Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Zoom to zoom..

Now, I know, that everyone thinks their own kid/blood relative is "the cutest thing ever". But you have got to check out my five year old niece's blog. She just started it and likes to talk about her dreams and various daily activities. Sometimes she dictates to my sister who types it for her and sometimes she types it herself. (Mrs. G, she's only five. Please excuse the spelling. She's hooked on phonics.) I would love to start reading more blogs from all those bloggy mommas' kids out there!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Needle in a... banana?

A man came into the ER reporting he had bitten into a banana and found a hypodermic needle in it. We thought at first, "Yeah, right. Who is this kook?" But he turned out to be a normal, white collar guy and his story was legitimate. He had brought in the banana and the needle. (20g for all you medical folk). He said he had bought 4 bananas at a large supermarket outlet on Sunday. He had one on Monday, one on Tuesday, and when he bit into his "Wednesday" banana he felt something hard and spit out a large bore needle minus the plastic part. On closer inspection of the banana skin he found a puncture mark. Understandably, he was upset. We did all the medical things necessary for him and notified the police. The poor guy had been watching too much CSI because he asked me to "dust the needle for prints" and to "test the needle for all toxic substances including cyanide and arsenic." I had to explain to him that the hospital does not have a crime lab and that the police were going to have to take care of any "testing". We also notified LA County Health Department and asked them to send someone to the grocery store to notify them and possibly pull the bananas from the shelf. How typical of Los Angeles to actually have this happen and also typical for the police department to not be very impressed. Imagine what LAPD sees every day. I'm sure a needle in a banana was not high on their list of priorities. I know that sounds crass but it is reality.

Now before you throw away all the bananas in your house and boycott Chiquita, I googled "hypodermic needle in banana" and found an article from the Oxford Journal of Experimental Botany (you don't subscribe to this?) that reported hypodermic needles are used to test "the gaseous atmosphere in the intercellular spaces of bananas". So, you see, there could be a perfectly acceptable explanation. I'm really trying to convince myself of this because the alternate explanation is too horrid to comprehend.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Epic birthday dinner!

Noah surprised me for my birthday last night and took me to Bastide, a french restaurant on Melrose Place. He kept the secret well but of course I had an inkling. :) We had reservations at 9pm and showed up a little early. The maitre'd put chairs in front of the fireplace and served us champagne while we waited for our table. He sat us at a table in a private room with only one other table in it besides ours. Another couple was dining at the same time. The menu had only two choices: a four course meal or a seven course. The courses had no descriptions, just what the main ingredient was: fish, duck, suckling pig, etc. We ordered the seven course with wine pairings. I can't even begin to explain how amazing each dish was. Perfect flavors combining, nothing too big, just beautiful tastes paired with some great wines. The sommelier just kept pouring the wines. We must have had over 10 different wines. He seemed excited about his job and would pour two different wines for us to try with courses. He even poured a sake with a beautiful abalone and noodle soup with uni (sea urchin) flan and dashi broth. We continued to be blown away by the food and flavor combinations. The chef came out and introduced himself and gave Noah a tour of his kitchen.

We struck up a conversation with the couple across from us and it turns out the guy is a chef at one of our favorite spots in LA, Pizzeria Mozza. He and Noah knew a lot of the same people. He asked me if I was "in the industry" and I replied, "The nursing industry." His wife said "Me too!" She is a nurse at Cedars Sinai. How bizzare that we were sitting right across from a chef and nurse couple. We got a big laugh out of that. Then the server brought them a dessert with a candle in it. It was his birthday! More laughs!

The evening wrapped up and we got the bill. What was supposed to have been a 400 dollar bill was only 200. Bastide had only charged us for the wine, not the food. We left a huge tip. It was worth every penny and more for such a special evening with amazing food and great conversation and company. We left high from the whole experience and keep talking and reminiscing about it today. Fabulous birthday!

Friday, February 22, 2008

My birfday!

I'm twenty thirteen today, haha! And besides my poor eyesight, my chronic back ache, my inability to wear heels for more than an hour, and my annoyance at anyone in their early twenties, I feel pretty good. I was trying to recall what I had done for my birthdays since I had moved to LA and the only way I could refresh my memory was by looking at past photos. But, oh, what good times I have had!
Last year we were on a cruise. Playing bingo and drinking obnoxious drinks. What, did I turn 72??

The year before we went to Napa for olive oil and wine tasting. We ate at a friends restaurant in Yountville.

Aahh, this is more like it!

The year before was San Francisco. We had oysters at the wharf and went into Berkeley to visit friends Chris and Mona. Chris cooked up 10 million courses for me right out of his kitchen. Fabulous wine was poured of course.

This year? I went out with friends last night to a wine bar in Culver City and then to a bar called Saints and Sinners. I actually did a shot! Got all sorts of pamperey (word?) gifts from the ladies. Soaps and lotions and bubble bath and wine and candles. As far as tonight goes, I have no idea what we are doing. Noah has something up his sleeve and I have instructions to buy a dress... Sounds fun!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The flu!

I made a vow to myself this year to protect myself and all the people I come into contact with during the flu season and get a flu shot. So in October I did my nurse duty and subjected my left deltoid muscle to be injected with a small amount of the CDC's "guess" of what the flu virus should be this year.

I GOT THE FLU! Just spent three horrific, feverish, achy and exhausting days battling it out. Couldn't go anywhere, made a nest on the couch and popped massive amounts of advil while watching horrible TV in between my fever induced nightmares. Slept probably 16 hours a day. Now I'm on the up and up, thank advil, and actually ventured outside yesterday for some fresh air. I think the only good thing the flu shot did for me was keep the illness shorter than it would have been.

Keep well, people. It's out there and its not fun.

Friday, February 1, 2008

3 in a row, again...

I'm working three shifts in a row, again. And I know that a lot of you nine to fivers do five in a row every week, for some reason three 12 hour shifts back-to-back is really hard. My husband will scoff, he being a chef and does five to six 12 hour shifts every week. But it is a tiny bit different owing to the fact that he is cooking food and I am saving lives (ha ha). A small sampling:

A patient came in complaining of a swollen, painful calf. This is usually indicative of a DVT (blood clot in the leg). He looks ill, he's red in the face, he's kinda huffin and puffin, although his vitals are good and he doesn't complain of SOB (shortness of breath). I ask him about recent travel. "I just got back from Wisconsin to see Green Bay play (lose)." This guy not only had a ginormous blood clot in his leg but several in each lung. Staying idle during a long flight will do this to you so flex your calves, get up and walk around a bit. Life threatening condition, all for the love of a football team. I tell ya...

The triage nurse calls us and says she has a 77 year old with a simple laceration of the leg. "Send him on over!" I tell her enthusiastically. Here he comes, bleeding like a stuck pig from practically every orifice. What the hell? Oh, he's on Coumadin, a potent blood thinner that in too high of doses can completely block the body's ability to clot. His nostrils are filled with blood, every time we stick him to get a blood sample he develops a huge hematoma at the site. This guy has the pharmaceutical equivalent to the Ebola virus. He bruises just breathing on him. His INR is over 10! (for all you medical folk) Not good. We sent him back to the main ER for closer monitoring. We got too busy and I could never follow up to see what happened. The weird thing though is that the man used to be an attorney and he had a very loving and attentive family at his bedside. He also was suffering from multiple sclerosis and being treated for lung cancer. According to his MD's office, his blood clotting time was perfectly therapeutic 5 days ago. Was it the chemo or was it an accidental overdose of Coumadin? As sick as he was, and has been for the past few years, I just hope he lives out the rest of his years in peace...

During all this time that we are dealing with very sick patients, we have to deal with several of these scenarios:

Patient (with a swollen ankle): We've been waiting for 45 minutes for an xray.

Me: I know and I understand, we are very busy.

Patient: I'm just going to leave. I have somewhere to be, this is ridiculous.

Me: If you have something more important to do then leave. But we would like to treat you.

And another (common):

Patient: I have a fever and body aches.

Me: Did Tylenol reduce your fever?

Patient: Um. Tylenol?

Me: Yes, Tylenol. Here, let me give you a (50 dollar) dose of Tylenol.