Monday, April 27, 2009

Kudos Dr Carskaddan

In the Washington, DC suburb of Herndon, Virginia there is a man with a purpose. Dr Chris Carskaddan, a veterinarian with a huge heart for animals is helping our troops in one very special way. He cares for their dogs and not just any dogs, these are the animals befriended by our troops in Iraq. In collaboration with an animal rescue group, what initially started as a once or twice a month run to Dulles Airport has grown into a trek he now does multiple times a week. At the airport he meets the planes carrying the adopted pets of our combat veterans. He is instrumental in giving these dogs a new life here in the U.S. by evaluating and certifying them healthy.

Dr Carskaddan does this on his days off, volunteering his time and skills. He flies under the radar never asking for anything and only speaks of this heartening mission when specifically asked. He is a man who knows the therapeutic benefits that only an animal can bring and he is trying, one dog at a time, to make a difference in the lives of our troops.

If you'd like to help him or simply wish him well in his efforts please go to their website at

Bravo Zulu Dr Carskaddan! Keep up the awesome work!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


With all the years I've been a nurse I still can't get used to death. I mean, there are some patients you look at and think "they just need to die", they're old, infirm, body's failing, etc and when they do die it has no effect on you, it's part of a day's work. Then there are other patients who bother you and walk out of their room with tears streaming down your face.

Such was the case yesterday, my patient from Sunday died, a personable woman who was only in her 40's. Although I wasn't her nurse, her husband wouldn't allow it, I was able to visit her in room after he left. I held her hand, brushed her hair back from her face and wished her well in her new life with God.

Goodbyes said I headed down the hallway and passed one of my doc buddies who stopped me. As a remaining tear rolled down my cheek he asked what was wrong. Upon hearing my explanation he looked at me and with a sad smile stated "what we do is hard". Yes, my dear doc friend, it is.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Idiots Are Everywhere

When I arrived at the hospital I found my patient to be critically ill. Not that all of them aren't especially since they're in the ICU, however this one was well known to me and I liked her. She had spunk and like a lot of my patients, current and former, thought I was crazy but she still liked me and laughed at my off beat sense of humor. However this morning I was appalled at how truly awful she looked. In completing my assessment of her I stood back and thought, she's going to crash on me. One of my friends and fellow coworkers stood in the room's doorway and put to words my thoughts. "She's going to crump", this nurse said. I nodded in silent agreement.

Four hours later she looked even worse, the numbers on the heart monitor slid downhill, her heartbeat erratic and I began to pester the docs even more than I already had. I demanded orders for this med or that treatment, I dragged the airway cart over and then the crash cart closer still. I hoped by simply having the carts nearby and at the ready I could ward off evil spirits. Again and again I bugged doctors, "what's the plan?" I asked. Finally, in frustration and fear for the patient I simply told them what they needed to do. In then end, she did crash and they listened.

We were able to stabilize her and make her more comfortable, her vital signs and appearance improved and we settled back into a routine. Until the husband showed up, that is. He took one look at me and told the doc he didn't want me taking care of his wife, wanted another nurse to take my place in her care. When questioned as to why he simply said "I don't like her". When the nurse in charge told him she did not have the staffing to accommodate his request and attempted to explain all I had done to help his wife he walked away from her mid sentence. He then threatened to call the hospital administrator, his senator and then his governor if I was not removed as his wife's nurse. He even went so far as to demand they send me to another unit.

With my coworkers, the charge nurse and the nursing supervisor all supporting me and voicing their displeasure I turned over my patient's care to another nurse. It simply was not worth the hassle to me. My nurse buddies were pissed, they kept asking if I was ok and to be honest, I think they were more upset and angry about the whole situation than I was. I really don't have much feeling other than disappointment. Disappointment in that my patient was no longer able to receive the care I could give her.

Friday, April 10, 2009

And So It Begins

After several months of minimal areovacs shuttling in casualties I am saddened to say it has begun again. "It" being the increase in wounded flown in and now occupying our hospital beds. They come attached to ventilators and ICP monitors. They look down at limbs no longer there and touch bodies scarred with shrapnel. Families pray their son/husband/wife/daughter will wake up.

I look into their faces and am filled with sorrow but I will hold their hands, wipe their tears and hug battered misshapen bodies. It was only a matter of time, I know this. And so another influx of wounded warriors begins.

Please pray and let me draw on your strength as I will need every bit to make it through.