Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Walking a Little Taller

Today was my first day of clinical on the orthopedic floor and I was leery.  Last night I tried to get to bed by 830pm, but didn’t fall asleep until 1030pm.  I was up by 515am, showered, dressed, and out the door by 545am.  No time for make-up and hair products having to be to the hospital so early. 

Last semester our clinical days were only 4 hour days and this semester our Tuesdays are 8 hours and Wednesdays are 5 hours. 

Last semester my instructor was so damaging to the health and growth of all of us nursing students because she choose to teach by intimidation preying on our trepidations. 

This semester our instructor is full of grace and willingness to relate to our insecurities.  All the while she is feeding our minds with true confidence having faith in our abilities that my heart sings from the mountain tops. 

Today I took care of a pt. with a fractured hip needing PT in the morning and afternoon and was able to encourage them to succeed.  I was able to administer Heparin in their lower right abdomen, using my Carpuject.   I was able to remove their JP drain on the outer left thigh without any complications.  I gave the best CNA skills to this patient by lathering them up with lotion, using mouth wash when cleaning their mouth, washing their hair, and applying deodorant just to name a few.  I administered their 0800 (7 sch), 0900, 1000, 1100, 1400 meds successfully.  It was after one tricky pill that didn’t go down very well that the nurse and I decided to use the pill crusher and apple sauce for subsequent meds which was much more successful. 

Overall I just felt more comfortable and confident in both my CNA and nursing skills. 

At one point the PT guy turned to his assistant and said” ask the nurse to stand on my right”, so when I twirled around the room momentarily looking for the nurse that I realized he was talking about me.  I WAS THE NURSE, hahaha, it felt so nice to hear someone referring to me as the nurse in the clinical setting that I thought I could get used to it and it made me walk a little taller the rest of the afternoon.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Searching for a Backpack

I’m looking for a new backpack for school.  I’ve seen quite a few styles other classmates are carrying around, some with lots of pockets, zippers, and lots of different colors.  I’ve even seen some threaded with reinforcement that looks similar to a bike lock.  I’d be interested in one that has a few pockets for all my nursing knick-knacks, something that could carry my laptop and all my books, and something that is comfortable with cushioning. 

Maybe I'm asking too much for there to be some kind of backpack out there that fits all of these requirements?  I’d like it to last more than one semester long before holes from wear and tear develop in the bottom. 

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Favorite Verse

Jeremiah 29:11-14  11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
After reading Debbie's post I felt the need to insert my favorite Bible verse here and ask if anyone else had a favorite Bible verse they’d be willing to share.  Just whatever verse that resonates with you whether it’s common or rare, it’s the verse that motivates you and inspires you and lifts you up.

Moving on, today I had a great Friday to a fulfilling week of school.  Being a TA (Teaching Apprentice) I was asked to introduce myself to the new second semester sophomore students and get to know them better up in skills lab today.  I helped with proper placement of stethoscopes and verified a few BP’s as the newbies were getting a feel for what to expect.  It was such a great feeling knowing I’m not in their shoes anymore but being able to help them with whatever I can.  I think they’ll feel more comfortable asking me questions and demonstrating my assessment skills better than the instructor.  In about two months I’ll be joining them up on the hospital clinical rotation and helping them approach patients at the bedside with basic CNA skills and beginning assessments.  IT’S GOING TO BE GREAT!

What I’m realizing with my other classes is that instead of working on learning new skills and being checked off on them, we’re doing a TON more book work.  I LOVE book work, yes it’s tedious, yes it’s difficult at times, but I think it’s a great way to reinforce what you know and feel accomplished after you get it done.

Tonight will be my last Friday not working for probably the rest of the semester (until May).  I’ve already placed a call to my hubby at work asking where he’d like to take me for a date night.  I can’t wait to just absorb some time with him!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Summer Internships??

Almost 2 months ago I filled out applications with (4) hospital internships for this coming summer.  The first hospital denied me a week after turning in the application.  I was hoping to hear back from one of the other three hospitals before returning from my winter break but I didn’t.  After I started back to school this week, I heard from friends of their being offered more than one internship spot and having to choose between the two.  Humphhh this makes me a little worried, jealous, and mad.  I hope the hospital recruiters didn’t forget about me…

This week is officially half way done and my head is swimming.  Monday went pretty good with our Transitions class.  It’s a class about the different transitions in life regarding pregnancy, birth, and death and how all that relates to the body and mind.

 Clinical will be for 8 hours on Tuesday and 4 hours on Wednesday on the Ortho/Surgical floor which I’m ecstatic about.  However I’m not thrilled with the papers and projects involved.  Just seems like a lot of work for just a (2) credit requirement. 

Thursday and Friday I have a physical, mental, and pathological health class that I’m not even sure what’s in store for me.  More papers and projects I’m sure, but at least no more skills lab learning new skills and being checked off on them. 

Lastly, I am a TA (Teaching Apprentice) on most Monday, Thursday, and Friday mornings for the first semester students up in the skills lab; walking them through assessments and helping them feel comfortable and confident in their new student nurse roles.

Oh on top of all that weekly school work, I work my other two jobs on Fridays for about 8 hours and Saturday’s for about 8 hours.  Hope I’m not biting off more than I can chew so if you don’t hear from me much this semester I’m sure you can piece together why. 

After hearing the amount of work needed in the first 6 weeks of class for just our clinical days I’m not sure where I’m supposed to find time to practice questions and study for the HESI.  Maybe I’ll just do a few each night and pray that’s enough to pass on the first try.  What a humble piece of pie nursing school is giving me each semester.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

HESI Practice

The nurse in a primary care clinic is caring for a 68-year-old man.  History reveals that the client has smoked 1 pack of cigarettes per day for 45 years and drinks 2 beers per day.  He is complaining of a nonproductive cough, chest discomfort, and dyspnea.  The nurse hears isolated wheezing in the right middle lobe.  It would be MOST important for the nurse to complete which of the following orders?

1)      Pulmonary function tests

2)      Echocardiogram

3)      Chest X-ray

4)      Sputum culture

YUP, I’m studying for the HESI (Health Education Systems, Inc. The HESI exam tests comprehensive knowledge of nursing) coming up this semester. 

What’s funny is I looked for books to help study for the HESI and they kept coming back to NCLEX books, so yesterday when I went to pick up my rental books from my school library I picked up an NCLEX rental.  I’ve been told that if we don’t score at least a 950 or so, on the HESI, we’ll have to retake it and pay ($40).  Then if we don’t pass it for the second time we have to make a written plan/goal on how we’re going to try to study and pass the NCLEX and submit that to the powers that be. 

I AM THE WORLDS WORST TEST TAKER.  I can spend HOURS studying and sacrificing my time only to come out with a score between 75-80% on most exams.  I am jealous of the students who spend fewer hours and get higher test scores, so to say the least I’m scared poopless WORRIED!

Why is the long road to becoming a nurse so scary?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Semester Lovin'

Classes start on Monday 1/23 and I’m ready and rearing to go. The first two books and last book are for my classes, the middle three are for my benefit. I thought that Mosby was a great teacher when it comes to learning my fluid and electrolytes, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. I think if I can learn these areas really well then I’ll be able to understand more of what happens to each of the patients I take care of.  Unfortunately this area I was lacking in during last semester.  Things seemed to fly by and I didn’t catch all that I should have learned.  The last thing I want happening is to not know basic nurse information for the patients I’m taking care of.  Must know type of things like what different antihypertensives there are, or why someone would be developing edema on a certain area of the body what to do about it. 

I didn’t do so well in my 7 credit class this last semester which inevitably lowered my GPA. This means I could be out of the running for Honors but at this point I’m just glad I’m passing so I’m not worried.

This will be my 3rd year 2nd semester and will be involved with two full days of clinical Tuesday and Wednesdays with OB rotation, which sounds delightful!

I’ll have an opportunity to fulfill a cultural diversity section of our semester by visiting an Indian Reservation in North Dakota with a few other students and instructors. We’ve been told by other students who’ve already gone to expect to see lots of poverty. However I’ve also been told that a few students got to help deliver babies and give vaginal exams, I think that I’d be able to get more out of that experience than staying in town.

I'm just excited to get going through this semester seeing as last semester flew by so quickly I'm hoping this one does too.  The sooner I get through done the quicker I graduate and become a nurse.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Texas Trip - Part 3 (final)

It’s probably no surprise with previous posts that my hubby has made it known he’d like our family to move to Texas after I graduate nursing school.  Like I’ve said in the past we used to live there for a few years so we’re not strangers to the great state, however I’m still on the fence with my decision.  70% of the reason we visited Dallas was to check out hospitals and homes in the outlying areas to see what was out there.
I visited five hospitals and asked the nursing recruiters to take me on tours and answer the list of questions I had come up with.  Some of the recruiters were put off by my request and fumbled through my questions but I thought it was a genius idea my hubby came up with.  This experience allowed me to feel more comfortable unlike the usual interview situation where I have to sell myself; I switched gears and asked the recruiter to sell me on why I should choose them.  This allowed me practice when talking to these individuals for future situations in a more confident manner.  I left each recruiter with a 5x7 laminated sheet of paper with a snapshot of my accomplishments and contact information to keep on file.  One recruiter asked if she should make a copy of it so I could have it back (because it looked so fancy), but I said no it was for her records.  Another hospital recruiter said if I was licensed and ready to work, he’d hire me right away; that made me feel real good!

Pretty awesome poster I came across

 Lastly we visited six homes that were on the market within our price range and I absolutely fell in love with just about all of them.  What’s funny is the homes in the areas where we were looking are soo grand!  If you uprooted any of the houses we saw to the north (where we’re living now), you’d expect to pay double…no joke.  There was one that I especially fell in love with that sat farther back on the nearly four acre property.  I literally fell in love with every square inch of the house; as soon as I stepped into the eat-in kitchen and scanned the horizon outside I could completely imagine my kids and hubby playing in the front yard.  I imagined grandkids having lunches and snacks in the living areas.  I even imagined maybe installing a pool in the back yard. Obviously I know these properties won't be available when I graduate but they serve their purpose as the carrot dangling to keep me motivated and inspired to continue doing well in school.

Dream home and property taken from my camera phone
I have to say that my decision is closely starting to sway more closely to moving than I expected.  Thanks honey for taking me on vacation!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Texas Trip-Part 2

Christmas Day our family enjoyed a night at Medieval Times and if you’ve never gone there it’s pretty cool.  From the outside the building looks like a castle, and on the inside it looks awesome and castle-like too.  Our family was handed a yellow card which signified the yellow knight to whom we were expected to cheer on through the show.  Next we hung around the lobby enjoying free refills on our soda from the bar, in our neat goblets we purchased for *cough cough* a CRAZY healthy $24.  We saw lots of swords and princess hats for sale, the royalty thrones, and of course the dungeon.  Next we were seated and served our meal consisting of Focaccia bread with tomato bisque soup for our appetizer with NO utensils.   That’s right I said no utensils!  The following meal courses included the main dish of half a chicken including breast, wing, and leg and 1 piece of rib meat with 2 potato wedges.  Lastly for dessert we had a braided apple streusel dessert and all of it tasted yummy.  During the meal we had a two hour show of sword swinging, and jousting with hand-to-hand fighting on horses.  There were lots of tricks that the horses showed off with their quick feet too.  Over all our knight didn’t win but our family was completely entertained, so much so our kids both got autographs from our fighting yellow knight. 
Quick drive-by picture of downtown Dallas on my camera phone

Yellow Knight

Nice back side shot of the yellow knight

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Anniversary of Renewal and Rejuvenation

I meant to write a post about part 2 of my Texas trip, but something important and disturbing has come up.

First let me tell you that I’ll be celebrating my fourth year anniversary of monumental proportions two weeks from today.  Back on January 18th of 2008 I made a declaration that I was going to live obediently to God’s plan and will for my life.  I didn’t want to live under a jaded false definition of a person who I didn’t want to be anymore.  I wanted a renewal, rejuvenation, a new life.   So I bravely checked myself into rehab to end my 10 year battle of alcoholism. 

With God’s heavenly intercession I was able to figure out a plan to save my life.  Back when I first started my lifestyle of binge drinking I never set out to become addicted.  I liked the way alcohol made me feel, the way I felt when I drank.  I felt strong, confident, beautiful, warm, loved, sassy, tough, invincible, but never in a million years did I think I would fall in-love with alcohol.  I started my love with alcohol shortly after I moved away from home with my fiancĂ©, I was only 18 and he was 20.  We drank for fun, for boredom, for any reason.  I think it helped me to feel more at ease with who I was and what I was experiencing with my first relationship and all the feelings that go with that.  I started to use alcohol as more of a crutch to help get me through the tough times as well.

Eventually my life became a life of misery, despair, and dependency on alcohol.  I couldn’t fathom waking up and not drinking during the evening.  When my hubby tried to persuade me to cut back or sober up for a few days, I vehemently fought against his ideas.  I could come up with every excuse to continue drinking.  I’ve heard of people who smoke and when they do certain house work chores they rewarded themselves with a cigarette.  I guess I looked at my drinking the same way.  When I got done cleaning the kitchen I would have a drink, or if I completely a load of laundry I would take a shot.  I thought it was fun to get a little tipsy before I would go grocery shopping, like it was a fun adventure.  After the kids were born I tried to wait until after they were in bed before I’d start my ritual. 

I will say this; I never was in denial that I had a problem.  I would have many heart-to-heart talks with my hubby and close family that I knew I was in a state of addiction.  I wasn’t ready to quit or didn’t know how to quit.  I remember many mornings waking up and going to a secluded spot near an open body of water and crying out to God to save me.  To help me turn away from this ugly beast that had a hold of me.  Yet all the while I was trying to figure out how I could manage to drink again that evening.  It was a nasty situation that I don’t wish upon my worst enemy.  Feeling trapped and helpless but thinking that I should have the strength to just quit.  Feelings of worthlessness kept floating through my drunken haze, as my husband would ask questions and I would draw blanks on not knowing the answers.  I would frequently black out after a certain time at night or number of drinks in my system only to find out the following morning from my husband what we did during the previous evening. Shame filled every pore of my being. 

There came a moment when I decided that I needed to change my life, probably the moment when I realized I was becoming a problem to my kids.  I knew I needed to get sober but I wasn’t sure how.  I knew the hospital in my town had a unit that helped patients through recovery so I called and made an appointment to see my primary doctor.  I felt the first amount of weight lift from my shoulders when I admitted my problem to my doc.  She was straight up with me and honestly asked what I wanted to do.  I openly told her that I didn’t have the ability to quit cold turkey, but that I wanted to go the route of rehab.  She was pleased and eager to set up the referral. 

Prior to my admittance in the hospital I had heard of miracles of God working in peoples’ lives in many ways but nothing I could say had ever happened to me before. The days leading up to my being admitted I was wishy-washy on my decision not knowing if I should really go through with it.  God had shown me the way, first I was given an autographed copy of the book Raised from The Dead by Frank Turner (must read).  I also seemed to be flooded by advertisements regarding getting help from addictions, or watching commercials on television from Jack and Rexella Van Empee about breaking addictions.  It seemed every time I had a thought not to go through with rehab one of these examples would keep reinforcing me to continue with getting help.

After I was admitted on a Friday and explained to the doctor that I needed to be back to work by Monday, he told me my success rate would be next to zero if I didn’t stay in a longer recovery program.  I knew I was ready to quit and that this step of going through rehab was enough for me.  I had no desire to go back to a life of destruction or disobedience to the Lord. 

So here I am nearly four years sober and loving myself and my life 100 times more than I ever did.  Six months after I was sober I enrolled in college to become a nurse.  I wanted to help others in the world who was suffering like me.  My husband was leery at first with the new me and there were times I didn’t think we’d make it.  Eventually we built trust in one another again and learned to grow together as a couple free from an alcohol base.  Life had new meaning to me and I felt like I could conquer the world. 

I’m not going to lie that I don’t sometimes think of those days of tipping back a few cold ones especially on the warm summer days.  However knowing that the Lord saved my life and transformed me into something new is more rewarding than the temporary fix of alcohol. 

Earlier this week a distant family member died from a drug overdose.  He was only 26 years old and was going to enter rehab shortly after the New Year.  Unfortunately he didn’t make it to the New Year.  I know that feeling of dread knowing that the end of the addiction is near and wanting to have one last binge.  For me this has brought to surface a wave of sadness for his family. He was so young, full of life and possibilities that could have lain ahead of him if he would have gotten clean and sober sooner.  Actually my family was able to see him just days before he died.  While he seemed quiet and kept to himself he seemed loving and kind around us.  I used this situation to teach my kids that people who suffer from addictions to drugs/alcohol come in many shapes and forms.  They don’t always look like the fall down, tripping over themselves, high individuals portrayed on television.

My New Year’s resolution for 2012 is to continue the road of sobriety one day at a time. 

On a lighter note, a girlfriend of mine who knows my past regarding rehab and getting help took me out to lunch yesterday only to hand me a Christmas gift of a bottle of wine.  She must have forgotten that I don't drink anymore.  I graciously accepted the gift and will probably give it to my sister and her hubby, but it did give me a little chuckle in the car ride home.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Texas Trip - Part 1

We left Friday 12/23 on an 8pm flight to Dallas/Ft. Worth airport with excitement of warmer weather and thrilling times planned in our minds.  By the time we got to the rental car desk everyone was pretty tired from flying but still excited to see what car we would get and what our hotel room would look like.

Not our room, but similar
Once we got our rental car, Nissan Altima 2011, I was thinking how cool!  Much better than our minivan so we soaked it all up.  The neat thing about this car was that it was a keyless ignition, just push start and go.  How awesome is that?  Once we got to the hotel room, I wasn’t impressed with the size or quality of the room but we made the best out of the situation as we could.  We used Priceline and they match up the airfare, room, and car rental so this is what we got.

Saturday, Christmas Eve 12/24 we headed out towards Cowboys Stadium for the Cowboys/Eagles game.  Yea, yea I know they lost but it didn’t matter to us (much).  This was my daughter and my first trip to the new stadium.  The weather was pretty gloomy and kind of chilly but we still found the whole experience to be quite enjoyable.  After the security people opened the gates to let us in and after I was entering the stadium doors, I found myself overwhelmed with the size of the place.  What drew me in was the huge screen before my eyes, I was mesmerized and I seemed NOT to be able to take my eyes off of it.  It was different than any big screen in any other stadium I’ve seen before because it was high- def, which made for a much better detailed view. 

Tony #9
camera phones don't have the best zoom

Right before the game I bought a loaded nacho bowl that was so tasty and the portion was huge and worth the $9 to buy it.  We walked around the entire stadium and found many art pieces and a few cars on display along with a water fountain.  Man Jerry thought of everything.  Eventually we found our seats and began watching the big screen in front of us and the players on the field warming up. 
fuzzy pix
Unfortunately the Cowboys didn’t pull out a win on the day we visited but our family wasn’t too disappointed.  We tossed around the idea of going to the part of the stadium where the players walk through a hallway/breezeway type of thing to see if we could slap high-fives but I overruled that idea on account of us all being too tired and kinda cranky after the loss. 

We found our way back to the bus that brought us to our parked car blocks away and then we grabbed a bite to eat and back to the hotel for much needed rest. 
Stay tuned to my upcoming parts of my trip detailing my thrilling adventures of a jousting match, rural hospitals, real estate, and downtown views in the grand state of Texas.