Reblogged from 07/22/2012 in recognition of 2020 Year of the Nurse and Midwife: Betsy, a writer friend, emailed me the story she had read in our workshop since I had to miss the class. She knows I hang on every episode of her life in Ireland where her second child was born and she … Continue reading NURSES REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE
This originally appeared on 08/12/2012. The Weirdest Home Visit is one of many stories that didn’t make it into the first book. I am considering it for inclusion in my second book.
When I worked in the home care program at a VA hospital in Illinois, medical students sometimes came along with us nurse practitioners while we made our visits. I enjoyed showing them the reality of delivering care in the patient’s home—where we were guests—the subtle line between suggestion and decree, education and instruction, doing for the patient and letting the patient do for himself.
One afternoon, when I had a female medical student riding with me, I had trouble finding the house. In the day of no cell phones or GPS’s, I stopped at a gas station to call the patient’s wife. Was I being paranoid when she sounded like she was being deliberately unclear?
We finally drove down the well-manicured block in a rather upscale neighborhood. One house in the middle of the block was “protected” by a row of stately cypresses or if cypresses trees don’t grow in…
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One time, long ago, at a nursing conference, I sat fixated as a fellow nurse told a story about the time she rang the doorbell at her patient’s house, and he didn’t answer. It was later that she found out he had been murdered. And in hearing more detail, she discovered that the murderer … Continue reading Home Visits Can Be Fraught with Danger
I am reviewing posts that I will consider for inclusion in my second book, which focuses on home visits I have made in Chicago, Washington DC, and Durham, NC. I came upon Murder Building that was originally posted on February 19, 2012. It’s a keeper. When I visited a patient in my caseload that lived … Continue reading Murder Building
Originally posted on February 19, 2012 When I visited a patient in my caseload that lived in an “unsafe” part of the city, I went in the morning. Right after the pimps and drug dealers had called it a night and before the shop keepers pulled up the bars over the store windows and the … Continue reading The Murder Building
This was first published on January 29, 2012. When you have been a nurse as long as I have there are patients who take residence in your memories and resurface frequently. They could almost be family except they have a short history in your life. What they were like before or after you knew … Continue reading There Are Some Patients We Never Forget
I believe the better the friendship the more raucous the laugher—the real belly laughs that make you think you are going to die of asphyxiation. I have a number of friends that are enjoyable to be with but I have just two or three that make me really laugh. Donna and I worked in home … Continue reading Laughter: the measure of a friendship
Revisiting the dreams.
In preparation for moving I discover the darndest things as I unpack dusty boxes stored in the attic untouched for years. This time it’s a mercury sphygmomanometer, packed in its original carton along with a “limited warranty” card that should have been filled out within ten days of purchase. Looks like I didn’t even open the box but put the blood pressure machine away for the day I would open my independent practice.
That would have been in the early 80s after I became a gerontological NP
after I worked in Chicago with inner city, underserved elderly
after I became frustrated with the lack of resources and left to become an administrator of an HMO
after I knew I didn’t want to be in administration
after going back to work as a nurse practitioner once again
after moving to three different states
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Taking a Blog break. This post appeared on March 10, 2013.
A friend deliberated whether she should visit her father for his 95th birthday. She was swamped with commitments. Since he was unaware of his birthday as well of his surroundings and didn’t even recognize his three daughters, there was no urgency to travel to another state.
However, she cleared her schedule and made the trip, as did another sister and a niece. Both lived out-of-state also.
As it turned out, on his birthday, he had a choking episode with difficulty breathing. He stopped eating and died three days later, surrounded by those he loved who otherwise would not have been there had they not come to commemorate the day he was born.
This story reminded me of a patient I cared for back in the early ‘90’s when I worked as a nurse practitioner in a home care program. I had made a first visit to an elderly man…
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I am writing my memoir because of what I learned when I ran a clinic on the tenth floor of a Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) high-rise twenty years ago. All my patients were over sixty years of age. I was an inexperienced nurse practitioner and new to working with older people. I learned that … Continue reading WHAT I LEARNED