Submersed in the culture.

The best way to learn a foreign language is to be submersed in the culture.  You need to order your breakfast, ask where the toilets are, and pay for movie tickets in the native tongue.  Medicine is the same thing.  You can’t dip a toe.  You have to dive in.

closeup

If you’ve never been to nursing school, it’s nothing like college.  This is hard.  You study (yes, even the really smart people who never have to study have to study) like a maniac, then get up at 5 in the morning for rounds.  You take care of actual live human beings and try really hard not to fuck up and hurt them.  You work until you want to cry some days.  You run every time there is a bedpan to empty or a bed to change because you have to prove yourself.  You have to want to succeed and you have to prove it to your instructors and the hospital nursing staff.  You clean up puke without gagging, you do procedures that hurt the patient and you don’t cry.  You suck it up and keep going.  Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning.  Then I remember that drama isn’t going to help me, so I get out my books. 

This piece is called “Waiting Room.”  It is hand embroidery with cotton and linen floss on a scrub smock from the Army hospital where I was born.  This shirt used to be a deep burgundy, but it has seen countless surgeries, lives and death.  This shirt has seen blood and vomit and tears.  It’s been washed too many times to count.  Now I see the blood and the scrubbing and I watch to see how it will change my colors. 

I’m just plain grateful to be a part of medicine.

Crochet Pattern: Stethoscope Cozy

Crochet Stethoscope Cozy

With the original author’s permission, I am posting a crochet version of her knitted stethoscope cozy.  Thanks, Kim!  You can find her on Ravelry hereEdit:  Kim has taken her pattern off the internet due to abuse.  People were making and selling them.  Not cool.  If it isn’t your pattern, you need permission to sell it, even if you made the item. 

I’m celebrating a new start to a new career and I want to share my happiness with all of you.  Stethoscopes are expensive and need protection from skin and hair oils or they break down.  Also, I find that the tubing pinches my neck and pulls my hair like crazy.  Plus, as a lifelong crafter, I was peeing my pants to think of some nursing-related projects to make.

This pattern would make a great gift for heathcare workers who have given great service to your family and/or pets.  (It’s hard to find a way to thank people when they aren’t allowed to accept gifts of monetary value.  When I worked in the laboratory, we weren’t even allowed to take popcorn buckets or boxes of candy at Christmas.  I’m pretty sure most hospital administrators would allow and handmade yarn present.)

Fraternal Twins

Use washable fingering weight yarn!  I used sock yarn.  I have many leftover balls around the house from knitting socks.  For vegans and wool allergies, there are some adorable cotton yarns for babies in fingering weight.   My gauge was 5 sc per inch.  I used a size D (3.25 mm) hook.  Gauge isn’t too critical, but I’d go bigger rather than smaller. 

This is the cheap stethoscope from my husband's old EMT kit.  It's the same size as a Littman, just with a slightly smaller bell.  This cozy should fit most scopes.

Anyway, here it is:

Chain 16 and join to form a ring.  Single crochet in each chain.  Don’t join rounds, just work in a spiral until you’ve reached the desired tubing length, approximately 18 – 20”.

To shape for Y-bifurcation in tubing:
Flatten crocheted tube and place open ring stitch markers on the two edge sc.  (Approximately stitch 1 and 8, but we didn’t keep track while working in a spiral.)  Increase 1 stitch before marker and once stitch after marker by sc twice in same stitch (4 stitches increased.)  Work one row of sc, moving up markers as you work.   Continue increasing in this manner on alternate rows until you have 32  stitches in total.
To finish with a snap: 
Work even until piece measures 2.75 inches from the first increases.  Work several slip stitches to even out your spiral work.  (You don’t want an abrupt end to the single crochet stitches.)  Fasten off and weave in ends.  Sew a snap halfway across the wide end of the tubing.  Since crochet isn’t as elastic as knit, you may need to pop off the bell of the scope to get the cozy in place.
To finish with a button:
Work even until piece measures 2 inches from first increases.  Midway between increases on one side, create a button hole by chaining 1 and skipping one sc.  Work even for another 0.75 inches.  Remove hook and flatten tube again.  Across from your button hole, count over 3 sc to the left as the work is facing you and place an open ring marker.  Work to marker  in sc.  Turn work and sc 6 .  Turn again and work 6 sc.  Work back and forth across these 6 stitches until tab measures 1 inch.  Fasten off and weave in ends.  Sew a button that fits your hole in the center of tab. 
Don’t forget to include washing instructions if this is a gift!  I’m off to play Barbie dress up with my stethoscopes. 
Snap placement

If you have any questions, I’m always here:  alexcateye@msn.com.  Let me know if the directions make sense.