blogger hit counter
Diary of a Trauma Nurse
Custom Search

About Me

My name is Cory. I am a mom, a wife, a NaNa, and a critical care nurse that lives in Nashville, TN. I have found my calling in ER/Trauma/ICU. Each day I find myself experiencing life changing events and hope that by reading my posts, you will experience and feel some of what I do. If you read nothing else, please take time to read "The Hardest Question Ever Asked". It's my very first posting. And if for some reason you think you see your story don't. It's not about you or anyone you know. =)


May 2006
June 2006
August 2006
September 2006
December 2006
January 2007
May 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
August 2008
September 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
May 2010
July 2010
August 2010
October 2010
November 2011
May 2012
August 2014
December 2014
June 2015

Places to Go

Nursing Wiki
Am Assoc Critical Care Nurses

Nursing Blogs

A Day In The Life Of An Ambulance Driver
Adventures In Nursing
Adventures Of GuitarGirl RN
All Kids and No Play
Backboards and Bandaids
Disappearing John RN
Emergency-Room Nurse
Head Nurse
Not A Wanna B A Gonna B
Nurse Ratcheds Place
Weird Nursing Tales

Doctor Blogs

A Happy Hospitalist
Adventures In Medicine
Doctor Anonymous
Fat Doctor
Kevin MD
OB/GYN Kenobi


Kathys Lifes Journey

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My little thought for the day…….

While talking to a very special friend of mine today, he told me something that really touched my heart. He said “you always know just the right things to say.” I thought about that long and hard this evening and I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t always know what to say although I would like to think I do. =) I realized that the reason it appears to him that I always have the right things to say is because I listen to what he has to say and I then respond to what he has said.

So often we take for granted friends and loved ones talking to us and don’t really “hear” what they have to say. We may listen, but not actually hear them. There IS a difference. Let’s remember that each time we talk to them could very well be the last time we’ll ever get to talk to them, and then let's really hear what they have to say! And then REALLY share with them what we think and feel. It’s a good feeling to make someone else feel good with words. A very good feeling.

"HEAR" Don't just Listen

CoryTraumaRN posted today at 1:03 AM

(4) comments




- 1 out of every 10 people in North Georgia uses meth.
- 50% first-time meth users will become instantly addicted.
- 90% second-time meth users will become instantly addicted.
- 75-80% of Fannin-Copper Basin law and court cases involve meth.*
- 78% of Fannin-Copper Basin DFCS cases involve meth.*
- Reported meth user age range is now between 9 and 76 years old.
- Some Fannin-Copper Basin babies are being born addicted to meth.
- Every pound of meth "cooked" = 5-6 pounds of toxic waste.
- It costs $5,000 - $150,000 of your tax dollars to clean up a meth lab.
- Chemicals from dump sites contaminate water supplies, kill livestock, destroy national forest lands, and render areas uninhabitable.
- When given the choice between going to drug court and keeping their children, or going to jail and losing them, METH ADDICTS ARE CHOOSING JAIL.
- Fannin County is #1 of all Georgia counties for having the highest number of children removed from their homes and placed in foster care, group homes, or adoption BECAUSE OF METH.*
- 38% (21 children) of Fannin County's children who have been taken from their homes have had to be placed in OTHER county group homes because we don't have enough foster or adoptive parents in Fannin to care for these children.*
- 174 meth labs seized in Georgia in 2004
- Georgia meth arrests increased 132% from 2001-2005
- Georgia meth prison admissions increased 96% from 2001-2005
- More than 12.3 Million Americans age 12 and older have tried meth at least once

*Statistics fluctuate week-to-week.
**Statistics from the Georgia Statistical Analysis Center/Agency of Criminal Justice Coordinating Council



Methamphetamine is a synthetic (manufactured as opposed to being produced naturally) drug that can be "cooked" in home labs or easily purchased. Meth is made out of ingredients such as:


Battery acid

Coleman fuel

Red Devil Lye

Hydrochloric acid

Anhydrous ammonia

Toluene (sulphuric acid)

Muriatic acid (brick cleaner)

Drain cleaner (sulphuric acid)

Acetone (fingernail polish remover)

Red phosphorus (match strike pads)

Methamphetamine is an extremely addictive drug that causes significant brain damage. Meth is much more toxic to brain cells than cocaine. It is a potent central nervous system stimulant. Meth use kills brain cells and they never regenerate.

Meth can be smoked, snorted, injected, or taken orally, however, the most frequent method of use is smoking. In addition to being addicted to methamphetamine, users who inject the drug become even more addicted to the needles they use. In large doses, unlike cocaine, meth metabolizes slowly in the body. Up to three days (72 hours) are required to eliminate a single dose.

The "high" it produces is the result of a surge of a chemical called dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, the chemical that communicates a message from one brain cell to another. A normal brain creates 16 units of dopamine. A meth-user's brain creates 10 times that normal dose. The meth "high" can last for days, causing extreme mood swings, decreased or no appetite, anxiety, paranoia, aggression, incessant talking, jerky or hyper movements, irritability, extreme nervousness, hypothermia, and convulsions.

This is what meth does to a person. You age. You have scabs and scars from
digging at the imaginary bugs on your skin. Your teeth decay and fall out. You
like the hell you're living in.


Meth causes accelerated heart-rate, elevated blood pressure, and can cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain. Meth residue leaves actual pieces of glass in the brain that cause tearing and leave holes in the brain. It also causes respiratory disorders, dizziness, tooth grinding, impaired speech, dry and itchy skin, acne, skin sores (also known as "crank bugs"), numbness, and sweating.

Meth takes away the central brain's ability to control other parts of the brain that used to be connected to it. That means that a meth user no longer has control over their moods and emotions. The ability to feel joy is no longer there. You have personality changes, you are paranoid, you are irritable and grouchy. You can't eat or sleep. You have panic attacks that go on for days. Cravings control your life. You have twitches and tremors and muscle spasms that in some documented cases, NEVER GO AWAY.

And when the "high" wears off and you begin to "crash", it is intensely painful and lasts a lot longer than the high. The only thing that relieves the anguish of the crash is another high.


Because of various production methods, varying degrees of skill of the lab operator, and different chemicals used to manufacture meth, the finished product varies in color and texture. Pure methamphetamine is most commonly a shade of tan or white. Crystal meth, most commonly called glass or ice because of its appearance, is a colorless, odorless, large-crystal form of d-methamphetamine. Ice is most often produced by slowly re-crystallizing powder meth from a solvent such as methanol, ethanol, isopropanol, or acetone. Ice typically is smoked, using tin foil, empty soda bottles, or light bulbs which are heated to produce the smoke that is inhaled from the crystals.


Meth is sold in "baggies", "eightballs", and "teeners". Reports also indicate that young girls and women are trading their bodies for meth.
"Baggie" 1/4 gram $20-$25

2 gram $40-$50

1 gram

"Teener" 1/16 oz. $80-$100
"Eightball" 1/8 oz. $225-$350

2 oz. $500-600



ICE, GLASS, CRYSTAL, speed, lith,crank, chalk, meth, fire, batu, crypto, quartz, trash, wash, spackle

Cook, chef, or chemist :

a person who manufactures meth

Craters :

the skin sores on meth users

The "High":

tweeked, wired, cranked, fried, lit, ripped, speeding

Usage :

slamming (injecting)

hot railing (inhaling heated meth from a glass table)

Tools for injecting meth :

syringes, spoons, lighters, bandanas, belts or surgical tubing used to constrict the vein

Tools for smoking meth :

mini torch lighters, ink pen casing, glass pipes, pop cans, light bulbs, mini glass vases, rolled up dollar bills, pipes, pieces of glass/mirrors


Doctors, lawyers, grandmas, middle-school kids, soccer moms, truck drivers, college students, cashiers, grandpas, homecoming queens, business dads, football players, church members, straight-A high school students,...shy, outgoing, rich, poor, successful, down-and-out, white, black, yellow, red...Meth doesn't care who you are, where you live, how old or young, who your parents are, who or what you know. If you're rich, you'll just buy more dope. If you're poor, you'll steal to buy that next hit. Meth users have one thing in common: they're all people who are hurting, for one reason or another, and are looking for something to make the pain go away.



For families dealing with a loved one addicted to meth, please visit Prisoners of Meth. You'll find information about the book "Prisoners of Meth" by Jesse Hambrick, of the Douglas County, GA sheriff's office. Jesse is one of the country's leading authorities on the use and production of meth, and has worked with countless community leaders to stop the spread of meth.


CoryTraumaRN posted today at 12:02 AM

(4) comments

Thursday, April 09, 2009

One Day All Babies Will Be Born Healthy.............

I am very grateful for my very precious and healthy grandson and I am not too proud to ask for sponsors to help me raise money for this very worthy cause. If you are interested in walking or donating, my personal March for Babies website is:

CoryTraumaRN posted today at 9:02 PM

(0) comments

Sunday, April 05, 2009


Thanks for all the great comments! Keep reading and leaving those great comments. Those are inspiration for keeping me sharing my stories!!!

I love you all!

CoryTraumaRN posted today at 11:09 PM

(0) comments

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Homeless Thomas

If there ever was a trauma patient that touched my life, it was a homeless man named Thomas. I was working step down one day and when I came in to get report, I noticed my first patient kicking, screaming, writhing on the bed, looking like a trapped, wild animal.

"What's up with that" I asked the nurse giving me report? "His haldol has worn off. He's due for more" she said. The night shift nurse offered to "pop" him one more time before she left but I wanted to get a good neuro assessment before putting him back out. "If that was even possible" I thought to myself with a sigh.

I started with my "easier patient" who was on a ventilator and on sedation so I could get a quick assessment and chart it later as there was no telling how long I would be in with "jumping, screaming, kicking, frustrating, test-me-to-my-limits Thomas." Ok, so I've prejudged him. How many of us do that? Yes, we all do at one time or another. Well, this is one time that it kicked me in my butt!

I proceeded to go ahead and draw up my IV Haldol before going in to the room. I seriously doubted I would be able to even get close enough to him to assess him without being strangled by my own stethoscope or kicked in the head or head butted for that matter. As I walked in Thomas noticed the syringe in my hand and he started yelling at me not to give it to him. He was yelling that we were all crazy and trying to kill him. (How often have we heard THAT?) From crazy patients of course. I assured him in my monotone voice that I was not there to kill him, only to calm him down and I wanted to help him. I really did too but I'd gotten a detailed report from the night nurse that he gave her nothing but problems when he was awake, that he was combative, dangerous, etc.

I made a deal with Thomas. If he stopped yelling and calling me crazy, I wouldn't give him the shot (yet!) He wanted me to untie his hands and his feet as well. Ummmm, yeah right! Like THAT is going to happen!!!! We talked for a little longer and I agreed that if he quit kicking and didn't yell anymore I would untie his feet but only if he didn't try to get out of bed. He had been hit by a car and had some pretty severe wounds we were doing frequent dressing changes on, not to mention him desaturating when he would exert himself.

So, after about an hour of sitting with Thomas and talking about the crazy medical staff that worked nights (his words, not mine) hehe, and getting his 02 sats up in the mid 90s, I agreed to take off one wrist restraint. He explained to me how he felt that he was treated like an animal because he was homeless. That made me feel about 2" tall.

I explained to him that I had meds to give to my other patient and that if he would work with me, we could get him totally out of bed, showered, and possibly up in a chair if he didn't act like the crazy man he was acting like when I came in that morning. (He chuckled at that) but agreed. At this time, I had one arm restrained at which any time he could have reached over and removed it with his other hand. But we had an agreement and we were showing one another mututal respect. Wow.

By the time I had spent 8 - 9 hours with my two patients (thank God my second one was on a vent) I had learned a lot. Thomas taught me that his feelings are just as important as mine. His need for respect is just as important as the President's. He falls in love too. He has family the he worries about too. He has pets that he loves just like I do. He taught me that just because someone lives on the street doesn't mean that they don't hurt inside. He taught me if I want to ever do something wonderful for a homeless person, give them a new pair of socks or a pair of gloves. I have never forgotten that.

Thomas kept a book with him that someone had given him sometime before. It is:

Before I left for home that evening, I went in to see him sitting up in his chair, freshly bathed and even with a new haircut (I would do that sometimes when I had the time which was rare.) Imagine the night nurse's SHOCK when SHE came in!!! ha/ha! (BTW..... the haldol had been d/c'd thank you very much.) (I know, night nurses hate day shift nurses like me!)

Anyway, He handed me his book that someone had given him. And on the inside cover he inscribed it. I was prepared to but I have chosen not to print the inscription here because for some reason, I feel it would take away from it's meaning. I don't know if that makes sense, but in rereading it right now, it is very personal and very special. The fact that he gave me his book, The Meaning of Life has changed the way I look at people, places and situations in my life.

Thank you Thomas.

CoryTraumaRN posted today at 10:11 PM

(6) comments
Do You Know Where YOUR Kids Are?

I was in charge on the night shift when I got the page from our resident in the E.R. We were getting a Level I Trauma: A 16 year old female that had been in a roll-over MVA, 1 of 3 passengers, 2 dead at the scene, also female, also 16 years old. It was 3:00 a.m. and I’m wondering “where are the parents” and what were these girls doing out this late?

As she rolls through the doors with CPR in progress and our team starts to work on her, I notice an officer accompanied the ER staff bringing her up. “Does she have any family with her” I asked? I was told that when the officer called the girls house a few minutes before, he was yelled at by the father and told he had the wrong phone number, then hung up on. An officer was on the way to the address that was on the girl’s identification but in the mean time I told him I would gladly call the house back.

When I called, I was wondering what exactly I would say to the father if he yelled at me for disturbing his sleep but the mother answered instead. I told her I was a trauma nurse calling from a Level I Trauma Center and that we had who we believed to be her daughter in very critical condition. She told me I was mistaken because her daughter was asleep upstairs. I then asked her if she could give me her daughter’s name as I got their phone number from some information from this patient’s belongings. She told me her name was Sophia Smith. I then asked if her birthdate was April the 8th 1989. She said yes and I heard her tell her husband to go upstairs to check on Sophia with a now shaking voice.

I explained that we had sent an officer over to their house to bring them to the hospital if in fact it was their daughter we had. At that time, over the phone I heard the doorbell ring and about the same time her husband must have found the bed empty upstairs because I heard crying and commotion on the other end with no response to my questions.

Sophia did not survive her injuries. Soon after when her parents arrived, we found out that Sophia as well as her other two friends had all snuck out of their houses.
I often wonder if that father ever asks himself if he’d gotten up with the first phone call if he would have seen his daughter alive one more time. I ask myself the same thing.
I might get chastised for this one but parents……KNOW WHERE YOUR KIDS ARE!!!!!

CoryTraumaRN posted today at 9:14 PM

(6) comments