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.

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