“What’s in a Name…

That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet”.

Have you ever been in a name-horror situation?  So… a friend/family member is expecting a baby.  Whether or not they know the gender, they usually have spent some time pondering a name.

Image by Thorina Rose

Or several.  Where they reveal to you that name, which after weeks or months of serious debate (sans cocktails), has finally been chosen?  And all you can say is “WHAT the…”.

I don’t mean the tired, name of the year or decade thing.  These people who choose the name “most often” used are understandable.  Lemmings, maybe, but I get it.  I don’t mean those who don’t know any better, and christen their daughter with a stripper name (what? You think Bambi Rose is going to Med School?).  I don’t even mean the “made up name that we’ll claim is from our ancestral homeland” BS.  I’m talking about the people who actually come up with something so bad that you can’t wait to tell someone else about the whopper.

I hear them all the time.   I work in Labor and Delivery, where people have usually defined that absolute “best” name after months of deliberation.

This weeks best bloopers?

I had a couple who decided on Lenora.  Or Leonora.   Until I asked, however, they didn’t know that they weren’t on the same page with the spelling.  Last I heard, they were still duking it out.

One patient told me they had narrowed it down to “either Sarah”…a good, old fashioned (if lemming) name…or “Eunice”.  Yep.  I looked her right in the eye and said… “I just Love Eunice”.

The best one, though, was from a patient that I barely met.  The other nurse told me what their choice was….I had to go in and verify it for myself.  It’s okay- I was discrete.  I brought in a meal tray and made a bit of small talk.  Then they told me that, yes indeed, they knew what they were having (a boy).  And, yes, they had a name all picked out.  First choice for the name of the week goes to:…..

Megatron!

That’s right folks!   I couldn’t wait to share it with you. And thank you to that couple.  In the middle of a busy, stressful day, you gave us nurses quite a chuckle.  Maybe these crazy names aren’t such a bad idea!

On the Nightshift

“At the end of a long day
It’s gonna be okay
On the nightshift
You found
another home
I know you’re not alone
On the nightshift”

I’m sorry, guys…but the nightshift is not my “another home”.  I’ve been meaning to write.  Really, I have.But, you see, I’ve been working the overnight shift at the hospital.  It’s just exhausting.  The nights are long, and sometimes we are busy nonstop with babies who just can’t wait another day to join this world.

Then, there are those other nights.  When we aren’t busy the night just drags.  We all sit together, trying to keep those eyes open.  Sometimes we eat stuff you’d never, ever eat during the daylight hours.  It’s “anything goes” time with food.  Other times we talk in an effort to stay awake.  There are usually 6 or so of us women, hanging around a table in the middle of the nurses station.  The things we talk about…well it seems that the only stories that keep us awake are not printable.  Some because they are too personal, and I can’t share other peoples lives in that way.  Other stories are just too…graphic.  Nurses on labor & delivery are a rare breed of women.  These girls, my coworkers, have strong stomachs and my own sick sense of humor.  I’m not able to think of a single story that was fit to repeat…so I’m just checking in, and letting you know that I’m here, and surviving, and that I’ll be back at it later in the week when I catch up on sleep!

Gnite all!

ALL Girls are Princesses

Yesterday was one of those days.  Work started out okay, but as the day went on it just plain sucked.  I was scheduled to work in the clinic and supposed to be done at 2.  I had a call the night before asking if there was any I could fill in at labor and delivery from 3-7 as they were “really desperate”.  How could I say no? I had Syd and her friend at the hospital with me, because they were volunteering from 9-3.  We had planned to go to the haymarket together afterwards…and you know how I love that haymarket…but “desperate”.    Okay.  And they were desperate.  The girls went to the haymarket without me and I stayed.  Everyone was stressed, I tried to help and probably only made things worse half the time.  Then, when someone needed a C section (like “now”) I offered to be the scrub nurse, which at least got me out of the frenzy of the nurses station.  The shift changed at 7.  They were increasing by one nurse, so they should be in better shape than the day shift.  Still, by 7:30pm no one came in to check on us.  We finished the case and wheeled the patient into a room to recover around 7:40pm.  The charge nurse asked if I would be willing to stay until 11pm.  After thinking about it for a second, I realized that those young girls had been in the waiting room for over 2 hours already.  How could I do that?  So I said no, that I couldn’t do it tonight.  I then heard someone who had been a friend say “Well that’s too bad.  She has to stay.  She doesn’t get to choose.  Just tell her that she can’t leave”.  I took a deep breath, and asked if she was referring to me.  She was.  And, she didn’t hesitate to tell me so.  Also threatened that she would complain, I could lose my license, etc.  Now technically, if there were fewer nurses coming than leaving, she might have a point.  We aren’t allowed to abandon patients if there aren’t “enough” to manage.  They had one more nurse than we’d managed with for the last 4 hours, and she was serious.  After pointing out that I had no such obligation to stay, I told her that as she was about to see my shapely ass walking out the door she might just want to pucker up and kiss it.

On the way home I was still feeling somewhat unappreciated.  I had a flashback to a scene in a movie.  It’s what I do…fair warning to those who drive in Boston, but when I’m upset I drive around daydreaming.

Growing up, I loved the film “A Little Princess” with Shirley Temple.  It was a very old movie but I loved it.  When my girls were growing up they were more enamored of the 1995 version of the film.  I’m going to admit here, that for once the remake was better than the original.

This is the story of Sara Crewe.  After living in exotic India with her doting father, Sara was sent to a strict boarding school in New York while he went to war.  Her father was believed to have died in the war, and their fortune confiscated.  She was then kept on by the abusive, stern headmistress as a maid.  Sara infuriated the woman with her ability to cope, and even thrive no matter what hardships the woman through her way. Sara was living in an unheated attic at the school, with only rags to wear, when a man next door and his servant intervened with a bit of magic.  This is what Sara and her friend woke to in the attic one morning (all cleverly arranged by those magical fellows).

A favorite scene was one in which the headmistress confronts Sara with the reality of her life. “Don’t tell me you still fancy yourself a princess! Good God child, look around you…look in the mirror!”   Sara replies with these words:  ” I am a princess…All girls are…even if they live in a tiny old attic…even if they dress in rags…even if they aren’t pretty or smart or young…They are still princesses, all of us”.

 I am a princess…all girls are!

This movie was one of many that we watched again and again.  My kids were just that way, when they liked a movie they just wore it out.

The memory that really cheered me up, though only partly involved the movie.  Did you ever take your kids to Disneyworld?   We really couldn’t afford it, but I’m so very glad we did.  The best of times.  We were staying at The Beachclub.  The whole trip was magical.  Matt and his friend were old enough for us to give them some freedom.  They still wound up chasing our tails the whole trip, but having a choice made them happy.  We scheduled a couple of those character meals.  One of them was a breakfast in  Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (aka Norway) at Epcot.  Epcot is filled with vibrant young people who are lured over here from their own countries with dreams of working at Disneyworld.  I’m not sure what they are really dreaming of, but slinging breakfast to whiny kids and demanding parents was certainly not part of  those dreams.  There were some “characters” in princess costumes, walking around signing autographs and posing for pictures.  The chaos they created was amazing.  Our waitress was a very sweet, lovely young girl who was working her butt off, running in circles and all in a long, hot costume.  When she finally had a moment to stop at our table, smile and ask if there was anything else she could get for us, my girls saw their chance.  They whipped out their autograph books and asked “could we please have your autograph?”.  The waitress was flustered.  She apologized, said “I’m sorry, but I’m not anyone important.  I’m not a princess or anything”.   Sydney indignantly told her “Of course you are! All girls are princesses!”   Our waitress stood tall for a moment, then bent forward to sign their autographs.  She hugged them, smiled and told me that she really needed to hear that.

That memory is what cheered me up.  Maybe it’s remembering the movie, too.  I just know that I’m feeling a little bit better, when I remember that I, too, am a princess.  And that biatch… well she can still just pucker up and kiss my royal ass.

From Vajajays to Bulldogs

I am a labor and delivery nurse.  We see  it all.  Literally and figuratively.  Staring down the business end of the female reproductive unit, waiting for a tiny screamer to emerge is part of the territory.  Sometimes we are seen as tough, jaded and even…. well sometimes worse.

I didn’t start out this way. Way back when I was about 25, I wouldn’t say the word vagina.  Among my group of friends it was vajajay, or chocha, or cootch.  We said this as if it were a term of endearment.  My friends and I thought we were so cool, using pet names.   We were actually all just unable to cope with the V word.  Somehow, after 20+ years of using my hand to check other women’s tonsils from below, it’s become easier.   I can say vagina, still not with complete comfort among strangers, but at least now I don’t blush.

Today I blushed.  All over the place.  Like a big, glowing, bright red beacon.  Not because of what I said.  It was my patient.  How do girls of today get so uninhibited?

My patient was a lovely girl, educated and prepared for motherhood.  Her “labor team” included her fob (father of baby), her own mother and mother out-law.  She was perfectly comfortable discussing everything with them.  She had no problem with having this team, plus a couple of friends who dropped by, watch while she peed on a bedpan, had the long-arm tonsil tickle or  even had a catheter placed when she was unable to pee.  That isn’t even terribly unusual.  What made me blush, were those comments.

I was asking about breastfeeding.  One of her friends piped up with “I told my man that these boobies will give milk when his xxxx dispenses martinis”.  What the ???

Then I was explaining what to expect after the delivery.  When I told her that it wasn’t uncommon for women to feel that their bottom is a little sore (those kids can’t see in there, they tend to hit it like  a battering ram), she turned to her fob and said (right in front of the mom and outlaws) “well there goes Plan B”.  I just froze.  The mom-out-law  said “that may just be TMI, honey”.  God Bless her!

The day went on, and finally ended in a lovely delivery.  When she was pushing, and near to done, I asked her if she would like to have a mirror so she could see the delivery herself.  She looked at me in horror, and said  “Why would anyone want to see some wrinkled midget crawling out of there? That’s about like watching a bulldog eat mayonnaise!”. 

I confess, I don’t know what she was talking about.  I was blushing, and speechless.  And I suspect I’ll never look at mayonnaise in quite the same way again.