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4.5. EKG = electrocardiogram

Because studying all the abnormal heart rhythms is giving us paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, here're some EKG poems instead.


The dangerous valentine’s fib
what she saw-
           toothed           electrical chaos
hogging oxygen
 no output
rapidly fatal to relationship in
           3-5 minutes

faint pulseless apneic
no blood pressure
           absent heart

fixed, dilated pupils
cold, mottled skin

           won't work if heartless tho

Ventricular Asystole

           no impulses left
no depolarization QRS contraction
only P
           sometimes not even that
electrical           silence

inadequate cerebral perfusion oxygenation
after cardiac arrest comes respiratory arrest

CAB it but
   don’t shock
           don’t shoot
implantable converter
           no magnet
vest that if conscious
           press button to prevent shock
otherwise a donkey’s kick to chest
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4.4. BLS Algorithm = Make Your Own Adventure

The theme song to this post is Stayin' Alive, at about 100 beats per minute, the recommended rhythm for high quality chest compressions.

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk
I'm a nursing student, no time to talk
Bed alarms loud and bedpans warm
Answering call lights since 6:30 this morn
And now it's all right, it's okay
And you may look the other way
We can try to understand
CPR's effect on man
Whether you're a student or whether you're a patient
You're stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Feel the epi pushin' and people compressin'
And we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive
Code Blue somewhere, somebody help me
Somebody help me, yeah
Life goin' nowhere, somebody help me, yeah
I'm stayin' alive

The Basic Life Support & Advanced Cardiac Life Support algorithms are probably some of the darkest flow charts available outside of thos…

4.3. Circles of Trust

Intimate distance is 0-18 inches, personal distance 18-40 inches, social distance 4-12 feet, and public distance more than 12 feet. But that's just physical space.

The tricky kind of space, with invisible walls erected all the way to the clouds, hidden bear traps and quicksand that surprise visitors, and boundaries that crumble when they're most needed--that's all metaphor.

Whose negative words do you let in when you shouldn't? Who should you reach out to more? Whom should you hold close? (This is becoming a terrible who/whom grammar exam.) If Kevin no longer sparks joy, but instead incites murderous rage or brings endless dilute tears, maybe he needs to go out with the other boxes of stuff you Marie Kondo-ed to the Goodwill.

In a world of strangers, room full of acquaintances, lifetime of relationships come and gone, how many people remain in your inner circle of trust? Two? Three? Now that one has died and is forever watching over you, how many remain? 
You are Freud…

4.2. Phobia = fear

Some of us may have started first semester of nursing school with an irrational fear of needles, but by now, we have bigger problems ("Just stick me.") 

Plus we're getting better at IV insertions so there's less DIGGING AROUND IN EACH OTHER'S VEINS, fewer bruises, and more neat little scabs on the dorsal palmar venous arch.

There are plenty more fears to overcome, however.

Acrophobia = fear of heights

Ailurophobia = fear of cats (the "Cat Spring Roll" story in my collection, Sex & Taipei City, is for you, non-lovers of cats.)

Algophobia = fear of pain (as opposed to those of us who apparently enjoy it)

Anthophobia = fear of flowers (and we're not talking about allergies)

Astraphobia = fear of lightening

Belonephobia = fear of needles (and bologna?) Also: Trypanophobia = fear of needles, injections & blood draws.

Brontophobia = fear of thunder (Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...)
Cynophobia = fear of dogs (esp. if a dog tried to e…

4.1. Levels of Anxiety

Not everyone, even someone in the middle of a panic attack, realizes just how much anxiety can change us physically--temporarily. Actual visual fields decrease (tunnel vision is a real thing), and stress can turn into physical symptoms that, if sustained, may become hazardous.
I. Mild Anxiety
Heightened perception, enhanced learning (yay!), restlessness, irritability, increased motivation. Possibly a good thing, all in all.
Public speaking scenario: You have to present to a small group of peers.
Nursing school scenario: You have a skills checkoff (or five) tomorrow.

II. Moderate Anxiety
Reduced vision field, reduced alertness, suboptimal learning. Ego defense mechanisms like denial or regression occur. Some physical symptoms such as faster heart rate, breathing, muscular tension and gastric discomfort occur.
Public speaking scenario: You have to present a speech to an entire class, while your Communications instructor times and grades you from the back of the room and is dinging you for…

Type C = cancer

Are you type A, B, C or D personality?

Not to be confused with cluster A, B, or C personality disorders, the official definitions of type A, B, C, & D personalities are presented below, abbreviated but word-for-word, from Townsend & Morgan's Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing's uncanny glossary. Some of us thought we were type A, but this whole time we were type C (for cancer--sadness.)

Type A: prone to coronary heart disease. Excessive competitive drive, chronic sense of time urgency, easy anger, aggressiveness, excessive ambition, inability to enjoy leisure time.

Type B: not prone to coronary heart disease. ability to perform even under pressure but without competitive drive & constant sense of time urgency experienced by type A. Type Bs enjoy leisure time without feeling guilty, are much less impulsive, and think things through before making decisions.*

Type C: attributed to the cancer-prone individual. Suppression of anger, calm, passive, puts the needs of others b…

Erotomania = delusional love

The holidays are the perfect time to rewatch some guilty pleasures, including Love Actually  (2003), which has been hilariously ruined (or remedied) by this article, and Á la folie, pas du tout (He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, 2002), starring Audrey Tautou.

The latter's not at all what you'd expect--certainly no Amelie. It's psychological drama that makes your blood run cold halfway through the runtime because nothing is what you thought it was, à la The Sixth Sense, Gone Girl or Hot Fuzz.

The title references how people (who think they're) in love pick daisies and recite the eternal multiple-choice question while destroying delicate petals: S/He loves me--
1) a little (un peu)
2) a lot (beaucoup)
3) madly (à la folie)
4) not at all (pas du tout).

In the beginning of the movie, Married Man seems to love Audrey Tautou a little, if love can be measured by a single, pink rose. Maybe a lot, because he's seeing her even though his wife is pregnant. Perhaps to the point of…