3.17. Carbuncle = carpooling furuncles

I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest—
I too awaited the expected guest.
He, the young man carbuncular, arrives.
(T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land 228-232)

Our nursing instructor briefly referred to carbuncles as carpooling furuncles and we nearly died laughing, because at this point in the semester everything is hilarious, like this horse with an open fracture of the leg.

Start of semester: We're going to the ICU! We're going to be in codes, do chest compressions, save people's lives! We're going to maintain the hell out of the central lines and chemoports we weren't allowed to touch before, and it's going to be awesome! We will hold teeny tiny preemies, be moved to the core by beautiful, sick but stoic children, who will change our lives forever, and we will connect with awesome patients and families. We will do all the study guide questions, make our own study guides by personally reading every damn page of that Iggy book, ace all the ATI practice tests, get level III on the proctored exams, and maintain perfect GPAs!

End of semester: I got up this morning (congratulate me). After using the hospital supply room all day: what's the code to the supply room again? After using the glucometer 1.5 years, suddenly locked out of that, too (oh well, guess I can't do fingersticks for the whole floor after all!) Orange crayon has only been melted all over one of my two royal blue scrubs in the hot water wash. (Who needs more than one uniform, anyway?) Also, can't stop laughing at the random Finals Horse that has shown up on my Facebook feed from three different people (the universe is saying, this horse is you, and it is okay. It is foretold--thrice, no less.)

Back to the carbuncles, which a college textbook footnote defined as acne/pockmarks, but it took 1.5 years of nursing school + over a decade for this English major to find out that was incorrect. Furuncles are deep boils filled with bacteria (probably MRSA--methicillin resistant S. aureus) making their home around your hair follicles. Carbuncles are furuncles in a clown car that give you a one-way ticket to a contact room in the local hospital, where no one will touch you without gowning and gloving up, especially the nursing students, who look mildly terrified. Really not that funny at all, if you think about it...


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