Friday, August 3, 2012

ED Nurse Retirement Dinner - Then Stopped by a Cop

Ha ha! WTF wine - one of the gifts for an ER nurse who was retiring. :)

And another nurse read a clever/funny poem that she had composed and framed that morning. It was about M's career working as an ER nurse and retirement. She read it out loud before giving it to her. One of the lines said something like, "Now you can answer your phone when it rings." Ha ha! :)

M is an excellent nurse and one of the nicest people I have ever met. In my 20 years working there, I never heard even one negative comment about her. Nary a one. :) That is a testimony to her character, work ethic and friendly personality. She will be missed for sure. She was also the longest working nurse in the local facility, but certainly looks younger than her years. And when I think of her, I think of her warm smile, upbeat personality and fabulous sense of humor ..among other things and it was a pleasure to have worked with her.

It was great getting together with my former coworkers. LOTS of laughter - of course with this group of people. :) And also some serious conversations when discussing all the cuts and changes to the hospital. Very sad. It is not at all how I knew the hospital. They even said, "SeaSpray wouldn't like it there anymore. It's like a tomb."

(I actually wrote a lot more about working there and the current state of the hospital, but have put it into my drafts for another post.)

We also took a lot of pictures. I was sitting next to one of the private attendings ... a very gracious man. He is Chinese and speaks rapidly with a strong accent.

Dr X was the only doctor there with all us women. I know all the docs like this nurse and would've been there if they could have. But, on a summer, Saturday night - short notice, it isn't easy to get people together.

Anyway, I said:

Dr X, it's so nice of you to be here for M."

"I had to get away from the women in my house."

Oh? What women?

"My WIFE!"

Hahaha! With his accent and delivery - it was so funny. he was always so quiet and I had no idea he had a sense of humor! He was funny all night. Another table was singing in Greek. When they finished, he applauded when they did then we all joined him. He then suggested we sing in Chinese. LOL!

After it was down to five of us, we moved in closer together and just hung out ..talking and laughing until we cried. :) And M opened her WTF wine to share with us. I didn't order any drinks with the meal since I was driving, but admittedly curiosity got the best of me and I had to know what WTF wine tasted like. Alcohol goes right to my head. I guess that's because I hardly drink. I'm really not sure why ...but I instantly feel the 2nd and third sips of any alcoholic drink. I also get flushed with wine. Again ...not sure why. All alcohol causes me to feel warm, but wine effects me even more. She was being quite generous as she poured it into my glass and I tried to stop her from filling it so high and so maybe it was only a third of a glass. I know most people easily would've drank a larger amount, but I was concerned about driving. And sure enough went to my head. But, we stayed and talked for another 45 minutes or so and I felt fine by the time I left.

It was a warm night and so I opened the sunroof, all the windows and turned the music on. I was lost in happy thoughts about the evening with my former coworkers ...when I caught myself doing over 50 just as I saw the sign for 35 mph for people going into town. Whoaaaa! I instantly slowed down ...hoped no police around. No lights flashing ...all was well. I again became lost in thought. The only thing I remember from that point was rounding the corner at the traffic light. The next thing I remember is red and blue flashing lights behind me... which always puts the fear of GOD into me ...even when they aren't for me. But ...tonight ...I had just had WINE to drink. WTF? ...WINE! I've never been stopped after having any alcohol to drink - ever.

Anyway ...I hoped that when I pulled over ...he would be chasing down someone else ...Oh PLEASE OH PLEASE Oh PLEASE!


He pulled over behind me.

I was admittedly really concerned ...SCARED actually because of the wine ...which really was not much at all. I mean ...I am always concerned if I am stopped which hasn't been for awhile now.

I'm one of those people looking over my shoulders if I remove PILLOW TAGS. But ...police cars always unnerve me... especially when I am stopped. Which hasn't been all that much ...but still.

The first thing I regretted was that I no longer had the hospital parking ID on my mirror or that I could no longer work in that I was leaving the hospital, working at the hospital in emergency department, etc. I have found that I get a pass when police hear I worked in ED registration. I'd like to think it was my charming personality ;) ...but I'm pretty certain it was my affiliation with working at the hospital and more specifically with the emergency department because the police all come in at some point and we help them with whatever they need from us... and just the hospital - police connection. As a professional courtesy - they wave the ticket. That is my take on it anyway.

My mind was going lightening fast with what I could've done wrong. ? I really didn't know. Because ...I didn't see him chasing me as I rounded the corner at the light. Then again ...I was absorbed in thought... listening to music and enjoying the drive home. I didn't notice his flashing lights until a couple blocks past the light.

Anyway ...those spot lights are soooo BRIGHT! I would've put my sunglasses on ...except i didn't want him to know I was driving with them at night. "Oh no! Did he see me driving with sunglasses?" That was because it was SUNNY when I drove to the restaurant and didn't think about switching glasses. OOPS!

I turned the music off, got my insurance and registration cards out of the glove department. Then prayed it would go well.

Finally ...he came over to my passenger window, leaned in... shining his flash light into my face. (I hate that.)

Hi ... what did I do?

"You were doing 50 in a 35."

Ugh! I'm sorry. I saw the sign and thought I slowed down, but I must've picked it up again?

"They redid the road there and people don't realize they're speeding."

And my car has a really smooth ride.

"So, where were you coming from?"

Again remembering the wine and hoping it wouldn't be a concern. I didn't think it was, but what if I wasn't talking as normally as I thought I was? Initially, I didn't want to say where I had been ...because I didn't want to give him the idea that I may've had alcohol and I know I was probably being silly ...but I was concerned.

However ... acting as cool as a cucumber that point ...I said, "Oh I just left a retirement dinner for an ER nurse at such and such restaurant."

"Are you a nurse?"

No, but I worked in ER registration with them for 20 years ...although I don't work there now.

"What hospital?"

Such and such hospital.

"Okay ...can I see your insurance and registration, please."

I handed it over to him.

"This insurance card is expired."

What? I thought the new card was in there! I actually PAID it 2 weeks early ...on line ..and I guess I forgot to put it in there. I'm sorry about that, but the car is insured. (I also know that they check that before they even get out of their car.)

"Can I see your license?"


I grab my wallet, open it up ..and the license wasn't in it's usual place ...front and center right under the clear plastic for instant display and access.

N-O-W-W-W I was beginning to do an internal PANIC!!!

"I ALWAYS have my license with me and it is ALWAYS in this spot! I must've pulled it out for SOMETHING and not put it back! I know it's here ..just must be in my pocketbook SOMEWHERE?!

And N-O-W-W-W I was beginning to feel like I was doing an internal Barney Fife (that I hoped wasn't showing outwardly) when he got all nervous and twitchy on "Mayberry RFD" when something was going wrong. I felt like time had stopped and it was torturous at this point and he is gonna throw the book at me! I couldn't believe this was happening ..speeding, expired insurance card AND NOW ...DRIVING WITHOUT A LICENSE?!!!! SERIOUSLY?!

Then in abject desperation, fear and embarrassment ...I repeated myself stating I know it is in here (At this point I was HOPING it was in there ...somewhere...Please God ...let it be here!), and looked through everything again- this time also emptying my wallet ...and lo and behold was behind the last thing I removed! I had placed a paper with a number I had written down ...under the platic and over my license! I thought that had been behind my license.

"HERE it is!", I exclaimed as I eagerly handed it over to him.

He checked it, handed it back to me and then said, "I'm letting you go with a warning. Just watch your speed when you drive through there."

I will.

And then with a smile of MAJOR relief and appreciation, "THANK YOU Very MUCH! And I know exactly where my renewal insurance card is. I didn't even open the packet because I had paid it on line. I'll put it in the car as soon as I get home! Have a good night!"

As soon as I got home, I did just as I said I would and put the current insurance card in the glove compartment.

I also think I got the break because of a professional courtesy. And maybe a little because I was polite and didn't try to get out of anything. AND ...last but not least, God may have nudged him to give me a break... or THREE.

I was one fortunate SeaSpray that night and I do appreciate it.

Also ..this is not an excuse, but an observation. The car I drive now really does have an incredibly smooth ride smooth that sometimes it feels like I'm just gliding across the road and when I become aware of it, I am mindful to check my speed.

Now more thing happened earlier that day - just before I went to the dinner. I drove over to Bed, Bath and Beyond to buy a gift for the bridal shower I was going to the next morning. It was about a half hour away. I could not believe it when I realized right after I parked in front of the store, that I left my wallet home. My money was in that wallet and my LICENSE! Thankfully I was not stopped by a cop then! I had to drive back home and then back to the store and then to the dinner ...which is why I had sunglasses on. All that driving in the sun, I never even thought about night driving and needing to go home to get my regular glasses.

Anyway, by the time I got home for the night ...I really would've appreciated mellowing out with a glass of WTF wine. I'm just sayin. :)

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