"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 24, 2011

Most Random Collection of Updates EVER

Hi! I'm alive! I made it through the rough waters.....right now, I'm still out at sea. I'm still swimming my little heart away. In fact, I can barely just see the shore. I can see it...but its so far away that I know no matter how hard I swim, its going to be a long time before I get there. But, in terms of this analogy, the storm in the sea is over. For now.

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

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