May 5, 2009, 8:29 pm

I’m No Superman

essential-qualificationsI love this ad.

I was about this age when I decided to become a nurse.

Maybe a little older.

I was holding a book instead of a teddy bear.

I wouldn’t have been caught dead in that cap, though. Even in those days I knew how to make a totally cool nursing cap out of paper.

That looks like a pillowcase.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember why nursing sounded like a good idea.


You don’t realize it’s happening.

You set a goal and you do what you have to do to get there.

For awhile, you manage to do it all.

Nine semester units.

Working 24 hours a week.

No sweat.

Been there, done that.

Lived through it.


But things start piling up.

Work needs you to pick up some hours.  Coworkers on leave, folks needing time off.

You say yes, because when you need time off, they will make sure you get it.

Only your body isn’t cooperating.

You are in bed for the night at 1600.

And up at 0530.

Then you can’t fall asleep before you go in at 1900.

So you’re up for 28 hours. Straight.

Twice in one week.

That worked when you were eighteen.

It kills you at fifty-one.


So you work, and work is uncharacteristically busy.

You start getting depressed four hours before you go in.

Then you start getting depressed because you have to work the next day.

Your coworkers are getting on your nerves.

You are really getting on their nerves.

You hit the ground and twelve hours later you sit for the first time. In the car. For the ride home.

To sleep for ten hours so you can go back and do it again.

Before your one day off.

That you sleep through.


You fall behind in class; the professors are cool and allow you extra time for the assignments.

Which you need because you are so exhausted you cannot think.

But you won’t give less than an “A” effort so you stress and research and study and fine-tune and finally turn in the missive 48 hours after it is due.

Only to discover your classmates managed the assignment in two paragraphs.

How the hell did they do that?


You start to lose it.

You don’t leave the house on your time off.

You stay in sweats all day and don’t bother to fix your hair.

Your husband thinks you are having a breakdown because he hears you laughing hysterically one minute and bursting into tears the next.

Except it’s not a breakdown, you are just watching “Scrubs”.

(Why the hell did they kill off LaVerne? Idiots.)

You start scanning the ads for a desk job. Part-time. Days. No weekends.

No blood. No pain.

No death.


I’ve been here before.

The demon is back.

I’m in full blown burn-out.

But no major life changes.

Not this time.

I know what to do.

No more extra shifts.

The money is nice. Sanity is nicer.

No more twelve-hour shifts. Kudos to those who can do them.

I can’t.

No summer school.

I’m 12 units away from a BSN.  I can graduate in the Spring of 2010. I gain nothing by sacrificing my mental health to do it by December.


I’m scaling back, I’m taking a break.

For the next few months, it’s all about me.

More visits to Starbucks to read blogs.

More visits to Starbucks to read novels.

More concerts.

More mini-vacations. Son’s graduation. Nascar race in Sonoma. BlogHer in Chicago.


I wish I could do it all and be it all and have it all.

It’s hard to face the fact that I have limitations.

But, I know,

I’m no Superman.

And that is a major bummer.

May 3, 2009, 7:57 am

The Story of Mary Kate

jesus_w_children_6001All across the world, there are children fighting for their lives in intensive care units.

You may even take care of them.

But right now, this minute, I am concerned about one special girl.

Mary Kate is in second grade.  My daughter, Lillian, is her teacher. This is her first year of teaching, so Mary Kate is one of her very first pupils.

Just a few days ago, Mary Kate was out playing on the playground.

Today she is in a Seattle hospital fighting for her life.

Mary Kate has contracted an unknown infection that is, if it has not already, destroyed her liver.  To the point of needing a transplant.

Like, yesterday.

Other organ systems are shutting down.  She is on a bypass machine.

Mary Kate needs prayers, so I’m asking everyone, anywhere and of any faith to please, please say a prayer for this child.

Her parents have set up a site at Caring Bridge:

I’ve never met Mary Kate.

But she means the world to my daughter.

Which means she means the world to me.

Please pray for her.

April 30, 2009, 1:46 pm

Livin’ La Vida Latte

constipationForget the swine flu (or, as coined by James Lileks, the “Tijuana Pig Plague”)!

You can protect yourself from those who cough and sneeze and spread their germs right out in the open.

But you never know who around you is suffering from that silent killer, constipation.

The WHO will sound the warning for a potentially pandemic flu, but nary a word on those who can’t produce excreta.

And as we all know…

It’s constipation that will get you in the end.

Thanks folks, I’ll be here all night and don’t forget to tip the waitress….



The latest edition of Change of Shift is up over at Code Blog: Tales of a Nurse, and it looks like a good one!

The highlights for me: some common swine flu sense from Nurse Jo over at Head Nurse and the continuing Adventures of Bob, the Nurse! Seems Keith from Digital Doorway has a new friend in Mr. Bob, and Bob gets around!

Thanks, Gina, for a wonderful edition (and I still get excited when I see my button on your sidebar!  : D)


Hey, Nurse K over at Crass Pollination is having a pledge drive. It’s easy, it’s fast and you don’t have to sit through any long pledge breaks before you get to the good stuff.  It’s only going on for a week, so don’t miss out on supporting one of our own! Bloggers supporting bloggers – it’s what we do!


The Medblogger Meet-Up at BlogWorld/New Media Expo 09 is still under construction (pardon our dust).  I should have some information on registration soon.  In the meantime, get those days off, start saving those pennies and remember, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas unless you happen to run into Dr. Anonymous and his video cam!



I’m sitting at Starbucks and I should be studying Buddhism, specifically the Zen offshoot.

Something tells me there is more to Zen than those little gardens of sand with the tiny rakes.

Maybe if I meditate over this latte I’ll reach Nirvana.

The state of, not the rock group.

Bet Siddhartha never thought of that back in the day!

And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry, neither did I until this week!


I could use some meditation right about now.

Work is a pain in the butt.

Not because it is bad, but because I am experiencing a really bad case of I-don’t-want-to-be-there, aka: burn out.

Which is totally nuts because I have no reason to be burned out.

I just want to be anywhere but there.


I want to be studying.

I want to be doing laundry and dusting.

I want to be blogging.

I want to be able to watch Nascar with two bottles of Bud Light (with Lime), which I can’t do when I have to go work.

Instead I am picking up a ton of hours to cover for various and sundry reasons.

I always say “NO MORE”.

And then I pick up more.


Buddha would say my life is full of dukkha because I am experiencing way too much tanha.

And he would be right.

Basically, it means I’m miserable and whiny because I want something I don’t have and I’m craving what I do want, but according to the Buddha, in the end, I’ll be miserable anyway.

It just sounds so much less bitchy when Buddha says it.

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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