Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The spreading meme

Remember that meme I proposed a few weeks ago? The one about calling this year 007? Would you believe that someone's got a name for it already. This year is a Bond Year, ie: a year that ends in 007 such as 2007 and 1007. I found it in the Urban Dictionary, via Rhea.
The Urban Dictionary has all sorts of up to the Bond Year words and phrases that reflect life in our shaken, but not stirred, civilisation. Check it out.

Monday, January 29, 2007

To be two plus three noughts to be

This is a bit of very late news, but I've only just discovered it. You remember I told you about Tino Buntic's record post of a thousand links, where every word linked to a website? Well now I find (two months later) that he's smashed that record to blitzerooneys. He's got a post with over Two Thousand links! Again, each word with a link attached.
Now here's the best bit - One of those links is to this blog!
To find my link, look in the internet news tidbits. The second paragraph begins: "In response to an increasing number of complaints..." See that third word 'to', that's the link here! You may find it's already highlighted. Sites that you've visited appear in violet.
To be part of a world record ... that is glory indeed.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Dispatches from 209 Forward : 2

That's the first full shift at the Royal Infirmary over. I feel I've settled in now, and I'm starting to relax. We were kept busy today, with an emergency admission requiring surgery. Still finding little things that need recording in the diary to be sorted out for next week. The biggest thing so far is the computer. We have no access to the ward files, so we can't update the report, or download ward paperwork. We can't access our e-mail accounts, so we are technically out of communication with the rest of the trust.
There's an annoying little high pitched beep that goes off every minute from a little speaker set into the ceiling above the nurse's station. It's purpose is to inform the ward staff that the pneumatic tube system is still operational. You would think it would be better if the beep indicated that the system was not working, but no. Every minute of every day and night - beeeeep...beeeeeep....beeeeeep....
Apparently, in the early days of the hospital's operation it was reported to the company that run the hospital, but amazingly, that particular speaker wasn't present on the hospital plans, therefore it didn't exist, and because it didn't exist, nothing could be done about it. So now, five years on it's still beeping every minute of every day and night.
Coupled with that is a terminal that drones continually like a baritone fly. If you're wanting peace perfect peace, ward 209 is not the place to be.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Dispatch from forward position 209

So far so good. No major problems so far, only minor technical difficulties that we can iron out over the next week or so. We managed to transfer over with our patient to the Royal this afternoon, and soon got her settled in a side room. I've managed to sort out the eye drops in the cupboard, and the pharmacy order for the fridge arrived only two hours after the appointed time. We can't access our computer account on the intranet, but hopefully a call to IT next week will sort that out. The staff on 209 are friendly, and are looking forward to us being there.
But the plastic aprons... they're PINK!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Adopting a position

I really hope the Government stand firm on this. The Catholic Church are wrong on this issue. There is no logical reason why being gay should make someone a worse parent than someone straight. Parenting is a skill certainly, that people learn by doing. Like every skill, some people are better at it than others. But it is a skill that both men and women are capable of doing. Gender is irrelevant. And if gender is irrelevant, so is the sexual preference of a parent.
Therefore, to discriminate against a possible adopting or foster parent because of a three thousand year-old rule - and only that, is illogical and wrong. If the Catholic Church wish to cease operating adoption agencies because they don't like the rules, then that is their decision. They must then live with the consequences of their actions. The law of the land tries to codify equal treatment for everybody regardless of what nature has endowed them with. Churches do not deserve, nor should expect, exemption from the law.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Thanks to Lexington Parrothead's link, This blog has now been elevated into the rarified heights of the C-list. I am now officially a middle-ranking authority, based on my Technorati rating. 10 blogs have now linked to me in the last six months. If another 89 blogs join them, then I'll become a B-list blog.
Obsessive? Moi?

Monday, January 22, 2007


It's the five things about me meme. Stardust did hers, and tagged anybody who read the post, so I think I'll give it a go.
Five things about me
  1. My entire employment history: Paperboy, Archaeological Site Assistant, Visual Doorbell Installer, Video Project Worker, Stage Lighting Technician, Scriptwriter, Market Researcher, Nurse.
  2. I have Tourette's Syndrome.
  3. I was born a few hundred yards from Banbury Cross, but I grew up in Leith.
  4. I play Bridge.
  5. Lord Byron and David Cameron are my fourth cousins.

So that's my five things. Why don't you have a go?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Express delivery

I was going to post yesterday, but I had to download my birthday present. It is Corel Paint Shop Pro X, and it's 104Mb in size. You don't realise how big a computer program is until you download one over the internet through a telephone line at 4 kilobytes per second. Don't anybody tell me that Broadband is quicker - I know it's quicker! But I have to get a WiFi card before I can get connected up, because my computer is too far away from the phone socket.
It took about eight hours to transfer the program. I didn't want to do anything else on the net, because that might have slowed it down - or buggered the whole transfer up, knowing my luck.
Note to self :- Next time I download something of a similar size with the current set-up, I'll set it going last thing at night, so it downloads while I'm sleeping.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Everyone knows it's windy

I'm back.
Yesterday was not a good day for travelling. I saw two overturned lorries on the M6. It was closed between junctions 32 & 33, due to an accident, so we had to make a detour through Preston, and got stuck in a traffic jam with an entire motorway's worth of traffic on a single-lane road. Eventually, I couldn't take no more, so I abandoned the A6 and struck out along the country lanes, and bypassed the bypass. When I rejoined the A6 at Lancaster, the traffic had rejoined the M6, so there were clear roads north, until I got to Scotland. The A7 is closed at Langholm, so I had to detour via Moffat and the A701. All this in gale-force winds.
Anyway, I'm back. Anything happen while I was away?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Deacon Barry is on holiday

I'm going to be out of town for the next few days, so there won't be anything new to read until the weekend. It's my birthday on Wednesday, so we're going down to visit my sister who lives in Dudley. I'm not going to have any access to the Internet, so I'll have serious withdrawal symptoms when I come back. While I'm gone, make yourself at home. I've got seven months worth of posts for you to browse, if you're interested. It'll get you up to speed with who I am, what my opinions are, and how my large twisted brain works.
So pull up a chair, get some beer from the fridge, and dig in.
See you on Friday.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Lothian NHS 101

In my last post I had a footnote explaining what the initials PMR stood for. I'm probably going to be chronicling our forthcoming epic sojourn to the Royal Infirmary over the next few months, so it would make sense to introduce you to some of the abbreviations for our hospitals.

Astley Ainslie: aka "Ghastly Astley". Rehabilitation centre set in several acres of scenic park land in the middle of Edinburgh.
ERI: Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. A fictional hospital that only exists in the pages of the Scotsman and Evening News.
LITTLE FRANCE: A flood plain. The location of the RIE, and an alternative name.
LUHNT: Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust. Or is it NHS Lothian? They keep changing the name, but the people stay the same. All hospitals in Lothian belong to this. There used to be separate trusts a few years ago, but they all amalgamated when the New Royal was built.
NRIE: New Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. An alternative name for the RIE. PFI funded replacement to the Old Royal. Not to be confused with the Titanic.(See RIE, LITTLE FRANCE)
OLD ROYAL: The site of the RIE for 130 years in the heart of Edinburgh. Consisted mostly of long Nightingale wards with a dozen beds along each wall. Now being turned into luxury flats.
PAEP: Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion. One of Europe's foremost eye hospitals and my place of work.
PMR: Princess Margaret Rose. As mentioned, it used to be an orthopaedic hospital before it was transferred to the Royal Infirmary. The site has now been turned into luxury flats.
RIE: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. The most prestigious teaching hospital on the planet. Now onto its third site on a flood plain called Little France.(See NRIE, LITTLE FRANCE) Has the busiest A&E department in Britain.
Royal Ed: Royal Edinburgh Psychiatric Hospital in Morningside.
St Johns: Large hospital in Livingston that serves West Lothian. All Head & Neck services are there, except for...you guessed it - eyes!
WGH: Western General Hospital. Large hospital in north Edinburgh. The wards there are mostly medical - renal, gastro-intestinal, infectious diseases etc.

I hope that's clear. I may be using them a bit in future, so you might be wise to bookmark this page for reference.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I am the chosen one. It has fallen to me to lead my people into the promised land - bummer!
To save money, the management have decided to close the Eye Pavilion at the weekends. Patients will be transferred to the Royal Infirmary on Friday afternoon, and return on Monday morning. Only one Ophthalmic nurse will be required for the day and night shifts, as the beds assigned to us are part of the orthopaedic ward, and there are other staff nurses there to cover meal breaks. The starting date for this was 11th December 2006...only...nothing was ready. So the date had to be postponed until today...only...we still weren't ready. So the new start date is 26th January. And guess who's been assigned the first shift in the weekend ward? (See the top of this post for the answer.)
We went over on Monday for orientation. We got a smart new RIE ID which allows you electronic access. We got a guided tour round the ward, so I've got a rough idea where things are. The orthopaedic staff are looking forward to us coming. They were decanted here many moons ago when the PMR* closed, so they know what we're about to go through.
For the first month though, there's going to be two of us on duty, just to get everything settled in. Although some plans have been made, it's going to be very much a make it up as you go along affair. We won't know the problems until they hit us, and then we'll have to solve them.
What's worse, is that we're in the middle of renovations, this month, so everything's upside down as it is, and now we're adding this move on top!
Change is good. Change is good. Change is... if I say it often enough I might start to believe it. More of this anon. I'm on annual leave now for a week, and it's my birthday on Wednesday. I shall gather my strength before the approaching storm.

*PMR - Princess Margaret Rose Hospital. A now closed orthopaedic hospital in South Edinburgh.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

We're all Jock Tamson's blogs

Most of the blogs in my favourites list are American. It's only natural, as they've had more time to grow, and because they're bigger they tend to show up first in searches. I've found myself to be the lone Scottish voice in the comments. Surely there must be other bloggers in Scotland? Of course there are. I've found a website that lists over 700 of them. It's www.scottishblogs.co.uk and I've just added this blog to the list.
I've also found out my Technorati rating. In the last month, I've jumped about 300,000 places up to 470,724. That puts me in the top half million, though I suspect that getting into the top 100,000 will be much more difficult. Nevertheless, it gives me something to aim for.


Spocko has posted the fairytale below on his blog, thanks to Interrobang. Have a look. We're in the middle of a blogswarm folks, and it'll be interesting to see how things fall out. This is the second time that Disney/ABC have fallen foul of the Blogosphere. In September they screened that misleading film about 9/11. Now they've been found to be sponsoring hate radio. That's two strikes. A third strike would be very bad for them indeed.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The search for Spocko

There is such a thing as a happy ending. Spocko is back online!


I've now recovered from whatever it was zonked me on Thursday, so I'll be returning to work tomorrow for the big move. The ward is getting a new shower room installed, so we're having to decamp to other parts of the building for the whole of January. (sigh) We last did this two years ago, when the kitchen was refitted, and it's not a whole lot of fun. The Inpatients will be dossing down on the Assessments floor, and the Daycases will be operating out of the conference room on the middle floor. Luckily, for me, I'm going on holiday next week. Holiday? In January? Who takes a holiday in January? Well I made a decision years ago to always take the third week in January off, so that I would never again have to work on my birthday, which falls on the 17th. We're going to see my sister who lives down south.
Yesterday's post about the hate radio in San Francisco, and the attempts by King Mouse to silence Spocko has been name-checked by Interrobang. Go and check it out. There's links to other blogs covering the story.
I think Disney are learning an important lesson here : You can't censor the Internet!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Spocko and the Mouse-King - A true fairytale

Once upon a time, in a far off land, there lived a little blogger called Spocko. Now where Spocko lived, there was a radio station which was owned by the Mouse-King. And on this radio station were three bad rats called Mel, Lee, and Tom, who enjoyed saying naughty things about people they didn't like. One of them was even the princess of the land and Mel was heard talking about assassinating her!
Spocko got very angry when he heard this, so he recorded what these bad rats said, and put it on his blog. He also told the station's advertisers what they were saying, and they started to withdraw their advertisements from the station.
When the Mouse-King found out what Spocko was doing, he became very angry indeed! His minions sent a decree to Spocko's landlord, and Spocko was summarily evicted!
Poor Spocko. There is no happy ending - yet. He is still homeless. But he has been found by a friendly giant called Markos, who has shouted out Spocko's story with his great big voice, across the sea for me to hear and post it for you to read.
There may yet be a happy ending, because the story is still unfolding.
Click here to find out more.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Medblog awards

(sigh) Still laid low with the lurgy, but for all you lovers of medical blogs, the Medblog awards are up and running at Medgadget. Three of my favourite blogs are running for best medical blog, and two of them are in the lead. They are Emergiblog, and NHS Blog Doctor. Respectful Insolence is way behind with the rest of the field. Now that's two doctors versus one nurse, so guess which way I'm going in a totally unbiased and non-partisan manner? That's right, I'm going for nursing solidarity over Queen and country. So go Emergiblog!
If you want good reasons to vote for her, here they are:
It's a good blog, with interesting posts.
It's where Change of Shift, the nursing carnival started.
Her blogroll is all-inclusive.
She's currently in second place, so go and give her your support.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Sick day

Today I'm having a sick day. The bug that's been laying low my colleagues finally hit me at noon yesterday. One minute I'm busy at the nurse's station organising chest x-rays, ENT visit, social work referral and lift repair, the next I'm coughing sandpaper, and someone's replaced my legs with jelly.
I managed to struggle (heroically - if anyone from the Eye Pavilion is reading this) through to 7pm when Lynne of the night shift arrived, and I was able to hand over to her and flee the building. Until then, I was in the unusual situation of being able to organise my sick day - writing a red S over my shift on the off duty, and the work rota.
So today I feel generally grody, and I'm just hoping it doesn't get any worse. I don't do sick very well.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year. How would you like to work in a ward like this? This is the state of the art Acute Referral Unit in one of Britain's most prestigious Naval facilities. Notice the elevated positioning of the beds, to protect the staff from back strain. Notice the compactness of the area, with all equipment within easy reaching distance. It's also well ventilated to provide patients with much needed fresh air.
I can sense your excitement and eagerness to work in such a therapeutic environment. Alas, I must inform you that this particular ward is no longer a functioning clinical area.
It is the sickbay of HMS Victory, Nelson's flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, which now stands in a dry dock in Portsmouth Naval Base. I visited it this summer, and took this picture. The function of the hammocks is now obvious, now you know it's on a ship.