Wednesday, September 26, 2007

No Tuffet for this Muffit


Now I don't believe I want to see the morning,

Going down the stoney end

I never wanted to go...


("Stoney End", Barbra Streisand)


Everybody's got their weaknesses, right?

But, as an RN, I try to keep a somewhat "professional" demeanor about myself when I am visiting my patients. I try to appear strong, confident, and also competent.

And most of the time, I am successful at this endeavor.

But every now and then......things happen and my personal weaknesses rear their ugly head and my composure.

It's been a long time since I last lost my composure in front of a patient. I think the last time was when a patient's wife caught me making smart-aleck remarks to one of their donkeys, who had been rudely staring at me.

And--- okay--- there was that time on another ranch when I got caught saying the S-word after I slipped and fell into a cow-pie.

And... well okay..... there was also that time that I said the S-Word while trying to draw blood from a patient and her little asshole wienie-dog bit me in the butt.

But most of the time I think I keep a pretty cool facade, trying with all my might to exhibit a certain degree of dignity, competence, and a helpful attitude while on duty in Podunk's rough, rural environment---a land which holds a host of unexpected natural hazards just waiting to trip up a hapless road nurse (aka flash floods, rock-dirt roads, and fleeing livestock) ----and also when in simple domestic situations within my patients' homes.

In fact, speaking of being in patients' homes, I pride myself on my ability to keep a straight face if a patient tells me some godawful story which curdles my blood or causes me the desire to snatch them bald or else run down the street screaming while tearing out all my hair from the very roots.

I mean, over the years, I've learned not to fear mean ranch dogs, I no longer give a damn if a donkey looks at me rudely, and I've gotten to the point that I am not daunted one bit if a patient tells me some nutty or crazy thing they've done. I love my patients and I truly want to do my best to help them as much as I possibly can.


Last Monday, I lost my cool.


I had to drive 47 miles away to see two patients, a husband and wife, both of whom are very ill in their own ways. The wife has a crippling case of rheumatoid arthritis which has caused so much deformity in the joints of her hands that she can barely grip anything at all. On my first visit to her, she stated that she's been reduced to using Eggo Toaster Waffles for the family's breakfast instead of making pancakes because she can no longer maneuver a spatula to flip the pancakes.

(Have I ever told you about the time when my sister and I were much younger and she and I had a pancake flipping contest? My mother wasn't home and so she and I made a huge bowl of pancake batter and began to make pancakes on the griddle---taking turns flipping them as high as we could with the spatula. The winner would be the one who could flip their pancake up the highest while still causing it to land in the proper place on the hot griddle. I don't remember who won that contest, but I do remember that I flipped a pancake so high that it stuck to the ceiling. My sister, ever the competitor, flipped one of hers so high that it landed crooked, falling behind the stove altogether. To this day I'm not sure what the furniture movers thought when they moved our furniture out of that house and found several petrified pancakes behind the stove. And, amazingly enough, my mother never noticed the pancake stuck to the ceiling. I think she just assumed it was some kind of a high-tech, flat smoke-detector.)

(You know, I'll bet that pancake is still there on the ceiling today.....)

Where was I?

Oh yes, I had gone to see a husband and wife couple, Mr. and Mrs. Dalyrimple.

Alongside his wife's handicapped state with her rheumatoid arthritis, Mr. Dalyrimple is also himself very ill and debilitated. He has end-stage emphysema which requires him to be on continuous oxygen. And because of his difficulties breathing, he cannot move very fast, even for the most minimal of activity.

But they are the nicest people you could ever know. They're cooperative, non-complaining, extremely kind, good sports---and are always ready to pour a glass of sweet tea for a parched road nurse.

So anyway, the other day I went to see them. And when I parked the Jeep, grabbed my nurse bag, and began walking up their concrete walkway to the front door of the home, I noticed that they had boatloads of Halloween decorations about. I mean, they really had a LOT of decorations up. And I found myself wondering why in the hell they had Halloween decorations up so early?---I mean, it's still September for goodness' sakes. But I simply figured that maybe they had done it to thrill their crop of lively grandchildren, who they dote on endlessly.

The decorations were pretty splendid. All along the walkway I passed by scary ghosts and goblins hanging threateningly overhead from tree limbs, large carved jack-o-lanterns, gingham-clad hay-stuffed scarecrows, and cheery banners announcing such slogans as "Trick or Treat!" or "Happy Halloween!". I thought it was all pretty cool, albeit way too early for Halloween.

Finally, as I approached the front door, I even walked through a large, thick strand of a spider web, at the top of which was a huge black spider with orange and black striped legs. How cool, I thought to myself. They've even got a realistic looking spider and web decoration to complete the Halloween theme.

As I reached the front door, I knocked and waited for someone to let me in.

But then I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a movement above my head.

It was that huge spider. And it had moved......

And it was NOT a decoration.

Because. It. Was. Real.

And it began skittering down that strand of its spider web... right ...towards!!!!!

"AAAIIIYEEEE!!!!" I screamed in strangled anguish and horror. Dropping my nurse bag like a hot potato, still screaming, I threw open the Dalyrimples' front door and BURST into the house like a runaway train----- and then proceeded to perform a mad dancing configuration around their living room, trying to look over my shoulder to see if that spider had gotten on me, trying to shake it off. I was terrified beyond words that it might be on my back.

"A SPIDER! A SPIDER!" I shrieked to the completely mortified Dalyrimples, who had been, heretofore, peacefully eating their breakfast in the nearby dining room. Both of them appeared thunderstruck at my violent and loud entry---and completely shocked at my writhing, Macarena-like body contortions.

"IS THE SPIDER ON ME? IS THE SPIDER ON ME????" I repeated, hollering and dancing around in a bizarre figure-eight pattern, stomping my feet while still doing the Macarena arm movements in an effort to brush the spider off my shoulders. "OH MY GOD, I JUST KNOW IT'S ON ME!!!!! AAAIIEEEEE!!!!"

Finally, after a few moments of my screaming, Mrs. Dalywimple began to comprehend the problem. She gathered her wits about her and sort of crept, with trepidation, over to the front door. She looked up at the top area and saw the spider for herself, which was still sitting there, malignantly thinking it's spider thoughts. The spider's size was large enough that Mrs. Dalyrimple, too, became fairly nervous herself.

(But she didn't start dancing around like a deranged marionnette puppet doing the Macarena like I was....)

Mrs. Dalyrymple looked towards me and exclaimed: "No, nurse, it's not on you! Lookee lookee--it's still up there on that web!"

And I looked---and sure enough, the horrible thing WAS still up there.

And then....Mrs. Dalyrimple did a brave thing. She bent down and pulled off her house slipper. It wasn't a very sturdy house slipper. It was a typical cheap Walmart house slipper---the kind which is flimsy enough to make stomping ants a difficult deed.

"I'll get that spider, nurse!" she cried valiantly. And so she tentatively and nervously began beating the spider with her house slipper.

But I was not to be calmed and continued my contortions and "spider-evasive-maneuvers", which now resembled the Mexican Hat Dance more so than the Macarena. And I continued to scream. But, as she got braver and more confident, Mrs. Dalyrimple steadfastly continued to strike at the spider with her Walmart house slipper, trying courageously to kill the durn thing.

And I wasn't much help.

"KILL IT! KILL IT! KILL IT!" I involuntarily hollered at the top of my lungs. "KILL IT! KILL IT! KILL IT!"

And then, since I was born and raised by a Southern Lady, I did the natural thing that Southern Raised Girls do--- and I looked to the nearest male for help in my distress. I mean, I know it's old fashioned, but I was raised to believe that it is the man's job to kill bugs and spiders.

And poor Mr. Dalyrimple, who still looked fairly shocked at my surprising entrance into his home, slowly began to rise out of his chair, gathering his oxygen tubing about him.

Completely forgetting his breathing disability, I screamed at him: "KILL IT! KILL IT! KILL THE SPIDER! IT'S GONNA GET ME, I JUST KNOW IT! OH, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS HOLY----KILL IT!"

I turned back around and saw that Mrs. Dalyrimple was really getting into the spirit of her task. She was beating that spider for all she was worth. "Don't worry, nurse!" she cried breathlessly. "I'll kill the dadgum thing for you!"

And she continued to beat at that spider. In fact, she was beating the living shit out of that spider. She beat it and beat it and beat it, until I thought for sure the stupid thing would be rendered as flat as a pancake.

(Get it? Flat as a pancake?)

But the damn thin wouldn't die! Every time Mrs. Dalyrimple hit it with her shoe, it would simply get right back up on its eight orange-and-black-striped legs and keep on moving, this time headed downwards towards the floor.

And again I shrieked. "AAAAIIIIEEEE!!!"

Because the thought of that spider getting loose on the floor caused me to have hysterics all over again.


By this time, I was frantically looking around for a sturdy piece of furniture to jump up on in case the dang spider got loose on the floor.

But Mrs. Dalyrimple, bless her soul, kept steadily beating that spider with her house slipper. And I mean she beat that thing till even her house slipper started looking a little frayed----and then she beat it some more----as the spider slowly, inch by inch, descended down the web strand and the door screen, towards the floor, a little further every time she hit it.

"I think I wounded it!" she finally cried triumphantly, gazing at the now-flattened spider, which had fallen into the crack of the doorway's threshold.

"IS IT DEAD?" I yelped hysterically from my precarious perch on a nearby footstool, thinking to myself that the sneaky spider might be 'faking' deadness.


"I dunno for sure..." Mrs. Dalyrimple replied, gazing intently at the doomed spider. "He's still moving a little---but I don't think he's going anwhere."


And sure enough, Mrs. Dalywimple gave the spider one final blow--- and the spider was dead at last.

Truly, truly, truly dead.....deadern' a doornail.

And as she and I stood there, breathing heavy sighs of relief at last, she sweating from doing battle with the spider,and me sweating because most of our patients never turn their dang air conditioners on, I heard a slight shuffling sound behind me.

It was Mr. Dalyrimple.

And I suddenly realized that from the time I had started to scream, he had been slowly, laboriously, trying to walk from his chair to the living room to come to my aid. I realized that he had been moving very slowly due to his debilitating shortness-of-breath, and that it had taken him all that time to finally reach us two ladies in our predicament.

And, as Mr. Dalyrimple finally rounded the corner from the dining room to the living room, huffing and puffing with his limited breathing ability, carrying his portable oxygen tank under one arm......

I noticed that he had, indeed, had the chivalrous intent to help us damsels in distress.....

Because he was holding a flyswatter in his other hand.

* * * *

Well, anyway, when we realized the disaster was over, we all stood there in shock for a few minutes, all of us trying to calm down----trying to figure out how we would now segue into the every-day business of my nurse visit.

Mr. Dalyrimple stood there holding his portable oxygen tank and the flyswatter, Mrs. Dalyrimple was still holding her Walmart house slipper in her hand----and I was still towering over the both of them from on top of the footstool.

"So how've you guys been doing this week? " I asked.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

We Interrupt This Podunk Broadcast to Bring You The Following News:


Jane-Anne and the baby made it through the danger!


Although Jane-Anne did end up going further into eclampsia, the hospital staff acted quickly and the baby was delivered by C-section. And now both mother and baby are fine, albeit Jane-Anne is still receiving certain IV medications to stabilize her condition. She and the baby should return to Podunk in a few days.

So let's all give our warmest welcoming Rebel Yell to our new arrival to Podunk, little seven pound Dusty:


And thank you all very much for your concern and best wishes!!!

(Especially you, Goddesswoo! I'm sorry I couldn't print your comment because part of it had your personal information on it--- and Blogger won't allow me print just a portion of a comment---but thank you so much for your offer!)

(Goddesswoo is a wonderfully kind nurse in Dallas who offered to go visit Jane-Anne, but alas, Jane-Anne was in a different hospital!)

* * * * * *


We Now Return You To Your Regularly Broadcasted Podunk Program:


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Even Cowboy Doctors Get The Blues....


The days of wine and roses,

Laugh and run away,

Like a child at play,

Through a meadowland,

Toward a closing door,

A door marked "nevermore"

that wasn't there before...


("Days of Wine and Roses", Henry Mancini")



Last week was just a bad week all around. It was like we all fell apart at once.

The first thing that happened was that I caught Belinda crying at her desk one early morning before anybody else had arrived at the office. And it was about her mother again.

As I've explained previously, Belinda's mother is (and has always been) very seriously mentally ill. She frequently forgets to take her meds, which results in a worsening of her symptoms. And even when she is taking her meds properly, she "isn't right", according to Belinda.

Belinda's mother is so paranoid and fearful most of the time that she calls Belinda on her cell phone constantly, all day long. She also wants to have lunch with Belinda every single day. Belinda tries in vain to explain to her mother that she doesn't always have the time or the money to go to lunch during her busy workday, but her mother simply doesn't understand.

The morning I caught Belinda crying, I sat down nearby and asked her what was wrong. Belinda sniffed and blew her nose into a Kleenex as she told me: "I just feel so guilty about the fact that I wish my mother was "normal". I mean, it's not her fault that she's mentally ill---and I feel like a bad person for getting impatient or annoyed with her."

"Feeling sad and frustrated doesn't make you a bad person," I stated. "You have a heavy burden to bear--- and I know it's not easy. And I also know that you love your mother very much. If you want to know my opinion, I think you're a great daughter--- because I'll bet there's not very many daughters who could take such good care of their mothers as you have."

And then she looked at me very seriously and stated: "And... I just wish so much that she could be normal, you know? So that she and I could talk to each other about every day mother-daughter stuff..... But yet, each year, she only gets worse instead of better. And now I know that she isn't ever going to be normal....ever."

I just sat there with her, quietly, waiting in case she wanted to talk some more. But she kept silent and then began stoically wiping the corners of her eyes with the Kleenex in order to ensure that her eye makeup wasn't smeared. After a minute or two, she got herself together and said: "I'll be okay."

I gave her the "thumbs up" sign and replied: "Let me know if you need anything. If your mother wants you to eat lunch with her today, don't worry about it. I'll do a couple of your visits to free up some of your time if you like."

"Thanks," she said, smiling her brave little smile.

I turned to walk over to my desk--- hiding the tears that were threatening to form in my own eyes.

And we went on with our day.

Seeing my best friend crying hurts me deep.....deep down inside.....

* * * * *

The next bad thing that happened was that Bonnie arrived at work looking slightly disheveled, her face resembling that of a wild-eyed lunatic who was angry enough to snatch somebody bald.

And not only that, but she slammed her purse down on her desk while muttering the F-word---which is the first time in history that I've ever heard timid Bonnie say a cussword. I mean, she's such a good Christian that she never curses----and what's more, she simply can't ever bring herself to lie---not even a tiny little fib.

In fact, one day Jane-Anne (who can be very competitive---a trait which I have yet to successfully whup out of her sassy young butt) taunted Bonnie about one of Bonnie's patient visits, predicting rudely that Bonnie wouldn't be able to successfully get a blood sample out of one of our patients, a lady who is a particularly "difficult stick". For some reason, Jane-Anne thought that because she'd once gotten that lady's blood herself, that she had suddenly become the world's champeen blood-drawer.

Later that day, Bonnie called me on the cell phone and told me that Jane-Anne's taunting had "psyched her out" and that she, indeed, had not been able to get the lady's blood---and she wanted me to come over and try my hand at it. So I detoured off my own patient route of the day and went out to where Bonnie was.

When I arrived, I tried my hand and was lucky enough to get the lady's blood. As a dejected Bonnie packed the blood samples into the blood-carrier for the trip to the lab, I told her: "Look, Bonnie. You don't have to take Jane-Anne's shit. Simply don't tell her that I was the one who got the dang blood. You act like YOU got it, okay? I'll never tell."

"No," Bonnie replied dejectedly. "I can't do it. I just can't lie and take credit for something that you did."

I rolled my eyes in impatience because I knew it was the truth---she would never lie. But then... a lightbulb of a great idea went off over my head.

Slyly, I stated: "Okay, Bonnie, if that idgity Jane-Anne doesn't ASK you about the blood, then you won't be put into the position of having to tell her that it wasn't actually YOU who got the blood, right? It isn't a lie if she doesn't ASK you, right? And then you don't volunteer any information, okay??"

Bonnie looked at me with a little brighter expression on her face, the logic of my trick dawning upon her previous shameful mood, and she said quietly: "Yes, I believe that would be okay..."

And to this day I'll bet that Jane-Anne has no damn idea why I became so helpless that afternoon, dragging her over to a couple of my patient visits to "help me hold somebody's legs apart for a urinary catheterization" or else to help me roll someone over in bed so that I could change a wound dressing on their backside....

...and ONLY me and Bonnie will ever know that idgity ole Jane-Anne damn well didn't have ANY time to ask ANYBODY about ANYTHING that day, HEH!

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yes, Bonnie came into work looking like she wanted to snatch someone bald.

After talking with her, Belinda and I found out that Bonnie's 20-year old daughter and worthless son-in-law (and their child, Bonnie's beloved grandchild) had all moved in with Bonnie's family over the weekend because they had been evicted from their own place.

Bonnie already has one son living at home--- and a husband to boot. So now Bonnie's house is a chaotic mess with 6 people crammed in a small, two-bedroom house. The situation has practically dashed all of Bonnie's hopes of getting time to study for the online course that she just paid thousands of dollars for----a course which will allow her to make the transition from an LVN to an RN. But because of her daughter's family moving in, Bonnie now says she doesn't know how in the world she'll ever get any quiet time to study. I've never seen her so sad and frustrated.

* * * * *

And then the week just kept getting worse. And what happened next was what we have all been secretly afraid of for months....

It's Jane-Anne.

Remember that Jane-Anne is a very brittle Type 1 diabetic?---and that she had been sternly advised by two doctors to NOT get pregnant? But then the stubborn little mule got pregnant anyway?

The other day she came to work----and she looked awful. Her face looked puffy. I thought she'd been crying or something.

"What's wrong?" I asked her. "You look all puffed up. Have you been crying?"

"No," she replied dismally. "I'm just puffed all over. And my legs are the worst---they've been puffing up for a couple of weeks now----and now my face is finally puffing up, too."

"Your legs?" I asked with a quiet dread. "Uh...pull up your scrubpant-legs. I want to look."

She pulled them up----and I paled.

Both of Jane-Anne's legs were so swollen with fluid, from her toes to her knees, that you could literally poke your finger into her leg and make a dent an inch deep. Her toes looked like sausages.

"Give me my stethoscope, Bonnie," I said fearfully.

I took Jane-Anne's blood pressure. It was 184/106.

Horrified, I threw my stethoscope down on the floor and hollered: "Jane-Anne! Get your butt on the phone to your doctor right this minute!"

"But what if she wants me to come to Dallas?" Jane-Anne whined. "My husband's at work and only Mee-Maw's available to drive me----and she practically got us all killed when she tried to drive us to the Dairy Queen last Friday. And I've hardly got money for the gas, anyway!"

"Call the damn doctor!" I demanded. "Because if you don't, I'm just this far from dragging your ass down to the ER. You are most likely pre-eclamptic or very near so!"

Sure enough, when she got on the phone with her doctor she was instructed to get herself to Dallas just as fast as she could.

And she's there now, in a Dallas hospital----and sure enough, she's pre-eclamptic.

She's on strict bedrest and they're watching her closely. The doctor's trying to allow the baby to develop as much as possible before they induce labor. Because although the baby is already as big as a full-term baby (6 lbs), it's not full term internally---Jane-Anne's real due date isn't until the 1st of November. Thus, the baby's lungs may not yet be developed properly.

And so, we're all doing the waiting game---hoping like hell that the pregnancy doesn't ruin Jane-Anne's already strained kidneys and cardiovascular system----and hoping like hell that both Jane-Anne and her baby will be alright....

* * * * * * * * *


And then there's me......

Well, let's just say that last week wasn't the greatest week of my life. The way it happened was this:

I had been tired for a long time---at least several months. And I couldn't figure out WHY I was so dang tired. I mean, my job isn't THAT stressful. And each week, as I sank deeper and deeper into an all-encompassing fatigue, where I was so tired that I could barely put one foot in front of the other, I kept trying to puzzle it all out in my head.

Did I need vitamins? Was it the Texan heat? Was I anemic? What the heck WAS this strange fatigue?

And it got worse and worse. In fact, it got so bad that there were some days that I truly believed that I might not be able to make it through the work-day. I felt like I was walking in wet sand.

And then one week I began having....some other symptoms.

But I put the rationale for those symptoms right out of my head. I refused to consider their origin. I knew that it couldn't be THAT. Nooooooo, I was too young. I didn't fit the "criteria" for that problem. It simply couldn't be THAT, no sirree....

But finally, one day last week, I arrived home after work at about 4:45 pm, and I was so tired that I went straight to my bed right then. And I didn't get up till the next morning.

But I still didn't feel any better....

So I dragged my tired self into the office and sat down across from Bonnie, who was already at her desk preparing her day's paperwork. Belinda had just called me on her cell phone to ask if I wanted anything before she arrived, and I had asked her to bring me a "sweet tea" from McDonalds. And then I turned to Bonnie---to ask a question, the answer of which I had been dreading for weeks....

"Bonnie," I said in a trembling voice. "I...uh...haven't felt very well for a few weeks. And I know I didn't say anything to you guys about it, but....well...I guess... you had better check my blood sugar...."

Bonnie lifted her head from her paperwork and looked at me. She started to say something---but something in my expression caused her to stay silent, a similar dread forming on her own face.

She reached into her nearby nurse bag and pulled out her glucometer. Still silent, she "loaded" the glucometer with a "strip", swiped my finger with alcohol, and then stuck one of my fingers with a lancet. She placed the ensuing blood droplet onto the strip in the glucometer---and we each waited, holding our breaths, for the result to appear on the face of the little machine.

A human being's normal blood sugar is around 60 to 120.

The machine beeped it's results---and my blood sugar result appeared suddenly on the glucometer's screen....

It read "600".

Bonnie's and my horrified gasps could have been heard down to the fire station. Hearing us, Belinda (who had just arrived with my sweet tea) and the secretary both ran into the room to see what was wrong with Bonnie and me----and when they realized what was going on, Belinda dropped the sweet tea and they both paled. They were both completely and utterly appalled at the number which blazed from the glucometer's screen--- as were Bonnie and I---- and we all stood there like idiots, staring at that glucometer. The fear and mortification in that room was so thick that it was palpable.


"Oh MY GOD!" Belinda suddenly screamed. And then she quickly came to her senses when she realized that I was near tears, scared, and so confused that I didn't know what to do. "Bo, call your doctor IMMEDIATELY!" she hollered. "And I mean right now!"

So, in a daze, I called my doctor. And I was told in no uncertain terms to get myself to the Emergency Room right away.

So off to the ER I went, for the second damn time in two months, and I couldn't have been more miserable. I figured my life must be over for sure. A blood sugar of 600? I'd never even had a home care patient with a sugar that high! How could this be? How? I didn't fit the criteria I kept telling myself.

After I arrived at the ER and was rushed to an exam room, the doctor blew in like a tornado.

"Goddamn it, Bo!" he yelled. "Didn't I save your life once already this year? Have you been drinking again?"

"No!" I yelled back. "But my damn blood sugar is sky high! Bonnie's glucometer said 600! How could that be? I mean, I thought you had to be a lot older than I am to get adult-onset diabetes. And I thought you had to be overweight to get it--- and I'm skinny!"

"I don't know why," he replied, frowning. But then he brightened. "But at least I get another chance to see your tattoos..."

But then I interrupted him.

"DAMMIT, I REFUSE TO BE A DIABETIC!" I hollered at him. "Can't you just fix it?"

"Oh yeah, baby," he told me ruefully. "I've done this a few times before. And I've fixed you before, Bo, and I'll fix you again. So you just lay your little self back and let Super Doctor do the fixin'. And I don't want some stupid glucometer's results. I want some real bloodwork from you. So in a minute the nurse is going to start an IV on you and draw some blood."

And so it was. After the nurse made me give her a pee sample, she made me lay back down on the guerney, covered me with a blanket, and then pulled the room's swivel TV set over my guerney, presumably to distract me while they did their work.

And they did go to work on me.

She started an IV on me, then a lab person drew my blood--- and then the nurse hung some sort of IV solution up and started running it into me at a rather rapid rate. I just lay there, stupidly staring at the TV, not even comprehending what television program was playing, as I wondered what in the hell had happened to me.

After a little while the nurse rushed back in with a different IV solution bag in her hand.

"We've got to give you a different IV solution," she explained hurriedly. "We got your lab results back and your sugar is actually 624. And your potassium is all wrong so we've got to give you some in your IV. And your urine shows that you're spilling ketones at a level of 'greater than 1000', which is considered critical...."

The doctor came in again and I started my protesting a second time.

"I just can't be a diabetic!" I told him balefully. "I don't fit the damn criteria! I'm too thin! And besides, I think I'm too young!" I was starting to bawl.

"Has anybody in your family ever had adult-onset diabetes?" he asked gently, sitting beside me while putting his arm around my shoulders, as if to lessen the terrible blow of the upcoming truth.

"Well..." I muttered. And then I remembered. "Yes---as a matter of fact, my father did get it. And he was only in his thirties if I remember correctly."

And then he started asking me a bunch more questions about my family history, about how long I had had certain symptoms, and on and on----but again I interrupted him to say: "Look, I told you that I REFUSE to be a dang diabetic! And..."

But he didn't let me finish my sentence.

He stood up, took my face in his strong hands and looked me right in the eyeballs from about two inches away from my face----and he stated very emphatically: "I'll tell you what, Bo----you're just about two damn steps away from the ICU, do you understand me?"

That shut me up and so I cooperated and let them do their thing.

Between the doctor and the nurses doing all kinds of things with the IV solutions and lots of units of Regular Insulin, they finally got my blood sugar down to an acceptable level. The doctor came back and told me that my blood sugar was down to 235. He looked visibly relieved.

"We've got to stop meeting like this, Bo," he said with a mischevious smile. "People will talk..."

My ER doctor---my hero....

* * * * * * *


But there it is.

I'm a diabetic.

A diabetic.

I have to keep saying it to myself in order to believe it.

My company's owners gave me a brand new glucometer for which I was grateful.

But then, a deep---and I mean a DEEP-----determination rose up in me like a runaway fire. And I knew what I would have to do.

I will check my blood sugar. I will take their medicine---it's only two pills a day. And I will maintain their strict diabetic diet to control my sugar. And I'll work out until I turn every ounce of tissue of my body into healthy muscle.

Because, By God, I am going to get my blood sugar back to normal, no matter what it takes. I WILL get it under control.

Because I sure as hell didn't battle alcoholism for the last 10 years only to let diabetes kill me....

* * * * *


That was last week. This week I saw my regular primary doctor for a check-up.

Between my strict diabetic diet and the medicine I've been taking, I had gotten my sugars down to normal. I hadn't cheated on my diet once---NOT ONCE. (By God, when I say I'm going to beat something, I'm going to beat it, dammit.)

And I feel so much better. And I have more energy. And some of my spunk returned.

"Mark my words," I sassed my primary doctor, poking him in the chest with my pointin' finger. "I told Buck down in the ER and now I'm telling you---that I absolutely REFUSE to be a diabetic. I am going to beat this thing."

He started chuckling at me but I kept on ranting. "I hate it when you laugh at me. And I can tell that you don't believe that I can beat it. But you just watch me, Mister, because one year from now I will be OFF this dang medicine and will be HEALTHY AS A HORSE---just you wait and see!"

He laughed a little more. And then he did the exact thing that I had been afraid he would do. He suddenly stopped laughing and looked me very seriously in the eyes---- and he said: "Bo, what did I tell you the last time you were here?"

Oh Lord Jesus and Elijah's Chariot, I thought. I had almost gotten out of there without it---THE lecture. But I was wrong.

Sure enough, he continued: "I told you last time that you were here that you need to get a job with insurance."

"But I like my damn job!" I argued. "I work with my best friends in the whole wide world! We've come through thick and thin together. I don't want to leave them!"

He stared at me for a minute, and then he said quietly: "I want to see you back here in a month."

And then he walked me to his office manager's desk and handed her my exam bill. I thanked him and said goodbye as he walked off to see his next patient. And then I turned back to the office manager, pulling out my billfold to pay for the labwork and the doctor visit. I knew it was all going to be very expensive since I didn't have any health insurance---and I knew that I'd cringe painfully when she announced the bill's total amount.

I resolutely pulled out my credit card and tried to hand it to her---and then I noticed that she was staring at my exam bill with a puzzled look on her face.

And after a minute she finally looked up at me and declared plainly: "He's only charging you half of the regular price for his visit and the bloodwork..."

My primary doctor---- my hero....

* * * * *


Later that day, when I returned to the office after my doctor visit, I found Belinda and Bonnie sitting at their desks---and Belinda was laughing her head off. Bonnie was just shaking her head in shame.

"What?" I asked. "What in the hell is so funny? And what the hell is wrong with you, Bonnie?"

Belinda kept laughing but was finally able to say between snorts and chuckles: "You won't believe what Bonnie did!"

I looked at Bonnie quizzically. She sighed and replied: "Well...I was pretty worried about you when I went out to see Mr. Strickner. And you know what a grouchy old complainer he is."

Belinda was still laughing loudly and so Bonnie said: "Would you just SHUT UP and let me tell her what happened?"

"Yeah, you tell her what happened!" Belinda replied, practically choking from laughing so hard.

So Bonnie continued. "Okay, so I got there to do my visit on him and I took his blood sugar like always. And it was up---it was 232. So he started bellowing at me like an old wall-eyed bull, saying stuff like 'you dang nurses NEVER come here when my blood sugar is down to normal---noooooo, you only come when it's up to the 200's--- and then you have the dang nerve to bitch at me about what I eat!"

"And here come's the good part," Belinda interjected, still laughing.

Bonnie sighed heavily---and then told the rest of the story. "I don't know what possessed me, Bo, I swear I don't. But I hollered right BACK at that ole coot! May God forgive me, Bo, but I blasted him with something like 'dammit, you wanna hear about high blood sugars? Well you ain't got nothing on poor little Bo----she just got out of the damn hospital with a blood sugar of 624!! So now just WHAT do you think of your 232 after that?!"

Belinda and I practically fell on the floor laughing at the thought of shy, timid Bonnie getting mad enough to holler at a patient (which was a double black mark on her behavior since she'd already besmirched her ladylike reputation by saying the F-word earlier that week). The whole situation was so ludicrous to us that Belinda and I kept laughing until tears ran down both our faces. And then finally, Bonnie started to laugh, too. And then we all laughed till we finally got tired.

"I need a Fresca," I said. "Fresca doesn't have any sugar in it."

"You did apologize to Mr. Strickner, didn't you?" Belinda asked Bonnie.

"Yes, I apologized," Bonnie replied. "But I wasn't too worried about him staying mad at me. Because he knows dang well that if he gets too ugly with me that I won't pick his tomatoes for him like I always do."

* * * * * *

And so, the three of us sat there, in our shabby little office, chattering with each other, wondering aloud about what we were going to do about all of our various troubles---and then I thought of something and spoke up.

"Listen, you two," I stated. "We shouldn't worry so much about all our troubles. Haven't we always come through our problems together? Haven't we always triumphed over evil?"

"Triumphed over evil?" Belinda retorted. "What are we, Jedi Knights in 'Star Wars' or something?"

"Very funny, Smarty-Pants," I replied sarcastically. "You know what I meant. I just threw that phrase in for 'effect'".

Bonnie giggled and exclaimed "No, we're not Jedi Knights---we're the Three Musketeers! One for all and all for one!!!"

We all laughed until I looked at the clock.

"Hey, it's quitting time," I said. "Let's go to Bubba's Bar-Be-Que and get some cold drinks. They have Fresca there...."

And the other two yelled in unisom "...AND FRESCA DOESN'T HAVE ANY SUGAR IN IT!!!!"

And so we went.

One for all and all for one, indeed....

* * * * * *


So if you're ever driving on a Texan Interstate Highway---and if by chance you stop at a little tiny town called Podunk----and if you notice three giggly, idgity nurses sipping cold drinks at the back picnic table behind Bubba's Bar-Be-Que---

It's just us Three Musketeers....



Jane-Anne is still in the Dallas hospital.

And, with the medicine and a strict diet's help, my blood sugar is now down to normal.

(And I still want to be a Jedi Knight, dammit.)


Sunday, September 16, 2007

No Dang Bell Is Going to Toll For Me.....


Time, time, time,

See what's become of me,

While I looked around for my possibilities...

("Hazy Shade of Winter", Bangles version)


Again, I'm sorry for not posting more info yet---but I still don't feel very well, although I'm feeling much better than on that day in the Emergency Room, thank goodness. And I'm still absolutely determined to triumph over this thing.

And also, thank you guys SO VERY MUCH for your comments of support!! They have helped me immensely--- because I have to admit that I'm still pretty frightened about what's ahead.

But, I'm going to see my primary doctor tomorrow for labwork and his take on things. He will be the one to make the final decision on my diagnosis and how my treatment will be managed---and then I'll know the full scoop. He's a great doctor and I trust him.

(And also, he doesn't make me put on that ridiculous gown.)

(But I sure do hope that he doesn't go into one of his lectures again. The last time I saw him, he sternly revealed that he's angry with me for taking a job that provides no health insurance.)

Which brings up the fact that I also hope that the dang labwork doesn't cost me a fortune.

(But hey--- maybe I can score some more free samples of migraine headache medicine...)



Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pavarotti Is Dead And I Don't Feel So Good Myself.....



I'm goin' to see what there is to see,

So if you go from nowhere,

On the road to somewhere,

And you meet anyone....

You'll know it's me.

(From the movie musical, "The Unsinkable Molly Brown") *


I'm sorry I haven't posted much lately but I haven't been feeling well. So this morning things got so bad---and all my fears came true---- as I was finally hit slap in the head with the reality of the undeniable fact that I have developed a rather serious health problem ---and I ended up in the Emergency Room, dang it.

The doc in the ER did the initial work but I will have to follow up with my regular doctor, beginning as soon as possible next week. I still don't feel well but I'm determined to beat this thing. Hell, I figure that ANY health problem is easier for me to deal with than the alcoholism which almost killed me recently. So I am seriously determined to beat this thing. Let me repeat myself: I AM going to beat it.

Anyway, I'll be off work today and tomorrow to rest up and get situated----and then I'll post again with more information. (Right now I'm in kind of a "deer-in-the-headlights" type of mood.)

But, like The Unsinkable Molly Brown sang in the movie: "I ain't down yet!"

And..... as my Texan buddies in AA like to say about life's difficulties: "This ain't the hill I'm gonna die on."


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Rainy Days and Migraines Always Get Me Down.....


Alas, but I didn't have a very good weekend....

In short, I had one of my infernal migraine headaches, I was the on-call nurse----and also, it rained. But, thankfully, I only got called out on a patient-visit once, to perform some simple wound care.

The only productive thing I was able to accomplish this weekend (besides that one patient-visit) was some knitting.

I managed to finish another baby blanket for Jane-Anne (knitted in my usual psychedelic style) .


And I finished one and three quarters of a pair of socks for Bonnie.


* Although my migraine headaches can sometimes last three days or more, the one I had this weekend wasn't too very bad because of my doctor. He knows that I'm un-insured and simply can't afford the sky-high price of migraine headache medicine--- and so he mercifully gives me free samples from his office. (Bless that man....)


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Don't Sit Under The Moon-Pie Tree With Anybody Else But Me....


I did not believe the information,

Just had to trust imagination,

My heart was going boom boom boom,

"Son," he said, "Grab your things, I've come to take you home"...


("Solsbury Hill", Peter Gabriel)


UPDATE on Mr. Kessel:

Remember Mr. Kessel? The mentally ill and dysfunctional patient who showed a loaded pistol to his neighbor and stated that he "was going to use it the next time one of us road nurses came out"? And remember, also, my discouragement after I notified Adult Protective Services and the local Sheriff's office---but they did absolutely nothing about the situation?

Well, surprise surprise......

I found out last week that Podunk's Adult Protective Services actually DID do something about it. Whodathunkit.

For years, I have been very discouraged, holding scant little faith in "the system", because up to this point I have never been able to get APS to do a single solitary thing whenever I have reported situations to them in which patients were in dangerous or abusive situations, were unable to care for themselves physically or medically, or were in some other circumstances that would put themselves or others in jeopardy.

But, FINALLY, they did intervene--- in Mr. Kessel's case.

What they did was send two APS personnel out to do a second, "follow-up visit", to Mr. Kessel----and to my astonishment, they managed to convince him to come to the hospital in order "to take a shower". Which was great, because heretofore Mr. Kessel had claimed that he could not get up to walk to the bathroom (even though he is perfectly able to do such) and had developed the habit of sitting in his armchair continually, day and night, mired in his own feces and pee. It was painfully obvious that Mr. Kessel was NOT in his right mind and that, therefore, he desperately needed psychiatric help as well as physical caretaking. He was also physically ill due to his not having taken any of his blood pressure, diabetic, or other medication in weeks---perhaps months.

He was so filthy that day, wearing tattered clothing encrusted with poop and dried pee, that prior to taking him to the hospital the APS employees asked him to remove his putrid clothing. The APS employees then dressed him in a clean hospital gown and clean underwear for the trip to the hospital. Upon arriving at the hospital, Mr. Kessel was then convinced to sign himself into the hospital's psychiatric unit for evaluation.

And that was good because now his doctor could begin the pursuit of a court order to keep Mr. Kessel committed to a psychiatric facility, as a ward of the State of Texas, in order for him to undergo evaluation and treatment of his conditions---both medical and psychiatric----until he was stable enough to be placed in a group or nursing home.

Can you believe it? The system actually worked for once. Thank God.

Because, in my opinion, poor Mr. Kessel seemed to have become completely immobile and unable to care for himself due to his obvious mental illness. I truly believed that he might eventually become a danger to himself, either inadvertently or purposefully, by not taking his diabetic and other medication. And I also believed that he might become a danger to others because of his homicidal behavior of loading his pistol and talking about using it on road nurses.....

But all is well because now he will get the medical and psychiatric treatment he needs.

And hopefully he won't be shooting at any road nurses...

* * * * * * *

Anyhoo, the week wore on...

Although I am on the road seeing patients a lot these days (due to Belinda still being out on maternity leave), I am also the Manager of our branch office.

And that means that one of my managerial duties is that I have to supervise the other nurses--- especially how they perform procedures during their patient visits--- and also on how well they write up those visits. Everything has to follow Medicare guidelines since our agency only accepts Medicare clients. (Other companies accept Medicaid or private insurance, and their guidelines are similar although different.)

Medicare is very adamant about the ultimate goal of home health care: that of the road nurse's performance of assessing a patient's physical condition, communicating the patient's condition to the doctor, the performance of nursing tasks such as drawing blood or providing wound care---and also providing very specific teachings to the patients about their illnesses and medications so as to enable the patient (or their family) to eventually manage their medical conditions and medications independently.

To ensure that road nurse companies are providing the above services correctly per Medicare regulations, monitoring agencies make regular visits to all home health agencies to check for themselves whether or not Medicare guidelines and requirements are being followed.

Such visits by monitoring agencies are usually done via a "surprise visit" by an inspector---and it's always done when you're least expecting it and you're caught piddling around at your desk in aimless bliss, tapping your feet and trying to yodel to the tunes of country & western music blasting from a nearby radio--- while drinking cold Dr. Pepper between bites of a banana Moon Pie.....

And let me tell you from personal experience, the surprise arrival of a stern inspector (who usually strides through the front door clutching an ominous-looking clipboard and briefcase) can cause a hapless road nurse Manager to completely lose the chance of making a "good first impression"--- due to said Manager's sudden choking on her Dr. Pepper and banana Moon Pie in mid-yodel while simultaneously jumping up out of her chair in abject fear.... well, you get the picture.

Because the inspector then has to wait impatiently while the poor nurse Manager coughs up the Dr. Pepper and pieces of banana Moon Pie, all while frantically taking even MORE swigs of Dr. Pepper in the hopes of stopping her mortifyingly embarassing choking episode----which most definitely also contributes to the ruination of the aforementioned "good first impression"....

Thus, I must constantly, as the Manager, keep my nurses up to par on their procedures while "in the field"--- and also their teaching documentation. I do the latter by auditing their charting on a fairly regular basis due to my frank petrification and fear of a surprise visit by an inspector.

Because if an inspector comes and finds your office "deficient" in one or more of the categories they are inspecting, such inspectors can cause untold misery to the administration personnel (aka me) and the owners of the company. In fact, road nurse companies can even be shut down if they are found to be not operating adequately per Medicare guidelines.

And so, in between being on the road seeing patients, I must also cram in some time each week to audit the charts to ensure that the other nurses are documenting correctly.

There's lots of things in the patients' charts that I audit, but a big one is how well the nurses are teaching the patients about their diseases and meds. The nurse must not only document what she taught the patient but also HOW the patient responded to those teachings. In our company, the nurse can't just get away with documenting whether or not the patient "verbalized understanding" of the teachings. Our company's policy is that she must also include a patient's direct quote.

For example, if one of our nurses goes on a patient visit and teaches the patient something about the disease of congestive heart failure, a disease which can be aggravated greatly by the presence of too much fluid in the patient's body, then the nurse will chart (a) that she taught the patient about congestive heart failure, and then (b) that the patient responded something like: "I will remember to always take my diuretic pill just as my doctor prescribed".

Naturally, such documentation has to be written in a professional way.... hopefully..... but remember, this is Podunk. And I can't tell you how many times in my road nurse career here that I've sat in a road nurse daily report session and had to listen to the Manager berate everybody for using the word "y'all" in our charting or faxes to the doctor. The Manager always stated that it "didn't sound professional".

In fact, I've even heard exasperated Managers yell: "Dammit, now y'all need to stop using that damn word y'all, do y'all hear me?!!"

Anyhoo, now that I'm a Manager myself, I must audit patient charts to ensure that my nurses are documenting correctly. And this week I chose to audit some our young Jane-Anne's charting. Yes, Jane-Anne....our rookie road nurse. The same Jane-Anne who is an utterly and completely honest, corn-fed country girl who takes instructions thoroughly literally....

Bless Jane-Anne.

Jane-Anne means well and all, but she's still very young and frisky. Even though she's pregnant, she loves to play and joke around, just like a spring-born colt, and is frequently distracted out of performing her patient assessment and teachings by accepting a patient's invitation to sit down at the family dinner table to have chicken s'ketti--- or sweet tea and cookies--- and she also frequently gets caught up in the family's daily activities and wastes an hour by watching "The Price is Right" on the television, yelling loudly along with everybody else her bid of "ONE DOLLAR!"

Jane-Anne is not the greatest charter (medical slang for documenter) in the world, but I always carry high hopes that I can teach her as we go, each time I audit her charts. And this week it was time for me to stop procrastinating and look into her documentation.

So I piled a bunch of patients' charts on my desk while Jane-Anne was out of the office--- and I dove in.....

When I looked at the first patient visit note written by Jane-Anne, I thought for a minute there that everything was okay. The front page of the note looked pretty good. She had charted vital signs, body system assessments, and other physical information just fine....

And then I turned the page over...... to where the teaching part is located--- most specifically the area where she had to write the patient's "direct quote" after her teachings......

And even though this time I wasn't drinking Dr. Pepper or eating a banana Moon Pie, I still began choking, coughing, and practically having an apoplectic fit----trying to stem a strong desire to run screaming down the street like a damn lunatic----because of what I had read on that particular note. In fact, as I continued to thumb through more of Jane-Anne's notes, all I could do was simply stand there, stunned in disbelief, continuing my silent fit of utter mortification, my offended eyes beginning to pop out of my skull like those of a gigged frog.

Here is a sample of "direct patient quotes" that Jane-Anne has charted as responses to her teachings:

Jane-Anne taught about the pathophysiology of the condition of "Muscle Weakeness". She wrote that the patient replied: "Well, nurse, I knew that I'd get weaker when I became older."

Jane-Anne taught about "Fall Safety in a Home Environment". She wrote that the patient replied: "But what kind of fool would put furniture right in the path that they walk in?"

Jane-Anne taught about the pathophysiology of the disease of "Congestive Heart Failure". She wrote that the patient replied: "Dammit, I just knew it was heart failure..."

Jane-Anne taught about "The Benefits of Cessation of Smoking with Lung Disease". She wrote that the patient replied: "Well, you can forget about that because I ain't never gonna quit smoking."

Jane-Anne taught about "The Importance of Following the Doctor's Prescribed Medication Regime". She wrote that the patient replied: "Oh. Okay."

Jane-Anne taught about the disease process of "High Blood Pressure". She wrote that the patient replied: "My blood pressure just can't be that dang high. Are you sure you read it right?"

Jane-Anne taught another patient about the disease process of "High Blood Pressure". She wrote that the patient reqlied: "So... what you are saying is that blood pressure is some kind of force in my vessels?"

Jane-Anne taught a patient about "The Importance of Keeping Your Doctor's Follow-up Appointments". She wrote that the patient replied: "Well, okay then, nurse, but last week my doctor's appointment was right in the middle of 'The Price is Right' and so I rescheduled it."

Jane-Anne taught a patient about the disease of "Gout". She wrote that the patient replied: "Well I guess it's a good dang thing that I take that medicine, isn't it? Which medicine do I take for gout anyway?"

And then..... the patient quote that actually caused me to practically fall down out of my chair in a dead faint was:

Jane-Anne taught about "Measures to Prevent Constipation". She wrote that the patient replied: "Well, I didn't do very much yesterday---it was just little pebbles, really. But today I had a MAMMOTH bowel movement! I wish you could have seen it, nurse."

* * * * *


Anyhoo, the strange week just pressed on----and I was having a few troubles, myself.

On Friday I went to see an elderly man who lives in a retirement community. When I arrived, he was sitting in the attractive lobby of the community's main building. And so I amiably sat down in a chair next to him and started chatting.

I wasn't going to have to do anything to him like draw blood or anything, and the retirement community's staff doesn't mind if we sit out in the lobby with our patients--- and so I decided to perform my visit on him right there in the lobby.

I placed my nurse bag on an end table nearby, unzipped it, and retrieved my stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. I was aiming to teach this patient on "Type II Diabetes" that day because the retirement community had notified me that the patient's morning blood sugars had been running high. We suspected that the patient had a secret "stash" of sweets, smuggled in to him by well-meaning family members.

But as I began talking with the gentleman, I noticed that he kept looking over my shoulder. And this bothered me. I wanted him to pay attention to me. I was trying to talk to him about his blood sugar and how it wasn't a good idea to sneak-eat snacks like banana Moon Pies, buttermilk pie, shoo-fly pie and other concentrated sweets.

(Is "sneak-eat" a real word?)

(Dammit---now I want some shoo-fly pie...)

Where was I?

Oh yes, I was interviewing the patient in the retirement home lobby.

Anyway, as I continued my interview with the patient, he continued to be distracted, and continued to glance over my shoulder. I knew he was hard-of-hearing and so finally I asked him:

"Mr. Benson, is your hearing aide turned on? Are you having trouble hearing me?"

He shook his head and replied: "Oh no, nurse. I can hear ya just fine. I'm looking at that fish behind you."


I turned around and looked---and noticed that I was sitting directly in front of the lobby's beautiful fish acquarium. And sure enough, one of the acquarium's larger fish had come right up to acquarium's glass right behind me--- and was hovering there in the water, seemingly trying to peer out of its acquarium home.

I turned back around to face the patient and said: "Okay, fine. The fish is sitting there. Now then, let's continue our discussion about your diabetic diet...."

But no matter how much I kept talking, Mr. Benson kept looking over my shoulder. He kept pointing out the fact that the stupid fish seemed to be "staring right at me". And each time Mr. Benson said that, I'd politely turn around to look at the acquarium----only to find that the patient was right. That damn fish WAS gazing at me.

In fact, that stupid fish was looking me RIGHT IN THE EYEBALLS.

I tried to ignore the fish. I tried to keep my composure and perform my interview with the patient. But the dang patient continued to be distracted by that infernal fish.

Now I was getting REALLY irritated. In fact, I was getting VERY irritated that this FISH was INTERFERING with my patient VISIT.

And so, upon AGAIN being informed by my patient that the blasted fish was "staring at me", I finally turned around to face that stupid fish--- and I tapped rudely on the acquarium glass. "Go away," I told the dumb fish. "Go along to Dead Man's Chest or some other fish hang-out somewheres--- and find somebody else to ogle!"

And then I turned back around to face my patient, to again continue my interview and teaching session. But I found that I still couldn't do my interview properly.... because now I was distracted myself!!! I kept feeling that stupid fish's eyes on me and it bugged me. And as I sneaked another peek at it, I noticed that the damn fish still hadn't changed its location. The dadblasted fish was STILL THERE..... STARING ME RIGHT IN MY EYEBALLS.

Now I was pissed off. I was tired, I was hot, and I was ready for the weekend--- and the last thing I wanted was for some damn fish to mess up my afternoon.

And so, after another failed attempt to keep my patient's rapt attention, I lost my temper and turned around impatiently---and again tapped on the acquarium glass. And then, while looking that offensive fish right in its own eyeballs, I loudly proclaimed: "Take a damn picture, you pissant fish--- IT'LL LAST LONGER!"

And finally, to my satisfaction, the stupid fish left, swimming off to bother somebody else.

And, to my utter mortification, when I turned back around in triumph, I found that the charge nurse of the retirement home was standing right in front of me and Mr. Benson---and she was looking at me very oddly. I was utterly mortified that she had seen me talking to the fish......and then I was doubly mortified when Mr. Benson innocently piped up and said:

"She doesn't like that fish. It was staring her in the eyeballs."

* * * * * *

Oh yes, I almost forgot----here's the completed "Baby Biker Sweater" that I knitted for Jane-Anne's upcoming baby. Yes, I know I got the studs on rather crookedly---but that stupid "Bedazzler" thingy just wouldn't operate right. (And I figure the kid's only gonna wear it for a couple of months anyway.)