Friday, December 31, 2010

Personal Year-in-Review

I did this the past 2 years so might as well keep it going!

-What was the best thing that happened to me this year? I finally graduated nursing school. I feel like I've been slaving away at it for way longer than two years and I can't even begin to describe how good it feels to be through. I plan on going to graduate school, but I guess I put that in a different category than this degree b/c I will be moving UP in terms of degrees rather than repeating what I've already done for 4 times the amount of tuition.

-What did I do this year that I’m really proud of? Got inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, graduated, and got a job at Duke. I made it a goal during first semester orientation to get into STT so that was a nice pat-on-my-back. I'm also relieved to have a job waiting for me at Duke Hospital; the entire time I was in school I kept telling myself (and others) that's where I'd like to return to, and surprisingly it worked out that way!

-Who did I really help? My gut reaction is to say many of the patients I worked with in clinicals and as a CNA. You can't really be more of a "help" to a person than when you take care of them while they're at their worst. I'd also like to think I helped out some of my nursing school classmates along the way; I tried anyways!

-Who do I need to thank and acknowledge for having been there for me? There are quite a few people that have been there for me...the obvious: my parents, my sisters/brother, Alister, and various relatives. There are also some classmates that have been a huge support to me during the year, especially Lauryn and Erin. Without all of the above I may have completely lost my mind trying to get through this year!

-What are the top three lessons I learned? 1. Hard work really does pay off 2. African American males absolutely LOVE bloodhounds and 3. I can be friends with other females after all

-What increased my happiness and joy this year? The sweet taste of success.

-What’s something I got through that was really tough? I can't wait until I have more unique answers next year, but....nursing school! Clinicals! CNA work! It was also harder than I thought to say good-bye to my grandparents. I didn't get to see them nearly as much as other friends get to see theirs; I guess that's the way it always was even when growing up- but it was still hard to know they weren't going to be around for any more holidays, or to see me graduate, or be around for the birth of more great-grandchildren (Alex, not me).

-What did I avoid that I must pay more attention to in 2011? My waistline. I went through 1 month before my cousin's wedding in which I worked out 45 minutes/day every day and lost a little over 10 pounds. Unfortunately, once the wedding was over I quit working out. My elliptical looks sad and abandoned so I'm thinking we must reunite after the holidays...because this waistline is only getting larger and I'm too superficial for that (not to mention it's also incredibly unhealthy and puts me at higher risk for heart disease and diabetes). I made the jump and joined Weight Watchers this week so maybe that will help also if I can stick to it.
-What character trait did I develop most this year? Compassion for people. I always had it for animals but now I like to think I have a little extra for people too.

-What new people did I meet that are now in my life?  That's a hard one, because I've pretty much spent the past year with the exact same people as the year before, school and otherwise. I definitely got to know some classmates better in addition to some people I've met elsewhere in life...but honestly I cannot think of anyone as I'm writing this. If I do I'll update but for now, I'll just say I got to know several people a bit better and I'm glad I did!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Weight Watchers

Today I joined Weight Watchers. Before anyone shakes their head or makes a laughing noise, I just want to point out that I don't think I'm FAT...however, I have managed to gain 30 pounds since I started nursing school and to be honest I need that to go away! For a while in there I was able to force myself to work out 6 days a week, but no matter how much I exercise something has to be done to control my eating habits (which are out of control).

Don't think my eating habits are too bad? Let me use yesterday as an example; in one day I managed to eat a bowl of cereal, chicken pasta alfredo, 9 oatmeal raisin cookies, 5 Lindor mint truffles, Hershey's chocolate, a HUGE glass of wine, a cup of olives, a chicken leg (yes, cooked), 4 oranges, a grapefruit, a bagel with pumpkin spice cream cheese, and a ginger ale. Yeah, doesn't sound "so" bad but all of that tops out to around 3500 calories. Fail. I'm hoping Weight Watchers will be what helps me get everything under control because I'd really like to be able to fit into all of the nice clothes I have piled in my closet.

We'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Cat's Christmas

For Christmas this year I purchased a scratching "bed" for my cats.

They seemed to enjoy it but while I was unwrapping presents on Christmas Day I thought of them back at home with no paper or tissue to play in. Being the sap that I am, it gave me a twinge of sadness, so I decided to take them my family's leftover wrappings. I dumped the bag of "trash" on the living room floor along with the box that my piano cover came in and the cats have enjoyed it ever since. Although I like seeing them happy, the wrapping paper is going to have to be thrown out when the New Year arrives.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

This morning I awoke to almost 6 inches of snow on the ground, and watched as it continued to pile up throughout the day. I was able to enjoy it with family for a little while before having to get on the road back home. It frustrates me that I have a beast of a car yet I've turned into a huge weenie about driving in crappy weather. I think the fear of being trapped in a wrecked car while suffering massive amounts of pain has completely ruined any fun I used to have when driving. Sigh. I made it home safely without taking anyone else out though and that's all that matters.








Friday, December 24, 2010

Wrapping presents with a cat

This is long, but funny, especially b/c it fits both of my cats to a "T".
Clear large space on table for wrapping present.

1. Go to closet and collect bag in which present is contained, and shut door.
2. Open door and remove cat from closet.
3. Go to cupboard and retrieve rolls of wrapping paper.
4. Go back and remove cat from cupboard.
5. Go to drawer, and collect transparent sticky tape, ribbons, scissors, labels, etc. . .
6. Lay out presents and wrapping materials on table, to enable wrapping strategy to be formed.
7. Go back to drawer to get string, remove cat that has been in the drawer since last visit and collect string.
8. Remove present from bag.
9. Remove cat from bag.
10. Open box to check present, remove cat from box, replace present.
11. Lay out paper to enable cutting to size.
12. Try and smooth out paper, realize cat is underneath and remove cat.
13. Cut the paper to size, keeping the cutting line straight.
14. Throw away first sheet as cat chased the scissors, and tore the paper.
15. Cut second sheet of paper to size - by putting cat in the bag the present came in.
16. Place present on paper.
17. Lift up edges of paper to seal in present. Wonder why edges don't reach. Realize cat is between present and paper. Remove cat.
18. Place object on paper, to hold in place while tearing transparent sticky tape.
19. Spend 20 minutes carefully trying to remove transparent sticky tape from cat with pair of nail scissors.
20. Seal paper with sticky tape, making corners as neat as possible.
21. Look for roll of ribbon. Chase cat down hall in order to retrieve ribbon.
22. Try to wrap present with ribbon in a two-directional turn.
23. Re-roll ribbon and remove paper, which is now torn due to cat's enthusiastic ribbon chase.
24. Repeat steps 13-20 until you reach last sheet of paper.
25. Decide to skip steps 13-17 in order to save time and reduce risk of losing last sheet of paper. Retrieve old cardboard box that is the right size for sheet of paper.
26. Put present in box, and tie down with string.
27. Remove string, open box and remove cat.
28. Put all packing materials in bag with present and head for locked room.
29. Once inside lockable room, lock door and start to relay out paper and materials.
30. Remove cat from box, unlock door, put cat outside door, close and relock.
31. Repeat previous step as often as is necessary (until you can hear cat from outside door)
32. Lay out last sheet of paper. (This will be difficult in the small area of the toilet, but do your best)
33. Discover cat has already torn paper. Unlock door go out and hunt through various cupboards, looking for sheet of last year's paper. Remember that you haven't got any left because cat helped with this last year as well.
34. Return to lockable room, lock door, and sit on toilet and try to make torn sheet of paper look presentable.
35. Seal box, wrap with paper and repair by very carefully sealing with sticky tape. Tie up with ribbon and decorate with bows to hide worst areas.
36. Label. Sit back and admire your handiwork, congratulate yourself on completing a difficult job.
37. Unlock door, and go to kitchen to make drink and feed cat.
38. Spend 15 minutes looking for cat until coming to obvious conclusion.
39. Unwrap present, untie box and remove cat.
40. Go to store and buy a gift bag

Merry Christmas! :-)

Christmas Eve

The dogs and I made the [incredibly boring] quick drive to Raleigh this morning for the holidays. We're only planning on staying for a few days so hopefully the snow falls lightly and is quick to melt. I always worry when I leave my cats at home that the pet sitter won't be able to make it; I'm sure the boys could live off their own body fat for a few days but when they're hungry they tend to eat anything they can get in the mouth. It's funny, yet pathetic with a little bit of nasty thrown in. That and I own the automatic litter box from hell; rather than scoop the poop it jams it up into a huge pile at one end and fills the house with the stench of...well, you know. Anyways, I hope everyone stays warm this evening and is able to enjoy some wonderful family time together. Merry Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Some pictures of my kids

Some pictures of my 4 boys...obviously very spoiled boys.
Indy

Stetson

Harrison

Baer (the adopted kid)




RNIA

eating: 2-bite blueberry scones from fresh market and a bottle of smart water

feeling: lazy...like always. i was supposed to go to raleigh today but since i'll be taking both dogs with me i wasn't in the mood to try and watch them like hawks 24/7. super lazy

listening: to the fan in the guest bathroom, the dogs barking, and the fridge motor

watching: nothing. half the time i turn on the tv it shuts back off again. i think it needs a new lamp. i need a new tv
reading: "nose down, eyes up" by merrill markoe. very funny book

loving: that school is 100% over, that tomorrow starts the 2 days of christmas fun, that i have a job waiting for me

disliking: not having any jobs to do right now

thinking: maybe i can type on this thing more than once a month?

hoping: that i pass the boards in jan/feb on the first try

wishing: we're back to the lottery thing now- wish i could win without having to spend money on a ticket...if only to pay off my student loans and mortgage and start fresh

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Graduated!

Amazingly, I managed to make it through nursing school...and even graduate with honors! I am so thankful and relieved that it is over, and the sooner I can take my boards and be completely done, the better. In addition to my graduation I'm also extremely proud of my brother-in-law for getting his green beret 2 days before I had my ceremony. It was nice for everyone to finish off the year with a "bang" and I can only imagine how many people are glad to have so much be over with! Oh, and since the last post I was asked to be a godmother to my future NEPHEW (yay for boys!). I just wanted to share a few pictures below and hopefully next year I do a better job of keeping this blog updated since I won't have QUITE as much going on!





Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An update (and a lazy way of doing one)

A Nursing Poem

It’s the end of my time in nursing school
And I’m really starting to see
Just how stressful and on edge
My life has come to be.

I’m getting mad while arranging movies
When I stub my toe I cuss
My hair is falling out in clumps
I’m always in a fuss.

I’m tired of reading textbooks
So sick of retyping notes
And the really annoying thing
Is I can hardly read what I wrote.

Despite the wonderful fact
That in a few weeks it’ll all be done
I then start studying for boards
And I’m sure that’ll be lots of fun.

But in the meantime I have to hang on
And keep learning about the heart
Interpreting all the rhythms
So I can look like I’m really smart.

I’ll keep studying the kidneys
And knowing how much one should pee
Determining what creatinine and BUN values
Are actually supposed to be.

Brushing up on all I’ve heard
About the respiratory tract
Airway is most important
And that’s just a life-saving fact.

I also have to keep on top
Of all the diseases in the gut
And how to care for a patient
Who’s colon is bypassed to the butt.

I know that sounds kind of nasty
Trust me I’ve heard it for 2 years
And many times I’ve wanted
To just cover up my ears.

I also can’t forget
About all those cancers and labs
I probably couldn’t if I wanted to
Since my notebook is filled with tabs.

Marking all the important things
That I need to remember
But all I can think about right now
Is that it’s finally December.

In 17 days I get to graduate
With my last Bachelor’s degree
I think I’ll take a break from school
And just work 3 days a week.

It’ll be nice to come home at night
And have nothing else to do
But eat dinner and watch TV
And go to bed whenever I want to.

But like I said before
I’ve got some more tests to take
Hopefully my last shred of sanity
Makes it until the break.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Updates

Really, I have nothing interesting to say...but here are a few updates I can scrape up.
  • I'm in my last semester of nursing school and it's full of busy work. On the upside, one of my classes finishes next week so I'll only be left with 2 classes and my preceptorship at the hospital.
  • I got invited to join The Golden Key International Honor Society through ECU
  • I'm being inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society tomorrow night
  • I've started applying to jobs and it's a pain in my ass, especially since there are hardly any jobs for NEW nurse grads right now (you're good to go if you've got a year of experience)
  • I found out yesterday at the vet that my youngest cat is severly overweight...we're talking a 20 pounder here and he needs to be on a diet before he gets diabetes. Sigh.
  • It's starting to cool off enough that the boat is going to have to be winterized soon...but not so soon that I'm not going out on it tomorrow
  • I'm still wiping butts at the hospital...just nowhere near as often (cheering)
  • I'm excited that Glade is selling their pumpkin spice candles again (just saying)
And...that's about it. Maybe I'll have something more interesting in the near future (no one hold your breath)

Monday, August 23, 2010

RNIA

eating: fruity pebbles

feeling: lazy. and it's my last day to be that way b/c tomorrow i work and wed school starts

listening: to the ac running. poor thing pumps away overtime this summer

watching: nothing. 250 channels and i can't find anything

reading: i have several i WANT to be reading but have decided not to pick up anything new until school starts and i find out if i have time to read

loving: that today i have nothing to do

disliking: that tomorrow i will have to start studying again

thinking: this poor blog may actually get some attention when school is back in session

hoping: that the semester flies by quick

wishing: that i will have a job by the time i graduate...i probably won't given the lack of employment options for new nurses though. and that will be bad

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another List

Bad news...I still have nothing to write about. I realize people that know me find that hard to believe, but I don't. I got together with two friends from nursing school tonight so that our dogs could play for a bit. We hung out, talked about random things, watched the dogs, and then went our separate ways. On my drive home, one of the girls called to ask me if I was doing okay. I said sure, why does she ask? She told me I seemed depressed. Surprisingly I'm not depressed, especially because I haven't gone in search of Prozac lately, but I have found that I have nothing to say...even when around people I haven't seen most of the summer. I don't know if it's the heat, or that I despise my job, or that I sleep way too much these days (working nights messed me up), but I have finally run out of things to say. Some people may be concerned, some may be relieved. Either way, it's the way things are. Even so, it's been weeks since I posted on here so below is a BRIEF list of things I've been up to.

-Working
-Sleeping
-Eating
-Repeat, unless I'm not working. Then substitute drinking for working.

That is all.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A List

I believe at one time my sister made a list rather than writing a blog post in order to keep everyone updated. I think I'll do that also because honestly, this summer has sucked the creativeness out of me. I can't even come up with silly poetry anymore. It's sad, but all of the butt wiping has erased my mind. Following, a few updates.

-School starts August 24th. I'm actually looking forward to going back. 1. Because I won't have to work as much and 2. Because I graduate in December and August-November are the only things standing in my way.

-I did my first nurse aid shift on the psych unit last night. I get to sit there with patients who are at high risk for attempting suicide or self-mutilating. Easiest job ever. No joke. Way easier than my other unit.

-I'm reading Harry Potter again. I know no one cares, but it's something to write about myself.

-I'm going up to Bethesda in August to shadow some nurses at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). I don't think I'll end up being a research nurse, but it would be nice to know what it's like before I rule it out. And I always wanted to work at the NIH. Mainly because it just sounds cool.

-My pets are all happy and healthy. Thank God.

-I've gotten better at wakeboarding and love that my boat runs. Unfortunately the jellyfish are back at the river due to lack of rain so it may be a while before I get out on the water again. I don't fall that much anymore, but knowing there are small, squishy, intensely painful creatures waiting to sting my skin is enough to mess me up.

-Alister got us Direct TV. 200 stations and I still can't find shit I want to watch. Waste.

-I have a new addiction to pad thai. It used to be sushi but for now the noodles are doing it for me.

And that's about it. Boring, I know. I wasn't kidding when I said this summer has sucked the life- I mean creativity- out of me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

RNIA

eating: homemade bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits

feeling: tired. dead tired...just got off the night shift

listening: to the clock ticking and the cats eating

watching: nothing. too tired

reading: "the mists of avalon", "born to run", and my nclex review book. same as before

loving: that last night was my last night shift

disliking: not much...believe it or not

thinking: i cannot wait to get in my bed

hoping: that i sleep a long, long time

wishing: it would cool the heck off

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dear Patients:

Note: This letter is HIPAA-friendly; no patient rights are being violated. Trust me, I know.

As you may have noticed, I have a difficult time working with you all sometimes...well, most of the time. I have discovered that I am in no way meant to be a nurse, or a nurse aid, but because the economy is still crap I have to take whatever job I can get. That being said, my current job is working with you all. In order to preserve what little sanity I have left, I have a few requests that I guarantee will make my job more pleasant and your stay at the hospital more restful, more safe, and will help your stay go by a little quicker.

-If you can raise your arm to scratch at your head, you can raise that same arm when I need to put the blood pressure cuff on. I should not have to lift your 20 pound arm all by myself. Whining that me lifting that arm hurts means nothing to me when 5 seconds before you were lifting it yourself anyways.

-If you can get up to go to the bathroom, eat your meals unassisted, and wheel yourself to the curb to smoke, you can help give yourself a bath. Lying there like a dead fish and expecting me to pick up and hold all of your heavy extremities is not only bad for my back, but will result in me resenting you and being rougher than necessary.

-No, I will not "go kill" your husband/boyfriend/fiancee/lover just because you're crazy and delusional. Quit asking me and quit getting mad because I say no.

-I am not paid to raise the head of your bed, change your TV channel, or dial a number on your phone simply because you are too lazy to do it yourself. I am paid to take care of you and help you get better in order to go home. I realize the hardwood flooring and flat screen TV's in your room may lead you to believe otherwise, but it's just a front. Nurse aid doesn't equal servant.

-I am required to take your vital signs every 4 hours. It is my job. I understand that it is hard to get sleep in the hospital and that being woken at 3am is unpleasant. However, your vitals are going to get taken no matter what kind of fit you throw, because I have to do my job. Your orneriness is not worth losing my job. And by the way, if you can wake up enough to yell at me, you're awake enough to let me do my job.

-If I offer to help you with a bath once, you can say no. If I ask twice, it's because you stink. Go with it.

-You have the right to refuse treatments including those silly tights, SCD's, and foot pumps. However, they're there to prevent blood clots so if you get one after refusing, I hope one day you realize it was your fault., that is, if the clot doesn't go straight to your lungs first.

-Surgery is painful. Having your hip popped out of the joint while your entire body is strapped to a table for hours is really painful. I know you're in pain. I have no pain tolerance myself. However, if you ELECTED to have an orthopedic surgery, you have to have known it would hurt. Yelling at me, throwing things at me, and threatening me because you're in pain will just make me avoid you. And I can avoid you because I'm NOT the nurse with your pain meds.

-If you refuse to let me in your room after 9pm to do my job, I refuse to come help you when you hit that call bell after 9pm.

-If you have a bowel movement, and can feel it, please warn me before I go down south to clean you up. I don't appreciate poo on my arms. I especially don't appreciate poo on my arms considering my salary. Also, laying in poo because you don't want to make the effort to move is not a good decision; urine and poo on your skin for long periods of time cause severe skin breakdown. You only need one hole in your backside, not 4 or 5.

-I am 150 pounds. You are 275. Please stop leaning on me, pulling on me, or expecting me to catch you when you get tired of standing. Believe it or not, massive back injuries aren't under our job description.

-The hospital is never quiet. It may be slightly quieter at night than during the day, but it's still fully staffed, there are patients that need constant care, the phones will be ringing, and the lights outside your room will be on. It's not going to change. Seriously. The quicker you cooperate and get better, the quicker you can get out and go home to sleep in your dark, quiet house. Think about it.

-If you call me to come in and do something, put down the damn phone and let me do what you called me in for. Also, complaining about me and/or the nurses on the phone while I'm standing there is just a really bad idea. We have the catheters, needles, and pain-lowering devices...I don't suggest being THAT tacky and rude.

-If you have 10 different children from 5 different women, all of whom insist on coming to visit you in the hospital and all of whom think they're your wife, well...you need way more help than the fact that you can't pee when your catheter is out.

-Please don't stick your finger in your own butt to try and dislodge poop that isn't even there. That's just wrong, in many different ways.

I can probably think of a few more things I'd love for you to know, but I think this is a good bunch of goals to start with.

Sincerely,
Your over-worked, worn-out, underpaid, no BS-tolerating Nurse Aide

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

RNIA

eating: nothing...although some shrimp, crabs, and scallops would be especially yummy right now

feeling: hot...i don't know if anyone has noticed, but it is HOT outside

listening: to the fan blowing and the dogs snoring

watching: nothing. i don't have cable and am not in the mood to re-watch any movies. i don't watch tv much anymore anyways

reading: "the mists of avalon", "born to run", and my nclex review book. i have a short attention span so i must read multiple things at once

loving: that my boat runs

disliking: this horrid heat. only having done 8/25 blood draws that i need to have completed by tomorrow
thinking: boy, am i lazy. the dogs need a walk but it's too damn hot. i just want to go to the river this weekend

hoping: that working nights aren't as bad as some people say

wishing: it would cool the heck off

Monday, June 21, 2010

Reunion

This weekend is the HUGE Tripp family reunion at the river i.e. the reunion in which I'll only know and/or recognize 25% of the ones that are there. It only happens every 5 years or so (sometimes longer) and is always a fun experience. My immediate family will be staying here in my itty bitty house for the weekend, so that alone should be an experience. Aside from some good time together, there will be lots of food, and even better, my boat will spend the weekend out on the water. If boats had feelings I'm sure it would be as thrilled as I am to see some water in all of this heat. Sometimes I think I should be outside watering it with the grass.

I'm also looking forward to Alex coming down today to stay the week. I only work 2 more 12 hour shifts until next Tuesday so we'll have some quality sister time together (or at least try to).

I will update here after everything is over!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fail

Wow, so I'm failing at blog writing! Not much has been going on lately. I've spent a LOT of time working at the hospital while getting oriented to the unit and when I get spare time, I tend to sleep...a lot. Probably more than normal. But I love sleep. Some people say you sleep plenty when you die; I don't agree. You can also sleep plenty while you're alive and I don't feel like I've lost that much!

As for work- I'm not meant to be a nurse. Everyone that wants to be one has a passion for it, I do not. I enjoy most of my patients but the dirty stuff is just not me. I know, me not liking dirty stuff. Crazy thought. I was even really sad the other day when a patient went downhill quick and had to go to ICU. Still didn't make me want to be a nurse. As a matter of fact, when I went to the ICU, I felt claustrophobic and just wanted to leave. Yes, it's true, everyone that knows me is right. I am not nurse material. On to grad school.

I have the next 2 days off and then I work 5 12-hour shifts next week before the big Tripp family reunion. I miss the days when the summer actually = vacation and getting to travel. But alas, paying the bills becomes the important thing and I'm the type of person (and it's true) that prefers to pay my own bills. I will never be a gold digger because I like knowing that my debt and lifestyle are my responsibility. I'll probably be happier when I make more than my significant other; it's that little bit of feminism coming out!

As for other stuff, I'm reading a few good books and trying to stay in touch via Facebook with those that I can. I've accepted that nursing school has made me a bad friend, sister, daughter, niece, cousin, etc and I just hope that it will change when I'm done!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quickie

I haven't blogged in a while...mainly because I haven't had anything to say (can you believe it? a female with nothing to say???). I've been working 13 hour shifts three days a week, and then spend the other 4 making up for all the sleep I've lost and trying to get my knees and feet un-sore. Training for the 5K has definitely taken a beating so hopefully I can get the sore feet under control enough that I can get the running going on a more solid schedule. Right now I seem to have picked up a nifty cold from one of my hacking, sneezing patients so first priority is to get to feeling better and then worry about everything else!

I will try harder to keep this thing updated for those few that actually read it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sigh

I just found out that I have to go in for a 12 hour shift tomorrow (originally I was off). As much as I dread it, I also wonder what idiotic thing I will manage to do tomorrow. At some point, I have to start finding humor in the fact that I am a total klutz and should not be dealing with living things for a career (on top of the fact that I can't stand nursing and don't want to do it).

Examples? Last week, I dumped a guy's blood from his hemovac all over him (see last post). Earlier this week I spilled pee from a guy's bedside commode all over the floor. A day later I stabbed every patient in the mouth with the oral thermometer (in my defense, if you didn't have surgery on your arm or shoulder, quit being a lazy ass, pick up your arm, and hold your own damn thermometer). Later that same day, I had a disasterous event with a patient's meal tray. And after all of the above, I'm only 3 days in. Tomorrow should be a hoot.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Work

This week was my first almost-full week of work at the hospital, and what I've learned is that I'm a HUGE wimp. I worked 2 13-hour shifts in a row and honestly, by the end of the day, I thought I was dying. No joke. I don't think my legs or feet have ever hurt that bad in my entire life and now begins the search for a comfortable pair of shoes. After the first 13 hour shift I limped home, took a hot bath, drank a martini, and went to bed. The second day, I limped home and went straight to bed; I had no energy left to do anything else! Moral of the story? I'm a wimp and I'm not physically designed to be a nurse. That's my excuse.

On the plus side, I really like the other people on my unit and all of the (too many) patients I had were awesome; super friendly and very understanding. In fact, at the end of my last 13 hour shift I was emptying a hemovac (drains blood from a wound), had a muscle twitch (hey, I wasn't getting my usual 12 hours of sleep a night), spilled blood all over the guy's blanket, and said "son of a bitch" quite loudly. Luckily the guy was my age, covered in tattoos and piercings, and laughed it off telling me not to worry about it. I was thankful it wasn't someones grandpa. Seriously.

Next week will be another story; I work 3 13-hour shifts and until my nifty Crocs nursing shoes arrive I'm feeling that there will be a lot of Ibuprofen in my future. Sigh.

Just to add...I am very thankful that I even have a job. I'm just whining while I adjust!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Funeral & stuff

Today I went to Edenton for my Grandpa's funeral and as far as funerals go, well, it was a nice one. It's always good to see my family even if the circumstances are less than desirable. Because my Grandpa was in the Army, several soldiers from Ft. Bragg came and presented my uncle with an American flag. I've only ever seen those ceremonies on TV and I have to admit, it's a nice touch in remembering someone that has served. I think all of us had held it together well but when the one guy started playing Taps the tears started flowing! The church there was also wonderful- both when my Grandma passed away and then my Grandpa. There was a group of women who cooked some fabulous food, a man that sang "Amazing Grace", and two wonderful ministers. Oh, and one of the best parts of the day- a hummingbird showed up during the funeral and hovered near my Grandpa's coffin. For those that don't know, my Grandma absolutely LOVED hummingbirds; I would like to think she made it to the service too.

Tomorrow starts another day of orientation for work. Although I'm not thrilled about being a nurse aide for the summer, I'm incredibly thankful to have a job and look forward to the paychecks coming in (even if I'll just be scraping by for a while). It will also be good for experience and hopefully my foot will be in the door come next January when I need an RN position!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Grandpa Evans

Well, my Grandpa joined my Grandma in heaven this morning. It was sad to lose him, and so soon after my Grandma, but I believe he stuck around for so long so as not to leave her alone. When she passed away a few weeks ago, the family thought that he may not be with us much longer- I just don't think any of us thought he'd go so soon. Although I'll miss both of them very much, I know that they're together again and that is definitely comforting in a way.

Nancy P. Evans
27 November 1922 - 16 April 2010

William D. Evans
27 August 1917 - 10 May 2010


Monday, May 3, 2010

Sigh of Relief

3rd semester of nursing school is over.

I got all A's (say what???).

I am worn out, burnt out, stressed out, and want out (of this town...and this school...okay, and maybe this degree also).

That is all.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Another one...

#1 sign I'm avoiding studying for exams:

ARDS and ARF and HIV, CRF and SLE.
ALS, SIADH, acronyms make my head ache.
CABG and ICP, MS, CREST, and then MG.
HAV and HBV, GI, PO, woe is me.
QRS, ESRD, CHF and then BP.
LOC and CHO, so many more I have to know.
ETOH, EOMs, PPI's, like Nexium.
PERRLA, AIDS, and TPN, VS, H/A, BUN.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Grandma Evans

My Grandma Evans passed away last Friday at the age of 87. She was a wonderful Grandma and I will always have good memories of her (well, the best I can have considering I can't remember 90% of my life). It was hard to lose her, but even harder to see my Grandpa experience losing his wife...I think that got to me more than anything else. I spent yesterday in Winston Salem with family and although the situation sucked, it was great to spend time with family that I rarely see. Below is her obit (edited b/c this is on the internet and no one needs stalkers):

Nancy P. Evans, 87, of Winston-Salem, and formerly of Tyner, passed away, Friday, April 16, 2010 in Forsyth Memorial Hospital. A loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, she will be missed by all who knew her. A Girl Scout troop leader for many years, she was later active in the Power Squadron, the River City Sam’s Club, and was faithful in her church circle. Surviving are her husband of 65 years, her four children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Tomorrow morning I'm headed to the funeral and to spend the day with more family. Today I had to study, but did so outside due to the gorgeous weather. I managed to get a couple of pictures of my cats enjoying the weather with me. Aside from this, I have nothing else to write b/c nursing school has fried my brain so badly that I don't even know whose hand I'm holding anymore for family meal blessings.

Wanted to add one more picture that was taken while at the funeral...great family picture, -Kris (BIL) and +Alister

Monday, April 12, 2010

RNIA

eating: nothing...who eats and types on the computer??? not me. i'd spill something all over the keyboard then get pissed b/c i ruined my already-junky computer

feeling: lazy...shocker, right?

listening: my roommate flipping pages, stetson groaning when he moves, the fridge

watching: nothing. i have to turn off the tv when it's time to study

reading: soon-to-be my boring class notes

loving: that there are only 2 weeks left in the semester

disliking: nursing. no joke. don't bother asking why i chose this career b/c "there's always jobs" no longer holds true

thinking: i need to study

hoping: that the next 2 weeks go by painlessly (haha) and that my grandma's surgery went well

wishing: and hoping and thinking and praying...i've got nothing. i'll wish for more wishes

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Anxiety r/t unknown career path following graduation

I don't want to be a nurse, at least, not the typical hospital-type one that most people think of. I'm finishing up my third semester of nursing school and was hoping by now that I would have found my niche. Most of the students I'm in class with either know what they want to go into or have discovered an area they really enjoy while in school. I'm sitting at neither. Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy working with patients, and most of them have really liked me too (shocker, right?). It's just that none of the areas have hit any kind of cord with me.

I thought I'd like OB until I had to take care of women in labor and that changed my mind right there. I found myself trying to get the newborns out of the nursery as quickly as possible so I wouldn't have to rock anymore to sleep. I dreaded going in my pediatrics patients' rooms because they couldn't talk back to me and their parents were nuts. I thought I may like med-surg since I've worked hard to learn the classroom material only to discover that nurses are supposed to be do-ers, not thinkers, so most of that knowledge never gets used. It's mainly catheter care, wound vac's, and hanging IV medications...and calling the "doctor" for every little obvious question.

Currently my best bet is psych and I half like it/half hate it. I hate that most of the patients are hopeless; if you have schizophrenia, the best you can hope for is that the doctors find medications that get rid of the voices or paranoia's without making your body fall apart and attack itself. If you have an addiction, in the end it's only you that can stop the process and fix the problem; rehab can only do so much especially since most facilities can only take a patient for 7-10 days. If depression runs in your family and you get it, the cycle doesn't stop. Doctors can mask the pain with medications but it's in your genes. Long story short, I feel like most psych patients I can never really help. I worked with an actively psychotic paranoid schizophrenic the other week and although I got her calmed down (after several hours), she went right back to how she was when I got there by the time I left, medications and all. It's depressing for me.

On the flip side, I've found it to be fascinating. When I originally went into college I was a psych major, and one of my favorite classes ever was abnormal psychology. The brain fascinates me. Personality disorders, schizophrenia, and disassociative identity disorder fascinate me. It's all fascinating. Unfortunately, as a nurse, I can't treat those problems, I can only try and talk to the patient and help them through their current crisis. If I work with those kinds of things, I want to talk AND treat! It's frustrating. Even then, I still don't feel a "calling" towards psych. Sigh.

I really need to feeling a calling towards some type of area in the next 9 months or I fear I'll end up somewhere that I can't stand (granted, that's if new RN's get a break by then and even have the chance to get hired).

For those that know me though, don't worry, I will continue to treat my patients as if they were my own family and I'll keep studying and trying to get the good grades. Now I just have to add in "Anxiety r/t unknown career path following graduation" to my list of concerns.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I'm a dork (raise hand high)

I'm absolutely enthralled with being able to watch my Netflix queue on my Wii now. I know, that makes me a huge nerd but since I don't pay for cable (nor have time to keep up with any current shows), Netflix is the closest I get to seeing anything. And now, I can watch half of my items on the TV instead of on my computer screen. It's great. I'm halfway through the 4th season of "Desperate Housewives" and I can actually see everyone's faces. On the down side, this is not contributing to my ability to study and tomorrow the Wii will have to be turned off also. I have a med-surg exam this week and I'm barely hanging on to my A, so this will either make it or break it (and personally, I'd prefer to make it...b/c this class is worth 6 credit hours). For now though, I'm being kept entertained by the nutty women on Wisteria Lane.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Getting old...

...scares me to death. I'll be honest, I never thought that growing old was a good thing. Not to say I don't think my parents and grandparents aren't beautiful people as they've aged, but what the body goes through as it gets older, to me, absolutely sucks. I've been taking a gerontology course this semester and although my instructor is an incredibly sweet and intelligent person I just don't find myself agreeing with her opinion that being old is wonderful. Since she told us that the first day of class she has proceeded to inform us of all the things that change as one ages, especially after the age of 65. Just to list a few: age spots, skin cancers, bad teeth, poor circulation, less muscle/more fat, curved spine, shrinking brain, stiffer heart muscles, bone density decreasing, bone fractures, hip replacements, prolonged recovery times, progressively poorer vision, eye diseases, skin diseases, medication side effects, decreased balance, falling down more, increased sensitivity to light, poorer hearing, needing more time to process things, delirium & dementia, Alzheimer's, other cancers...and the list goes on and on.

Now, instead of being in awe of people surviving for so long, I am now scared out of my mind about getting old. Quite frankly, I don't really want to live as long as most people in my family seem to (late 80's, early 90's). Unless I start running marathons and am still running marathons when I'm 75 (see: Jack Lallane) with clear vision, thick bones, and perfect hearing, I don't know if I still want to be around. Honestly. That also brings me to the fact that I continue to think researchers should spend more time figuring out how to improve the quality of life before they continue increasing the span of life. It's nice to say your grandma lived to be 95, but if she had dementia, osteoporosis, several counts of melanoma, was legally blind, and couldn't hear...well, wasn't that a skippy thing for her to endure. Just saying. Point still being though, I don't want to get that old. I've already developed 2 sun spots on my face and it has absolutely traumatized me; I'm already buying anti-aging creams to try and fade them. It's definitely SPF 30 from now on not to mention chugging milk despite my kidney stones and running even though I hate doing it!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

RNIA

eating: absolutely nothing. every time i eat i get a stomach ache and cramping. i think nursing school has given me an ulcer

feeling: tired. i haven't had good sleep in weeks. and relieved that the weekend is almost here again

listening: to the humidifier, the tv, and the dogs snoring

watching: sadly, the vampire diaries. i don't usually watch anything but lost but it's what's on

reading: soon-to-be the endocrine chapter in med-surg

loving: that there are only 4 weeks left in the semester

disliking: that there are still 4 weeks left in the semester

thinking: i need to study. but i don't really want to study. so i'm not going to quite yet

hoping: that the next 4 weeks pass quickly (what else???). that my grandparents are doing okay

wishing: that i had less debt. that i'd win the lottery (i need to play first). that the dog would quit destroying my back yard

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vent

Since being in nursing school I have had the opportunity to experience clinical rotations at a variety of hospitals. The hospitals have all had their share of issues but for the most part been okay to work at. However, one of the ones I'm at this semester is turning me off more and more. The hiring department is heinous- they don't even read applications before they delete you off and not look twice. The nurses are like middle school cheerleaders with their constant bickering and gossip. The "care partners" ie certified nurse aids have an inferiority complex with the nurses AND nursing students so they go out of their way to be rude, unhelpful, and disrespectful. The surgeons think their God's gift to low-income North Carolinians and treat them and other staff as such.

The list goes on and on. What gets to me is that this hospital is supposedly a great hospital that is building a stellar reputation and I would NEVER in my life let anyone I love be a patient there. Having seen the dangerous "short-cuts" the nurses take to save time on top of everything mentioned above makes me scared to death to let a single person there ever touch someone I care about. And that to me is a shame. It makes me concerned to have family and friends at any hospital, because the power plays and gossiping do seem to be the same everywhere to varying degrees. The country is in an uproar because everyone "deserves healthcare"; personally I would like to think that most people (yes, I said most and not all) deserve better than the healthcare that I've seen provided to patients so far in this end of the state. It's like saying everyone deserves a free house but providing them with one full of asbestos. Pointless. And scary.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Break

Over Spring Break
I went on a cruise
My sister convinced me
I couldn’t refuse.
The price of the trip
Seemed to be pretty low
It all was a big front
My bank account took a blow.

The ship was enormous
2 pools, 6 hot tubs
A theater, art gallery
A spa for back rubs.
Also a library
For dorks like me
Who still have to study
While drifting at sea.
A casino, 10 bars
A huge fitness center
Stocked full of equipment
I never did enter.
Numerous restaurants
All served damn good food
And also swirled ice cream
That brightened my mood.

Our first day of cruising
We spent all day at sea
Eating and sunning
From nursing school I was free.

We stopped in Honduras
Snorkeled and saw rays
Then baked in the sun
For much of the day.

Our snorkel guide was great
I don’t remember his name
But he showed us neat stuff
It was fun all the same.
In Belize we went tubing
Through dark and damp caves
Then drifted down river
On a wet, twisted maze.
Our tour guide Peter
Was a funny guy
He told us all about
The cheap land we could buy.

Next stop was in Mexico
To Mayan ruins we went
The scorching hot sun
Made us feel really spent.
The city was crowded
With little to do
We skimped on the shopping
And got out of that zoo.

The next day again
Was spent on the boat
We had time to recover
And see some good shows.

Great Stirrup Cay
Was to be the last port
But the waves were too big
The tender boats were too short.

Instead we anchored
And hung out on the ship
Despite the missed stop
It was still a great trip.

The End.

Sick

Made it home from the cruise...with a nice case of bronchitis. I started writing a poem about the trip (big surprise) so I will post that and pictures as soon as it's done.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Apologies...

...to my readers, but I have nothing to write about right now other than I'M GOING ON A CRUISE! Can you tell I'm excited? We're headed to Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Grand Cayman so needless to say, I'm thrilled. No nursing school and no crappy city for a week makes for a happy person.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Med-Surg Test

I realize I am avoiding studying to the max, so no need to remind me that poetry is not accomplishing an A in my class!

Med-Surg Test

I dread you so
There's so much stuff
I need to know.

All the different
Types of shock
Heart dysrhythmias
AV blocks.

So many anemias
One can get
All the signs
I’ll soon forget.

And if that isn’t
Quite enough
Spinal cord injuries
Are also tough.

Keep them stable
Check their heart
Their broken back
Is just the start.

So many problems
So many tests
When all I want
Is just to rest.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ode to HIV

We're studying HIV in med-surg. Of course a poem had to occur.

If you don't want
To get HIV
Always wear a condom
Don't share IV's.

Although the virus
Is very weak
Once it's inside you
Receptor sites it will seek.

It will take your immune system
Wreak havoc on your cells
Make you sick as a dog
And think you're in hell.

So rather than suffer
And die a slow death
Wrap up your thing
And quit pushing that meth.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Relay for Life

So far I've raised $195.00 for Relay for Life. Thanks to my donors, and if you haven't donated, now is the time!

 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Aging

This semester I have to take a gerontology class. Although the teacher is an incredibly sweet woman who seems to love what she teaches, the class is godawful boring and sometimes I swear I'd rather pull my toenails off with pliers than sit through that class at 8am any longer. My professor seems to really enjoy working with the elderly (ie 65 and older) and she definitely has a passion for it, but the subject itself is not only depressing to think about but it's also painful to listen to. I can pretty much sum up the semester in one sentence: as you get older, functioning decreases, things on the inside shrink, things on the outside grow, and your risk of chronic disease multiplies by the year. I know my teacher would say otherwise, but aging is just not a pretty picture.

That being said, I get really frustrated with the fact that our society is so determined to extend the length of lives without making equal progress increasing the quality of it. Granted, quality is what each person determines it should be for themselves, but sometimes it just gets absurd. We have so many medications out there than can keep people alive for decades longer than they might originally live, but we can't prevent cancer, or cure diabetes, or vaccinate against Alzheimer's among other things. So while you may be able to live until 95 years old, there's a good chance that those last 5 or 10 years may be absolutely miserable because your heart is failing, the chemo for your cancer has eaten away your insides, your kidneys don't want to clean you out anymore, and you're losing your mind. Sounds peachy to me.

I realize everyone has their own view of this; I'm sure my professor would completely disagree with me. But I won't lie, although I fully intend on having plastic surgery to look young for as long as possible, when my body starts failing me, it's time to skydive without the chute. My intended quality of life just doesn't include chemo, transplants, colostomy bags, pressure ulcers, and dementia...but then again, that's just me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Birthdays and Rehab

Spent my morning and afternoon in rehab and my evening visiting with my parents, enjoying some bubbly, and eating steak. It was an enjoyable birthday; kinda glad I outgrew the days when birthdays meant getting hammered and feeling crappy the next day. Here's to the beginning of the 4th decade of my life (sigh).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Skydiving

I jumped out of a plane!!! At 10,000 feet!!! It was awesome!!!

For my 30th birthday, Alex and Kris took me skydiving in SC. I have to admit, I was both excited and scared out of my mind. The scared actually didn't sink in until we were standing there getting instructed on how to fall out of a plane that's already in the air, but it did come. The three of us got to SC around 12pm on Saturday and because it was such a relaxed place, they got us started right away on signing our lives away and directing us on how not to do anything stupid. After that we got suited up in a tight harness and before we knew it were told to load up in this itty-bitty little plane. Alex and her partner and me and my partner crammed ourselves into this plane and up we went.

My partner Mike talked to us most of the way up; he was retired military and had become a motivational speaker after retirement. Needless to say, he was fun to talk to. I'm glad he was; I think that helped keep me relaxed. Once we hit about 7000 feet, Dale went over the instructions again (head back, belly arched, curl legs back and up, push out pelvis, cross arms) and we got strapped on to our partners (talk about too-closeness with a stranger).

At 10000 feet, Dale flung open the door (literally), had Alex spin her feet around and out the plane, and before I know it they were gone. I thought I was going to piss myself...glad I didn't. I immediately swung my legs over and out and was not shocked to find that 1. It was about 30 degrees colder that high up and 2. My feet weren't going to stay on the steps very well. Mike slid me forward, said "Here we go", and then we were falling. It's hard to describe how it felt- my face was frozen and I was sucking in a lot of cold air- but it was a unique feeling. I felt more like I was falling than flying (like others say) but it wasn't bad at all. When Mike pulled the chute I was surprised at how little it yanked me up. Once he handed me the toggles (straps to control the chute) he showed me how to spin in circles. I briefly thought I'd puke but it was more fun than anything. I looked down for Alex and couldn't find her...that's when I realized she was way above me. Apparently Mike likes to free fall longer and pull the chute closer to the ground, so we had gone right past them.

Before I knew it we were getting ready to land and we glided right in and stood up without any work. Alex and Dale came in shortly after, grinning from ear to ear. We headed back to the hangar, got unhooked, and jumped right back in the car to drive back to NC. It was definitely worth it; I would do it again but I'll be honest, I didn't get the "skydiving bug"- I would rather learn to fly the plane than jump out of it.

Once back in Fayettenam (really, that place sucks more than Greenville) we went to see Shutter Island (great movie) and then went back to Alex and Kris' and steamed some crab legs. A good end to a fun weekend.