Workin’ Workin’ Workin’ Soon I Will Be Workin’ (7-17-2009)

I had a job interview on Thursday for an Oncology Residency. Thanks to the recent economy, jobs for new nurse grads are few and far between. The competition for this spot is considerable. I felt honored just to be chosen for the interview. I researched the hospital and their oncology department and I really felt they would be a good fit and could be instrumental in furthering my career and continuing my education in this field. I have not interviewed for a job, and certainly not a job of this caliber in years so of course I was so nervous!My interview went very well and I was offered the position this morning! The residency is going to be intensive but I am really looking forward to it. I will recieve 3 months of general training as well as 3 months of specialized education in oncology and bone marrow transplant nursing. The company is very supportive of their nurses including encouraging us to further our educations. They are on the leading edge of cancer research, new cancer treatment trials, and community outreach and support. (The man who started the idea for Relay for Life was one of their surgeons.) For example they employ a woman from the American Cancer Society who is a “cancer navigator”. Her job is simply to help patients navigate their way through the journey of having cancer. They have a dedicated chaplain, social worker, nutritionist and pharmacist specifically for the oncology ward.  They also know that oncology nursing can be emotionally taxing so they have a quiet room for the nurses with a massage recliner, sofas etc. that I should feel free to go in anytime I am feeling sad or stressed or just need a few moments of solitude. The hospital is owned by Catholic Health so I was told during the interview that they are a faith based facility and that if I want to or am asked to I should feel free to pray with patients. =) How cool is that? Once again I am amazed at God’s provision for me. 

Swirling Thoughts (5-28-2009)

I have so much on my mind these days I find it hard to concentrate on anything at all. I am way behind in my clinical paperwork, but I just can’t seem to focus for a long enough period to make any headway. I am just a couple weeks away from graduation which is very exciting, but also busy.

¤I have had a lot of last minute paperwork to do to make sure the college processes my graduation, the state recognizes my qualifications to be licensed, the testing center accepts my request to take the state boards etc.

¤My cousin is coming from Arizona to stay with us (YaY!) and I am planning family gatherings for 30.

¤I have to go shopping and get an outfit to graduate in. 

¤After graduation I have to study like crazy to pass the NCLEX exam in order to be licensed. What if I don’t pass the first time and I have to pay another $200 and wait 45 more days?

 ¤I have to find a job so I have been working on my resume and looking for residencies which are few and far between these days. The competition is going to be immense.

¤I am concerned about getting a job, what if I don’t get one soon? The financial implications could be severe.

¤I am nervous about the interview process, which is not my strong point. I hate playing games, and interviewing just seems like a big game to me. Why ask covert questions and make me come back 3 times. Here is my resume, you know my experience and my background. Ask me my philosophy on nursing and patient care. Ask me what my goals are for the future. Call my references. Either I fit with your organization or I don’t.

¤I am concerned about getting the right job, since I will have to sign a 2 year contract I better be sure, but then again beggars can’t be choosers right?  

¤I am concerned about getting a job. How will it effect my family? I will almost certainly be working nights which is fine except Scott works nights too. O.k. kids, get yourselves to bed, sleep well, stay safe. Get yourselves up for school in the morning, feed yourselves and someone will be here to take you to school. That is not exactly the kind of mom I want to be, or have ever had to be. Now..that may be my only choice. The problem is no matter how much I want to do nursing, no matter how much we need the extra finances, my heart is always first and foremost a mom.

I feel like I have been juggling for a long time now and just when I am near the finish line I am tired and the balls are falling…the question is will I catch them this time?

Shine Baby Shine (4-20-2009)

So my mentor shared an interesting bit of information with me the other day. Apparently Harrison is only going to be offering 10 RN residencies this year. That’s right…10 hospital wide!  And I think one of those is on the oncology floor where I want to work. So…there are 70 of us graduating at the same time and 10 places to work on the penninsula. St. Anthony’s may have some available as well but both hospitals currently have a hiring freeze on and are cutting hours everywhere they can. Harrison had a steady inpatient load last year, but had an increase in ER visits of 8000 and an increase in “charitable” costs (in other words no insurance, no money, so the hospital eats the bill) of over 40% from last year. They just laid off 91 employees, mostly housekeeping, administration and medical imaging but a few were nurses and that was mostly due to the fact that they have closed the mental health unit completely. I honestly never dreamed that I would have to compete so strongly for jobs in this field, with such a critical shortage of nurses. Thanks economy, thanks alot!
 
 

My mentors advice to get a residency was “Shine, Baby Shine!”. Ummm yeah. How does one do that? Hope for a code so I can do CPR? Honestly, I am not sure how to stand out amongst the crowd. I know that I am going to give the best patient care I can, but I would hope my peers will be doing the same. And I really can’t do better than my best so what would make me stand out to administrators who will never really see me interact with patients anyway? My instructor’s advice was to be sure and address things that are unique to the oncology unit, like caring for the patient as well as the family and caregivers. She also pointed out that I am already doing that well, so I guess that is good. She also said I should tell everyone I see that I want to work here, so that is what I am doing. As the opportunity arises, I am having conversations with CNA’s, HUC’s, and RN’s alike telling them that I am really enjoying my time on the unit, how I appreciate the environment of teamwork that is in place, and how I would really like to work here. I also try to thank everyone who gives me an opportunity to learn. The trick here is to walk the line between sincere gratitude and enthusiasm and kiss-up. So far my mentor has volunteer to introduce me to the big boss and give me the opportunity to tell her I want to work here. I have also had an RN and a HUC/CNA who spent a day working with me, tell me on seperate occasions that they would be happy to have me working there. Hopefully that is a sincere comment and not a polite sentiment. I really just wish I had the peace of mind knowing I had a job to go to when I am done. After all that is what I have been working towards for the last 4 years! Ah well, I will just get back to work, do the best I can, hope and pray, and see where life takes me. Who knows…maybe my dream job is hiding in Olympia.

Radiation Larry (4-11-2009)

So I have moved into mentorship for the rest of my time in school. I asked to be assigned to the oncology floor and I got my wish…Yay! This basically means that I work with a nurse who has volunteered to mentor me. I am only in class 3 hours a week now and the rest of the time I am at the hospital working. Unlike my clinical experiences in the past there is no instructor there and my Mentor will start off by giving me one of her patients and say something along the lines of, “Here is your patient for the day, if you need anything let me know.” By the end of mentorship I will likely have 4 or 5 patients and she will just be assissting me. It is nerve-wracking but exciting too.
 
 

I am starting to feel comfortable on the oncology floor now which is really nice. I know where to find a warm blanket, a syringe, and sterile gloves. =) A few of the nurses recognize me and even address me by name. (So much for my incognito alter ego “The White Shadow”) When I recently found out my patient was going to have radiation therapy I jumped at the chance to go and observe. It is important to me to know what my patients are going through, and working in oncology, radiation will be a common occurrence so I was excited to go and learn.
 
 

I was greeted by a jubilant duo in the radiation department (that my patient had already complained about on the way there “I just hope that Larry guy isn’t there today!”). They were something like a vaudeville comedy act. As we walked in, (imagine circus music playing…dee dee deedle deedle dee dee) Larry hurriedly placed the head mold on the table from the left side and Kristine hurriedly placed the leg mold from the right. Larry swiftly removed the patient’s outer robe then Kristine removed the gown she wore in the back. He guided her head while Kristine placed her legs in position on the table. They scurried to either side of her to line up the crosshairs of the laser beam with the marks on her sides. All the while Larry is telling one liners and I can hear the drums in my mind after each one. (Ba Dump Ba Chhh) “You know I had a nightmare last night, it was awful! I dreamed I had to pay child support…and I don’t even have kids!” (Ba Dump Ba Chhh) Kristine waves her hand at him as she laughs with a little giggle and a pshaw sort of sound. “Oh you!” she says. My patient rolls her eyes and I can’t help but smile. They continue their work and Larry waves me closer to show me how they are lining up the beams. Somehow the word ugly comes up and Larry says, “If I wanted to look at ugly I would go visit my mother!” (Ba Dump Ba Chhh) Kristine just gives him a smile and a“tsk tsk” sort of sound explaining to me and the patient that “Larry is a hoot!”Despite the circus theme playing in my imagination Larry actually has Barbara Streisand (he affectionately calls her Babs) belting out tunes for the patients to listen to and I swear I heard him sing a few lines to himself as we left the room.
 
 

When we got outside they began to show me the computers as they quickly got to work on lining up the patients images for comparison. Larry is busy concentrating so he asked Kristine to show me the “muumuu”. I was imagining a Hawaiian print hospital gown in a size 3x when she points to two squeaky toys in the shape of cows perched upon the console. “See?” Larry asks, “Moo Moo!” I had to laugh yet again.  Now Larry switches gears entirely and began to explain to me the intricacies of his equipment and precisely how he is going to get the image within a 5 mm parameter. As he worked he and Kristine explained to me how the technology works which I really found fascinating. My interest pleased Larry and he mentioned his evil plan to try and steal nursing students to work in radiology. They continued their mini lecture telling me about the old days when they worked with lead blocks to control the location and levels of radiation that would reach patients. It was really interesting, and informative. They clearly know their stuff and enjoy what they do. I think the comedy routine probably brings lots of smiles to patients. Even my patient who was dreading the uncomfortable procedure and the company of Larry smiled in spite of herself. What a valuable thing to bring smiles (even reluctant ones) to people so ill. So, if I wore a hat…which I don’t…I would tip my hat to Radiation Larry!  

Survey Goodness (3-18-2009)

What would you do if the door bell rang and it was Lil’ Wayne ?….
I would smile and politely ask him who he was.

Do you have a reason to smile right now?….

I can almost always think of a reason to smile if I try, but at the moment I dont’ have to try…I am in the last and final stretch of a 5 year journey…and it is almost Spring Break! ….

Have you ever woke up next to someone and freaked out?….

Yes once, but my mother raised me to be polite so my “freak out” was kept pretty much to myself at the moment. ….

What was the last thing you purchased?….
I bought coffee yesterday. Coffee is often necessary, but finals week I need an IV drip. ….

Have you ever kissed someone whose name started with the letter B?….

Why yes I have. How did you know?….

Are you looking forward to anything?….

Being done with school, so I can go to work, so I can go back to school for my Masters, so I can back to school and teach. =) ….

Has any one said they loved you today?….

Yes, and it was accompanied with the sweetest kiss on my cheek. (This always starts my day right. ) ….

Who was the last person of the opposite sex you had a conversation with ?….
my son ….

What are you wearing on your feet ?….
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, ….

She shall have music wherever she goes. ….
Oh wait..that is not me, that is the fine lady from Banbury Cross, I am wearing socks, boring white ones at that. ….

How many times do you talk on the phone a day on average ?….
2 or 3 times I guess. Depends on if I am home or not. ….

Do you usually have weird dreams ?….
I don’t remember my dreams too often but the ones I remember are usually an interesting swirl of weird and funny. ….

What song is stuck in your head ?….
Sleeping to Dream by Jason Mraz….

Has anyone gotten on your nerves lately ?….

I am going to 4 hours of training on the computerized hospital records tonight so I anticipate losing about 4 days of my life due to the stress I will experience from irritation tonight. The last training session went something like this: ….

Instructor: The patients vital signs are located in the flowsheets tab….
Me: Click the flowsheet tab, see the vital signs….
Instructor: Does everyone see the flowsheet tab at the top of the screen?….
Me: Staring at my screen….
Instructor: The one right here? *she moves her mouse pointing to the tab*….

Me: Deep sigh….
Instuctor: O.k. go ahead and click on it ….
Me: Giving into temptation, rolling my eyes….
Instructor:Does everyone see the vital signs?….
Me: Considers taking up texting ….
Instructor: O.k. good. So one more time if you want to see vital signs where are you going to click?….
Me: Digs fingernails into thigh….
Instructor: Good. O.k. lets try that one more time. ….
Me: Silently screaming inside….

Are you afraid of change ?….
Depends on the change. Am I changing my laundry from the washer to the dryer or am I changing my hair color to blue? ….

Are you on medication for anything ?….
Supposed to be, but I am the world’s worst patient and I can’t seem to take it on a regular basis. ….

Do you like scented candles ?….
If they are subtle sometimes I do. If I am conscious of the scent it is too powerful. ….

Did you have a good birthday this year ?….
I haven’t had my birthday yet this year….

Where are you going on vacation next ?….
In this economy? I will probably go to my favorite Seattle destination at Le Wright Bed and Breakfast. Comfy bed, and strong morning coffee that can’t be beat. (Great company too)….

Where do you want to live when you’ re older?​​….
I plan on making my home awesome so I will still love being here and my kids/grandkids will too. Then I can travel wherever I choose and always come home happily. ….

Three words to explain why you last threw up ?….
Migraine Headaches Suck!….

Who were you with Saturday night ?….
Another Saturday night and I ain’t got nobody, (cause hubby works nights)….

Have you ever gotten locked in a trunk of a car ?….
Ummm, no. Has this happened to many people? Many people who are on myspace and weren’t killed by maniacs or suffucated at the age of 8 on a hot summer day???….

Who was the last person to smoke a cigarette in your presence ?….
Ria….

What is something you’ d like to have right now ?….
A swimming pool….

Who is the last person you laughed with ?….
my husband…

Are you a patient person ?….
Mostly, but not during computer training sessions. *sigh*….

Have you ever thought about getting your nose pierced ?……
Yes. Almost did it last year. ….

Are you mean ?….
No, I don’t think anyone has ever used that word to describe me, except my children when they are in the 6-8 year old range. And really what kind of mom would I be, if my kids didn’t ever think I was mean? ….
Why don’ t you date your ex?….
Because I’m married?….

Are your parents religious?​​​​​….
No, I went to church with my Aunt and Uncle and my parents used that as leverage to get me to do chores and behave. ….

How many pictures are currently stored in your digital camera?….
None. My camera broke, it is fixed now but needs a new card. ….

Have you ever smoked Marlboro cigarrettes?​​​​​​​​​​​….
Yes…my friend’s parents smoked the classic red Marlboro’s and she would sneak them for us. ….

Who has your heart right now?….
My heart is actually spread out pretty far. ….

Have you ever been to a professional sports game?​​​​​​​​​​​….
One Mariners game. My dad had season tickets to the Seahawks once but he wouldn’t take me cause he was afraid I would ask dumb questions and ruin the game for him. (He was probably right)….

Do you know your last ex’s last name?​​​​​​….
O.k. seriously…if you don’t know their last name they aren’t really an ex. They were a fling at best. ….

Do you have an unusual name for your pet?….
Winston, Sweety, Tweety, Keytone, Leo and Barracuda, they are pet names…are there norms for these things? Should I have consulted non-conformist pet names.com?….

What color do you want your car to be?….
I live on a dirt road, no matter what my car color will always be: Dirty….

What are you currently listening to?….
Dennis Prager discussing the dumbing down of our educational system. ….

Besides your house,​​​​​​​​​​​ where did you sleep last?​​​​​​​​​​​….
A hotel bed….

When was the last time you had your hair cut?….
6 months ago or so. ….

What were you doing at midnight last night?​​​​​​​​​​​….

Talking to my husband about nothing imparticular, just keeping him company on his break. ….

What was the first thing you did when you woke up?….
Thought…oh I didn’t get enough sleep for my test today. WAIT…I don’t have a test today!!!! ….
What are you doing tomorrow?​​​​​​​​​​​….
Hanging out with Hubby….

Who was the last person you talked to last night before you went to bed?….
my husband….

Have you made a mistake this past week?​​​​​​​​​​….
No…I am perfect every other week. Next week I will make colossally poor decisions so it all balances out. ….

What are you wearing right now?….

Was this survey written by a cyber pervert? I am not giving you the satisfaction You Sick @#$%! ….

Is there one place you’​​​​​​​​​​​d like to visit?​​​​​​​​​​….
Lots! Italy is #1 on the list. ….

What are you excited about?​​​​​​​​​​​….
Getting to do what I was meant to do. ….

Seven days from now, will you be in a relationship?​​​​​​​​​​​….
I assume so. We’ve been married nearly 14 years, what’s one more week? (thx pen!)….

How are you feeling?​​​​​​​​​​….
Optimistic….

What is for dinner?​​​​​​​​​​​….
Nothing. I will be spending the dinner hours at a computer training session. Maybe if I don’t eat I will pass out and get through it unconscious. ….

What is the last gift you received?​​​​​​​​​​….
A bracelet from my daughter….

Do you have a lot of t-​​​​​​​​​​​shirts?​​​​​​​​​​​….
A few, but I rarely wear them. ….

Ice in your drink:​​​​​​​​​​​ yes or no?….

Generally no…..

What is bothering you right now?….

The world we live in. Don’t get me started. ….

Who is the last person you sent a comment/​​​​​​​​​​​message on myspace?​​​​​​​​​​​….
Hmmm. Penny I think, I was threatening to text her…wahahaha….

Have you ever lost anything down a toilet?​​​​​​​​​​​….
Nothing unintentional. ….

Who last called you babe/​​​​​​​​​​​baby/boo?​​​​​​​​​​​….

Babe/baby/boo is actually a pretty long sweet nothing, and no one I know would use it. However, I think it might fit well in a conversation with Lil’ Wayne…..

Who pissed you off today?​​​​​​​​​​​….
No one. Today I am in a pretty good mood so they would actually have to work hard at it. Unless of course they are involved in computer training…….

When was the last time you felt unbearably guilty?​​​​​​​​​​​….
Unbearably? Hmm…many years ago but apparently I bore it since I am here. ….

Have you ever kissed someone with the first letter G?….
Why yes. How did you know? This is getting slightly creepy. Do you also know the first letter of my deceased loved ones names?….

Do you prefer hot or cold weather?​​​​​​​​​​​….
Cold….

Have you ever messed up a relationship?​​​​​​….
Well, as I previously stated I make poor decisions every other week……..

Who was the last person you hugged?….
Hubby….

Look to your left, what do you see?….

N-Clex RN comprehensive review book<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />….

Where do you like to be the most?….

With people I love….

Whats your fave film?….

Big Fish….

What does the last person you commented on myspace mean to you?….

She is my BFF (oooh I am getting good…maybe I will take up texting)….

What did you last laugh about?….

My daughter told me about a Calvin and Hobbs cartoon she read. ….

Calvin: And I will not put up with sarcastic tigers either!….

Hobbs: Well, if I see one I will be sure to let you know!….

Teehee….

Where was your default taken?….

in my house somewhere….

Whats the first thing you look for in a girl/guy?….

Someone who makes me laugh is always high on the list. ….

If you’re still in school, whats your fave lesson?….

Hmm I don’t know that I have a favorite class. I did enjoy my mental health rotation quite a bit. ….

Do you play video games? if so, which is your favorite?….

I rock the old school Nintendo 64! ….

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring (2-23-2009)

After being up all night Wednesday with my Great Aunt’s passing,(see previous blog) and going straight to clinicals at 6:30 a.m. Thursday morning. I was exhausted that night but got very little sleep because I needed to finish my patient paperwork. Friday morning my instructor assigned me to the oncology floor. I was actually grateful for the assignment because this is where I want to work and she was being kind to give me extra time here. So my day begins. My patient is in her 50’s and has been battling recurrent cancer for 2 years. When I arrived she was being seen by her doctor and throughout the day, she didn’t want to get up, eat, or do anything but sleep. Mid morning I find the doctors notes have finally been added to the chart so I look to find the latest info on her treatment. Apparently just that morning he had informed this woman that she has no treatment options left. He told her she will succumb to an infection sooner or later and she should find a nursing home and contact hospice. Nice. No wonder she wanted to sleep all day!

Then I was informed a patient had passed away down the hall and I was asked to assist with post mortem care. Not many students get to do this I am told…a great learning experience. I agree, and I want to learn, but do I have to learn it today? Apparently so. I sucked up my emotional self for the moment and put on my practical self. I took out all his tubes and various medical devices. I washed him up a bit and put him on a clean sheet. I helped to prepare his eyes for harvest because he is a donor (Yay Mr. Patient!) I even put on his toe tag and body bag.

My instructor asked me if I was O.K. with doing the post mortem care, given my recent experience with my Great Aunt. I told her I was fine with it. Her reply? “Good. This is the field you chose you know.” Yes, I know. Yes, I am o.k. with it. It may sound cliche but I do feel honored to be able to help people during the death/dying process. The CNA asked me if I was scared to be with the body. I told her I was fine and she told me it used to creep her out but she has gotten used to it. To me there is a certain reverence that comes with the situation. I don’t think..eewwww that’s a dead body. I think, o.k. this person has passed and someone needs to respectfully take care of what the person and their loved ones simply cannot do for themselves. If I can assist with that then I am honored to do so. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy the work, but it is necessary and the process deserves respect.

After my shift I wasn’t home for 10 minutes when my mother calls to tell me the funeral is the next morning. *sigh* Really? Not one day for a break? O.k. got to make phone calls, got to get clothes ready for the kids (no..I don’t know where the shoelaces are for your dress shoes….wait why don’t you have shoelaces in your dress shoes?), got to get flowers, got to make food for the reception.
 Saturday was the funeral, which was lovely as funerals go. Person after person spoke of Evonah and how she taught them what it was to feel unconditionally loved. Reminding us all to love each other the way she loved us. So Saturday was my day to cry, and I did my fair share.

Today it was back to school work and writing papers and tomorrow it is back to the real world with a test on hemotological disorders. Suddenly I feel like singing “The Circle of Life” from the Lion King. Maybe I need a mental health respite. =)

Sunsets (2-22-2009)

~The sunset is no less beautiful than the sunrise~     

      This week my Great Aunt Evonah passed away. I have no doubt that her suffering has ended and she is at peace with God, and that knowledge gives me great comfort. She was an amazing woman who’s life is really a testament to the power of love. She had a true gift for loving others unconditionally. When her daughter Katherine married my Uncle she instantly accepted me and gathered me to her. I was family now, and I was loved. It was as simple as that. When I lost both my grandmothers, she filled that role in my life. She never missed an opportunity to tell me how proud she was of me and her praise always came with sparkling eyes and a beaming smile. She supported me when I was a stay at home mother reminding me of the importance of my job. She approved when I open my own bookkeeping business and allowed me to help with her finances when it became a task she could no longer do, but was unwilling to admit it to her children. She was especially proud to know that I had chosen to enter nursing, which had been her profession as well. Later I had the opportunity to care for her after her stroke and I so appreciated being able to give back some of the love she had given me.

      Evonah has been living in a memory care facility for the last couple of years and has been fighting pneumonia and cellulitis for some time now. This last year she had become quite withdrawn but she did have some beautiful moments of clarity that the family has been so grateful for. The hospice nurses explained everything to my Aunt Katherine and her brother Keith and in accordance with my Great Aunt’s wishes the decision was made to put her on comfort measures only. The fact that she was not living in a skilled nursing facility made things somewhat more difficult but the transition was made. My Aunt Katherine called me early Wednesday morning explaining that she had a very difficult night and asking for my help. Hospice had not been available during the night and she and Keith felt very scared not knowing how to care for their mother. The staff at the facility did not have an RN available and the CNA’s weren’t able to advise her on the medical issues she was facing. I went right over and was able to answer her many questions and she calmed down significantly. When hospice arrived later that morning their answers were basically the same as mine had been which was confirmation for me that my advice had been correct. The hospice nurse felt that she would probably only live another day or so. I left that afternoon to pack an overnight bag and go to the hospital to gather my preclinical data for the patient I would have at clinicals the next morning. I planned on doing my patient paperwork during the night while still being available in case the previous nights events reoccured. When I arrived Keith had gone home to take a quick shower and Katherine was wiping her mother down with ice cold washcloths to help bring down her fever of nearly 104. We succeeded in bringing down her temperature and getting her to rest more comfortably. My Aunt’s friend came by and offered to take her out for a coffee break. She hesitated, but knowing Keith was due back soon, she aquiesced and assured me she would be back shortly. After she left I lowered the lights ensured the environment was calm and quiet and that Evonah was comfortable. 

In less than 20 minutes she was gone. Her breathing got increasingly less labored and she just slipped away peacefully. One of my first thoughts was, “Don’t you do this when your kids aren’t here!” Not because I minded being alone with her, but because I knew after all the time they spent at her bedside they would want to be there in her last moments. Then I realized that she had chosen this time for the very reason that her children were not there. Together earlier that day they had let her know she had their permission to let go but I don’t think she could let go while they were there holding her hand. How like her to be concerned with burdening and saddening them even with her passing. Maybe ten minutes later Keith returned. When he came in I really wasn’t sure how to tell him. I was standing there at her bedside and he came to check on her. I just let him take it in for a moment himself. He looked at me and said “Is she breathing?” I told him she wasn’t. He quietly asked, “Is she gone?” I simply said “Yes.” When I knew he had no more questions for me, I stepped out of the room so he could have his time with her to say goodbye. When Aunt Katherine returned she was far more grief stricken over not having been there when she passed. After the initial shock and time to say goodbye we were able to talk and she agreed that it had probably been easier for her mother to let go when they weren’t there. She will probably always feel that she missed that time with her mother but she seems more at peace with it now.

     I feel so very blessed to have been the one present in her final moments. At the funeral my Aunt thanked me for being there for her mother. Through her tears she told me that I helped her to die with love and with dignity. I could not have strived for more.

Mental Health (12-08-2008)

This last quarter I did my rotation on the acute inpatient mental health floor at the hospital. I really did enjoy the experience. I learned a lot from the nurses and the patients themselves.  Suprisingly, I think that I could work in Mental Health. I don’t think that it is where I want to work, but it is good to know that it is a place I could succeed. My goal is to become an oncology certified nurse and I think the skills I learned in Mental Health will be very useful in that environment.

 

I have really been surprised at how receptive my patients have been to me this quarter. Even the gentleman with “paranoid” schizophrenia opened up to me right away. I was somewhat concerned going into this clinical that I might not know how to properly advise these patients since we have had so little training in this area. The approach I took was just to listen and when asked for information I drew from the information I knew and tried to be honest, supportive and encouraging. This seemed to be effective. I had patients seek me out to say thank you before they went home, grumpy patients with tough exteriors who tried to hug me before I left for the day, (lessons in boundaries! ) patients who asked me to repeat things I had told them so they could write them in their journals. One patient told me that she often feels judged by nurses but that I had listened to her and made her feel like I understood her pain. Each of my patients told me that our conversations were helpful to them in some way. I think another thing that surprised me was that a lot of what they needed to hear seems like simple common sense to me. I think they just needed someone to verbalize it, or to give them a concrete picture to go with an abstract idea. Some needed validation for what they already knew and others just needed help connecting two concepts.  I think they all needed an empathetic listener. I really do feel privileged to have been able to be a part of their journeys.

 

Wait

The sun beats down upon me and I do not feel the heat

 The wind blows upon my face and I do not feel the chill

How will I know I am alive if this numbness continues to spread

Taking over my body one sense at a time

Leaving me insensitive to the pain and the joy I once held so close

Ignorant now to the subtle changes around me

The swirls of sounds that echo in my mind as the darkness falls on me

I can still recall them and yet they fade

Slowly I watch them leaving my grasp, just out of my reach

My efforts lost to the reality of my purpose

I tread lightly and with all my patience to no avail

My rewards are few and my hope lessens

Yet my faith never waivers

My heart guides me and I follow foolishly

I begin anew focusing on the light

The light is where I long to be

Where my bare self stands silently

The water envelops my awareness

The breeze alone sways me gently to and fro

I move in time to the memories I hold dear

And I wait

Fall is Here (10-30-2008)

 

Fall is Here!

           I love Fall. It is by far my favorite season. I love it’s subtle beauty and warm colors. I love the contrast of cold rainy nights and warm cozy beds. I love to listen to the whistle of the wind and the patter of rain. I love getting wet in the rain and the smell of wet leaves. Right now my window is being splattered with rain drops, the leaves are dancing as they fall in the wind. My blanket and my cup of tea are keeping me warm and I couldn’t be more contentI love Fall.

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