Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Insane and On-Call

See those SUV's? (Otherwise known around here as "Nurse-Mobiles"...) Those are the vehicles of the nurses who are NOT on call this week...

Lucky devils. I, however, am not so lucky this week.

Because I am on call....


And I'm going slowly bonkers..... I swear, whenever I have to "take call", I get so stressed out that I become completely neurotic. I walk around feeling like I'm losing what little mind I have. Besides being worked to death, I get these absolutely NUTTY, CRAZY, REPETITIVE thoughts that just go round and round and round in my head until I think I'm going INSANE--- and I wonder:

Just WHERE IN THE HELL are these thoughts coming from? Like....are they messages from The Lord?..... Is it telepathy?.... Or is it really what I suspect--that I'm simply going nutty-as-a-fruitcake? For example, ALL DAY LONG today the words to that Roger Miller song kept playing over and over and over in my stupid head: Dang me, dang me, They oughta take a rope and hang me.... Now why in the HELL would that song be playing in my head all day? I was even singing it to myself as I worked in my office, as I fiddled with charts in the conference room, and even while sitting on the toilet in the bathroom. I know people could hear me, but I DIDN'T CARE.... I'm on call--what do I have to lose?

When I get this insane, it affects all aspects of my life. I can't do anything right. I lose things, I trip over nothing, I drop things.... It even makes me knit socks like this:

Hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time, okay? Dang me, dang me, They oughta take a rope and hang me.... And I'm irritable as all get out when I'm on call. And to make matters worse, today was boring because most of my patient visits were in town. I always feel confined when I can't get out into the country. I prefer the wide open spaces of the ranches and farms--where nobody can complain about me for singing the Dang Me Song.

But one of the other nurses was off sick today and so I had to see her patients. And all of her patients live in town, mostly in retirement communities. And none of them have any animals I can talk to (except this one patient who has a mean little poodle dog named Boudreau whom I'd dearly love to drop-kick across the goal-post of the football field at Redneck High.) (I didn't say that right--I meant that I'd like to drop-kick the poodle dog-- not the patient.) (I'm mad at that dog because he bit me once in the shin just for pure spite and there was nothing I could do about it--because you can't drop-kick, cuss, stomp, or beat-the-tar-out of your patients' pets in front of them--it's simply not professional.) (You can, however, fantasize about drop-kicking them over goal posts.) God help me, but being on call for an entire week is awful. You get so tired and irritable that your caring Florence Nightingale Personality turns into The Wicked Witch of The West. The whole week is literal hell because you can't relax when you get home after work for fear that the beeper will go off and you'll have to go out on a patient visit in the middle of the night for some godforsaken reason. Or else you don't necessarily have to go out on a visit but you still have to return a patient's phone call--and then you can't go back to sleep. In either case you're so tired from lack of sleep the next day that you can't see straight. And by the end of a full 7 days of sleep deprivation you're ready to be committed to the nearest looney bin.

And with my tentative grip on sanity--well, if I'm not insane BEFORE going on call, I'll certainly be that way AFTER being on call... You'd go insane, too, if you got woken up all night long for calls like this: 8 pm: "Hello, Nurse? I think you need to get over here right away. My left knee has been hurting for the last 3 weeks." 11 pm: "Hello, Nurse? I haven't pooped in 4 days. I feel like I'm sitting on a football. I think it's Fleet's Enema time." 12 am: "Hello, Nurse? This is the Answering Service. We just wanted to call and let you know that Ms. Daylock called to say that she did get her Vitamin B-12 prescription re-filled today for her shot next week." 1 am: "Hello, Nurse? I forgot to tell you something when you were here today." (Note: This horrifying statement will usually elicit an absolute sense of panic and dread in the hapless nurse who hears it. Because I guar-an-damn-tee-ya that it's going to be some godawful thing that could be life-threatening to the patient......) (And then you get so dang irked at the patient for neglecting to tell you about the dangerous symptoms earlier that you just want to holler at them: "I swear, if you die on me I'm going to kill you!"...) (I know that doesn't make sense but it's just how worried & frustrated you get when you've told a beloved patient THREE-ZILLION UMPTEEN-ELEVEN-BILLION TIMES to tell you immediately when they're having life-threatening symptoms!)

2 am: "Hello, Nurse? Is tomorrow when you're coming or is it Thursday?"

3 am: "Hello, Nurse? What does it mean if your left eye waters every single time you go to the bathroom? Why doesn't my right eye water?" 6am: "Hello, Nurse? This is the Answering Service. We have a message for the Administrator. Please tell her that her car mechanic's wife called to say that Buzzy will have her Tahoe ready at about 8am-- and he updated her inspection sticker because it was about to expire so that'll be $12.59 more on the bill. Oh yes, and she left her a bag of biscuits and some apricot jelly she put up last summer on the passenger seat."

I was so tired one morning after a night on call that when I heard the microwave "ding!" to let me know that my sausage-biscuit was ready, I called the Answering Service thinking that the microwave alarm had been my pager going off. I swear I did that. And I left without my biscuit, dang it, STILL not realizing what that bell sound had been...

Dang me, dang me, They oughta take a rope and hang me..... Thinking about drop-kicking that mean little poodle dog got me to thinking about a story my mother told me about my father. She said that when they first got married one of my grandmother's roosters annoyed the hell out of my father for some reason. I don't remember the exact details of the whole story except the part about how one day my father got so pissed off at that rooster that he drop-kicked it across the barn yard. (And the rooster never bothered him again.) Anyway, I was thinking of that rooster story today when I had to go see Miss Griffin and draw her blood. She lives in a trailer park that allows animals. And strangely, when I got there, two of the next-door trailer's big roosters were clucking around her yard. Roosters, I thought. Never took a picture of a rooster.... so why not? They're kind of pretty those roosters, all coloredy-looking and all. So I got out my camera to snap a picture of them. But the little assholes kept running away from me whenever I tried to take their pictures--which made me mad. I stalked those fool chickens for a full half hour, tramping through Miss Griffin's yard in my pinks, getting dirt all over the hems of the pants and dropping my stethoscope in the tomato plants. This made me mad enough to want to drop-kick THEM. Finally I cornered them and got this picture, but I know Miss Griffin thinks I'm completely NUTS --because she saw me and opened her back door. "Get out of my flower bed and why are you taking pictures of those stupid roosters?" she asked. I lied and told her I "make scrapbooks of animal pictures".....

"Roosters ain't animals," she corrected me. "They're fowl--for breeding biddies." WHATEVER. I drew her blood, delivered it to the lab, and then went back to the office, thinking I'd sulk the rest of the day in my office. But when I got back they told me I had to turn right around and go out to see another patient at the Fairfield Ranch.

FREEDOM!!!! Hello, Cows! Hello, Horses! I'm back!......

At last--I could once again roam the countryside and see all my friends! And out on the Fairfield Ranch there's decent, sensible animals that I don't want to drop-kick. Like this sweet little nanny-goat who loves me so much that she always tries to come with me when it's time for me to leave:

As I said goodbye to her and walked away reluctantly, I thought I heard a faint, familiar bleating....and I thought I could make out the words....the words of a nanny-goat singing......

Dang me, dang me, they oughta take a rope and hang me.....

I only have to take "on-call" for one week.....that's all...just one week.... seven days... surely I can make it... yes, I can make it.....Please Lord help me make it......


Kat said...

I just love your posts!! There's always at least one thing that makes me laugh out loud.

Bless you for being a nurse--I think I'd end up killing someone.

That Lowe Girl said...

your posts make me laugh. keep on knitting. I am.

KatieLiz said...

OK, Now I have "Dang me" running through my head along with "Drop kick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life." And I don't know anything to the rest of the song other than "Drop kick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life" so it's gonna get really boring really fast. Thanks! >:D

EvaLux said...

Thank you for making me laugh once again :) You're soooo funny!!!

Oh, when I have a song like that stuck in my head, all I need to do is to listen to it once or twice and it is gone!!!

Cheers Eva

Taoknitter said...

You really are very funny! Great way to start my day. And I also appreciate the fact you are a nurse...when my father was dying it was the ICU nurses who not only took such great care of him, but could also be counted on to answer all our questions honestly. May the universe smile on you!

Anonymous said...

You may be insane, but you're also a genius. There's a definite strain of Molly Ivins and Anne Richards--which I mean as a huge compliment. Texas must breed tough, funny, straight-seeing and tell-it-like-it-is (with appropriate exaggeration) women. I salute you!

Anonymous said...

This is for KatieLiz. You can download the song on for 88 cents.

Song from Bobby Bare Greatest Hits, Bareworks Inc.
Words and music by Paul Craft.
CD, BWCD-040292

Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life
End over end neither left nor to right
Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights
Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life.

Make me, oh make me, Lord more than I am
Make me a piece in your master game plan
Free from the earthly tempestion below
I’ve got the will, Lord if you’ve got the toe.

Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life
End over end neither left nor to right
Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights
Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life.

Take all the brothers who’ve gone on before
And all of the sisters who’ve knocked on your door
All the departed dear loved ones of mine
Stick’em up front in the offensive line.

Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life
End over end neither left nor to right
Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights
Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life.

Yeah, Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life
End over end neither left nor to right
Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights
Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life.

And this is for Bohemian knitter

Boo-woo Boop boop boop boop boo -ba-oo-ba boo boo bow
Ba-boo-ba bam...
Ba-bye-oo ba ba ba ba - by-oo boo boo bow

Well here I sit-a high, gettin' ideas
Ain't nothing but a fool would live like this
Out all night and runnin' wild
Woman sittin' home with a month old child

Dang me, dang me
They oughta take a rope and hang me
High from the highest tree
Woman would you weep for me

Just settin' around drinkin' with the rest of the guys
Six rounds we bought, and I bought five
Spent the groceries and half the rent
I lack fourteen dollars havin' twenty seven cents

Dang me, dang me
They oughta take a rope and hang me
High from the highest tree
Woman would you weep for me

They say roses are red and violets are purple
Sugar's sweet and so's maple surple
And I'm the seventh out of seven sons
My pappy was a pistol
I'm a son of a gun.

Dang me, dang me
They oughta take a rope and hang me
High from the highest tree
Woman would you weep for me

I live in Texas, I am an RN,I have home health experience, I swear can I send you my resume? We could tear it up, girl!!

Docbeccy said...

You are hysterically funny and I loved this rant, especially since I have spent much of my life on call. As a physician responsible for labs and blood banks I've carried a beeper every day for the past 20 plus years. Yeah - it makes you crazy and sometimes you fear going to bed because you just know you are not going to sleep through the night.

Worse yet, my husband is a cardiologist and I hate his call even more. I pray the whole time he has to drive in during the middle of the night. I lay in bed while the fool family practise residents present a case that rambles on and he falls asleep. I lay and chant "Reader's Digest Version" Nothing helps.

So, God bless you as you wend your way to the houses of your patients. Isn't it nice to have a great hobby like knitting to help soothe your frazzled nerves when you get a break?

Unknown said...

Your writing is very good and very funny. Someday you will be making money with your writing... at least I hope so; then you can go insane trying to write on demand instead of being on-call for a week.

Anonymous said...

You're the only one who would understand. I was called to Suite A to check on the gun hanging on the hook in the bathroom by a little old lady who then wasn't able to give a urine sample because the gun frightened her. Iwas told that it was problably Johns who was seeing Dr. X and I asked John why he had a gun at the doctors office and he told me cause it was illegal to leave it in the car but that I shouldn't worry cause last time he had left it in the exam room so he was doing better!