Rhyme and No Reason!

Blogger, author and rhymester who likes to find the humour in life.

Check It Out! Guest Post by Linda Bethea. — June 4, 2015

Check It Out! Guest Post by Linda Bethea.

The very lovely and talented Linda from Nutsrock and I have decided to take over each other’s blogs, and write a guest post each. Now if for some reason you have never visited Linda’s blog then you are well and truly missing out. Her gift for storytelling is unique and has me laughing my head off at times, and being very moved at others, She has a horde of crazy family members that make appearances in her posts for your delight and entertainment.

Linda and I both share a nursing background and we have written stories about a ‘normal day at the office’ for your amusement. So without further ado, here is Linda’s tale.

A big part of nursing is taking care of the “whole” patient, so when my patient asked if I had some clothes I could give her, the first thing I did was ask, ”Why?”

            “My house burned and I don’t even have anything to wear home. I lost everything.  ”

            “Oh, that’s awful.  Of course, I’ll bring you some things.  I’ll call the social worker so she can help you out, too.”

            I went through my closet after work and found several pairs of pants, shirts and a couple of dresses, enough to get her started.  I bought a six-pack of granny-panties, some sports bras, socks, and shoes, since I had checked her sizes and took them to her the next day.  She was so relieved to have some clothes for when she went home.

            Meanwhile, the social worker had collected several items of her own called the Red Cross.  That’s when things went weird.  The Red Cross contacted the outpatient dialysis center who knew the patient well, only to find out that this had happened before.  The lady appeared perfectly oriented, but under stress, became confused, recalling a disturbing time in the past when she’d lost everything in a house fire.  By the time it was all said and done, between me and the social worker, she made quite a haul!


Episode 339: Nurses Are The Best!!! — May 23, 2015

Episode 339: Nurses Are The Best!!!

Last night I went out for a meal with work colleagues as one of our Sisters was taking early retirement. It was a bittersweet occasion as, although it was lovely for so many of us to go out together (about 40 of us), it was sad that nearly half of the people who came had either retired or left the ward to work somewhere else.

When I started on the ward, four years ago, there were only 15 patients to look after! Many of the staff had worked together for years and they were a very close-knit group. I was nervous when I started, especially as I didn’t know any of them, plus I was undertaking a new role which nobody understood!

Well I needn’t have worried as they welcomed me with open arms, and gave me all the help and support I needed over the two-year training period, which certainly went a long way towards me qualifying at the end of it!

After only a year of working there, we had to amalgamate with another ward which led to a lot of uncertainty. Staff left, some deployed elsewhere, and we gained others, so that in the end, we had 27 patients and more than a few disgruntled staff. some of whom did not ‘sign up’ to work on an elderly ward!

We had a lot of ‘us and them’ situations as well, before we became a cohesive team that sorted out the differences and found a way to work harmoniously. Added to that a load more staff leaving, more uncertainty, changes in ward management, staff being used to cover other wards, and chronic shortages of staff in general, and it became quite a stressful place at times.We had enough to contend with due to the type of patients we looked after, especially as many of them liked to try to escape or wander off!

What I love about working there though is the kindness, professionalism and compassion of those nurses, They are all so dedicated to their jobs, and we have still managed to have forged a great team. Certainly for me, having had to have time off when I have been particularly unwell, coming back to their hugs, well wishes and concern makes me realise how lucky I am to work there.

Working for the NHS, us nurses get a lot of negative comments in the media who love to bring us down. Yes, there have been a few incidents that have been highlighted of appalling care and mistreatment of patients; however, those people do not represent us all. The majority of us do care, and are dedicated to looking after our patients.

Last night made me realise how proud I am to be part of the nursing community. I am only sorry that for one reason or another, we are losing so many wonderful nurses who are disillusioned with the lack of support,lack of staff, and increasing workload (paperwork) that means that they cannot carry out what they joined up to do!

Episode 338: Not A Positive Outcome! — May 21, 2015

Episode 338: Not A Positive Outcome!

I have read quite a few inspiring post lately about staying positive, focusing on all the good things rather than the negative. I am not too good at this but decided that it was time I turned things around and concentrated on the bright side of things.

Today was quite busy at work, and I was back to looking after my ladies again. It is a lovely day today and extremely hot and stuffy on the ward. Add to the mix a plastic apron and latex gloves (which are more often on than off) and it can get rather sweaty! (I should be a good couple of sizes smaller due to all the running around and sweating I do, but hey, I am not supposed to be negative)! Oh, and don’t forget to throw in the fact that my ladies get cold, so there are no windows open for longer than a nanosecond to let any air in either).

Anyway, a couple of ladies were upset due to an incident overnight, and I spent quite a lot of time talking to one of them to listen to her concerns, and give her some reassurance (Sister spoke to the other one). She seemed happy with what I had told her, and at the end of the conversation asked if it was ok if she could ask me a personal question. I of course, told her that it was, and she said,

“So when is your baby due?” Great! I have spent the last TWO MONTHS hula hooping trying to whittle myself a bloody waist, and that is what I get!  I was mortified (and so was she when I told her that I was not in fact pregnant). I am trying to find a positive to this, and the only thing I can come up with is at least she thinks I am still young enough to have a baby!

Episode 298: Leading By Example! — April 21, 2015

Episode 298: Leading By Example!

A bit of good weather and the prospect of a day off tomorrow with a bit of peace and quiet us just what I need at the moment. The last couple of days have been pretty busy getting back into the swing of work and school etc.

As we have been pretty short-staffed for ages, we have finally got a couple of new staff that started this week. To ease them into the madness, they have been doing slightly different hours to the rest of us, but it is nice to see them when they turn up and of course it is wonderful to have their help.

As most of you know, I am not the most graceful of people, and one of the nurses I was working with today, calls me ‘Calamity Jane’ at times (very unkind of her, I know and not in the least justified)!  Anyway we had a lovely new lady start with us yesterday who I worked briefly with, and she was in again today.

I went into the Bay where she was working to do some observations, which she was going to watch, and record for me on the handheld system. As I went over to take the patient’s blood pressure, I tripped over the power cable of the big floor buffer thing one of the domestics was using. I saw my new colleague giggle. as the domestic tried to kind of flick it out of my way which only resulted in me tripping again, as I stepped the wrong way to avoid it.

A bit later, I needed a Bair Hugger (a kind of  electric heated blanket) for one of my patients who had a low temperature. There was one not needed in the bay next door where our new colleague was working. In her haste to help me, she hurried to unplug it, but caught her foot on the edge of the bed and went flying! She did a few kind of slow-motion leaps to keep her balance, which of course set me off laughing as well.

I think she and I are going to get along just fine,  although I don’t know if we will be safe to work together!

Episode 253: More Than I Bargained For…. — March 26, 2015

Episode 253: More Than I Bargained For….

Yesterday afternoon I had to go to an appointment for my ‘yearly diabetes review.’ Seeing as I have only been officially diagnosed for about a month, I thought that the surgery were very ‘on the ball!’ I had already had to change the appointment from today as I was originally working, so that it was on my day off.

Anyway, I had fallen asleep in the afternoon as I had a couple of really awful sleepless nights, plus an early morning yesterday, so was shattered. I woke up feeling really groggy, with less than an hour to go before I had to be there. Mr Grump was going to come with me as he usually finished work way before the time I needed to be there.

He didn’t. I waited and waited, I still hadn’t heard from him (I was on the landline with my sister for about 10 mins) so I jumped in the car and got there 5 mins late! I HATE being late, and am usually 10 minutes (at least) early for everything, so it put me out and I was cross!

I tried to book myself in on the screen, but the ‘computer said no’ I was too late and had a sad face to emphasise the point! I had more than a sad face, I was wild! Anyway I spoke to the receptionist who was actually quite nice (Doctor’s receptionists have rather a scary reputation) and said it was ok and that she would tell the nurse I was there. (I whispered as discreetly as I could (when there is a waiting room full of people it is not always easy) if she could give me a pot as I had forgotten to bring a urine sample with me.

She made a nice performance out of rummaging for a bag (it was see-through) for me to put it in, then said that I might get called in straight away, and there might not be time to go to the loo. I thanked her and went to sit down, I saw my friend’s partner so chatted with him for a bit, as I had not been called in The receptionist sidled up to me, and stage whispered that I could go and do my sample as the specialist nurse was making a quick cuppa!

I excused myself from the friend and went off to do my business. My mobile buzzed into life, as I went to sit down but I ignored it (I hate talking on the phone in public places). It was Mr Grump! I sent him a couple of choice texts then my name flashed up to be seen.

I went into the room, apologising for being late, and muttering about husbands! She told me to calm down a minute before she took my blood pressure! Anyway, she stared at me a bit then asked me whether I went to the Grammar School. I said yes, and it turns out she was in thee same class. I didn’t remember her name, but her face was familiar.

That made me feel even worse. Here I was , no make-up on, scraggy hair, stupid from sleep still, and in a bad mood to boot! Things did not improve when she told me to put my sample down, take off my boots and socks and get on the scales!

Oh the bloody humiliation, I have got horrid feet, and she was going to have to get close to them to check them, as well as see how heavy I am! She, of course was slim, pretty and nicely groomed. Great!

She was however professional (well once we had gossiped a bit about this and that) and spent a lot of time looking at my previous bloods and God knows what else. She ended up putting me on meds for my diabetes which I really wasn’t expecting as I have been trying really hard with my diet, as well as taken up hula-hooping thanks to lovely Ritu

She also was concerned about  a couple of things which prompted her to ask me whether or not there was rheumatoid arthritis in my family. Strange question I thought, but my Mum has terrible arthritis but I am not sure which type. She also wanted to know if my joints ached. Well, I do have problems with my knees a lot. Anyway I am now going to have to be screened for that!

I came out of there a bit bemused, and shocked. I know people complain bitterly about the NHS, but they have been very thorough with me. I certainly got much more than I bargained for, in more ways than one!

Episode 204: Patience With Patients! — March 7, 2015

Episode 204: Patience With Patients!

One of the things us nursing staff get told a lot by some of  the relatives is that,

‘you have the patience of a Saint, I could never do your job’. It is strange how much our patience varies depending on who we are dealing with and what the situation is…..

On Thursday and Friday I was working in my normal Bay, and one lady in particular was pretty ‘vocal’ . Now she is 97 years old and extremely deaf (the hearing aid she wears has a flat battery I think) so she talks at FULL BLAST. Now she had been a moved to my bay from a side room as she did not like to be on her own.

I was checking that each patient was eating their breakfast when I noticed she hadn’t even got any. So I asked her why not. After repeating the question several times increasing the volume until she could hear me she replied


Fair enough , but she had to eat something so I asked if she liked bacon which she did, Great, good start. “Sausage?”


“I ONLY LIKE FRIED EGGS, NOT ANY OTHER KIND”.  I assured her that I would get her some bacon and  fried eggs and trotted off to phone the kitchen.

Now there were two of us in the Bay and only five patients at this point as one of the beds was closed and we were not able to take any new ones in. Luckily most of the other ladies were either feeding themselves or being helped by the other nurse.

I placed my order with the kitchen and in due course one of the staff appeared carrying a tray. I was disappointed to see that there was scrambled egg with the bacon that I had ordered even though I had specifically asked for a fried egg. I tried my luck with my patient anyway!


I tried to explain about the kitchen sending up the wrong egg and I would change it but no, she was not having it. I tried offering a bacon sandwich, Nope. She was not having it and I was severely berated for my incompetence for good measure as well.

Annoyed with the kitchen I phoned the help desk again (yes we can’t phone direct, everything is through the helpdesk). I explained what had happened and they told me that as the meals were pre-prepared it may not have been possible to have a fried egg due to their not being enough staff to make one.

Fuming, I was muttering to myself about how I could go down there myself and cook the bloody egg. How hard is it to cook a fried egg for Christ’s sake?! It’s not as if it takes long.

Anyway, my patient was mad now, and refused to eat anything. I knew this was not going to bode well at wash time – and it didn’t! She had come in with no toiletries so I had put some of our soap in her washbowl and brought some disposable wipes over to wash her with.


I explained that they were at home and that I would have to use our stuff for now. She was not happy but did finally agree to let me help her, and also get her dressed in her own clothes that someone had just brought in for her.


“It is just here”


“Ok. here it is”


“Sorry, let me try again”


This went on for a bit until I got it right. She did have a sandwich an hour after the failed breakfast attempt, but when a visitor came, she told them she had ‘nothing to eat, and her hair wasn’t brushed’ (actually it was because I did that wrong and suffered her wrath for it). She also told the visitor how much worse she felt since coming into hospital because of the appalling way we looked after her!

Now I know that by the end of a very long two days (I have amalgamated them into one so you get the gist) my patience was wearing a bit thin, but it is my job to look after my patients, and actually as gruff and crabby as she was, we did actually get her to laugh, and I got a lovely hug from her!

Now if Miss Hap had tried any of that kind of talk with me, things would have been very different!

Episode 171: Ode To Nurses — February 19, 2015

Episode 171: Ode To Nurses

This poem is for all the nurses, nursing assistants and carers. A typical day for us!

Your day starts very early

Before you are awake

There are patients who need washing

And lots of beds to make

The buzzers are all going

There really is no rest

Someone wants the toilet

“Sorry to be a pest!”

Some bloods need to be taken

Dressings to be changed

That patient’s going home soon

And no transport has been arranged!

“Someone’s had an accident

Go and change the bed”

Another one has had a fall

And now he’s banged his head

“Where’s the bloody doctor?”

The relatives want a word

Your smile becomes a grimace

As you’ve just skidded on a turd!

You quickly get it cleaned up

But it won’t come off your shoe

The time is going quickly

But there’s still so much to do!

You finally write your notes up

And hope you did ok

Then home to get some shut –eye

To face another day!

Episode 125: Dear Hospital Visitor…….. — January 27, 2015

Episode 125: Dear Hospital Visitor……..

Today I thought I would do a slightly different type of post. It is something that has been on my mind of a while. so here goes……It is of course, just a little tongue-in-cheek, and purely my opinion!

Dear Hospital Visitor

We really appreciate the fact that you want to spend time with your loved one, and that is why we have made visiting hours so accessible for you; being between the hours of 2pm-8pm. We have even stated that if you wish to, you may come a little earlier in order to help your loved one to eat their lunch. We understand that in many cases, particularly with the elderly and frail patients, they will eat more when encouraged by someone who is close to them.

What we do ask, however, is that you remember that although the portions are quite large, the meals are just for the patient! We would like to try to build up their strength in order that they recover sooner and return to their normal lives, Eating well can help substantially with the healing process! You are welcome to bring in your own food, or even food for the patient if they desire something that we do not offer. Please try not to eat the patients’ meals as tasty as they may look. There is usually a canteen or shop available if you become peckish.

We enjoy our jobs as nurses/carers, and we pride ourselves in giving your relatives/friends the best care that we possibly can; treating them as if they are our own. So when you complain that your Mum/Nan has not had her hair brushed properly, or you berate us for not answering the buzzer  within a nanosecond, please remember this: We treat EVERYBODY as if they were our own as I said, so that means that we have at least another 5 patients that may need our attention as well. We may have just seen your relative two minutes ago , and although yes of course, we will plump her pillows for her again, there is someone else bursting for the loo.

By the way, it does help if you could bring a few essentials in with you, next time you visit. Soap, slippers, dressing gown and a brush or comb would be so handy. We do have hospital nighties and some slipper socks available, plus the volunteers occasionally give us soap, toothbrushes and combs, but they do not last long, and we prefer it if we can, to save those for the patients that have no-one that visits them (sadly there are a few of those).

Oh yes, when you enter the ward, we do have plenty of alcohol gel available for you to use, Every patient also has them at the end of their beds. As I am sure you are aware,one of the biggest transmitters of germs is our hands, It takes seconds to squirt a bit of gel into your hands; just by doing this small thing, you might save your loved one from catching a nasty bug and having to stay in hospital longer.

Last of all. please don’t turn up mob-handed! There is hardly any room as it is around a patient’s bedside, and if there are 8 relatives at a time surrounding the bed, it does make doing our job a little harder, especially for those patients that also have drips and other paraphernalia all over the place. It is an accident waiting to happen. To be on the safe side, keep the number to two visitors. That way nobody will trip over you, or trample you!

Thank you for your kind co-operation!

Episode 119: Undercover Undercovers!!! — January 23, 2015

Episode 119: Undercover Undercovers!!!

I’ve been doing a bit of spying today… Well, its not so much spying but more kind of undercover reporting! It all started yesterday……

I had to attend a meeting as the nurse representing my patient, with a couple of social workers plus the patient’s daughter in order to ascertain the best course of action for the patient’s discharge.  We had to go through everything from the patient’s cognition, skin integrity and mobility, to nutrition and behaviour. Eleven categories in all, and the meeting lasted for about 2 hours (they can take longer)!

Anyway I had been warned  in the morning that the daughter could be quite difficult and that she was also an MP (Member of Parliament). Great, everyone hates the good old NHS so no doubt she’ll put a complaint in and we’ll be slagged off AGAIN in the newspapers!

Well, I had the usual manic day and by the time the daughter had arrived for the meeting, I had hardly even looked at the patient’s notes. I escorted her to the meeting, and I noticed that she did seem pretty scary; very forthright and no-nonsense, but we joined the others and the meeting began.

The first section was behaviour. This is where I had to mention that her mother quite often pushed us away,  shouted at us, and had in fact, tried to bite someone. This amused her greatly, and she said that her mum had always been a ‘stroppy old bugger’!

Anyway, we continued discussing each section, and myself and the Care Manager would put our perspective of the patient which very often differed from the other two (who had met the patient for 5 mins beforehand). This meant that we had to argue our case, stand firm and provide ‘evidence’ which we did!

Eventually a decision had to be made, and I was  no longer needed so I went back to the ward with the daughter in tow as she was asked to come back in 15 minutes. On the way back, she asked me if I would have a word with the carer who was assigned to look after her mother. This carer was ‘live-in’ as the daughter lived in another county, and because she had promised her mother she would keep her at home, she paid this agency a lot of money for the carer to be available full-time.

Anyway the daughter had asked how often the carer visited her mother in hospital, and was told that she did come every day, but stayed only for an hour at most! This enraged the daughter so hence she asked me to have a ‘diplomatic’ meeting with her and the carer.

I agreed but dragged the Ward Sister in on it as well! I tactfully suggested that the carer might like me to help wash the patient as she was more used to her and maybe would not be so anxious and lash out. I also thought that my patient would benefit being fed her lunch by a familiar face (she had  already been asked to this by the daughter, but had buggered off at those times)!

We agreed that she would come to help us from 10-5 every day starting today. The daughter was thrilled, and praised me up to the sister. The carer however, shot me daggers!

Fast forward to 10am. No carer. I had given my lady her breakfast of course but was waiting for the carer to come to help me wash her. 10.30, and in she breezes! She sullenly asked me where the washbowls etc were, and I showed her with a flourish – and left her to it! I had been summoned to break and there was another nurse in the bay if needed so off I trotted!

I came back not half an hour later and she had GONE! The daughter was on the phone asking me where she was, and did she wash her? I said that I gave her the bowl so I assumed she had washed her and that I didn’t know where she was. I told her to ring back after lunch about 1pm so I could give her more of an update!

Well just before 12.30 (lunchtime) the carer is back.  I greeted her and she suddenly asked me,

“Do you wash legs?”

That’s a bit personal isn’t it, I thought! It took me a moment to twig that she meant did  I wash patients’ legs.Still a bit weird, are legs self-cleaning and I never realised?!

I told her that yes I did wash patients’ legs as well as everything else, and then she informed me that she hadn’t washed my lady’s legs; When I enquired as to why not, she looked at me as if I were stupid and said,

“because she has dressings on both of them”.

Oh yes, the dressings that I took down two days before, as the ulcers had healed up but the skin was extremely dry and scaly and did not need to be bandaged.

I ‘diplomatically’ told her this, and mentioned that not only should they have been washed but creamed as well! That news pleased her no end. She huffed for a bit and played with her phone!

Lunch duly arrived, after about 10 minutes, and whilst I was feeding another patient I was checking that the carer was feeding her lady. She did manage to do this  and got her to eat something which was good in itself. I asked her to write-up the food chart, but had to go through it with her as she thought I was joking!

Two minutes later, her coat was on…she was off to get her own lunch! Fair enough, it is hungry work sitting down playing with your phone, and glaring at people! I asked how long she would be, and was told she had to go into the town centre to get food (a bus journey away). I informed her that we have canteen and also a shop or cafe to get food. No of course that wasn’t what she wanted, It had to be KFC!

She disappeared for another hour or so. Meanwhile my new best buddy phoned me and asked me to give a lowdown on the carer’s movements. She was apoplectic when I relayed to her where the carer had gone for lunch, and resented the fact that it was most probably her money that had paid for the meal. (I think she was offended at the choice as much as the cost).

I did feel a bit bad doing my undercover bit but  it  does seem  a pretty cushy number to me, this live-in carer arrangement! They get paid an absolute fortune, but it is a business and the patients are ‘clients’. How sad that they can’t even do the bare minimum for their ‘customers’ like give them a decent full body wash! (No offence intended to genuine and bloody hard-working carers).

Episode 95: Laughter Is The Best Medicine…. — January 10, 2015

Episode 95: Laughter Is The Best Medicine….

I love to laugh, and I feel that I have a good sense of humour. However, I do have an unfortunate tendency to burst out laughing at inopportune moments….

Being in nursing, there are plenty of opportunities for inappropriate laughing. During handover one morning whilst the night nurse was handing over a male patient, she mentioned that he had a severely ‘swollen scrotum.’ Now I am sure this poor patient did not find his condition at all funny, but I thought it was worth a bit of a snigger, being as childish as I am at times.

I shouldn’t have laughed because guess who had to go to theatres and ask them for a ‘scrotal sling?’ Yep, you guessed it. and off I trotted. Now theatres staff are not the friendliest for some reason. I remember once having to go there as my uniform had got some rather nasty brown marks on it (Someone had just been given prep for a colonoscopy, and didn’t quite make it to the loo…you get the picture). Anyway I asked if I could borrow some scrubs; I got a disdainful look when I showed them my lovely stains, which I took an exception to. So, I said to them, “It’s ok, it’s not my shit.” Scrubs were handed over and I hotfooted it out of there pronto!

Now, back to this sling. My initial request was greeted with a blank stare! When asked to elaborate, I got a bit tongue-tied as I had never seen one myself. Other nearby staff also decided to chime in with their thoughts on the matter,  and after a lot of argy-bargy, one was found. I presented it to the Sister with a flourish, only to be told to go and fit it myself! No chance! I found the Charge Nurse and told him I needed to watch how he did it. Sorted!

One other episode during handover also made me laugh. Again it was to do with a male patient who had been making sexually inappropriate comments and overtures to the female nurses (bless him, he had to be at least 80, and even if the mind was willing…the body wasn’t able). Anyway this nurse that had handed over, was our previous temporary Ward Manager who had just retired but had come back to do the odd Agency shift. She was very well spoken and rather no-nonsense, and she said that when she had gone to see him he was totally fine with her; she then added,

“I mustn’t have been his type as he obviously didn’t fancy me!”

One of the doctors we have that comes to the ward is very glamorous and likes to wear high heels. (God knows how she walks about in those all day). She had come to see a very poorly patient, and I pointed out to her whereabouts this patient was. She walked into the bay, skidded on the shiny floor and went flat on her face! Now I didn’t actually see her fall, but I heard the racket of the stuff she knocked off the patient’s table, crashing to the floor,  as she went down. Luckily she was unhurt, as I had nipped behind the nurse’s station to stifle my laughter.

I’ve lot count of the amount of times that a patients has broken wind (loudly) just as you stand them up to walk them to the loo or something. Sometimes they are oblivious to it, but if they heard it, then I usually joke that a bit of jet propulsion should speed up our journey, or some such thing.

Lastly, as well as loving to laugh, I also love words, so puns and spoonerisms are things that can always get me laughing. Our male charge nurse is constantly coming out with all kinds of things that are inappropriately funny which certainly brighten up my day; The latest one that I can remember, is when he did a great play on Whitton Tank, where a patient was being discharged to. (Just in case you didn’t get it, T**s and W**k)!

If like me, you love innuendo, double entendre and toilet humour, then nursing had more than it’s fair share of laughs!

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