Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Wallace Stevens Day

There were call-ins over the weekend so I picked up a double-time shift. Woopity-doo. Beats coal mining. At least so I hear.

Some nurses work their 12-hour shifts "all in a row." Personally I feel that this makes me increasingly stupid as the days go on, so that by the end of such a string my faculties are wasted somewhat in the manner of that state of mind obtained by many college freshmen. And women. I prefer instead to work no more than two days at a time. It's tiring enough.

I guess I just don't do stupid well.

And on my days off I practice and cook things that are fun to make and eat.

But not today.

While I was making mucho dinero Sunday the Young One Who Has Memorized The Score Of Salome By Richard Strauss and who also persuaded me to purchase for them their very own four-inch chef's knife when they were six years old ended up in the Emergency Department with nothing.

Phone call from spouse:

Above-mentioned child has sore throat, headache, and can't move their neck without hurting. Of course, as a nurse, I am sort of between ownership of home thermometers. "Are they hot?" is answered by "Whaa?"

Residents on the ward suggested lumbar puncture. "That's what I'd want for my kid," said one of my faves. (I wish I could name here here. She is the best resident ever. And she also likes things like this." So we have this understanding.

I bought a stuffed kitty for The Young One Who Thinks She's Leaving Home Is The Saddest Song Ever and in an hour or two they were discharged without incident. No tap or even bloodwork. Trauma-free ED visit. Go home. Come back when you're really sick. And give us a few hundred bucks just to call it even.

Monday was typical. Busy as all get-out. But no get-out. All my assigned folks stayed.

So today is poetry day.

In college I had a radio show. Unformatted, but mostly I played classical and far-out jazz. That's where my brain is.

I'd read stuff occasionally between album cuts. We had those way back when.

Like this:

"Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs."

Man, that's cooler than Miles and Coltrane.

Time for chamomille tea. And scales. And slur studies.


Eric135 said...

I remember when everyone did 8-hour shifts. I thought they were great. Yes, you had to work 5 days a week, which sucked. But it was better physiologically. I could get a full 8 hours of sleep without making myself so anxious about it (to the point of insomnia). I could work out every day. I could still have enough time to go shop, or bake chocolate chip cheesecake, and write poetry. The jury of lifespan is still out on which is better, the 8- or 12-hour shift. But I have a feeling I'm gonna die 10 years earlier in order to get 1040 more week days off. --eric

shrimplate said...


I honestly think... no; I know that 8-hour shifts were better for me personally.

I could train after 8 hours, but that's way too difficult after a 12-hour. When I came to the Valley and started the 12-hour shifts that are so common here, I effectively only had 4 days a week to run. So I'm no longer a marathoner and I miss that.

It's not really about motivation. It's about time. I like the days off, but if I had my druthers I'd likely go for 8-hour shifts.

Hey, thanks for stopping by. I read your blog regularly and I recommend it to the Tele people I work with.

Tele is the best!

Kookaloomoo said...

Thanks for the XTC video link! It took me right back to high school- where I was the only one who knew about bands like XTC and The Cure... I was quite sulky then, too.

Now that I'm on a M-F, 8a-5p work schedule, I find myself missing my time in the "coal mines", working crazy rotations of days and nights and 8 and 12 hour shifts. Mostly, I miss the intellectual stimulation of working in a big hospital in a critical care unit where anyone could start circling the drain at any moment. Although my current job is much more friendly for my family, and they pay me a sick amount of money, it's very un-nursing-like. I miss the days of literally saving lives. It made me feel like I'd really accomplished something.

GingerJar said...

I totally miss the 8 hr shifts. More days in a row, but one could actually get to REM sleep without having 10 alarms set in the bedroom with total fear of being late for work. I got to see sunsets....I got to see my family. I watched regular programing, (well don't miss that much), I could go to church. I could participate in church plays and be in the choir. 8 hr nights were usually 10 hr's , as 12 hour nights are now normally 14. I liked the Blackbird poem.

Kookaloomoo said...

P.S. Thanks for adding me to your blogroll! I feel so special!

may said...

i cannot do three 12 hours shift in a row. my nurse manager did that once, and she never did it again because i called off on the third night. not literally sick, but dead tired, i knew i couldn't be trusted with any breathing being.

glad to hear nothing the ER trip was uneventful:)

Eli Blake said...

I really am glad that I work at a job (teaching at a community college) where the schedule is broken up. But last term because of the way things worked out, I had to drive 1 1/2 hours to Polacca, teach ten straight hours (from noon to 10 PM) and then drive back to Winslow, and it really was no fun (though luckily it was over in 17 weeks). So I can imagine what it must be like for you folks doing that every day for three days per week and then knowing you will be doing it year after year after year.

It seems in some ways as if the shortage of nurses is a self-perpetuating problem.

Bohemian Road Nurse... said...

Eight hour shifts are better for me, too. When I used to work 12-hour shifts it seemed like I was on duty for 2 days, heh! Hey, thanks for the link--I am adding you to my blogroll, too!