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Friday, May 27, 2011

All Men Are Slime wd ct. 1162

“All men are slime,” said the waitress, Sherry, as she leaned over the café bar. “I should know, I’ve dated a lot of them. I’ve never found a good one yet.”

As she wiped the bar, she glanced at me with a sympathetic eye. I tried to keep my emotions under control, but a tear defied my best efforts and rolled slowly down one cheek. I sniffed and wiped the tear away with the back of my hand.

“Ah, honey, don’t cry. He isn’t worth it. I’d just forget about men for now. Throw yourself into your work. Get a pet. Find a hobby, or two, or three. You’ll be much better off—you’ll see.” She reached over and patted my arm with her free hand.

“I know, Sherry, but I really thought we had something special. He treated me like a real princess. I’ve never had that before.”

“Julie, they all think they are treating you like a princess, and all the while, they’re only looking out for number one. And that isn’t the female in the equation, believe me.” Sherry left my side to wait on a customer, while I continued to struggle with my emotions.

Sherry returned with the coffee pot, and refreshed my cup. I sat and watched the steam rolling up and around in circles, and sniffed, enjoying the aroma. I was remembering the day I had met Jeff.

“Jeff used to make me coffee, and he’d put little peppermint sticks in it for stirring. It was so good. We’d have our coffee out on the patio in the mornings and watch the sun rise. I loved those mornings with him.” I was whining by the time I finished, and wiped another stray tear from my cheek.

“What did you say he did for a living?” Sherry asked. She pulled a step stool over and sat down across the bar from me. She scanned the café frequently for customers needing assistance, but her attention was mostly devoted to my problems.

“He’s a writer. A sports writer. He goes to all the games and reports on them. You know, like Howard Cosell, except he writes his for the newspapers, not on TV.”

I tucked a strand of stray brown hair behind my ear and stirred my coffee. Smiling, I looked at Sherry, and added, “He actually won an award last year for Best Sports Writer of the Year. He was so proud. And I was, too.”

“That must have been a happy time for you, Julie. What happened to sour those happy times?” Sherry leaned her face on her cupped hands and looked into my eyes.

“He was gone all the time. He’d go to games in every state within a thousand miles of here, and be gone sometimes for three weeks at a time. I got so lonely. I didn’t know what to do with myself.” My smile disappeared as I remembered the cold winter nights alone in my queen sized bed, with only an occasional phone call from him to check on how I was, and tell me where he was going next.

“I’m sure that was a lonely time. Did you have anything to keep you busy or have any friends to hang with?”

“No, I went to work, came home, watched a little tv, and then went to bed. I don’t do hobbies. They get expensive, and my job as a secretary doesn’t pay much.”

“What about friends? Maybe you could have asked someone over to play card games or something. Or go to a movie now and then. Did you try anything like that?”

“No, I’m not much of a socialite. I just waited by the phone. I was afraid to miss one of Jeff’s calls.”

“Did he end your relationship? Or did you?”

“Well, neither of us actually ended it. We just drifted apart. He hasn’t called for over a week now, and so I’m just assuming he doesn’t care anymore.”

“Have you tried calling him?”

“No, I could never do that. My mom always told me that to call a man made you look cheap.”

“Well, then, I guess I know what she’d think of me,” Sherry laughed. “If my guy hasn’t called in a week, I sure as hell would be trying to reach him to find out why!”

I laughed, and took a sip of coffee. “My teachers all said I need to be more assertive. I suppose they’re right. I’ve always been so shy. I’m so afraid of what people might think. So I hide by myself at home. Do you really think I should call him?”

“Well, hell yes! Who knows, maybe he’s been sick or in an accident and can’t talk to you. Or maybe he’s found someone else. But at least you’ll know. Here, use my cell. Call him.” Sherry handed me her cell phone.

My hands shook as I dialed his number. He answered on the third ring.

“Hello? Who is this?”

“It’s Sherry. I’ve been worried. You haven’t called.” My voice trembled as I waited for his answer.

“Oh, Babe, I’m sorry. I lost my cell phone, and just today got a new one. I’ve been missing you so much. Hey, how would you like to fly to Dallas? The Cowboys are playing tomorrow night. I’d love to take you to the game, and maybe we can do some Christmas shopping afterward. I’ll pay for the tickets and everything. When I get the tickets bought, I’ll call you again with the time of your flight. Will you come? I love you, Babe. I miss you.”

“Well, I do have the next three days off. I suppose I could come there. Are you sure? I can’t repay you.”

“Pay me? Who asked for repayment? I want to do this. I think it would be awesome. Besides, I’d like to show you off to some writer friends of mine. They don’t have a beautiful young woman waiting for them. Will you please come?”

“Yes, Jeff. I’ll come. I’ll be waiting for your call. I love you. Goodbye.”

I grinned as I handed Sherry’s phone back to her. She was grinning back at me as she took it and put it in her apron pocket.

“Now see, aren’t you glad you called? He wasn’t dumping you. Now you’ll have a great time with him this weekend. I’m so jealous! Does he have a friend? Maybe there is someone out there for me.” Sherry laughed and patted my arm. A customer waved, and she danced her way down to him at the other end of the bar.

“Oh, God, thank You. This will be an awesome weekend. I’m going to Dallas. I’m going to be with my best friend. Thank you, Lord.”

Julie left a huge tip and a note that simply said “Thank You” next to her cup of coffee, now cold. She grinned as she left the café, ready to face the world once more.


“Carrie, let’s sit here on this bench and you can read your homework to me. It’s so much nicer out here in the garden. The house is so stuffy!”

“Ok, Cindy, you’ll help me if I can’t read the hard words, won’t you?”

“Sure, Carrie. Don’t I always?”

“Well, that one day I was reading to you, but you weren’t really listening. You were watching those two boys over there playing ball. When I asked you to help, you yelled at me.”

“I did not!”

“Did so!”

“Whatever! Just start reading. I’m listening. What are you reading today?”

“It’s a book about animals. I love animals….Carrie?”


“Why won’t Daddy let me have a puppy? I could take care of it…I’d love to have a puppy.”

“Yeah, me too. But we can’t. Daddy says Mom’s allergic.”

“But I want one!”

“Quit your whining! If you’re not going to read, you won’t have your homework done, and there will be hell to pay.”

“What does that mean…hell to pay?”

“It means you’ll be in big trouble and probably get grounded. Now get to reading, young lady!”

“Ok…Maurice was a mouse. He lived in a hole in the wall behind the sofa. Why would a mouse live in a hole in the wall? Don’t they have houses?”

“Carrie, mice are frightened, helpless little animals. They have no hands, no tools. How could they build a house?”

“Well, I don’t know. Don’t yell at me or I’ll tell Mom!”


“Maurice lived with his Mom and Dad and seven brothers and sisters. Wow! That’s a big family. Why don’t we have that many brothers and sisters, Cindy?”

“Probably because they’d ask silly questions, like you. Read!”

“Each mouse had a job in the family. Maurice was a food g-g-ga--, Carrie, I can’t get this word.”

“Gatherer. Maurice was a food gatherer. That means he went out into the rest of the house looking for food particles to carry back to the mouse hole to feed his brothers and sisters.”

“Oh. Do I have a job, Cindy?”

“Yes, your job is to aggravate me. And you’re very, very good at it, too.”

“Oww! Quit pinching! I’m telling Mom!”

“Well, go ahead. And I’ll tell her you didn’t get your homework done. Who do you think will get into the worst trouble?”

“Oh, Cindy. You always have to be so mean?”

“Not if you get your reading done. It’s almost supper time. Now get busy.”

“Ok. One day Maurice was out doing his chore, when he saw a cat. He had never seen a cat before. He didn’t know what it was. He didn’t know that he should be afraid. Why wouldn’t he know what a cat is, Cindy? I know what a cat is.”

“Do you know what a Gila Monster is, Carrie? If you’ve never seen one or heard of one before, how would you know to be afraid?”

“What is a Geela Monser, Carrie? Do we have them here? Should I be afraid of it?”

“It’s a giant lizard. No, we don’t have any here. But if we did, you might want to stay away from it. Read.”

“Maurice wanted to get closer to the cat. He wanted to make friends with it. Uh oh! Is Maurice in trouble?”

“Yep. He sure is.”

“What is he going to do? Carrie?”

“Well, you’ve got the book! Read!”

“Maurice crept slowly toward the sleeping cat. The animal had huge paws and a long fat tail that twi—twu—Carrie? What’s this word?”

“Twitched.” That means the tail is jerking a little bit..side to this.”

“Why does the cat do that?”

“It probably means he is dreaming. Or it could mean he’s playing possum.”

“What’s that?”

“Playing possum is pretending to be asleep, like you do when Mom and Daddy peek in on you at night.”



“But I’m getting hungry. Can’t we go in the house now?”

“Sure. But you’ll have to read the rest of the story to Mom.”

“Oh, I will. I want to know what happens to Maurice.”

“Yeah. Me too. Hey, don’t forget your book!”

“Oh, yeah. Thanks, Cindy. You’re the bestest sister.”

“Yeah, I know. You’re pretty special yourself, Carrie.”

A Night in the Nursing Home wd ct 1499

Denise jumped out of her chair and raced down the hall toward the sound of someone screaming. The moon shone brightly through the window as she entered Room 332.
The elderly lady sitting up in the bed was staring at a shadow on the curtain covering the window, her hands rested on her cheeks, her mouth in an “O” shape. Her frail thin body trembled.
She turned when Denise entered and cried, “The birds—look at all the birds. They want to kill me! Please help me!” She reached her arms toward Denise. Tears ran down her cheeks.
“Maggie, it’s ok. The birds are all outside. They can’t get to you here. Shhh—it’s ok, now. Try to relax. Come on, lie back down. I won’t let anything hurt you.” Denise perched on the edge of Maggie’s bed, cradling her in her arms. She could feel the violent shaking from Maggie’s body. Denise checked Maggie’s blood pressure and pulse, and felt her forehead. No fever, at least, she thought, as she patted Maggie on the arm to reassure her.
Teri, an aide working the same shift, entered the room, anxiety etched on her face. She relaxed slightly as she realized that Denise was already in control of the situation.
“Another nightmare,” Denise explained. “She seems to be having these more frequently lately. I’m wondering if it might be due to that new medication she just started last month.”
“Which medication is that?”
“Imipramine. It’s an antidepressant that Dr. Kinsley ordered for Maggie, because she was crying and withdrawing from everything last month. One of the side effects that can happen is nightmares and hallucinations.”
“Oh, wow! What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to call Dr. Kinsley and report this to him. I’m sure he will order the med to be stopped.”
“Isn’t Dr. Kinsley that doctor that hates to be awakened in the middle of the night?”
“Yes, he is. But I think this is important. He needs to know what is going on. Can you stay with Maggie for a bit until she is ready to sleep again?”
“Yeah, sure. But, would you tell Jeannie where I am? I was helping her do bed checks. I think she’s in Julian’s room.”
“Ok, thanks. Will do.”
Denise returned to the nurse’s station and looked up the number for Dr. Kinsley’s service. She dialed the number and waited, while watching the video monitors for any hall activity. Everything was quiet inside, but she could hear the wind picking up outside. It was starting to rain.
“Shoot. I wonder if my car windows are up,” Denise rubbed her forehead as she struggled to remember if she had rolled her windows up when she arrived at work earlier. The Dr.’s answering service picked up the call and she heard the familiar sounds of his recorded message to call during office hours.
“Crap, now I’ll have to call the doctor on call at the hospital,” Denise punched in the number of the hospital. When the switchboard answered, she requested the doctor on call. She learned that Dr. Howser was on call and asked for him to return her call, then hung up the phone.
The night had started with one resident vomiting in the bathroom. Another was coughing and complained of being short of air. Denise spent much of her time assessing, medicating, and checking vital signs, then charting everything she did.
While she waited for Dr. Howser’s return call she walked down the hall to Julian’s room, where she found Jeannie making his bed. Julian was sitting in the bathroom on the toilet. The strong odor of urine permeated the air.
“Teri is sitting with Maggie for a bit. She was having of her nightmares again,” Denise whispered to Jeannie. “Do you need help here?”
“Well, yeah. I’ve been doing most of the work tonight by myself. Teri is always disappearing.”
“I’m sorry. I asked her to stay with Maggie. Here, let me help you.”
“Thanks. Would you help me get Julian back into bed?”
“Sure. Hey, Julian. How are you tonight? Are you ready to get back in bed?” Julian nodded.
“Ok, then, here we go.” Teri and Denise transferred Julian back into his bed and got him settled in for the rest of the night.
“Ok, then. I’m going back to the nurse’s station. I’m expecting a doctor’s call.”
“Alright, I’ll keep working my way up the hall. Thanks a bunch.” She smiled at Denise and picked up her soiled linens, placing them into a bag to put in the laundry chute.
The phone was ringing as Denise approached the nurse’s station. She ran the last few feet to pick up the receiver before the fourth ring.
Glen River Manor. Denise Davenport, RN, speaking. May I help you?” Denise grabbed her pen and a piece of paper to take a message if needed.
“This is Dr. Howser. I received a message to call you.”
“Yes, Dr. Howser. Maggie Simpson, one of Dr. Kinsley’s patients, is having hallucinations and nightmares. She believes there are birds in her room that are trying to kill her. She started taking imipramine twenty-five milligrams daily at bedtime on the twenty-fourth of June. She is quite anxious. Blood pressure is one thirty over seventy-two; pulse is seventy-nine and regular. She is afebrile. She has already had her imipramine tonight.” Denise paused, and waited for Dr. Howser to reply.
“Any seizure activity?”
‘”No, Doctor.”
“Bowel and bladder function normal?”
“Yes. She had a normal bowel movement this morning, and has been voiding normally all day.”
“Any talk of suicide?”
“Not that I’m aware of. She seemed cheerful at dinnertime.”
“Monitor her through the night with vital signs every four hours. Notify Dr. Kinsley in the morning. If her blood pressure drops twenty points, call me back.”
“Thank you, Doctor Howser.”
“You’re welcome. Good night.”
“Good night.”
Denise hung up the phone and went back down the hall toward Maggie’s room. She met Teri, coming out of the room.
“Shhhh. She’s asleep,” Teri whispered. “Did you find out anything?”
“Not much. Vitals every four. Report blood pressure drops. Call Dr. Kinsley in the morning. Jeannie said she was doing alright. But you might check to see if she needs help anyway.”
“You bet.”
“Holler if you need me. I’ve got to get this charted, before I forget anything.”
Jeannie poked her head out of a door down the hall, and wiggled a hooked finger to summon them to her position.
“I hate to tell you this, but Sam is on the floor. There is a puddle of urine right beside his bed. I think he stood up and just let it loose right beside the bed. He always things he’s in the bathroom, wherever he’s located.” Jeannie shook her head and smiled. “I didn’t see any injuries, but I told him to sit tight until you check him out.”
“Thanks. We’ll need a set of vitals on him. Did you see him fall?”
“No. He was sitting on the floor in that puddle just grinning at me when I walked in to check on him.”
“We’d better initiate neuro checks then. Who knows if he hit his head or not? This is turning into a fun night.”
Denise shook her had and sighed. She examined Sam for injuries and checked his neural function. Sam, a previous stroke victim, was unable to voice his needs, but by the grin on his face as Denise checked his range of motion and looked for skin tears, bruises and abrasions, she deduced that he was in no pain.
Jeannie grinned and teased Denise. “I’ll bet you’re regretting offering to work for Charlotte tonight, aren’t you?”
“Oh, it’s not so bad—yet.” Denise returned the grin. “But let’s hope it quiets down a little bit from here on out. I don’t need any more paperwork to do.”
Denise worked on paperwork and made the necessary calls to doctor, family, and on call nurse to report the fall. She also reported Maggie’s anxiety episode to the on call nurse.
A period of solitude allowed Denise to get some of her charting done. There were breathing treatments to give, and two dressing changes. These went without a hitch.
At five o’clock, Denise taped her report for the next shift, and set up the paperwork for the day shift charge nurse so she could get her labs drawn before breakfast. She restocked the glucometer kit, so there would be plenty of test strips, lancets, alcohol wipes, and cotton balls for the diabetic testing.
Aides for the day shift began arriving at five forty-five, looking around to see how many residents the night shift had dressed and were in their chairs, waiting for breakfast. Not finding many, they grumbled, “as usual, night shift has done absolutely nothing all night.”
Jeannie and Teri looked at Denise, to gauge her reaction. Denise smiled at her aides, looked at the grumblers, and quietly said, “No, nothing at all.”