Monday, December 28, 2015

Why I became a nurse.

I admitted an elderly gentleman early yesterday morning, about half-way through my overnight shift. He came from the ED, extremely cachectic, with a diagnosis of "Failure to Thrive", which I thought only applied to newborns and infants.

He was withdrawn and monosyllabic, and I felt bad to be poking and prodding him with my admission assessment and placing of pressure ulcer preventatives, etc., when it was obvious he just wanted to be left alone.

When I came on last night, my third overnight in a row, after receiving report I walked into his room and reintroduced myself,

"Hi, Mr. Top! Do you remember me? I'm Christina, and I was the nurse who took care of you when you arrived on our unit last night."

He smiled slightly and said,

"You're the lady who got me all that apple juice!"

That he remembered me for THAT of all things, something nice I did for him, rather than the various indignities I subjected him to, absolutely made my day. Nothing got me down for the rest of my shift, not even when a patient's ileostomy bag exploded.

These moments are totally why I became a nurse. It makes everything worth it.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

So, all my children are here for the holidays, yay! (Actually, TallyAngel, my older twin, moved in with me the day after Thanksgiving, so she was already here...).

Unfortunately, Silver (my oldest) has had a wicked sore throat and can only talk in whispers (99% sure it's NOT strep throat, so I'm not dragging her unnecessarily into an urgent care, even though she wants me to).

Work is going well. I've been working a lot of nights lately, and except for the sleep deprivation, I like it. It's more peaceful. So to speak.

I had my first patient die. It was expected and welcome (he was on Comfort Measures Only), but I wasn't expecting him to die on my shift, nor was I anticipating that I would be the one to discover him, moments after he passed. He was still very warm. It was a good experience, though, and he died at peace and pain-free. My charge nurse said I did a great job, so there's that.

In other news, if you're friends with me IRL/on Facebook, you know that Tucker, one of my pups, has been very sick and almost died. As a matter of fact, he's definitely still not out of the woods, though he's holding his own right now. He has idiopathic autoimmune hemolytic anemia. That's a mouthful! (That's what SHE said!)
His own body has been attacking and destroying his red blood cells, for no known reason, leading to extreme anemia and all that goes with it. I'm taking him in this coming Monday for more bloodwork, so hopefully the labs will reflect what I see in him, namely that he is improving! He's eating again (and pooping!), and he wants to go on walks, even though he's very slow. He still gets fatigued really easily. And the steroids he's on make him drink and pee excessively, but that's just how it goes.

And that's about all I've got right now! My life is pretty boring. ;)

Have a very Merry Christmas! If you're Jewish, I hope your Hanukkah was awesome! Ditto with Festivus and Kwanzaa! (Have I covered everyone? Oh, wait! Wiccans, happy Winter Solstice!)

And for EVERYONE: I hope 2016 brings good health, happiness, and prosperity to you and your families!

And dear GOD, please don't let Trump or Hillary or Bernie be president!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

I'm a BIG girl now!

The training wheels have come off! I just completed my first full week off of orientation!

No preceptor anymore, just me...all by myself...trying not to kill any of my patients.


So far, so good. We'll see how it goes later this week, when I work three days in a row.

I just had my first overnight shift (by myself), it was excellent, actually. Though  now I feel like a zombie. I think I'll watch the last episode of "Jessica Jones" and go back to bed.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Nope, not tea.

Then there was the elderly patient who asked me politely to dump the contents of his cup down the drain before he could accidentally drink it. When I asked him why he was worried about drinking his iced tea, and that I could get him some more ice, he told me he thought he had mistaken his empty cup for a urinal in the middle of the night and peed in it.

I carefully set the cup back down and said, "Let me get some gloves..."

And I made sure to document the dark amber color of his urine.

BTW, he had THREE urinals at his bedside!

Monday, November 09, 2015


Mission: To make a jaded, seen-and-done-it-all male nurse blush.

We're transferring an elderly patient from a crappy foam bed (thanks, ED!) to a fancy-schmancy Envision bed.

I'm on the opposite side, so I have to lean across the Envision bed to slide the patient towards me. Right before we begin the transfer, aforementioned male nurse says to me:

You need to spread your legs.

My reply:

Yeah, I hear that a lot...

Totally inappropriate, I know, BUT I made my colleague blush and the other two nurses laugh their butts off, so I'm calling it a WIN!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

There's somebody behind the curtain!!!!

I'm giving a patient an extended-release potassium pill, which is gigantic and extremely foul-tasting. The patient is having a procedure, so can't eat or drink anything (except for her meds), so she can't chug a giant glass of water to get the pill down. You can't dissolve it, crush it, or chew it, either...unfortunately, the instant it comes into contact with moisture, it starts dissolving...and tastes incredibly disgusting.

Me (watching the patient shove the pill all the way to the back of her throat with her finger): Oh, it's like giving a cat a pill!

The patient's twenty-something daughter: It's like giving a blow job...

Me (inside my head): Only if you have a gag reflex...
The patient reaches out with her free hand and smacks her daughter's arm: I can't take you anywhere!

Me (to the daughter): Maybe that's not the best thing to say in a semi-private room!!!


Things to consider when you're in the hospital:
-even if you're in a private room: NO PRIVACY
-but definitely worse when you have a roommate: you can hear EVERYTHING, including when the other patient is shitting into the bedside commode.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Let's see...well, the job is going well, according to my preceptor! According to ME, I'm a failure, because I'm not handling everything by myself, all the time. I know I'm new, and I know that I truly don't know very much (still), but I want to be the best damn nurse out there. Now.

I don't want to be the person nobody wants to work with. You know, THAT person. The one who always needs help and never gets her shit done. As it is, I already feel like I don't get to spend enough time with my patients, that I'm charting all the time. I've been told that as I get more familiar with the (electronic) paperwork, I'll have all that done much faster, and more time will be freed up for actual face-time with the patients. Heh, "patients"...I have patients but no patience (for myself)!

So, skills. I'm getting there. I had to give a patient six different medications via IV yesterday, and I rocked it! I was slow getting everything together, because I'm CAREFUL. All of these meds were clear liquids, you gotta be careful and organized (pretty much OCD) with that shit!

All syringes were labeled, I knew which meds were compatible with the (continuously) running IV fluids and which weren't, which meant I knew which meds could be administered via the implanted mediport, and which had to be given IV push through a peripheral IV site. I knew exactly how long I had to push the meds (generally over two-three minutes, which is a LONG time when you have fifty other things to do and the patient is getting IMpatient, even though you've explained it to him five MILLION times...).

I've done discharges and admissions. I helped administer a unit of platelets, and I'm learning to tactfully and diplomatically DELEGATE TO THE LNA. A very necessary skill, because I don't have time for all that (sometimes literal) shit.

I've given shots subcutaneously (lovenox and insulin) and intramuscularly (flu shot, that's a honking BIG needle!).

I've given patients little cups brimming with colorful pills and capsules, scary the polypharmacy, but necessary. And I've been able to tell them what they all are and what they're for.

I've done lots of patient education, about many different things. Like nutrition and portion control. Why they might be retaining water, and what the docs might do about it. And what they, the patients, might have to do at home to deal with it.

I've done dressing changes and linen changes. I've wiped people's bums. I've catheterized one poor soul. Successfully. On the third try. Hey, it's way harder to do females! Have you looked for a female's urethra lately?!

I've gotten my first, and hopefully last, needlestick. Don't worry, the "source" came back clean, so I'm ok.

I've dealt with doctors, interns, residents, and medical students. I've spoken with PTs, OTs, case managers, social workers, and pharmacists, among many others. It's all good, nobody's has ever accused me of not being a talker!

I've discovered that patients misunderstand or mishear a lot of what you say, and that they also forget a lot you've said. And sometimes they even forget that you were the one they talked to!

Along the way, I've learned that pancreatic cancer is a fucking bitch. And that Graft versus Host Disease is a VERY SERIOUS MATTER. Ugh, what a nightmare!

I've also found out that with age truly comes more tolerance. I've had to caution some younger folk, to A: talk more quietly at the nurses' station, and B: that they never know the whole story, so stop JUDGING.

Regarding my move, I love the area. New Hampshire is glorious in the autumn, truly. And I need to move as soon as my lease is up, because you never make as much (take-home) money as you thought you would, and convenience and proximity to the hospital makes my apartment too expensive for me. I have student loans to pay back!

And I finally am in a position to make my private massage business a reality. And it's perfectly legal to do so here out of my home, which makes it a lot easier for me. I have my spare bedroom set up as a treatment room, and it's wonderful! Hopefully that will ramp up as time goes on and word of mouth spreads. We'll see.

So, that's the update. I'll try to be better about posting more frequently, I see that it's been over a month! YIKES!

Yeah, I have a blog post dying in the drafts folder, since I lost the fire to finish it as the immediate urgency waned. It was about the Day of the Needlestick. It was a Very Bad Day. I had a discharge followed immediately by an admission (like, the minute the room was cleaned), and the discharged patient was the one I got the needlestick from. I was deaccessing her mediport, and the honking big Huber needle whipsawed back and jabbed me in the thumb. Right through the glove and I started bleeding like a stuck pig. Hurt like a motherfucker. Turns out there's a safety mechanism on said needle and I didn't engage it. Whoops. Now I know.

Oh, and that day was super-busy. Only my third day on unit, I never got lunch, but I did get my period. Yeah, one of those days. I had to fill out an incident report about the needlestick. And as it was a weekend, I had to wait until Monday to go to Occupational Health for an exam and blood draw.

See, this was pretty much the blogpost I had planned, so you didn't miss out at all! Except for maybe some Atomic Level Whining, so you're better off this way.

Anyhow, I'll try to post more often, but understand: When I get home after my shift, I usually just walk the dogs, eat, and go to sleep.

This weekend I'm headed back to Mass to visit and do Fun Things. Including going to my first rave. With my twins. God help me! So maybe I'll even have something to blog about!

Take care and see you on the other side!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

I love living in the future

As I was walking the pups about an hour ago, I realized I had left the apartment without my trusty maglite. Dammit!

Now I literally couldn't see shit.

While Tucker was completing his patented PoopWalk in a spot under a shrub, I was wondering whether I should be a dick and ditch the poo, or head back to the apartment to get my flashlight. Then the figurative lightbulb went off above my head, and I remembered I had been wanting to get a flashlight app on my phone for awhile. A few seconds later, smartphone in one hand and plastic bag in the other, I was able to do my duty.

Living in the future ROCKS!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Made it!

Mostly in one piece, even.

I have a ton of bruises on my forearms and thighs from schlepping heavy stuff up stairs, ESPECIALLY the super-awesome sleeper sofa that Marko and Robin gave us.

It has a queen-sized bed, which decided to start opening when the twins and I were half-way up the flight of stairs to my apartment.

Then the unfolding bed frame kept getting lodged on various parts of the stairs. The girls and I were laughing, because at that point, what else can you do? It was either laugh hysterically or start sobbing.

But we didn't give up! And now my apartment is all set up, except for the pictures, certificates, and diplomas I still have to hang up.

Oh, and I want to set up the spare bedroom as a nice massage/treatment room. When I have some extra cash (hah!), I want to outfit it with a hot towel cabinet and nice artwork and decorations, so it has a real spa feel. Oh, and those amazing electric, rechargeable tea lights! They had those in the last spa I worked at and they are truly lovely.

I have been running really low on sleep, what with working until the day before my move, and being obsessed with getting everything unpacked, sorted, and put away. Plus the dogs have been understandably anxious, so have been waking me up super-early.

Yesterday evening, around 6PM or so, I decided to lie down with the dogs and read a little before making my dinner. Next thing I knew, the dogs were waking me up at midnight to tell me they needed to go out, NOW.


I walked them, got ready for bed (for REALZ, this time) and crashed again. Until 7AM this morning.

I guess my body and brain both needed the rest! And I STILL took a nap this afternoon, albeit only for an hour this time. I am totally taking advantage of my time off, since I start my new job on Monday (*gulp*). Not that I'm anxious about that, AT ALL. Oh, no. Never.

The best thing that happened today was meeting my new dog walker, Beth. She's this amazing lady who adopts dogs considered "unadoptable". She currently has six, but has had up to eight at a time. Needless to say, she doesn't live in an apartment! Anyway, she's very nice, comes highly recommended, and my dogs loved her. Oh, and she charges very reasonable rates, which also thrills me. I'm very relieved to know that she'll be spending time with and walking my dogs anytime I'm working a twelve-hour shift.

The second-best thing was meeting a xoloitzcuintle in real life, for the very first time!
Her name is Eva, and she's very friendly and was playful with Harley and Tucker. Heh, her owner said she has a full-body suit for the winter, and I guess she'd need that!
She looks just like this, only female:
 Image Source

So, that's the updatey info! I'll be sure to post about orientation and all that jazz next week. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

It Begins...

the Great Northern Migration, that is.

Today is my last shift at the AWESOME spa I've been working at since January. I'm far sadder to leave that job than my nursing one, which I bid adieu with nary a whimper on Friday.

Two of my children are helping me move (THANKS, TWINKIES!), but since neither of them currently has a driver's license, I have to drive my car up to New Hamster this afternoon, catch a bus back to Taxachusetts, then do the whole UHaul, schlepp, load, drive, unload, schlepp thingy on Monday. Then drive the twins back to Mass and pick up my fur babies and take them to our new home on Tuesday.

Lots of driving, ugh. Somewhere in there, hopefully tomorrow, I'm driving the UHaul over to Castle Frostbite, where Marko and Robin are very generously donating some items they no longer want or need to the cause of Furnishing Christina's Abode.

Wonder if I can smuggle Ygraine out with the furniture? She's adorable and a little neurotic, just like MY dogs...shhhhhhh, don't tell!
Somehow I think three pets aren't covered on my lease, landlord wouldn't approve.
Well, it was a nice dream while it lasted! I'll just have to give her extra scritches when I see her.

A week from tomorrow I start my new job...not that I'm nervous or anything. No. Not at ALL.

Anyway, wish me luck and that my knee doesn't give me any problems doing all this heavy lifting!
See you on the other side!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Awkward Realities of Home Health Nursing

The setting: My patient's family's apartment. It's 9:00 PM, time for me to head home. I can't just walk out and leave, I have to make sure there's a responsible adult in the home. I open his bedroom door and the rest of the apartment is dark, except for a light in the kitchen. I peek in and see my patient's younger brother, playing on his iPad at the kitchen table as he eats a bowl of cereal...

Me: Hey, Pete! Is your mom or grandmother home?

Pete (9 years old): I think my grandma is upstairs at my uncle's, I dunno where Mom is...ask my sister.

Me: OK, thanks!

I peek into the kids' bedroom, the door is open, and Hazel (age 11) is on the top bunk, perusing HER iPad...

Me: Hey, Hazel! Do you know where your mom or grandma are?

Hazel: Grandma is upstairs, sleeping at my Uncle's place. I think Mom's in her bedroom.

Hazel proceeds to climb out of bed, leaves her room, and blithely walks over to her mother's room and opens the door, WITHOUT KNOCKING OR WAITING...

Mother's boyfriend (scrambling off of mom and off the bed): I'M CHANGING MY CLOTHES!

Hazel meanwhile calmly closes the door, turns and walks back to her room.

Me: Okay then, Hazel! Your mom is home, your brother is doing fine, I'll see you next week! And you should really knock on doors before opening them. BYE!

Then I hightail it out of there, probably leaving a contrail.

How hard would it have been for mom to poke (ha!) her head into my patient's room when she got home from work, just to tell me she's actually home. Or she could've even texted me if she didn't want to do that. And have people forgotten how to lock their bedroom doors? And hell, what about WAITING TO GET BUSY WITH THE BOYFRIEND UNTIL ALL HER CHILDREN ARE ASLEEP AND THE NURSE HAS LEFT?!

I'm so glad next week is my last in homecare. I can't wait to work in the hospital, which will bring its own challenges, I'm sure, but hopefully nothing quite this crass. I move to New Hampshire a week from Monday.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Neither Ping nor Beer.

I have a nasty cold, still. I had a sore throat from the beginning of last week, and while I had hoped it was merely allergies, that hope was dashed as I started feeling worse and worse while working at the spa last Saturday.

The manager ended up sending me home because they definitely didn't want my contagious ass around the clients and (especially) the other employees.

Upon arriving home early Saturday afternoon, I put myself to bed. And there I remained until Tuesday afternoon when I had to get ready for work. Yes, I called in sick for Sunday AND Monday, even though I hate missing work and really hate losing money.

I remember brushing my teeth once or twice during that time period, but other than that, my hygiene was seriously lacking. It's tough to think about showering or brushing your hair when you're struggling to even breathe. Summer colds are the WORST.

When I finally dragged my fragrant carcass out of bed, I remarked to my roomie that my pong was more lethal that any infectious microorganism I might still be harboring. She never replied to that, I think she was holding her breath...

Sunday, July 12, 2015


I just spent an hour out of a two-hour massage working on a regular client's ass and hamstrings. FML.
Oh, well. At least he's a really good tipper!

Thursday, July 02, 2015


One of my patients likes drama. No, I don't mean in her real life, I mean as in TV shows/movies, etc. She can't manipulate the iPad herself, and she cannot communicate verbally, but she made her displeasure known when she became fed up with the drama du jour she was watching while she was receiving a nebulizer treatment.

So I, technosavvy nurse with new smartphone that I am, put on one of my favorite iHeart Radio stations (Taylor Swift, DON'T JUDGE), blasted it so she could hear the music over the neb machine, and hustled into the kitchen to get her dinner ready. She loves pop music like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift almost as much as she loves TV shows like "Glee" and "Switched at Birth."

Unfortunately, as I was waiting for the microwave to ding, this song started playing.


Considering that my patient is a minor, and her siblings are still minors, not to mention that CUSSING IS UNPROFESSIONAL, I think I broke the land speed record getting to my phone and frantically mashing the "skip" button on the touch screen.

Lesson learned. Luckily her parents didn't hear.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Live free or die, Bitches!


New Hampshire, here I come...

Monday, June 08, 2015


working as a private duty nurse is trying my patience and getting on my last nerve. I have a patient whose mother is extremely particular in her son's care, which is fine and understandable, but she's also had a quarter of a century of practice and experience with her son and she just doesn't get that it can take time for a nurse, especially an inexperienced one, to master all the routines and details involved in caring for him. At least to her standards.

So it's truly great that she's scheduled a long-time caregiver to assist in my training, one who's known and nursed the patient since he came home from the hospital almost 25 years ago. Really, this lady has a wealth of experience and knowledge and I appreciate all she can teach me about my patient.

What I have no patience for is 8 hours of listening to New Age mumbo-jumbo, Eastern Mysticism, numerology, and astrology. Especially as it supposedly pertains to me. I don't want to hear which of my chakras are blocked, or how I can cleanse my energy. I don't want to know that 3 and 7 are my important numbers which indicate that I am an ethereal being. Or that because I am a Pisces I am "deep water" which meshes well with the patient's "hot water".

If I'm sweaty, it's because it's hot as balls in the room and I'm wrangling 180 pounds of dead weight, while wearing my dress-code ordered scrubs, not because I'm absorbing the patient's energy. I'm not a psychic vampire, ok? Nor am I an angel. And I don't buy that you can communicate telepathically with our patient. Or that he's communicated with you in dreams. If he's constipated, we know because he hasn't pooped in awhile and he's bloated, not because his "poop points" along his IT bands and on his trapezius muscles are tight. Dietary enzyme supplements don't cure cancer. Just because I'm a massage therapist doesn't mean I believe a bunch of poppycock. Where are the studies? Show me the evidence!

8 hours of being polite and professional have damn near broken me.

How do you tell someone you think they're full of shit without completely alienating them?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Overheard in the spa...

"Dammit, April! Why didn't you tell me my bangs looked like Cthulhu coming to devour your soul?!"

"I thought that was the look you were going for!"


Note to self, look in the mirror after walking in the wind and before getting your client...

Monday, May 25, 2015


young life was fleeting
like a shooting star at night
bright, brief, and then gone

Sunday, May 17, 2015

It's Official

I know spring has officially arrived in New England when my female massage clients start shaving their legs again.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


I guess if you wake up at 4:30 in the morning and struggle to fall back asleep for over half an hour before giving up, deciding to take a walk on the beach with your dogs is an acceptable alternative to insomnia. It certainly has its perks!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

I don't love my job.

Really, I don't. It's pretty much the antithesis of the kind of nursing I want to do.

But you know what? At least I HAVE a job in nursing! Many of my classmates are still struggling to find their first position.

And I'm learning a ton. And I'm getting paid (not very well, and I get no benefits, but still...making money as a NURSE!)

And I'm still looking and applying for hospital jobs all over the place. I'm now licensed in MA, NH, and TX. I have an important interview scheduled in a little over a week at a hospital in NH, we'll see how that goes.

Fingers crossed!

Seen on the drive home from work last night...

a motorcycle ahead of me with a Barbie doll on the bitch seat. A naked Barbie, with flowing blond tresses and her little plastic arms up in the air.

The vibration of the engine and the wind blowing her hair back combined to make it look like she was screaming WOO-HOO!!! at the top of her non-existent lungs.

Yeah, I did a double-take.

Thursday, April 02, 2015


It's been a looooooong time since I posted!

I've kinda been stuck in the Slough of Despond. It's hard finding a job as a brand-new RN with no experience. Luckily, I finally found a job! Granted, it's exactly the opposite of what I want to do with my shiny, new license, but SOMEBODY WANTS ME, W00T!

Yeah, pediatric home healthcare. Well, regardless: I will do my very best for my patients and their families. While still looking for that hospital gig I truly desire...

Wish me luck, I start next Wednesday!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Be careful when choosing tattoo locations...

A lady I was chatting with who admitted to 79 years admired my tattoo, then told me about her daughter, saying,

"She got a tattoo on her boob, it was a kitten. Over the years it S..T..R..E..T..C..H..E..D, and she had it turned into a unicorn. It still doesn't look right."

It was hard not to laugh while simultaneously cringing at the mental image.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Vignettes from the Spa

Even though I blogged about Valentine's Day weekend and how crazy-busy I was, I got sidetracked recounting the horrendous drive home on Saturday night and completely spaced mentioning how Friday the Thirteenth kinda fucked me over! OH, NOES...we cannot have that! So I must share the stories with you!

I'm not superstitious at all (discounting my belief in Tip Karma), but I swear Ft13 was out to get me.
I dropped shit. I broke shit. I made messes everywhere.

For example, I was hustling to grab a bite to eat between clients (because of course we were slammed and I was starving), and while I attempted to snag a piece of apple out of the fridge, I knocked my coworker's tupperware container of yogurt and chia onto the floor. Where the lid popped off and half of the yogurt spilled. So not only did I waste half of her food, I was late getting my next client because I had to clean up the mess!

My massage gel bottle tipped over in the microwave where I was heating it up. Mess, late. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I was pulling paper towels out of the dispenser, and the cover ripped off the wall.

See what I'm getting at?

Then you add in the clients and you get a recipe for more shenanigans. One lady was menstruating and sprang a leak. Those sheets got tossed, we didn't bother dealing with them except to bag 'em and toss them in the trash. On a slow day we probably would have washed them separately with bleach, but with Valentine's Day weekend madness, the laundry was already piling up and we were hard pressed to keep up with the wash-dry-fold-restock cycle.

Finally, my last massage of the day was another couple's massage. 90-minute Deep Tissue on a big guy who was sore from all the snow removal he had been doing for work, pretty much working seven days a week for the past month or so. He and his lady were taking a much-needed break. I killed myself working on him for 90 minutes, and my colleague and I were waiting for the couple right outside the room with water when they emerged, blinking sleepily. I was slightly skeeved but hopeful when he lowered his voice confidingly and confessed to having "left something on the 'bed'" for us.


First of all, it's a FUCKING MASSAGE TABLE, not a bed. For the millionth time.

Second, leaving me cash on the rumpled sheets makes me feel like a whore.

Third and Last, leaving me only TEN DOLLARS for a kick-ass, 90-minute super-deep tissue massage makes me feel like a CHEAP whore.

Not a feeling I relish, believe me. Although, making my coworkers laugh uproariously when I explained my reasoning to them made it ALMOST worth it...

Have I mentioned how shitty the roads are? I mean, considering what Mass residents pay in taxes, you'd think the roads would be better maintained. Not so much.

One of the main routes I take during my commute is truly a nightmare. Frost heaves and GIGANTIC potholes make for an interesting drive. It's much worse of course when I'm driving home at night and the visibility is poor. Then I curse in counterpoint to the ker-THUNK of driving into a pothole I saw too late to dodge.

In other news, I have dubbed a new client "Tiny Dancer", because she truly is. She's so small and slight, the hot towel I put on her back is too big. A hand towel. Her back is so narrow, the edges of the towel brush the sheet on the table. And she's so petite (aka SHORT) that I have to fold the bottom of the towel over so it's not too long for her back. Unbelievable. Oh, and she is a dancer, so the nickname really fits. What's even more unbelievable is that I had to do such deep tissue on her that I swear I could hear her ribs creaking, and I think I bruised my ulna on her shoulder blades. Wicked high pain tolerance.

The variety and diversity (or are those the same?) of the human body never cease to amaze me. We all have basically the same parts, but we're all different, sometimes radically. That's one of the reasons massage will never bore me. The other reason is that massage provides blog fodder, so we all win!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Observations on Valentine's Day

As a massage therapist, V-Day can kind of suck. Especially when it's part of the weekend, like this year. It's usually the busiest weekend of the year at any spa. It was super-nice to come home to flowers, and my daughter gifted me with chocolate (OMNOMNOM) and a cute card, so that rocked.

And granted, I made a lot of money, but DAMN, I was exhausted last weekend. For the first time in a long time, my hand actually hurt by the end of my shift. Well, it started hurting during my second-to-last massage, with my right thumb leading the charge to PAIN. I think all the shoveling of snow and scraping of ice lately contributed to that, and probably the fact that I'm lifting weights again, too.

Making V-Day even worse, It didn't help that we're experiencing a winter that resembles Dante's 9th circle of Hell. Ugh, driving home in a blizzard last Saturday night was horrendous. The new spa I work at is located in the downtown area of a quaint historical village, normally about 25 minutes away from home. Well factor in beginning blizzard conditions, giant snow banks everywhere reducing both visibility and LANES,  and Massholes, and it took me over an hour to get home.

Are y'all familiar with "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift?" Don't feel bad, I haven't seen more than the trailer myself. But as my car slid ever-so-gently and somewhat gracefully toward a 15-foot snowbank while I was carefully making a left turn, all I could think of is, "I'm starring in 'The Slow and the Petrified: Peabody* Drift'!"

The number of stupid people I saw on my commute boggles the mind, by the way. There was one gentleman, bundled up appropriately, but wearing all dark colors, with no reflective vest or lights, riding his bike in my lane, but going in the opposite direction. The shoulders of the road and the sidewalks were all buried in tons of snow. The only reason I even saw him were the two white, plastic bags with take-out (I'm assuming), dangling from his handlebars. They were swaying hypnotically to and fro, like giant testicles, and caught my eye, lucky for the almost (future?) Darwin Award winner. I guess when you want Chinese food, and they're not delivering, by golly, you're going to get it yourself, weather be damned!

On one stretch of my commute, the right-most lane turns into an exit, while the two left lanes swoop down into an underpass. The barrier between the underpass and exit is clearly marked, and a yellow flashing light helps make it visible. As I was approaching, I was worried that I'd hit the divider, because I couldn't see the yellow light. The snow coming down and blowing everywhere was severely reducing visibility, windshield wipers in overdrive notwithstanding, and the drifting and accumulating snow on the road surface rendered lane markings invisible. I was just trying to stay in line with the brake lights ahead of me and stay in the tracks. As I inched closer to the divider, I still didn't see the flashing yellow light, but I did see some red ones...I guess I didn't need to worry about driving up onto the dividing barricade because someone had already beaten me to it! It must have just recently happened, because no police cars or tow trucks (or ambulances!) were there, and the driver was pacing back and forth alongside his car, which was really wedged up there good. Poor guy.

This was all white-knuckle driving. Which didn't help my right hand at all. Finally I made the turn onto my street. I was so fucking THRILLED to see a snow plow, I didn't care that I had to follow slowly behind it. I was just glad to see and drive on pavement, however briefly. My elation popped like a soap bubble at a hedgehog convention when I got to my driveway and saw that the ever-helpful snowplow had plowed it shut with about a two-foot wall of slush, snow, and ice. No way was my car going to power through that, even if I had been willing to risk trying. I mean, two years ago I attempted something similar and smashed my beautiful Blue Zephyr into a hedge! I don't have the money for that shit. Again.

So, at 10:30 PM, after pulling a massage double shift and driving home under truly shitty conditions, I had to call SCI-FI and my daughter (she of the card and chocolate) to bring snow shovels down from the house and to help me shovel out a path big enough to get the car onto the property and park. Said car meanwhile was mostly blocking the lane and I was panicked that someone would smash into it, despite my hazards blinking a warning.

Oh, and shoveling snow involved finding a place to PUT it. Which meant lifting the shovel over my head to try to heave the snow onto an already-imposing snow bank. With the severe wind we had, usually half of the load blew right back into my face (NO JOKES, YOU SICK FUCKS.)

Finally we managed to get my car parked safely and all three of us trudged back to the house to get warm. As I nibbled on my Valentine's Day chocolate (thanks, Tally!) and sniffed my flowers (thanks, SCI-FI!), I pondered the only benefit to the blizzard that I could see: I was lucky enough to get a snow day for Sunday, yay! Some of my colleagues weren't as lucky. Remember the spa's location, downtown in a quaint, historical locale? While a State of Emergency was declared for Sunday, meaning driving to the spa was a no-go (no matter what our clients think of us, or how self-important we might be, being a massage therapist does not make you "emergency personnel"), plenty of staff and customers live within walking distance of the spa, so the manager opened for business at 1PM on Sunday afternoon!  Gutsy move on her part.

And I guess enough clients to make it worth opening the spa subscribed to the old adage (which I just totally made up): "Nothing says LOVE like walking through a blizzard to get a couple's massage!"

Ah, Valentine's Day...good thing you only come once a year.

*That's pronounced PEE-bid-dee in these here parts, just FYI.

Friday, February 20, 2015


Just because I've been doing massage for over nine years now doesn't mean I know everything and have seen everything.

When my client told me, "By the way, just so you know...I'm really hairy," I should have refrained from uttering a condescending, "Oh, don't worry about it, I've been doing this for a long time and, trust me, it's not a problem."


I AM professional enough that not even a shocked "MEEP!" escaped me when I draped my client's back, but the "most hirsute client EVAR" position was handily won. Yes, he beat the German-shepherd-esque client I massaged way back in school.

I wasn't even grossed out, I'm over that shit. The logistics were interesting, however. Half a bottle of lotion was used, as the pelt absorbed the lion's share before it could reach the skin. Care was taken not to pull or tug too much, nor to tie knots in the hair (which has been known to happen on occasion!).

I could share more, but making fun of my client is not the point. He can't help the fact that he could wear a mask and nothing else and be set for Halloween. The point is that I have no business getting too big for my britches. In nursing, that's a given. I'm a total n00b and know nothing. But I guess in massage therapy, I've been getting complacent. It's really good that I'm working in a new, fabulous spa, where I'm learning new modalities (WARM BAMBOO, ZOMG, it's AMAZING!) and new techniques. It's important to stay (somewhat) humble.

I ain't all that!

Friday, February 06, 2015

Overhead in the treatment room...

I'm about three-quarters of the way through massaging a male client...

Client: Ahhhh, there's nothing like a woman's touch...

Me, thinking: You're lucky I don't "touch" you vigorously upside your head!

Seriously, that's not a compliment, under the circumstances it was kinda creepy!

Thursday, February 05, 2015



I am now officially an RN (well, I need to get my license in the mail, but let's not quibble...I passed the fucking NCLEX!)

So, Christina RN LMT...hmmmm.


The test was truly awful and a total mind-fuck. You walk out of there feeling like an utter loser, like there's no chance you passed. Then you have to wait to find out. And if you want the "quick results", you have to still wait 48 hours and shell out eight bucks to get the Pass/Fail.

But I'll put it all behind me now and focus on finding a job!! Fix my resume to show my shiny new credential and start applying everywhere.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015


Hah! Not like I've been updating with any regularity anyway, but I really need to focus on studying for the dreaded NCLEX, which is scheduled for February 3rd. Gulp.

So I've decided to put the blog on hiatus for awhile. If anything super-exciting or interesting should occur, I might feel motivated enough to blog about it...but maybe not!

So until later, friends!