Nurse Twiggy

8 Aug 2006

Do you remember Twiggy? For those who don’t, she was the 1960s supermodel who made anorexia chic.

I got a phone call from one of my nursing colleagues today. She said that one of my patients, who couldn’t remember my name, said I had ruined her life. While caring for this patient last weekend, I set boundaries, put limits on my patient’s self-destructive behavior, and wouldn’t put up with her temper tantrums on the unit. Wow, how awful of me. My friend told me that while my patient was decrying my “deplorable behavior” to the other nurses this morning, she kept referring to me as “the skinny nurse.” After a bad weekkend, the phone call made my day.

I’m old, my hair is turning gray, and I am in desperate need of Jenny Craig therapy, but for today, I am the skinny nurse. Call me Nurse Twiggy. Sometimes, life is good.

Dr. Peter Gleason

7 Aug 2006


Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

  • The New York Times
  • Imagine my surprise when one of my coworkers told me that a doctor we know was arrested by the FBI. She learned about the arrest in The New York Times. (See the link above).

    The author discusses the murky relationships between some doctors and drug companies. I’ve known many doctors who speak on behalf of drug companies. Personally, I’ve always wondered why doctors were allowed to help circumvent laws that prohibit drugs companies from promoting their products for uses not approved by the FDA. It’s one thing for a doctor to speak at a medical conference, or to publish evidenced based research in a medical journal about a new ways of using old medications, however it’s quite another thing to act as a pitchman for a pharmaceutical company. I’m not surprised that Dr. Gleason is in trouble, he was acting as a well paid sales rep for a pharmaceutical company, not as someone involved in serious medical researcher. However, I am surprised by the timing of his arrest. Why now, and why him? Gleason and others have been doing this kind of stuff for a long time.

    As I mentioned, I know Dr. Gleason. I feel sorry for his family. They are going through a lot right now, and I wish them well.

    Thank God Another 16 Hour Shift is Over

    6 Aug 2006

    I just got done with another 16 hour shift. My friends are going to happy hour, but I’m going home. My bed is calling my name. Can you hear my bed, too? It’s saying, “Mother Jones, Mother Jones, time to come home. It’s time for bed.” Wait a minute, maybe the fatigue is affecting my mind. Hmmmmmmmm.

    Oh yes, and to my coworkers who are going to happy hour, don’t be stupid like Mel Gibson. Don’t drink and drive.

    Nite-nite. Mother Jones RN

    Shut Up, Mel

    4 Aug 2006


    (Warning: I’m hot, tired, and extremely opinionated today)

    I think Mel Gibson is a chip off the old block. His father has made hateful statements in the press about Jews, and Mel was quoted as saying that his father has never lied to him about anything in his life.

    As a psychiatric nurse, I’m very supportive of people who are working to make changes in their lives. I also understand that people can make serious mistakes. We all can do stupid things we later regret. But I don’t understand how Mel Gibson can make anti-Semitic remarks and then say that he doesn’t hate Jews. That’s like Richard Nixon saying, “I am not a crook.” If you’re old enough to remember that infamous quote, then you get my point.

    People are saying that Mel was drunk and that he didn’t know what he was saying. It’s true he may not have known what words were coming out of his mouth, but when someone is drunk, they become disinhibited, and blurt out what they really think.

    Now in the light of day, and with his PR people working overtime, Mel says he sorry. Well, maybe I’m jaded, but I don’t buy it. I’m offended by his comments, and I think he’s a jerk.

    Mel, just shut up!

    Help Me Say Goodbye

    3 Aug 2006


    Everything happens for a reason. There are days when I wonder, “Why on earth did I ever go into nursing.” Then one day I found the answer. It started coming to me the day I met Jon.

    Generally, when people find out I’m a psychiatric nurse, they open up and tell me all their problems or run away and hide. Jon was different. He took great pleasure in teasing me about my occupation. We met each other while I was doing research for a book project. He was a gentle man in his early 50s with a bawdy sense of humor and a gentle, kind demeanor.

    After arriving from my long trip to his hometown in Ohio, he allowed me to invade his office, disrupt his routine, and pour over his files in my endless quest for information. A private man by nature, he didn’t talk much about his personal life except when it came to his teenage son, Parker. When Jon talked about Parker, his dark brown eyes shimmered with a father’s pride.

    Jon shared he was a single parent and that Parker had Asperger’s Disorder, a developmental disorder considered to be a higher functioning level of autism. Even though raising his son without a mother was a challenge, it was clear that Parker was the center of Jon’s life. One day he combed his fingers though his thick, wavy red hair and pointing out his gray hairs said, “See these? Parker put them there.” Leaning back in his chair he laughed adding, “and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” When his laughter subsided, his gaze dropped down to his desk and he sighed, “If only to be young again. There’s so much more I would have done.” Back then, I didn’t understand the sudden change in his mood. When I returned home from my trip, a mutual friend told me that thoughts of Parker weren’t the only thing on his mind. Jon had a secret—he had cancer and he was dying.

    After our initial meeting, Jon and I continued to work on the project over the Internet. I sent daily e-mails with more questions and Jon would write back everyday with the answers. I knew Parker screened all the e-mails sent to their home so one day I sent a letter with the heading: PARKER, THIS ONE’S FOR YOU. It was a quick note just to say hi. I added that his dad told me many admirable things about him so I was sure he must be a nice young man. That night when I returned home from work I found his response. He said his dad told him I was a nurse and a nice lady, too. We quickly became pen pals and every night when I came home from work I looked forward to finding two letters from their household, one from Jon and the other from Parker.

    Time passed and while Jon’s health faded, Parker’s letters became more distraught. One night at work, I checked in with my husband at home during my break. He said Parker had just called, in tears, looking for me. Jon had been taken from work by ambulance to their local hospital. Parker said his dad was in a coma and that he wanted to talk to me right away. I wondered how he had gotten my unlisted phone number. Though we had become fast friends through our letters, we had never met face-to-face, and I knew that children with Asperger’s Disorder generally have difficulty reaching out to others. Excusing myself from the unit, I took a deep breath and called Parker at home. The phone rang just once before a frantic voice answered, “Hello, please help me!”

    Parker had found my phone number in his father’s address book. Crying, Parker said, “Nurses are good people to talk to. Have you seen anyone die before? They want me to be there when my dad dies and I’m scared.” We talked about death being a part of life and what a beautiful thing it can be when someone is suffering as much as his father was. “What should I talk about,” he asked. “Will he be able to hear me?” I shared that hearing was the last sense we lose before death. I advised him to say what was in his heart. Whether he wanted to talk about school or how scared he was, I knew how much his father loved him and I said, “There isn’t anything you can’t tell your dad.”

    Several days later, Parker called me at home and told me his father had died. He said that some of his father’s family had stepped out of the hospital room to get a cup of coffee and that he had been alone with his dad when he passed away. Parker said, “I remembered what you said. I held his hand and told him it was okay to die, and I said goodbye. It wasn’t scary. I really miss him.” Jon had been there the day Parker was born and took his first breath. Now Parker had been there the day Jon took his last. The circle of life was complete.

    Parker and I still write to each other and we talk to each other on the phone every week. We may not understand why at the time, but everything does happen for a reason. Jon and Parker showed me why I became a nurse.

    Doctor, Darling

    2 Aug 2006

    Today’s book report is about this gem I picked up at a library book sale. Apparently the woman on the cover needed a court order to get a date. She looks normal. Oh my God, maybe she’s an axe murderer!

    To his dismay, Houston pediatrician Connor Malloy was about to find out. Stranded in a little Texas town, arrested on ridiculous charges, the broad-shouldered bachelor was “sentenced” by a courtroom full of Cupids to date no-men-no-matter- what Gillian Bates, and keep his “community service” a secret!

    Trouble was, commitment-fearing Connor fell hard for the pretty, guy-shy single mom and her adorable son. He even fantasized about fatherhood and forever. But, drowning in deception and desire, how could Connor ever confess to Gillian that a jury of matchmakers had manipulated this miracle!

    I bet Connor caught hell from the nursing staff when he got back to the hospital. “Oh yeah, we believe you were stranded in a little town by a bunch of crazy people that forced you to date some hot chick before they would let you go. Next time, call us back when we page you!”

    I guess the only way to become a doctor in the “Land of Harlequin” is to be a sexy hunk with a masculine name. Have you noticed that all Harlequin doctors have broad shoulders? I guess no one wants to write a book about a scrawny doctor named Milton Harvey.

    Mac Lemonade

    1 Aug 2006

    Yesterday was traumatic. I thought either my new Apple Airport Extreme, or my Mac Power Book G4, was a lemon. My sweet husband talked to a Mac specialist over the phone for nearly two hours, but regardless of what we tried, I kept loosing my Internet connection while I was blogging. That’s right, while I was blogging! I became so upset, I drove my poor spouse into hiding. After slamming doors and cussing like a sailor, I decided it was time to make a 100 mile round trip pilgrimage to the nearest Apple Store to get some help. Before I went to bed, I made an appointment to see a “Mac Genius” in the morning. When life hands me lemons, I make lemonade.

    We left for the Apple Store this morning, just after rush hour. I felt happy and joyful. Yes, we were going there for help, but we were also going to have some fun. The Apple Store is our favorite toy store. I became ecstatic as we entered the mall parking lot. When I walked into the Apple Store, I felt myself being transported into a computer paradise. All the guys working in the store were hip and cool, and the gals were tekkie chic. There were computers as far as the eye could see, displayed as fine art. My husband sighed as he gazed into the 17-inch screen of a Mac G5. I ran amok in the digital camera department. A clerk asked me, “What-up?” I guess that’s the hip-cool way of asking, “May I help you?” I told him I was waiting to see a genius.

    The guy at the genius counter was amazing. I was dazzled by how he ran through a list of menu options while asking me questions about my computer. He figured out what happened yesterday in about 30 seconds. I wasn’t sitting close enough to the Airport base station when I was signing onto the Internet. That news could have been distressing, but I wasn’t upset. I was too busy enjoying my Mac lemonade.

    Nurse on the Beach

    31 Jul 2006

    Pretty Meg Ryan, nurse at Whitefield Memorial, was pleased with life. She had her looks, her health—and a long series of dates with the handsome Dr. Lee Corey. But Meg’s happiness was short-lived, for one day she found out about Lee’s interest in a beautiful blonde patient. Hurt and depressed, she sought solace in the strong, compassionate company of an artist friend who lived on the beach—Wylie Burke.
    Then, with terrifying savagery, a violent storm struck the area. And, in the dire emergency that followed, Meg realized, with an abruptness that took her breath away, where her greatest happiness lay—and whom she was going to marry.

    Unlike Meg, I rarely wear my white uniform and cap on the beach. I’m not happy when my cap flies off my head and sand gets into my Nurse Mate shoes, especially on those days when I’m wearing my heavy white support hose. Meg is standing on the beach with Wylie Burke, while her looser doctor-boyfriend, the one with poor professional boundries, is at the hospital, hitting on his patients. It looks like Dr. Lee Corey needs to work on improving his professional ethics. Meanwhile, Meg’s mother is at home crying, as her daughter throws away her golden opportunity to become a doctor’s wife. She sent Meg to nursing school so she could nab a doctor, but now she is dating a starving artist. Meg’s mother thinks her daughter has lost her mind. What is a mother to do?

    At least Meg is cooler than I am today. I’m sweating bullets, and Meg looks comfortable, wearing her sweater on the beach. Maybe Meg is smarter than she looks.

    One more candle on the cake.

    30 Jul 2006

    I’m one year older, but I’m not worried. Instead of a facelift, I’ll just buy a pair of sunglasses and become one of the beautiful people. How do you think I’d look in a little red sports car?

    It’s going to be another hot day, but I’m ready for it. I’m armed with another gallon of ice cream and a six-pack of diet Pepsi. It’s true, diet soda really does cancel out the calories of ice cream.

    Dog Tired

    30 Jul 2006

    This is me after working a sixteen hours. I work a double shift every Saturday, and I just got home. I’m sooooooo tired, and oh yeah, today’s my birthday. I’m going to pass out now, and dream of blowing out birthday candles, and eating chocolate cake. Yippee.

    Good night.

    Nurse Ratched

    There has been a lot of chatter in the blogosphere about medical bloggers and HIPAA regulations so let me make this very clear: I write composite stories about many different people that I've cared for over the years.

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    Amanda Trujillo, MSN, RN, DNSc-NP(s) Media & Blogger Coverage