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The Box

During the time that I was a visit nurse, I did a fair amount of death visits.  That’s when the family would call and say the patient had died, then I was to go out and confirm – that is, listen to heart and lungs and confirm that the person had in fact died.

We then helped clean the body and call the mortuary for pick up.  There were the usual pick ups for a traditional funeral.  There were lots of pick ups for an organization that provides cremation services.  There were even a couple of people that donated their bodies to science – one had a rare condition that he and the family wanted studied further after his death and one or two others were for general donation.

No one (that I visited) requested any “green burials.”  I was a pretty big fan of Six Feet Under when it was on HBO (and still am – I consider the last several minutes of the series finale the best thing TV has ever aired) and they portrayed these green burials a couple of times toward the end of the series.  I am very interested in learning more about these types of burials so you can certainly expect a post or two about them in the future.

In my relatively short time doing death visits, one visit stands out from all the rest.  I arrived in the late evening to the patient’s home.  It was very unusual in that the only person there was the patient’s husband.  No other family at all.  My previous experience had been with patients who were surrounded by family members – either at the time they died, or certainly by the time I arrived to confirm.  But this time it was just one person, just him.   Since I didn’t have any other calls at the time I spent some time talking to him about his wife.

At one point he said, “Here, let me show you something” and turned on the light for the backyard.  I was a bit startled to see a casket out there – a plain pine casket.  No shiny polished dark wood trimmed with brass fittings.  Just a casket-shaped box.  Then he told me they’d already had a little mini-funeral for her while she was alive!  Everyone had written something and signed the box.  The plan was to cremate her in it, surrounded by loving words.

I thought that was so clever and so sweet.

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Ice Cream Graveyard

I guess I (and you?) might be wondering if maybe this blog is going to turn into all-death-all-the-time.  Well, that’s entirely possible.  Death rather fascinates me and it always has.  I have no idea (well, ok, I do) why I waited so long to get into hospice.

I love reading Mental Floss, and a post I came across today especially amused me.  Ben & Jerry’s (of ice cream fame) headquarters is located in Vermont.  Apparently, someone came up with the nifty idea to create a graveyard for discontinued ice cream flavors.

Someone out there in the world has the job of writing epitaphs for ice cream, you guys.  And many of them are quite witty!

(Here are some more interesting Ben & Jerry’s facts)



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As I wanted to write in January, but WordPress not only wouldn’t publish my post, but ended up eating it too:

I started out in hospice as a visit nurse.  That means I was at home and waited for the triage nurse (who fields calls from patients/families/caregivers) to call me with information about going out to visit a patient for a problem.  Patients can be at home, in SNF’s, RCFE‘s, assisted living, etc.  I would be sent out for any number of situations including starting IV medications, changing med cassettes, admitting patients, managing symptoms and of course confirming deaths.

During this time, I also trained to be a triage nurse.  I’d make the looooooooong commute up the stairs and watch an inbox.  When calls come in, we mark them and then call the patient or family to help with whatever problem they are having.  We give advice based on the patient’s care plan and orders.  If we are unable to give advice over the phone about a situation, we send out a visit nurse to assess the pt and help out.

That’s more or less it in a nutshell.

As time went on, I decided I liked triage better.  Not being woken at 3am out of a sound sleep was a key component in this decision.  When I did sleep that is… sleeping while on call is not very good sleep!   I ended up quitting visit nursing and focused on triage nursing instead.

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 1 1/2 years.  As I said in the post before, I definitely have some things to write about my job, especially now that I’ve been doing it for awhile and feel pretty confident.

Also, I made a page for codeblog on Facebook – feel free to visit if you like :)


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Oh, hi.

So, it appears that my last post with any sort of substance whatsoever was on May 14, 2013.

Then I got bored and didn’t want to write anymore.  But neither did I want to say “I’m done.”  So I took a break.

In January of this year, I decided to take it all up again, but when I wrote that post and tried to hit “Publish” … nope.  Error.  After much discussion and rediscussion with 1and1.com’s customer service, it was decided that I was over my database limit.  I had a whopping 149MB of data and they suggested that I delete some posts.  After yet more discussion, it was finally determined that I could actually go to a 1GB database, but no, they were not going to help me do that.

And frankly, it all looked just too damn complicated for me to figure out.  I am somewhat experienced with this stuff, but not really proficient and furthermore I don’t even like it.  So it was too daunting for me to puzzle out and I gave up for a few months.

Last night my wonderful husband finally sat down and worked some internet magic and got it all up and running again.  So here I am.  Hi!  Thank you wonderful husband!

I went through my blogroll and weeded out links that no longer worked, changed some others and removed blogs that weren’t being updated anymore.  Although some I left in for nostalgia’s sake. :)  I could certainly add more, but making buttons is time-consuming.  And does anyone actually have a blogroll anymore anyway?  I can’t bring myself to delete mine.

So that’s all for now.  More later. (Famous last words, eh?  No really, I have things to say!)

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  • profileI am Gina. I have been a nurse for 15 years, first in med/surg, then CVICU, inpatient dialysis, CCU and now hospice. This blog is about my experiences as a nurse, and the experiences of others in the healthcare system - patients, nurses, doctors, paramedics. We all have stories!

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