Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'm Back

Where does the time go? It's been nearly a year since I posted anything, and so much has happened. I passed my LPN program, and am now a practicing LPN at a nursing home. Goodbye cell phone repair! The "baby" is nearly 3, and going through a phase which I can only liken to demonic possession.

It's strange to say to people now, "I am a nurse." I don't feel like one, yet people look to me for answers, and trust me to take care of them. It's hard. I've seen death now. I've cared for people who were dying, and regretted not making them more comfortable, or letting the day get away from me without contacting the doctor for stronger pain relief. I've seen some really shitty nurses and some really great ones. I'm trying not to be shitty. I love most of my patients, but some I just can't bring myself to even like. I feel lost at work often, like I'm just playing a role, and trying to convince people I know what I'm doing. I think I know, but there's still so much to learn.

I was accepted into the RN bridge program, so that begins the second week of January. After the year of hell I went through to get this far, it freaks me out to know I'm going back. I bought my books last week. I dragged 50lbs of books through the icy tundra back to the car with the little one screaming that he wanted a piggy back ride. I know, always have to play second to Mommy's school.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Back to School Blues

I realize I didn't blog once during my first semester of school. It was busy, but it went well. Ended up getting straight A's in fact.

I've been trying to really suck every bit of life I can out of this vacation, and now it's almost time to go back.

The baby is not a baby anymore, but a toddler. I used to hate toddlers. Really couldn't stand them. I think it's their resemblance to crusty snot covered Oompa Loompas, combined with the smell of graham crackers, spoiled milk, and poop. My toddler of course, is a joy who seems much too smart for his age. He'll be 2 next week, and already knows how to count to 20 (who cares if he pronounces seven "settie"), and can recognize and name all his shapes and letters.

My mom has decided to try out sobriety, and has made it nearly 6 months so far. That removes some of the family worry distractions I dealt with last year, so I'm grateful for that. I don't have time for crises, whether they be my own or someone else's.

This semester should be interesting. I have a 4 week rotation of pediatrics followed by 4 weeks OB, with mental health nursing running over the course of the 8 weeks. After that I have 8 weeks of med/surg. Honestly, I'm not sure what "med/surg" entails, but it makes you sound really professional when you say med/surg, and I'll figure it out when I get to it.

The most frequently asked question I get is, "when are you done?" I'm not really sure how to answer it though. The LPN program is over at the end of June, I have the option to bridge into the RN program to gain my RN Associates Degree after that. I think you have to work for a year as an LPN before you can bridge. The RN portion would be another year and a half or so. People really don't want to hear all that, and as soon as you say LPN their eyes glaze over. I really need to come up with a more succinct answer for that one.

I think I've stalled enough, time to read 6 chapters about the diseases and conditions of Oompa Loompas.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First Day of School!

I felt like a high school freshman again. I've been taking classes on and off at the community college for 11 years, but I still felt small and lost going to my class yesterday. I tried to glance at my schedule to get the room number without having anyone see me do it. I've been in that same building thousands of times, probably even had classes in that same room, but it felt so foreign, as though it was a new school.

Going into class and picking a seat was different too. I got there in plenty of time to grab a seat in front (Yep, I'm still quite the non-trad student), but this class was different, because I know I'll be spending the next year or two with all these people. I can't just put up my walls around me and ignore everyone. I started getting nervous and took my ipod out of my bag, but put it back and forced myself to make some awkward small talk with the people behind me about the reading. Just like high school, everyone seemed to know each other already. Between that and knowing that I very well could be the only person in the class without experience working, I struggled to stop the feeling of doubt and anxiety that swells up right at the bottom of your throat.

The instructor arrived, and started unloading books and the syllabus and schedules and setting them up all over her table. She seemed eccentric for a second, but then again, I was an English major at a Liberal Arts college... now those professors are eccentric... This instructor does wear reading glasses over her regular glasses, but she assures us she has an eye exam coming up.

She put most of my fears at ease. Once she started talking, I started to see that she was different from other instructors, as this really is a occupational program, not just another class to pick up a few credits, she has to be different. Her job is to make us nurses. If we fail, she fails. I can see how much she cares about her students even in the way she makes eye contact and talks to us.

At one point, she took off one of her pairs of glasses and looked around the room at us reassuringly, "If you ever feel like dropping out, you all have to promise to come see me first, OK? Promise?" Yes, I think I'll like her.

And, the people that were sitting next to me asked at the end of class if I'd like to be in their study group. Not like high school after all... that's a good thing.

In other news, my mom has 3 days sober. If she made it through the night last night, it will be 4 days. More about her to come... right now, selfish or not, I have to focus on myself.

Friday, August 15, 2008

School Starts Next Week

I don't know if I'm ready for this whole endeavor. I had my orientation on Monday, where they emphasized over and over again how horrible our lives are going to be for the next year. I think there is going to be plenty of support also, from school and at home, but still, I'm wondering what I got myself into.

I want to avoid this being the nursing student blog that drones on post after post about how hard school is, and how unfair my instructors are. Those things may be true, but those things are up to me to deal with, and whining about it won't get me anywhere.

I am worried about my work/home/school work load balance and how I'll deal with all that. I'm going to need to find some creative time management ideas.

I'm apprehensive about clinicals mainly because I don't have any experience aside from my CNA clinicals last summer. Most of the other students work in medical settings already, but again, here I am fixing cell phones. I might be the only nursing student that can solder a microphone on an LG, but that doesn't do me much good come time to take vitals accurately.

I'm trying to remain confident, while at the same time realistic about my abilities and worries. The voice of doubt is getting louder, but with only a few days left to go before class starts, I'm trying to give my ego a boost, and work on positive self-talk.

I can do this.

Millions of other people have become nurses before me.

I can be a good nurse.

I have all the school and people skills in place.

I have an excellent support system.

I can do this.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Herpetology 101

So, we took the baby to the zoo, and as we're looking at snakes making "ssssssss..." sounds, I overhear this conversation:

Boy: Look at that lump in the middle of the snake, Mom, that's the mouse it ate I bet, we learned about that at school!"

Mom (thoughtfully): How does it get out?

Dad (looking at Mom like she's brain damaged): What do you mean how does it get out? It ate it, it doesn't come back out.

Mom: Oh, well, what about the... um... remnants...

Dad: It's got an out-hole, you know?

Addicting Games Spot - Play Addicting Games

Cell Phone Repair Lesson 2

Ok, let me preface that this has nothing to do with any sort of insect, I promise.

I just don't understand people. I had a lady approach me at work couple days ago getting an attitude as I greet her, and say, "yeah, remember me? My phone's doing it again."

No, I have no idea who you are. As it turns out, I helped her 3 months ago by replacing her phone because the original phone had a problem that was covered under warranty.

This second phone she had was having the same symptoms, but it was now out of warranty based on how long she had owned it, as well as the fact that it had signs of liquid damage. She is demanding another new phone.

I ask her if she realizes the phone has been wet. "Well, yeah, probably because I didn't pick him up from school one day and he had to walk home 2 miles in the pouring rain. I don't see what that has to do with anything."

"We don't replace your phone for free if you ruined it by getting it wet."

"It was only rain water, it's not like it was toilet water!"

Oh, well in that case...

Lesson: Water (H20), regardless of source or purity, is not good for electronics. DUH.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cell Phone Repair Lesson 1

As I was sitting through my nursing school orientation, I was feeling really out of place. I was in the minority of students that isn't currently working in health care. The introduce yourself to the room to 60 people game is uncomfortable enough, but the girl that announced she worked for a florist got some chuckles. I left out my current job in my introduction.

It's not that I'm ashamed that I repair cell phones. I've become proud of my job and I really enjoy it, in spite of my self. I would like to work in health care now, but I probably earn about double what I could earn as a CNA, and I get benefits even though I work part time hours. There is no reason to make any job moves right now.

I try to use my job to practice my conversational skills, showing empathy and patience, and listening carefully... But, possibly most importantly, I'm practicing dealing with completely disgusting situations with professionalism.

Case in point: I introduced myself to customer a few days ago. His name was Frank. He was 78, and was sort of unkempt and smelly in an old man way, but was sweet. I asked him what was wrong with his phone, and he said his "crazy ol' phone was actin' a fool!" Translation: The vibrator motor wouldn't turn off. It vibrated constantly. Very odd, but a telltale sign of liquid damage. I asked him if the phone had gotten wet, and he assured me it hadn't. I of course gently assured him I would figure out what was wrong with his phone, and he could just stay comfortable in his chair, and I would let him know what I discovered.

I took the phone back to the shop, took the battery out, and took the rear housing off. The circuit board looked sort of dirty. I saw something move out of the corner of my eye, and realized it was a small bug running across my desk. Yuck. I squashed it with a post it note, and got back to the phone.

Wait. There are two more of those bugs.

Crawling out of the phone...


I jumped up, scream-whispered an F-bomb, and asked the male tech to kill them. He was just as much a girl as I was, and another female employee had to step in to take care of it. She killed 5. 2 escaped getting squashed, and crawled back inside the phone through the ear phone jack. We double-bagged all the roach poop coated phone parts and their residents in ziploc baggies.

I eventually got myself together, and told the customer that I wasn't able to fix his phone because . . . there were . . . insects? . . . inside the phone, and so I can't fix it, and umm . . . actually . . . Ican'tputitbacktogethereither, so I have it in a baggie if you want it . . .

He didn't seem surprised, upset, or embarrased, just took it all in stride, and happily purchased a new phone. He even let me keep the old phone. Thanks Frank.

Lesson learned? A roach on the desk is worth 2 in the phone?