Monday, February 06, 2023

Death

 I deal with death more frequently than the average person. I have no problem with dead bodies. I am respectful when doing post-mortem care. I've learned to cope with the emotional aftermath. But this is the first time in my career that I, the RN taking care of the deceased patient, not only pronounce death (with another RN verifying), but I am also the person who calls the loved ones and notifies them of the passing. 

I count myself as a good communicator, with more-than-adequate interpersonal skills. But I have to tell you, awkward doesn't even begin to describe the first such conversation I had with a deceased patient's family member. The only things that were in my favor: the death was expected, and the notification was over the phone, as the patient's son lived out of state. I am already mortified (no pun intended!) just remembering the phone call. The thought of having had that conversation face-to-face...? 

*shudder*

Well, I try to look at it as a learning experience, and an opportunity to grow more skills in my field. Also, looking ahead towards the end of my career, I'm leaning towards hospice nursing. So I guess any experience is good experience?!

What do you think?

Friday, February 03, 2023

Walmart

Every time I set foot in a Walmart, I feel myself slowly transmorphing into a Karen (no offense to any Karen-named peeps out there). I can't help it. I make sure I've eaten something before I go, so there's no element of hangriness involved, and I take care to be well-hydrated and well-rested.

Is it something they pipe into the HVAC that then slowly disperses into the store? Is it the jostling crowd of equally Karen-morphing customers, which spreads the contagion? No mask can help with this. 

Upon every Walmart excursion I ask myself: "Is this the time? Is this the moment I completely transform into KAREN, and can never turn back?"

There's a reason I buy most of my stuff online and have it delivered. 

Monday, January 09, 2023

Say it ain't so!

I have a confession to make. I am a vegetarian, and have been for almost a year. As much as I love the taste of meat, my love affair with it is over. Over fifty years is long enough!

I have wanted to be a vegetarian since I was in my twenties, and hey, it only took me thirty years, go me! /sarcasm

I have had an abiding love for animals since I can remember, and I've always had a hard time reconciling this love with my consumption of their flesh. I'm not here to preach, or convince anyone of the benefits, or argue. You do you, Boo. I just wanted to share. It happened in California (no jokes, please!), which honestly is a coincidence, except for maybe all the amazing restaurants in the Bay Area, which were only too happy to DoorDash me piles and piles of meat. Suddenly, it grossed me out. I just had had too much, and thinking about eating more made me gag. So, on March 1st, 2022 I started my vegetarian adventure. I'm thoughtful about it, and make sure I get enough iron and protein. And nobody will ever take my cheese or eggs away from me! Vegan I will never be.

Vegetarian, I think I can handle. And I can eat guilt-free. 

Friday, January 06, 2023

Ask not for whom the cock crows...

...because it crows for you.

Or not.

Dear unknown neighbor who owns a rooster who likes to cock-a-doodle-do between 2 and 4 AM every blessed day:

1. You live in the downtown area of a major metropolitan city. Are you even zoned to own livestock?

2. Your cock suffers from premature crowing, you might want to look into that. I'm sure there's a treatment.

3. Speaking of treatment, you need to consider making chicken and dumplings tout de suite, because your rooster is going off half-cocked, shall we say. 

Yes, yes, I know I work nights, but that's only three nights a week. On other days, I revert to a "normal" schedule, and like to be peacefully snoozing during the time of (your) cock's crow.

Thank you, that is all.

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Wow...

 I haven't posted in a really, really long time.

*brushes off cobwebs*

 Part of it is inertia. I'd like to blame social media, but I've foregone it for quite some time, only popping in on Facebook periodically to check on peeps. Maybe I have nothing to rant about? Or nothing funny to share?

Nah, that's not it!

Regardless, here I am again, for the 2.5 readers I have left. Hi!

I've been travel nursing for just under two years now, and for the most part I really enjoy it. Weirdly, I really love the logistical aspect of it, finding housing, purging my belongings (yes, I have to do it EVERY MOVE), efficiently packing and then loading the car, planning my trips and booking hotels. Yes, I actually love it!

As a person whose baseline is ANXIETY, I certainly struggle a bit at the beginning of each new contract, but over time, it's gotten much easier. I mean, one of the reasons I decided to do travel nursing to begin with was the challenge, and to confront my anxiety by completely jettisoning my comfort zone. That's been a success, as far as I can tell!

New things I've experienced outside of work: 

-horseback rides on or near the beach

-hiking in many different types of terrain and landscapes, and dealing with the aftermath of faceplanting and hiking out (slightly) injured

-lots and lots and LOTS of different foods!!!

-learning to enjoy road trips, thanks to a new-found love of audiobooks (my lifesaver!)

At work, I've become semi-decent at starting IVs and phlebotomy, something that most nursing programs don't address or teach at all anymore. Doing predominantly oncology nursing, most of my patients have really shitty veins, so I think overall I might even be better than semi-decent!

I've found that I really hate certain EMR (electronic medical records) programs, like Meditech and Cerner (especially Meditech), I'm an Epic girl all the way, and that some hospitals really, really overdo the "necessary" charting. It consumes SO much of nursing staff's time.

Also, I had a contract doing outpatient infusion (that was in the Minneapolis area in summer of '21), and really enjoyed it. I haven't had the opportunity to do it again, but would really like to. I'd like to alternate inpatient and outpatient contracts, just to prevent burnout, so I need to get cracking on my search for outpatient opportunities, maybe widen my search scope.

I've been using the Duolingo app to learn Spanish, and I've been able to use it more and more at work, which really makes me happy, and the Spanish-speaking patients appreciate it, too. Yeah, my fluency in German serves no purpose here in the U.S.!

Speaking of German, I recently discovered that I might be able to obtain dual citizenship (German/US). It's a somewhat laborious process, since my German mom died quite some time ago, and I have none of her documentation. It would be pretty amazing to accomplish, thought! Think of all the opportunities!

Also, I'm finally pulling the trigger on something that I've wanted to do for more than a decade: Live and work in New Zealand for at least a year. Now that I'm an experienced nurse, I qualify for a particular work visa, though they've been changing and modifying the visa requirements far too frequently, in my opinion. I really need to get a move on, though, because there's a legal age limit that I'm rapidly approaching. The process of getting my NZ credentials is expensive and time consuming, so I really need to get a move on.

Well, this has been quite the info-dump! My apologies. It's good to be back, though. Hopefully, I'll be posting more, but I make no promises (I've learned my lesson about those...)!

Take care, y'all! Stay safe and healthy out there.


Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Guess

 Guess who got floated off of the oncology floor to take care of COVID patients?



THIS GIRL!

Tired now, off to bed.

TTYL.


Sunday, October 31, 2021

I'm in California!

 I never planned on coming here. It's expensive and it's crowded, at least in the Bay Area where I'm working right now.

But it's also really, really beautiful here, the weather is generally fantastic, and everyone at the hospital I'm working at has been very nice and helpful.

I'll keep you posted on any fun activities I do and/or craziness I see (or perpetrate, lol). Since I've been here, I've been so overwhelmed with orientation at work and all that goes with it, that I've just been taking long walks around the neighborhood.

I'm renting a house with another nurse who I befriended a couple years ago when she was a traveler at my old hospital in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, she had to delay her arrival because her car's engine shit the bed in Colorado! She should arrive by this Friday, fingers crossed!

That's another reason I haven't explored much. Exploring and adventuring can get expensive, and since my buddy isn't here yet, I've been paying the entire rent on this place myself, ugh. Speaking of expensive, HOLY SHIT, housing is expensive here!

Ahem.

The unit I'm working on is Medical/Surgical Oncology, which again is a slightly different discipline than I'm used to, but it's so awesome that I'm learning new things with a new patient population!

Let's see, most of my experience is inpatient Hematology/Oncology in NH. Then I did inpatient nursing on a dedicated Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in TX. My last gig was at an outpatient chemotherapy/biotherapy infusion center in Minneapolis! Now med/surg onc in California. We see a lot of post-op urological and gynecological cancer patients.

Obviously, the core of my job is still the same, and my goals are always the same: take the best care of my patients that I can!

I'll keep y'all posted.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Oooookay...?

I pull back the curtain of one of my three infusion rooms and greet my patient. He's going to have an hour-long immunotherapy infusion. 

I have all my supplies set up to access his implanted port

I ask him to show me his port site, so I can visualize and palpate it prior to accessing. And he whips off his shirt. Completely.

He's sitting there in his slightly grubby jeans, smelling like cigarette smoke, just looking at me, as if daring me to question him or comment on his action.

I stare at him thoughtfully for a moment, then I say,

"Oooookay...as long as you keep your pants on!"

He didn't give me a lick of trouble after that, though he didn't put his shirt back on until he was ready to leave, either!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

So...this happened.

 I guess I haven't checked in for quite some time. Like, my entire contract in AUSTIN, TEXAS.

I worked on a Bone Marrow Transplant unit, nights. It was quite the educational experience for me, and I learned a lot. I learned a lot about myself, too! I learned that it is NOT OK for me to take too much time off with no plans or anything to do. I turned into a depressed sloth. No, a SLUG. It was absolutely disgusting and it made me realized that if I'm not working, I still need something the fuck to do!

I give myself permission to do absolutely nothing at least one day a week, though. I'm an extroverted introvert, so, since I'm around people all day long, interacting and taking care of them, I need my alone (*cough*hermit*cough*) time to decompress. So, in my jammies I stay, allllll day long!

Anyway. Austin happened. It was fine. Considering that it was only the second hospital I've worked in since I became licensed, it was a great learning experience. Some of the practices made me raise my eyebrows. Some made me shake my head. But I knew going into this travel nursing gig that I would encounter sometimes big differences in the way things are done from place to place, organization to organization, facility to facility. I've bitten my tongue, but also pointed out some questionable things. I figure, as long as my patients are safe and I'm not doing anything that could cost me my nursing license, I'm ok with whatever.

Now I'm in Minneapolis, and have been since the end of June. I'm close to wrapping up my assignment here, too. My last day is October 1st, and I already have a contract signed for another night-shift hospital gig in the Bay Area starting October 18th, medical oncology this time.

The interesting thing about my job here in Minnesota is that it is an Outpatient Infusion Clinic! I have never done outpatient anything before, so this is an incredible opportunity. I'm learning so much about chemotherapy regimens that we just don't give in the hospital. I'm also getting very good at some important nursing skills that they just don't teach in nursing school anymore, and which we weren't even allowed to do at my "home" hospital in NH, like STARTING PERIPHERAL IVs!!! Something so basic, the average person on the street just assumes every nurse will know how to do it. Nope. But now I do, and it makes me sooooo happy.

ANYway, I'm here in Minneapolis because my oldest child SystemsReady (aka Silver, or Silver the Evil Chao, way back when), lives here! I'm totally crashing in her living room on a queen-sized air mattress, lol! I took a job that honestly pays peanuts, just to spend time with her, since we hadn't seen each other in so long (THANKS, COVID). Soooo worth it. We've had a blast, and I'm going to miss her terribly once I leave.

She's doing great, BTW, thanks for asking. Kick-ass, Goth Chick, computer-programming, stick-shift driving, Manic-Pixie-Dream-Asexual-Autistic-Girl! 

So proud of her. 

She turned THIRTY this year, BTW!!! She was fifteen when I started blogging. Damn, I'm old.

And here I will stop. I have an anecdote from work to share, but I will time that particular post for a few days or maybe a week from now. I want this one to sit here for a bit. Maybe some of my loyal readers (hi, you two!) will wander back over and find it.

TTFN!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Shenanigans!

 The joy of working with youngsters...

Like when your pod partner (*cough*Tyler*cough*) writes your name on a white board in LARGE letters and places it at the foot of his dementia patient's bed where she can easily read it, and over the next few hours you really grow to hate your own name..."CHRISTINA! CHRISTINA! CHRISTINA! CHRISTINA!"

It can get really old, really fast. But, yes, it *was* funny!