Friday, August 31, 2007

Random Notes

* We've gotten some actual rain the past two days in Reno, after more than eighty days without it. The air smells like sagebrush again, and the natives are rejoicing. On campus yesterday, I saw students lying on their backs on the grass of the quad, with their faces turned up to the rain.

* My new meds cost $75 a month. (And that may go up if my dose increases.) My old ones came in a $5 generic. Ack! I'll have to discuss this with my doc. But so far, I've been doing well enough on the new meds that both Gary and I think they're worth it.

* Volunteer chaplains at my hospital will no longer be charting on patients (I never have, since I'm in the ED, but upstairs, we're supposed to). This is all connected with some new paperless computer system that will come in eventually. One of the staff chaplains sent out a carefully worded letter about the issue thanking volunteers effusively for their service and emphasizing how much we mean to the hospital, so I'm guessing that they're trying to avoid any perception that volunteer chaplains are being marginalized. Still, the change definitely emphasizes the volunteer/professional split, and I've been wondering if we'd be seeing more of that with recent management changes at the hospital.

* I'm feeling a little glum, because the folks I was visiting at the assisted-living facility last year have very gently and kindly told me that they no longer need my services. They have eminently sensible reasons -- especially since a new Episcopal Church has been planted right around the corner from them -- but it still makes me sad, because I really enjoyed going there.

* My hospital shift this week was unusually quiet, but nonetheless draining. We had one of those patients whose life story just breaks your heart -- it's the kind of biography that would seem like unbelievable melodrama if it were fiction -- but who was also verbally (and sometimes physically) lashing out at everyone in the vicinity: family members, medical staff, me. The family was amazingly loving and steady through all this, and we all knew not to take any of the behavior personally, but it was still very hard to witness. I asked the doctor to do the patient a favor (writing an order for a nicotine patch, because there was no way we were letting the jonesing-for-a-cig patient outside to smoke, and the patient had enough to deal with without cold-turkey nicotine withdrawal), but then the patient cursed me out, because the patient didn't want the patch. The nurse told me, "I've seen this kind of thing before, so I'm not surprised, but thanks for trying," and at the end of my shift, one of the case managers thanked me for spending time with the family. I doubt I did much good, but I wasn't hurting anything, and at least the relatives had someone else there taking some of the heat. I hope they'll all be okay: it's a very sad situation, although at least the patient's now getting needed treatment.

* There are no classes on Monday. A long weekend: thanks be to God!


  1. Anonymous6:22 AM

    Happy Labor Day,


  2. I've had the problem here for my own Reserve Chaplains. Our new electronic charting doesn't allow access for volunteers. At this point, our physicians don't use the electronic charting, and so our Reserve Chaplains can still chart on paper. However, I know the time is coming when we'll lose this. Ah, progress.


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