("Horses in Heaven"---don't know the author)
There's a gothic type of gloom about night-time visiting hours at small-town hospitals.
Everything seems so eerie and frightening---it almost feels like you're in the threatening preamble to some sort of bizarre slasher movie...
The lights are dimmer and the evening-shift employs fewer personnel. This means that in addition to the shadowy atmosphere, there descends a lonely, desperate feeling to the air which is exacerbated by the fact that there's only a handfull of nurses on the wards, all the administrative people have gone home, there's only a few emergency surgeries going on deep within the bowels of the OR, the cafeteria is closed, the only food available is the month-old crap in the few ICU waiting-room vending machines---and the deserted halls just flat out give me the dang creeps.
It startles me when I'm walking down a silent, dimly lit hospital hall and suddenly a stern-faced nurse or a surly-looking kitchen worker bursts out of a side door pushing a guerney or a metal cart.
And it makes me sad to walk by the ICU and hear the sorrowful bleatings of cardiac monitors and IV medication pumps.
There's also a special sadness and discomforting anticipation about waiting-vigils at the hospital bedside of a loved one--- which is what I've been doing for four nights with Jane-Anne.
It seems that on her very first OB/GYN appointment, the doctor determined that her out-of-control and brittle blood sugars were putting her unborn child (and her own health) at risk, even at this early stage. So he admitted her to the hospital, and I've been there trying to keep her in positive spirits every day. I've been going there on my lunch hours and then I go there after I get off work. And then I talk to her on the phone about 10 times a day.
While visiting her in her cramped room, I usually sit in the very uncomfortable plastic-upholstered chair next to her bed and chat her head off about mundane crap that I'm sure I've said a hundred times if I've said it once. I've also taken my knitting and gotten a lot of work done on Geena-Lou's Tiger Opal Rainforest socks and Belinda's cashmerino aran Psychedelic Baby Blanket.
I also took Jane-Anne some of my favorite gossip magazines but she said she's tired of reading about Anna Nicole and Paris Hilton. Maybe I'll go get her some fashion magazines instead.
Yesterday when I visited her, she reported that the OB/GYN had been in to see her. "It was really cool," Jane-Anne exclaimed excitedly. "She did a vaginal exam on me and said to me 'here feel this'---"
This statement caused me to practically have an apoplectic fit. As much nursing experience as I have, I haven't ever worked OB/GYN---I don't know nothing about no babies. And so stupid me just couldn't picture the whole thing and had to interrupt her...
"Feel WHAT?" I asked in utter mortification.
"The baby, you idgit!" she hollered impatiently.
I pressed on, wondering what in the hell could be gained by the gymnastics she had just told me. "How the hell are you going to stick your own hand up your own hoo-hoo to feel the baby?" I clamored, imagining a bizarre scenario with the two of them both having their hands inside Jane-Anne up to their armpits... (which, let me tell you, was a horrifying visual....)
"No no no, you idgit," she laughed. "She stuck her hand up in there only so she could press on the baby---and then I put my own hand on top of my STOMACH to feel the baby BETWEEN the two of our hands. And there it was! She even let my husband do it too."
"Oh GROSS!" squeamish me exclaimed. "And YECK! Do you mean to tell me that you're sitting there with her stupid hand up your hoo-hoo--- and y'all two are sitting there feeling your stomach.... while her hand is IN THERE? Oh, GAG ME!!!"
"You're such a prude, Bo," she declared. "And what the hell is a 'hoo-hoo' anyway?"
She was right, of course. I am a prude. I don't like doctors touching me. I don't like doctors doing anything to me, even checking my blood pressure--- MUCH LESS sticking his or her hand up into my... uh....nether regions.
And furthermore, I also don't like graphic "terminology" of the ...uh...nether regions. The term "hoo-hoo", which I learned in college, is sufficiently non-threatening enough for me to tolerate in polite conversation with a woman. (However, it would mortify me NO END if a MAN ever used any sort of a term for the uh...female nether region within my earshot...
Plus, I must admit that I was already in a sour mood because I had embarassed myself in the hospital's front lobby.
The gift shop, which is in the lobby, frequently has colorful gift displays by its entrance---and today it was a bunch of pinatas painted like barn animals, all hanging gaily from the ceiling over the entrance to the shop. I had stopped into the gift shop to buy Jane-Anne a get-well card but when I came barrelling out of the shop, in my usual all-fired hurry, I bonked my head on one of those stupid hanging pinatas---hard enough to burst the damn thing---and to my horror, a pinata-load of chocolate candies began streaming out of the thing and right onto the floor of the hospital's lobby, much to the glee of a bunch of little kids who were playing in the nearby kiddee-corral. The children immediately abandoned their "Little Golden Books" and Barbie Dolls in a heartbeat and ran over to scrabble around on the floor in a melee for the candies, which were bouncing and rolling down the hospital lobby's floorway like a thousand marbles.
"Thanks a lot, Miss Graceful," the gift shop owner remarked rudely. "It took me all morning to hang those damn pinatas and then you had to go and ruin the only one painted like a donkey."
"I hate donkeys," I sniffed with as much dignity as I could muster and stalked off with what I hoped was a reasonable sneer of "disdain"----and then hurriedly grabbed a nearby elevator to sneak out of the area just as fast as I could before anybody in authority figured out who had caused the whole pinata mess.
Pinatas indeed! What the hell would a silly donkey pinata be doing in a dang hospital gift shop? Pinatas should be hanging at a party shop somewhere. Why would ANYONE on God's Green Earth buy a dang pinata in a hospital gift shop? Why, I ask you!? What do they think---that taking a stupid pinata up to the ICU with a card that says: "Hope you get well soon" is going to enable a sick person to jump up out of their bed and start wailing away with a bat at it? In fact, the only ward that I could even CONCEIVE that there might be a legitimate reason for a pinata would be the psychiatric ward---where the patients could paint them as effigies of their worst psychiatric symptoms and then beat the bejeezus out of them as some sort of safe "anger therapy".
(It's what I'd want to do with a pinata in a psychiatric ward, but what do I know?....)
Okay, I'll get off the pinata tirade....
And also it's been a rough week at work. Lee-Lee became angry and unreasonable, acting sullen and impatient with me due to the fact that she's had to pick up some extra visits to cover for Jane-Anne's absence. And that really IRKS ME because not only did our company go out of its way to accomodate her own pregnancy problems and recent maternity leave, but her workload this week has been the same exact workload that she'll be assigned over at her new company when she begins that new job next week.
Sigh, she simply doesn't know how good she's had it here at our company---and she'll have to find it out the hard way.
Ok, I know it's sinful but I have actually put money on a group bet with my other co-workers about how long it will be before Lee-Lee quits that company once she finds out that we were telling her the dang truth about how those large, corporate road nurse companies overwork their nurses.
But what's done is done and I guess I'm just going to have to suffer with her odious mood until she leaves next week.
But there's good news! Guess what?
Remember all that praying...uh yelling....I did to the Lord?
Well, the LORD ANSWERED MY PRAYERS, hot diggity dawg!
I guess my unorthodox praying....er...whining....to Him caused him to take pity on me---or else He was in a good mood or something. Because He has generously blessed me several ways this week.
First, I managed to talk Belinda into coming to work for me and fill Lee-Lee's place, yahoo!
Which will help me immensely because she is an RN instead of an LVN; thus giving me a respite from the huge, relentless load of RN-only paperwork that I've been buried under ever since Lu-Lu left. I talked Belinda into leaving her current job and so she will be joining our company on Monday. Glory halleluja---because me, Belinda, and Geena-Lou will finally, at long last, be working together again!
And the other good news is that my bosses did me a huge, unexpected favor. Remember when I had the flu last week? I missed a lot of work because of that, and since we don't get vacation or sick time I was ruefully contemplating the fact that my paycheck was going to be a small one. But when I opened the envelope holding my paycheck on payday, imagine my surprise that not only did I have a full paycheck, but there was extra money in there to boot! They'd paid me for all the days in that pay period---even my sick days--- and even threw in some more money just for the hell of it!
I thought, what in the hell? I knew I hadn't made a mistake on my time sheet....
I called my bosses to tell them they had overpaid me but they insisted it was deliberate because of how hard I'd been working lately throughout the stress of the personnel changes---and also that I'd still found the time to go be with Jane-Anne in the hospital. I almost started bawling at their generosity!
Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention---but one of the more unpleasant aspects of my week (which is one of the "personnel changes" the owners were talking about) is that I was finally forced to fire my sullen, pouting secretary. It happened on the day I politely asked her to please try and "catch up" on the huge stack of unfiled documents she'd been letting languish in the filing stack for two weeks. But when I politely asked her to do the filing, she suddenly took a hostile stance (with her hands on her hips and everything), looked me straight in the eyeballs, and made the following statement: "This filing is bullshit".
Well, now, I'll admit that she had a point. Filing is an unpleasant chore. I guess you could call it "bullshit" of sorts---but it STILL MUST BE DONE in a timely fashion. And the daily filing was her job after all. But it truth be known, it wasn't just only the filing----because her surly behavior over various other issues has been going on for weeks---in fact, she has become more of a horse's patoot by the day. Ok, so I fired her.
Now mind you, I didn't take any enjoyment out of that task, but the office was becoming very chaotic because of her behaviors. And then when I did finally ask her to leave, wouldn't you know it, but she chose to have herself a typical rowdy Texan conniption fit and began hurling and tossing things around the office (some of them at me!) and cussing.
I really didn't mind the cussing until she screamed out the statement that I "was going to go to hell" and then I decided I'd had enough. So I warned her three times that I was going to call the law if she didn't just calm down and pack her stuff quietly and go----but noooooooooooo, she continued to throw things at me and so I had to dial 911.
And the cops did come. They led her out of there in handcuffs. It was quite a scene, I'll tell you.
.... and it'll be fodder for juicy gossip in Podunk for the next 6 weeks---or at least until the next hapless person gets a DWI or horse offense on Main Street.
Ok, so the week's tally of disasters is finally over, thank God. I've managed to lose a secretary, I had to do a lot of extra work since Geena-Lou is in Houston helping her kids 'show' their goats and hefers in the livestock show, Jane-Anne has been in the hospital, and grouchy Lee-Lee's leaving us.
But all is not lost, hee hee---for I have weekend plans. I am going to make the trek to see my mother, where my sister will be visiting from Dallas. And my mother has informed me that she bought me some neat presents from her recent trip to Mexico, hot dang!
So if I can just get through this weekend without any distress calls from the on-call nurse, I'll be happy as a pig in mud.... (Speaking of pigs, I've tried to get some pictures of some pigs for my blog but those fat little curly-tailed suckers are always rooting around in low mud puddles--- and I've never been able to catch one venturing out of their puddle who's been in the mood to pose for me....)