Thursday, May 5, 2016

Keep Those Bedside Cut Flowers Vibrant

A nice bouquet of cut flowers was a pleasant bedside diversion for the frequently long hospitalizations of yesteryear. Decades ago bedside flowers were a very common occurrence. We used to stack them on top of  Gomco suction machines which had a perfectly sized flat surface for this purpose. I used to love viewing the beautiful, fragrant  flowers perched over a huge glass bottle filled with offensive, purulent drainage on the suction machine. It was the hospital version of Yin and Yang.

Care of the cut flowers was frequently  in the hands of nursing staff and with lengthy hospitalizations it was important to preserve them as long as possible. From the Old Fool RN whippersnapper enlightenment institute I am going to reveal an old time trick that really preserved those beautiful bouquets. This may sound whacky,  but much like my Thanksgiving autoclave turkey trick, really did work. The proof is in the pudding as they say.

This is a very wise young student nurse. Notice how carefully she is arranging her patient's flowers in that shiny metal vase. That  fancy metal vase is actually a male urinal (before the advent of those abominable plastic ones)  and yes, it's filled with that magical flower preserving liquid, urine. This is a proven technique that really is science based. The urea found in urine contains nitrogen which is a real boon to plants. Urine also keeps those plant stems patent so the nitrogen nutrient in the urea can move up the plant. This is not another one of those cutsie  hacks that nurses confabulate for amusement. It really does work.

I have seen hospital bedside bouquets last for up to a week when their stems are submerged in that golden yellow miracle excrement. Perhaps with the ultra short hospitalizations and outpatient procedures this is not so important but it's always good to keep in mind when you have an extended hospitalization.


  1. LOL!!! I've put flowers in a urinal before, but not one with with urine in it! Clever trick!

  2. PS ~ Happy National Nurses Day!!!

  3. Thanks and a very happy Nurse's Day to you! I once worked with an agency here in Pittsburgh that mailed us posters with the message that our services were valued. When I called them to inquire about my delayed paycheck, they said it was held up because they had to mail out the posters for Nurse's Day!