Saturday, January 31, 2009

We're going to a retro-party tonight at Lynn and Char's. Char is a party maven who loves theme parties. Last year she and Lynn hosted a 60's party which was lots of fun.
Tonight's we are to come dressed in eighties attire and to bring a photo of ourselves from the eighties. Char mentioned that we'd be playing Trivial Pursuit. At least she's not going to make us unscramble a Rubik's cube!

Perhaps there will be opportunity to post some party pics on the blog tomorrow, but in the mean time I'll show you what D. and I looked like from a slice of time in the eighties:

Retro, nostalgia, reminiscing, reflecting, introspection, extrospection, all words to give us a glimpse into our past and fuel the blog monster's demand for new and mind boggling missives.

With that, it must also be noted that my drive to and from work gives me two hours (one each way) to entertain my muse. With the party approaching, my mind has been occupied with thoughts of friends , past and present, and behaviors. I think about what friends are. Many people that we call friends are in reality just acquaintances whose company we enjoy in various circumstances, but not someone that we'd share intimate details of our lives, nor discuss serious feelings with, that might reflect poorly on us if we were to reveal them. There are of course "best" friends, casual friends, people we just know, and nodding acquaintances. Then there are "good" friends who when the chips are down, turn out to be something different than we thought: "fairweather" friends.

Have you ever had a "fairweather" friend? Most of us have or at least know of someone who had a "fairweather" friend. But have you ever been a "fairweather" friend?
Years ago, when I was a sophomore in high school, I met a fellow who was a freshman at the time. We met in vocal chorus class, and, as baritones, sat beside each other. So began a friendship that grew over the years. We shared not only an appreciation of singing, we pursued similar career paths and both became CRNAs. V.L. wasn't an athlete, nor did he enlist in the military, yet we became the closest of friends. Although I never called V.L my best friend, our friendship ranked right up there in the very close friend category. Oh, the stories I could tell, but that will have to wait for another post or two. For this post I want to expose myself as a "fairweather" friend to V.L. when the chips were down.

In the seventies, V.L. and I came to be co-workers, friendship intact, we made a good team. Into the eighties we pursued adult lives and each had family responsibilities and we lived in separate towns. While these things didn't diminish our friendship it did limit the time we had to spend together. During the eighties our group was feeling a work load pinch and it was decided to hire another person. We had been through a similar hiring a couple years prior that had turned out disastrously. This time we approached the hiring with more caution. We interviewed the prospective candidate as a team, everyone being given equal input. During these meetings, the decision was made that if we did hire this person and it turned out that we had over estimated our needs that the new guy would be the one to be let go. You know; last hired, first fired. Every member of the team, to a man agreed, even the boss who was ultimately responsible for this decision.

Time goes by, the work load not only doesn't increase, it drops off to the point where the income was not sufficient to meet expenses; i.e. payroll. For reasons that add nothing to the story, the boss reneges on his promise and fires V.L. Nice right? Bullshit. What did I do, or say? Not very much if anything. I didn't stick up for my friend who had been treated unfairly. I didn't say: If V.L. goes, I'm going too, this is highly inappropriate and unscrupulous. It's not like we would have trouble finding new jobs; we've always been in high demand. On balance, V.L.found a much better job at three times the salary, albeit in another state. Professionally, his circumstances improved astronomically compared to mine. Yet I regret not supporting him in his time of need. I proved to be a "fairweather" friend. I'm not proud of that in the least.

In the past my son J. asked me if I had a chance to live my life over, would I do any thing different. At the time I said no. Today I'd say yes there are a couple of things I'd do differently: I'd be a better friend when called upon to do so.

I have a couple other regrets revolving around my experience with "fairweather" friends, but we''ll leave that story for another day because I'm off to an 80's party.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We went to the Community Players sponsered production of "Oliver," last night, and it was well worth staying up 3 hours past my bedtime. But now I'm facing a 1 hour drive in a blustery lake effect snow storm so must leave off early: TaTa........

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Anesthesia Jargon

Laying on the gurney

Slipping off the end.

Wheeled down the hallway

To some unknown end!

They xanaxed me,

I'm glad to say.

It allayed my anxiety

And kept high B/P at bay.

Moving to the OR table

My ass stuck to the sheets,

I was hardly able

To cover up my cheeks.

My gown that barely covered me

Was little protection from the cold.

Mask to keep their face from me

And creeping hands so bold!

B/P cuff, leads for EKG,

The IV in my arm,my finger's--pulse oximetry;

A voice devoid of charm.

"Here comes the anesthesia, propofol.

It's that burning in your vein.

Time to say; goodnight all".

The light begins to wane.

"I'll stay with you throughout the case

And will keep you safe and secure.

Your vital signs will beep a pace,

While surgeon cuts to cure."

Surgery's done, the wound is neatly sewn.

The sevoforane is turned off,

You're breathing on your own.

I'll take you to the PACU

And pull your endo tube.

You'll awaken, feeling better

Than you ever thought you would.

Because you haven't eaten

Forever and a day,

You'll also wake up hungry...

I hope you enjoyed your stay.

If you did enjoy your day;

My name is rel.

But if it wasn't all that gay;

It's Mr. S.O.C. you'll need to tell! ;)

by bob larock crna

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Monday, January 26, 2009

CRNA week 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Come dream a little dream with us

The 10Th National Nurse Anesthetist Week

January 25Th -31st, 2009 is designated as National Nurse Anesthetist week.

People come to operating rooms across the country for life saving, as well as life improving procedures. Whether they come there to have a cancer removed, a broken bone repaired, or to deliver a baby by c-section, each and every one prefers to have some sort of anesthetic while their surgeon performs the surgery.

The person administering the anesthetic, is usually found at the head of the operating room bed.

Here in my neck of rural America, affectionately called the "north country," as well as in rural areas all across the USA, that person, more often than not, is a nurse; a nurse with specialized training. These nurses are known in the medical world as CRNAs, an acronym for: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.

For more than 100 years these nurses, trained in the art and science of all modes of anesthesia care, have been the surgical patient's guardians; administering all types of anesthetics, while remaining with the patient through every minute of their surgery, making sure that the patient gets just the right treatment to keep them safe, secure, and unaware during the operation.
(I think my great grandfather, Daniel Story, was a nurse anesthetist during the Civil War.)

While a Doctor anesthesiologist is often the head of a hospital's anesthesia department, it's the nurse anesthetist at the patient's bedside who administers and manages the anesthetic.

Here in the north country (St. Lawrence County), we are fortunate to have many talented anesthesia nurses serving hospitals in Gouveneur, Massena, Ogdensburg, and Potsdam. Most of these CRNAs are home grown. Some travel here on a temporary basis and help out with shortages when needed.

Five CRNAs, under the tutelage of Dr. Manual Vasquez, who administered anesthetics in January, 2009 at Massena Memorial Hospital are pictured above:
Front: Bertha Doss. Ms. Doss is a CRNA from Illinois working in Massena as a Locum for a couple of months.
Rear: rel CRNA (locum), Lynn Widrick CRNA (locum), Paul Auger CRNA, Dane Brenno CRNA.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

the Key

Health is the finest prize,
contentment the greatest wealth,
a good friend the finest companion
and Nirvana the greatest happiness.

Every exit is an entrance.
from Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Yesterday I got on the elevator on the lobby level and pushed the 2 button. The door closed but the elevator didn't move. So I pushed the 1 button. It lit up and the elevator rose to the first floor and the door opened. Again I pushed the 2 button. The door closed but the elevator didn't move. I then pushed the 3 button. It didn't light up and the elevator didn't move. I pushed the lobby button. The button lit up and the elevator returned to the lobby level. The door opened, rel exited and went up the stairs.

My blog friend, Catch, is afraid of elevators. I posted the above comment to her blog this morning.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Aye, it's a cold moment today matey!

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Isaac Newton
I remember back to the '70s when we first moved here to my father's birth town. We grew most of our own food. The whole yard, almost, was vegetable garden, D. made all our daily bread; it was hard to find whole wheat flour in those days. We made yogurt and peanut butter. In the unheated garage I raised chickens, rabbits and, one year, turkeys.

Every January you could count on two weeks where the temperature never rose above zero for any part of the day or night. Night temps routinely hovered in the minus 20s. I had to trudge to the animal's keep 3 or more times a day to provide them with unfrozen water.

The water lines in the village were subject to freezing in those days too.

Also I recall walking to school in the early sixties; one morning in particular, the temp was -30 degrees F.. I wore ear muffs that day.

It seems to me that winters here, over-all, have been much milder in the past twenty years.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The new job is going well. The staff is terrific and make me feel a part of their team. I'm on call tonight. Now if I can only find time to get a new computer things will be really hunky-dory!
On the other hand, however, I'm getting a lot of reading in.

Has anyone read The Shack?

Lynn and I were going to share the drive this two weeks but the way the call is, it won't work out. It's fun getting all the surprised looks from patients and their families when they see us. They think they are in the wrong hospital. I meet one or more people a day who've been patients of mine at the old place. Funny how life plays out sometimes, is it not?

Even the drive seems shorter already!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Spending the weekend in a motel covering call at the locums job. No computer, so either work or catching up on my reading.
Have a great weekend and try to stay warm.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The new job entails a 46 mile, one way, drive.
First morning I was greeted with freezing rain. The highway department was out and doing a great job of keeping the roads bare. The drive took exacty 1 hour.
Yesterday the road and the weather was clear, the drive: 50 minutes.
Today as I type it is sleeting, snowing and blowing out of the north east. Think Nor' easter here. I'll be leaving a little early; ya think?
How do I feel about the new job? Funny you should ask. I'm lovin' it; great crew to work with, lovely facility, and really, once I'm sitting at the head of the bed passin' gas I'm definitely in my element.
Things are good!
The weather? Hey, I'm from the north country; this is what we do in the winter.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Willie Nelson, On the road again

First day on the road again.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Vacation is over and tomorrow it's back into the fray!
New job, new routine....more risk.....greater rewards!!!!

I've saved all the lemons and tomorrow I start making lemonade.

Look out world rel is flying with eagles.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year to all: friends and acquaintances alike; bloggers, lurkers, commenters and browsers. I wish for each of you a 2009 calender of pages with more good things than bad. May you accomplish most, if not all, of your goals, both short and long term for the coming turn on the wheel-of-time.

Appropriate to begin a new year, I think, is to turn one's head, look back and reflect on the year just ended.

A year, like a life, has a beginning and an end. This theme has been the seed of many a song, essay, movie, and play. Perhaps one of the most eloquent presentations was put forth in Ecclesiastes: "To every thing there is a season....... "

On New Year's eve, we were watching one of the news channels and they showed a video of the famous and recognizable individuals who got off the wheel in 2008: Ertha Kitt, Paul Newman, Charleton Heston and so on. And I was reminded again, as I am every time a death of someone I know or knew of exits this plane, of the impermanence of an individual life.

The Ogdensburg Journal's back page, yesterday, carried a snippet of an obit that evoked more emotion from me than any other in the past year. It read:
Bernadette Sovie
Funeral arrangements for Bernadette Sovie, 89, formerly of Ogdensburg, are incomplete with the Frary Funeral Home, Ogdensburg.
She died Tuesday (Dec. 30, 2008) at Fairport Baptist Nursing Home, Rochester.
A complete obituary will appear in Friday's edition of The Journal.

Three sentences, forty words that lept off the page blaring at me: A candle which burned for 89 turns of the wheel, has been extinguished.

Fourteen years old, laying on the operating room table in OR #7, I was about to go to sleep and have my "nearly ruptured" appendix removed by Dr. Robert Longren. As the nurse anesthetist, at the head of the table, was injecting sodium pentothol into a vein in my left arm, she talked to me soothingly and reassured me that she would stay with me and keep me safe through the operation. The last thing I remember before unconsciousness consumed me was the anesthetist asking me about my newspaper route.

That nurse anesthetist's name was Bernadette Sovie. The year was 1959. Bernadette was forty years old.

Ten years later I was hired by this same hospital as an operating room registered nurse.

I worked with Bernadette for one year, observing and assisting her as, with unsurpassed skill, compassion and TLC, she guided thousands of patients through the dark hours of their surgeries. She allayed their fears and brought them safely to the recovery room. This was at a time when the administering of anesthesia was much more dangerous than it is today, when the only monitoring devices were a finger on the pulse and a manual B/P cuff.

When I expressed to her a desire to follow in her footsteps, Bernadette took me under her wing and mentored me, providing me with anesthesia literature and copies of her anesthesia association's journals. She was instrumental in my decision to pursue a career as a nurse anesthetist.

In March of 1975, after anesthesia school and U. S. Army pay-back, I returned to A.Barton Hepburn Hospital as a CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist), and joined their anesthesia department: Dr. Paul Campanella, Bernadette, and Van LaVigne.

Over the next ten years I came to know Bernadette as only a friend and co-worker can know a person. As a woman, she exhibited kindness and love, giving generously of both time and money to her community, her church, and her hospital's yearly appeals for donations. She spoiled her nieces and nephews as only an aunt is allowed to do. Everyone knew Bernadette Sovie. She administered her craft in her home town, so that it's easy to say that her patients were most often her friends, parents of her friends, friends of her parents, children of her friends, children of her friend's children, neighbors, and occasionally a visitor from out of town.

Bernadette was Hepburn Hospital's premiere nurse anesthetist. She set a standard for anesthesia excellence that has yet, to this day, to be exceeded. She was at the top of her game to the day that she retired. All who have come after her can only hope to equal her skill and commitment to the safe and caring administration of anesthesia.

L-R: Van LaVigne CRNA, Jeff Doyle MD, Bernadette Sovie CRNA, Steve Cole CRNA, rel CRNA
circa 1985, at Bernadette's retirement party. (At the Woodlands)

I said at her retirement party and on many occasions since, "I hope that when I'm Bernadette's age I can say that I've maintained my excellence to a degree equal to her."

I'm at that age today, and while I hesitate to say that I've attained equality with the standard that Bernadette set, I am confident that she'd be pleased with my exercise of her craft.

Some years after her retirement, probably ten or so years ago, I had the opportunity to administer an anesthesia to Bernadette. During her pre-op interview with me we reminisced about old times and shared friends and co-workers. Although I'd been forewarned by Gerry Montroy RN, I'd yet to meet the fellow who had begun to accompany Bernadette every where she went. That day of the interview I met him. He was right there with her but she barely noticed him. It didn't take me long to recognise him. His name is Al. His full name is Al Z. Heimer. He is a despicable character; a thief, a stealer of memories. And without our memories, who are we?

A short time after this, Bernadette went to live near those same nieces and nephews upon whom she'd showered all that love and affection throughout her life.

Bernadette stepped off the wheel after 89 turns, to go to her reward in the heaven she believed in. She left a legacy of love, compassion, caring and excellence in a job well done.
That any of us can do so well!

Ecclesiastes 3-22:
Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

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