December 23, 2005, 12:15 am

‘Tis The Season For Miracles

I knew there was a reason I didn’t want to be a home health nurse.

I flunked Bathtub Fundamentals.

I was unable to differentiate between soap scum and an acute exacerbation of mold.

The primordial ooze probably started in my bathroom.

I find it amazing that scrubbing bathrooms was considered a nursing function.

I don’t even like scrubbing patients!


The Christmas season is full of miraculous stories.

The Emergency Department is full of miraculous stories, too. I’ve been witness to a few of them.

I have witnessed the birth of a child from a woman who was not pregnant and had never been sexually active.

I have seen the miraculous appearance of track marks on the arms of a person who has never even thought of using drugs and has no idea how she got that awful abcess/cellulitis.

I’ll never forget the teenager whose family found him slumped over a toilet seat one holiday afternoon. They would have thought is was the flu except that he “just wasn’t himself”. He never drank. His ETOH level was .23. Truly a miracle.

A patients experiences a miraculous loss of all friends, relatives, and acquaintances when it comes time to leave the ER. A taxi voucher is their only way home and they can’t call the person who brought them to the ER because they work!

And let us not forget the miraculous methamphetamine presence in the urine tox of those who never use meth.

I’ve had patients have a miraculous onset of destitution when it comes to filling a prescription. Or maybe it’s a miraculous windfall that allowed them to purchase the alcohol and cigarettes in their paper bag.

It’s not that I’m cynical this holiday season, I’m really the least cynical person I know.

But….will someone please tell me if I have “stupid” stamped on my forehead?


  • kenju

    December 23, 2005 at 7:59 am

    Those are right up there along with the women who told their docs they had not had sex, but there are sperm all over their Pap smear slides……lol!

    I think from all these old ads featuring nurses, that nurses used to be held in higher esteem than they are now. If they were used to sell all sorts of products, we must have thought they were worthy of listening to, huh?

    I still do think that, of course!
    Merry Christmas!

  • I worked with a doc once–the one who nicknamed me Hannah–who was, by his definition an “old ER doc.” I worked with him in an Urgent Care Clinic for a number of years.

    He (more than once) offered to personally pay for the child’s prescription if the mother would dump her purse out and he didn’t find cigarettes.

    NO ONE ever took him up on the offer.

    Merry Christmas, Kim, to you and yours!

  • Susan

    December 23, 2005 at 9:57 am

    I too have witnessed these miracles!

    But what about the patient who was in so much pain he had to be transported to our by ambulance, only to walk pissed off, with no pain meds just an hour later?

    We figured we just cured him!

  • Anonymous

    December 23, 2005 at 10:40 am

    Merry Christmas Kim!

    Great post. And my personal favorite:

    “I was just minding my own business when all of a sudden I was shot/stabbed/punched/hit by a car/________(insert favorite)”.

    Jr-ER RN

  • kirbysnursingadventures

    December 23, 2005 at 12:45 pm

    oh my gosh when I was reading that at first I thought you actually believed that this woman had never been sexually active…then I kept reading and figured it out.
    great entry.

  • angry doc

    December 23, 2005 at 7:21 pm

    “I have witnessed the birth of a child from a woman who… had never been sexually active.”

    Er… isn’t that how we got Christmas to begin with? 😉

    Merry Christmas to all!

  • The Platypus

    December 24, 2005 at 7:53 am

    Cab vouchers? What kind of country club ER is this?

  • Kim

    December 24, 2005 at 10:59 am

    LOL! All the ERs I’ve worked in have had vouchers – but they are given out only to those with absolutely no way of getting home and then very rarely.

  • dribear

    December 24, 2005 at 2:12 pm

    I delivered a baby from a woman who also had never had sex on Christmas day.

    We called him Jesus. (Amongst the staff only of course.)


  • dribear

    December 24, 2005 at 2:25 pm

    I just re-read my last post; let me rephrase that.

    Not only did she claim she never had sex on Christmas day, but also the rest of the days of the year too. 🙂

    Dr. ibear

  • Moof

    December 25, 2005 at 7:21 am

    Great post Kim! 🙂

    The world is just full of Bewidering Scenarios, isn’t it?

    Have a great Christmas!

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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