Friday, January 30, 2009

Long time, no post

I'm aware it's been 2 weeks since I was last here. And what a tough 2 weeks it's been. I've started my pediatric clinical and so far it's been one disaster after another - most of it involving my personal life. My first day started when I awoke with a start at precisely 6:03am... and I'm supposed to meet my carpool 12 miles away AT 6:00. BUGGER. I set my 5:00am alarm on the wrong day of the week! We start our day on the floor at 6:30, and I knew there was no way I could make it through horrendous traffic & terrible parking at my clinical site and still be there on time. I called my carpool buddies and my instructor to let them know. During my drive, in my panic, I got horribly lost and ended up calling another of my friend's for directions while sobbing because I was so upset. Everything turned out OK on that end, but the day was still awful because I spent it in the NICU.

For starters, kids younger than 16 have never been my forte. Nay, scratch that... I hate them and they hate me. (hey, at least it's mutual, right?) Needless to say I have been dreading pediatrics since I started nursing school. To make matters worse, BABIES are my worst nightmare. Turn that into critically ill babies, and you have me a panic attack. I was assigned to shadow the transition / resuscitation nurse, who's job is to attend the high-risk deliveries and provide any needed care to the newborn. I witnessed 2 c-sections and 2 vaginal births in little less than 2 hours. All of the babies were fine, thank God. I spent the last half of my day being shown the various "pods" of the NICU. I saw 28 babies that day. Twenty-eight babies who, by all rights, shouldn't even be alive. Babies who were born with their intestines developed OUTSIDE their bodies, now hanging attached to their abdomen in a bag above their isolette. I saw babies who never developed kidneys or a bladder in utero. Babies who were born to mothers addicted to meth, cocaine, heroin. Babies who weigh 2 pounds and are struggling to breathe. A very traumatizing experience.

I have now completed 3 our of 9 shifts, and my 2nd two didn't go all too well either. Last Friday I had to help bodily restrain my 2 year old patient along with Mom, Dad and the IV nurse. The whole time he's looking me in the eye, thrashing around screaming "I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU!" How AWFUL. We weren't even doing anything painful, just changing his PICC line dressing! This is why I don't like children. You can't reason with them.

Yesterday was an improvement, only because I had two 13 year olds in my care. However, there was a huge problem with one of the narcotic pain medications and my instructor giving me wrong information on how administer it. This led to the IV fluids leaking all over the floor because she had me mistakenly puncture one of the medication ports. Disastrous.

Also, my car's engine started overheating just a tad yesterday morning and the "low coolant" light turned on. I figure, OK... I'm a little overdue for an oil change so I'll take my car in first thing after clinical finishes. I had myself convinced that an oild change and coolant fluid was all I need. I wish... my poor Lola has a crack in the intake manifold (whatever that means, right?) I've been quoted a repair estimate for $700. I don't really know where that money will come from, but I have to have a car for school so it has to be fixed. The guys at the shop told me I'm safe to drive for a little while as the crack is still minor. I explained that I'm going to visit my parents 80 miles away, and they said as long as I ensure that the coolant is topped off that I can make it OK. That's good, because my family has a great mechanic who we trust, and my car now has an appointment there. I'll just make sure I stop more often during the drive, let my engine cool, and add coolant as necessary (I've already purchased a jug).

On the brighter side of things, I've been receiving a lot of information for my commencement coming up in May. It sure makes things seem more "real." My sisters weekend trip to Las Vegas is approaching as well! And next weekend I'll be goose hunting - THANK GOD FOR MY MID-ROTATION BREAK FROM CLINICAL. The timing couldn't be better, since it coincides with the opening day of Oregon's third-period goose season.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Personal Anomalies, Part 1

I find it amusing that people often comment on how diverse my personality is. Truth be told, I like being considered unique.

To start with, I love hunting and fishing... not hobbies that alot of women are interested in. I love carrying a shotgun through marsh water that extends above my knees. I love the suspense of waiting for legal shooting hours, and how the sun creeps up so slowly in the east. I love the whisper of waterfowl wings in the predawn hush. I love the relative isolation from the stress of daily life. I love the subtle differences of ducks in flight... the graceful pintail, erratic teal, slow-approaching mallards, and beauty of a wood duck. I love the honking of an approaching flock of geese, paying close attention to the variations in tone and timbre. I love the smell of gunpowder in the moments after I've fired a few shells. I love that a thermos of coffee tastes so much better in a layout blind than it does in any coffee shop. I love spending that sacred time with my dad.

At the same time, I love scrapbooking and quilting. (Especially scrapbooking the memories made while hunting!)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Quickly approaching what appears to be the worst clinical of my life!

There are no words to cover how literally terrified I am to start my pediatric clinical next week. Today I had my computer class, followed by an hour long orientation and tour of the unit. I was putting into practice aaaaall the techniques I've been taught to avoid succumbing to a panic attack. That's how scared I am. To make matters worse, there is a required NICU component at the facility where I've been placed AND I begin my day on the floor at 0630 sharp. Please, oh please, make these next few weeks just fly by.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Back to the daily grind

I started spring semester today, which is the one I've been dreading since I began upper division... Pediatrics / OB. I've been placed in peds for clinical at a very prestigious facility here in Portland. I hope it's not too painful! For one thing, I was pleasantly surprised today when I was told the required hours only add up to 80. Do some quick math in my head... what I THOUGHT would be a 6 week rotation is only 9 shifts. I thought there were 12! There's one week entirely off and another week with only one day in it. SWEET! That certainly made my day. The biggest impact will be on late-season goose hunting. I had pretty much written it off, but I'm going to use one (maybe both) of those shortened weeks to head down to my parent's place and go hunting. I'd tentatively planned on going there this weekend to fit in one more duck hunt, and it's looking like it'll happen now that I've seen what the class load is like this first week. Woot!

In addition, I sat through the usual training sessions for work. Boring as usual, since I've now seen the SAME powerpoint presentation 9 times. It's all about the paycheck!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Let's get this started...

Ah, yes. The proverbial "first post." I suppose that a blog is the perfect thing for me. I love to record things and share my thoughts. I've started a few in the past but stopped for various reasons - I didn't like how the website worked, got bored, etc. I hope that at this point in my life, with so many monumental changes on the horizon, that I'll keep it up.

Random bits about me - I can't share everything this evening, otherwise you'd never return, eh?

*I own my very own 20 gauge shotgun, aptly named "Shortcake"
*I'm reliable and too nice
*I'm also relentless, determined and goal-driven
*I like the color blue, silver jewelry, and all the lotions / body washes / perfumes a girl can have
*On the other hand, I also love camo, chest high waders, big mud puddles, wheat fields, driving around in a pickup, and HATE Valentine's Day.
*I cry a lot. So when you see me in tears and worriedly ask "what's wrong?" and I reply "nothing," 99% of the time I won't even be lying.
*My dream for several years has been to become an ER nurse, and I've spent four years working as a volunteer in the Corvallis ER. I love the staff, they are some of the most inspirational people I know.
*I take school pretty seriously... entered upper division at UP in January 2008 with graduation in August of 2009.
*I will be moving to Alaska a year after graduating to work with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium - a long title for a great loan repayment program. And yes... I AM counting down the days til my desired departure date!

October 21, 2006... my shotgun