Free Advice: On Nasty People


Nasty people exist. Everywhere. This, I know for sure..

The human part of me can't help but be bruised by their intentional desire to maim.
The analytical part of me tries to determine their motivation.

Yesterday, I was caring for a critically ill twenty-one year old who had lost a lot of blood. Her condition was stable but guarded. She had just fallen asleep when a group of five visitors arrived. I introduced myself and asked the group if they would consider not waking her. An older blustery a-hole man loudly and aggressively asked "Why???". I responded as nicely as possible with... "because she's had a very hard day and has just gotten to sleep". He said "I'll do what I want - I'm her father". On that note, he stormed into my patient's room and bellowed "Wake up!". He won. Unfortunately, at the expense of his sick daughter.

After 50+ years of living on this planet, I am no psychologist but I have come to the conclusion that nasty people seem to lack self esteem, are not happy people to begin with, need to exert control and many times have various psychiatric and/or substance-abuse issues.

My interaction with this jerk was witnessed by a younger, less experienced nurse who said, "That is exactly why I want to get out of patient care. I'm sick and tired of putting up with people like that". Crudely, (but please don't be too offended) I said without hesitation, ..."Ahhhh, but chances are good, he has a little dick." For real.

I refuse to argue with nasty people.
I've learned early on that it is just not worth it. You cannot win. Especially if you are dealing with nasty people as part of your work.

Nasty people are not thoughtful and many times, their need to exert control brinks on the irrational. The best response to nasty people? No response. Blow them off and walk away. Recognizing that their nastiness is compensation for their 'shortcomings'.

My technique of "shortcoming identification" has worked well for me as it has prevented my carrying the negativity of the exchange into the rest of my day. In my experience, many identified shortcomings have to do with...'Control Issues', 'Anger-management Problems', 'Under-education', 'Fear', 'Substance Abuse Issues', 'Guilt', 'Nutcase issues' or 'Having a little dick'. Enough said.

In situations where it is obvious from the out-set that the nasty person and I will soon "lock horns" and it is in the best interest of the patient and/or my employer that the conversation needs to continue, I have been known to ask a colleague to step in for me, after I have walked away. Nasty people like to perceive that they are getting a lot of attention and are frequently much nicer to their next victim.

There you have it. My assessment of nasty people and how to deal with them. In a nutshell. Hope it helps.

Whatever Lola Wants...


We are training the only grandchild in this family to call me "Lola". I chose the name because I thought it sounded hip, was easy for a kid to pronounce and was the farthest thing from "Grandma" that I could imagine.
They Call Her Lola

Unfortunately, since choosing "Lola" as my granny-moniker, it has come to my attention that any song ever written about a "Lola" depicts her as someone with serious issues...

Initially it was a fun song by The Kinks that I would belt out as a teenager...I had no clue (and neither did my parents) that it was about a guy picking up a transvestite named "Lola" in a's the first verse...

by The Kinks

I met her in a club down in old Soho
Where you drink champagne
It tastes just like Coca Cola, C-O-L-A cola

She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice
She said Lola, L-O-L-A, Lola, L-L-Lola

Well, I'm not the world's most physical guy
But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine
Oh my Lola, L-L-Lola

Then there was the peppy, "Copacabana" by Barry Manilow. Once, a beautiful showgirl, Lola spent her life pining for a lost love...the last verse...

by Barry Manilow

Her name is Lola, she was a showgirl
But that was 30 years ago, when they used to have a show
Now it's a disco, but not for Lola
Still in the dress she used to wear, faded feathers in her hair
She sits there so refined, and drinks herself half-blind
She lost her youth and she lost her Tony
Now she's lost her mind.

OK. Two songs about conflicted people...I can live with that.

But then, the dam burst. When I least expected it...a hauntingly beautiful song heard in a Diet Pepsi commercial recently about yet another "Lola" - a self-absorbed seductress...

Whatever Lola Wants
by Sarah Vaughn
Whatever Lola wants
Lola gets
And little man, little Lola wants you
  Make up your mind to have no regrets
Recline yourself, resign yourself, you're through
I always get what I aim for
And your heart'n soul is what I came for.

Decision-making time. Lola. Should it stay or should it go?

The kid will be talking soon but currently has no idea of what my name is - so it buys me a little time. A friend suggested "Jo-Jo". It's closer to my own name and just as easy for a kid to pronounce...

What do you think?

The Heart Attack Grill


The "Flatliner Fries" are deep fried in pure lard. The burgers are number of coronary artery bypass grafts:patties. They've got your Single, Double, Triple and Quadruple Bypass Burgers loaded with cheese and mayo. It goes without saying that filter-less cigarettes are sold here (as if the absence of a filter at this point would make much of a difference). But, the kicker is...if you weigh-in at over 350 get as many "Single Bypass" burgers as you can eat for free!

The Heart Attack Grill opens in Dallas' West End District on June 1st and it would not be at all surprising to me the owners made money hand over fist. More power to them. We live in a country where free choice is our hallmark and it's not as though the restaurant is trying to deceive anyone. How much more 'in your face' do you have to be than to call yourself a "Heart Attack Grill"?

Public Service Announcement

  • If you plan on eating at The Heart Attack Grill in Dallas and especially if you should be over 350 lbs and/or smoke, be aware that the closest paramedic unit is about 1/4 mile from the restaurant and that Baylor University Medical Center's E.R. is a short 1.6 miles away. The real nurses and doctors there will have you in the Cath Lab before you know it.
  • Carry an aspirin with you. In the event that you should exhibit any signs or symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 and chew the aspirin.
  • Know the Warning Signs of a Heart Attack ...Chest Discomfort, discomfort in other areas of the upper body, shortness of breath,breaking out into a cold sweat, nausea, and/or lightheadedness.
  • And while I'm at it... know the Warning Signs of Stroke ... sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, leg especially on one side of the body.  Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance. Sudden, severe headache. Sudden trouble seeing. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding. Call 911. Don't wait for the symptoms to go away.
Just sayin'. If you're at risk for a Heart're at risk for a Stroke.

Now what bugs me most about this whole concept is not the fact that by knowingly ingesting animals fats and quite possibly topping it off with a smoke keeps me (as a Critical Care Nurse) in business but it's the gender-specific roles of their waitstaff that ticks me off.

The Heart Attack Grill "Nurses" are female. 

Not surprisingly, the restaurant does not offer contact info...potential waitstaff candidates must apply personally to be considered for "Medical Careers".

And do they really have to wear cruel shoes all shift?  

"Doctors" are  male.
And get to wear comfortable shoes.

What's up with that? 

I know it's all about marketing but I still don't have to like it.

Stained Glass Brain


Haley sews her own clothes, holds a PhD in neuro-biology 
and has been known to practice the art of belly-dancing. 
She has a great personality, is warm, pleasant and fun to be around.
So, a stained glass brain would be a cool gift-idea for her... 

An Officer and A Gentleman


Kara Spotswood, Officer Ben Spotswood and Annslee Spotswood
On Friday, May 6th, my eldest step-son, Ben, graduated as Salutatorian (for academic achievement)) from The Regional Police Academy of North Central Texas and is now a 'rookie' with The Duncanville Texas Police Department. WooHoo! We are all so proud of him and if there is one thing that I know for sure... it is that this officer exemplifies the qualities of all that is good in law enforcement.
I've always admired Ben for his honesty, intelligence, integrity, strength of character and compassion as a son, husband and father and now I can't help but imagine just how profoundly he will impact the lives of those who will need him in their darkest moments....

 ... I am confident that those who...
  • need him most, will be in good hands
  •  have violated the law, will be treated respectfully
  • work beside him, will want to emulate him
  • are afraid at night, will sleep more soundly. 
Ben, with Duncanville PD Chief,

What Not To Wear


Princess Eugenie, Prince Andrew, Princess Beatrice
Bless their hearts.

Blame it on their youth.

Blame it on their royal stylists.

Judging by the expressions of all three, it appears as though a princess (or two) has just gotten a royal ass-chewing ... awww, c'mon Prince Andrew, cut them a little slack...

Philip Treacy should be the one taking the heat for this. It was he who designed their hats and here's what he had to say for himself, according to “No, they didn’t tell me [what they wanted] because I’ve known them for a long time and I wanted them to look gorgeous and beautiful. They trusted me to make them. Gorgeous and beautiful can be open to interpretation …"

Just suck it up Philip and admit that you made a mistake. These young ladies trusted you. They are princesses who are just beginning their lives. You made them look like cartoon characters. 

Stephen D. Spotswood 1960-2011


On Friday, April 29th

Steve had been asleep in his 'Barca-lounger' for six days.

Doug and I were on each side of him.

Holding his hands in ours.

We thanked him for his friendship.

We thanked him for adding color to our lives.
We reminisced about the good times we had together.

Doug thanked him for being a good brother. 

And then, without any sign of discomfort, he simply took his last breath.

May he rest in peace.

Paranoid in South America

Anticipating travel to South America was both exciting and scary. Admittedly, reports of muggings, kidnappings and police corruption go...