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Where will it send me?

In the year + that has passed since my last entry, I've developed a new fascination. I'm having a difficult time focusing on real life or ordinary details, especially when driving due to my new interest. Everywhere I go, I see them. Sidewalks, grocery stores, malls, and of course, the ER.

I've become obsessed with Hoverounds. Also known as motorized wheelchairs, these modes of transport fill my thoughts. Multiple times, I've come close to crashing my car just because I couldn't take my eyes off one.

They make me smile, laugh, and without fail, start singing the Hoveround theme song in my head. It's played during such quality daytime programming as The Price is Right. If you're not familiar with this jingle, do me (and yourself) a favor and google "Hoveround Song." You won't be disappointed. The main lyrics are: "Hoveround takes me where I wanna go. Where will it send me?" Oh, I, too, have been pondering this question.

It implies that the Hoveround has a mind of its own. Perhaps, if it did such independent thinking and controlling, it would send its occupant.....on a diet. Or to Subway instead of McDonald's. Or the pool or gym instead of Walmart. Unfortunately, the sad (but hysterically entertaining to me) reality is that Hoveround sends people to the Emergency Department.

Since my coworkers know my inward (and often outward) delight in the Hoveround and its rider, I often get to be the nurse when these victims come to the ER. Here's an example:

An enormous man with legs like tree stumps (complete with peeling bark-like skin) whose personal Hoveround was out of batteries decided to borrow his mother-in-law's motorized wheelchair to go to the movies. Unfamiliar with the controls, the man rammed the chair and one of his legs into the theater bathroom doorway, thus carving a deep cut into his massive shin. As he rolled into the ER with his large-ish wife walking (good for her!!!) behind him, she demanded a "large size bed" for him. No kidding, lady. I retrieved the "appropriate size gown" for him, and took him to a room. His wife requested I help lift his morbidly obese legs into the bed. My back started aching just at the sight of them. I asked, "How does he get into bed at home?" The man silently got into the gurney unassisted.

Of course not all Hoveround drivers are created equal. Some completely deserve and need this assistance to be independent. My fascination is with the big people. The ones who demand a cart ride at the airport to their gate, and then get off the cart and slowly amble toward the fast food court. The ones who affix an orange flag to their Hoveround and drive in the actual lane of the road as if they are a real vehicle, puffing away on their oxygen concentrator as they slow traffic that does not dare to honk at the "disabled." The ones whose attached baskets at the grocery store are full of chips, pop, and ice cream.

Of course, I know that these people may be super nice, yadda yadda. And yes, they are still humans. They seem to be attempting to cover the image of God with layers of padding. Maybe it's due to ignorance or laziness or illness or a combination. But for the grace of God, there go I. One day, I was caring for one of these such riders (on the storm of her own obesity), and a coworker whispered in my ear in passing, "Keep running, Jenny." As long as I can, I plan to.


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I waited for a second, then looked at his wife and smiled, and she smiled back. I asked, "Did you just say you were wearing panties?"

He said, "Um, yeah." We all started laughing.

A few hours later, when I was discharging him, he asked, "You're not going to tell anyone that I called my underwear 'panties,' are you?"

I replied, "Oh, you bet I'm going to tell people!"

Good Question

The other day, a patient asked me, "Do you have any pets?" Immediately, I pictured Spike and his cute little mustached face and hilarious personality. I replied, "Yes, a little Cairn Terrier. How about you?"

She told me about her three Italian Greyhounds, and showed me pictures on her phone.

It struck me suddenly that this is a fabulous question to ask people. It's not invasive, it won't make the childless people hurt, and there may be some fascinating stories behind the answers.

Usually, patients and other strangers ask me if I have children. I say, "No, not yet" and leave it at that, quickly getting back into my therapeutic nursing communication mode to get the focus off me and back onto the patient. But I always feel the ache of having to say "No, not yet" over and over again. It just felt so good to be able to say, "Yes!" to the pet question.