Kids, when you come to my office with your friends, it is extremely important that you remember which of you had what complaint.
I know that when you come to me during recess (usually the one before your math test), you do not have a note from the teacher telling me what your symptoms are. Generally, if something were hurting you, I'd assume you'd remember what it was. But, silly me, this isn't always the case.
By way of example, 2 of you demonstrated today how it should NOT be done. Faker and her bff Fakess came by today, with Faker complaining of sand in her eye and Fakess complaining that her hand was hurting.
Skool Nerse: "Which hand is it?"
Fakess: "The one I write with."
Skool Nerse: "And that is...?"
Fakess: "Um, did my Mom put it on that card she filled out?"
Skool Nerse: "No."
Fakess: "Okay it's, um, uh, ah, this one?"
Skool Nerse: "That's the hand that hurts? Is that the one you write with?"
Fakess: "Let me think..."
Skool Nerse: "You do that." (turns to Faker) "What's wrong with you?"
Faker: "I have sand in my eye."
Skool Nerse: "Which eye?"
Faker: "This one."
Skool Nerse: (carefully examines eyeball) "Hmm... I don't see any sand, or redness..."
Fakess: "Oh, that's because I'm the one with sand in my eye".
Faker: "Yeah, I forgot. It was her. I hurt my hand, this one."
As you can see, this duo made a number of mistakes that might have been avoided with a little practice beforehand. Therefore, kids, when trying to lie your way out of math tests, please remember that consistency in doing so is the key.
This has been a public service announcement.
Mrs. Grumpy: "Hi, this is Nurse Grumpy, the school nurse at Douglas C. Kenney Elementary School, calling about your daughter, Karen."
Ms. Concern: "Yes?"
Mrs. Grumpy: "She took a bite of a friend's sandwich at lunch, and it had peanuts in it. Karen swelled up really badly, and had trouble breathing. I used one of our emergency EpiPens on her. She's much better now, and resting in my office."
Ms. Concern: "Okay. Do I need to send someone to get her?"
Mrs. Grumpy: "Yeah, but I went looking through her medical forms here. Did you know she's seriously allergic to peanuts?"
Ms. Concern: "Oh, yeah, she's been that way since she was five."
Mrs. Grumpy: "But on the allergy form you filled out just 2 weeks ago you wrote 'no allergies'!"
Ms. Concern: "That's because I don't have time for school paperwork."
Mrs. Grumpy: "Well, it really helps to have an accurate medical history, for when things like this happen."
Ms. Concern: "Her pediatrician knows, and I know. Why does it have to be your business, too?"
Mrs. Grumpy (sigh): "Do you have an EpiPen for her at home?"
Ms. Concern: "Of course. I keep two of them here."
Mrs. Grumpy: "Well can you please bring one to school? So we have it available in case this happens again?"
Ms. Concern: "They both expired years ago."
There are all kinds of ways to fake being sick/injured/dead to try and get sent home from school.
Pretending to have a weird rash that "suddenly came up" before the math test is not a good one.
Especially if you do it by rubbing your face and hands vigorously with Cheetos.
Your neon-orange "rash" washed off pretty damn easily when I took a washcloth to it.
And now you smell like the inside of a vending machine.
Nice try, though.
I encountered quite a few of you last month, as I got suckered into doing the summer vision and hearing screenings at Douglas C. Kenney Elementary School.
This is basically a volunteer job for the nurse involved. The district pays us (literally) minimum wage to be there. The tests are done routinely during the school year, but, trying to be accommodating, they offer them in July, too. So a teenager flipping burgers over the summer is making the same as the nurse checking his vision. I'm not telling you this for sympathy, but rather to make you understand that I'M NOT DOING THIS FOR THE MONEY. I do it because I care about your kids, and (more importantly) because it gives me a few hours away from mine.
Bringing your child in to get his hearing tested is a good thing. Bringing in his 18 siblings, or even just one screaming infant, defeats the entire process. To accurately test Junior it needs to be QUIET.
Since you apparently don't know what that means, here it is: no other kids playing loud video games, an infant screaming because you haven't changed her diaper in 2 weeks, talking loudly on a cell phone about which movie to see with friends later, eating a bag of extra-crunchy Cheetos, or all of the above. Also, you don't need to change the baby in my small office. There's a bathroom across the hall, and we are not testing your kid's sense of smell. Or mine.
Don't tell me it's okay to do any of these things because the front desk girl told you so. She's the chewing-gum-popping daughter of the woman who works there during the school year, and is too busy texting her friends to pay attention to what you're asking. She's not saying yes, just nodding her head in time to whatever song is playing.
If you can't sit in here and be quiet, then go out to the fucking lobby and leave me and your kid in here. I'm not going to molest them. You can check my license online. I've never been in jail, gotten anything worse than a traffic ticket, or coached at Penn State. If this option absolutely, positively doesn't work for you, then GTFO and have your precious child tested during the regular year like everyone else.
Next is the vision issue.
I understand you feel Junior looks cool, cute, or whatever while wearing sunglasses. But he needs to take them off to do vision screening. We are not outside in direct sunlight, and hopefully he isn't in the Witness Protection Program. We are inside, under generic fluorescent bulbs. Wearing sunglasses may work for the top 2 Snellen lines, but not when they get toward the bottom.
Also, I'm sorry the eye chart isn't the one your kid fucking memorized from Wikipedia so she wouldn't have to get glasses. We know these games. As hard as it may be to believe, we school nurses were once kids. And most of us have our own, too.
Finally, I am NOT, in any way, shape, or form, responsible for your child being blind or deaf, or you being stupid. The school district is doing this testing free of charge. They are NOT giving out vouchers for eyeglasses, hearing aids, or doctor visits. If your kid failed the hearing test because you just had to bring his twin siblings and their Game Boys, and now you have to pay to go see a real audiologist, THAT'S NOT MY FAULT.
Don't give me bullshit like "the last nurse passed him," "you didn't set the machine right" or "his sister didn't have a problem." I DON'T CARE. Contrary to popular belief, I do not have some sort of personal vendetta against your child (you, maybe, but I won't hold that against him).
Also, telling me that any problem the test found is my fault doesn't fly. You'd think I'd be shocked that so many of you feel I should personally pay for new glasses/hearing aids because "he didn't have a problem before you did the test," but sadly I'm not surprised at all. And no, I'm not paying for them.
Have a nice day.
As we all know by now, there was a small fire yesterday in Building 7 at Douglas C. Kenney Elementary School. It involved a storage room with some paint and wood. Fortunately, between the sprinklers and the fire department, it was out quickly with only minimal damage.
As your school nurse, responding to the fire alarm is part of my job. After all, someone might be injured. So when the siren went off I grabbed my first aid kit & stethescope, and skeedadled over. I didn't grab my umbrella, which I should have because it was lightly raining.
When I got over to Building 7, with the alarm blaring and smoke coming out of the utility room, I was somewhat surprised to see NOBODY outside, in the orderly lines that you do so well during fire drills.
I was even more surprised to find all students in their room, with teachers, continuing regular lessons (albeit shouting loudly over the alarm).
When you hear the fire alarm, take your students and GO OUTSIDE!!! When I ask teachers WHY THE HELL everyone is still inside, "Because it's raining" IS NOT an acceptable answer. I don't care if the children don't have coats/ponchos/umbrellas. It wasn't even that heavy, for freak's sake.
When I do finally herd your stupid butts outside, telling your kids to stay dry by standing under the wooden overhangs that are connected to the building IS NOT a good idea. You are supposed to get far away from the building, to the corners of the playground.
We practice this damn drill 4 times a year. So when it really happens, WTF can't you carry it out?
Dear Principal Skinner,
I think it's an interesting project idea to have each 4th grade class develop their own identity. Like flags, secret codes, and secret claps. I understand this is a 2 week project, this week with students developing their own "countries" and next week sharing their ideas with other classes.
But I think you could have ended your talk better than with the line "Next week you'll visit other classrooms to share your clap with them."
And you wondered why the teachers in back began snickering.
Since school started after Winter Break last week, kids have been coming by my office to show me their new toys. So many cool things they didn't have when I was a kid.
I think it's absolutely great that so many of you parents gave your kids these new "spy camera" toys that can see in the dark and take pictures around corners and other stuff. It certainly gets their imaginations going. All last week I saw blurry shots of carpet, startled dogs, and sleeping siblings.
But my favorite were the ones I saw of Mrs. Claus wearing a Santa hat while riding St. Nick. Obviously, you guys were so involved that Junior had plenty of time to focus properly and get a few good pics. He also had a 10 second video clip, with sound.
Anyway, since they don't teach you how to handle these situations in school nurse class, I asked him to delete the files and not do that again. I told him to ask you guys if he had any questions about what you were doing. You're his parents, not me.
I also recommend that you guys learn to lock your bedroom door before playing "hide the yule log."
Happy new year!
When I was 5, my family lived in Massachusetts. My dad was a graduate student at the time, my mother was raising 3 kids. Dad worked 2 jobs, AND was an amateur boxer, to support us.
That winter we ran out of money. I didn't have a coat for school, and my parents couldn't afford one. My mom would dress me in multiple layers of her shirts to send me to school.
Somehow, through our church, word got out that there was a little girl who needed a coat. A family out there bought me a brand new one in my size, and donated it through the church.
I still don't know who they are, or how they heard about me. But it was warm, and fit me perfectly, and was my favorite coat EVER. It was still in good shape when I gave it to another family in need. By that time we weren't living in Massachusetts anymore.
Whoever you are who bought me that coat so long ago, thank you. It made all the difference in the world to me. And still does.
Kid walks into my office today, doing some sort of weird I-can't-hold-still dance move.
Nurse Grumpy: "What's up?"
Little kid: "My butt itches!"
Nurse Grumpy: "Have you tried scratching it?"
Kid scratches ass for 10 seconds.
Little kid: "Thanks nurse, that feels much better." (leaves my office).
Gum Queen: "Waddya need?"
Nurse Grumpy: "I need to make an appointment for Craig."
Gum Queen: "Okee dokee li'l smokee, when'ja wanna come back?"
Nurse Grumpy: "Next week works. What do you have then?"
Gum Queen: "We got all day. You pick."
Nurse Grumpy: "Um... How about 8:00 on Wednesday morning?"
Gum Queen: "We don't open till 9:00."
Nurse Grumpy: "Okay, how about 9:00 on Wednesday?"
Gum Queen: "We're closed next Wednesday. Doctor is out."
Nurse Grumpy: "What about Tuesday at 9:00?"
Gum Queen: "On Tuesdays we don't open until noon."
Nurse Grumpy: "Look. What do you have? Tell me when, and we can be here."
Gum Queen: "Whenever you want to come in."
Nurse Grumpy: "I've given you 3 times, and you said I couldn't. So pick a time next week, and I'll bring him in."
Gum Queen: "I don't know when you should. I'm off next week, so it's not like I'm gonna know what's going on anyway."
Nurse Grumpy: "Will someone be here next week?"
Gum Queen: "Schedule says so."
Nurse Grumpy: "I think I'll just call next week."
Gum Queen: "I ain't gonna be here."
Nurse Grumpy: "Yes. Have a nice day."
This is Mrs. Grumpy.
I had a surprisingly quiet day in my office, with only a handful of visitors. So I decided to clean out one of the filing cabinets.
This is not, mind you, a cabinet I've ever put anything in. It's been in the corner of my office since I started this job. According to the school secretary it's been there as long as she can remember. And she's been here a LONG time. And the school dates back around 40 years.
So, the last time anyone actually looked in the cabinet remains a mystery. Basically, I was opening a time capsule.
A lot of it was dusty old records of kids who likely have grandkids by now. But in one drawer I found a pile of coloring books to give to kids, about child safety.
They were from 1972. And have likely been in the drawer since then.
So let's look at a few pages, shall we?
This page is the introduction. Isn't it amazing what you could get away with in 1972? These anglicized, stereotyped Native Americans likely wouldn't make it past a political correctness committee today.
Now this page is great. Yes, kids, that is a PHONE. When Dr. Grumpy and I were young you had to DIAL phone numbers (I know, I'm dating us here). NOT press buttons. NOT hit speed-dial. NOT say "call Buffy" to the phone. There was that BIG round thing on the front, and you had to dial in the digits ALL BY YOURSELF. So next time you hear someone say "dial a number" or "dial tone", you know where the expression came from. And yes, clowns really were that creepy back then. And, for the most part, still are.
This next page, however, is my favorite. In 1972 it was apparently considered normal, and safe, to leave GUNS AND AMMO lying unattended around the house, provided your kids had been told not to touch them. After all, if you tell kids not to do something, they ALWAYS listen and know better then to actually do it. Right?
I hope you've enjoyed this trip down memory lane. If you have young kids, and you're not at home right now, please dial them up to remind them not to play with the guns or let clowns in the house (if clowns are already in the house, then it's better that your kids have access to guns).
Kid: "Nurse, I feel dizzy."
Nurse Grumpy: "When did this start?"
Kid: "A minute ago on the playground. It's better now. I'm not dizzy, 'cause it's gone. But I feel like I might get dizzy again, at any second."
Nurse Grumpy: "What were you doing when this started?"
Kid: "Me and Jamie were spinning around, to make ourselves dizzy."
This is Mrs. Grumpy.
Dear teachers at my school,
I know that the school year is dwindling down, and many of you (not to mention the students) are frothing at the bit to get out. Tempers and sanity tend to get frayed this time of year.
Now, I know kids do a lot of stupid things. My mentally damaged husband actually spent an hour in his high school nurse's office for swallowing a chunk of dry ice (and still hasn't stopped belching, by the way).
There are many good reasons to send a kid to my office. Recently, though, the number of questionable reasons to be sending them has increased. This usually happens this time of year.
So, to be helpful, I'm putting up a list of NOT ACCEPTABLE reasons to send a child to the school nurse. All of these are things I've seen in the last 2 weeks.
1. "Left his lunch box on the school bus."
2. Any student who comes to my office (for the 3rd time in 5 hours, too) with a note that says "Reason for nurse referral: I'm sick of his crap. Talk to him about it."
3. To get a knot out of a shoelace.
4. To show them how to tie shoes.
5. To tell them to tell their mother that she should quit smoking.
6. "He says his butt itches."
7. "Says she's tired of being at school". REALLY! THAT'S WHAT THE TEACHER WROTE!
8. Chews gum.
9. Chews gum too loudly.
10. Swallowed gum.
11. Ate lunch before lunch hour.
12. "Left money at home". I'm a nurse, okay? Not a bank!
So, please limit your referrals to my office to kids who legitimately need health care, and we'll make it through the next few weeks together. Thank you.
Attention Miss Hogtie, the 3rd grade teacher:
I don't mind treating grown-ups for minor injuries, either.
But when you come to me looking for something you can put on rope burns, that are ONLY around your wrists and ankles, AND which we all know occurred during your recent trip to Vegas with your boyfriend, DON'T try to make up some crap about how you had an accident weeding your backyard. We both know what you REALLY did.
Just take the aloe lotion, and spare me the details.
I'd like to tell the unknown persons who broke in and stole a bunch of my school's band's musical instruments last night that you are complete utter worthless asshole scum.
The school is too poor to buy replacements. Those were bought several years ago on a fundraising drive from the band, and have been carefully kept up since then, at teacher and student's personal expense.
I know that in a world of crappy economy, a horrible earthquake in Haiti, wars, and famine, a few instruments in a school for underprivileged children (many of whom live in shelters) are minor compared to the big picture of human suffering.
But to some of the kids here, they were everything.
And I hope you rot in hell
With the school year now a few days old, I spent this morning sorting through the medical cards parents have turned in.
Under allergies, some listed for kids here include:
"sugar, fake sugar, and artificial sugar sweets"
"rubber bands or glue and/or whatever stuff like that"
"no Aspirin, but Aspirin is okay"
"that drug that killed Michael Jackson" (hell, this district doesn't even supply Tylenol)
"that bad kind of paper I read about"
On the line marked "Other medical concerns you'd like us made aware of":
"Don't let him eat Legos again this year, PLEASE!"
"Can I get a copy of the district's swine floo plan?"
"I don't like her getting junk food. Can you make sure she doesn't bring any for lunch" (who's packing her lunches? Not the nurse, you bozo)
"He doesn't like beer or coffee" (on a 2nd grader)
"Please don't make him swallow goldfish. I saw that on TV once."
If he faints in PE, no blood transfusions"
I'm sorry so many of you kids out there suffered injuries during the Martin Luther King holiday, and have required repeated trips to my office since then. I'm sure Reverend King would be flattered to know that you understand his life as "he was that guy who did something and then got killed."
Anyway, since your impression of MLK day (or Veteran's Day, or President's Day, or Columbus Day) is that it was created solely for you to spend it lying on the couch, eating Fruit Loops, and watching Nick, it's amazing to me how many of you suffered sprains. Apparently getting off the couch is trickier than it looks.
So I wanted to publish this guide for your future reference.
1. If you come to the school nurse about a serious injury of some sort to your writing hand or thumbs, DO NOT come in and write me out a detailed note on how you can't use your writing hand. Also, claiming you can't use your thumbs, and then texting your bff while sitting there, doesn't score points (And I get to confiscate your phone, since it's not supposed to be on during school).
2. If you come in more than once for a limb sprain, please try to remember where it was the first time you came in. Switching joints and limbs doesn't give you a lot of credibility. And asking "which one was hurting me last time?" is only going to get you sent back to class.
3. I know when the math quizzes are. Don't think I don't. Your teachers and I do talk.
4. Stop asking for ACE wraps (I know your parents want them). The school hasn't been able to afford them since 1995. Here is what I have: Band-aids and Kleenex. If you're looking for someone to make a miracle cast out of popsicle sticks, duct tape, and Jell-O you can either watch MacGyver or call a Boy Scout.
5. Walking around with a mouthful of hot chocolate to raise your temperature isn't going to get you anywhere. A temperature of > 110° F (43° C) is generally not compatible with life, let alone playing your Nintendo while I'm taking it.
Now get back to class.
Attention little school twits:
If you're going to fake illness/trauma/death to get out early on the last day before Winter Break, here are some tips for next year (since today's attempts failed).
1. Know where your freaking appendix is. Pointing to the left hip is not going to score points. Moving your finger around and trying to get me to say "warmer" or "colder" will not work. I am not stupid.
2. If you come in weekly claiming to have appendicitis, don't even bother to do it today.
3. After I send you back to class, calling your mother (or, better yet, 911) from your cell phone to complain that you're being mistreated and ignored by the school nurse does not help your cause. There is a reason my office is right across from the Principal's, and my door is always open. Everyone can witness what is going on in here. In fact, you aren't supposed to be using your phone during school hours. Now that you did (and for a bullshit reason) it will be confiscated if you bring it back in January. And I don't care whose greatest hits you have on it.
4. If you don't want me showing your Mom my list of all the times you bring your lazy butt in here for a stomach ache (which I write next to what classes and tests you had at those times) then don't tell her to come talk to me about how I'm not caring for you properly.
5. The "fibulia bone" is NOT in your arm (in fact, it doesn't exist, but I assume you can't spell either). So don't tell me you broke it, and hold your arm. Coming in claiming that your left arm is hurting, and favoring your right arm, doesn't help. Neither does limping when you come in for arm pain.
See you in 2 weeks.
School nursing brings you an amazing collection of hypochondriacs, and it gets worse with winter break coming and they get restless. So today, besides the usual collection of snotty noses, stomach aches, and "I can't do PE because..." I had this.
Kid #1: "Somethings wrong with my eyes. I can't read the board today."
Me: "Don't you wear glasses?"
Kid#1: "Yeah, but I left them at home."
Kid #2: "I've had this bump on my little finger since I was five, and it looks the same."
Me: "You're ten now. So why are you here?"
Kid#2: "I wanna know what it is."
I also want to thank the 2 teachers (neither of whom was a sub) who sent these kids to my office during regular class time for these complaints.