Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Birthday

An old friend from nursing school reminded me that the birthday of an old co-worker was coming up. We all worked together in a large ER; they were ER nurses and I wandered around doing psych stuff. Soon-to-be-birthday-boy (let's call him, "Richmond") was renowned for putting the moves on anything that was remotely female. My compatriot (we'll call him, "Sean") and I did everything we could to foil Richmond.

One of our favorite moves was to watch Richmond chatting up a new female staff and then wander by in mid conversation and ask Richmond how his boyfriend Jeff was doing. Sean and I had built up a whole personae for this fictional "Jeff"; he was a football player at a local college, he was blond, he didn't smoke but drank like a fish... Sean and I had so many detailed conversations about Jeff in front of so many staff that Jeff began to become so real that poor Richmond was frequently asked by other staff how his "special partner" was doing. It provided us with many hours of entertainment. Next, we started rumors about sheep. To this day I laugh whenever I think of Richmond and wool sweaters.

One day the ER gets a new X-ray technician. She is young. She is attractive. And Sean and I wait for our opportunity to foul up Richmond's attempt to pick her up. But, he doesn't try. We're confused - what happened? What we don't know is that he's really, really interested in her. So much so that he arranges to meet her at a picnic table in back of the hospital during break so her can chat her up undisturbed. Except there's a wandering psych nurse having a smoke.

I see them at the picnic table, Richmond is intently leaning into her. They're hitting it off well, oblivious to anyone around them. As I am sauntering up to them I am thinking to myself, what would be the one thing I could say to Richmond to completely throw off his game?

"Hey there. Say, how's that rash coming along?"

I am expecting him to fluster. I am expecting him to curse me out. I am expecting to walk away while he tries to explain this to the new tech. What I am not expecting is for her to be the one to answer. But she does, without skipping a beat.

"Oh. Good actually. I went to see Dr. Sabin and he wrote me a prescription for this cream..."

Richmond is furious. His knuckles are turning white as he grips the picnic table. he grits his teeth and says, "He was talking to me."

It worked better than I hoped for, I simply made a hasty retreat.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

You need a sense of humour

Everyone in health care knows you need a sense of humour in order to stay in the game. It's sometimes dark, outsiders would be shocked to know what we find funny. But, it isn't because we don't care. The reason I went into nursing (besides the high pay, great hours, and interesting smells) is because I actually do enjoy caring for people. But, you need a defence mechanism when things don't go right. We also reserve the worst for each other. Pranks are common place and legendary, there are plenty of websites devoted to that.

The Ishihara Color Blindness Test is a commonly used test to see if someone is colour blind. Most people are familiar with them, it's a common test done at eye doctors and at the DMV.

If you look at the image above you will see the number, "35" - as long as you have no colour differentiation issues. If you only see a, "3", "5", or no number at all then you are colour blind to some extent. A fun website Fake Science published a nifty image to share with a special colleague.

This lovely image was presented to a particularly blond nurse who stared intently at it before pronouncing, "I can't see any number." All of us get a a good giggle at this. The team are about to go looking for the next victim when the nurse proves her blond hair is natural.

"But, I'm not wearing my glasses."