Tuesday, December 29, 2009

it's a jumble in there!

Do you ever feel like you've lost your spirit? Your spunk? For me, I think it was the day I went to the ER. (See previous post.) I had been on a roll, as things were moving along just fine. The crazy semester was coming to a fulfilling sense of closure and then WHAM!!

It's kind of like my bubble had been burst. Sure, I didn't like having three days of finals, even if it was working out in my favor. I would have been just fine having two on Tuesday and finishing then. As it was, Tuesday afternoon and evening afforded the opportunity to do some last minute studying, if one chose to do so. One didn't do as much as one could have, but this isn't about what could have or should have been.

This is about an overwhelming sense of, well I don't really want to say depression because it sounds too harsh, so I'll call it a case of the blahs. I mean come on, it's the holidays. I should innately feel joyful and filled with the Christmas spirit! Shouldn't I feel that way? I have, but only in brief spurts.

It doesn't help that I reminisce back to last year and succumb to sadness. My mom and dad came out for Christmas last year and I can remember being elated and eager to do all sorts of holiday-type things. I baked dozens of cookies, decorated, cleaned, etc. all in preparation of their arrival. This year it was just the guys and I. Saying "just" makes it seem like I wasn't pleased to spend time solely with my nuclear family, but I am. It's hard when you're surrounded by friends, neighbors and acquaintances that are surrounded by their family.

It doesn't help that I not only lost my rhythm with the ER visit, but was also devastated by the Blizzard of '09.

Yes, I truly dislike snow. It's only appropriate on Christmas Day and even then anything more than 2-3 inches is 1-2 inches more than enough.

Of course this record breaking storm had to happen the weekend Big B and I had planned our first holiday party. We were looking forward to it so much. He'd invited some co-workers he's befriended, and I'd invited my classmates and of course our friends. It was going to be a blast! We didn't plan for it to be a stuffy gathering by any means. We just wanted to celebrate the season and I was looking forward to celebrating the end of the semester with my classmates.


We were pummeled with two feet of the fluffy white stuff. It was ridiculous.
Seriously.

As it was LB and AW had slept over at friends' houses that Friday, when it started, and ended up snowed in with those families. Everyone knew it was coming by then, so no one minded having extra kids. The one family not only had LB, but another friend as well.

Anyway, the party was to be "adults only" so it would have been perfect if only the two feet of snow hadn't crippled the region. I mean the boys may or may not have spent the weekend with their friends' families anyway. It happens. I've had kids stay for whole weekends before.

One couple - of the approximately 30 or so people who were supposed to show up - showed up. They had somewhat of an ulterior motive. Their daughter is dating the boy who lives behind us. Once the snow happened they told her they weren't going to come to the party, and therefore weren't going to take her to her boyfriends house. Then cabin fever set in and they decided to make the trek. So the "party" wasn't a total wash, but it wasn't anywhere near what I'd expected. We did have fun just hanging out as Big B victimized us by "forcing" us to watch his newest obsession, The Hangover. Hilarious as the movie may be, movies aren't my idea of party entertainment. It was only the four of us though. We all laughed and had a good time.

I still can't shake the blahs. This morning I did awaken widely at the oddly early hour of 5 a.m. in a pretty good mood. It's odd because I am on break and should be sleeping at such hours! Yet, here I am blogging.

Last year, amidst my cleaning, I had done some seriously thorough cleaning and reorganizing in the house. This year, not so much. Yesterday I did tackle the mail-catch-all basket. I do plan to do a major overhaul of my bedroom and would like to repaint LB's room. There are two more weeks of break, so we shall see if I can get into the swing of things and let the promise of a new, exciting year ahead motivate me into some major action.

I suppose it would be a good idea to get out of the jumble that is in my head and stop the over-thinking. It's time to relax for gosh sakes!

Friday, December 18, 2009

it's been a gas

Friday, December 18th, 2009
How unbelievable it is that the time has flown by like it has since I last posted.

This has the potential to be a very long post.

I can't blame the time entirely for my lack of posting. It seems this semester nearly got the best of me, that and I've had a bit of a blogger's block. There's been a time or two that I've signed on intending to post, but have been left with nothing to say. That's partly due to the fact that those few times when I had a slight opportunity, I ended up riddled with guilt...shouldn't I be studying??

The semester ended officially for me yesterday when I went and took my last final exam. Our finals were scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I will get to why I didn't take my Wednesday final until Thursday a bit later. For now I'll go over some highlights of the past few months.

Our semester was split up into four week rotations for each clinical experience. The first week we had orientation, and the second week my group was split up and added to other groups since there was a lack of instructors/clinical opportunities for that week. The first day we weren't able to do anything because we didn't have access codes. This left us coming in late the second day, as they weren't going to have the codes until after 8 a.m. I was so very nervous that day, knowing we would start patient care. It intimidated me to no end.

The next two weeks my group were "orphaned" as it had come to be known when a certain group was not on a regular rotation, but would instead be placed into one day spurts of observation in a variety of different clinical areas. This happened because the opportunity at the other community hospital we were all supposed to go to fell through.

My group did get to go. The first day we spent at the long term care facility. We toured it and then ended up in the Alzheimer's unit playing balloon volleyball with some of the residents. We actually left around 10:30 a.m. because there was nothing left for us to do. It wasn't intended that we would do any patient care that day. The second day we actually went to the hospital side. I spent the morning in the ER, which I loved tremendously. I saw some really interesting cases.

The following week I went to a local surgery center, which I loved, and then for my second clinical day that week I went to the local wound care center...not much love was felt for that place. (Some of this is repetitive from previous posts, but I figure I'll just bring everything up-to-date, adding in more details with the more recent experiences.)

Next we went to one of our first regular rotations, a medical floor that has patients with cardiac, respiratory and other conditions warranting telemetry. Once again I was nervous those first couple of days. By the fourth week I was a little more comfortable. I'd taken care of patients with COPD, CHF, DM with exacerbations of other problems mainly related to neuropathies. The instructor was an incredible teacher. By the end of that rotation we all wanted a pocket version of her to carry on with us in our future endeavors. She offered encouragement, constructive criticism, and just an overall rewarding experience.

Our next rotation was spent on the medical/surgical floor. My first patient on that floor had a vertebral compression fracture, after a fall in her kitchen. I took care of her both days that week.


Monday, December 21st, 2009
And there you have it. I lost the oomph to post any longer in mid-paragraph.

Let's see if I can finish this up and then maybe I'll be able to post in the future without any problems.

All in all I had some good basic experiences during my two middle rotations. Our last rotation was the one I was most excited about. After working OBGYN back in my Air Force days I feel a ceratin draw to women's health.

My whole group was elated upon the start of our family birthing center rotation. Our first day I spoke up and told our instructor that I had been in on c-sections before so she assigned my four classmates to the two cases that were scheduled that morning. I went in on an induction. It was an easy, breezy day. The nurse I shadowed was awesome to work with. She taught well, and I was able to assist her with a couple of procedures. During one procedure I helped her with a newborn blood draw on a little guy that was having slight problems. The second day I spent with a younger nurse, who actually let me dive in and do some admission charting on our induction for that day.

I loved the mom from that day. She was terrified, and I found that to be a nice change from the mom who is all excited about giving birth and her new baby. This woman was in tears and I felt so bad for her. She wasn't incredibly young, and was not only absolutely terrified of needles, but of the whole experience. It was interesting to be a part of that dynamic. Because the hospital was having special visiting hours, due to H1N1 procedures, when normally there are no visiting hours, she had to receive special permission to have both her baby's daddy and her mom in with her. It was the first time I saw an epidural insertion, and I inserted her Foley. She startled with everything that was done to her. One could barely touch her without her panicking.

The following week was Thanksgiving week, so we didn't have clinicals.

The week after I saw my first (and only) vaginal delivery. I didn't only see it, I got to be right there in the thick of it. I helped mom breathe and I held back her right leg. I absolutely loved being in there. This mom was giving birth to her 6th baby and she came in as an induction with a history of precipitous deliveries. This one didn't go that quickly, but it went quickly enough for one of my classmates and I to be in on it. We were with her the next day as well as with another induction, of which we thought we just might see the delivery, but it didn't happen before we left. She was a primigravida, was progressing nicely, but just not nice enough for us to see it happen. The following Wednesday we missed because of "inclement" weather. That Thursday there was nothing going on so we left early and went to IHOP for brunch with our instructor. By this point none of us minded too terribly since finals were lurking in the near distance. One of the nurses who has taken on the role as one of the bereavement nurses did give us a little impromptu inservice on their bereavement procedures before we left. Although it's a depressing subject, I coudn't help but find it incredibly interesting.

As this semester came to an end I found myself wishing I'd had more experiences to learn from, but being in a small community hospital I was left with a decent amount considering.

This past week was finals week. A couple of my classmates and I got together a few times to study and prepare for what we thought would surely be our demise. We were extremely nervous for our exams, since the volume of material was horrendoues and we didn't have much to go on as far as focus. Monday was the OB/peds final and I got a B, and ended up with a B in the class. Tuesday was the health assessment final, on which I got a B and ended up with an A in the class. Yay me! So far the finals were good exams, surprisingly. They were fair and not as monstrous as we thought they'd be.

Then came Wednesday. Oh, the exam that day wasn't all that bad...from what I hear. I didn't end up getting to take it that day. Instead I took a trip to our local ER!

Prepare for some TMI...

I awakened at 2 a.m. to urinate, and then went back to bed. At this point I started passing gas, and decided to get up for what must be nature's need to expel waste. Nothing major, just your run-of-the-mill regular ole BM. Surprisingly, I am able go back to sleep. At 6 a.m. the alarm goes off and I start my morning routine. Each morning the girls are fed and then let out for their morning consitutionals. After that I make myself a cup of coffee and/or some sort of breakfast. I sit down at my computer where I check emails, Facebook, banking, etc. As I'm sitting there...here...I start getting this 10/10 type pain in my right side...forget quadrants...it's the whole right side pretty much. I decide maybe nature is calling again and sure enough I have diarrhea. I go back to sit down and am unable to sit. I've had this pain before and usually I just go lie down on my left side, on the couch for a few minutes and it goes away. The pain may return once during the same spell, but usually no more. By this point it's around 7 a.m., and the boys have left for school while I'm lying there on the couch.

I knew I had to get up and get going because I had my final at 9 a.m. for gosh sakes! I head upstairs, and only make it up to go lie down on my bed, once again on my left side. After a bit I'm better so I take a shower. I've tried calling my neighbor who lives across the street, to no avail, so I press on with readying myself for the end of my semester. Nope, no can do. Too much pain.

For me, my worst pain has been my attacks of cholecystitis, and giving birth naturally both times. These are my 10/10s. As the pain I am experiencing is right up there with those other pain experiences, and it won't go away, I know I am not going to be able to drive myself to school. It was all I could do to get my panties, sweatpants, and shirt on. I knew I had to clothe myself as I didn't want to be naked for anyone who was going to have to come help me. That's what it was coming down to. I had to get help.

We don't have a normal keylock on our front door. We have a keypad where you punch in a code that unlocks the deadbolt. So I know that I have to go downstairs and unlock it, and just be down there for my rescuer(s).

I hobble my way downstairs, unlock the door, and commence to lying on the couch. By now my neighbor has called me back and I ask if she can take me to the ER. I call Big B and tell him what's going on, amidst tears, and email him my neighbor's cell phone number on my BlackBerry. It seemed like a lifetime before my neighbor came over to get me, but by this point a friend of hers had shown up and they were going to take me in her car. This was a saving grace, because otherwise I would have had to sit up in my neighbor's Corvette. Instead I was able to lie on my left side in the back of my neighbor's friend's car as they sped me to the local hospital.

They get me signed in and have contacted Big B, who is on his way. I thank the neighbor and her friend and send them on their way. The nurse who took care of me started an IV line, drew labs, and gave me an IV push of Toradol. Of course by this point I am no longer having the 10/10 pain. It's more like 3/10. I'm more worried about my final exam that I'm about to miss and the fact that my semester is going to have to be prolonged. They take me back to radiology where two films of my abdomen are taken, and then they wheel me back to my room to wait.

One of my classmates, who has become a great friend, has taken her exam and called me by now and she comes for a visit. She stayed with me until Big B shows up, and then the fun really began. He has low tolerance for hospitals. Thank heavens for the diversion a TV can create.

I lie there awaiting any word from the doctor, and Big B finds People's Court to keep him busy. Finally the doctor comes in and informs me that my labs came back perfectly normal, but he did see a huge amount of gas in my large intestine. He said spasms from the gas caused the pains. By this point the nurse had come in and given me Senokot and Maaalox, so I knew it was going to have something to do with my digestive system. Surely a small bowel obstruction would be what was keeping me from the sheer feeling of joy and accomplishment that comes with the end of a college semester.

No, I had gas. I didn't take my final final exam regularly scheduled with my classmates because I had gas.

Some girls have all the luck!

As it turned out I was able to go Thursday morning, and complete my exam...and put an end to what was a very challenging semester. I really couldn't even tell you what I got on the exam, because by the time I checked that evening all I cared about was my final grade for the class...a B.

There you have it. My third semester of nursing school will always be remembered as ending with extreme pain caused by gas, as if it hadn't been a big enough pain in the butt already!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

MTTBTF






Many things to be thankful for...


Big B's been sick with what I believe was most likely H1N1, and he is now feeling better.

Since he's feeling better I was able to sleep in my bed, with him, last night.

I'm on Thanksgiving Break, and even though we still have to study it's been nice not to have to get up and go, go, go.

Aside from Big B's bout with H1N1 everyone in my family is pretty healthy and alive for this holiday season.

Although my sons have given Big B and I a lot of stress lately they're still great kids.

We have a roof over our heads, the love of many, and a paycheck that provides us with our needs, and a few wants.

Our pets are all still alive and scampering, kicking, running and licking. This time next year I may not be able to say that about DC. He's extremely thin, but is no apparent pain. He'll even still play with a string or pipe cleaner if you put it in front of him.

This semester is almost over. After this week it's just two weeks until finals!

I'm passing...so far.




I could go on forever, because I do feel blessed. That being said I do want to keep the "I'm passing" part!

Friday, November 20, 2009

where have all the babies gone???

Two days at the family birthing center and I don't get to see any birthing! harumph! Ok, so there's five of us in my clinical group and since I was the one who admitted to having seen a c-section before the other four were split up and went in on two different c-sections. I went in on an induction. Of course the baby couldn't make an appearance on my time. I did get to hang antibiotics, and assisted the nurse I was working with on a blood draw on one of the other newborns. At least I got to touch a baby! He was a trooper about being stuck. From one of the c-sections came a macrosomic infant who was incredibly cute. Normally the babies are kept with the moms, but this one was having some neuro deficits. We were able to go into the nursery and watch the nurse care for her. She was later transported to another facility. That was all Wednesday.

Yesterday, still nada. I came close to seeing a delivery, but it was time to go (1 p.m.) and I hadn't eaten since 6 a.m. so I chose to go, although I could have stayed. She probably delivered within the hour after I left. This was the patient I worked with along with the nurse I was assigned to, so I was able to push her Stadol and Phenergan, as well as insert her Foley.

Next week we only have classes on Monday, including a test in OB/peds. We don't have our Tuesday class or clinicals. I hope the last two weeks of clinicals will be extremely eventful and that I get to see at least 1 c-section and a couple of vaginal deliveries. It's a small community hospital, so I can't expect hoards of laboring women.

As soon as I finish posting I'll be heading upstairs to study for a bit. This afternoon Big B and I are picking AW and his GF up from school and heading out on a double-date to see New Moon. The rest of the weekend will be spent studying, as usual!

Three weeks until finals!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

the reason I'm going to end up an AA member by the time my youngest graduates HS

So you understand fully my impending need for AA (I am just kidding about a future need for AA--for the most part). The first paragraph explains a status message post I'd made on Facebook about some things parents should never have to go through.

The status message: Things no parent should have to go thru: hearing "I hate you", but a 13 yr old will say it as easily as 7 year old; seeing disappointment on your child's face when they strike out, miss a goal, or are told by a "friend" that they aren't invited to a party (one they had been invited to); really bad hair cuts that you spent $ on; stitches to that baby's face; or 2 a.m. phone calls from the local sheriff's department...

LB received stitches twice when he was little, on his face both times. AW has recently told me he hates me, but he was saying it out of anger. LB plays baseball and even the best Bball players strike out. AW played soccer and missed a goal or two--it happens. LB was the one disinvited to a friends party by a "friend". He was also the one who got the bad 'do. Told the lady to take a 1/4" off, she took it down to a 1/4"!! He doesn't do buzz cuts well!


I have to laugh, which may seem demented. I remember me as a teenager though, and let's just say "payback's a bitch" :

This is THE STORY from last weekend, 11/7/09:
AW is at home grounded, so no sleepovers for him. Meanwhile LB is out with LW, supposed to be spending the night at A and A S's house. We get a phone call, about 2 a.m. asking if we own a car, plates blah, blah. I'm overhearing Big B confirm that "...yes, that is our car...", and of course you know the first thing that comes to my mind--LB had been in an accident. Nope, it was just illegally parked on *** Rd. The S's live in "one town", back behind the library--nowhere near *** Rd!!!! I get on AT&T Family Map, which is kind of like GPS and I have it locate LB. It says he's at the S's house. Mhmm.

So Big B and I make our way to *** Rd, meanwhile I'm calling MW, LW's mom, to let her know the situation. We get to *** Rd and low and behold there near a house, tucked in amongst trees, is LB's car. We drive up a lil further and notice the multiple cars at the house. We both get out and go up to the house. Mind you we both just rolled out of bed. I am wearing no makeup, hair's a mess, wearing turquoise lounge pants with huge siamese cats on them, with a red sweatshirt, my coat and my torn up slippers. Some kid opens the door and Big B asks for LB. He also tells the kids that the cops are out there (they weren't, at least at this point ), and it was sudden mayhem--kids darting out for their cars like bats out of hell. So LB comes up, then LW, and of course they've been drinking (which the fact that kids left-possibly drunk disturbs me).

They're both basically shitting their pants, with their tails between their legs. I agree to take LW home. On the way both boys beg to go to jail, cuz they didn't want to face the parental music. Big B took LB's car, after we'd left. Evidently the kid who's house it was did get busted cuz the deputy did show up and Big B told him about the party. I guess they'd originally been by because of noise complaints and that's how they found the car. We get to the LW's house and all 3 of us get out and go in.

Their tails are stuck so far up between their legs they'd probably have wagged out their mouths. LB apologizes to LW's parents, and LW to me. They're both, at this point, shouldering the blame. They're both old enough, LW being nearly 18 and LB nearly 17, to make wise, or dumb, decisions all on their own.

LB's phone was at the S's. He admitted it was partly due to the tracking thing. It's still in LW's car. He'll be riding the bus this week, at least, and has no phone. Hope he doesn't get it taken away after LW gives it to him at school and he attempts to check the zillion msgs that are bound to be on it! Boys are so dumb. I say that, but I did some pretty dumb stuff at his age too, though. AA here I come!


This is THE STORY about my middle schooler:
On 11/11/09 I had Mrs. D, Mr. C (AW's math seminar teacher), Mrs. M, Mrs. R's long-term sub AND Mrs. H (AW's art teacher) in AW's PT conference. Yes, even the art teacher had to get involved. He's still, or was still, missing assignments. He was supposed to have Saturday school and this time we were going to make him go, but now it's cancelled because of the power outage. [Due to weather we had from Ida, the school had a "partial power outage".] He's a great kid and they don't have a problem with utter disrespect. It's all hyperactive behavior or, a new one...he zones out. Yeah, this is a first. At least two of the teachers said he looks like he's paying attention in class, they call on him to answer a quesiton and he's all "Huh? What?" That blew me away, because I'm sitting there thinking geez, is he smoking pot or something??

Basically what it comes down to(not everything is included here, no one has that much time!), and I agree, he's exhibiting ADHD type behaviors.

He asks to go to the bathroom all the time. If they let him go he's observed wondering back from other areas...he's wondering the halls aimlessly. He even admitted, in front of the sub, (she overheard him tell a friend) that he does it to get out of class. His story--it doesn't happen as much as they say.

In the end, because Mrs. H has gone through this exact same thing with her son, medication was being suggested. I've always been against it, but am getting to the point where it may just be necessary.

I leave the conference, head out to the car, get in and commence bawling. I call Big B who is on his way to FL that. Not much he can do while out of town, but I just had to tell him what happened.

I get home and AW comes out to the car, where we sit and heatedly discuss the whole thing.

Long story short, he's on contract. I've notified all teachers involved that they should expect to see a change and if by next Thursday they didn't, further action will be taken.

He will lose his cell phonePERIOD among other things. He will go see our family docPERIOD (I won't get the school invloved because that's not the best way to handle it. It is something we'll handle privately as far as the school system's concerned, because it can get messy otherwise.)

He's got tons of other restrictions as well. If I get reports of improvement and progress he'll get privileges back as time goes on. I've even threatened/promised changing his wardrobe to unifom style, but as I told him when he wigged out on that one...it shouldn't get to that point. Yesterday, after emailing all the teachers, I heard back from one, Mrs. M, the one that's been the most involved. She did give me a good report.

I know I'm forgetting some details, as I've pretty much lost my mind over this,but you get the gist.

AW got a B on his last Algebra test and had a B homework average....but an F in classwork. WTF??? How hard is it to do the work in class to make up a decent grade. Ok, stopping now before I get pissed again.


(The above stories have been copied, pasted and edited from messages I sent to a friend on Facebook.)

All this and nursing school too!

Friday, November 13, 2009

wham bam thank ya ma'am!

I have some great news concerning my nursing program. It appears that our discussion with our instructor paid off and they will be making changes! The changes will be taking place next semester even! They're working it out so that one of the primary RNs on the floor will make the patient assignments, and we'll be given 2 patients. It is gong to be based on readiness, so they're taking that into account, which I think is great. It's awesome when you take part in effecting change that is for the positive.

In other news we finished our med/surg rotation. Our care plans were due Wednesday and the instructor grades them the night they're due. (We still haven't received our graded care plans from the previous rotation--in fact no one has, even from the beginning of the semester. That's really the only downside to that particular instructor. It's easy to swallow though considering what you gain from her. You don't mind waiting for your care plan, at least not so much.) I did swimmingly well on both my care plan and my evaluation, with 99s on both. I would have gotten a 100 % on my care plan except I left out past surgical history. I really can't remember there being any and in going over the paperwork I had didn't find any, but I didn't state that either. Oh well, one point isn't going to send me into respiratory alkalosis or anything.

Four weeks until finals!!

It's so unbelievable how it feels to be able to say that and to know that unless I really F things up between now and then I'll survive what is our hardest semester!

Next week we start our OB/newborn rotation. My whole group is incredibly excited to get our hands on those babies. We know it's not always fun though. One of our classmates witnessed a fetal demise the other day, and sadly he knew the family. I've been waiting all semester for this, because it is one area I've felt a draw toward. So, I am full of anticipation for experience as a whole.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

STBTF

Something to be thankful for...

I am extremely grateful that we only have 4 more regular Mondays (which are preceded by a hellish weekend spent studying) until finals week!

suppozin' I should mention...

Thanks to all who have chimed in on clinicals. It was very enlightening.

I should have mentioned what we do do during our fourth semester, so that we don't look as unfortunate as I might have made us out to look like. We do an advanced med/surg rotation, which includes leadership building, as well as a 3 week preceptorship. We'll have clinicals all the way through up until our preceptorship at which time we will become a RNs right hand woman or man. I look forward to this as I think it will be the most valuable experience of all, up to that point.

I'm off to health assessment class this morning. Tuesdays are usually our fun days. Another student and I, whom I've become close friends with, may as well be called Lucy and Ethel. We have a blast.



Last week we got a great laugh when she went to carry one of the mannequins off the bed we needed to use for practicing respiratory assessments on each other. Up she pulls Sheman and plop!! right out onto the bed falls Sheman's unmentionables. It was just so unexpected we found it pretty comical.

Oh well, if you can't keep your sense of humor through nursing school you may as well throw in the proverbial white towel!

Friday, November 6, 2009

brainstorming to battle hindrances


Yesterday we spent some down time during clinicals talking to our clinical instructor about other possible clinical opportunities. Our program is very limited in the opportunities we have. First semester we do nothing clinically speaking, other than lab learning. Second semester we spend 6 weeks (maybe it's 8 weeks, dont quite remember), at a long-term care facility. Third semester we do med/surg/ortho/tele, OB/newborn, and we're supposed to do an observation-only Peds rotation at a local practice. Because of H1N1, those of us that are supposed to be going during the latter part of this semester have been prohibited from going. There is also a time period during this semester where each group has been "orphaned". We do not have enough clinical instructors in our local, small community hospital, and there are no contracts out for any of the larger hospitals or medical centers in the region. (Let's not forget I live in the DC/Northern VA region where there is a plethora of all that is medical.)

The other two community college's programs go to vast medical centers for their clinical experiences, and oh, you might have heard me mention in the past one of those programs is also sharing our local, small community hospital. It's not an extremely large group invading our territory; however, their instructor has asked one of our two instructors if they can take the one floor that one of our groups was supposed to have! From what I heard our instructor (our group wasn't with her at this point in time) conceded!!!!

I digress; so when we're orphaned, we go to other clinical experiences, which are usually observation-only or very limited hands-on experiences. They've been overall wonderful opportunities. Most everyone's enjoyed going to interventional radiology, the infusion center, wound care center, a local same day surgery center, staff development, ICU, (no, we don't get that as a regular rotation), etc. It's usually only been one day here or there.

In our bigger rotations (med/surg/ortho/tele, OB/newborn) we are only given one patient at a time. For instance, my patient yesterday was admitted with a GI bleed with anemia. He was completely independent, so all I did was vital signs, get his cup of ice chips (he was NPO as they were waiting on GI to get in to consult, and send him down for a procedure--didn't happen on my time), straighten up his bed (he'd been admitted the night before), and do his assessment, I&O and flow chart.

We're talking lots of down time. We bent our instructor's ear something fierce, because we want better opportunities next semester, and for future students. The program is being overhauled and this is a major need. Our instructor had spent some time earlier in the morning talking with the other program's instructor (OPI). The OPI informed our instructor of all the things they do clinically and that by their third semester they're taking on at least 2 patients.

Our mental health rotation is incorporated in as part of our LTC rotation because we work with patient's with dementia. We do have a mental health facility within 40 minutes--which in this area 40 minutes is nothing. All 5+1 (we had an orphan for the day) of us sitting there voiced that we would be willing to drive to other locations, at a distance, to be given better learning opportunities.

Bottom line is we want to feel somewhat comfortable when we're interviewing for our first nursing jobs that we we'll be a little more comfortable taking on our responsibilities. We know that we'll be oriented to the facility. We know that you really don't have your true nursing groove until you've been at it for at least 6 months. We just want the same opportunities as others.

I'm wondering: what clinical opportunities were you or are you being given as a student nurse?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

she told us so

Yep. In fact she wasn't the only one to forewarn us, several others did as well. "Third semester is the hardest" she said, and do we ever agree now! "She" would be our instructor and the others would be those who went before us. The sad reality is this is the semester that can make or break you. Evidently we've lost two already. One withdrew from the program by choice as her grades weren't so hot and she had differences with our instructor. The other has, I don't even want to say it, but she's failed out, and at this point it is too late. So she has gone into audit status. It's heartwrenching; no, it's gutwrenching. There were only 26 of us at the beginning of this semester. The first student I mentioned was an LPN transtion, so she didn't start with us from the beginning of this journey, the other one did. We're bound to lose others as well. It's hard with such a small group.

Some of us are choosing to think positively and have even started discussing certain things about next semester, and have even gotten bold enough to talk about preparations for graduation. With the way time is flying we can't help but look forward.

First things first. As of right now we have 5 more exams before our finals. My clinical group has one care plan left to do, and then a clinical evaluation work-up for our OB rotation which we have the last four weeks (minus the week of Thanksgiving). We have one assignment left for our health assessment class and one for our OB/peds class. We also have med/surg practice ATI tests we're required to take, and pass with at least the benchmark, of 65, for a grade. Five tests equal 50 points. Those 50 points could go a long way toward making the grade. We then have the OB/newborn and child health ATI proctored exams we have to pass. It seems like a lot left to do, and is in a way. That being said, it's not insurmountable.

Two clinical days left for this week, and then it's five weeks until finals.

I've been thinking about how things have changed over the past year and a few months. Nursing school is such an evolutionary process. I've changed, not entirely, but a little. I look at certain things differently. I've grown. I still have my doubts,fears and insecurities, but I'm also more comfortable with a lot of things that I feared concerning nursing.

I can remember that young medic who thought it was an unattainable dream. One thing I learned long ago though is, if there's a will, there's a way!

Certain things may get in your way, but they're just speed bumps on your road to success. You just need to slow down, cross the hurdle, and press on.

Last year, when I had the time to post nearly daily I did something I called "STBTF", something to be thankful for, in honor of Thanksgiving. I don't have the time to give thanks everyday (at least in blog form), but today I am thankful for the opportunity I've been given and the support of those who've stood alongside me, whether in person or from afar.

I'd also like to thank scrubsmag.com for listing me as one of the blogs they like! What an honor!

Friday, October 30, 2009

six weeks and that which drives me bonkers

We have six weeks left int his semester. I believe that's six weeks until finals week, but am not sure though. Whatever...the time is coming nearer and nearer with each expediently passing day!

In the midst of all my eating, sleeping and breathing nursing school certain areas of my life have suffered. My house is, second to my family, the biggest area that's suffered the most.



This would be a Hibiscus plant, one of two, that we've brought in from outside. It's just sad. I'm going to have to cut it back to rejuvenate it. I'll feed the flowers to Irwin. He loves him some Hibiscus flowers!




dust...need I say more?




This is an attic fan that has been taking up space forever. It needs to be installed and we were going to have it done a few months ago. The electrician, who happens to be an acquaintance, said he'd rather not install it in the heat. It was June-July time frame--defintiely hot! Attics and heat are just not compatible!




Oh, the clutter! Not to mention this is my scrapbooking table. It has become a we-have-no-where-else-to-put-it-so-put-it-here spot. ugh!




This is our bills and mail basket, which I usually go through periodically. Ahem. It hasn't happened in a while. Can ya tell?




Being that tomorrow's Halloween I find this one kind of funny. You really can't see it for it's full effect as the picture doesn't do it justice. Who needs to decorate for the holidays (which I have not had time to do) when you have live-in, or should I say "live-out" decorators?




Lastly, this is one of my bone's of contention. Coupons. If we didn't save so much money using them I wouldn't! If I go to the commissary they help to save a bundle and if we go to one of the local chains they often offer doubel coupons. What's terrible is when I leave them until they become a monster, and several of them have expired already.


So here I sit, multi-tasking, as I post, I'm clipping. Now that I type that it sounds impossible. I should clarify, every couple of minutes I got through a few and then I type. The computer timed out a bit, so that's when I took advantage of the freeze up. I need to go shopping today, and should really go to the commissary, but it's military payday, so that means it will be crowded. Many people in the military live paycheck to paycheck, so they have to wait until payday to do their grocery shopping. I could go on about that, but it could be it's own separate post.

I'll leave it until some other time...for now I'm going to finish up my coupon clipping and head out and head in to combat. I think I'll take advantage of the drive and take some photos along the way. I might try and match up to some of the ones I took last year to see what's changed. I thought I'd posted a photo collage of them, but can't seem to find it. Found it!

I'll try and sneak in a post some time soon about clinicals.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2009

really miss ya much

It's quite evident by my infrequent blogging as of late that I don't have much time. I miss reading everyone's blogs like I used to. I try to catch them here and there, but am not able to keep up with them like before.

This week was great, aside from failing yet another test and having a mini mental breakdown thanks to that dreadful 74. Thanks to the support of my classmates I wiped away the tears, went back in to class and sucked it up. Tuesday we had fun in our health assessment class. We did musculoskeletal assessments. Wednesday and Thursday we started our new clinical rotation. My patient was an elderly person who had fallen and had a large supraorbital hematoma and compression fractures to her thoracic spine. The first day, prior to her surgical repair of her T-spine she identified with me as her student nurse. The next day I was her granddaughter for part of the morning, and then with her exit out of the sedative effects of anesthesia she knew who I was...then I left. However...! Before, or during, whatever.....I did do my first Foley catheter placement!


Do you have anything that you are thoroughly, without a doubt nervous about? For me it was inserting a Foley in a man. I did pretty good for a first time, and walked out proud.

Foley catheter placement-check!

H1N1 vaccine-check!

I was also given the opportunity to receive the H1N1 vaccine (mist form) while at clinicals on Thursday. I've been on the fence, but decided I don't have time to get sick, so better try and prevent it. As for the boys, I'm still on the fence. They've been exposed I'm quite certain as our public schools have been running rampant with illness. According to LB 198 people were absent yesterday. He said that if 250 are absent they shut the school down. I don't know how accurate his information is, but I do know there are plans in place for such occurences as excessive numbers of students being absent with possible H1N1. Many of the cases I've heard of have either been flu-like, or have been strep throat. Putting it simply, our county is ill!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

slopes and slaloms


Have you ever climbed a mountain? You're standing at the base looking up and it seems like you could never, ever possibly make it to the top. You decide, "What the heck! I'll never know unless I try!" So you start that ominous climb. All the way up you might be thinking to yourself, "What have I gotten myself into? I want to give up!" Or maybe you just have someone pushing you. Sometimes that's what it takes.

That picture is from the Cinque terre. It literally means, "five lands". It's five villages along the Italian Riviera that you may take a ferry to each place, you can drive from one place to the next (although it may be more difficult in some areas), or you can hike it. We hiked it. We hiked it when I was pushing 250, or so, lbs. We started at the bottom town, Riomaggiore making our way up to the second to the last town, Vernazza. The boys were about 6 and 9 years old. Of course they're running ahead like it's nothing, and in certain places it's very steep and very seemingly treacherous.

I struggled, but I made it.

I've climbed a couple of other mountains, certainly ones a little higher than the five lands of Cinque terre. I've climbed a part of Pikes Peak, or somewhere up in the Rockies.

I'm climbing one right now, and have finally made it to the top. I never thought I'd make it here. I'm climbing it with a group of people and we're on the downhill side. There are days it still seems like we may never finish this feat.

Nursing school.

We're half way through our third semester and everyday--everyday--is a struggle. The past 8 weeks seem to have gone by fast. (It must be the altitude.) I'm hoping, we're hoping, the time continues to rush by expediently.

Like that day in Italy, when I reached the end of the hike, I know it'll feel good to have accomplished what I thought I'd never accomplish.

It may even feel like we dominated Mount Everest.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

little bitty

I like that song by Alan Jackson.


Alan Jackson-little bitty

Rebel|MySpace Videos


I'm hoping there's little bitty chance to do extremely well on the exam on Monday. Two of the four chapters we're being tested on are on the endocrine system (bleck) and the other two are on nutrition. Deja vu...didn't I just study this same stuff this past summer? One would think I'd do extremely well...then one must consider theinstructor and her tests. The advantage of doing well on this exam gives cushion for future exams. But really, future exams have at the most 5 chapters on them. There's nothing really going on over the next few weeks, except for the homecoming game next Friday, that I feel interested in taking part in. Depending on how this week goes as far as studying will decide whether I'll take a bit of a break and go to the game, otherwise I'll not go. Sacrifices, for the most part (unless they have to do with my kids) have become a lot easier to make.

This coming week will be our last with our current instructor, the end of this rotation. The five of us in my group are going to be extremely sad to leave our instructor behind because she is just that awesome! I am excited to move on to another rotation. I don't feel like I've gotten a lot of technical experience as far as doing anything other than vitals, documenting, assessment, and basic patient care. I'd like to do some catheters (gulp--that's one of my intimidators), IVs, dressing changes, stoma care, basically the stuff I haven't done on a real patient in many, many years, if ever. I am thankful going into this next rotation that I am more comfortable with assessments and documentation on this hospital's computer system. Our next instructor is the former Army nurse. Need I say more?

That's my itty bitty update. I could go on about tons of stuff, but need to get upstairs and hit the books.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

near despair

more like near desperate.

Yeah, so...you remember that great decision I made to stick with this nursing program. (BTW--I do not care to hear any "I told you so"s--you did, but what's done is done. I still feel the need to bitch.)

I'll keep this brief as I have a care plan to work on and chapters to read.

Last week was (hopefully) the hardest week we'll have this semester. We had 8 chapters of OB to study and 2 discussion board assignments (debacles) to participate in. That's along with working on care plans, critical evaluations or whatever the rotation you are on requires. I failed the exam Monday because I didn't study as much as I should have. I know where I went wrong. It doesn't help that there was just so much to read and study about. We went from the whole birth process to include normal deliveries and everything else that can be thrown at you to the postpartum period and everything that can be thrown at you there. That's a lot of material to cover in one week.

When the teacher doesn't teach and you're pretty much teaching yourself, or learning in study groups, it makes it even more difficult. Hence the feelings of regret. We have one instructor for second year. One. We have no choice. Do you see the problem here? I think I'll be ok. I'm swimming on the surface and not drowning. I can't say the same for my whole class. There are people who dream about becoming nurses and their dreams are being ripped out from under them.

All this and life has its own drama. On my way to buy groceries the other day. (I decided, like an idiot, not to go to Quantico, but rather to try out the new Harris Teeter.) This was stupid, for one, because I spent more than I normally would--not withstanding the normal reduced prices you pay at the commissary, but there's a way better selection of new and different items. One reason I chose to go there was because of my time constraints. I figured going 15 minutes away versus 45 would help even out some of the extra money spent.

WRONG!!!

There was a huge car accident that included two fatalities. It apparently happened sometime before 7 a.m. and I went through around 8:45 and it was still backed up. Let's put it this way, when I saw the one car that had been involved I wanted to bawl. I knew it meant someone had died. That and the fact that they don't normally close high traffic roads unless there are fatalities. By the time I went through it had opened back up. A young father, who spent the night before up with his 5 day old, fell asleep at the wheel and T-boned a young mother. She was a graduate from our LPN program a couple of years ago. She left behind her 9 year old son.

Moving forward I took AW and his friends to the sakteboarding event on Saturday and they had an awesome time. I enjoyed watching it, although I'd awakened that morning with a severe headache.

Sunday was uneventful.

Monday I woke up with a migraine and had to skip the first class. I ended up taking acetaminophen and ibuprofen and was able to shower then drive myself to my local Rite Aid to have my Relpax Rx refilled. I headed to school for the exam. That's when I found out about the nurse who died in the above mentioned accident having been a graduate of our LPN program. There was a bit of sadness in the air.

Last night, here at home, I heard sirens, and at the same time was beckoning for my children to come in. LB informed me by text message that there was fire trucks and ambulances up our street. Being the nosey neighbor I am, and unable to focus on my care plan or anything else other than the local drama, I headed outside. Apparently one of our neighbors passed away after having a heart attack. What I gathered from another neighbor is the deceased drank heavily and had been in liver failure.

Today at clinicals we had near endless excitement. One of my classmates' patients threw up over 1000ml of blood and the rapid response team was called because she was going downhill PDQ. The RRT was called off after the doc got in there and assessed her.

Then about an hour or so (times could be off as I have no concept of time right now) later we actually had a code blue. The patient was resusciated. Then we could overhear one of the docs calling to notify the family and we overhear the doc saying someting to the effect of "You don't want him on the ventilator?" As the team was pulling the patient out of the room, to go to ICU, they then had to push him back in. Then evidently the family member decided the patient could be put on the ventilator temporarily. Off he went to ICU.

We got out early today so our instructor could attend the funeral for the deceased nurse. Oh yeah, during our morning session I had to step out of the room when the instructor notified us about the funeral and we talked about the accident. Come to find out the car I saw belonged to the nurse. I lost it.

Can we say madness? This is all not to mention the extreme wind blowing right now. It wouldn't be so bad but it's too nice for the A/C to be on, so our windows are open.

Ok, so this didn't turn out as brief as I'd originally intended, but now I am finished blathering at the mouth. Or should that be the keyboard?

Here's hoping for some calm...

Friday, October 2, 2009

down to one roll

We're down to one roll of toilet paper in our house. We have three bathrooms, and one roll. How can this be you ask? Those of you who've gone through or are going through nursing school may be able to answer that question.

Normally I go grocery shopping every two weeks, or so. I have not gone grocery shopping, I'd like to say, since school started this semester. I may be in error saying that, but i'ts been nearly that long. Now that I think about it, it can't have been 6 weeks. Can it? Nooo.

Anyway, my point is I have very little time for much other than reading and studying these days. This is evident in the reduced frequency of my blog posting.

A prescription for Xanax may be in my near future. Right now I am pretty wound up, as tense as a ball of twine.

We had two tests this week. I passed the one on Monday with an 86 bringing my grade up to just above passing in med/surg. I hope I'm not repeating this info, as that would be wasting precious time. Tuesday we took one on skin, lab and diagnostic testing, and dosage calculations. I received an 88 on it. Wednesday and Thursday were clinicals. I had an easy patient, almost too easy as I was bored a lot of the time. Our clinical instructor is such an awesome teacher.

So this weekend will be spent doing the usual, you guessed it--reading, completing study guides, ATI chapters that pertain to the current subject matter we're studing, reinforcing the info with my Reviews and Rationales books, and participating in the online discussions our instructor has burdened us with.

On a happy note (happy for him, but not for the time it takes from studying--that is horrible to say, but in a world where I would sacrifice going to watch, it's reality) AW is skateboarding with a pro skater tomorrow afternoon in an exhibition. This pro was at the middle school the other day showing off his moves and he asked what the name of a certain stunt was. AW answered correctly and won the opportunity he is so excited about taking part in tomorrow. Seriously I would probably not go if it weren't for the fact that Big B has another obligation tomorrow at the same time. I will admit I have to feel a certain amount of appreciation for this predicament, because I would probably never forgive myself for missing it. You can bet as soon as it's over we'll (he's bringing three friends, one gets to take part in the exhibition as well--one of those you win and you get to choose a friend situations) head straight for home where I'll make a beeline to my books.

Off to shop and then home to study...

Monday, September 28, 2009

shut up and drive

Seriously, you'd think I was on speed or something. I'm not...let's just clarify that fact! I have one trillion things going through my mind. First, I made a B on today's test, which with the failing grade from the last one brings me up to a C. Yeah!

We have another test tomorrow on skin assessment, something, something, and dosage calcuations. Oh, I think one of the somethings is on history and physical. ??? When asked of our instructor what in particular the test would be on she replied, "Look at your syllabus". Ummm, ok. We can all read. We have no idea what this test is going to be like. She did later inform us it would be multiple choice.

I have to start my care plan for my current clinical rotation, start reading for the community health ATI that we have to take next month, read for OB...

Tomorrow the community college is holding the annual college night and I have to take LB to it.

AW came home with two Ds on his interim progress report today. The rest of the grades were great and he's probably brought the Ds up as he's turned in the missing work that caused the Ds.

Did I mention I made a B on the test today? :D

Ok, well I need to get off here, eat dinner and then go tackle those one trillion things I have on my mind.

Time to "shut up" before I drive myself crazy!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

will there ever be a time...

....when I feel like I know something?

Ok, I have to admit, there's been a few things, mainly on TV that I've identified from knowledge I've gained while in nursing school. For instance last night there was a report on the news about the 19 lb baby that was born in Indonesia. Big B called me down to see it, as I was upstairs studying. When I saw the baby I said to him that it was a macrosomia baby, and his mom most likely has diabetes. Wouldn't ya know it as ole Sheppard Smith went on to report, mom does have diabetes?

The other night on Survivor one of the castaways was feeling ill after a challenge. While the doc was assessing him she had him stand up after taking his BP, which was low. I said he's mostly likely got orthstatic hypotension, and wouldn't ya know it, he fell back as soon as he got to his feet. I actually knew about orthostatic hypotension from back in the days as an Air Force medic.

Nonetheless I am learning, or at least I feel like I am. That is, I feel that way until I take the practice tests for the textbook, online. I went through the five chapters we're studying, and it was like riding a roller coaster. One I'd bomb, the next I did great, the next eh, not so great, and so on. I try to not let those tests get to me, as they're good practice and I read the rationales for the questions I get wrong. They're not graded for gosh sakes.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

5 down, 11 to go

Yep, there's only eleven more weeks in this semester. I have to say it's moving along quite nicely. I barely have time for anything other than reading, reading, and more reading.

We started our clinicals back up at the hospital this week, and that went very well. I went in there so nervous yesterday morning, but that eased up as the morning went on. I passed meds, observed PT changing the dressing of my patient's stage 4 pressure ulcer of the heel, charted, and other fun things.

We were then excused to go to a medical ethics meeting. The initial subject was preparation for H1N1 and patient surge. Ethics comes into this say, when you have two patients needing a ventilator--in the instance that things get that bad--and one has a 50/50 chance of survival, is mid-forties and has a family, the other patient is 75/25 with no one and just so happens to be 75 years old. Who gets the last available ventilator?

Then the other issue raised came from a recent case where a woman at 24 weeks came in wanting a therapeutic abortion because of fetal anomalies, where the fetus would be non-viable upon birth. This hospital is a small community hospital, that receives private funding. The population of the local area is pretty conservative. Every OB doc who was available became a part of this issue when it happened. Some were for it, some weren't. The ethics committee was called upon to make a decision. In the end the woman was transferred to a university hospital. The issue doesn't end there as it may happen again. Yeah, big...huge...can of worm there!

Today was pretty low key. The excitement came when we were notified that the above mentioned pressure ulcer is infected with VRE. Fun times to be had in the hospital!

Thursday afternoons are one of my current favorite times of the week. There are no classes and no clinicals on Fridays, and only the weekend to look forward to...even if it's spent reading and studying for Monday's exam.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

so much to talk about, so little time

Weekends blow.

That is, they blow until mid-December. That's only because we have exams every Monday until then. Yesterday was my anniversary, and I spent the greater part of the day studying. See? Nursing school is rough.

Fortunately my husband is 85% on board with understanding how IT is in nursing school. He's seeing it first hand. He had to explain to the neighbor lady that 1.) I wasn't coming over to talk to her because yes, I am not thrilled with what she has done and 2.) I am studying, even on our anniversary, so that should make one understand the level of commitment...perseverance...insanity. This, as in the indiscretions of people, is one of those things that I could so go on about, but there is so little time to even be typing this post let alone explaining wondering neighbor's ways. (Evidently she's returned long enough to gather up some of her things, sign away her rights to everything, and then hit the road back to what is certainly not greener grass!)

Big B and I did go out on Friday night to the DC Improv and we laughed our arses off at the two front liners, and then especially at Greg Giraldo.



This is where the other 15% comes in. I would have been perfectly content staying in ALL WEEKEND, studying, and taking in a Patrick Swayze flick and a nice home cooked (grilled by him) dinner. Ghost would have been a good anniversary movie. We did have tons of fun though Friday night and I needed it.

Friday I did my clinical rotation at the local wound care center. Let's just say it wasn't what I had expected and nothing more really then the experience I had working as a MA at a podiatrist's office way back when. The only real cool thing about it was the hyperbaric chamber.

Other than all of that I need new nursing shoes and am leaning toward a couple of styles of New Balance, since they came so highly recommended way back when I first asked about shoes. My Grasshopper's aren't fitting the needs of longer days.

I suppose I need to get off here now and go finish studying. Tomorrow's exam is OB, which in the end, I ended up with an 83.3% on the first one. Last week's med/surg exam was even worse with a 76.6% (failure). Considering I ended up with As and Bs after my first year these poor grades aren't sitting extremely well, but I've pretty much gotten to the point where I am fine with pass/fail...intending on PASS. That may seem piss poor and lacksidasical, but after ten years of school and life with teens receiving the diploma is what's most important, not graduating with honors. Please understand normally I would be the kind of person to strive for that, but I just do't have the energy now.

Now on to more energy sapping studying...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

wedded bliss


September 19, 1992



What can I say? I married a pervert!! Still happy 17 years later!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

like kids in a candy store!


my classmate, LP, and I


Seriously, when the clinical coordinator took us back to the locker room and told us to change so we could go observe some of the morning's cases you would have thought we were two kids in a candy store. We were so excited to be putting on surgical scrubs and getting to at least observe surgeries. Today was one of my most fun clinical days by far. Not to mention I dig the whole scheme of the surgery center...and the work hours aren't so bad either! That's some food for thought for later...

I observed three cases total. The first two were Ts&As, or tubes and adenoidectomies. The CRNA, MD and RNs were awesome as far as letting me get in right over their shoulders and seeing every little thing they were doing. My last case was a GYN--hysteroscopic D&C of polyps, and what was supposed to be an operative laparoscopy. The polyps turned out to be the size of large peanut M&Ms and the lap ended up being only exploratory as the surgeon didn't find anything problematic. He was as great as the CRNA and MD from before, and so was the CRNA from the GYN case. The GYN surgeon let me get right in their over his shoulder and get a bird's eye view of the whole procedure.

Everyone we encountered today was awesome to be around. It was sort of a utopia of medical facilities! So after an exhilarating morning LP and I left as high as if we'd sucked down some gummy worms, sour patch kids, and pixie sticks!

Tomorrow (I'm going out to lunch with a friend, getting my hair trimmed and a pedicure), which would normally be a clinical day is instead a day off, since LP and I are going to a local wound care center on Friday. That's as exciting to me as all the other things I've been doing. Next week we head up to the hospital and start our regular rotations where we'll be doing med/surg, telemetry, ortho, etc. We'll have a total of about 8 weeks doing that, which should also include trips to the ED, OR, IR, and other such places if we're lucky. Then our last four weeks, which include Turkey Day break, will be spent in OB/peds. I just have to make it through the in between stuff and suck up as much good experience from it as I can. I just do not see me doing med/surg for any great length of time once I graduate. Who knows I may love it. I can't wait for the OB/peds rotation though!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

a tribute

Our local high school had a pregame tribute to all the area firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, and military personnel in honor of the remembrance of 9/11/01.
This is before it started, waiting, while everyone was lining up and the principal made the opening remarks.



Here you have everyone filing down centerfield, then lining up, while Lee Greenwood's "Proud to Be An American" played.



This is just prior to the American Anthem being played.

As a veteran of the United States Air Force I was very proud to stand beside others who have served, or are still serving.


Here we have our mascot, the eagle, played by my son, LB, during the first half.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

open says me

My eyes can barely stay open and they're just watering like crazy. If this post makes no sense whatsoever chalk it up to pure exhaustion.

Monday we had off (yay!) Tuesday was a bit of a waste of time. We practiced taking health histories. We partnered up and asked each other a bunch of questions off of a health history form, that was pretty redundant in a lot of places. Then we were dismissed. Yesterday for clinicals we went to a neighboring county's health care campus and toured the long term care facility, which includes an Alzheimer's unit, sub-acute care unit, rehab unit and a couple of other units. After our tour we played balloon volleyball with about 8-10 of the female residents on the Alzheimer's unit. Then we were dismissed. The five of us that had to participate this week in my clinical group (I LOVE my clinical group!) went to lunch. Today we had to be at the same campus, but this time at the small community hospital, and we had to be there at 0630.

Did I mention this was about an hour away? I've been up since 0415.

When the instructor arrived she informed us that one would go to the ED, one would go to OR, and the other 3 would go with her up to her med/surg unit. I lucked out and got the ED!!

I saw some really cool cases including a person that was HIV positive who had had seizures; a person who was having mysterious neurological deficits (mysterious because all the tests were coming back negative/normal); and a few other minor cases. It was awkward because I knew that me being there only one dday, and a half day at that, that not much would be invested in my learning experience. The nurse I was assigned to observe was actually great to work with though, so overall it was a pretty good experience. I would elaborate a bit more but I am spent and will now be taking my tired eyes...and body to go relax...after making dinner. Thankfully spaghetti is too easy.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

lucky number thirteen







September 6th, 1996 Wichita Falls, Texas....in the heat of the summer I gave birth to my second child. It was love before first sight!













A year later we were living in Virginia and celebrating his first birthday. Daddy wasn't present since he was overseas in Kuwait. We were surrounded by friends who had become surrogate family and my mom and dad had come out for the occasion.









Today we celebrate AW's thirteenth birthday. When I asked him what he wanted to do, as I was willing to let him have 10-15 of his friends over for a small party, he declined and said he just wanted to have a couple of friends spend the night. That's exactly what he did. Last night he had two friends stay over, and this morning I made them, along with LB and two of his friends, a big breakfast. AW and his friends are spending the day relaxing and watching movies. This evening we'll take him to a restaurant of his choice for his birthday dinner. So far he hasn't told us of his choice. It's kind of funny how we've gone from the big Chuck E. Cheese parties to low key celebrations where he's happy just hanging out with his closest buds!

Happy 13th Birthday AW!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy

Somehow I can't believe that there are any heights that can't be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy. ~Walt Disney


Plentiful, boundless amounts of curiosity.

A little short on the rest.

My confidence needs to improve and it will, as I have the courage to push past my fears of the unknown. Constancy will soon be had.

Today we had our "first" non-orientation day of clinicals. It was supposed to be our first at least. We weren't able to do any patient care because we weren't assigned passwords yet--big hold up in the staff education/computer access/gatekeeper part of the hospital.

Someone said recently that the first few weeks of the third semester are really hard to get through, but once you do it's smooth sailing. It's still touhg as it is nursing school, but it's doable.

I guess it's kind of like the first five years of marriage.

Well, I've made it through nearly seventeen years of marriage, life in the military and being married to it, and some other things that make people stronger.

I should have skin thicker than any elephant's or rhinoceros's!

When you face your fear, most of the time you will discover that it was not really such a big threat after all. We all need some form of deeply rooted, powerful motivation -- it empowers us to overcome obstacles so we can live our dreams. ~Les Brown

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

how freakin' fabulous!!



One of my newest Blogworld friends has honored me with this wonderful award!! How freakin' fabulous! Raspberry Scrubs is pretty freakin' fabulous herself!

Rules of the Award:

List five current obsessions.
Pass the award on to five more fabulous blogs.
On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them.
When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well.
Don’t forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by leaving a comment on their blog.

I'm going to have to keep this short and sweet, because I have some serious hours of reading in my textbooks to put in, but here goes...

5 obsessions
1. my guys
2. chocolate
3. flowers/gardening
4. medical/nursing shows
5. photography

5 freakin' fabulous bloggers:
1. Chasing Myself
2. Running Wildly
3. Nursapalooza
4. Life is Full of Blessings
5. Lorie's Corner

I really could have listed everyone on my blogroll, because everyone on there is freakin' fabulous--so if you don't find yourself on here, know that because I've placed you on my blogroll I think you're amazing...however, I really have to get reading!

how about some kibble with that neosporin?

I walked into the house to a small mess of a shredded up sandwich bag, bandaids and some other unidentifiable something-or-another. I knew it had to have come from my clinical bag sitting innocently on the computer room floor, and I knew who the culprit had to be.

Nope, not Sandi. Sandi goes for truly edible items or garbage from food. Nope, it wasn't Sandi.

This had to be a Minnie mess. Minnie rummages through the upstairs bathroom garbage and pulls out anything she finds tempting. I won't mention the unmentionables she's dined on a time or two.

The "unidentifiable something-or-another"? A massacred tube of neopsorin.

Lovely.





Aside from that mess the earlier part of the morning was a success. I went and paid for and picked up my ATI books. Bottom's up: Med/Surg, child, maternal/newborn, and community health. We don't even take the med/surg ATI test this semester, but considering the girth of the book it behooves one to start reading...yesterday.

I passed the dosage calculations test. I did have trouble with the IV calculations, just as I thought I would. So, obviously I"ll be emphasizing on that area in my studies of pharmacology.

As I sit here typing I can say my bottom is quite comfortable on my new cushion. It's actually a neck massager, with vibrator. I'm not using it for that though, just sitting on it makes me feel better! It took forever to find it in Walmart. I looked in the baby section for a Boppy and came up with nothing, then went to the fitness sections--still nothing, then onto the pillows--zippo, and then it occured to me that they might have something near the pharmacy in the medical equipment section. Wrong, but on the next aisle over was the selection of massagers and such...voila! Best part is, it was on sale!

Although I have, figuratively speaking, pain-in-the-butt dog(s) and nursing school exams, my hiney is feeling more finey!

on a mission

After class today I'm heading straight for the nearest Walmart to buy a Boppy or butt cushion because I can't take the "study butt" any longer! Even in class I'm sitting there in agony. Maybe I'll just get one of those airline pillows that goes around your neck. That way it's a little more transportable than something larger.

Yesterday we took our first exam in maternal/child nursing and I passed (barely) with an 82. That's much better than I thought I was going to do, so I'm happy. I did promptly after a day filled with lecture, go to my local Borders and bought the Prentice Hall Maternal/Newborn Reviews and Rationales book. Our textbook is monstrous and just too hard to weed through, so I figure this will be a good supplement. I'll probably have to buy the one on child health as well. Whatever it takes to make the grade!

I have to go pay for ATIs this week. Yeah, we do have to pay $183...still not understanding how it jumped to more than double what we paid the past two semesters.

Today we have our first dosage calculations test of the semester. I think I'll do ok. I have trouble with the IV drips that call for meds. I really don't have all that much trouble, but it's more like when I sit down with the test I'm going to mix it all up in my head as to what I'm supposed to be doing. Extraneous information confuses me!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

whiskey tango foxtrot

Make an acronym out of the the title and you have the kind of expression I thought to myself as I looked for my car this afternoon upon leaving the hospital after orientation.

I was extremely excited. We'd had a great day, and I was off to go have my Tb test site checked, then on to get a much needed pedicure. After changing in the bathroom I set out for the parking lot. To understand my story you should understand that the hospital sits up on a hill, surrounded by other buildings and there are parking lots at varying levels. The roads leading up to the hospital wind around so you don't have a straight shot at viewing a whole road in its entirety.

When I arrived this morning I made the first right and parked in what was probably illegal parking as it was, but as I still wasn't sure about where employess are supposed to park I thought it better than the spot where I parked yesterday. Leaving the hospital after orientation I walked down, and turned left into what I thought was the same lot from this morning. As I'm approaching where I was quite certain my car would be, I realized it was not there. I spent a few minutes searching, to include with the use of the alarm button on the car remote. Nothing...

It occured to me that I'd really messed up, parking in an illegal spot, and had been towed. Back to the hospital I went, where security was called to come and help me. The security guard walked back out with me. He asked if I was sure I'd parked there and not the lot below. So as we're walkng he asks what kind of car I drive, and I respond with the make and model. Sure enough it's not there!

So we keep walking down to the other lot.

He saw it first.

I thanked him and apologized profusely and off he went back to the building.

Really, I'm thinking I now know what dementia is like first hand! At the very least I know how Jessie and Chester felt..."Dude! Where's my car!"

Ahem...

So that topped off my first week of second year! I left after regaining my composure from laughing at myself, and went and had my Tb test checked. Then went for a much needed pedicure and it was one of the best I've ever had!

Speaking of first weeks, it was pretty good I'd say!

Monday was exhausintg. Tuesday was a lighter day, but I felt stressed as I thought I would never catch up on the reading. Yesterday we were oriented to the unit we will be doing clinicals on in our first rotation. Today turned out (aside from the parking lot debacle) way better than I thought it was going to upon realizing students from the other local CC would be doing clinicals right alongside our class! This is the first year they've had two schools doing clinicals at the same time. They've had externships where schools were mixed, but not clinicals.

Now, if you've followed my blog you know I'd thought about transferring. This other CC, where these other students are from, is the one I would have transferred to. I thought for sure they were going to be a bunch of know-it-alls making us look bad. We learned that that wasn't the case. After the hospitalschmospital orientation and a break the staff educator had us group up, after counting off by 6s. Therefore we were forced to integrate. I'm so glad they did that! It ended up being a great experience! Our group worked well together and came up with answers to our scenario without any problem. There was some stuff that they knew better, and some stuff we knew better.

I, of course, took the opportunity to ask some questions and am now even more happy with my decision to stay put. Sure there may be some things that are better about their program, but we have our own strengths as well.

Nobody is perfect!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

seriously in need of a butt pillow


seriously...


All this sitting, and studying...sitting, and reading....sitting and doing drug calculations, leaves my hiney not feeling so finey!

My butt-tocks (think Forrest Gump) are screaming for some extra added cushion, which I don't understand. I didn't name me arse "Colorado" (it used to be "Texas" before I lost the weight) for nothing! The total lack of muscular tone probably has something to do with that.

Now we've come full circle. If I wasn't sitting on me arse so much maybe I could be working on toningi it up.

Have I mentioned I am in nursing school???

Seriously. It's a PITA! (pain in the a$$)

So, I'm thinking of getting a boppy (they're not just for breastfeeding, ya know!)...or maybe a bonafied butt pillow.

Monday, August 24, 2009

first day, second year

e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d.

Put a mortgage closing (because that's about how many papers we signed today), carrying at least 15 lbs in books, a steam roller, and shell shock together and you have moi, today the first day of my second year of nursing school.

Ever heard the phrase "I feel like I've been rode hard and put away wet"? Yeah, that about covers it!

We had clinical instructors come in and speak briefly on clinicals. We went over clinical schedules. We had our regular instructor fill us to bursting at the seams with information for this semester. We were yet again notified of the $183 we'd be paying for the ATI tests for this semester. We were notified that ATI tests would count for 5% of our final grade. Some of us were given letters of notification of vaccinations that were due. I have to do my PPD. We went over this year's edition of the nursing student handbook. We were told that board scores are up 10% from the last year's. We'll be the class to bring it even higher, we were told. We sat for lecture. We did get a few breaks, and an hour for lunch.

All in all, although it was an exhausting day, it was exciting. I was up at 0240, and it took a while to get back to sleep, so that doesn't help with the fatigue. I have to do some reading and signing papers I didn't get signed in class, along with the stuff the boys brought/bring home.

I can only hope to stay awake long enough to go to bed at a decent itme, and then maybe I'll sleep through the night...

...then on to day two!

Friday, August 21, 2009

last friday of freedom


Wouldn't ya know it, I logged onto Blackboard yesterday morning and low and behold there glaring back at me from the screen was the line-up of this Fall's classes. Instant panic, mortification, excitement, anticipation, all those radical emotions, consumed me like Cookie Monster eating some chocolate chippers. Because I share so well, and truly am a team player, I immediately logged onto Facebook and posted the news as my status message. Knowing some of my classmates are not on Facebook (for shame) I texted them so they could share in the morning's delight.

After next week, Labor Day Monday will be the only Monday that we do not have an exam until after final exams the week of December 14th. (Is it Christmas, yet??) We have two exams our second week. Mondays are our Principles & Concepts and the Maternal/Newborn class. The Monday exams flip flop between the two classes. There are five weeks where we'll also have an exam on Tuesdays, in our Health Assessment class. Dosage calculations will be combined into those exams. We have two case studies due later in the semester for P&C, as well as two assignments each for the other two classes. There is reference made to care plans in the syllabi, but nothing giving any specific information as to how many we'll have to do, or any other requirements.

I'm pleased with my clinical group assignment. The nineteen in my class from this past Spring are all returning and there are 7 LPN transition or wash back students joining us. One of them is in my clinical group. I hope all the new people mesh as well with our original group as we all have so far. We still have one male classmate, amongst all of us girls.

The clinical schedule looks like it will be interesting and provide us with some really good experience and learning opportunities. This semester we'll rotate through our local hospital as well as one that's in a neighboring county. My group only spends one week there (that being two days), which is fine with me since it is an hour or more away. We'll rotate through med/surg/telemetry/ortho and OB units where we'll receive hands on training. We'll also do observation only training in the ER, OR, PACU, radiology and other such places. We also do a peds rotation at a local pediatric clinic. It is also observation only.

As it is, today I am excited, yet still very anxious and nervous about this semester. I'm choosing to go in thinking as positively as possible. I'm even going in giving our instructor the benefit of the doubt. The primary second year instructor is the one from my mental health class who pretty much "taught" from PPTs that were straight from the book. I'm hopeful that she'll expand upon this year's material more than the MH material as she has more experience in the other areas.

Today I'm off to do some grocery shopping at my favorite place in the world (ha!), a military commissary. This evening the guys and I are going to see Inglourious Basterds. Tomorrow I'm not sure what we'll do early on. LB has try outs for a local showcase type baseball team in the afternoon. Big B is going to Crue Fest. I was originally planning on going but have decided against it (I may have mentioned this before--early senility...). Instead I'm having some friends over for a last hurrah of summer, a "ladies night in". We'll eat, drink, be merry and just have a good ole time. Sunday I plan to get a head start on my reading, and do some last minute home/family organizational type things.

Then Monday we're off to school!