August, 2005 Archive

August 4, 2005, 9:22 pm

Circadian Rhythm Caper

“Department Store Nurse”???

You mean I could have worked for Nordstroms? Saks Fifth Avenue? Neiman Marcus?

All these years I’ve missed out on employee discounts?

What on earth would the job description say?

“Wanted: young, beautiful RN to standby in case someone faints in Hosiery. Ability to pose in white uniform and cap so that doorman can administer side-long ogles a plus. Advanced training in analgesia for headaches secondary to over-enthusiastic fragrance sprayers required”.

I bet she even got to park up front…..


I am so exhausted I can’t feel my fingers on the keyboard.

Why, you ask? Another emotionally exhausting day saving lives? A whirlwind of one emergency after another, juggling critical patient after critical patient with nary a thought for myself, doctors requesting my expertise at every turn and patients clinging to my arm, thanking me for just….being?


I worked a day shift.

Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat.

I am what is known as a night owl, a vampire, a creature of the dark. To me, 0700 is the middle of the night! I don’t even go to bed until 0300 and that’s only if I’m ill. I have not voluntarily worked a day shift in years. It’s easier for me to STAY up until sunrise than to GET up at sunrise. You get the picture. So… when my sick colleague called to ask if I would work a twelve-hour-shift commencing at 0700 this morning I said, “what the heck”!

He’s pitched in for me a few times and it’s so hard to find coverage when you need a day off. I could do this favor.

I thought.


Had I been able to get any sleep, it might have worked.

Early to rise means early to bed, and being the holistic-homeopathic-earth-nature-mother that I am, I decided to dope myself up to high heaven with my drug of choice, Benadryl! Fifty freakin’ milligrams down the hatch.

Nothing. Wide awake. 11:00. Have to get up in four hours. This called for drastic measures. Yes, I went for the Melatonin. Figured “Mel” would meet “Ben” and I’d be comatose.

Nothing. Up to the couch. Two episodes of “Aqua-Teen Hunger Force” on the Cartoon Network. Ever seen that cartoon? It’s a milkshake, a meatball and a large order of fries (with a goatee) who live together. See what you miss going to bed early? Finally, the faint stirrings of fatigue floated into consciousness. I was asleep.


Four hours later I was jolted awake by an alarm playing “Wake Up Little Susie”. Staggered to the mirror. Hair not sticking up. Good. A quick fluff with the blow dryer and I’m outta here. No make up. They’re lucky I put on clothes.

No traffic. Thank god. Too early for rock and roll. Too early for talk radio. Too early for sound.

I dragged my senseless self into my department. Only one patient and she’s ready to admit. Big sigh – time for some coffee to start the day. It is then that I discovered I was scheduled to work with Miss Susie Sunshine, RN! Bright, cheery, energetic, caring, compassionate, competent. She is the sweetest woman I know.

I wanted to wring her neck.

I’ve seen methamphetamine addicts with less energy.


I never did recover.

My patients were great; I only had a few as it was not busy. Spent 90 minutes in a class on JACHO accreditation. Stimulating.


Then my very own Florence Nightengale arrived to take over at 4:00 pm. Bless her everloving heart. I didn’t have to do twelve hours after all. I was released. I was exhausted.

In retrospect, my day was very productive.

I made the decision that I will never, ever do a day shift again.


I learned that you can take the nurse off the night shift, but you can’t take the innate circadian rhythm out of the nurse. I’ll stick to PMs and Nights.

Oh, and I’ll take vacation during JACHO accreditation.

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August 3, 2005, 11:33 am

Entering the Blogosphere

Welcome to my blog! Specifically, welcome to Emergiblog! Initially envisioned as a place for ventilating, commiserating and celebrating with other ED nurses, it has evolved into a forum for anyone who has ever been in an emergency room, on either side of the gurney.

Some of the topics that will be discussed include “Emergency Room Etiquette”, “The Top Ten Ways to NOT Get Seen Immediately”, or “Privacy Privations: How to Cover Your Rear When the Gown Opens in the Back”. And we’ve all met one of these: “Emergency Nurses From Hell: How to Alienate Your Patient on Contact”. Another topic could be ” ‘I’ve Been Waiting for Hours’: The Effect of the Emergency Department on the Space-Time Continuum”. This is only the beginning!

The existence of this blog can be directly attributed to radio talk show host and “Godfather of the Blogosphere” Hugh Hewitt. His enthusiasm for blogging is contagious. Through Hugh’s site I discovered newspaper columnist James Lileks whose daily “Bleat” proves that everyday life can make for an engaging read. If I write one fraction as well as he does, I’ll be a happy blogger.

Please, please feel free to add your comments to any topic. There are a million stories in the emergency universe. I have a few and yours are probably better so dive on in!

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About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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