Toad in the Hole

August 12, 2006

Just Cuz

Something about riding BART and looking at the back of a building all day wears me out. Or maybe it's trying to make promo-prose readable, and the stuff that's already readable is mostly bad news. (That's what editing at an envirorag is about. I can't believe I used to do it for two of them, but I can't believe I used to make a living torturing babies and coming home and shaking for an hour before I could sleep, either.)

But here's one of the photos I'm stuffing into Flickr, anyway, just for pretty. I took it in October of 2004, somewhere in the Ozarks.


I have blogged at least once about pediatric nursing, here: on the 25th of August last year. Huh. I wonder if there's some forgotten anniversary thing going on in my head.

Posted at August 12, 2006 04:47 AM


lovely photo!

i used to do bart and the back of a building, too. still do a bit of flogging of prose, as well, but a different kind of prose. [and i can too capitalize, just choose not to when i'm off duty.]

it must be really hard to care for very sick kids, but i disagree with the word "torture." that's when you poke 'em and scare 'em for fun, and i have a lot of trouble thinking that's how you got your jollies.

my sister was a 2.5 lb. preemie in 1965 [and is doing fine, even though she wasn't supposed to live]; i spent a week in the hospital with some weird blood thing at age 6; my nephew had brain cancer for 3 years before he died in 2002. we love and admire pediatric nurses in my family, more than we could ever say. [the shaking -- i can see that. people aren't designed well to do the scary stuff on a constant basis.]

Posted by: kathy a at August 13, 2006 01:12 AM

I dunno about jollies, but I do know that lots of what I did and saw done to kids was painful and scary -- so, objectively torture, in a very direct and simple sense -- and sometimes it saved their lives. Which was always the idea, anyway.

Two things about "modern medicine" that I've had to keep reminding myself about:

We're constantly pushing the boundaries, ultimately with the goal of giving individual people more freedom to live their lives. That one gets forgotten sometimes by people on all sides of this sphere.

We're living in the Dark Ages. Still. And we're doing the best we can, all of us.

Someday I'll tell stories about my years -- only eight or nine -- as a pediatric nurse. I might have blogged some of them already; I'll so digging for some when I have time, and post the links here, probably in the main body of this.

And yeah, if you have an ounce of empathy (and apprently I do) you're going to go home bleeding internally sometimes, after eight hours of this work. Not only over what you've had to do, but over what you've had to watch, the reasons that your patients are there in the hospital to begin with.

I'm glad you and your sister made it OK, kathy. And your nephew, ow, I'm so sorry.

Posted by: Ron at August 13, 2006 02:23 AM

Yikes. Eight or nine years is eight or nine years longer than I could have lasted.

I have very complicated feelings about modern medicine. I'm alive because of it, but I'm also alive because I've ignored medical advice, often. I am grateful for the miraculous parts, like how I can walk on a prosthetic leg I didn't have to invent or build for myself. I am grateful for every instance of kindness and competence I've received from others, and shocked by how short a list that is. I am staggered by the way medicine is and isn't delivered in this country.

I actually have PTSD over so many aspects of it that I have experienced from both sides of the desk, a complex aggregation including every tiny thing from blood draws to insurance claim processing, and some big horrible stuff, too, that I can't even begin to discuss in this format. I am grateful that anyone kind or competent ever wants to do any of these jobs at all, for any amount of time.

Thanks for your own service.

Posted by: Sara at August 13, 2006 04:53 AM

when my dad was terminally ill with cancer, i remember being so furious with his oncologist -- dad just kept getting more worthless chemo, knowing it wouldn't help, and he was so very very sick with the chemo. i wanted my dad to have hospice, which he could not have while he was on chemo. but he was an adult, and he did make that choice -- it wasn't mine to make, but i hated seeing him suffer so much. he had acute respiratory distress shortly after his last chemo, and died in ICU instead of quietly at home.

i think the considerations are different with kids, to an extent. you really need to try to give the babies a chance -- and also need to let them live the best lives they can under the circumstances. my nephew had such an excellent team at children's in oakland. he really did get some very good living in, during the time he survived, but there was a lot of awful stuff, too. his oncologist was really a superstar -- she did everything, and then when there was nothing more but comfort care, she put the team together to tell his parents and support them. when he was in his final coma, she came to the house, and stayed half the night making sushi and talking to family. i heard she changed jobs, not long after he died -- went to something less stressful.

this is a nephew of my heart -- a good friend of my daughter who was the son of my good friend, and he adopted me as his auntie not long after he got sick. we love love loved the nurses, during his many hospital stays. doctors float by every so often [often bringing an entourage of interns], but the nurses were always there, and made things happen, and kept him as safe and cozy as they could.

sometimes things come up in life, where there are no great solutions. not being alone as we muddle though -- that is a gift.

Posted by: kathy a at August 13, 2006 05:30 AM

and ((((( sara )))). i'm definitely with you on how medicine isn't delivered in this country. glad you have had some miracles -- but dealing with insurance on top of the pains and horrors of medicine that is not as it should be, ugh.

Posted by: kathy a at August 13, 2006 05:33 AM

Thanks for the thanks, and I'm gratified to see that story. "They" were talking about shifting me to a newly forming oncology ward when I crashed and burned out of the job in 1983.

And I'm with you too on the double-edged blessings of modern medicine. I'd be dead too, I suppose, etc. As you no doubt noticed, I posted a story about my hospital days, as further meditation upon it all.

Posted by: Ron at August 13, 2006 05:44 PM