"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"
Thursday, March 31, 2011
First things first, we sat down and gave our drink orders. Then, before I even glanced at the menu much, the waiter asked if any of us had any food allergies or intolerance's. I was shocked. Never, ever ever have I been asked this before I had to ask myself. It has always been a struggle for me and for the poor people eating with me to get a waiter to talk to the chef about cooking dairy or gluten free. So, after I got over the shock of him asking, I told him I had a dairy intolerance. So he said he would personally go print out a totally separate menu for me that was all dairy free, and that food allergy free dishes were prepared in a totally different area. I was still speechless. So he brought me a new menu and I picked out a dish and It was GOOD and I never got sick....
so, for all my fellow food intolerances out there, lets all support P.F. Changs! Wooooot! One step closer in the right direction.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
So I need YOUR help! As I have mentioned, I am going to Europe in Late May-Early June.
Lately my health has been suffering even just from the TINIEST bit of milk that slips into my diet. So What I need your help with is if anyone knows of a website, or book, or anything that can help me effecively travel through Europe dairy-free. I DO plan to be carrying and taking Lactaid for every single meal, regardless of the fact that I think its dairy free, because I want to do everything I can to avoid getting sick in any way while Im there. But I'd still like to try and avoid it...
Any help would be VERY much appreciated! Please comment! :)
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Oh my God, Guys.....
I have been waiting for something like this. I used to think, I wonder if there is like...some sort of thing....out there...that counted, second by second, how many births were happening or deaths at that very moment, and our world population.....
Not only does this do that but it counts how much the military is spending, second by second. How much oil we are using, second by second. How many people are dying from cardiovascular disease, injuries, war accidents, traffic accidents......
Or you can switch to how much this year, how much this month, day, NOW.........
Oh my. Ive always wanted to see this but MAN is this a WAKE UP call! This is so scary!!
The Numbers just keep going UP!! What are we going to do! Holy crap. This is scary.
I seriously want to check out more of the site. Just this part alone I could stare at for hours. The rest of the site looks interesting too......
Oh my, guys....what are we going to do ?
I am adding a World Clock to my blog, to the right, in case you havent already noticed.....just scroll your mouse further to the right to see the numbers.....let me know if you are having trouble viewing this, and I will try and move it around the page. SCARY!
OK enough about nature.
This past weekend I picked up a really good phrase to use in nursing. I don't like to call it a "phrase" because I don't want to make it seem like "I use it on everybody" but.....well, nurses do. Nurses encounter a lot of similar situations and "classic" situations and need a "bag of phrases" to come out with that aren't "too cliche-y"...(example- "I'm dying" "No of course not!")
I have had patients that told me they are dying or are afraid that they are sitting on their deathbed. And I know I will have the same occurrences when I'm a nurse. And thinking about it, I never know what to say. "Am I dying??" Me: "Um, well.. Let me get your nurse." I can't do that when I'm the nurse. I can't rely on the nurse anymore to think of things and fix things when I am the nurse. So, I needed something that I could say to patients when this situation arose. Well, this past weekend at work I had a patient that is certainly not doing well but I honestly wouldn't say she is dying. Maybe extremely depressed due to situational factors but not dying. But, while I happened to be in the room, she told her daughter, "I'm dying, aren't I?" I sort of just stopped moving and stayed quiet and pretended to do something really important while her daughter thought of a response. But she shot right back to her mom, "Well Mom, We're all dying, day by day, but I don't think you're going anywhere anytime soon."
So simple. So true. And yet why didn't I think of that? Its a good one to pull out on someone that really isn't dying but think they are. Of course no one actually knows if someone is going to die, but we can presume based on presenting data. Of course this isn't a fix for someone that you know really is on their deathbed and they ask you, eye to eye, "Am I dying?"
I don't want to lie to a patient, ever. But....What are you supposed to say? Yes? Maybe by tomorrow? Next week? Next year? In an hour? Start praying? Call your family? So I still have to think about this one.
New topic: Filtering.
Lately, for like the past year, and its been getting progressively worse ( I don't know why), I am doing a horrible job at filtering whatever decides to come out of my mouth. So, so, so SO many times lately I will say something to somebody, or to a group, or write it on facebook or on this blog, or WHATEVER, and somehow it offends somebody. Whereas I never mean it like it comes out, it just sounds really bad the way I say things sometimes. Sometimes I realized I may have or probably offended someone but they are just keeping quiet about it, and then I stress about it for the next week. Other times, like yesterday, someone literally said in a serious voice, "You realize you just insulted me?" I was like......wait, what? I thought about what I said, thought about it again, and even thought about it again, and couldn't find where I was insulting her. Turns out she just misunderstood and what I said sounded completely different than what I was actually thinking, I guess. BUt I fixed it. I think. maybe. Anyway, regardless, I need to stoppppppp just talkinggggg. I have literally have to just say to myself, "OK. Seriously, just shut UP. STOP TALKING." If I don't talk, I can't say anything stupid or offend anyone.
I used to really filter my thoughts. I thought everything through, word by word, before I said it. But I hardly ever said anything. I didn't know anything. I didn't have any opinions. Now I do. Now I want them to be known....I dont want to just be quiet. I guess that comes hand in hand with offending some people that don't agree? I just hate hurting people when I never intended it for it to be that way. Sometimes I say something in general that might be offensive, and it turns out that it highly relates to the person I am talking to and I didn't know it. Another reason to live in a cave and just stop talking forever. Sounds like a good idea to me.
My food industry opinions get my in trouble a lot....But I am trying really hard not to annoy people with that. I just seriously need to start filtering my thoughts! Stop blurting things out! Multiple times within the past month I have sounded like a complete idiot. Oh well. Life goes on.
But actually, some people out there say to not filter your thoughts. Because that makes you fake and not-honest. When you have to pre-meditate everything you say to cater to who you are talking to. Some people really just don't give a shit. Some people just have their opinions and people that don't agree can go....well, you know. Some people don't care if they offend a group of people or a person, because they don't need people. I don't need people either, but I genuinely hate offending people. I don't like being mean, ever, and don't ever mean to hurt anyone. Thats why I'd so much rather just stop talking ever. Too bad I have a blog I can't let go of....lol. But I usually am really careful (most of the time) on what I share on this blog.
OK I'm going to stop talking now.
I seriously just talk way too much. Stop talking.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
I don't get it. I sleep perfectly well at night. I usually sleep right through. I get 7-9 hours usually every night. My nutrition is pretty good, in my opinion. I take vitamins. I get a variety of food. I get my protein. Carbs. the usual....Im under a lot of stress but I dont think its drastic enough to cause this amount of exhaustion, almost every day. I think its something medical going on, but again, I can't prove anything and I hate going to the doctor's to complain about something when I just sound like another hypochondriac basket case.
But anyway, I came to an epiphany today. Actually, it was last night. I was thinking- wow- This nursing program is really, really hard. And its not just me that thinks so. Everyone thinks its hard. We are all complaining. We are all really stressed. We are all under a lot of pressure. We all have papers due, midterms, presentations up to the wazoo....often due at the same time. Its unfair, when you think about it at first. However, I sat back in a daze and really thought about it. All the nursing programs that I have heard of are hard. Its not just us. Associate degree programs are hard. Other BSN programs are hard. I'm pretty sure its probably national.
But I think....just maybe...this is a good thing. These programs shouldn't be training & teaching nurses by holding their hand and making everything as easy as pie while we are in school. Because, guess what? I don't care if you are a nurse for cute little whateverbeans, our jobs aren't going to be like that. Nothing will be easy. We will have multiple things on our immediate to-do list at all times, just like now. As much of a hellhole the last 3 years have remotely been, In the end, I'm glad for the experience. I'm glad we have been scared shitless and stressed to no end, because its practice.
Would you want a nurse that hasn't been through a really hard program? Probably not, right?
Its funny because while I was still in high school, I was one of the stupid little naive girls that I hate now. Before I decided to go to community college- I had entertained the idea of coming straight to my college I'm at now right away- If I could have even gotten in, that is. Someone older that I had been talking to had warned me that this college's Nursing program was very, very, very hard. I thought to myself.......yeah, right. I'm pretty smart. I work hard. How hard could it possibly be? If I work really hard, I'll be fine.
Well, whoever that person was, they were right. But I'm glad. Thats all =]
Now, If I could just get some work done before I fall asleep again....That would be so fantastic. Big week ahead....(what else is new).
Saturday, March 26, 2011
You are at work...or, anywhere, really, (I happened to be at work but it could happen anywhere), and you are with someone (like a coworker) at the dinner cafeteria. Now, in my work culture, all the 3-11 aides through out the hospital usually know each other, and usually, we sit down and eat together at dinner to discuss our floors or the weather, or complain, or vent, or whatever. But that doesn't mean we really, really, know each other, it just means we have conversations, we know a *little* bit about another, but don't *really* know the person. So, say, you are in a situation where it is just you and a coworker that you say hi to every now and then, but don't really know any of their business, and frankly, don't want to. And they don't know anything about you. All you know about each other is where you work. Well, All is quiet between us at the dinner table. I am staring intensely at my turkey sandwich and she is texting on her cell phone. All of the sudden, she says, (while looking at her cell phone), "Oh my god." I sort of shift in my seat...and break away from the interesting turkey sandwich, and sort of look up at her, but she is still staring at phone. then she repeats with a mild moan, "Oh my god." So I'm like.....okay...and then she's all like, "Oh, what the hell? This sucks!"
So my question of social etiquette-ness to you, the public, is this- Should I- who doesn't want to get into their business but wants to be polite, say, "Whats wrong?" If you don't ask, you're just sitting there like a monkey and you appear cold and that you don't care that apparently, something very negative is on her cell phone. But if you do ask, its like you re nosy and you are stepping on someone Else's personal life....but do you just sit there?? I mean, this could happen at any place...work, a bus station, an ice cream store, in line, in a jungle....so be ready.
What I ended up doing, because I couldn't think of what to do right away and I'm a bumble monkey- Just sort of stared at her cell phone as if it would magically transmit its information to me and I could further assess the situation. Eventually she saw I was sitting there staring and I really just wanted to finish my sandwich, but I wasn't saying anything so she just told me what was up because maybe- she realized she sounded like she thought the world was ending.
I don't know. Has this ever happened to any of you? What did you do?? I really think I have Asperger's sometimes because I over analyze stuff like this and I obviously then blog about it. And If I think I walked out of a situation acting like a *complete* idiot, then It takes me like a whole 24 hours to get it off my mind. I hate messing up socially. And I've been doing it a lot lately, like mostly opening my mouth to speak when I haven't thought it through and I usually end up offending someone. Ahhh, but anyway- long day today at work, but nothing exciting and blog worthy. So, Its bedtime. Night folks!
Friday, March 25, 2011
|This was taken when my father and I took a drive down to the Delaware river on the most recent 2011 flood, and...|
|Same doggie, same day, different picture|
|This was one of those pictures that you don't even have to set up....you just see it, and you snap the picture...even though it looks like I totally set that there.|
|Another picture of her paintset. LOVE.|
|Paintbrushes in the windowsill|
THats all for today.....Off to the hospital to work tomorrow, Maybe I'll get a good blog entry from there?
~A Writer in a Nurse's Body
Thursday, March 24, 2011
We just finished a 30 page paper with a group of five people. Can you guess how many fights broke out among supposed "friends" among our entire class over this group paper? A lot. Do you know how hard it is to write a thirty page paper with four other people? Pretty hard. So, in case you were wondering, thats what I have been doing. We also had a midterm due the same day that was assigned 2 days prior that also required a three page paper on top of it. On top of all this, we still have "Normal" work, like...reading for class. SO, my entire program is on its last string and the entire building is nothing but tension. But, like I said, the storm is over. We handed our papers in and our midterms in...now, I can look forward to two group presenations, A couple of little papers, and some more clinical work. So were not done yet. But graduation (the shore line- the BEACH!) is close....
My Europe trip is coming....I'm so excited!
So, the other day at clinical, I was partnered with a male classmate in my class to go to a senior citizens complex and take their blood pressures and give them education and whatnot. We are required to wear lab coats, a white collared shirt, and black pants. The guy I was with had a tie, too. And we both had stethoscopes. Well, we spent a little time with this one lady. My male classmate did a lot of the education and I threw in a couple words in there when he let me talk- without confusing the patient- and she felt comfortable with the information she learned. Well, at the end she took an interest in us, and asked me what type of nursing I was interested in doing and where I wanted to work- so I told her I wasn't sure yet, and that I was applying to a couple places, etc. She then asked my male classmate when he was going to be done with "Med School" and when he would be a doctor. We were both silent for a second to process that question and my classmate responded, "Um, I'm in the nursing program, too. We graduate together, I'll be a nurse next year."
Patient: "Oh....This whole time I thought you were a doctor."
I knew it existed. I know that people think males shouldnt be nurses and that if a guy is in a fancy lab coat with a tie, oh my- they must be a doctor. *EVEN THOUGH* I was in the same dresscode- (minus the tie) and I was *obviously* a nurse. Oy. As for the differentation between doctors and nurses, I don't blame the general public. In this case, I was a little erked because we were in the same clothes and it was a matter of gender to differentiate between the doctor and nurse. But in the hospital, I don't blame patients. I have been asked a number of times if I am the doctor they are waiting to see. I have to hold back a giggle and a look of utter suprise when I tell them that no, I am definitely not their doctor. What I really want to say is, "Do I even look old enough to be a doctor???" I think its the lab coat that does it for people, though. When I research patient information for clinical, we wear lab coats in and out of the hospital and we are required to look professional. I have had a couple people approach me for a request of some kind and address me as "Excuse me, Dr., but I..." I just look at them funny. In my very first class at this school I am graduating from, It was a summer class, and there were only six or eight of us, that are mostly still in the program to this day. I got paired up with a lab partner who happened to be in her 30s and when working with me in the lab, she said, "Why are you going to be a nurse?" ..... I said, "Well, I want to help people, and yadayadayada, and she interrupted with, "No, I mean...why not just be a doctor? You're so young yet, and you are so smart. YOu are definitely smart enough to be a doctor." Back then, I was too surprised to come back with a response. What I wish now that I could have said then is, "I am smart enough to become a nurse too, which in my opinion, is harder anyway." I probably, probably could squeak by in med school and be a doctor. But I don't want to be the medical personnel that comes in for five minutes, gets paid more than the nurse makes in a shift for that five minutes, and be the superhero, and then leave. I would honestly, 100%, rather be the hard-working nurse that is with the patient for the whole 12 hours. The doctors make the calls, yes, but the nurses make the difference.
Speaking of patients, the same day as the doctor-nurse mix-up, I had a rather interesting case.
Let me explain the logistics quickly so you understand what I'm talking about. In this clinical, we switch locations every two weeks, and we work in pairs, but different pairs every week. Its confusing in theory, but actually makes a lot of sense. We also have preconference before every clinical, and so therefore I hear stories about the location I will be going to next- from classmates that go before me.
Well, two weeks before I was scheduled to go to this senior center, I heard about this one lady in particular, that had a very high blood pressure reading. This reading gave her so much anxiety that she "ripped out of the parking lot" and rushed to the ER immediately. The next week, the story went that she came back and the doctor (here we go again) said that "you shouldn't have let the student nurses take your blood pressure and that they got a wrong reading". Also, apparently we got her too "worked up" even though my group of classmates is the sweetest and calmest bunch of girls (and one guy) that I can think of. . Regardless, they took it again and it was still high. The next week, the week I was there, she came in again at the beginning of our shift. THe reading was still high, but this was the first week that I actually got to talk to her and meet her for myself. She was extremely "peppy" and very outgoing, and nice. She also showed signs of a generalized anxiety disorder, probably one of her contributions to her high blood pressure. Regardless, she came in again that same day and got it rechecked because she was so mad at the high reading the first time. It was still high. We tried different arms, different people reading the pressure, and even kept her in room a while and got her relaxed before we took it.
This past week when I went in, my partner (the male) had to step out for a minute and walk another patient out to her car. So I began chatting with her, and asked her how she had been feeling (regarding blood pressure, general wellness, etc.) and she said, "Not well." I asked her how she hadn't been feeling well and she said that she suffers from depression. I had a surprised look on my face-which we aren't supposed to do- but that shows how suprised I really was- and I said- "You wouldn't know it- you are always so peppy and outgoing." And she said, "Its just an act." I didn't know what to say, so I took the blood pressure reading and gave her the number, while I thought of the next step to take with this new twist to the case. But she quickly ran out of the room before I could do anything and said she'd be back for a second reading.
So I felt like crap for the rest of the day. We have learned so many techniques in our psychiatric and fundamentals course over the years on what to do with a depressed client/patient. But was this the time to discuss her depression? I didn't even know what to really say. There was the usual sayings that popped into mind- "Are you planning to hurt yourself? Or "would you like to talk about it?" ...I couldn't even tell her that she could talk to me anytime she wanted or that I would be there next week-because I wouldn't be. As much as I wanted to spend an hour with her and talk to her, I don't even know what I would really say to make her feel better. I've gone through this before- when I am in this "what to say" dilemma, and I realized that when I am down on something myself- I don't want to talk to someone with all the answers, I just want someone to listen. I just wish now that I had given her the opportunity to just talk to someone that was there to listen.
For comic relief, we soon after had a man with a very heavy accent. When he left, I said to my classmate, "Well, I guess he was taiwanese?" and he said, "How do you know?" and I said, "He had a shirt on that said, "I *heart* Taiwan". "Oh."
OK, I guess that sums up the majority of my updates over the past week. I do plan to be back on a regular blogging schedule now!
I would like to leave you with *someone else's blog post* that I found absolutely hilarious.
Twenty Something Thoughts
I truely laughed out loud on multiple occaisions, and when I laugh out loud- it has to be really funny. For anyone that is in their twenties, or maybe even early thirties, or really any age (maybe) this is so funny. Please read. It was grateful comic relief reading for this major storm I've been through. I've read a couple other entries from this blogger( http://www.juliestagis.wordpress.com/) and she seems pretty funny overall so I'd like to read more.
Well thats all for now- Now I have to start swimming again and get started on the next bout of stormy seas.......
Sorry I've been nonexistent again- I will try not to let it happen again ;-)
~ A Writer in a Nurses's Body
Monday, March 21, 2011
So much going on. Spring semester of senior year. Supposed to be the kickback semester and yet I have never felt this busy. Soon it will all be over and the tornado will have stopped and I won't even know what happened. In month I graduate. One month and two weeks.
As of now, I can't picture my self in that time graduating...what will I feel like knowing it's really all over? The papers, the presentations, the reading...will I miss it? Will I be happy?
I like being busy. Gives me purpose. Prevents me from lounging around in my bed/dorm all day eating snacks, which, I have done. So I need busy-ness...
But man, I hate this every-second is busy and even that's not enough time to get everything done.
I feel like I have commitments to too many things/ people right now and o can only do so much- and then the people on the other end see me as incompetent when I say "sorry I don't have this done, ive been so busy." when what I really mean to say is "sorry I put you last on the prioritization list but I promise I will do this as soon as I can. I have been extremely busy.". Then I get funny looks of, what, could you have possibly been doing???
Well that's all the time I have today to "breathe". Sorry for the blog hiatus, I will return shortly...
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
So today I was picking up some much needed things in shoprite. Like you know...ice cream (dairy free!)
Im about to leave and I'm like, maybe I should pick up more anti-nausea medicine? I like to keep it handy.
So the shoprite I was in was moving things around and it was huge and confusing to begin with. But I finally reach the (VERY BUSY) health aisles and I am trying to read the signs to tell me where they have typical stomach products. Then I hear:
"what are you looking for?"
It's an employee, an elderly man. I wasn't sure if he was talking to me, because there was about four people in between us. Someone else even answered him and he said "no I was asking her." he was specifically singling me out. So I walked over and quietly said, "Uh...stomach?"
"wheres your stomach products?"
"like an antacid or something?"
"OH! um...hm...hold on. HEY! JEN! (other employee who happened to be DOWN THE FRIGGEN AISLE)
"THIS GIRL NEEDS AN ANTACID!" *points to me* * a couple people look at me*
"THIS GIRL HAS AN UPSET STOMACH--"
"actually, sir, I don't--"
"WHERE DO WE HAVE THE STOMACH STUFF? LIKE LAXATIVES AND MAALOX?"
"OH! WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY THAT FIRST? ITS DOWN HERE!"
"it's down there."
*everyone in aisle staring at me*
*I want to die*
Fun, fun day folks.
Lesson learned- never ask an employee in a crowded supermarket for a remotely embarrassing item.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Well there is one change I have noticed- increasingly present over the last year- that tickles my funny bone.
The geriatric population that I take care of now is now just as attached to their cell phones as the younger generations. Not only am I seeing 80% of my 80+aged patients with cell phones on their table, (or in their bed), but they charge them too. Now at bedtime, after the dentures come out, the cell phone gets plugged in, too.
Yesterday I had spent a little while with a patient and was just about to leave the room when she said, "wait!" I turned around, "yes?"
"can you bring me my cell phone from my bedside table?"
Not only that, but these aren't just cell phones. They are iPhones. And blackberries. Droids. And other really nice phones. They are attached.
In today's day and age, I'm not sure why I have noticed this change. Is it that when cell phones became popular, the 80 year olds now were then 70s and wanted a phone?
My guess is that its the cell-phone addicted children of these elders that are responsible for the change. I think the elders could get by without ever having had a cell phone. It's the children, the middle aged children that are so dependent on their cell phones that it makes them feel insecure and crazy that they can't just call their parents, wherever they may be. So they buy mom and dad a cell phone and teach them how to use it, and then they become dependent on them too.
I just laugh at the thought of what the generation of today, ages 15-40, what technology we will be bringing with us to the hospital. I've already seen laptops, a couple iPods...what else is next? Interesting funny. :-)
Friday, March 11, 2011
This picture is extra special.
This is the adorable and loveable girl I babysit every once and awhile. This picture is unique because It was taken over this past summer, with my blackberry- before my iPhone even existed. Still pretty good though, eh? I am hesitant to put my photography company name on it because although it was taken with my phone and by me, the editing was done by a very good friend of mine that had an iPhone4 at the time. Unfortunately for him, I was in the very happy habit of sending him a lot of my pics so he could magically transform them into beautiful pieces of artwork such as the one above, even though he was usually busy at work. If that all doesn't make this picture special enough, I asked him a couple weeks ago if he still saved any of those pictures he fixed up for me, and this was the only one that had survived his phone resetting. And it happened to be my favorite one, and just the one I was thinking about when I asked him. So YAY! So I love this picture, and although my name is on it, it is not just my creation. Taken with a blackberry and edited with an iPhone, now thats a bird and a fish creation! Thank you :)
Not much else to say today. Vote on my poll, guys, I need your opinions! (Right hand side of this page). I still feel sad for Japan, I will continue to keep them in my thoughts.
I wish I could be in the disaster relief efforts...as a nurse. Maybe next year I'll be in disaster relief. I wish I was there helping you guys rather than sending good thoughts.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
I know I had a rather long dream last night. I know there were many complex parts and plot lines...and yet I can only remember doing one thing. Maybe writing it out will bring more back.
I was swimming, leisurely. In some sort of....big open area. The walls were high above, it was as if we were in a cave with a natural pool of water inside. The water was black, or at least just dark from the lack of sunlight. But I wasn't scared. I think I was with a group of people-some sort of tour- and it was time to leave. Except that entailed us swimming under water and leaving through some sort of tunnel. I was the last to leave. I found the tunnel and entered, and all the sudden I am in this massive force of current-that is pushing me through this tunnel of water. It Is pitch black. Except I wasn't scared. I trusted whatever was guiding me- I trusted the people I was with that they deemed this safe, that they made it through before me. But I remember thinking, how long am I expected to hold my breath? I can't go much longer. I can't keep fighting, keep swimming. But I have to. I have to get to the surface. And then I saw the surface light, but it was small and I still had so much swimming to do. I just wanted to breathe. I didn't understand why a tunnel current that was supposed to be fun was tumbling me upside down in the water. Why I couldn't breathe.
Then I made it. I remember being out of the water, talking to a friend (unknown who) and I told them that it was fun except for the fact that I wasn't prepared for it being that long and..dark..and that I should have taken a bigger breath.
She laughed. "their was air in the tunnel. All you had to do was stop fighting and come up for air while the current took you to the top."
Although that concept is not logical in real life, it made a lot of sense in the dream. Also, I think it is really symbolic for what is going on in my life. I do feel like I'm in a black dark tunnel current and I am running out of air. I'm desperately swimming towards happiness..towards a place in my life where I officially know what's coming next and that I will be happy with it. I'm desperately swimming towards having a plan. Maybe I just need to stop swimming and come up for air on the way to reaching the light...whatever that means.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
We migrainers know how to spot other migrainers, despite our best efforts to hide it. However, we are usually pretty good at hiding it to everyone else because we don't want everyone to feel sorry or annoyed by us. If lucky, migrainers will have a good spouse/boyfriend/bestfriend/closeperson that can recognize these weird quirky traits and get help for the migrainer because usually, the migrainer might appear to be listening to you or involved in the current action he/she is doing, but really, they're not. In fact, they are lost in space. Or their head. You know.
This is me when I am in the comfort of being alone when suffering from a migraine:
Its painful. Usually when its at this point, I had spent most of the day hiding it and then when I can *finally* CLOSE MY DOOR and be free of all plans for the rest of the day and hide under my covers, this is what I look like: A teradactyl tongue-sticking out dinosaur with messy hair. Why does acting like a teradactyl (is this even how you spell teradactyl? I'm thinking of that flying dinosaur that screeches and stuff.And has arms like those shown above), help? I don't know. Why does sticking out my tongue help? I don't know. ITs probably psychological.
So enough for the comedy. Today I went out to brunch with one of my best life time friends. We have been friends since preschool, and about 6 or so years ago we found each other again and started meeting up every once in awhile. Well a couple years ago I found out she suffers from the same problems as me- the stomachaches and headaches, multiple times a week, if not every day. So over the years we have been swapping tips on what helps and what doesn't. So I conjured up a simple list for anyone out there that reads this that has migraines & nausea, maybe this can help.
Migraines: (Its a long transformation) It can go in *any order* but this is the order I am randomly putting it in. As you take out items one by one, track how you are feeling.
1) Week One: Take out chocolate. Don't worry...this may be hard for
examples of chocolate: Milk chocolate, fudge, icing, m&ms, Oreos, chocolate flavoring, etc.
2) Week Two: Stop eating ham and turkey deli meat. THIS INCLUDES!: Hot Dogs, Pork- anything from a pig. (Again, there is relief later). Ham and all related deli meat and pork products are full of Sodium Nitrate and Nitrite. Try switching to Boar's Head deli turkey, and Holmel's (I think thats brand name) brand for ham. Nature's Promise also sells a nitrate-free ham for big meals (Easter, Christmas, etc.) for the holidays.
3) Week Three: Stop using perfume, if you have any, and do your best to stay away from frequent users in your household, or ask friends not to use it when they will be with you. Wash clothes that still carry even the slight fragrance, and sheets too. Also, take out any air fresheners in your house or car. These are not head-friendly. Also watch out for scented hairspray. Anything that is cosmetic and smells good, try and stay away from.
4) Week Four: When is the last time you have washed your bed linen? This tip is for migrainers that often wake up with it and it lingers all day. 1- Wash your sheets. *Wash your pillowcases*. What happens is you are breathing in excessive amounts of dust on these sheets as you sleep. Believe it or not, some migraines are triggered by allergies. Try and get a prescription from your doctor for Flomax, or Veramyst (What I use-it helps). These are both nasal sprays. I always know when its time to change my sheets like clockwork because I wake up with a migraine one day. When imerged in this cleaning spree, pull your bed out and vacuum underneath. Dust your entire room (preferably in the morning so the remainder particles can have time to settle and not circulate while you are in there sleeping).
5) Stop drinking wine. In fact, stop drinking alcohol. You can reintroduce it back later, keep reading. Wine is full of nitrites. I think white wine is worse...?
6) Make sure you are not skipping meals. Sometimes low blood sugar can trigger a migraine. Drink plenty of water.
7) Check your eyesight. If you don't need any assistive devices, maybe its time to make an appt with an opthamologist and get your eyes checked. If your eyes are straining daily, this causes major headache pain. Also, if you already have glasses, is it time to get a new prescription? Also, make sure you always have plenty of light when you are reading. Are you reading in bed before you sleep? Turn on the overhead light instead of just a book light. Don't stare at a bright computer screen or TV screen when the rest of the room is dark.
8) Watch your caffeine intake. I'm not going to be the type to say take caffeine out of your diet, because I know the withdrawal effects on taking it all out suddenly. Instead, just evaluate how much you are taking in. Write down a sample day record of what you take in. Check medications. Check your vitamin. Check your headache prescriptions! Excedrin (OTC) has a lot of caffeine in it. Caffeine has very powerful vasoconstriction actions and helps minimize the blood vessels in your brain, therefore taking away the pain. So I'm not going to say avoid caffeine- because that would make me a hippocrate. I very often turn to caffeine to make my pain go away, but does that mean I am addicted? No. What you need to do is look at your balance. I know I can afford to take the caffeine in excedrin because I don't get caffeine elsewhere- I do not drink coffee. Green tea does not have a lot of caffeine (my only caffeinated tea I drink). So, look at your daily intake- Is it a lot higher than you thought? Maybe its time to dwindle down a little....*little by little*, every day. Every week. Do it slow. This way, you lower your tolerance. This way, with less constant caffeine in your system, it can be a reliable vasoconstrictor when you need it most. I find that If I take excedrin every day for a week long headache, by the fourth or fifth day- its not working. However, If I don't take it for a month, Excedrin will work within fifteen minutes. I can go from lying on the floor to bouncing and cartwheels in the street.
HARDER (If you're still not noticing ANY improvement):
9) Take out all obvious dairy. This INCLUDES: milk, yogurt, CHEESE, butter, cream, etc. After a week of that drastic food change, now you have to complete your dairy free movement- Check labels! Dairy is in many things you might not have expected. Nilla Wafers, i found, for example, has milk. LOTS of cookies have milk, and some crackers. Some bread companies. Some restaurants (and homecookers) use milk to make scrambled eggs. So now its time to play detective. Read labels on everything. TV DINNERS more often than not use milk (I don't know why). Luckily- Milk is considered one of the (4?) Major allergens in the U.S. and the FDA requires that nutritional labels list it at the end of the list in bold if it is in or may be in the product. So this makes it easy for you- you don't have to read through a long list of ingredients.
|Example. Left Lower side.|
I don't have much for nausea, because not only is it a tricky business (The GI system is very complex) but I have a couple tips. Please, if your symptoms persist, go see a doctor. I am not a doctor. I am not even a registered nurse yet. I am just speaking from *personal* experience and none of this information is proven.
1) Try drinking green tea. Not from dunkin donuts! (Although I do use them as a last resort for GT if I cannot find it ANYWHERE else). Green tea was suggested for me to try a couple of years ago by an oriental nurse who was well acquainted with traditional herb relief. It has proven to be 98% effective in treating my nausea. If it doesnt help my nausea, I know I have a stomach bug or something serious. But the rest of the time it *really* helps! Try it! As for personal taste, I loveeeee Tazo's brands, Particularly "Zen" or "China Green tips". tip- Don't put milk in!! ;)
2) Try finding a candy cane or mint of any kind that has actual peppermint oil. (Read labels). If you like your teeth and prefer not to suck on a candy cane, many vitamin stores will have peppermint oil you can put in tea or take in capsule form. This was suggested to me by an old friend's mother, when I was a child. I have followed it religiously ever since, although now as an adult I tend to use green tea more. Its healthier for my teeth! Note: If you have heartburn, supposedly peppermint is harmful rather than helpful. So this is why it is necessary to be *checked out by a doctor*. The Peppermint supposedly relaxes the esophageal sphincter and therefore lets food back up into the esophagus, causing your pain.
3) Stay away from all dairy products. See paragraph above.
4) Take tomato products out of your diet. This includes: tomato sauce, tomato dip, actual tomatos, pizza, spaghetti, KETCHUP, etc. Tomato's are very acidic and very very very cause GI upset, even with people that don't normally get nauseous on a daily basis. Oranges and Orange Juice are very acidic too.
After you have wiped all of these common food triggers out of your diet...are you feeling better? If not, (Like, no improvement at all), you need to see a doctor. Right away. Also, did you do everything right? If you choose to take out dairy, are you sure there isnt a sneaky source of it somewhere?
If you ARE feeling better, YAY! It feels good, doesnt it? Now, if you realllllly miss one of the things I told you to take out, here is what you do: reintroduce it. Not a lot at once. And introduce one product at a time. Do it a week at a time. For example, if you have a negative reaction to chocolate after 4 months of not eating any, you know you are probably allergic to that. But take a week off again. THen try it again. Did it cause a reaction again? If so, you can say good bye to chocolate. Unless you like pain. Or, I've heard from some and can *sometimes* attest with personal experience that dark chocolate does not cause as many headaches, but i daresay, use it sparingly.
Are these tips fool proof? No. I follow all of the above tips and I still have frequent headaches and nausea. But, they are no where near as bad as they used to be, and I can usually tell what I did or didn't do to cause the symptom and then I can treat it and it goes away. So if you're a teradactyl dinosaur with messy hair like me, the least you can do is try some of these tips. Can't hurt!!
And as a reward for making it this far in this blog, (I think this may be my longest entry EVER), you get a reward:
|This my friends, is what I'm talking about.|
~ A Writer in a Nurse's Body
Monday, March 7, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
I have "seen" Muse, Matchbox Twenty, Train, Rob Thomas (w/o MB20), Jewel, Alanis Morrissette...
But today I "met" famous bestselling author Jodi Picoult! I have "seen" her before at a bookfair in Washington D.C. by complete surprise, and also saw John Irving and Nicholas Sparks (dreamy!). But met none of them.
Before meeting a celebrity, or even going to a concert of theirs, if you're anything like me, you hype yourself up. "Oh my god, I'm going to meet them. I'm going to be in the same room. I'm going to actually SEE them. They are going to be right there! Ah!" In writing, it sounds a lot more creepy than it actually is, but you know what I mean. Then, when you finally do see them, (depending on the celebrity) at first its like OHMYGOD ITS REALLY THEM but then you calm down and actually listen to what they are singing/talking about. And then after an hour or so of being in the same breathing room as them (such as today), you realize they are actually just another real human being after all. Just like you and me except a lot of people know that same person. Like, 35 other countries know Jodi's name and books.
I don't know if this happens to you, but it happens to me. When I'm talking to a celebrity or standing close to them, or really close to them at a concert, I keep my cool. In my head, i'm like, I can't seem to grasp the fact that I am actually standing right next to a celebrity. But they are so normal, so its not that astounding. But it is a celebrity. This is huge. Why aren't I freaking out? And then an hour after we leave, I'm all like Oh my god I met Jodi Picoult. Why didn't I take more pictures?????
We also had a chance to ask her questions, and for the life of me I could not think of a single good question. I am a writer. I have been since I was 5. I have novels half written, I have short stories everywhere....I am a writer for petes sake and I couldn't think of any good questions. And then at home I thought of at least five really good one's. Oh well. But anyway, She is a really good speaker and I really enjoyed meeting her! And I even got a picture and an autographed book, of her new book "Sing You Home" which I have started reading and it is excellent so far!
|Jodi reading passage from new book "Sing You Home"|
|Signed my book! Personalized, too.|
|Getting ready to sign.|
|I brought House Rules with me to get signed, because thats my best book I have from her that survived me reading it. :) |
I have about six or seven blogs on my "to-write" list, so you can probably expect a blog every day this week....I hope this excites you, rather than makes you groan. Thanks for reading!!
Friday, March 4, 2011
(Future Date with a guy- Picnic- He packs food for us, thinking it will be romantic)
Guy: "First, for our beverage, I brought a lovely blahblahblah wine for us to enjoy."
Me: Oh! Thats amazing! Really....except I can't have wine. *Slanty I'm sorry face*
Guy: Why not?
Me: It has nitrites....they are wine preservatives. It would make me squirm in extremely unfathomable pain in the form of a migraine.
guy: Oh. Ok, No wine.
Me: I'm so sorry. Please, you enjoy the wine for yourself, please. It looks lovely, there is no reason you can't enjoy it.
Guy: Okay. Well, for an appetizer, I bought us some cute Ritz crackers with peanut butter on them, it is so good. My favorite.
Me: Actually, I'm highly allergic to peanuts. *Slanty I'm sorry face-again*
Guy: oh gosh!! Thats horrible! I'm so sorry. No more peanuts or peanut butter. Will you be ok if I eat it?
Me: of course! Please, go ahead! I just can't eat it.
Guy: Okay. Well....please, have some crackers at least.
Me: Well I would except they have milk in them, and are loaded with corn syrup.
Guy: *vacant confusing stare*
Me: I'm lactose intolerant. And I'm trying to avoid corn syrups or corn products from my diet. Not entirely possible, but I'm trying.
Guy: Oh. . . Okay...So you can't have the cheese I bought for our sandwiches?
Me: Um...nope. And I can't have ham, either. More nitrates. Anything from a pig, really. *sorry face*
Me: I'm so sorry.
Guy: No, no worries. How bout our entree....I bought pasta! oh! It has no cheese! Its just tomato sauce and pasta. Simple. *Smile*
Me: I can't have tomatoes.
Guy: You're kidding.
Me: no, I'm so sorry. No ketchup, tomatoes, or tomato sauce or BBQ sauce....its really acidic for my stomach.
Guy: Oh....well, Okay. Hmmm...well, who needs an entree when you can just have dessert?? Lets have some chocolate cake! I brought Fudge!
Me: I can't have chocolate. Another trigger for migraines.
Guy: OK I'm done. *Walks away*.
I'm going to be a lonely person until the end of time, at this rate.
Let me make this clear, right now. I do not want to be "that crazy food girl". But, I also want to make educated food choices. I want my body to be as healthy as it can be. But that is near impossible in this country today. As I read these health books, I learn more and more about how much *crap* goes into processed foods and it makes me want to eat nothing. But I have to eat something. So, I'm left with organic fruits and vegetables, and home made bread...if I really want to do it completely right.
I don't want to be the girl that people are afraid to be friends with or date because she has too many food stipulations. I don't want friends/romantic interests to be afraid to eat in front of me because they think I will look down on them for eating a cheeseburger. I have met many people like that and even as healthy as I do eat, I even feel inferior eating with them. Like they are criticizing my every bite in their head. I don't ever want to be "that girl". I want to be realistic and down to earth about it (no pun intended).
I have to be honest. In high school I ate Burger King at *least* two times a week and even McDonalds in there a couple times. I am not sure how I managed to finish childhood and high school without gaining 300 pounds, but I somehow did it. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have eaten like that. I would re-do it any day. I just simply wasn't educated about any of this then, and my only "allergy" then was peanuts (since birth).
My "no foods list" is primarily composed of allergies. Only one is anaphylactic. The rest produce undesirable symptoms (migraine or GI issues). The rest, (corn products, meat, sugar products) are the three new things I am trying to stay away from after watching "Food, Inc" and reading "Fast Food Nation"....
I think 95% of this country thinks of people like me like we are in some sort of delusional conspiracy. THey are so engrained into thinking there is nothing wrong with fast food, nothing wrong with foods at the supermarket, nothing wrong with foods that have "healthy" claims written on the box (lies), and think that people like me are just "over the top" crazy about it. I am in a nursing program. Most of my friends (not all) are nurses-to-be and lead healthy lives and exercise a lot. Even they would think most of my food choices are a little crazy.
But how far down the "healthy rabbit hole" am I willing to go? Putting aside the set list of allergies I have (that will not change), lets think about making "food no-no choices". Let's say you choose not to eat foods with corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup, or non-hydrogenated soybean oil, etc. Okay, well that cuts out 97% of your supermarket choices. Even in the products you thought were healthy. Okay, so then...you re feeling optimistic still. You still have fruit and vegetables and meat in the supermarket, right? And bread? Well, then you remember that the fruits and veggies you see in your supermarket have been trucked across the nation and are not grown seasonally. They have pesticides on them. They are grown on soil that was not given a chance to rest. They lost a lot of their nutrients. So then.....you decide to buy your fruits and veggies at the local farmers market. Ok, great. Meat, what to say about meat? Personally, chicken is a big part of whats left for me. I have no symptoms associated with eating chicken or steak (occasionally). However, after watching that video I am tempted to stop eating meat. But.....You can see I'm already far enough down on "what I can eat" to stop eating meat. However, I might try baby steps such as "Meatless Mondays" and go from there.
Then that takes care of food. But then...you realize there are horrible chemicals in the toothpaste you use. You have to go buy organic now. And special mouthwash. And then, you see that the cleaning chemicals you use are going to give you cancer and are bad for the earth so you decide you want to buy cleaning products that are made by the earth and are good for the earth and you.
You can see how it can easily get out of hand. You have to draw lines somewhere and make some educated decisions. But who knows whats really the right thing to do? I know people that are so far down the rabbit hole that they think driving cars is bad for your health, or touching plastic will kill you, or sleeping in a bed, or whatever. People like that can move to the middle of the jungle, if you ask me. I'm trying to never come across as that person. But its such a fine line and still draws a lot of negative attention from most of the "American" people. Americans are slowly starting to catch on, thanks to documentaries like "food Inc" and "fast food nation", but not catching on fast enough.
Side note: I wish there was a way to shut down the huge players in the fast food industry. I just wish. But that would probably start the next American Revolution. . . Also, in one of my "food" books I am reading ( I think its FFN) , one of the authors mentioned that the American/Western culture would never do that because the fast food culture is booming the economy. Sadly, thats where people are spending a lot of their money. The "food industry" would not make any money if people grew their own gardens or went to farmers markets...farmers would be making the money again....woah. Imagine that. Also, The Western healthcare system needs fast food. The health care system treats the major "American" diseases : Obesity, Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc... I am going to be a nurse. Hands down I would rather be paid less than watch us continue to take patients like this "because its booming the healthcare system".
It's one thing to make these choices for myself. I can hold my own. It doesnt bother me. It bothers other people more than it bothers me. But having children and getting married is going to be the tricky part. Moving out into my own place soon is going to be the best part of this...I can (hopefully) grow my own garden or buy from a farmers market, and I can COOK, with ingredients I buy. I have to learn how to actually cook, and fast. Really fast. Like, now. However, once I can meet a guy that can get past the initial disaster "picnic date" or awkward conversation we have on all this, and STILL wants to date me, and marry me, then its time to have kids. Let me say this now: I have no interest in changing the way my future boyfriend/husband eats. I am doing this for my own body. Of course, if he wanted help and wanted to make these choices, I would gladly assist. But I am sure as hell not going to be "that wife" that criticizes her husband when he eats Burger King or whatever. That would be a very short marriage.
But then the kids. I can't control my (future) husbands food choices. He is a fully grown adult that has a RIGHT to make whatever decisions he wants to make. But is it moral to control my children's? If I had complete say, I make these rules: No dairy, no high fructose corn syrup, no corn products, not too much meat, and no fast food (maybe like once a month *maybe!*). Is that so wrong? Is it unethical to keep your child away from food you know is bad? Thats good, right? If you start the child off with these dietary habits from birth, they won't even know the difference until they enter the school system. And I am sure as hell not going to keep my kids home from school just so I can control what they eat. Again, I dont want to be that person. But what happens when little Benny goes to eat at a friends house, and they are having McDonalds for dinner? And Benny likes it? And Benny gets mad at me when I say we are not having that in this household?
I don't want to be the "annoying mom on the block"...where other moms dont want to have my kid over because they don't know what to feed the kid. I don't want to have to panic when I send my kids to other houses. I want my kids to have friends. I dont want my kid to be the poor kid at the lunch table with the "weird organic food". It makes me sad. I suppose if I want to be realistic about it, the best thing I can do is feed my children "good" food when I am with them, and hope for the best when I am not (at school and at other houses, etc).
I wish there were "healthy food communities- neighborhoods" where realistic (future) mom's like me could live in with their kids (and husband of course!) where everyone made healthy choices like this. Where you could send kids to other houses to play with no problem. The whole neighborhood is dairy free. You could have block parties and not have to worry about whats in the food......just imagine. Maybe one day.
Ok this is really long. I have a little bit more to say, but also have to get to bed. Early Riser tomorrow morning, I am following a Nurse Supervisor as a school assignment for my leadership/management course and I am super excited!!! I'll let ya'll know If i learn any thing awesome.
Again, thank you so much for reading another long post. This is really getting to be a huge passion and focus of mine. Thanks for bearing with me....-
~A Writer in a Nurse's Body
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
1) The Unhealthy Truth: One Mother's Shocking Investigation into the Dangers of America's Food Supply-- and What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself
2) Free for All: Fixing School Food in America
3) Food, Inc.: Mendel to Monsanto--the Promises and Perils of the Biotech Harvest
4) Wonder of Probiotics: A 30-Day Plan to Boost Energy, Enhance Weight Loss, Heal GI Problems, Prevent Disease, and Slow Aging
5) On Call in Hell: A Doctor's Iraq War Story
6) Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
Shit. I have a lot of reading to do. On top of reading a boatload of information for like....my regular classwork. Oy.
PS- 1) Let me know if any of you have read any of these and what you thought of it.
2) Let me know if you know of any books similar to these that you think I would like.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Hey Guys, just watched "Food, Inc"...if you've never seen it then find a way to see it now! Its available on instant play on Netflix, and Itunes, or you can buy the film. Its an hour long. I took some notes and will probably discuss it tomorrow on this blog, or at least sometime this week...really eye opening. Check out the site! -WNB
So this past weekend at work during report from the day shift aides, upon walking by a certain room, I receive the knowledge of, "This one is from the (local psychiatric hospital). You have to be really careful with her, she is combative at times and even if she acts nice she will turn on you in an instant." And then the aide then proceeded to show me her scratch wounds on her arm.
I've received these warnings before during report and from nurses. So far, during the past five years of work, I have never been hurt by a patient.
These are my strategies:
- avoiding patients I know may hurt me
- asking for another person to come in the room with me when I have to go in or can't avoid room anymore
- "talking the patient down" when they get excited, violent, anxious, angry, etc.
- maintaining a calm atmosphere the whole time I am in room, without showing my anxiety/fear.
- explaining everything before you do anything to patient or touch patient in any way. And, introduce self and anyone with you when entering the room.
- And last but not least, using defensive strategies when physically threatened to protect myself but not hurt the patient at the same time. (This is hard).
It's hard to protect yourself, protect your patient, and maintain a facade of calmness and at the same time come across as someone that will not be pushed around and is here to help you.
So, I'm a wimp, may I add. And I don't like working with psychiatric patients in the first place. But, for now, and maybe later, it's my job. So, as said above, I do have a couple tactics that I learned in my psychiatric clinical/class and learned by personal experience.
So it came time in my shift that I could no longer avoid this patient, I had to go in to see her. I didn't know anything about her other than what I got in that very short report. So, I used all my tactics. I introduced myself, I used my calm voice, I told her I was here to take her vital signs and her blood sugar. She said that was fine. We chatted a little...mostly about Yale, Harvard, cows, water, pencils, cheese and her friend Jenny. I replied with lots of therapeutic responses...I agreed with everything she said and showed interest and treated her with respect. I'll add here that she was in her 60s. We said goodbye and that was that.
Then it came time, a couple hours later, for me or my coworker to go and give the aide a break that was sitting with her from the psychiatric hospital. Because I am not brave and did not want to sit with her for thirty minutes, I sent my coworker in, but I said I'd be in to check up on her multiple times. I stayed nearby the room, helping nearby patients, and I could hear the patient (Lets call her Jane- not real name) getting very upset, and loud. I went in to help my coworker and as soon as Jane saw me she said, "Oh, good. You're here, I trust her! (me)." So I used my calm voice and I asked her what the problem was. She said my coworker was working with Satan and needed to leave. Me and coworker determined she needed to be changed (her bed was soiled), so I calmly told her we would be changing her. At the same time, I kept her focused on me and not on my coworker, and held eye contact and conversation. After we were done, my coworker said it was best if I stay in with her for the remainder of the break, and she would do some extra work on the rest of the floor. Well from then until 20 minutes later, It felt like 20 hours later.
This is where the art, blessing and curse of transference comes into play. As psychology terms go, transference is when your patient views you as someone they already know, unconsciously or consciously. If you act like their mother, they will unconsciously treat you like their mother. If you act like the sister they have hated their whole life, they will subject those feelings of hate onto you. So you can see how it can work for you both ways. Well, my situation is a little different. Due to the fact that I can not find any actual term for this phenomenon, I will call it "Dementia Transference" or "Schizophrenic Transference". Schizophrenics (Like Jane) make things up in their mind, they have delusions, hallucinations, people talk to them in their head.. Before their illness, it is common for them to have been very intelligent people. In their mind, what they say goes. They tend to be very paranoid of "outsiders" and are convinced of whatever the "voices" want them to believe. Sometimes these voices are good, but most times they are harmful and detrimental. They tell the patient to hurt other people or hurt themselves, etc. So I name it "schizophrenic transference" because I found out very soon into the conversation that Jane thought I was her daughter, "Lauren".
At first I played along. I really just wanted to get out of there unscathed, so I just talked to her, I nodded and smiled, answered questions. I tried to dig a little deeper to find out more about the "role I was playing". I found out that she thought I was Lauren because we shared common traits (brown hair and "crooked glasses" (as she put it-lol) and she thought I was pregnant, as Lauren must have been. [I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat, I guess] ). I found it interesting stepping into this person's life…or past life, I guess, and taking a look around. I see it like walking right into a person's mind, but walking in blind. You can see what is around you, what you are learning but not whats coming. That's where this starts to get tricky. Its all good and well pretending to be someone if it helps your patient, but what about when that relationship, the relationship between Jane and Lauren, and "me", goes bad?
I could tell she had mood swings, I knew that much. I knew she was starting to get agitated. Her IV was starting to hurt her, and I don't blame her for getting upset about this because it was bleeding and did look painful but at the time being, there was nothing I could do about it as an aide other than talk her out of pulling it out. She kept reaching for it, telling me that "mommy knows whats best" and "let mommy do what she wants". I tried to recover the situation- I carefully grasped her hands so she could not pull the IV- And played it off as if we were holding hands and tried to get her hooked on another trail of conversation. That worked for about ten seconds before she was back to IV. I tried the usuals, "Its helping you get better, It needs to stay in." or "I'll have your nurse come in and look at it". Then she started crying and told me "Remember when you were little, and you cried and you wanted something? I always gave It to you. Now give your mommy what she wants." . I didn't know what to say, except for "I can't let you touch your medicine." And surprisingly, she gave up after that. Another example: Jane- "remember when I taught you latin when you were three? You knew Latin when you were three." Me- *nods* Jane: what does "somethinginlatin" mean?" me: I don't know. I forget. Jane: YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO KNOW LATIN, THAT'S WHY I TAUGHT YOU!"
Then a "third" person came into the room, a person that I could not see, but she could, in her mind. I knew the situation in her mind was escalating when she wanted me to show this person my ID in order for me to remain "acceptable" to stay in the room. I guess I was granted acceptance by this mystery person. We then proceeded to stare at the clock that she thought to be a camera. We "took pictures". She told this third person about "me" [Lauren] and I could tell that this person was one of her voices that was telling her to do things.
Luckily, my time was up and the 1:1 attendant came back.
This isn't the first time I have encountered a situation where my patient thought I was someone else, usually a granddaughter or daughter of theirs. I've heard many of times that it is morally unethical to "play along" as a professional healthcare member, and that it is our job to "reorient them" and tell them I am their nurse aide and you are in SuchandSuch Hospital. But I've seen a lot of people get upset when we try to reorient them. It is a very thin line to walk on, and the line is made of ice that you can easily fall through at any moment. Letting transference happen can get you many places- you can learn a lot about your patient. Its like taking a ride on a flashback memory train of the patient's, and you are a fly on the wall watching their memory unfold and then suddenly you are called upon for information that only "Lauren" would actually know, not me. Then the patient gets mad and you are SOL either way.
So that's my experience with transference, schizophrenics and psychiatric illnesses. Yes, I did do a good job with her (besides the questionable transference), but I did not like being in there one bit. That's what I don't understand. How can I hate the thought of psychiatric nursing so very much and yet be so good at it? I guess that's another different blog. So anyway, I am back on the blogging machine! Lol. I (hopefully!) passed my test, and tomorrow begins my 10 day spring break and I will be a blogging monster, for I have many posts written down that I want to share. So keep checking back! Thank you for reading another long (and hopefully not boring) post!
As always, with immense amounts of love,
~A Writer in a Nurse's Body
PS- I feel sorry for whoever "Lauren" is out there. Her childhood was probably less than pleasant.