December, 2005 Archive

December 29, 2005, 3:07 am

Olfactory Omniscience

Oh my god! It’s the Disembodied Head Nurse!

She can wither you with one glance.

She is the bane of every staff nurse, intern and doctor who has the audacity to cross the threshold of her ward.

Years of knowledge will flee your brain with the raise of her eyebrow.

She’s what you dream about when you’ve worked three double shifts and lived on coffee for two days.

It seems Pontiac thought she would be an appropriate commercial mascot.

What on earth does a big nurse head have to do with cars?


There is nothing quite like the ambiance of a dirty utility room.

Small. Claustrophobic. Windowless.

And now, thanks to JACHO, the door must be closed and you need a code to get in.

Enter at your own risk.

A nauseating bouquet of a myriad of body fluids in various stages of decomposition arises from the biohazard box in the corner whose lid lay slightly off-center. Three commodes line the opposite wall; one of them emits the subtle essence of the GI bleed who was its last customer. A sharp hint of ammonia breaks through the olfactory cacaphony; urine soaked test strips are lined up on paper towels in military formation to the left of the sink. Deflated foley bags and used suction canisters rest in the garbage. The linen bag adds the contributions of various excretorily challenged patients to the odiforous symphony.

And through it all is the pungent smell of dirty instruments soaking in Cidex.

I have an irrational fear of being in the dirty utility room when the big earthquake hits and not being able to get out.

I need a Xanax just to get through the two minute wait for the urine dipstick results.


Have you ever experiencedf GIBOHS?

That’s GI Bleed Olfactory Hallucination Syndrome?

You come home from a long shift. You empty your pockets and deposit your scrubs in the laundry room downstairs, along with your nursing shoes. You take the time to luxuriate in a hot bubble bath as the tension of the day lifts off your shoulders. You put on your thick, flannel pajamas, grab a hot cup of herbal tea and curl up on the couch with a good novel.
And then it hits.
The fleeting but unmistakable smell of a GI Bleed.

You haven’t been near a GI bleed since you admitted your patient at 1630.

The precise mechanism for GIBOHS is unknown. Sufferers have been known to say “Blech!” out loud in the middle of the night and compulsively bleach all their scrubs until the fabric frays. They believe that GI “odor” molecules have been fused with their hairshafts at the genetic-molecular level.

Should a fellow colleague experience GIBOHS, be supportive. Tell him you believe that he believes he smells what he smells. And then get as far away as possible.

It may be contagious.

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December 27, 2005, 1:22 am

Gather ‘Round For Grand Rounds!

My goodness, such sour faces in this class!

They must be waiting for their grades…

Either that or they’re depressed about those ugly uniforms.

They should be paying a visit to this week’s Grand Rounds over at The Health Care Blog. Matthew has an unbelievable round-up of the medical blogosphere of 2005.

Go check out Grand Rounds – I guarantee you’ll be happier than these students!

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December 24, 2005, 3:52 am

Holiday Wishes

Cherry Ames takes time during her busy holiday shift to wheel her patient to see the hospital tree…the other nurse looks like she is going to throw a pitch right to his head!

From all of us here at Emergiblog
(actually, it’s just me, but I liked the sound of that)have a very Merry Christmas and a joyful, blog-filled New Year!

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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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