From Hedge's Quills

An eclectic mixing of blog posts! Nursing, knitting, humor, whatever it takes to make a living, and to keep some (in)sanity . . . .

Monday, February 27, 2006

Hedge . . .

How Soon We Forget . . .

Well, not forget, exactly, more like ... out of sight, out of mind.

I'm referring, of course, to my lovely little blog here. I have been .. er .. busy .. this last week or so -- playing an online roleplaying game with my hubby and his brother! I guess all this talk of the old Zork games, etc., has made me wax nostalgic for the times when I was young, going to school, and had lots of time on my hands.

Also .. I was a member of the video game generation. Pong. Space Invaders. Pac Man (et. al.). And my favor
ite -- Galaga. I cannot begin to imagine how many dollars worth of quarters those machines ate up. When I didn't have enough quarters myself, I'd raid my mother's change jars. I actually became extremely good at playing my favorites, and one quarter (all it cost in those long-ago days) would last for quite a long time. I favored a little arcade set up at the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum in St. Augustine, FL.
Mine was the first generation to hear that all of those "video games will rot your brain. You won't be able to pay attention to anything longer than 10 minutes." Etc., and so-forth. Well .. I am in my 40s now, and my brain did not rot, my attention span is pretty incredible, and I've got great hand/eye coordination. Go figure . . .

And so . . . Although my attention span is faring well, apparently my short-term memory (i.e., keeping thought of blogging in the forefront of my brain) leaves something to be desired. I need some sort of memory prod. NOT to be confused with cattle prod!

We've all heard stories of people forgetting to turn off their stoves or water before heading out for vacation, or (heaven's forbid! leaving a baby in the car). Would any reader like to share a story of something they have forgotten? (anonymously, if need be)

Weird medical word of the day: Mnemonic - Anything intended to aid memory.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I Wait, Procrastinate!

Good heavens, it's true . . . I have waited over a week to post, shame on me. I've no excuse, either, other than my most recent class beginning on Tuesday, and me adjusting to working evenings again.

My first few evenings at work without a preceptor were uneventful. The patient population is quite different from that of my previous facility. The cardiac/telemetry floor at this new place is much more a medical/surgical floor (i.e., just a "general" hospital floor). Quite boring for a tele nurse used to chest tubes, multiple IV drips, and arrythmias.

Last night, however, the doctor admitted a 43-year-old woman for a suspected DVT. A DVT is medico-shorthand for deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot in a vein. The area affected was her upper left arm. This lady's main problem, however, was an extremely heavy menses. The poor woman went from just spotting to bleeding so badly that she required blood product transfusion (red blood cells AND fresh frozen plasma) in the space of just 7 hours. She passed blood clots twice the size of a golf ball. She'd had problems before, but had recently had a heart attack which required stent placement. Because of the stent, she was taking blood thinners. For three times in the last three months, she had needed blood transfusions. There were multiple medical problems with this woman, which is a darned shame. She's so young, and so personable.

Weird medical word of the day: Exsanguinate - (from the Greek ex, out, + sanguis, blood) To lose blood to the point at which life can no longer be sustained.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Great God Morpheus

Nearly done with my second week at the new place - - they'll be kicking me out on my own later today.

I had a patient yesterday whose doctor ordered for her to receive morphine sulfate via a nebulizer. For those of you who aren't sure what a nebulizer is, it is a device used by respiratory therapists to reduce liquid medications to a very fine mist, which is breathed in by the patient using a sort of pipe hooked to tubing and oxygen. I had never heard of morphine being administered by nebulizer, and am perplexed as to what benefit the patient gets that is better than benefits gained by old-fashioned IV administration. Also -- it stinks ! VERY nasty smell when it's nebulized.

And so, keeping with the morphine theme, here's the Weird medical word of the day: Morphinism -morbid condition due to habitual or excessive use of morphine.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Just My Imagination . . .

An unexpected day off today - my new boss called me and asked me to work S/S/M, thus establishing me on the schedule she initially offered when I interviewed. Yay! But . . . another day of sleeping in and sitting mostly on my gluteus maximus. I bonded with hubby, child, rabbit, cats, and African Grey parrot (her name is Hecate). This wonderful bonding, though, doesn't leave me with many scintillating topics for posting.

While I was enjoying doing not much of anything, I was browsing through this month's issue of Handheld Computing. One small article reviewed someone's gaming site. This person had been a fan of Infocom (a 1980s computer gaming company), and Infocom's famous interactive fiction games. Anyone remember Zork? How about Leather Goddesses of Phobos? Infidel? Wishbringer? The Lurking Horror? Those were glorious games. Absolutely no graphics for many, many games (I believe that Zork Zero was the first of the Infocom games to have graphics - bitmap graphics! 1988).

So . . . in the spirit of waxing nostalgic, I browsed this man's site. And . . downloaded a free game, and some demos - - for my PocketPC. Should anyone be interested in visiting the site, the URL is

I plan on purchasing nearly all of the games, as I've browsed the freebie and the demos, and am pleased with how they run. For the purchase price, you get software for the game that will run on all formats: Windows, Mac, Palm, PocketPC, etc., in addition to maps and notes. Can't beat that!

Weird medical word of the day: Oneirism - A dreamlike hallucination in a waking state. (A condition akin to being trapped in an addictive computer game!).

(Pronunciation: Oh-nigh-rizm)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Sleep, Perchance to Dream . . .

My one day off in the midst of six .. so I didn't do much anything of import. Being the slug-a-bed that I am on non-working days, I snoozed until .. er .. late .. morning. I wasn't the only one, though, my hubby and son were snoring away!

My son "treated" us to a movie today (Nanny McPhee - quite good, actually). He's so sweet that way, treating us with our money!

So .. going to keep today's post short and succinct.

Weird medical word of the day: Hypersomnia - excessive, prolonged sleep.

All of the related *somnia words derive from Somnus - the Roman personification of sleep.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Strangest Thing . . .

Just finished my second shift at the new job. It's a tad disorganized, and I giggle when I hear the other nurses saying, "I can't believe how crazy it is today!" Because . . . I just left a facility that truly was CRAZY - short-staffed, high patient turn-around, etc., etc., etc. I will be flying on my own next week, apparently. Wish me luck!

Today's question: What is the strangest request you've ever gotten? I know not all readers will be nurses or medical staff, so just throw in any strange question you've asked been asked.

My strangest request was from a patient (who else?): Male patient, 84 years of age, full-blown Alzheimer's, "Would you pick my nose for me? I can't breathe!"

Weird medical word of the day: Rhinotillexomania - Habitual or obsessive nose-picking.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Jeepers, Creepers . . .

An unexpected day off today - - in the midst of changing jobs and have completed that week of orientation. I called today to see if I was on the schedule, and got the distinct feeling that they had no clue what to do with me. Funny.

I've covered the weird medical word, with no bites yet from any readers. Hope, however, springs Eternal, and so I'll throw out another question:

What's the oddest thing you've ever seen? You -- not in a movie, or seen in a photo, but the oddest thing that YOU have seen with your own set of peepers?

Since I am in nursing, I'll have to stay to theme: One of the cardiac patients on my work floor had a cardiac catheterization site that did not seal (i.e., the femoral artery didn't close - clot - up after they removed the guidewire). The poor man slowly bled out into his body. And which body part did this poor gentleman bleed into? His scrotum ! He was discharged home, and came back 6 hours later, with the HUGEST set of testes any of us had ever seen! And, as we had to assess for any changes, the poor man had to have the circumference of those mega-testes measured at least once per shift. By the time I measured on my shift, it was two days post re-admit, and he still had a set of testes 43 cm in diameter! Needless to say, they were very purple, the skin so tight it was shiny, and any small movement made the poor man wince. He was very stoic, and good-natured, and his wife allowed any medical staff to take a look. She said that she wanted him to at least be a learning tool, so that in future, we all could know that a bleed into a scrotum was a post-catherterization possibility!

Weird medical word of the day: Orchitis - Inflammation of one or both of the testicles. (Yes, I know this isn't quite the subject, but is as close as I could come.)