And The Winner Is…

Ever had a surreal moment in your life?  Like you feel if you are in a dream and someone should pinch you to make sure you really are awake and experiencing it?  This happened to me this past summer, when I was nominated for a major award of my career as a nurse and ended up a state finalist for the award.  I know I don’t talk a lot about being a nurse, but it really is my calling to work with kids and I have been a pediatric nurse for over 11 years now.  So, when I was nominated for The March of Dimes Pediatric Nurse of the Year for the state of Arizona, I was stunned.  Never in a million years would I have thought that anyone would have nominated me for such a thing.  And never would I have thought I would be sitting at a luncheon as one of the state finalists for the award.  But yet, there I was, awaiting to hear my category called and to see if I was a winner.  And the winner is…

Wait…let’s back up a bit and let me tell you first what it was like to even get to this point before I tell you the results.  I know, such a tease, I had to fill out this long ass application to even complete my nomination.  Holy cow.  As I sat and read through all the questions they wanted to answer, I doubted whether or not I should even continue,  I mean, I have no special certifications as a nurse and I don’t teach or activate policies or anything like that.  I am a floor nurse.  I take care of sick kids.  But what I do outside of that is something I am super good at…I do community outreach.  Since that is what I was nominated for, I wrote about starting a quilt program and doing the giant 13 foot high duck in the 4th of July parade every year and collect comic book donations to encourage kids to read.  But really…nobody is going to pick me.  I don’t have all those letters after my name like my co-worker who also was nominated.  She has a tone of credentials, teaching and higher degrees.  I just come to work, take care of sick kids and nice families and go home.  How is this even worth a nomination or a consideration for this award?  Nope.  I even told BFF that my application would go nowhere.  When I got the email that I was a finalist?  I sat there looking at my phone in disbelief.  Wait. What?  They must have read the wrong application and contacted me by mistake.  My co-worker and I have almost the same name so it must be her.  I was stunned.  But it was true and BFF and I headed to Satan’s Asshole to attend the award ceremony.

It was at a fancy swanky hotel and BFF and I were lucky enough to stay the night before and hang out before the luncheon the next day.  My boss and my co-worker, also one of the 3 finalists, were also coming so we met up with them and sat with others from our hospital that had been nominated for other categories.  I mean…BFF and I can clean up real nice when we have to as evidenced by these photos.

BFF cleans up real nice
Adulting hard core


I was super nervous and kept telling myself it really didn’t matter if I won or not.  My c-worker was way more qualified than me.  She would for sure win or the other gal that was a finalist who worked with cancer kids. Yeah…this was just a fluke that I even made it this far, so I just needed to calm down and eat my lunch.  So much easier said than done.  I was a nervous wreck.  My stomach felt like there was a million little faeries fluttering around in there and they were taking up so much room, there was no room for food.  Plus, I didn’t want to to come spewing back up at the wrong moment. That would be unfortunate.  And gross.  At least I had BFF with me to distract me.  She is good at that.  Finally it got to my category and my co-worker and I sat there anxiously as they explained what it took to even become a finalist and again I was floored.  10 people blindly read my application and sent it through?  Really?  Nah.  Must have been one of those days where people were feeling generous towards the lowly peds floor nurse who really had no business filling out the application let alone even getting nominated.

Then the moment arrived and they said a name.  Wait.  They said MY name.  What?  I looked to BFF and she said “Oh My God!  That is you!  Stand up! Go!”  I felt like it was so surreal as I stood up, hand covering my mouth, tears in my eyes and told myself “Do not trip up the stairs”.  I want to say that I don’t remember much after that except for smiling a lot and pictures being taken.  BFF said she really wanted to jump up and scream “Suck It Bitches!” to everyone but thought better of it and just clapped and whooped it up for me.  Remember how I said I would be happy just being nominated?  I lied.  People who say that are liars.  I was super stoked I won and there is no feeling like it.  Screw that being happy to be nominated stuff.  Winning feels AMAZING.


So yes…I am The March of Dimes Arizona Pediatric Nurse of The Year.  #winning

Oh yeah.  I didn’t die today.  I did win the biggest award of my entire career but I didn’t die.  I am Fat Girl who lied when I said I was happy to be nominated Running.  The experiment continues…

When You Make Up A New Word That Is Unnervingly Accurate

We all know I like to make up words from time to time but really my words do accurately describe things.  Unnervingly so.  I mean stoob, when your stomach meets your boobs, is a perfect example.  It really does describe something and I definitely have a stoob. I am sure some of you can relate to that and to Chub Rub, which we all know afflicts those of us Fat Girls without a thigh gap.  So see, making up terms sometimes is a good thing.  After all, they do have a whole thing called Urban Dictionary to describe slang vernacular.  I wish stoob and Chub Rub were in there and I could be credited with creating them.  That might be all kinds of awesome.  Anyways, me making up words is really not a new thing but sometimes a necessity.  Don’t you do this to describe things in your life?  You should try it.  Your word might catch on, you never know.

The other night at work, I decided to coin a new word out of necessity.  I mean, it was 6:30 am and we were a little slap happy with it being the end of a busy shift but honestly, the word was really needed to describe what a poor kid had on the floor.  Sometimes this is when the best words are created, when you least expect it.  This word is one I can unfortunately relate to and so can a lot of you.  It is unnervingly accurate.  So here is my word that I coined and it’s definition:

Shemesis:  n.  A condition in which you perform the act of simultaneously shitting and vomiting at the same time.  (We call vomiting emesis in the medical field).  The worst.

Good word, no?  I mean it does the job.  It describes exactly the predicament you are in when you might have this condition. Can you relate?  Oh I can and it is not pretty.  Let’s just say having shemesis is not a fun condition in the least.  I have been this sick so I completely sympathize with this patient that had this the other night.  I might have laughed at my poor co-worker who had to deal with it because we used the Wheel of Destiny to decide who got an admit and he definitely got the raw end of that spin and I might have done a dance of joy to not have to clean up shemesis.  But really, shemesis is no laughing matter.  Have you ever been afflicted with shemesis?  Let’s discuss this.

Shemesis can be your worst nightmare when you are sick.  I mean nobody likes to vomit to begin with and add the shitting part on top of it.  Utter humiliation.  I mean if you are lucky, the pooping starts first and your butt is already over the toilet bowl when you have to start having it spew out of you at both ends.  That is easy to rectify if you have a trash can nearby.  But let’s imagine the other scenario.  There you are, praying to the Porcelain God when you realize it is going to come out the wrong end.  Oh dear, What do you do?  Do you see if you can quickly whip your pants down and get your ass over the toilet or do you just decide to humiliate yourself and fill your pants with liquid?  This is a terrifying possibility and hopefully you are not in public when schemesis hits you.  I mean, what do you do then?  This might be my worst nightmare.  I have no idea what I would even do in tif this happened in public except hope that I could get out of the public bathroom with my dignity intact.  It is a game of chance I tell you.  And one you will not win.  Either way, you lose and usually by that time, you do not care because you feel as if you are expelling a demon.  I have been here and let’s say a shower was needed afterwards and I just threw those pants away.  I could not make the transition quick enough so it was just badness all around.  Shemesis can make the best of us feel like we are helpless and disgusting at the same time.

If you have a spouse when you have shemesis, you might discover the depth of their love for you.  Are they willing to clean you up or help you in the shower if you are unlucky enough to have your butt over the floor? Will they help you dispose of the evidence of shemesis or will they stare at you in abject horror with a mask and gloves on and run the other way?  Shemesis is a true test of love.  Your spouse might be smiling sympathetically at you but screaming in horror internally.  Sometimes nurses do this.  For reals.  Sometimes we appear calm and collected while internally we are screaming in horror at what we have to deal with because our jobs are gross.  Plain and simple.  Or we come up with a word to accurately describe the horror we have witnessed to help us laugh at 6:30 am.

screaming dean

There are just two words to describe that shift.  Bleach wipes.

Oh yeah.  I didn’t die today.  I did coin a new phrase that is unnervingly accurate in my job but I didn’t die (I also didn’t have to take the patient thank goodness).  I am Fat Girl who has unfortunately experienced shemesis and the humiliating after effects Running.  The experiment continues…


We Listened But Did You Hear Us?

I don’t normally blog back to back like this but I felt a follow-up was needed to my last post about being “just a nurse” (which blew my mind that it got shared so much!  I am overwhelmed by that!  You all rock!).  The View, in response to the uproar on social media about what the ladies said about nurses, decided to issue an “apology” of sorts to the millions of nurses on national tv.  I put this in quotations because to be honest…it was not that.  It was, rather, an even bigger insult to nurses around the world.  I saw the clip posted over and over in nursing groups on Facebook and the message was clear :  Nurses didn’t listen.  Millions of healthcare professionals apparently took something out of context and blew it out of proportion.  We didn’t listen.  Whoopi Goldberg said it herself “You didn’t listen.”  I beg to differ Whoopi.  We listened but did you hear us?

I listened to the entire clip several times over for 3 simple words …”We are sorry”.  Not once did I hear those words to nurses or to Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson for the mean and unkind words you spoke about her.  I listened to you all try to talk over each other, getting louder and louder.  I listened to you call nurses “adorable”, “funny”, and that you were at “the mercy of nurses so we have to like them” but not once did I hear you call us “respectable”, “brave”, “compassionate”, “caring” or “knowledgeable”.  I listened.  Want to know why?  Because as a nurse, we are trained to do just that….listen.  We take classes in listening to be better at it with our patients, our co-workers and our families.  Listening is what we do.  While you were all trying to talk over each other to prove a point (which I never really got btw) and NOT listening to each other, let me tell you what I listened to this week at my job.

As a nurse, listening is key in our jobs.  So many things can be learned just by listening.  This week, I listened to a 2-year-old struggle to breathe….without my “doctor’s” stethoscope.  I listened to him wheeze and knew it was time to call the respiratory therapist to give him a breathing treatment.  I listened then to him settle down, his breathing eased by the medication, and snores begin to come for the first time all night.  I listened to a newborn’s cry as we had to start an IV to give her fluids to keep her hydrated.  I also listened to her mother comfort her with soft cooing sounds all the while tears running silently down her face.    As I walked down the hall, I listened to a school age child play video games to distract himself in the middle of the night so that he didn’t have to think about missing playing with his friends.  Earlier in the week, I sat and listened to a physician tell a teenager his chances of a football scholarship were over with such a huge break in his leg at the beginning of the football season.  I watched as his face fall, his dreams of going to college shattered, his mother softly reassuring him they would find another way.  I listened while a mother didn’t understand why her baby had to be on oxygen and I went over it with her until she did.  While you ladies were bashing Miss Colorado and what nurses do for a living, I had to listen to the keening and wailing of a family watching their 17-year-old son slip away from them because of inoperable brain cancer.  I had to hold and listen to a grown man cry at the loss of his son.  While you were listening to each other talk, I was listening to raw grief.

See…nurses listen.  We hear more than your narrow minds will ever hear.  We listen.  We listen to heartbeats slowly fade away.  We listen to monitors alarming that something is critically wrong with our patients and we rush to fix it.  We listen to doctors barking orders at us fast and loud in a crisis. We listen to patients when they say they don’t understand and we stay and explain.  We listen to the first and last breaths someone takes.  We listen to your prayers.  We listen to your fears.  We listen to your secrets.  Nurses listen.  What we won’t listen to anymore is the ladies on The View because they didn’t hear us.  They didn’t hear the 3.3 million strong men and women who are nurses stand up and say we are not “just a nurse”.  They didn’t hear us say how dedicated we are to our jobs….our patients….our pride in our skills and degrees we have achieved.  They didn’t hear all the ancillary healthcare professionals, including doctors, who stood up overnight and said nurses are the backbones of healthcare….that nurses matter.  Our long hours, our blood sweat and tears, our lives that we sacrifice to take care of you and yours…these are all things we knew going into the job.  We don’t expect to be patted on the back and told we did a good job.  We expect to be respected and we expect to be heard.  We want you to know we listen, we care, we love our patients.  It is more than a “talent” or a career….it is a calling.  Ladies at The View…we don’t want to listen to you anymore.  We want you to listen.  We want you to hear us.  We are a mighty force and you have poked the bear.  We want an apology.  We want you to know that it takes hard work, our job is stressful and we wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Take the time and go personally thank a nurse today….and listen.  Nurses are humans too.  We just want to be heard.  We deserve that.  We listened to you and heard what you have to say…now it is your turn to listen.  And hear.

Oh yeah.  I didn’t die today.  I did, however, listen.  I am Fat Girl who know how to listen and challenges The View to do the same Running.  The experiment continues…..

I Am Not “Just A Nurse”

I am sure you might have heard a small ripple in social media over the last 24 hours about the Miss America pageant and Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, who beautifully gave a monologue about being “just a nurse”.  I am also quite sure you may have heard a bigger ripple caused by the ladies on The View for making fun of her and putting down the 3.3 million men and women who call nursing their profession….I am one of them.  And I am not “just a nurse”.

I applaud Miss Johnson in coming out on a beauty pageant stage, dressed in scrubs, to talk about her talent.  While the ladies on The View might not see this as a talent, being a nurse does take quite a lot of talent.  It takes talent to put a urinary catheter in a patient that is combative…to find a vein in a chunky baby….to know what to say to a family that is losing a person close to them.  All of these things take talent.  And it took bravery for Miss Johnson to say so.  You see, we are not just nurses.  We are the people who give up weekends, holidays, birthdays, kids events at school and even sleep to be with you when you need us the most.  And we wouldn’t have it any other way.  We gladly sacrifice these things to do our job.  We are the ones who are in your hospital room probably more than you would like and we often come home feeling like we need Silkwood showers to disinfect ourselves.  While you ladies on The View are sitting around, drinking coffee, getting paid millions to be on TV with your uneducated viewpoints, nurses are getting paid to get puked on, slip in blood during a trauma, witness things that most people would feel are the horrors of the world, and hold people’s hands while they die so they know they are not alone.  I, personally, have never seen your show because I work nights.  That is right.  While you are sleeping, I am working from 7pm to 7am keeping children alive.  Some nights I don’t even have time to go potty, let alone get a cup of coffee, but that is ok by me.  Some nights the docs don’t even come on the unit, so guess who is here with all the sick kids?  The nurses. Yup.  Do you work almost 13 hours only to come back again every day? I think not.  Nurses do.  Every damn day.

I love being a nurse.  Absolutely love it.  I salute all people who want to become a nurse.  It is the hardest profession you will ever love.  You get yelled at, swore at, swung at and even spit on.  As for wearing a “doctor’s stethoscope”, well that is a tool of the trade my friends…and not just one doctor’s use.  They are used by nurses, respiratory therapists, techs, EMT’s, paramedics and doctors.  I don’t know how many doctors I have heard come into the unit and ask to borrow someone’s “ears” meaning the nurse’s stethescope because they don’t have one with them.   You might think of scrubs as a “costume” but I can guarantee you that none of us look like the Halloween version of our profession.  We are NOT “naughty nurses”.  We don’t wear shirts showing our cleavage or high-heeled shoes.  These costumes are also insulting to me.  We wear scrubs so we can squat down to empty a catheter bag full of urine and so we can sweat our butts off doing chest compressions to save a person’s life.  Nursing involves a lot of sweat.  Lifting a 300 lb person to turn them is no easy feat.  Some nights running to the ED to save a child’s life makes me sweat more than I do when I am working out.  Why?  Because my adrenaline is pumping, my heart is racing and I am praying I don’t have to hold a parent as their child dies tonight.  These are all thoughts that race through my mind as I sweat in my scrubs….my “costume” that keeps me cool as I am just a nurse. And as for wearing high heels…well one night slipping in blood, puke or feces and you would rethinking your choice of footwear rather quickly.  TV shows don’t even do our jobs justice.  Grey’s Anatomy shows all these doctor’s doing things the in reality nurses do….quit trying to steal our shit!  Quit degrading nurses and what they do.  We don’t just wipe butts and pass meds.  You know how the doctor miraculously shows up when you are having a medical crisis?  That is because the NURSE called the doc.  For reals.  Let’s quit trying to pretend it is the docs at the bedside 24/7 because it isn’t true….so TV land, try to get it right one of these days would ya?

Nurses are amazing people.  We keep our emotions in check to do our jobs.  You might not know it, but when your child dies and I am their nurse, I hurt too.  You might not ever see my tears.  They flow usually in the bathroom, my car driving home and most frequently in the shower.  Want to know why?  Because I need to be there for the family who just lost their child.  I need to hold their hands, hug them and help them decide on hard decisions like funeral homes and organ donation.  To put down a whole profession of some of the most amazing caring people I have ever known is disgusting. But I am not “just a nurse”.   As a PICU nurse, I am a singer (and not always on key) to distract an IV being placed, a comedienne to cheer up a chronically ill child, a counselor to listen to a teenager tell me why they tried to commit suicide, a cheerleader when a patient is able to take a step for the first time on their own after a major trauma, and sometimes a superhero to a 4-year-old because I can hear their “heart beeps” with my stethoscope.  These are all of what I am.  THIS is what nursing is about.  THIS is what nurses do.  If this is what you call being “just a nurse”, then I am proud to be just that….a nurse.  Fellow nurses, #showmeyourstethoscope!  We are nurses…what is your superpower?

So ladies at The View….I challenge you to follow in a nurse’s footsteps for one 12 hour shift and see what it is we really do.  I am sure then you could do it too since it isn’t a talent.  Oh wait…you need a college degree to do what we do.  My bad.

Oh yeah.  I didn’t die today.  I felt the need to defend my profession but I didn’t die.  I am Fat Girl proud to be “just a nurse” Running.  The experiment continues…

The Fantastic Phred and The Party Fail

Every year for the 4th of July, my unit makes a presence in the local parade. It started out as a way for us to get the community aware of our new PICU so we decided to come up a float to enter. At some point, we thought it would be a good idea to somehow make a float with our mascot of the duck because we “keep kids afloat”. When I mentioned this to my Bubby, he immediately came up with a way to create the duck as he has lots of experience with set design. I had no idea that he would create this iconic 13 ft high replication of our cartoon drawing whom we lovingly named Phred. Seriously. A 13 ft high bright yellow wooden duck comes out of storage every year and parades his patriotic self in the parade. Because what is more patriotic than a 13 ft high bright yellow duck? Not much I tell ya. It is the thing that childhood nightmares could be based on…giant rubber duckies that could eat you in one bite. Oh yeah…did I mention he also wears a giant stethoscope? Maybe so he can listen to the local giant’s heart? Bubby has a science to putting Phred together every year and it always looks a little scary to see him and another guy lift up and screw into place this giant duck head while they are standing on a metal trailer. How does he stay on the trailer you want to know? Well, he is zip tied to the metal trailer. Then to make it even more safe, we pile blankets all around him and have children sit surrounding this 13 ft WOODEN structure. Did I mention we are all pediatric nurses? Maybe we should make the kids wear helmets but we are satisfied with the 4 plastic zip ties holding Phred down. Can you imagine if it suddenly got hurrricane gusts of wind? All the screams that would occur as the giant duck swooped down, giant grin on his orange bill, towards the crowds of people that are trying to enjoy the parade? Of course, we might have more to worry about if hurricane type winds ever happened up here in the mountains of AZ than a giant 13 ft tall duck named Phred. Pretty sure though that Phred would be the top story on CNN and not the weird weather. I mean, come on. You know you would tune into the story of the rubber duck that ate Flagstaff. Especially if his eyes were on fiwre! But in all honesty, Phred is a crowd favorite and is quite fantastic.

So, after the parade this year, I thought it would be fun to host a party. Nothing big. Just a little pizza party to say thanks to those who walked/rode with us in the parade. In preparation, I cleaned my house and got BFF to bring soda. Party was scheduled to start at 4 pm so when the clock struck thee hour, there we were, BFF and I waiting for the guests to arrive so I could order pizza. By 4:30, we decided to order a couple of pizzas because we were hungry. Ever see those scenes in movies where the fat girl has a birthday party and no one shows up? Yeah. I was that fat girl. By 6:30, I finally realized no one was gonna show and BFF and I made the most of it and went to the movies. Thank goodness for BFF or otherwise I would have sat by myself and eaten a whole pizza while watching some movie on Lifetime about some woman who gets beaten or is dying from some female disease or both. Total party fail.

Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I did have a fat girl party moment but I didn’t die. I am fat girl hoping I don’t get eaten by Phred someday if the zip ties fail running. The experiment continues…..