my big nurse

A 25 foot sculpture portraying Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse stands in Times Square to celebrate and remember the end of World War II. Couples have gathered to reenact the famous kiss.  

Someone talk to me about how Dex and Nursey’s different upbringings will inevitably clash?

Like, Dex who comes from a family penny pinchers who clipped coupons like it was a sport. Dex, who’s worn hand-me-down clothes all his life, shops at secondhand stores, thinks a piece of clothing over $20 is expensive, never thrown out leftover food, and always buys the cheaper store brands.

Nursey, on the other hand, has always had an allowance that’s never run out, got a brand new vehicle for his sixteenth birthday, can afford to shop at higher end stores in the mall, gets a new phone/computer every year or so, and goes to Europe or Jamaica, or wherever every summer.

Someone talk to me about how they can never agree on money and gifts, but somehow, they find a way to compromise because they love each other and that’s always more important than any argument about money.

My Big Nurse
  • My Big Nurse
  • David Byrne & Brian Eno
  • Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

A tune for Thanksgiving from David Byrne & Brian Eno.


When the lake’s on fire
With all the world’s desires
When he shakes the stars above
When we lose the ones we love

When the seasons lose their grip
When the tightrope walker slips

I’m counting all the possibilities

When the past becomes the now
When the lost becomes the found
When we fall in love with war
When the angel fucks the whore

When the road we travel on
Takes us back where we came from

A million kinds of possibilities
For dancing on this lazy afternoon

In the comfort of the world
In the arms of my big nurse
From the science of the heart
To each animal and plant

Compact, relaxed- intact, give thanks

I’m counting all the possibilities
For dancing on this lazy afternoon

Words words words -- what do they all mean?

I was just in report the other day with a coworker who’s been on the unit for a million years and is one of the supreme know-it-alls of the unit. I was a little surprised, in all of her know-it-all-ed-ness, that while giving me report she couldn’t figure out what a certain term meant and found her growing really frustrated that she didn’t know what it was. The term was pneumomediastinum and it made me think:  do other nurses, nursing students, med students, realize how helpful knowing some of your root words are?

Ok so maybe they aren’t all Greek. Some of them are Latin! But the point is, knowing some of these basic roots can be so helpful. The first time I heard of the term pneumomediastinum, I had no idea what it meant. Do you know what it means? If you do, great, but if you don’t, break down the big word:

“pneumo” “mediastinum”

What do we know about “pneumo”? Well, in “pneumothorax” it means that there’s air in the chest. We also may remember that the mediastinum is the collection of organs and structures within the middle (media) of the thoracic cavity (I always like to think of the st in mediastinum as being near/behind the sternum). 

Double checking our answers, you’ll see that “pneuma” is the Greek word for air, thus we can quickly see that we’re talking about air within the mediastinum. And any sensible medical professional will quickly realize that that’s not an ideal situation, depending upon where that air is leaking from. The condition itself (according to the US National Library of Medicine’s MedLine page on the matter) describes the condition as one being caused by injury or disease including but not limited to tears in the trachea, esophageal tears, and alterations in intrathoracic pressures due to a variety of other causes (repeated valsalva maneuver or bearing down such as in child birth, vomiting, sneezing, or rapid changes in altitude or pressure such as seen in scuba diving).

What other cool words can we break down? Here are a couple big ones that I see pretty frequently.

Hemoperitoneum – heme/hemo = blood, peritoneum = having to do with the peritoneal cavity; blood +  peritoneal cavity –> bleeding within the peritoneal cavity such as seen often in blunt abdominal trauma

Pneumocephalus – pneuma = air, cephalus (Greek –> Kephalos) = head –> air + head = air within the cranial cavity

Cholangitis – chol = bile, ang/angio = vessel, -itis = inflammation
–> inflammation and infection of the biliary ducts (actually associated with pretty high morbidity/mortality rate)

Necrotizing pancreatitis –necro = dead/dying, pancrea = having to do with the pancreas, -itis = inflammation –> inflammation/infection of the pancreas caused by and/or resulting areas of the pancreatic tissue forming necrotic pockets of fluid and abscesses

Diabetes mellitus – diabetes = derived from Greek for siphon (in this case large production of urine) + mellitus = Greek for honey 
Diabetes insipidus – insipidus = Latin derivative of lacking in flavor/bland

Diabetes mellitus results in lots urine production with glucose present vs diabetes insipidus which results in lots of severely dilute urine, either nephrogenic or neurogenic in origin.


That’s how I studied a lot of my terms throughout nursing school, particularly with anatomy. Pharmacology, not so much – pretty sure most of those drugs are named after or based off of things in Swedish or Simlish. Knowing your roots are really helpful for understanding surgical/procedural approaches as well (ex. laparatomy [lapara =flank, otomy = cut – technically should be celiotomy), ERCP [endoscopic retrograde cholioangiopancreatography –> inner scope going backwards up the alimentary canal into the biliary structures including the bile ducts, gall bladder, and pancreas). Aren’t words cool?

For funzies


If you’ve ever wanted to hear me play ukulele and sing a song with the F word in it, HERE’S YOUR CHANCE.

(Funny, it just occurred to me that when I covered “We Cry” by The Script I sang “He was so unreal” and just left the F word out. Indeed, I almost changed this line to “When the angel wants some more” because not only do I feel uncomfortable with swearing, but I also just plain hate the actual line. But this was about the tenth take I did of the song and I was too lazy not to sing the modified lyric.)