A friend at work used this term yesterday, “giving away the cow.” She was talking about something else completely non-publishing/writing related, and in our delirious, under staffed, over worked, much too late lunch break, as nurses we started giggling like crazy. Thank goodness our patients are semi-sedated or they may have called a staff therapist on us. So all day long we tossed around the phrase, “giving away the cow.” It was our loopy form of therapy, and little titter that got us through an otherwise frustrating thirteen hour day of nursing care.
Since I’m writing a new young adult, SciFi novel and cows play a huge part in it, the phrase, “giving away the cow,” has different meaning for me. So every time someone said “cow,” I would yell back, “abduction,” or “code moo.” I had to explain it, and later in the day someone would yell out, “Code Moo.” And again, I am thankful our patients are semi-sedated, or patients may start to doubt our finely honed nursing state-of-mind, mistaking it for nursing psychosis.
Later in the day, when I was underwhelmed by my dwindling stamina, I received two patients who were under long-term care, which in my end of nursing means they will stay in recovery greater than one hour. This puts me out of commission to receive another patient, what’s worse is that these patients are usually not happy campers, because they are forced to lay on a very uncomfortable gurney, in a semi-lit room, with nothing but me to look at for more than an hour. It just so happened these were special procedure patients who would be with me longer than three hours each . . . boring and uncomfortable to say the least.
With the patients beginning to bicker, and I don’t blame them, I slumped down into my rolly chair and glanced at the clock. Being three nurses short makes for a long, exhausting day. Having bickering patients doesn’t help the cause. So I told one of the other nurses I needed to run to my car, and of course she asked why. I told her I was prepared to give away the cow if it kept my patients occupied. She half-cocked her head, and I told her to just go with it.
Five minutes later I returned with three softcopy versions of my book Be Still. The nurse again cocked her head at me. I handed one book to each of my patients, then gave one to the other nurse and told her to put it away for a rainy day (inside joke, since we finally had rain in Southern California yesterday). I didn’t tell my patients it was my book, just that we had some reading material.
For the next hour those patients were quiet as could be. The other nurse asked if I was giving them the books or taking them back. I thought briefly, “they look to be enjoying it. If I take the books back I can tell them to go and buy it online. Maybe get some sales here.” That’s the profit margin part of me thinking. That would be the proverbial devil on the shoulder whispering into my ear, but my little devil wears wire rimmed glasses, a short sleeve white button up shirt, with clip on bow tie and holds an old calculator that rolls the tape as he pushes the number. Nerdy little profit seeking devil to say the least.
The angel on my shoulder whispers, “eh, just give away the cow.” Of course, when I look at the little angel he is a small cow with a halo, being pulled into the air by a thing green light. That part I blame on the twelfth hour delirium setting in. All-in-all, I let the patients keep the books, and still don’t tell them who I am in relation to the book. After I move them to their perspective destinations, I say my goodbyes and tell them to enjoy their read. As I am getting ready to leave work, one patient calls me over (he’s in a different area for discharge now) and says, “why didn’t you tell me you were the author. I love this book. I hate reading, but this is great stuff. Why are you a nurse? You should be a best seller. I’m going to tell all my friends about your book.” I gave a smile and told him I just wanted him to enjoy his time in recovery, and he said, “I just met a great author. This is the best surgery I ever had.” Then he asked me to sign the book.
I received a text this morning from a night nurse I know who took care of my other patient. She saw the book and told her patient that a recovery nurse wrote that book. They eventually worked out that I was the nurse based off the picture and name. She said he stayed up all night reading, then in the morning when she went to say goodbye, they ended up holding an impromptu book club where they talked about the characters and plot. “He’s requesting you talk to his granddaughter who wants to be a writer,” she texted me.
My reply: I don’t work today
Her reply: Good, then you can come in and meet her.
My reply: Yeah, okay. I don’t even know when she’ll be there
Her reply: he called her this morning. she’ll be in by 10am and wait all day if necessary. So goes the life of a famous author. LOL
Okay, fellow bloggers. I have to go now, because I chose to give away the cow and mostly, because I have to face the paparazzi 🙂 I’m glad I listened to my abducted cow angel.