Tuesday, November 24, 2009

make that 15 weeks

I have GOT to start updating this thing more often. Geez!

Now that I'm officially on Thanksgiving break, I can use the computer for something other than studying and not feel guilty. Ahh...such a great feeling!

My first clinical rotation has almost come to an end, and I can honestly say that I know I made the right decision in choosing this career path. Each day, I get to walk into a new situation, and it's the best feeling in the world to know that I can make a difference, even if it's just a small one. Without committing any hippaa violations, I thought I'd share some of my clinical experiences from the past couple of months.

1. Observed a hip replacement, knee replacement, gallbladder removal, pelvic mass removal (which I honestly thought was a baby's head when the doc pulled it out of her belly), and a toe amputation
2. Changed a dressing on a wound that was so deep and necrotic I could see bone. Unfortunately he ended up losing the leg later in the week.
3. Took care of a woman involved in a parking lot "altercation" who ended up getting run over by a car and broke her back in two places. (What's our takeaway here, folks? Don't turn your back on someone you just beat up if they are driving a car.)
4. Successfully inserted a catheter (even though it was pre-op and she was asleep, I still say it counts)
5. Took care of a prison inmate that had to be unshackled from the bed each time he needed to go to the bathroom
6. Cleaned up not one, but two, code browns that could have filled a baby pool
7. Buffed an 83-year-old man's balls. (Bet ya haven't done that one before...it's quite nice, really. When you have a patient in such severe heart failure that all his dependent extremeties fill with fluid, the ol' family jewels can actually become the size of grapefruits. But with a little baby powder and some folded washcloths, you can really make his day.)
8. Watched a 310lb pathologic gambler shave her armpits b/c I couldn't leave her alone with a razor since she tried to off herself the week prior
9. Started my first IV on a man who didn't even flinch when I asked if he would do the honor of being my first stick
10. Removed staples from the head of a woman who said she fell, "chasing her cat," but judging by her blood alcohol level and the frequent warnings she gave me about the men who were going to, "break into my house and steal all my money," I'm pretty sure Kitty was non-existant.

These are just the first ones that came to mind when I began to type. It's rare that I go through a day without at least one good story. And I hope I'm not coming across as aloof - because I truly care about each and every one of these people and want to help them get better. But I learned quickly that if I didn't laugh, chances are I would cry. And that won't make me much of a help to anyone.

Today was my first day of my Mental Health rotation. I worked in the seniors unit and really enjoyed it. There are so many people out there who just need someone to listen. Even if it's only for a few minutes - it can make all the difference in the world to them. And if there's another thing I've learned, it's that EVERYONE has a story. I feel very lucky that so many people share their stories with me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

6 weeks down

I can't believe I've been in school for 6 weeks already. It seems like I just started...which I kind of did...but as of today I've completed 2 of my 6 classes for this semester. It has been a whirlwind for sure. I feel like I have just a little bit of knowledge about a whole lot of things. It's kind of scary. So here are a couple highlights from my greenest time in nursing school.

To give you a better idea about my program, it's 80 students (actually I think we lost 1 in week 4, so 79) who are all pursuing nursing as a second career. Everyone in the program has at least one 4-year degree. I kind of assumed everyone would be like me, coming from a job of 5+ years, totally starting over, etc.
That would prove to be the case for about 1/2 of the students. The rest are folks who have either worked in healthcare settings (maybe as a CNA, tech, LPN, etc) or those who just graduated in May from college and decided not to face the crummy job market. So I'd say the class ranges from 21-60. The oldest person is actually a man who has been a carpenter and graduated from college back in 1974. The youngest are some gals who are still lucky enough to live in their childhood bedrooms while they go through this year.

I knew a few students going in from my pre-requisite courses. I say "knew," but really, how much do you "know" someone you've only had a night class with? This brings us to the first class, Assessment, which was a lecture/lab where we learned what "normal" is supposed to be when assessing a patient from head to toe. Then came lab, and we all know that word can only mean one thing...lab partner. So, as I read the list of names of those assigned to my group, I frantically searched for someone familiar.
Yep, I'm the 29 yr-old-definitely-not-in-the-greatest-shape-of-my-life-lucky-if-I-even-shaved-my-legs-today girl. And who was my one familiar face? Why, the 24 yr-old-zero-percent-body-fat-oops-I-wore-my-see-through-thong-today girl, of course!

So there I was, stripped to my bra and undies (which didn't match, of course) behind a curtain with my total opposite. I felt bad for her at first - I mean, it was probably really weird for her to touch actual fat tissue. But modesty goes right out the door when your grade depends on it, so she was stuck with me. Things went fairly smoothly until abdomen day. I guess it had been awhile since anyone had deeply palpated (pushed on) my stomach. So you can only imagine the sound that came out of me when she pushed a little too hard in the lower right quadrant. Yep, the whooooole lab heard it. Awesome.

The other class I just finished was called Foundations. It was another lecture/lab where we learned basic procedures. Everything from the simple stuff like sterile technique and injections, to a little more brain-busting stuff like calculating doses & starting IVs, inserting catheters, suctioning trach tubes, etc. Nothing too embarrassing from this one...I did gross everyone out the first week though when I licked my finger after getting it "dirty" during the bed-changing chapter. Come on people, I knew it was chocolate pudding all along.

Oh another grand thing about nursing school, their grading scale is totally screwy, so an A is 95-100, A- 92-94, B+ 89-91, and so on. So I'm feeling pretty good about my A's in each class. Granted, Foundations was a 95.1...so I pushed it on that one, but I'll take it!

Next week, we begin 4 new courses, Pharmacology, Mental Health, Professional Concepts and Adult Health, which includes our clinical rotations. In an actual hospital. With actual patients. Zoiks.

I've been assigned to a neuro/ortho floor, which I'm really excited about since I've grown up with both my parents in the ortho field. I'm nervous as heck that I'm going to screw up something major, but I've been assured that won't happen since we'll be with an RN at all times.

OK, that was waaaay too much info for one post. They will only get more amusing from here, I'm certain. More to come once I start dealing with real poo instead of pudding poo.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

summer recap...part dos

Hello from the land of enemas and catheters! Yeah, there's other stuff too, but that's just the extra fun stuff so I thought I'd mention it right off the bat.
OK, here's my second half of summer stuff. School details forthcoming...

6. Frushi. This stuff was totally yummy. Had it at Orange in Chicago along with these bad boys...the chocolate pancake flight, or my #7.
8. My little buddy at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
9 & 10. The. Most. Amazing. Cupcakes. Ever. Molly's in Chi-town. The chocolate one was filled with peanut butter and more chocolate. The other was filled with cookie dough. Enough said.

So, golly gee, it appears the summer was full of eating! I guess it's just some strange appreciation I have for pretty food that makes me always get my camera out. I mean, geez, we went to Chicago for Lollapalooza...and I think I have 2 pictures from those 3 days.

Lolla was a great time, however, we realized that we're too old for any sort of music "festival." A 2-3 hour concert is just about enough for us old geezers these days. Needless to say, we didn't even make it to Sunday's shows, which I'm disappointed about now, but at the time there was just no way. Between the 2 of us, we still got to see a ton of amazing bands, including Tool, Andrew Bird,Bon Iver, The Decemberists, Kings of Leon, Of Montreal, Fleet Foxes, Animal Collective, Robert Earl Keen, Langhorne Slim and Blind Pilot. There were so many others I wish we could have made it to, but we're just not built for 12 hour days in the rain or sun anymore :)

OK, tales from nursing school to come soon, I promise. Since our garage ceiling fell in last night, I'm sure the weekend is going to be a blast. Ha.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

summer recap...part uno

Since it's been so long since I've posted, I decided to just upload whatever photos I had in my phone and see if that could capture the past month. It's actually quite telling. So here's the top 10 - broken into two parts so as not to bore anyone to death.

1 & 2: Dinner out with the KC girls at NoRTH. We surprised Al at her dress fitting, then had a night of wine & delicious food. The goat cheese, corn, asparagus & tomato pizza was bueno.
3: I can't believe I used to actually live in this place. On our last trip across the great state of Missouri, we stopped in CoMo for some lunch and I just had to see if the ol' Brown Apple was still standing. How is it that this place is still considered inhabitable for humans?

4: For some reason, I have no pictures from the 4th of July weekend at Carie & JP's lake house. Yet I managed to take one at a gas station on the way home because I was so amazed that this is actually a food offering now. Only in Missouri...
5 & 5.1: Adam's 10 year high school reunion...I told him the only way I would go is if he promised I could drink as much as I wanted and he wouldn't bitch about the cost. Luckily, JJ's wife Katie was equally excited to be there so I had a partner in crime. Needless to say, the night ended with an MJ dance party at Geno's 70s club and a 2:30 AM trip to Pancake City.
Part 2 cominmg soon...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

mmm... 'maters

With a little bit of salt...yum.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

summer breeze...makes me feel fine

Good ol' Seals & Croft. Such lyrical geniuses. Riiiight.

So it's mid-July and we're totally in bed with the windows open. Love it. Being spoiled with this cool weather, I decided it was time to do something with the 1 million pounds of mulch we received from our good buddy Logan as a wedding gift. Here's how far we've gotten. Next step, edging and planting. Whoohoo!

We've got a busy few weeks lined up before school kicks in to full gear. This weekend we're heading to Mexico (Missouri, sigh) for Lynn's wedding. She was one of my Mizzou roomies so it will be great to see old friends and meet all the new babies and such.

Then it's off to Kirksville for Adam's 10 year reunion. I didn't go to mine so I'm not exactly sure what sort of fun it will bring. :) But we're most excited about our trip to Chicago for Lollapalooza. Our final hurrah to carefree fun. How fun will it be to see a bunch of awesome bands AND Christen in one weekend?

Anyway, that's all I've got for now. Back to studying I shall go. I heart patho!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

don't ya just hate it

When you realize it's been over a month since you wrote on your blog? I wish I had something earth-shattering to post but my brain is tired and my belly is full so I'm just going to leave you with this...one of my favorite parts about summer. More to come, promise!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

3 days to go...

Umm...oops again on not updating the blog.

Just saw that I barely squeaked out an A- in my Accel A & P class...sweet! That's definitely the news I was hoping for.

So today is my last day at work until the Tuesday after Memorial Day. Which is sweet!
Then I come back for 4 days, tie up loose ends, and embark on the journey that will be the next 15 months of my life.

And oh yeah, I'm getting married on Saturday. (That still sounds so weird when I say it out loud or type it.)

Big changes, people. Big changes.

Anyway, can't wait to see many of you this weekend and catch up.

Word up. Or down. Or whatever.

Friday, April 17, 2009

it's the final countdown (cue synthesizer)

That song is so rad, isn't it?

Anyway, it's Friday, which is GREAT. Today is my boss's last day - it's bittersweet because she's the bom dot com so I'm sad, but I'm totally stoked that she's found a great new position, especially in this economy. So today will be full of goodbyes, which will get gushier and mushier once happy hour starts.

Last night was my first fitting of the new dress. Everything went well except for the price of alterations...holy sh*t, I guess that's how they get ya. Anyway, it should be ready a week before the big day. Nothing like cutting it close!

It's definitely crunch time here. Just treading water for the next month or so. May 29 is my official last day at work, then I'll be starting school full-time June 1. Yikes!

Tomorrow is my hometown shower and bachelorette party. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and having a drink or 2 or 10.

Hope all is well with everyone. More updates to come!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

mamma and mia

Had a great weekend in Arizona visiting Cucchi, Marco and their little peanut. It was so amazing to realize how much life changes with the addition of a little one. We had a lot of fun catching up, and I enjoyed snuggling with mia and the pugs, who were excellent bed buddies!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

little irish eyes

We were lucky enough to spend our St. Patty's evening with 5 day old Riley. Carie & JP really made a cutie, didn't they?

This week will just be full of little rugrats for me - I'm leaving Friday after work to meet Miss Mia in Arizona. Looking forward to lots of snuggle time and catching up with Cucchi!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the past couple of weeks

Quick recap of the past 2 weeks:

Attended my first bridal shower...so much fun! It was actually a joint shower for Carie, Laura and me since our group of friends live so far apart. We had such a great time catching up and laughing. 4 of our KC friends hosted it, and put so much work into pulling off the perfect party. Photos stolen from Christen.

Attended my second bridal shower...again, a great time! This one was hosted by three of my friends from work. The food and conversation was wonderful. More pics to come when I get them uploaded.

I've decided showers are fun. I think dearest fiance likes them too. He gets to spend a Saturday doing whatever he wants, and I come home with presents. What's there not to love?

Work has been excessively busy of late. Our team lost 2 members in the last round of lay-offs, which has been really difficult on both the work and personal front. It's always hard to see people let go, but when you consider them dear friends, it's even harder.

School has been eating up what's left of my free time, but I definitely can't complain. I'm truly happy and grateful for all the good things in my life. Friends, family, a job, a new career and starting a new life with a boy I'm smitten for. What more could I want? :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

catching up

Whoops, it's been awhile since my last post. Hopefully everyone had a good v-day. Mine was filled with studying, but did include a nice Waldo Pizza venture. Mmm...

On the family front, Scott is home from the hospital and on the road to recovery. Thanks to everyone for your prayers and thoughts. He is still having to go back to the hospital every day for treatments, but we've seen no signs of rejection yet, so that's awesome!

I had a recent freak out when I got one of those random emails from The Knot and it said something along the lines of, "only 95 days to go!" WHAT?! Anything in 2 digits sounds freakishly close. But oh well, I'm ready!

I won a contest at work last week. It was our version of the Biggest Loser, where everyone put in $20 and weighed in monthly for 4 months. Whoever's BMI went down the most at the end took the pot. Yay for me! 19 lbs and a decrease of 3.3%. Still have a long way to go, but this is a good start.

Got to see Joel McHale Friday night, which was hilarious. He's one of the funniest guys on TV in my opinion. The show was partially ruined by 4 KU sorority girls directly behind us who had been at Kelly's since 2 PM. But after Adam and I both told them very kindly that we'd paid to see Joel, not hear them, it got a little better. Was I ever that much of a jackass at 21? Probably.

School is still insane. My teacher is worthless. I'm learing though, and pulled an A on our first 395 point test. Barely.

OK, back to work. More to come as it occurs.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

be a donor

So I have another quick soapbox to stand on, but I promise it's worth it.

If you're not already an organ doner, please consider it. I know it sounds easy, just signing the back of your driver's license, right? Sort of.
You'd be amazed how many people don't do that. But even more, that signature DOES NOT guarantee that your organs will be donated.

The best way to ensure that you're a donor is to inform your family of your desire to donate. Even better, put it in writing to them. Send a quick email to your spouse or parents. Hospitals will always seek consent of the next of kin before removing organs. If your family members know you wanted to be a donor, it makes it easier for them to give their consent. I know it sounds morbid, but you never know when someone you love (or even you) will be the one in need.

There are many myths out there about organ donation. People think the hospital staff won't work as hard to save their life becuase they can save others with the organs. Nothing could be further from the truth. When you go to the hospital for treatment, the docs are focused on saving your life — not somebody else's. In most cases, you're being treated by staff who have nothing to do with transplants.

My future brother-in-law was lucky enough to receive a pair of lungs this week...without them he would not have survived much longer. Because of his disease (Cystic Fibrosis) he had many strikes against him for the transplant. But thank goodness someone who was a match had made the decision in life to be a donor in death.

Please think about it. And if you want to be a donor, let someone know.

To learn more, visit this site.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Funniest Craig's List Post EVER

OK, so those of you that know me, know that I've had some "issues" with the ol' tummy in the past. I think that's why I found this so damn amusing.

To the woman that crapped in my car… (NE Portland)


Reply to: pers-1007823954@craigslist.org [?]
Date: 2009-01-25, 8:53PM PST

We met on Craigslist so I am hoping that this post finds you. I know that it could quite possibly be the most humiliating first date that you have ever been on, but I am willing to look past that.

I thought we had chemistry sitting at McMenamins sharing that basket of Cajun Tots while drinking the Terminator Stout. I really felt like there was a connection there. I found you to be intelligent and witty and looked forward to further conversation with you.

At some point in life, everyone has gambled on a fart and lost. It just happened to be on a first date in the passenger seat of my car. Please don’t feel bad. The package I sent you with Pepto the next day and the note that said “First dates are always a crap shoot. Call me” was meant to be funny, not offensive.

I have gambled on a fart and lost on multiple occasions. The first time I did it was very memorable. It happened when I was five and sitting on my uncle's lap. I am lactose intolerant, but love cheese. I probably win 95% of the time, but I don't think anyone wins 100% of the time. That's why they call it "gambling". I'm the last person to judge you for crapping your pants. In fact, I am impressed by your boldness. The timing on the other hand, could have been a tad bit better...like when you're not sitting on a heated leather seat...

What I am trying to say is that if you want to go out again, I would be more than happy to take you someplace where we can get a meal that is high in fiber and less taxing on the digestive tract.

I await your call,

P.S. - If you shat yourself on purpose to end the evening early…Touché…

Location: NE Portland
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Change a Pet's Life Day

For any of you who are in the market to adopt a furry friend, this weekend would be a great time to do it.

Change a Pet's Life Day is this Saturday 1/24 at participating shelters across the US. The first ten adoptions at participating shelters are free. Check out this site to find a shelter near you.


what does one do

When you absolutely, without a doubt, are certainly sure, that a dear friend is making a huge, life-altering mistake, what do you do?

1. Voice concern but stand by their decision and make yourself available to help pick up the pieces, all the while knowing they're making a horrible decision

2. Voice your opinion loud and clear, refuse to watch them ruin their life, thereby turing your back on the situation and running the risk of losing the friendship

It's a damned if you do/damned if you don't situation, folks. We've all been there. I'm usually a #1 person but this one might call for the latter.

What type are you and how has it worked out for you in the past?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hope everyone had a great holiday – just realized I haven’t posted forever so I’ll try to sum up all the stuff running through my head as concisely as possible.

Things I’m Looking Forward To In 2009:

Movies – I’ve only seen one so far this year, Doubt, which was very good. I haven’t yet seen, but am looking forward to seeing, Slumdog Millionaire, Valkyrie, Rachel Getting Married, Milk, Benjamin Button and many more.
TV – Gossip Girl officially kicked off on Monday. I’m addicted and I can’t help it. Such mindless fun. Katie sent me a link to NY Magazine’s Daily Intel that provides some hilarious commentary every so often on the show. Big Love and Flight of the Conchords will also be new this month, and the new season of True Blood will be coming in the spring. I heart my HBO.
Music – I’ve had satellite radio for a few years now and love it. Recently, Sirius and XM merged so I have access to more stations. One that I’m loving right now is Sirius XMU. It’s described as Indie Rock Radio, but I think it’s much more than that. Some of my latest favorites are Bloc Party, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Vampire Weekend and The Black Ghosts (actually heard them first on the Twilight soundtrack…yes, another shameful addiction)
A New President – the other day I was at a friend’s house who has quite the opposite political views as me. She had a sticker on her fridge that said, “I’ll keep my guns, money and freedom. You can have your Change.” Yeah, well, I’ll take the Change, thank you very much.
Tying the Knot – is it awful that I just wish the whole thing would hurry up and get over with? Planning is a pain. But I’m looking forward to a relaxing honeymoon in Negril and the start of a new adventure with my future hubby. Whoa, that officially sounds weird.
Starting School Full-Time – August seems so far away, but I’m sure it’ll be here before I know it.
Meeting New Kiddos – so many of my gal pals have recently had or are expecting their first little ones. It’s been such a joy to see all those who are already here and I can’t wait to meet the new ones. There’s nothing cooler than seeing the actual living combination of two totally great people.

Things I’m Not Looking Forward To In 2009:

Watching my grandma age… I know it’s inevitable but it doesn’t make it any easier.
Not having an income for a year…yeah, that’s pretty much going to suck balls.
Continuing to live in our neighborhood – with real estate as bad as it is now, there’s no way we can afford to make a move, but the crime is increasing almost daily around us. Recently, 3 cars have been stolen on our street and a purse theft/stabbing with a crack pipe (really?) at the gas station a few blocks up. We’re as careful as we can be, but there’s just no way to ever be fully protected.

So all in all, the good definitely outweighs the bad. I hope all of you have much to look forward to this year as well and wish you peach, health and happiness.