Archive for April, 2008

You must be joking!

Posted on April 30, 2008. Filed under: Benign |

In a recent edition of the “Nursing Standard” they had an article about laughing…  It’s the kind of article that defines why I don’t subscribe to the Nursing Standard – very little clinical benefit.  Laughing is natural and not something that can be considered in great detail.  Either you act in a strict professional manner, or a friendly relaxed manner.  None the less the article came to my attention and read:

Everyone likes a good laugh but is it appropriate to use humour with patients?” 

Obviously not always: “Well, the good news is you’ve got a week to live, and the bad news is, I should have told you last week”.

“Humour is a social phenomenon with 95% of laughter likely to occur in a social situation“….

Another case of bollocks statistics, which scientist spent quality time following people around with a stopwatch recording how much of the laughing was in a social situation….This would mean 5% is antisocial laughter?  Is that when you laugh at your own farts in a secluded place? – Max’s tip of the day….Don’t fart in enclosed spaces.

The useless article goes on “…It is claimed that laughter can promote health by lowering blood pressure, reducing pain and boosting immune function“.

I’m sure a good belly ripping laugh makes your BP rise.

I don’t strictly doubt these claims, but for acute injuries I find a good swear word is much more effective than laughter.

Ha, Ha, I’ve got a knife stuck in my leg….What a corker!!”


“OH F***, that F***in’ knife is in my bloody, and I mean bloody, leg….Sh*t!

Apparently “Humour can be risky and does not come with guidelines“…really who does write this stuff?! I wonder if they meant risque, rather than risky???

Max: “and so how did the accident happen?”

Imaginary colleague: “Well, I was just about to defib my arresting patient, then I recalled an article I’d seen in the Nursing Standard about laughter, so I thought I’d try telling him a joke first.  He gained consciousness a split second before I defib’d him and laughed so hard he wet himself. Unfortunately the rest of the crash team were standing in his urine and got electrocuted too.  Tee- hee! What a good giggle we had!”

Come here there’s more, the Standard goes on…”but, good or bad, humour is an integral part of interpersonal relationships and nurse-patient interaction is a fundamental aspect of healthcare“…WOW! I am stunned by the insight and I have no more to say on the matter.

PS….The Brits are on form….

Another Newbi to look out for is a Northern Nurse.

And Julie from Life in the NHS has taken on Change of Shift, maybe we should call it hand over this week…

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Huey Prescott and the News. The Power of Lunch.

Posted on April 24, 2008. Filed under: Apply topically |

In the news this week…broke the amazing story of two jag’s, secretary shagging, member of the public punching ex- deputy prime minister John Prescott’s eating disorder.

Flippin’ fried food.

Mr Prescott states: “With my weight, people wouldn’t suspect it. I wasn’t a very successful bulimic, in that my weight didn’t really drop.”

My only thoughts on the issue are this….

Aren’t you supposed to make yourself sick after you binge eat?  Is it just me, or does John Prescott’s racing snake physique make you think he forgot to stick his fingers down his throat?

Bulimia is a serious complaint, and I am not making light of it (well, only at JP expense).  I just hope this isn’t all just a publicity drive to sell his new book.. (ooops, wrong link…if you are really interested it’s this one…)

Public service bit….if you need help with Bulimia click here.

My own eating disorder is in peril this week….as news break that Food Colourings are to be phased out.

oooh, pretty colours….gimme, gimme, gimme.

The colourings involved are sunset yellow (E110), quinoline yellow (E104), carmoisine (E122), allura red (E129) , tartrazine (E102) and ponceau 4R (E124).

Does this mean I’ll have to hang around in dark street corners to get my fix of E’s?

Other consequences exist, those nice coloured medicines that you get for you cough will not look so pretty anymore.   I’m sure half the effect of over the counter cough mixtures is as a side effect of the colourings.

“OK so I have the ‘flu’ but I want to run around and shout now I’ve had my medicine”.

Before Medication…After Medication….

Still perhaps a few patients will stop wasting their money on “cough syrup” (and anyway shouldn’t that be anti-cough syrup?)


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Urban Legends.

Posted on April 17, 2008. Filed under: Benign |

As part of my unending mission to find amusing nursing stories, I recently received an email from Melanie Herson telling a funny nursing story… 

About a someone who…”was doing a shift with a student nurse, and looking after a patient on complete bed rest. The student nurse took this word for word & when the patient needed a commode she heaved the commode ONTO the bed & there he sat on the commode on the bed. My friend said she walked down the ward & all she could see was the top of his head peaking over the screens. True story”.

Hmmmm, I’ve heard this before. It is always about a girl who worked with a friend and the tale is never told in the first person.

Quite frankly I find it difficult to believe. Not only would the student have to be bloody stupid, but the patient too.  Adding the fact that the Moscow State Circus would find it difficult to balance a patient on a commode on a single hospital bed. 

Featuring Rhinitis the Sneezing clown!

Then taking into account the patient is probably quite unwell if on bed rest and therefore unlikely to be capable of performing such an act, it all seems a little far fetched.

None the less this did get me thinking about other Nursing Urban Legends.

During my training and life in general I have moved about a fair bit, and on occasions you hear the same stories that happened “once” or happened to “a friend of a friend”  The commode on the bed is a bit of a classic, it just might have happened once, but as stated, I have my doubts.

The other that springs to mind, is again a student nurse (poor blighters even get blamed for things in fiction), who was advised to clean the patients teeth and so collected up every patients false teeth putting them into soak in one big bowl, and then had difficulty pairing them back up again… I’m not saying this definately didn’t happen but….lets look at what we know.

Generally, ward staff might assist a patient to get ready for bed – sure, and they do ob’s rounds 4hrs T.P.R’s etc. However I can’t imagine anyone coming up with a combination – eg – nurse one washes their faces, nurse two cleans their teeth etc.  (nurse three puts a commode on the bed)…

Now for the commode on the bed tale, I did say that whoever invented the story forgot to think about the patient.  In generally they are at least partly intelligent creature and would say “What the hell are you doing trying to get me to balance up here?” In the denture story the patient advising the nurse not to walk off with their dentures does seem likely, but would anyone understand the gummy patient saying:

“Mare arb ew goon wib me teep?”

Hmmmm, not convincing.

Now I’m sure there are lots of other Nursing Urban Legends/myths, but none more spring to mind.  So feel free to join in…(as always).

Incidentally the story about the student nurse leaving the main ward to get some milk for a patient and not coming back for 30 minutes is true, that was me… We had a special milk fridge (bit like a cool water system, but for milk), the tap came off in my hands, milk started spraying everywhere and  I had to pinch the plastic pipe together, and wait for someone to finally wonder where the hell I (or the milk) was.

The little dutch boy with his finger in the dyke….hmmm isn’t that some seedy porn movie?

…and the story about someone trying to kill themselves by jumping out of a hospital window and landing in front of the accident department is also true, I was there too!

NB: Heads up to the New (Danny) Boy in the blogisphere….

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The Bare facts….

Posted on April 10, 2008. Filed under: Journal from behind the desk... |

It’s been another frantic week.  So I am going to give you the bare facts…

1: Polar bears are a potentially endangered species living in the circumpolar north.


2: Brown/grizzly bears are found from the islands of southeastern Alaska to the arctic.


3:Black bears inhabit most of Alaska’s forests.

Hang on a minute……

4: Polar bears frequent the pack ice and tundra of extreme northern and western Alaska.


5: Winnie-the-Pooh, commonly shortened to Pooh Bear and once referred to as Edward Bear, is a fictional bear created by A. A. Milne.


OK don’t get grumpy….

Right the bare fact  – b.a.r.e:

1: The naturist philosophy has several sources; many can be traced back to the health and fitness philosophy in Germany in the early twentieth century, though the concept of returning to nature, and creating equality are also cited.


THE bare facts about my working week…. Jeees, you could have written something witty, in the time it’s taken to Wiki this stuff…. anyhow get on with it…

1: I will always giggle quietly to myself when a patient tells me they’ve been sucking a fisherman’s friend.

2: I don’t like it when patients leave my room moaning that I didn’t give them antibioitics for a slighlty sore throat they’ve had for 1 day.

3: I don’t like it when patients are dissatisfied with what I’ve told them, so go and get an appointment for 1 hour later with the Doctor.

4: I DO like reading the same patients notes when the Doctor write:

“History as above, finding as above, agree with diagnosis and management”

(Incidentally, this isn’t because we are conspiring against patients, it is actually that said patient has a virus and antibiotics REALLY, REALLY, don’t help viral infections).

5: I’m not overly keen on Americanisms (no offense folks).

6: I think the Americans have got it right referring to a bacterial tonsillitis as “Strep throat”, therefore making a clear diagnosis from viral tonsillitis/pharyngitis etc. etc.

7: I think the study in “Neurology” (2008, 70, 1258-64), that found people with depression are 2.5 times more likely have dementia is… well…..depressing!  Still I’ve never been clinical depressed, however I DO have a strong family history of Alzheimer’s. If I start to act slightly demented please email me so I know!….

8: While talking about family traits….I’d like to say…”Diarrhoea runs in our family”. (Not quite as funny as sucking a fisherman’s friend, but it still makes me grin a little).

9: I liked my patient giving me a big bear hug earlier this week.

10: I would not appreciate any of my patients giving me a bare hug! (Well, perhaps a few exceptions!)

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Do you believe?

Posted on April 2, 2008. Filed under: Journal from behind the desk... |

A hectic week….My predictions we’re right.  It just got busy…

Normally when it gets busy, I have plenty of “material” to write about.  However this week it has been so bloody hectic, I could scarcely write patient notes, let alone sketch a few things down to blog about, and with a memory the size of a dust mites left testicle I promptly can’t remember much of what’s happened apart from to say it was busy.

A few things stick out (oo-eer).  The clocks sprang forwards into spring, and the signs of spring arrived as predicted:  “I’ve come on holiday and forgotten my pills, love”.

One of our respiratory patients came in today as his chest was “playing up”. I examined him and then he asked me a deep and spiritual question…. “Do I believe in……”

….wait for it……

did he say:

a: Fairies;

b: God;

c: Life after death;

d: sex after marriage;

e: None of the above….

Yep….answer E.

“Do you believe in dust mites?”.

When I assured him they did exist, and yes they could be worsening his respiratory condition, he asked a further theological question….

“Where do they come from?”

So did I answered….

a: “Dust”

b: “God gave us all the little creatures to create a colossal universe and unique ecosystem”.

c: “The devil created them, so that bad people who ask silly question suffer by wheezing on the debris of the dust mites faeces.  You therefore must be evil, and you don’t need my help, ring the priest so you can be exorcised”. (Do fat people need to be exorcised or exercised?)

d: Answer in a true philosophical/political way, and merely add another question….eg: “Where do any of us come from?”

OK I confess, I opted for answer “d”, which seemed to satisfy his curiosity.

In the news this week….

Apparently the size of you beer belly is proportionate to the risk of you suffering dementia.

Apparently incidence of dementia increase steadily with the amount of belly fat those with the most belly fat are over two and half times more likely to develop dementia that those carrying the least body fat.

Now that’s all very interesting….but is it news? After all it is called a beer belly. Drink enough beer and I can quite quickly become demented.

On that note I’d like to say: ” I f***kin’ lurve ya, yer me best mate, I love yer ser much -wuheeeeeeerrrrggg!!!”  

Footnote: My blog spell check doesn’t recognise the word “blog”!!!

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