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Showing posts from May, 2010

Something different today

I finished the first draft of book length memoir yesterday. It’s more than 50k words, and is printed and sitting on my kitchen counter. I celebrated by going to Pollo Loco and having a dinner of grilled chicken, then stopping by Walgreen’s and buying a small box of Oreo cookies. I ate the cookies, and went to bed early.  Today I cut my hair, washed my clothes and got the oil changed in my car. Who knows what will happen tomorrow.

Deadman, Chapter 25

Chapter 25          I returned to Posey’s room and thanked the nurse who had been covering for me while I was out. She said, “nothing happened,” but I would have been surprised if she had actually done more than listen for the alarms.          In the unit, we took breaks when we could – our relief was usually a nurse with nearby patients. Breaks were never long, the nurses that relieved us were just as busy and we were, and watching an additional couple of critical patients was sketchy at best. The charge nurse should have been out of care (without patients,) and available to give us breaks, but budget cuts had ended that practice earlier in my career.          I changed out Posey’s linen again. It got less lumpy, and I satisfied a need for fetish. I looked up at the monitor and notice some changes in the shape of his hearts rhythm. I poked my head out of the room and asked the ward secretary to order an EKG for now. (I requested it, “stat,” but feel the word is overused, and am so

Deadman, Chapter 24

Chapter 24          There was a lull at the change of shift, as if we had decided as a group to pause and take a deep breath. The nurse I had relieved four hours earlier finally had time to give me report on Posey, though it was little and late, I appreciated the effort. Her night had ended brutally, with the death of a youngish open-heart patient, and her report was more about her than Posey.          To talk about the things in your head is to set them free. But as a nurse, it wasn’t that easy. Spending the day juggling facts and feelings to construct a reality of absolute control was not something that just fell out of you at the end of your shift, and the subject matter of the actual work itself was not a thing to casually bring up at home with the loved ones. Shit, piss, blood, pus, and death were not things we replied with when someone asked how are day went.          Some of the devils in our heads came out in work, through black humor and cynical jokes, and sometimes we go

Deadman, Chapter 23

Chapter 23          As people streamed into the room to help with the code, Posey’s heart monitor changed from ventricular tachycardia to ventricular fibrillation. The monitor bonged more rapidly with the change in rhythm, and the numbers began to flash red with each bong of the alarm – to show to the senses an elevated urgency.          Ventricular tachycardia was a bad rhythm, but at least it was organized and trying – ventricular fibrillation was just a bag of wormy muscles just trying to get out of the bag to run amuck alone and without a plan.          The treatment for both arrhythmias were the same – shock and awe, better living through electricity.          Just as the heart is divided left and right, it’s divided up and down as well. The upper chambers of the heart are the atria’s, the waiting rooms. Low pressure, and fairly thin walled (left thicker than right) they are the areas where the blood pools before getting passively sucked, through the opening and closing of val

Deadman, Chapter 22

Chapter 22          By working through the things around Posey -- the trash, the lines and piles of tubing, I eventually got to Posey himself. He was the quietest part of the room, and easy to overlook with all the bells and whistles surrounding him, all screaming for attention.          It took an hour to get him and the room cleaned up. I drew the morning lab work, arranged for the EKG after the chest x-ray was finished. I slung him up into the air to weigh him, and to get out of the way so I could change the bed linens. I padded the bed with extra linens, all piled on top of the first set and sort of lumpy --all with waterproof draw sheets. I was planning for a long day, with lots of leaking of fluids and other messy events.   As I worked, I drank coffee continuously, grabbing refills from the central station. Even with all the coffee, I was close to tipping out of my chair before the sun came up and illuminated the binds in the room. The charge nurse came in and told me that sh

Deadman, Chapter 21

Chapter 21 I drove home in the dark and parked my car on the street, as was my habit. My wife and daughter met me at the door as I entered the house, and after a hug from both of them, I went to the refrigerator and picked up a beer from the lower shelf, opened it with a twist, and started drinking, as was my habit. I was drinking Lucky Lager back then – 11 oz bottles that looked like they had been made in the war -- some old war that nobody cared about or remembered. Under the cap of each bottle was a cryptic, sign language quote or saying   -- done in pictorial stick drawings, with plus signs to indicate connections – they might have been meant as short essays for drunks, or served as warning notices for other peoples, those limited in attention and those not driven mad by unclear portents. I had stopped reading the caps by then, too much trouble and no longer fun to figure out. I drank for effect --the cheapness of the bottle, and what they contained, was more important than an