Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Don’t tell my husband I blogged this…

I’m sick.  After about a month of trying everything that my nursing textbooks taught me on how to rid fluid from one’s ears, I gave in and went to the doc, yesterday. 

I have a double ear infection. 

And apparently, I’m a two year old. 

Steroid shot and antibiotic shot in the ass yesterday didn’t yield an overwhelming result, and I started a round of antibiotics today, still feeling crummy, grouchy, running fever, can’t hear worth a damn, ear hurts like hell, stressed to the max about this semester, a million things to do, and not one iota of energy or gumption to do even one of them. 

So, what is a grown ass woman who feels like shit and is alone in her home to do?

She texts her husband and whines to him. 

*It’s confirmed…I’m two years old!!*

Me:  Don’t feel better, my love.  Still running fever.  Even with Tylenol all day.  I need you to nurse me back to health. 

*I even added one of those little sad face crying emoticons for effect…like this one Crying face*

And the compassionate, caring, empathetic, Nightingale-ish husband of mine, texted me back:

Him:  I’m on my way home now, stopping by to get dinner.  Don’t worry about that.  Get in bed, I’ll be there soon.  Would you like a shake?  Or, some ice cream?  Anything from the pharmacy?  I love you more than life itself and it almost makes me ill to know that you’re not feeling well.  I’ll give you a massage after I do the kids’ homework with them, and run you a bath.  See you in 30 minutes.  My nursing techniques are invasive as hell! 

Men…they think that “thing” of theirs is the answer to everything! 

And, yeah…please don’t tell my husband I blogged this! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Who has two thumbs…and in exactly four months from today will be a graduate nurse, with one silly little test in between her and a big old “R-to the mutha-fuckin-N” behind her name? 

Any guesses? 


Give up?


















Somebody pinch me…I must be dreaming!!

Friday, January 6, 2012


A quick Google search may lead you to believe I'm speaking of Dungeon Fighting Online. 

I’m not. 

Last night, after I dropped the girl off at karate, with an hour of solitude to myself, I drove to Walmart.  So interesting, my life is. 

As I was cruising through the parking lot, I noticed an older lady sitting in the parking lot, against a light pole, her older husband standing next to her.  No one else was with them. 

She was a DFO, in uncommon medical slang.  She’d “Done Fell Out.” 

My newly instituted nursing instincts kicked right in.  Something’s wrong, this lady and gentlemen are alone…I should see if I can help. 

I’ve avoided this type of situation previously.  Like in the MD’s office the other day when a lady began an asthmatic sounding coughing fit…I sat idly by, and let the ladies and gentleman in the scrubs take over.  Surely they were more apt to handle the situation, than I. 

This time was different.  It was Walmart.  No one else was around. 

I quickly parked the truck and ran over to the couple, just as an employee had come out with a manager in tow. 

I knelt down beside the woman, and the words spilled from me, without even thinking, “Hey…I’m a nursing student, what’s going on?  How are you feeling?”

Without waiting for a response, I reached down to grab the lady’s wrist to do what little assessment I had the tools to do, checking her pulse.  She was wet.  Clammy.  And was visibly shaking, and said, “I think my sugar’s low.  I just came from the doctor, and it was low-ish there.  I just don’t feel good.” 

She seemed to know where she was, where she had been, and had knowledge of the situation, so her cognition and level of consciousness were in tact. 

Damn…this nursing shit works.  I had assessed her LOC without asking her, “Can you tell me your name, DOB, why you’re here.”  Way to go college education. 

I asked her if she was diabetic (she was) and where her glucometer was.  She didn’t have it on her…so, with the employees and her husband there to keep an eye on her, I ran in to get her some juice, and told her to stay put. 

$2.32 later, I was back with two boxes of apple juice.  As I was opening them, I continued talking to her for further information.  “Are you dizzy?  Do you feel lightheaded?  Do you have any other issues?  Blood pressure?” 

To which she answered, “Oh, honey…I have lots of issues.  Blood pressure, diabetes, you name it.  I just got out of the hospital.” 

The lady began sipping on the juice I gave her as I replied, “Well, we all have issues, ma’am…I have plenty.  Do you want to hear the short list?” 

We laughed and the lady continued to sip the juice.  I noticed dried bits of saliva at the corners of her mouth, and asked her husband to go get her a water bottle, that she may be a bit dehydrated, too.  He took the scooter that the manager had brought, inside to do so, while I, and the employees sat with her.  Watching her finish off one juice box, and start on another. 

She was talking a bit more.  Sitting up a bit straighter, and we began to chit chat about what she was doing there.  She was picking up prescriptions. 

“So, your sugar was ‘low-ish’ at the office…did you eat when you left there?”  To which she replied, “No.”  “Do you have a snack in your purse?”  Again, “No.”  Without thought or planning, I began to teach.  “I know it can be a hassle sometimes, and seem unnecessary, but, it might be a good idea to keep a snack in your purse, and carry your glucometer with you.  Might make you feel more comfortable to manage this while out and about.”

She nodded (I’ll take that as a “patient physically expressed understanding as a response to my intervention” and put that on my care plan!), not breaking strides in sips of her juice. 

I let silence ensue while she finished the second box, and it hit me.  I was just a nurse.  I totally nailed it.  I looked for nonverbal and physical signs of what was going on (clammy skin, shaking, dry saliva at the corners of her mouth) for possibilities of what was going on…and followed up with appropriate questions to further assess the situation. 

It felt good.  Knowing for that moment…that I had successfully assessed and intervened on this woman’s behalf, and it was working. 

Then, as if the heavens were acknowledging my thoughts feeding my now inflated ego…it hit me again.  This time quite literally.  On the back of my hand as I reached for hers to reassess her clamminess. 

Bird shit.  Right on the back of my hand. 

For the first time in my life…I was shit on by a bird. 

Fine.  Fine, universe…I get it.  I’m not a doctor, I’m not a savior…hell, I’m not even a nurse yet.  I hear ya. 

In response to the universe’s sign from above, I said, “Ma’am, why don’t you call your doctor back right now since you just left there, and tell him what’s going on, just to be safe.  I’ll feel much better if you do.”

She nodded, said that she was feeling better, and we (all four of us) hoisted her into her scooter so that she could pick up her scripts. 

Dually noted, universe…I’ll keep my ego in check while I practice from now on, thankyouverymuch…please don’t send anymore falling defecate to remind me.  I get it. 

On second thought…maybe it was a different message from the universe.  Maybe it was the old “no good deed goes unpunished,” that the universe was trying to send. 

Either way…consider it heard!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


The kids are growing up…


The One Who Knows Everything still does and if he could just convince his teachers that he knows everything…everything would be perfect in his world.  It’s nice being able to reason with him a bit more these days, and we’re carefully embarking upon the beginnings of the teenage years.   

The One Who Doesn’t Say Much…well, she needs a name change around here, because that little thing has come completely out of her shell, and while she is still our most level headed, even keeled child…she’s definitely not speechless anymore. 

And last, but not least…The One Who Gets Away With Murder…yeah, he’s still the spoiled baby of the bunch with the most tender heart, and we’ve learned to celebrate the little (or not so in this case) victories with this child.  We’re just happy that we haven’t lost or broken him in his eight short years with us! 

It’s so amazing to me how different they are from one another.  We’re learning as parents of older (than babies) children to respect their differences, and parent them differently accordingly. 

I was discussing this with an older couple we’re friends with (childless, I should add), recently, commenting just how differently I have to parent each of our children, and how tough it is, sometimes, to be different parents (the parents they need) to each of them. 

His childless self, with his grand, romantic, bulletproof  ideas of parenthood said, “What?!?  That’s awful that you treat them differently.  You should be the same parent to each of them.  That’s going to be tough for them.” 

Not faulting him for his ignorance and inexperience on this particular subject, I replied, “No, I can’t talk to Jack the way I talk to Avery…he would crumble and cry.  I can’t treat Avery like I treat Lily…he would take the inch and go ten miles.  I can’t treat Lily the way I treat Jack because she needs so much more emotionally than he does and so much less, physically.  I treat them individually, based on their needs.  If they’re worse for that, then sobeit, we will just have to see.”

I used to stress so much more about how they were going to turn out…now, surprisingly, my husband does all that worrying.  I’m fine to sit back, roll the dice with them, see what happens, as long as everyone is happy and healthy at the end of the day…then, by God, let’s just have a good time. 

And I just hope that I don’t have to change their names to “The One Who Thought He Knew Everything, Pissed of the Wrong Person, and was Beaten Mercilessly,” “The One Who Wouldn’t Shut Up, So Now She’s the Lonely Weird Cat Lady Who Lives Down the Street and Talks to Herself,” and “The One Who Actually Did Get Away With Murder, is Now on the Lam, Missing from Our Holiday Gatherings.” 

Meh…if I do have to change their names to those above…I just hope they’re happy! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Waxing nostalgic…

Last semester, we did our Pediatric/Obstetrics/Newborn/Neonatal Intensive Care rotation for clinicals.  It was the moment in this journey of mine, that I had most anticipated and simultaneously, most dreaded. 

My complicated pregnancy, my first born’s emergency delivery, his six week stay in the NICU, and several subsequent stays in PICUs during medical crises and his transplant surgery…right up to my boy’s death…all centered around hospitals.  I revisited all of these settings during my third semester of nursing school.  

It was as difficult as I’d feared it’d be…but, it was more.

My rotation through the Neonatal Intensive Care began, and the twangs of pain were barely there.  I was in RN mode and I’m learning to play that part quite well (yes, after three semesters it still feels like a part I play, rather than a part of who I am…I wonder when that will change).  The nurse I was working with, impressed with my comfort level in the NICU and knowledge of the equipment, asked if I’d been in a NICU before.  I shared Joey’s story and after the usual “I’m sorrys,” that follow, she said, “Hey, there is a gastroschisis (the birth defect my boy was born with) baby in that room right there.  His nurse is great…I’m sure she’d let you work with him today.” 

She introduced me, and I followed the nurse into the gastro baby’s room.  His bed was filled with toys, stuffed animals, and balloons were tied to the ends of his bed.  Pictures of his mom and brothers hung from one of the sides.  It looked much like Joey’s bed did.  When you spend so much time in a hospital, you start to make it look like home.  This little one had been in the NICU since birth, and he was over 2 months old.

I chit chatted with his nurse as she fed him…a feeding of the same formula that Joey used to take.  A gentle formula, easy for babies with gut issues to digest.  The little guy with the same exaggerated round cheeks that my boy had, and same short, stocky body (all side effects of the IV feedings that sustain these little guys while their bowels rest after surgery) was a bit fussy after his feeding and his nurse had work to do, so I offered to sit with him for a bit. 

I knew it was dangerous, and tried to brace myself for it…but, I had no idea what I was about to get myself into. 

She handed him off to me, left the room, and I was alone with the little guy…my arms in my lap, my hands cradling his head, so I could look at him, and talk to him. 

Exactly like we’d held our boy so many times…on the cold hard plastic chair that was provided for weary parents to bond with their babies…

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Now that he was close to me, the smell hit me.  So funny how a smell can bring back memories so quickly…much like a song.  It was the perfect mixture of Neocate formula, hospital tape and tubing, and that fresh baby smell that catapulted me instantly back almost fourteen years. 

He smelled EXACTLY like my boy. 

In my mind’s eye, his dark skin began to fade a bit, and for a moment, he began to look like my boy.  I soaked it up…I let myself go there.  I had to go there to see if I have what it takes to make it in this field with this painful past.  I felt myself spiraling, spinning…out of control almost, to another time.  A time that until this moment, was a faint and fading memory. 

A smile spread across my face…and I felt myself become lost in this moment.  It was comfortable…it was warm…I didn’t want it to end.  I closed my eyes and bathed in the memory of my boy, enhanced by my surroundings. 

It was sublime. 

As my eyes began to burn and I felt the tears welling up, I was brought swiftly back to reality.  I thought about putting the baby down, and running.  Running to the parking lot, letting the swell of emotion go in a big old ugly cry, calling my nursing director and telling her that I couldn’t do it, and heading home, confident that I’d given it a good old college try. 

But…I didn’t.  I couldn’t let my past paralyze me…I had to keep moving forward. 

“Swimming, swimming…just keep swimming…”

I inhaled one last time, put the baby down, settled him into his swing, and walked out of the room. 

No tears fell, my shoulders were back, my chin was up…I had work to do.  Patients to care for.  Parents to support and teach.  Things to learn from my nurse.  Paperwork to do. 

I moved on from that moment that I would’ve loved to have remained lost in forever…confident that I’m going to make one helluva nurse! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Breaking the ice...

You know how it is when you have that family member that you haven't talked to in forever?  When you've been meaning to call them, but, life just keeps getting in the way.  And that phone call keeps getting put off until tomorrow.  And tomorrows turn into days.  And those days, to weeks.  Then, you start feeling guilty because you haven't called in soooo long, so you put the call off even longer.  The weeks?  They quickly turn to months.  And before you know it, you haven't called that family member in forever, and you feel like the biggest dirtbag.  "And Kevin, if you feel like a dirtbag...it's probably 'cuz...YOU'RE A DIRTBAG.  Just say it...'I. Am. A. Dirtbag!'  Own it."

Well, friends, I'm a dirtbag blogger.

Consider this my phone call to break the ice, and end the silence.

"I'm good...how have YOU been?"