Noise Ensemble / She Won't Touch This: the Secret Formula

October 24th, 2021

Warning! Two days worth of incoherent blogging, all in one place. Many many words, probably way too many. Please don't overdo it.

A Riddle

If Howard watches a silly meaningless football game on the television, which of the following would most likely prevent him from enjoying the broadcast?
  1. a nearby asteroid impact
  2. silk pajamas
  3. a phone call regarding my vehicle's expired warranty
  4. ruptured nuptials
  5. a sudden paradigm shift
  6. Roommate Jeff decides to give up on watching the game and decides to watch Burn Notice at full volume on his own viewing device, making it nearly impossible to decipher and decrypt the voices from one another
For some reason I cannot watch one program while listening to two programs simultaneously (not to mention the blaring mega-church televangelist broadcast vying for attention in the background, across the hallway).

So I must be uniquely defective, right?

I ended up donning my protective ear gear, while also activating the closed captioning (for the hearing impaired) feature on the television. So actually, I "read" the football game.


Today's Nurse instructed Today's CNA to attend to my formula bag rinse cycle. CNA's are instructed not to fuss with the tube feeding apparatus, but I don't have a problem with them doing so.

I was explaining the process to Today's CNA, but she seemed especially perplexed. And then left the room without words and without taking action .. never to return. That CNA was all kinds of young and all kinds of shy. Plus, she'd already had a rough go of it with my roommate.. by way of the food tray fling. Perhaps I somehow overwhelmed her.

Minutes later, Today's Emergency Back-up CNA appeared. She wasn't shy at all. Nope. She grabbed the formula bottle and confidently asked, "what next?"

She had energy, pizzaz, and most importantly, replicated Farrah Faucet's famous feathered hairstyle. So as I gave explicit instructions, she leaned into me. "Gosh darn it," I thought to myself, "I still smell like sauteed onions!"

And then instead of rotating the feeding tube pole towards her (for easier viewing), she bent over further, nearly falling on top of me. And the last time somebody fell on top of me (my wife), she managed to relocate my formerly dislocated shoulder. Six months with barely any left arm functionality, then BOOM! Welcome back left arm!

So you know, Today's Emergency Back-up CNA did not fall on top of me. But she was wearing a pleasantly perfumed scent. Something light and airy. Hmmm… maybe it was her deodorant.

And speaking of smells emanating.. Yesterday's CNA had a bottled spray that she used to cover-up a particularly malodorous scent originating from somewhere across the room (Jeff's area). So she squirted away, and within seconds the room was right as rainbows. Very plain looking rainbows. Single tone. Lacking variety and variation.. on account of the Total Vanilla Extract!

"What the f***!?" Jeff spouted off soon after the spraying.

My roommate was clearly displeased. But I encouraged him to embrace the heaven scent, by way of trickery and shenanigans. Eventually he bought in.

A while later I asked the nurse about the scent, where it could be purchased by my preferred-option-to-purchase-things wife. Not knowing, my nurse went off to check with Yesterday's CNA, then surprisingly, came back moments later with the actual bottle.. handing it off to me… "It's yours."

"Well, she really doesn't have to … " I offered.

But it seems as though she did. And now I'll have to dig deeper into my Spanish speaking reserves in order to offer authentic appropriate appreciation. "¡Esta muy bonita!" is likely not appropriate. Nor is "¿Besamos mucho?"

How about "Kayate, por favor!" instead???

Anyway, I almost became nervous as Today's Emergency Back-up CNA leaned against me ever so slightly. Human touch! Woohoo! A weird warm disorienting sensation.

It appeared as though she'd be willing and able to execute the formula feed plan. I was ecstatic, ready to reestablish, ready for just about anything.. just about. Then, without warning, she abandoned me like a three headed poodle. And I subsequently lost all hope. Today's Emergency Back-up CNA took her deodorized scent back to where she came from.

Oh, so you know… guys ARE allowed to make physical contact with me, too! This isn't simply a "Howard only wants women to touch him" thing. There just ain't no dudes here. Except for the psychiatrist. And the guy who runs the cafeteria. Plus, I am all agreeable (if not occasionally confused) when it comes to the LGBQRSTUV thing. It's just that I've got this mental block. I'm not quite able to assemble the letters correctly ordered. Worse yet, every time I do the Hokey-Pokey, another letter gets tacked on the end.

In music, isn't there something similar out there? You know, EADGBE.. utilized for properly tuning a guitar? It's "Every Good Boy Does Fine" .. right?

See, that doesn't sound right either. And now you know why my music sounds all wrong.

So yeah, I'm not trying to be creepy in any particular way. But women are soft, friendly, and caring. Men smell like Old Spice.

This is Why / A Proposal

(boring: nuts and bolts stuff)

As one might imagine, weekends here are far different than weekdays. One of the main reasons involves staffing. Typically, during the working nursing staff are consistently and regularly scheduled. And some nurses must work double shifts due to staffing shortages. So that's nearly 17-hours consecutive hours spent on-duty.. which cannot be easy.

The weekend staff is more often populated by registry nurses. They are in essence, temp employees. Hired guns. Dedicated, yet unfamiliar.

In my estimation, the lack of familiarity sets everything behind schedule. The nurses spend the first 30-minutes or so reviewing the charts with the soon to be off-duty nurse, before tackling the medications. Meds are distributed three times daily. Morning distribution takes about two hours, whereas the afternoon and evening meds take roughly an hour.

Why am I explaining all of this? Because my weekend schedule gets all jazzed up. My initial morning formula feeding changeover should be resolved by 9am. But yesterday it was nearly 11am. Then my afternoon changeover (typically and ideally by 4pm) wasn't until 6pm.. which meant I didn't get my full formula feed by the time the night shift changeout occurred (1130pm).

End of the world? Nope. And this is exactly what I discussed with the Assistant Nursing Director earlier in the week. This issue.

So what I will try to do is get permission for the CNA's (certain one's, the ones who are most competent) to administer formula, and clean the formula bags. They won't be able to handle wound care related actions, but everything else should be above board.

Grand Finale

It's 3am and the bright lights suddenly come on. I pull the sheets up over my face. A woman's voice is mumbling. Jeff grumbles back. She's checking his IV, the one for his bladder/kidney infection. The IV hat was originally and mistakenly intended for me.

Minutes later, she clears out. Yet, the light remains on. Good grief, here we go again.

"Yes?" the soft Jamaican voice queries, having entered the room.

Note: an easy 40% of the staff is from Jamaica. Heavy accents and all.

In a raspy voice, "I need some chocolate milk."

She exits. Then silence.

Then moments later, "We don't have any chocolate milk."

He asks for cranberry juice. She leaves the room.

Minutes later, "We're all out of cranberry juice."

Of course we are.

"How about a cup of ice, and a seperate cup of water? I like to keep them seperate, mix them myself."

Come on people!

She returns. Glory be! One might assume Jeff is now satisfied with his frozen and unfrozen water. But one might be wrong.

"My back itches. Can you rub some cream shit all over me?"

Loud gears grind, his bed shakes, squeeks, and shimmies. After making adjustments, the CNA importantly announces that the bed height is now optimal. Then a pointless conversation ensues:

Which drawer is it in?
Don't know squat.
Is this the right cream?
(additional sounds of fumbling around)
You from Kingston?
Is this it?
I think it's over there in the bottom drawer, beneath bean curd.
(more fumbling around)
I'm ex-Navy, ex-Marine, and a former Ghost Bard. So you don't need no gloves.
How long you sail ship?
Six years.
(100-year-old woman moans loudly)
Two daughters, 16 and 5.
21. I'm good at meth. Next question.
(she laughs out loud)
Funny story about king pins.
Feel good?
Her name was Moniquea.
Hey, your fingers are cold.
Dry skin.
Jamaican prostitutes!
Oh Jeffrey, you are so funny.
Oops, too much.
(I tried, unsuccessfully, to ignore them)
And that's when we brought out the big guns. Artillery. And hey, a little more to the right.
Too much?
Yes, oh my god, right there!
You are so funny!


Hmm… after further review, some of those may be out of sequence.

But by 3:43am, it was over. She was gone. Apparently Jeff drank his water with ice. And the lights went out.

Now, two hours later… I ache all over. Something to do with fewer than five hours of soundless sleeping. Three hours later, I napped. I'm okay.

Take care,


I receive the same frequent phone call about an expired vehicle warranty.

Whats a CNA?

(candy stripers, do they still have those?)

So at 4 am you can whine and get your own Jamaican back rub?

My husband has his hairdresser. He always comes back in a better mood, after LUZ leans over, and does the hair wash.

Heck, I even enjoy that one tremendously. (if only I could in fact see the hairdresser, its been at least two years..)

make sure you somehow sign up for Wash the Hair. And the visiting Podiatrist.

CNA stands for Certified Nursing Assistant.

I remember candy stripers but I think they were more like a volunteer group who brought patients magazines to read and such. (Yeah, wikipedia said they were volunteers.)

CNAs work very hard (most of them) at least in all the hospitals where my Mom was a patient. They were constantly moving.

I loved them all...well except that one who thought she was a physical therapist prescribing moves my Mom should try. Yikes.

Now in "care" homes I think that's a little bit different story...not all of them are nice unfortunately.
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CNA is what they used to call nurses aids. I took the nurses aid class in high school and got certified, but never used it. I wouldn't have had any skills from it except how to make a hospital bed and give sponge baths. Well, maybe there would have been other skills, but it's been so long ago.:lol: We worked in the hospital for a week, and I had to give a sponge bath to patients, and I was very ill at ease, I'm sure I made them uncomfortable.
@Howard, you must be a time bomb ticking by now. The conversation between Jeff and the nurse was entertaining, though it likely wasn't very riveting to you at the time. You made it amusing for us anyway. Thank you for letting us into your day/night. It's a highlight for me.

It makes me wonder what happened to all of Jeff's other roommates. Maybe they blew (time bomb). Let's hope he takes some consideration lessons from you, but it doesn't seem to be in him.
Hi Howard.....I wondered where you had disappeared to.

To be perfectly honest, Jeff sounds like a regular pain in the a..! You may have to give him constant lessons in how to be human. Is he still sleeping during the day? My teeth are on edge just from hearing about him. He also sounds like he has the attention span of a gnat....and trust me, I realize that people get uncomfortable in bed, I've been there myself, but having bright lights on, a back rub and a lot of other attention getting services is a bit much.

A CNA shouldn't be doing your bag....but that's probably all they have around at the weekends, apart form one RN.

Old Spice is a nice smell, at least to an older woman it is. Yes, Rufous is right....a haircut and definitely an appt. with the podiatrist are in order. Did they figure out anything for your overdue bath or dunking? I assume that at least it's cooler in there now. I hope so.

How often do they put you in your chair each day? Well, these questions will definitely tire you out. I read that Alexa is coming to hospital rooms everywhere, so you expect her at some point. The idea is to call the nurse and do any no. of trivial and not so trivial things you want. Of course the nurses station will still ignore even the mighty Alexa. Yours Lenora.
A Head's Up

I'm not writing at the moment because I am in a bad space right now. And anything I'd express would likely be unnecessarily upsetting to others, as I know each of you feels deeply. Just because I am dealing with unresolvable pain doesn't mean you need to suffer along with me. :)

A few positive things happened today.

I may post within hours, or perhaps it will be days. In any case, I appreciate those of you who choose to follow along. Be kind to yourselves.

The roommate situation IS improving.
Sorry things aren't great @ Howard. I know you're doing you're doing your best....and as far as pain goes, I'm an expert.

You know, you don't have to be funny or "up" at all times. Humans just aren't made that way. Feel better. Yours, Lenora.
Things will get better @Howard .... this is a hard leap, but having had the courage to take it, I truly believe you have the courage to maximize its value ...

Here's a hot-off-the-presses-thread regarding the new guidelines for treating and diagnosing ME/CFS .... granted its the UK's NICE Guidelines, but they have weight and bearing here as well.

Here's a link to the PR thread, where members will be evaluating and commenting shortly:


Here's a link to the actual published study:

Myalgic encephalomyelitis (or encephalopathy)/chronic fatigue syndrome: diagnosis and management, OCT 29, 2021

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