Friday, May 11, 2007

Out of the Corner

They were assigned to me for two shifts, and during that entire time they hiccupped. Reglan, compazine, ondansetron (which always seemed to me to be a good name for one of Santa's reindeer, if he should need a robotic one,) even a touch of intravenous ativan; nothing relieved this.

They hiccupped in their sleep.

Otherwise this patient was doing well. Chest tubes pulled, pain okay with occasional perc(hic!)ocets, up walking, incentive spi(hic!)rometry to 1200, the whole nine yards.

"The whole nine yards" isn't copped from football, as I once believed. It's origin is probably much older.

"While looking into it, I’ve seen references to the size of a nun’s habit, the amount of material needed to make a man’s three-piece suit, the length of a maharajah’s ceremonial sash, the capacity of a West Virginia ore wagon, the volume of rubbish that would fill a standard garbage truck, the length of a hangman’s noose, how far you would have to sprint during a jail break to get from the cellblock to the outer wall, the length of a standard bolt of cloth, the volume of a rich man’s grave, or just possibly the length of his shroud, the size of a soldier’s pack, the length of cloth needed for a Scottish “great kilt”, or some distance associated with sports or athletics, especially the game of American football.

Few of these have anything going for it except the unsung inventiveness of compulsive explainers. For example, a man’s suit requires about five square yards of material; anyone who thinks a soldier’s pack could measure nine cubic yards is dimensionally challenged; and I’m told it takes ten yards to earn a first down in American football, not nine."

Speaking of "the whole nine yards," there was this other patient, a 95-year-old who had been injured in an auto accident. They were similarly doing well; chest tubes out, leg repaired and splinted, out of bed with assist, pain-free. Their spouse was also hospitalized, but unfortunately at a different facility, and this was of great concern to my patient so we arranged for them to chat with one another on the phone daily.

My patient said that their spouse was "the best in the world" and explained that this was not the first marriage for either of them, adding that they were eighty when they got married.

Whe gets married when they are eighty years old?!

Really optimistic people, I guess.

Like this guy, Baba Fauja Singh, currently the world's oldest marathoner. Again I ask, as much in admiration as in bemused empuzzlement, who lines up at the start of a marathon when they're ninety-five years old?!

Well, at least one quite optimistic and obviously enthusiastic person.

This lady is named Olive Riley. Her caregiver Amber Rowe is with her. Olive is currently the world's oldest blogger.

Her "blob," as she calls it, is The Life of Riley.

I feel like I just absolutely have to read her blog before she dies, but found myself getting caught up in it nonetheless, unobligated.

We nurses work with the elderly all the time, but rarely have more than a few moments at a go for much talk with them. Olive's blog is wonderful for that because it's a bit like sitting down beside a remarkable woman, a very old remarkable woman, and listening to her stories as she flips through her collection of photos taken over the years.

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