"The Jingle Bell Bum" (Read The Touching True Story...please!) Comment at patriciahanrion.com

"The Jingle Bell Bum" (Read The Touching True Story...please!) Comment at patriciahanrion.com
Still available on Amazon for Nook and Kindle, hard copy booklett to re-print November 2013

Friday, December 9, 2011

Student Nurse Vampires! I'm a werewolf and It's a good thing.

It is the end of a semester and my nursing students take the pledge!  "If I ever find Professor Hanrion in a nursing home in poopy diapers...." well you can fill in the rest.  This week I watched several of my old students, (those from two semesters ago) graduate and began to think of my new-nurse days.

This photo is one of my students with a seasoned and very good nurse friend of mine.  They had a special bond and worked together for the two months we were on this unit.  He helped her a lot since she was not even five feet tall...she had a hard time reaching things.  And He was over 6'8" and could reach almost anything.

I usually ask my male students during conferences why they chose nursing as a career and get a variety of answers. Most have relatives they admire who are in the medical field.  Others have opted into the career  because they have not been able to gain entrance to medical school or the Fire Department...usually due to quotas!  Sometimes it is difficult for men in what is considered a woman's career and it certainly takes a gutsy and self assured male to venture into this world.  Several of my male students were ex-military (I had to constantly tell those guys "gentle-gentle")  and I had one student who was a paramedic and had tried 6 times to gain entrance to the County fire squad, scoring over 100% on each exam.  (He told me his girlfriend's father continually mocked him as a 'girly-man-nurse' at family gatherings.) Men with much lower scores than he were hired and trained because of their ethnicity.  I'm not sure I want the lower scoring fellows putting out my fires...but that is life, once again, here in beautiful politically correct California.  Fire fighter's loss was Nursing's gain...he was a very bright young man.

Lots of the men I know in the profession work at night...I'm not sure if it is to avoid mocking criticism about being in a woman's field, but imagine a woman who worked hard to be an engineer being teased for her career choice!  Nursing is a very difficult job as you must think, process, evaluate and DO all at once.  Both sides of the brain have to work simultaneously, not like some other well respected careers.  Like a person who is good with their hands who has no critical thinking skills, or a person who is good at solving math, or situational problems actually having to give a presentation and interface with the human race such as rocket scientists...who are known to be reclusive. (I know several rocket scientists and have found their communication skills somewhat lacking) and besides most guys can help me figure out the new computer systems that are now mandated in most hospitals.

Nurses who work at night are often thought of as vampires as they go for weeks without seeing the sun.  In fact that may be why they chose nursing as a career. I don't know but some of the night nurses do look a bit strange when I report to duty in the morning. I can almost picture them sleeping in coffins...but that may be the bad hair day they usually have by the time they have been up all night.  Not too long ago I worked for several years doing 12 hour night shifts, and sometimes 16 hour night shifts.  The bad thing is...my interior clock never quite shifted to the night-time.  At 3 am my body usually said sleep, Sleep, SLEEP!  Another clue that I never flipped to night time waking is the fact that I never peed at night.  Then at 6am when I should have been just waking up, I went to the bathroom volumes...dumping the many sodas and glasses of liquid I had consumed since about 10pm the night before.

Then my husband started bugging me to quit nights.  He said I was grumpy for several days after a long run of night shifts.  And I realized my body was beginning to rebel when I had issues with my bowels, and felt crummy most of the time.

After you graduate nursing school most students get assigned to a night shift.  Not really the best place to hone your skills.  Such was the situation with me.  Many moons ago after I graduated, at the tender age of 18, I worked the night shift in labor and delivery at newly built Kaiser hospital. (which now is closed as a hospital...it's creepy to think you have out-lived a building...)

However, the night shift in this specialty is particularly busy.  Pregnant women will relax, go to sleep and then the baby decides to emerge in the middle of the night...or at least her body says, "get out of here".  (Then 19-20 years later when that same child is staying in the room you always wanted to turn into a den or sewing room...you say "get out of here."  Sometimes it even works!)

I saw lots of action during the night in this specialty area of the hospital and got very good at delivering babies...often by myself because the doctor didn't get there in time.  I was young and pliable and slept the next day until 5 pm and never noticed that when I was giving report to the day shift I needed to go to the bathroom several times or my bladder would explode.  When I was older that same situation sent me into bad-breath, grumpy, diarrhea nasty mom.  So it's a good thing new nurse graduates make good night nurses and can give us older and wiser day-loving (werewolf) Angels of Mercy a Break!

 (My bladder and family thanks you too.)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Road Trip Nightmare...almost!

Roadtrip Nightmare…almost.

The journey began two days before the trip actually began with a fellow who cut off a Cal Arts junk-auto driving purple haired student…the domino reaction then caused the fellow to jump a divider while I was calmly waiting at a red light.  I was eye to eye with Mr. Violet locks as he blammed into my front driver-side fender and door…The door was so smashed in I couldn’t get it open and was scrambling over the center console to try and get the license number of the guy who had caused the accident.

Thankfully the perpetrator stopped right there on Valencia and McBean Parkway and admitted he had swerved into the college student’s lane.  No one was hurt…except for my beloved car which has a penchant for stationary accidents.  Either in a parking lot, parked, or stopped at a red light.  Oh the woes of L.A. Calif. driving, you’re not safe anywhere.

Drivers exchanged information and the next day I took my car into the shop for repair, with insurance approval…thank goodness.  The bad thing was we were leaving the next day to drive 450 miles to Monroe Utah to spend Thanksgiving with two of our daughters and six of the 12 grandkids…with a stop in Fredonia Arizona to see Patrick’s brother along the way.  I was excited as we were planning to take my car with the seats which are much more “back-friendly” than my husband’s truck. “Oh no! “I thought, “Now we have to take the back-breaker”

However Patrick’s smile of glee (he loves to drive his truck) was soon squelched because I was offered a very large Ford Explorer…so wide it barely fit in the garage, as all the smaller cars were already rented for the long weekend.  I did the happy dance packing the monster car with all our gifts, food for the feast, and even my “Glenda the Good witch” costume at the special request of Beth, Megan’s five year old.
We had not been on the road more than two hours when the dash began blinking a tire was low.  We ignored the blinking…mostly due tothe fact we had no idea what the blinking meant…there was so muchhigh tech stuff on the dash we had not yet figured out how to turn on the radio.  I looked for the directions…which were not found until we were stopped between Glendale and Mesquite in Nevada…the middle of nowhere and not far from Zyzyx, for anyone who knows the area. 
As Patrick pulled out the 25mile do-nut tire to allow us to reach civilization, we found the directions to the intricacies of the dash board. (They were hidden under the car-jack and never been opened, I assumed as a joke on us non-initiated car-tech drivers)  We met some very nice people in Logandale who sold us a tire allowing us to drive to St. George Utah and exchange our car for a smaller SUV as no tire to fit the large Ford until after the long weekend.  After the nice people at Enterprise car rental exchanged our flat tire car for another and we put our large load into the second car and we were finally on our way…after basically a three hour detour.  I guess not as long as Gilligan on his sea tour!

On the way to Megs’ house we stopped for one night in Fredonia to visit with Don and Tony and check in on our house.  Patrick wanted to get a few things off the ranch which may be sold to the Paiute Indians.

Jacob and Beth called us no less than six times on Wednesday waiting for us to arrive and were very excited for our visit.  We went to the horse auction to see Brooke herd some of the animals into the barn for the auctioneer.  Then went out to the farm to see Ali’s new truck.  Well, it really is an old one from the rancho and belonged to Uncle Bruce.  It’s about 30 years old and was used to haul water out to the cattle when the well ran dry.  She was excited and hoped to be able to fix it up and drive it to school.  Quite different from the fancy rides the kids in Santa Clarita drive to school.

On our way home I began to write…a little ditty…

Now…I should’a known and simply said, “Let’s stay home in our big cozy bed.”
But No! The calls from kids led to the adventure that’s hard to forget.

It all began most innocently,
Tickets to go east were beyond our budget capacity
I should’a known and simply said,
“We ought ’a stay home, are you out’a your head?”

A trip to the girls only four hundred fifty miles away
“Mom, please come, we can cook and play”
The plans got set for a road trip, and almost packed to go
When sitting at a red light doing nothing wrong
A guy in leather pants singing a purple hair song

Smashed into my fender, and driver door too
The car went to the body shop, “What else could I do?”
My rental was big, “It’s all that we have”
The insurance man’s voice cooed, he applied it like salve.

So I said to my sweetie, “Let’s take this car on the trip,
The seats won’t give me a backache so I feel like a dip
Like the seats in the front of your old truck”
Off we went feeling good til out in the desert we ran out a’ luck.

Hey feller, we ain’t got that tire out here in the sticks
We thought he was gonna cheat us with one of his tricks
But he put on tire and said as we drove out of sight
“Have fun with the family and a great Thanksgiving night.”
In the next town the folks were helpful when they saw we were stuck
(I was beginning to think we should’a brought Patrick’s old crippling truck)
But they fixed us up with a rental and we squeezed in it quite tight
Finally reached our destination, from then on things went fine and right. 
I thought, “It could have been worse like when we had all five kids in the wagon
And got hauled backwards through the Mojave with our spirits a’draggin
We had a great time hiking in Moab checking out arches and edifice.  And at the end of one day our single daughter found an Irishman in the need of a kiss
So after the fun we waved and called them by name
We were full of joy and could have heard us exclaim
On Megan and Darin, Bye Ali and your horse
  Bye, Jessika, Brooke, Jake and Trevor of course.
  Colleen and Little Beth in her dancing shoes
  We were with our loved family…so how could we loose.

Some may ask

Should we have stayed home and alone for the holiday?
No I don’t think so, I would have travelled there in a sleigh
Yes, the trip filled was with flat tires and a bit of strange woe
But, just ask me again, I’ll be packed in a jiffy and ready to go….