July 3, 2006, 8:09 am

Healthy Tips For Those Traveling (or) How I Spent My Summer Vacation

white dress

Greetings from the Emerald Isle, the land of 1/5 of my ancestors, the land of fifty shades of green and more importantly, the land of Guinness!

As you can tell, this ad has nothing to do with nursing, but it is for a feminine protection product so…it counts.

I am writing from an internet cafe in Kilarney, Ireland. There is very little in the way of internet access west of Shannon, which is where we are staying.

But, I have learned a great deal while here!

As a guide to those of you who may wish to travel to the land where Gaelic is as common as English, I present to you the following advice and observations.


2. You can take a bar and dress it up and call it a Pub, but it is still a “bar” and each pub has their own “Norm” character (a la Cheers). I know. I saw the same guy in the same chair everyday at various times. Not that I spent all my time in the pub, of course. That would not be healthy.

3. Guinness works just as well as Ativan. This is especially advantageous when you discover that you have to walk five miles (round trip) to the nearest town (Caharsiveen) for internet access only to discover that everything except the Eurospar (store) is closed because it is Sunday.

I suggest that for your first “dose” you ask for this “blackberry” additive that cuts the bitterness a bit.

Guinness has a white substance on the top. This is called “foam” and you can write your initials in it and still see them as the fluid slowiy sinks in the glass.

At least that’s what they told me

I drank my pint so fast that mine lasted approximately 4.37 seconds.

4. I’m pretty sure that Bono Hewson of “U2” wrote “Vertigo” as an ode to what is called a “roundabout”.

It’s a complete circle in the road from which there are anywhere from four to five million off-shoots.

It takes the average American approximately 10.5 turns in the roundabout to realize they are supposed to exit it at some point.

Fifty feet down the road, you get to do it again.

(Speaking of Bono Hewson, he introduced himself to my nieces in as they flew to Europe via LA. Rock stars don’t introduce themselves to me. Time for another Guinness….)

5. Vertigo was not really an issue for me even though I suffer from horrendous motion sickness.

I was happily medicated on Valium and Meclizine for the flight (white-knuckle flier, I am).

I DID suffer from extreme fright as I could not shake the feeling that we were going to have a head-on collision as we were on, at least in our minds, the wrong side of the road. Roads with lanes that are only six feet across.

The only cure for this is a Guinness, but you have to get where you are going first.

6. Oh, and by-the-way here is a public service announcement:

Valium + Meclizine = sedation.

Valium + Meclizine + Guinness = coma.

Don’t mix.

End of public service announcement.

7. You can take the citizen out of the USA but you can’t take the nurse out of the citizen. All I could think as our Aer Lingus air bus flew us over the Atlantic was I was sitting with approximately 300 DVTs waiting to happen.

8. Do NOT ask for an overhead page for a “doctor on board” when you throw up.

You strike fear into the heart of every ER nurse on board because some of us might feel obligated to help.

Someone who looked too young for high school ran by me with a stethoscope. Now, who the hell carries a stethoscope in their carry-on luggage?

She was so young I wanted to see if it was made by Fisher-Price.

Okay, I felt obligated to offer my services, to but only because I wanted an excuse to get up and decrease my DVT chances.

Apparently the emesis was completed and the “patient” required no further assistance in emptying her GI tract.

9. A toddler kicking the back of your seat for four hours can be strangely comfortable if you have lower back pain. Who knew?

The mom thanked me for not complaining.

I was willing to fly her back to San Francisco with me!

10. You are not mentally on vacation when your family is going to visit a 12th century monastery and you want a tour of the Island hospital’s ER.

11. Every family should travel with a pseudo-pharmacist. In our case that was me. I was ready should anyone in my family suffer: pain , irregularity, vertigo, sinus congestion, muscle spasms, anxiety, allergic reactions, hypoglycemia (Snickers Bar), or sore throats.

I was carrying so many drugs I thought the dogs would sniff me out at the airport.

12. If you think you are becoming color blind, forget the optometrist and fly over to Ireland, if you can see the green, you are okay!

Sometimes it feels like I’m not even in a foreign country.

I may be the first person ever to get excited about her first Euro!

Things are expensive here, but it is so much like San Francisco, I feel as though I am at home.

You will never find a more hospitable people than the Irish!

On Wednesday, I will be climbing those six hundred stairs to the monastery, so I may get to see the inside of an A&E after all….

Now where is that other pub….


  • Alice

    July 3, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    Kim, I’ll tell you who would carry a stethoscope in a handbag: A very young, romantic, newly-minted doctor, who has been dreaming for years of being able to answer those “is there a doctor in the house” announcements, and is already planning what would be the most efficient collection of drugs and instruments to fit into a little black bag. I’ve even been planning what is the best course of action to take if a PE occurs on a plane in the middle of the ocean. Watch out, in another year or so I might be carrying a Fisher-Price stethoscope on your airplane. ­čÖé

    Do they actually sing those wonderful Irish patriot songs, like “The Foggy Dew,” and “The Croppy Boy,” in Ireland, or are those only marketed to Irish-Americans?

  • punchberry

    July 3, 2006 at 3:04 pm

    Hi Kim: I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying your vacation! Regardless the “pub” as a “dressed up bar”: When I was in London, I tried to order a Cosmopolitan, and was told that “pubs” do not serve mixed drinks. When I asked for clarification, because my friend was having a rum and coke, I was told that one alcoholic ingredient and one non-alcoholic is the limit. They will not mix more than that, although my very flirty friend got them to make an exception, so I got a really bad comso after all.

  • Melissa

    July 3, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    Funny list of 12. Was the blackberry-like additive blackcurrant syrup? I sometimes found that in my Guiness, without asking.

  • Ada

    July 3, 2006 at 8:09 pm

    I got excited about my first Euro — or rather my first 5E note that my dad gave me when they came out. Roundabouts are fun too; I remember reading about them in my driver’s manual (here in Canada) and laughing because you never see one on this side of the ocean. Have a great time in Ireland, Kim!

  • MotherJonesRN

    July 3, 2006 at 8:15 pm

    I give a combo platter of Haldol, Bendryl, and Ativan to patients tearing our psych unit apart. Thanks for the information on the Valium + Meclizine + Guinness = coma combo. Better living through chemistry:-)

    Keep those travel updates coming. I’m living vicariously through your posts!

  • NPs Save Lives

    July 4, 2006 at 7:57 am

    Wow! I’m soooo jealous.. I would love to visit Ireland. I will someday. Hope you are enjoying your visit..

  • TC

    July 4, 2006 at 10:43 am

    Ireland! I’m so jealous! Roundabouts are fun, aren’t they? Especially when they’re really small and just look like a bump in the road. “Honey, that’s a roundabout” “But it just looks like a 6 pointed intersection to me”

    And yes, I have toured an English ER. Cause I’m a dork that way.

    And your neices met BONO! AAAAAHHHHHAH!!!!!!He’s at the top of my short, sexy men list.

  • Too Fat 4 Ponies

    July 4, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    Guiness is the beer that eats like a meal and I love every drop!

    Hopefully I’ll be able to experience the same fun after graduation (I keep threatening the wife).

    Enjoy your trip.

  • John Cowart

    July 4, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    This trip sounds like just what you needed.

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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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