no lick of English and the MD is talking at her with no efforts to make sure she understands. 

"Jesus fucking Christ…"

Another patient thinks he’s having a stroke when it’s really gas pains.  Then he had explosive diarrhea. 

My other patient is in tears because she refused to be premedicated before I removed her PCA dilaudid, and now she is at “maximum pain”.  Girl, I TOLD you to take that Norco before I took away your PCA.  -__-

Holy heifer. I KO’ed when I fell into bed.