Sunday, September 26, 2010


Imagine working for thirty years and all you want to do once you retire is nothing. You buy yourself a La-Z-Boy recliner, a bedpan, a urinal and hire someone to clean them daily, for $30.00 a day. You pay someone $30.00 a week to buy your groceries. Literally, you want to do nothing, well except maybe watch TV.

This past week we spent time administering flu shots to some of the residents. It was a pretty arduous process; very different from when I did the mass flu shot clinic when I was in the Air Force. Then we didn't need doctor's orders, patient consent, etc. They lined up and we stuck them. Wam bam, thank you ma'am! In a long term care facility it's a bit different. You are required to have the orders, consent and hands that don't tire from all the other documentation.

As we're moving along I go into a resident's room. I didn't exit until 30 minutes later when another nurse came in and saved me. Evidently this particular resident is one of those, that when you are planning to go in you plan to tell someone to save you in about 10 minutes. He's not only lonely, but from what I hear he can also be quite...grumpy. From what I hear it borders on abusive. I wasn't abused. He told me all about how he ended up "incarcerated", his views on war, politics, religion and "the jokers" (the MDs who have cared for him since his incarceration, which is actually what he calls his life in the LTC facility).

Every time he needed them a rescue squad would come pick him up, and he'd pay them $30.00 even if they refused. He has no family. No one visits him.

His existence is a sad one. Who am I to judge, though? What will I take from my 30 minutes? A deeper appreciation for those I do have around me - that and I may have given him 30 minutes of joy he doesn't often know anymore, just by listening.

Monday, September 20, 2010

now just green behind the gills

Today I was left wondering if I'd made the right choice in becoming a nurse. Or rather, it was more like....what the hell have I gotten myself into!?!

Last week there was a certain level of comfort, just sitting at a table, watching DVD movies on topics such as infection control and dementia. This week we're branching out a bit. Today we set out with "rounds sheets", which are a checklist of things that are supposed to be done in a shift. Many items are particular to each resident (O2 tubing changed and dated, A.M. care provided, etc.) and then there are such items as making sure the med cart is locked when you walk away from it.

As I'm walking around I come across a resident who complains of dizziness. She tells me that she gets dizzy in the mornings and it usually resolves as the day goes on. I go and tell her nurse who then asks me to get orthostatic vital signs on her. I didn't even think to do that. I suck. And I'm going to take care of your grandmother or grandfather!?! I'm so worried about the stupid checklist I can't even fathom to think critically.

A career switch to graphic arts doesn't so bad right now.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

seeing green

Soooo, this week has been spent in orientation. I've gone from a job where I basically had no training to one where we're being oriented to the facility and there will be tons of training. I'm loving it. The facility I'm working at - orienting at - is owned by a parent corporation and I like it. I guess you can take the girl out of the military, but there's just some military-type things you can't take out of the girl. I will have no problem working for a facility that actually has their shit together. We shall nickname it the HRC (health and rehab). Once I'm done with orientation I will be on nights, working on the rehab unit.

So far it's been a bunch of training videos. You know the ones, infection control, HIPAA, blah, blah, blah. We're also having to do computer modules for CEUs. We've helped out in the dining room for lunch. It's kind of scary to me, since I don't know the residents and their needs. I'm learning though. That's one thing I like about going through orientation is it gives wiggle room to learn the ins and outs.

I actually had to buy new scrubs for this job, after just having bought the scrubs for the PO. They're what I've been wearing temporarily, but we are required to wear hunter green or white everyday, but Fridays, at which time we're allowed to wear our choice.

In family news I ended up taking both boys in to be seen last week. LB was treated for strep throat. AW has been having trouble staying awake at school for the past couple of years and evidently high school is anymore stimulating than middle school was, or so that was the thought process. Recently, as he was sleeping downstairs on the couch, I had the occasion to hear him snore like a...beast. It occured to me that maybe it was time to see if it was more than teenageritis. We ended up doing a sleep study the night we saw his PCP. As it turns out, the kid has sleep apnea. Poor thing! Soooo, we're dealing with that. We just went yesterday (had to leave orientation early) to have his x-rays done to assess his adenoids. Hopefully we'll hear soon as to what we do next.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

no more crumbs!

I interviewed last week for a position at a local long-term care and rehab facility. I found out today, that I will be working there part-time nights! Woohooo!

No more PO for me!


No more hunting for the ever elusive nursing job. I am so thankful for this opportunity.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

that's the way my cookie crumbled

It all started oh, about 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 11th. Imagine that, something happening on the 11th day of any month. It is a trend in my life. I had just gotten off work and was making my way through rush hour traffic to home. As usual I'd looked at my cell phone to check for messages before I started driving. Big B had left one, "Call me".

Ought oh.

He said he had bad news and proceeded to tell me one of his co-workers had resigned, so we wouldn't be able to go on vacation the following week. Yes, just days away from a vacation we had all looked so forward to, I was hearing it wouldn't happen. I was livid. That's putting it mildly. I am a redhead and do have the temper to fit. Most times I keep it in check, but when you mess with something or someone I care about, watch out.

I arrived home and head straight upstairs to spare my family members of my wrath. I'm embarassed to admit, I was so mad that when I slammed our bedroom door, that has an over-the-door hook on it, that usually keeps it from shutting...well, I slammed it so hard, it shut.

In the end we decided, so as not to waste any money, that the boys and I would go, sans Daddy.

Yes, I'm brave. I not only took two teenage boys on a road trip for a week, but added one of their friends to the mix. ZA had already been invited that very fateful day, and they were all so excited for their Jersey shore vacation. This is all thanks to the show, Jersey Shore. They were hellbent on having their own Jersey shore experience and who am I to not let them have it? Besides, I really needed to "get away". Taking them was the lesser of two evils, those being stay and not go on vacation that I'd been so looking forward to (read as: certain nervous breakdown would surely ensue), or take three teenage boys to the Jersey shore.

Off we went. We left VA on a rainy Sunday and arrived in a splendid locale reserved by my father-in-law. We spent a couple of days on the beach and also walked the boardwalk in Wildwood. One day we spent relaxing around camp, lazing around the pool and "enjoying" each others' company. The next day we were forced to again "enjoy" each others' company since it poured rain. all. day. long. That same day LB had developed swimmer's ear, so we also spent some time in a local urgent care facility. yay.

That evening I suffered with a migraine, but was able to sleep it away that night. Thursday we set out for Seaside Heights, which is the town where Season 1 of Jersey Shore had taken place. We all wanted to check it out and you never know when you might see a cast memeber, considering they still frequent Seaside. Wouldn't you know, we turn up onto the boardwalk and there's a big crowd of people, with some police officers patrolling the scene. It was Ronnie and Snooki! They were standing in the entryway of the Shore Store, which is the store the cast worked in during Season 1.

We walked the boardwalk and bought a bunch of t-shirts. The cast has made some taglines famous and of course the retail world has capitalized on this by way of t-shirts.

I started feeling another migraine coming on, and by this time we were all shopped out and ready to head home. We make our way back to the parking lot where we paid to park, only to notice the crowd of people starting to gather. Come to find out, we were parked right across the street from the house the cast had stayed in and are currently filming Season 3. We were right there where all the action was, well, across the street from it at least. I'm thinking a sudden burst of excitement and adrenaline curbed my headache, so I was able to stand by for a while, hoping to catch a glimpse of a cast member. Alas, after about an hour or so, the headache started coming on again and the boys had become bored with watching the commotion of MTV personnel and police officers, with no sighting of any celebrities, so we headed back to camp.

"Camp" was more than a tent. We had the privilege of staying in my father-in-law's RV, and it was a biggin'. It made for a mostly enjoyable vacation, although the boys were, at times,... too much personality... in what could be a small place.

Once again I was able to sleep off the migraine, and awakened Friday with plans to hit the beach. We also headed out to dinner that night for our seafood feast at The Lobster House in Cape May. Sadly, my migraine started in again and we made it an early night. I ended up with chills and nausea and after an hour or so trying to sleep it off unsuccessfully, had LB take me to the local ER. Last time I'd felt like that was when I had mastitis after I'd given birth to AW...14 years ago.

Nine hours and a dose of Reglan, and then a dose of Toradol later, I was discharged. As all good things must come to an end, we headed back to the RV to get packed up. After a ngihtmare of an ER visit where I got little to no sleep and LB slept none, I knew we couldn't head straight back home, so we followed my father-in-law to his house where I was able to get a nap in, and then we made our way home. All the while I felt like poo.

When Monday morning rolled around I was still feeling dreadful, so I had to call in sick. Later I received a phone call from the big boss informing me I'd been taken off, and replaced, of my part-time position, and was being put on PRN status. The person who covered for me during vacation was my replacement. Why? I have yet to get a solid reason. I can say I know it's due in part to the fact that my replacement is awesome. She's a former classmate, someone I considered a friend. I know her well enough to know she's extremely comfortable in her nurse skin, whereas I don't have the experience she does, and so I'm still getting used to mine.

That's the way my cookie crumbled. I'm torn. Part of me is relieved this happened, because I wasn't entirely comfortable working there. There are a few standards of practice I don't necessarily agree with. It was experience and a paycheck though. This has been a big blow to my confidence, even so far as to make me question my worth as a nurse.

Today I have an interview for a local health and rehabilitation center (nursing home). It's exciting and daunting all at once. I welcome the opportunity to possibly be doing more nurse-like work over what I was doing at the PO. We shall see.