I’m feeling somewhat better today. Yesterday I had Endocrine lecture in the morning, then the Mental Health final exam in the afternoon. Final exams are awesome—we get to LEAVE when we’re done, so I left school around 1:35 and got home around 2pm. I spent some quality time with a needle and thread, working on ribbons for our pinning ceremony. Since it’s tradition for new grads to be pinned by a nurse, many people have their mom, aunt, or grandmother pin them. Older hands + 1” diameter pin with a press-on back = much fumbling and frustration. Someone suggested putting each pin on a ribbon that could be put around the person’s neck, to avoid the fumbling/embarrassment, and my inner child said, “Craft project? Ooo, ooo, pick me! Pick me!” so I put together a sample with lime green ribbon (something lime green at teenie’s house? Never!) and a flower pin, to which the class officers responded, “sweet!” So I have 25 yards of navy blue ribbon, MUWAHAHAHAHAAAA!!! Apparently, sewing and/or crafty crap helps. Also I went to Meijer and found a very nice green (no way!) flannel shirt on the clearance rack for $2. It’s not quite bisi, but it’s very soft, and green (giggle). Tomorrow I go to KVO, a school for developmentally disabled people age 18-26. Should be a good time, and if it’s not, it’ll be over by 2:30.
It’s been 5 months since my last post. I passed all my Level 2 classes, and have gotten a 4.0 GPA both terms (woohoo!). Tuesday was my last day of Management clinicals, which were awesome except that they started at 5:30 in the morning. There are 7 weeks left of Level 3, meaning the end is in sight! I’m doing quite well so far—passed Management clinicals, got an A in both OB and Peds lecture, and will take the Mental Health final on Monday. I feel like I know enough to get by now. Not enough to start work tomorrow, but enough that, with several weeks of orientation and precepting, I could probably do a decent job as a floor nurse. Nursing home charge nurse, not so much…but I probably won’t apply for that sort of job anyway. Rehearsals for this year’s Gilbert and Sullivan show (Patience, May 14-17 at the Wealthy Theatre) are going as well as can be expected, and Bells of River City Morris Dancers are preparing for a show on St. Patrick’s Day.
So why do I feel so bad? For the last week or so, I’ve wanted to curl up in a corner. Yesterday I took the day off school (don’t worry, only 4 hours, and it was exam review) to help see a friend off at the airport and work on some things at home. I ended up sitting on the couch, wrapped in my dino blankie with pillows piled around me, trying hard not to freak out until Mike got home. When he got home, I told him I’m not okay, but I couldn’t give him any reason why. I DID say, “I went outside and puttered around for a while, since it was so nice out, but I couldn’t enjoy it,” and that gave him some idea of what’s going on. For those of you who’ve never been there, here’s a post from January about what depression feels like for me:
— In email@example.com, (someone) wrote:
>when you’re really down deep, it’s hard to take any initiative for
yourself. You have to start feeling better in order to do the things
that will make you feel better.
(The rest is me…)
Wow. That’s just how my depression feels. Watch a funny movie? No;
I’ll just look at it and think, ‘I should be laughing at that.’ Go
visit a friend? No; I don’t have the energy to pick up the phone and
arrange it. All my thoughts and efforts are directed toward keeping
my $#!* together while I’m around other people, the rest of the time I
just sleep and breathe and take up space.
When I have the right medications, I still feel crappy a lot of the
time, but I have the energy to do something about it. Today I was
incredibly bored, so I took down the Christmas lights and thought
about how, next year, we’ll be able to put up a tree and invite people
over because I won’t be in school. Without the meds, I probably would
have stayed on the couch and thought, ‘This sucks. It’s the middle of
January and my Christmas lights are still up. What kind of *$^&$*(
loser leaves their lights up so long? #$^% this, it’s not worth it.
G%$ d#@& it Melissa, what the ^&$* is wrong with you?’ Notice how
many dimes I owe the dog, and how many quarters I owe the swear jar?
That’s what depression is like.
Aside: ‘dime in the dog’ is a variation on the swear jar…a friend’s family had a bank shaped like a dachshund. The slot in its back was so small only dimes would fit through, so the dog sat in the living room and any time someone put themselves down they had to put a dime in the dog.
Apparently, even with the proper meds and self care, I can get into that horrible downward spiral described above. I think what’s going on is, things are going well, and that scares me. There, I said it. I’m scared. I’m scared out of my wits that I’m going to screw up, or that since things are going well for me, something terrible is about to happen. So here I sit, wrapped in my blankie, wondering what it’s going to be, and berating myself for not doing something…but I have neither the energy nor the motivation to do anything, and I don’t know what to do anyhow. If I can get past the next week or so, I think I’ll feel better…there are a lot of major assignments coming due, and some of my anxiety is probably about them. Whatever.
Today at Clinical (medical/surgical inpatient care at Metro Health Hospital ) I had a couple things happen that made me feel really good. The first happened in the morning. I was discontinuing a PVAD (peripheral venous access device, also called a saline lock, kind of like an IV with the long tubing disconnected) on my patient. While I was removing the catheter, the anesthesiologist came in to see the patient. After removing the catheter I had to hold pressure on the site for a few minutes to keep it from bleeding. The doctor wanted to inspect the patient’s surgical site (on her back) and he asked me, “Can you hold pressure if I have her roll to her left side?” I said I could, so the doctor had the patient roll to her side, finished his assessment, and left. No big deal, right? It didn’t hit me until afterward that the doctor had, in effect, asked me if his assessment was going to interfere with the care I was giving. Holy crap, the stuff I’m doing is important, and recognized as such! *dancedancedance*
The second thing was also not a big deal, but it made me smile. I knocked on my patient’s door and she said, “come in,” then went back to her phone conversation. While I was washing my hands, she said into the phone, “it’s the nurse, can I call you right back?” Okay, so I’m NOT the nurse, I’m the practical nursing student, but it was nice to be called ‘the nurse’.
If only I could feel this good about my current class…the cardiovascular system is really complex and I’m getting way too much information to process at one time. I’m reading and re-reading the chapters and my lecture notes, but it’s just not sinking in. Yeesh.
Meds Publishing, Calculating Powdered Meds: 25/25.
Also I visited my Godparents today, and met MC from Cheezfrenz (along with several of the TenGazillionHouseCats). \o/
See, this is the problem with having a blog. I need to have TIME to write in it! Not that I don’t have any time, I just don’t make my blog a priority. I would much rather look at lolcats, talk with friends, hang out with my husband, play with ratties, and pet kitties than re-hash my day here. I am going to make an effort to update more often; once a week at least. Tomorrow is the last day of summer break. I’ve spent my break sleeping, doing yard work, hanging out with family, and dealing with storm damage. Wednesday we got a killer line of thunderstorms that dropped nearly 3 inches of rain (and some half-inch hail) on us in a few hours. It also dropped a very large tree branch on our roof, which let some of that rain fall in our guest room. @#$%&!!!!! The insurance adjuster is coming Tuesday morning. In the meantime, we have tarps on the roof and a bucket in the guest room. There isn’t a hole in the roof, but water is coming in, so there’s gotta be some damage there. Whatever. At least the tarps are brown and they kind of blend in with the shingles.
School-wise, things are going reasonably well. Here are my grades so far (I’ve posted some of them, but I want everything in one spot).
A&P 1: 104
A&P 2: 107
A&P Final: 103
Fund 1: 94
Fund 2: 93
Fund 3: 100
Fund 4: 100
Pharm 1: 102
Pharm 2: 100
Pharm 3: 95
Pharm 4: 105
Culture Awareness: 10/10
Medication Administration: 25/25
Safe Dosage: 14/15
Calculating Oral Meds: 25/25
Calculating Injectable Meds: 25/25
Clinicals are incredibly challenging. After 5 weeks I still feel really clueless, but I have learned a lot. My instructor says I’m doing fine, and my written work is “excellent” so I guess I’m doing okay. I can’t imagine how I’m going to manage more than one patient, though. I think I’m also waiting to screw up, like I know I’m going to make a giant mistake and it’s just a matter of time. Does everyone go through this, or am I just really neurotic? Yeesh. Oh yeah, I also have migraines. I was diagnosed on June 16, and since then I’ve had exactly ONE headache-free day. Not fun. At least I have medication for it now. La la la la laaaaaaaaa…not much to say, really…just posting to say “I’m gonna post more!”
Sleepy for no good reason,
Pharm Quiz 2, 100. I’m starting to get paranoid here—what if I get accused of cheating, with all these perfect scores? (On the other hand—GO ME!!!1!ELEBENTY!!) Today we had Fundamentals—perioperative care and wound care. The morning was lecture and the afternoon was lab. When I was in the RN program at GRCC, I spent 2 days observing surgeries and they were AWESOME! The first day I was in one OR all day, and got to see a ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement [Ventriculoperitoneal shunt is a surgery performed to relieve pressure inside the skull (intracranial pressure) caused by water on the brain (hydrocephalus). The fluid is drawn off (shunted) from the ventricles of the brain into the abdominal cavity or in rare instances, into the pleural space in the chest.] and a brain tumor removal. The second day I followed one patient (with a uterine mass) through the whole process, from admission to discharge on the same-day surgery unit. The OR and the PACU (Post-Anaesthesia Care Unit) were…did I say awesome already? Let’s just say, of all the things I’ve seen so far (which isn’t many), perioperative nursing is what appeals to me most. Anaesthesia is such a mysterious thing…even anaesthesiologists don’t understand exactly how/why it works. Maybe I’ll be a CRNA (Certified RN Anaesthetist) some day. I’m kind of rambling here. Anyway, after lecture I went to lunch with my carpool buddy/clinical partner and another student from our clinical group. It was nice to just sit with them, and talk about not-school stuff, and get to know them a little more. Both of them have children, so I feel a little ‘out of the loop’ there, but we all have cats, we all have @$$hole ex-boyfriends, we’re all stressing about school, and we’re all looking forward to going back to clinical on Thursday. After lunch I had lab (there are 2 lab groups and they alternate which group goes first. Today my group got out at 3pm and the other group had a 3-hour lunch break; next time it’ll be the other way around). We practiced changing several different kinds of dressings, removing surgical staples, and packing a pressure ulcer (eww!). Of course, we watched a video on wound care…zzz…
Tomorrow is Pharmacology, about medications that affect the Central Nervous System, a continuation of Monday’s lecture. I say again…zzz…but I need to learn these things. I need to learn EVERYTHING!
Going to work on med cards,
Long story short: Pharm Quiz 1, 102. Fundamentals Quiz 4, 100. Cultural Awareness (Meds Publishing), 10/10. Pharm Quiz 2, not graded yet. Clinical week 2, awesome. Weekend, rainy. PotatoeBabies.com at Festival, crazy fun. Today, not so great, actually. I got home from school and Mike was here—he went to give the ratties their medicine this morning and found that Nuku had gone to the Rainbow Bridge during the night. I’m glad he didn’t call me at school, but I’m bummed that he was here all day by himself. More school tomorrow.
…reads like stereo instructions…except stereo instructions sometimes have pictures to help you figure them out.
Yesterday was the first day of Clinical. We did a lot of sitting around—waiting for the Administrator to come do her orientation bit, waiting for the Director of Nursing to do his bit, waiting for someone to tell us the new codes for the doors (they’d been changed since our instructor had her tour), waiting for a mechanical lift to become available so we could practice on each other…kind of a boring day, but still a bit whelming. The responsibility we’re going to have, even as students, is amazing. A small mistake can turn into a huge complication really fast, and it scares me. However, when we weren’t sitting around, I was surprised to find out how much I remembered from my CNA training. Wheelchairs, assistive devices, low beds, Hoyer-type lifts, sit-to-stand lifts—I know how to safely operate all of them, and helped some of the other students learn how they work. When our instructor paired us up, she said she was trying to put an experienced person (CNA/paramedic/home health aide) with each inexperienced person. I got paired with someone who has no health care experience and I kinda went “wait, what?” because I consider myself inexperienced. Mrs. K. said, “You know a lot more than you think you do,” and I said, “Right, I have knowledge but not experience.” Mrs. K. laughed a little at that and told me I would do fine. Sure, why not. I trust her, I trust my partner (who is also my carpool buddy—she’s fantastic), I just don’t trust myself at this yet.
The big event yesterday, other than clinical, was a helicopter crash at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. http://www.woodtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8395273 http://www.woodtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8400509 http://www.woodtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8402416
We came back from a break around 11 am and gathered in the lounge, and suddenly the TV was showing a giant fireball spewing black smoke, with the caption “BREAKING NEWS”. After a couple seconds I recognized the antennas (are they still called ‘antennae’ when they’re radio equipment and not insect appendages?) and dishes on the roof near the fireball, and said “Oh my God, that’s Butterworth!” A couple of my classmates said things like “are you sure?” and I WAS sure. I used to work at Butterworth, in Health Information Management (medical records), and every day on the drive to work I would look at the hospital on the skyline and wonder what each of the antennas/dishes/spheres on the roof was used for. Often, I would see an AeroMed helicopter on its way in or out of the city, and I would say a prayer for the people on board. At least once a day I would be at work and hear a helicopter coming in; I said a prayer then, too. I don’t know why, but I felt some sort of connection when I saw or heard the helicopters, like I was supposed to pay close attention. Anyway, I was pretty shaken up by this incident, even though I was 4 miles away at the time. A facility employee came in from the smoking area and was asking what all that smoke was from. When we went to lunch at about 11:35, there was still black smoke hanging over downtown, although the fire had been put out by that time. From what we saw on the TV, we were waiting to hear how many people had died in the fire. By this morning, one of the people on board the helicopter was in fair condition at the hospital, and the other had been released! I have no idea how they got out in time, but they did. I still can’t really wrap my brain around it. I hope they figure out what happened soon, but the paper said the investigation might take 6-12 months. By that time I’ll have forgotten all about it…or maybe I won’t. Again, I have a feeling I’m supposed to pay attention, but I don’t know why. Maybe I’m not supposed to know yet. Or maybe I’m just really tired, and glad it’s finally the weekend.
Off to look at lolcats,