It’s 90 degrees outside and 45 degrees at the nurse’s station. Now what?
What do you do when it’s hotter than blazes outside and the air conditioning in the hospital is turned north of Anchorage?
My friends, let me let you in on a little secret: I have worked for several years in a portion of the hospital that is routinely 10 to 15 degrees colder than the rest of the building, which, if you know hospitals, is sayin’ somethin’. I have devised ways of keeping warm. Let me show them to you:
1. Layers. It’s never a bad idea to keep a jacket in your locker, especially in the spring and fall. You can also keep wool socks, silk long underwear (it doesn’t show under scrubs!) and a perky little knit hat in there as well. You may be unfashionable for the season, but you’ll be warm.
2. Mini-climates. When things get just too darn cold inside, you can build your own blanket fort under your desk with pillows and bedding you’ve stolen from the supply closet. A very small electric heater can raise the temperature in a confined space to balmy in no time! Just make sure you can hear the call bell under all those bedspreads.
3. Hot packs. Steal a couple from the supply cart. Squish to activate. Place one under each arm and one at the small of your back. Proceed with your duties, albeit with a rather stiff and unbending posture.
4. Hot drinks. Sure, a nice cup of tea can have pleasant localized effects. Have you considered filling one of those big bath basins with hot water from the coffee machine? A nearly-instant hot footbath can take you from shivering to smiling in just a few minutes.
5. Going full caveperson. This is only for experts and those whose thermostats are covered with those little locking grills: When things get just too cold to bear and the engineering guys (who are all uniformly men and therefore warm) are laughing, bring out the big guns. You’ll need furs, pointed sticks and someplace to build a small fire, but the results are inarguable: You’ll be warm.
Don’t forget the marshmallows.
Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Agatha Lellis