June, 2006 Archive

June 20, 2006, 8:36 am

0.1% Political: Please help

Michael Yon is an independent photojournalist who has spent his own money on numerous trips to Iraq to cover the war.

One of his most poignant photos has been taken and used by SHOCK magazine, on its cover, without permission or renumeration to Mr. Yon.

You will recognize this photo when you see it.

Please follow this link:  Michael Yon for the entire story and what you can do to help.

I rarely, rarely post politically-inspired posts, but this means a lot to me.

I now return you to the 99.9% apolitical Emergiblog.

Thanks for reading.

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June 19, 2006, 5:58 pm

Flight of Ideas…..


Got your attention, didn’t it?

Been dying to use this ad for ages!

At least now we know where Madonna got all her “bullet bras”!


I’m compiling an email list so that I can easily send out reminders about “Change of Shift” deadlines and information. Eventually all the blogs on the sidebar will be included.

If you would like not to be included in the list, please email me and let me know.

Some bloggers do not include their email address, so if you are one of them and would like to be on the list, send me a postcard, drop me a line, stating point of view…..

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.


Although I have full say over which ads are on Emergiblog, sometimes one will come up and surprise me and I’ll have to go take a look at it.

Like I said, I’m the only person I know who gets excited about their own ads and actually clicks on them.

The most interesting ones are the “Who’s Hiring” links on the sidebar because, hey, you never know when the “perfect job” will show up right before your eyes!

And I can vouch for the Providence system – their nursing care is awesome!

(No, you lurking co-workers, I’m not moving so don’t start rumors!)

Today I noticed the new Gulf Coast link so I clicked on it. Apparently it is Gulf Coast Medical Center in Florida and they are a major Stroke Center and Wound Center. So if your forte is neuro or dermatological, take note. (That’s for all you new grads – or old grads for that matter – who want to move to Florida before you retire!)

I’m trying to get the Journal of Emergency Nursing linked at the bottom of the blog.

Seems only appropriate since that is my specialty.

If you are interested in getting it, it is available on amazon.com, but just not showing up on my EmergiMall!

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3:32 am

Eccentricity Is NOT A Crime


Oh man, I was totally born in the wrong decade!

I was so meant to wear that dress on the left with a cap!

It’s some sort of a wrap dress but I love the wide shoulders!

I think it’s from the late 40s.

It is so classy looking!

I found this on eBay, but the size wasn’t right.

If it had been the right size, I’d have made it.

It’s so hard to look classy in scrubs.

It’s like wearing pajamas to work.



An elderly woman lives alone in a beautiful 4,000 square foot home in a very exclusive neighborhood. She is just this side of ninety. Her husband died five years ago and she lost the last of her pomerainians two months before.

She has no living children. Oh, she gave birth to five of them. All dying in their first month of life.

Born in Europe, she has spent the last fifty years in this country, becoming a citizen back when the Beatles topped the charts and painsakingly learning the language of her new home.

She still has her accent.

When she came to the US she was appalled at the lack of civil rights for black Americans and she fell in love with the cultures of the Native American tribes she met in her travels across the country.

If she were any younger, she would be an activist.

As it was, she was a feminist before Gloria Steinem was out of diapers.


She loved to talk. Hyperverbal doesn’t even come close to describing her style. Her conversation bordered on tangential, but it was as if she had so much she wanted to say that she could not keep from jumping to whatever topic flowed from the next.

She fascinated me.

The very first thing she said to me after the initial triage, when describing her life in her native country while pointing her finger at me, “Do you know what it is like to be guilty until you are proved innocent and how hard it is to prove a negative?”

I assured her I did not.

“My dear, that is because this is America. It is not like this in the rest of the world.”


She had activated the EMS system for some vague complaints that a head CT readily ruled out.

She thought the standard orientation questions were stupid and she treated them as such, telling the medics it was 1945 or that Washington was president and Halloween was next week.

She was as oriented as I was that night. If not more so.

That night she was not fighting for her life. Her chemistry panel was better than mine.

She was fighting for her right to live her life.

Her way.


For you see, my friend was rather eccentric.

Her house was full. Of her “collections” as she described them.

The medics said the house was full of garbage with nowhere to walk and bags and boxes piled everywhere.

The Fire Marshall thought it should be condemmed; that it was a fire waiting to happen.

That night she had fought, almost to the point of needing four-point restraints, the city police who were going to go into her home.

They’d been in before, during previous hospitalizations.

And had destroyed thousands of dollars worth of her “collections”.

She wanted no one in the house. She met the medics at her gate. But when you call 911 around here, you get fire, police and the medics. And she had no doubt that those men were going to trash her home.


The patient made so many references to her collection that I finally asked her what she collected.

Old newspapers?  Magazines?  Did she have fifty years of National Geographics lining her living room floor?

She buried her face in her hands as if she despaired of my ever understanding.

“Papers, magazines, bah! Those are nothing”, she said bitterly. “They can take what they want.  What I have will go to the museums and I will call it ‘Life In America’.  You see, it is not for me, but it is for you and your children.  It is history, what I have. The history of this country. They don’t know what they are destroying!”

Was she paranoid?  Delusional?

Was she telling the truth?


It was coming up towards the end of my shift and my colleauges were making attempts to “rescue” me from the barrage of words emanating from this tiny, fascinating woman.

I was done with all my charting so I sat and listened to her.  I watched her face light up as she described her travels collecting Native American artwork, basketry, pottery.  How she loved the Native Americans.  How her collection consisted of such works that she could no longer lift some of them, they were so big.  And how she drove 500 miles one trip to find a tribe who specialized in miniature basket weaving.

Her conversation became less tangential as we focused on her love of historical artifacts. Toy horses, drums used in the Civil War, guns used in WWI and II – the real things!

And…… she talked about her lifestyle.  How she turned off the heat because she could not afford to heat the house but managed to stay warm.

How she lived in the dark after sundown because she could not reach the lightbulbs on the ceiling that had burned out, but she liked using the flashlight just fine.

How she pulled her mattress to the floor so her elderly dogs could sleep with her without hurting themselves jumping up or down to the bed.

How she could not consider another baby puppy because she no longer had the means to get them to the vet for the required shots.

I noted that her hygiene was good, as was her nutritional status, at least outwardly.


I was so engrossed in this patient and so enjoyed her I stayed half-an-hour after my shift ended,  just listening.

I got the impression she didn’t get to talk to many people.

She just didn’t like to be lied to.  By the doctors.  By the Fire Marshall.  By George W. Bush!


I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was one of the 29% of Americans who still liked him.


When it came time to discharge her, she sounded insulted that we asked if she had money for a taxi!

Of course she did!  How did we expect her to get home?

No vouchers for this fire-cracker of a lady.

She took care of herself, thank you very much!


When I went back to work a few days later I learned that my patient had gone home from our facility, was placed on a 5150 within an hour.

The psych facility called for our records, that’s how we found out.

We still don’t know why.  My guess is she found people in her house when she got home and went ballistic.

She was close to 90 and she was happy!

She had a dream, a vision, a “collection”.

Whether it was real or a magnificent mental creation didn’t matter.

She was living her life that way that she chose to do it.

Why didn’t they leave her alone?

To this day, I don’t know if she really did have all those historical treasures in her house or if it was truly a bunch of garbage and I don’t care.

It didn’t match what most of us consider “normal” she was forced into the “system” and away from her beloved collection.

I’d have raised hell, too, if I were her.

For a short time she had the undivided attention of someone who found her fascinating and interesting.  For a short time I was given the undivided attention of a rare gem of a woman.

I got the better deal.

And another patient to add to my list.

The list of the ones you will never forget.

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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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