January, 2007 Archive

January 16, 2007, 8:33 am

Emotions in Grand Rounds and “The Open Laboratory” has arrived!


This week in Grand Rounds, at Six Until Me,

You’ll find a great selection hosted all by Kerri!!

The theme is “emotion in healthcare” this time,

And Kerri has put them all up there in rhyme.

Each post is highlighted is beautiful verse,

From patient and mother, doctor and nurse.

So go pay a visit to Grand Rounds with me,

(Don’t forget to take your cup of coffee!)



It’s here!

The very best of the science bloggers of 2006 is now in book form!

Edited by friend and fellow blogger Bora Zovikovic (aka Coturnix), these fifty top posts by science bloggers of all disciplines were chosen from 218 submissions received.

Bora is the owner and proprietor of Blog Around the Clock, and you can read about the selection panel and process (and view all the entries!) here.

The book is now available for purchase through Lulu Publishing at a very reasonable price! You have the option of downloading, but at 336 pages, you might prefer adding it to your distinguished book collection!

Get your copy here!

I ordered my copy last night.

What are you waiting for?

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January 14, 2007, 11:57 am

He Never Even Knew He Was Sick


Inventory time!

JCAHO must be coming!

Let’s see what we have…

Two different sizes of washbasins…


Two different sizes of emesis basins…


A bundt cake pan…

A cheese grater…

A salad bowl…

Six cups of varying sizes that you can’t use when you are NPO.

Two urinals, one of which is guaranteed to make any man feel inadequate,

And a nice ice cold metal bedpan with a “pucker” factor so high you couldn’t produce a BM if your life depended on it.

Even our industrious nurse appears to doubt its efficiency!


Paul was stunningly handsome.

About 30 years old, give-or-take.

He didn’t know he was sick.


His initial destination that summer day had been a concert. Three of his friends waited in the car while he ran back into the house for a couple of Tylenol. “Woke up with a bit of a headache,” he had said.

He ended up in ICU.

Per his friends, he came back out of the house, turned, locked the door…

…and had a grand mal seizure.


911 was activated and Paul was taken to the nearest emergency department.

Unlike a regular seizure, he did not regain consciousness. He was placed on a ventilator and in full isolation in the Intensive Care Unit.

CT scans were relatively primitive in the mid 80s, maybe it showed up on a regular x-ray.

It’s hard to remember after twenty some-odd years.

He had a brain infection.

Multiple cysts noted.

It was a rare opportunistic infection.

The sign of a depressed immune system.

Paul had AIDS.


Just the fact that Paul was in full-blown isolation tells you something of the mindset of health care providers in the early days of the AIDS epidemic.

It wasn’t because he was immunosuppressed, it was because the staff was afraid.

It’s hard to recollect just how much was known about AIDS at the time.

It was known that it was spread by sexual contact, was found in body fluids and was 100% fatal. It had/was decimating the gay community.

Some people in health care were panic-stricken.

One nurse I knew left ICU and went to ER so he wouldn’t have to take care of AIDS patients.

Anyone want to find the logic in that?

The private room. The door shut, always. Nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists donning full isolation garb, including masks and foot covers just to enter the room. Even hair covers!

Hair covers!

Good lord, how many diseases transmitted in hair can you name?


Paul’s family and friends never gowned up.

The kept a 24 hour vigil, every day, two at a time the entire time he was in the ICU.

Talking to him. Holding his hand. Filling him in on what was happening outside the hospital.

His family had the hardest time dealing not only with Paul’s condition but the diagnosis and the fact that Paul was gay.

They did not know until Paul’s friends felt they had to know. They didn’t believe it. They couldn’t believe it. They wouldn’t believe it.

All they knew was that their son was dying. Of AIDS.

A family desperately clinging to denial is a painful thing to witness.


For two weeks, Paul never responded. Not to voice. Not to touch. Not to pain.

One day, his friend Alice was at the bedside, holding his hand and talking.

“Are you doing okay?” she asked.

Paul nodded.

His nurse nearly fainted against the wall.


Evidently the treatment regimen for the infection had worked.

Paul became alert and eventually extubated.

He did have some residual neurological problems and lived out the rest of his days in a county AIDS unit.

I heard that his family never did accept either the diagnosis or Paul’s sexual orientation.


If you have never read “And the Band Played On – Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic” by Randy Shilts, I suggest you buy it and read it. Published in 1987, it is a powerful history of the first five years of the AIDS epidemic.

Get ready. You’ll be shocked. Dismayed. Frustrated. Angry.

You won’t be able to put it down.

You’ll realize how far we’ve come since those early days.

And you’ll realize just how much more we need to do.

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January 10, 2007, 6:35 pm

Change of Shift – Volume One, Number Fifteen


Welcome to Change of Shift, the blog carnival by and about nurses and nursing!

The submissions run from dramatic to poignant to horrifying to informative to humorous. As nurses we run the gamut of human emotions and this edition of Change of Shift illustrates that very fact.

There are a lot of new contributors this week and some old favorites, too, so grab that latte and settle down for some good reads!


Meet GirlVet, proprietor of Madness: Tales of an Emergency Room Nurse. GirlVet is not only an ER nurse, but a new nurse blogger as well! Learn what being an inner city ER nurse is like in this submission: ER Nurse For 17 years. Welcome to the blogosphere!!!!!

I can’t possibly add anything to this post with an introduction. It truly stands alone. Get the tissues because you will laugh until you cry. Ian at impactED presents Where the Smudge Don’t Shine. And just when you thought it couldn’t happen to you!

At what point does a person realize that dramatic changes need to be made in their lifestyle in order to be healthy and happy? Psychologist Harold S. Sommerschield, PhD (Dr. Hal) contributes his thoughts via Complacency Causes Catastrophe on the North Star Mental Fitness Blog. Interesting on both a professional and personal level!


Junkfood Science blogger Sandy Szwarc, RN pulls no punches when taking on (and exposing) results of recent scientific studies. Check out the provocative What If You Could Pop A Pill and Lose Weight. When you’ve digested that (no pun intended) check out Fear Is Terribly Catching, Bird Flu Isn’t.

Our nursing colleague over at Creature57 shares an amazing story of patient advocacy facilitated by an amazing nursing professor. AMA shows nursing at its best!

Over at Universal Health, “N=1” wants to know where in the Wiki is nursing? See Where’s the Wiki?-Nursing’s Mystery History and see it you aren’t inspired to do a bit of research! In To Form A More Perfect Union, “N=1” discusses the current state of nursing/medicine and they put forth the beginnings of a solution as part of the “2007 Resolution to Foment a Rebellion”!


Mother Jones, RN at Nurse Ratched’s Place submits a humorous look at her nursing education in What I Learned in Nursing Boot Camp. We would all do well to remember these rules. (The photos alone are priceless! Who knew Florence was a party animal?)

Teresa is a registered nurse who chronicles her husband’s fight with multiple myeloma in The Beast.. In the post entitled Tired she discusses challenges of working in an adult primary care clinic when the majority of your patients can’t get what they need to manage even the basics of their illnesses.

As nurses we often must “change gears” so-to-speak from work to home (and back). I’ve never seen it expressed as eloquently or as poignantly as oncRN does in “holidays, sushi and alchemy”.


Here is a post so powerful, so horrifying that I’m going to let it speak for itself. Marisapan from Nursing Student Hell submits A Couple of Weeks Ago, At Band Camp. It took me a few minutes to get my breath back after this one.

Where do you draw the line when your colleague is your friend? Cherry Ames explores this dilemma at Sisterhood of the Traveling Scrub Pants. The post is called Lines. How would you handle it?

RN Faye is optimistic following the last election and she tells us why in A Historic Day For the Women of America. The post can be found in the blog The Tangled Chain – A Nurse Perspective.


Fellow Nursing Voices blogger May discusses the practical application of The H in Nursing at her blog About A Nurse. I had never heard of this philosophy of nursing until I read her post, but it is something every nurse/student nurse should understand.

Keith at Digital Doorway gives us the story of a home visit but manages to encompass so much more in God’s Little Loony Bin. Sometimes the most profound thoughts come from where you least expect them.

Beth at Pixel RN is another Nursing Voices colleage and she waxes thoughtfully about what it is like to work in while pregnant in Working Mothers. I can so relate to wanting to stay home or at least cut back during my pregnancies. And I agree, Beth, Gwen Stefani needs to stop whining!


Don’t forget, Nursing Jobs.org is offering a total of $5000 in nursing scholarships – when you click the link scroll down for the scholarship information.

The next Change of Shift will be here at Emergiblog on January 25th. If you would like to host an edition please email me using the button in the Emergiblog toolbar!

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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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