honk if you heart nurses

September 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm 5 comments

cbs san francisco photo

the nurses at the local community hospital went on strike last thursday. i couldn’t think of a better way to spend my free time than to join them again in their fight. it was a no-brainer. since college days, i have had a soft spot for nurses. it all started after reading hemingway’s a farewell to arms. but then i digress.

the last time i walked the picket line with the nurses was in 2008. that strike lasted for 10 days. this one was for one day only, but hospital management put the striking nurses in lockout status for five days.

the nurses were protesting increasing cuts in patient care services and reduction in their health care coverage and retiree health benefits.

in response to the strike, scabs were hired from out of state to replace those who walked out of their stations. the hospital found a lot of takers willing to betray their fellow striking nurses. it must be a sign of the times.

i joined the picket line set up at the main entrance of the hospital. catherine barkley was nowhere to be found, but it was fine. i’m no frederic henry, anyway. we lined up at the sidewalks and carried placards that said something like some cuts don’t heal and nurses need health care too. we waved at the passing cars and signaled them to blow their horns to show their support. it really felt good when they actually did and gave us the thumbs up. it was a downer when they ignored us or when they gave us the thumbs down. oh well, it was democracy in action. everybody was free to express his or her own opinion.

the strike was peaceful and the hospital made sure to keep it that way. it hired extra security guards to keep the strikers off its premises. they reminded you of the men in black in the matrix movie. they showed up in a black suit, white shirt, black tie, and dark sunglasses. they certainly looked intimidating with their walkie-talkies. at the sign of trouble, however, they were likely to call the local police rather than confront the strikers. in 2008, when a nurse drove to the hospital’s parking lot to deliver food and drinks to the strikers, the cops were summoned to get her out of the property and to cite her for felony had she refused.

the importance of providing food and drinks to the strikers couldn’t be overlooked. food has a way of connecting people. it dawned on me when i approached the coordinator’s table. i was eyeing a blueberry muffin and was about to grab it when i heard a familiar voice behind me.

“i haven’t seen you before,” she teased. “what floor do you work on?”

i turned around and saw this red-haired nurse as tall as i am. i felt my heart skip a bit. it was a moment frozen in time.

“actually,” i mumbled, “i don’t work here. i came to have my breakfast …er, to support your cause.”

“very well then,” she said with a smile that would lighten up the world. “i appreciate your honesty. get one of those placards and start marching.”

i smiled back and did just what i was told. nurses are like that. they make good commanders-in-chief.

meanwhile, the san jose mercury news reported today that a replacement nurse from out of state committed a “medical error” while administering a dosage of medication leading to her death early saturday morning.

i mean no offense to replacement nurses, but when the striking nurses are allowed back to work on tuesday, the patients should feel much safer. i know i would. won’t you?

Entry filed under: Blogroll, humor. Tags: , , , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ladystapler  |  September 26, 2011 at 4:44 am

    Yey! Thanks for supporting our fellow nurses!

    • 2. plaridel  |  September 26, 2011 at 9:05 am


      it’s been a pleasure. I won’t mind doing it again. 🙂

  • 3. baccarat  |  September 28, 2011 at 1:02 am

    Thanks for that awesome posting. It saved MUCH time 🙂

  • 4. Jay  |  October 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    They deserve this kind of treatment.

    • 5. plaridel  |  October 2, 2011 at 8:24 am


      as things stand, they need all the support they can get.


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