Friday, May 14, 2010

Incident highlights irony and time ticks on

Had a bit of excitement at the infusion center yesterday. One of the nurses had just hung a bottle of chemo for a fellow patient. When she attached the tube mechanism to the bottle the assembly split and the medication started spilling onto the floor. She managed to flip the bottle before it completely emptied. Thus began the haz-mat routine. They called to report the emergency spill and got out the haz-mat kit. The nurse was already wearing her glasses and had on gloves so she didn't need to put on the goggles and gloves from the kit. She donned the face mask, plastic full-body apron, and shoe covers. Out came the large yellow disposal bags for the towels used to wipe up the spill. A man from Security arrived; his attitude so low-key that I decided this was just a small blip on an otherwise dull shift for him. A man from Housekeeping came with the haz-mat disposal container, mop and signage to mark off the area. I commented to the patient how ironic it was that 'here we sit with needles injecting the poison (yes, that's what it is) directly into our blood streams but wiping it off the floor necessitated protective gear with attendant alerts.' The nurses also had to fill out a report giving the date and time of incident, chemical info, what it spilled onto (clothing, floor, etc.).

About seven or so years ago, my brother got our mother an inexpensive Timex watch with a large dial and big numbers to aid her in getting to programs and meals at the assisted-living facility where she lived. After she passed away four years ago, he gave the watch to me and I stowed it away. I was looking in the drawer a couple of days ago and noticed that it was still running... the second hand moving past the numbers, marking the march of time. John Cameron Swazey was was right ... "Timex takes a licking and keeps on ticking."

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