"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?"

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Life in the Crazy Lane

Wow look at how fast time goes by… I cannot believe it’s been nearly over 3 months since I last blogged. Inexcusable! I have that daunting personality that once I start procrastinating, it just gets worse and worse… But anyway, so much has happened! This post has potential to be one of those “get your popcorn out” posts; except for the fact that I should try and tell you everything I have to say in multiple posts so you don’t get all WNBOverload with all this in one post. But getting me back in decent fashion and time to this computer might take a while, so I might as well just dish it all out now! I keep saying I’m going to work on that and then I never do. Sigh.

One of my best friends recently started his own blog and I think that’s inspired me to get back on here and update ya’ll. When he feels comfortable with sharing it with the world, I'll publish the link here, because although it has nothing to do with nursing- he's a great writer and has a strong political voice.  I truly do love my blog, it’s been a part of my voice since 2009 (4 years!!!) and I cherish it. I aim to make it a bigger part of my life upcoming, like it used to be. 

Anyway, my new house is amazing. It’s shaping me into the person I want to become just as fast as I’m shaping it into the house I want it to be. There have not been any catastrophes (knock on wood) and the repair process has been fun, and a huge learning experience. I never thought I’d be the type of girl to watch HGTV in my spare time….yet the inside of the house has undergone minor (but very noticeable) improvements and I love it. The outside, however, has yet to undergo a lot of work. The Inside has all been repainted, all of my furniture is finally in, and a lot of my decorations are up. I can’t believe I finally get to decorate my own house. It’s truly surreal. I’m still getting over the fact that in my apartment, my bedroom, studio and office were all in one room. Now I have a separate room for each of those. I LOVE my studio, I’ve been painting so much- and I plan to soon start painting the walls and make a giant mural.
 It saddens me to think that whatever changes I make to the house, although it technically belongs to me, do affect the resell value. I know it’s mine now, but it’s hard to think about a new owner someday living under this same roof after me. I mean this is my first true home. I still drive past my original first home from when I was a child, my parent’s first official house, and to me it still feels funny knowing that new owners are living under the walls I made so many memories in- and we moved over 10 years ago! 

But anyway, like I said-the outside still needs a lot of work. I still think back to when I first saw the listing for the house and saw the outdoor picture and I thought, “I’m not buying that house.” There I am, a Gemini eternally known for judging a book by its cover…Then I walked inside and saw beautiful hardwood floors, brand new windows and kitchen cabinets, and my bookshelf! Inside the hallway wall is a built in bookshelf that pretty much was a big factor in how much I wanted the house. It was pretty much love at first sight. 
Some of my bookshelf on the left with my CRAZY cat

I aspire to power wash the entire outside of the house, for starters. Then I hope to have the siding painted, hopefully getting new window shutters at the same time. That alone will be a remarkable improvement. Next I want to change a lot of the landscaping to complement the house. There are currently these awful bushes out in the front that look like they haven’t been attended to in over 10 years and they are pushing up against the siding of the house (no bueno). And that’s another thing, GARDENING. Holy crap. Growing up, like even into my highschool/college years, I *hated* gardening. Mostly because I hate weeds. And bugs. And mulch. And flowers.  Let me make this clear, I hated weeding more than vacuuming, and I loathe vacuuming. If my parents drug me out to weed the garden I wondered what I could have possibly done to deserve such eternal punishment, and I’m pretty sure my parents have only asked me to weed maybe once or twice. That’s how much I hated gardening.

But something changes I guess when you move into your own house. Like, truly your own. I don’t know what clicked inside me but suddenly I saw an entire yard before me, completely mine and completely in need of some attention and all of the sudden I had hopes and dreams of making the entire backyard a recreation of the “secret garden”. I wanted to race out to Home Depot and buy bags and bags of mulch, lots of mulch! And Flowers! So many flowers! And SEEDS! Seeeeeeds! I had to contain myself. I could hardly believe it. Once I planted one bed, I was hooked. It was mine and I did it. I made something look pretty.  My current outside project is making a pathway in my backyard. It was originally a very muddy area, so I decided to make a pathway with some stepping stones and some flowers. Still a work in progress, but I was amazed at myself for getting out there all by myself with a shovel and doing manual labor. Bought the stones, dug up the dirt, planted the sand, etc.
my pathway, the beginning stages...
 Now I find myself constantly gravitating towards the “Outdoors” sections of home improvement stores, originally a section I never frequented. What’s happening to me?! I like digging! I like garden tools! I like recreating! And flowers! I like them! Woah. Change, folks, change. I also want to completely redo my outside patio but that may have to wait till funds can support it, till perhaps Summer of 2014 or 2015. We shall see, save and hope :)

Let’s see, what else is new…I’m also cooking! It’s still a struggle, being that I am limited on my food choices with my never-ending list of things I can’t eat. However I’m slowly working in the knowledge of how to cook and try new things. I finally learned how to actually cook raw chicken (don’t make fun of me I know it’s easy), and learned to cook some Zucchini and squash. I find myself experimenting a lot- and it always turns out yummy.  Now I just need to start expanding. My goal is to one day not rely on what I can put in the microwave but what I can cook fresh. The thought of eating vegetables straight from a garden is alluring but not the thought of actually tending to my own garden…Maybe in retirement. I used to have someone very close to me, his family had a full sized garden with lots of vegetables and it was practically a full time job.  So it’s a work in progress, expanding. I like squash and zucchini and it’s easy. I like salads. But then I go to the grocery store and try to look for new ideas and it either looks really icky or I don’t know how to make it or my boyfriend won’t eat it. Sigh. I used to hate vegetables too, but I think the key here in this new change in taste is the whole theory of if you make it by hand; you’ll be more inclined to appreciate it and eat it. They say in order to entice children to eat vegetables, have them help you make them and if they feel a part of it, they will want to eat the reward for making it. I guess I'm relating myself to a child here....hm.


What else, what else… I got a kitten!!!! Holy crap, yes. Yet ANOTHER change in my life I never saw coming. I have never had a pet growing up, other than a fish. My dad was always allergic and my parents didn’t want the pet responsibility in general. So I never really expected to have a pet as an adult. Of course I had those rebelling fantasies like, “Once I move out of this house I’m getting a puppy since my parents won’t let me have one!” but the actual thought of raising a dog seems rather daunting when it’s actually a possibility. When my boyfriend started living with me, he was asking from day one that I should think about getting a puppy or a cat. I wasn’t too keen on the idea, for reasons already stated. But one day, my boyfriend was working very late at work. It was about 11:30 at night and I was walking around my house and it was just eerily too quiet, and very lonely. I wanted another little soul to be with me, to keep me company, follow me around when my boyfriend wasn’t there. Something to talk to, to love and cuddle with. And that was it, my mind was made up and about two weeks later we bought a 2 month old kitten home, her name is Belle and she’s remarkable. I never thought a pet would be able to make me laugh (out loud!) every single day. Sure she’s a lot of work, at times, but it’s so worth it. Times like when she’s done playing with her toy mouse or scouting my window and she comes to cuddle with me on the couch, falls asleep on my stomach. Or when she plays hide and seek with me and literally has me doubled over laughing because she’s so cute. Of course she also likes to nibble on our toes at night and wakes us up at 7am so she can be fed, it’s still so worth it. Being that I never had a pet and am not used to it, and have never had a child of my own, it’s fascinating to me to be able to hold a living creature in my arms- a living, breathing creature in my arms that although not human, is a part of God’s creation and she looks up into my eyes and trusts me, she sees my home as her home. It’s truly remarkable and very hard to describe.  I hope she’s a part of my life and my children’s life for a very long time to come.
She loves to hide
the vet said she's weird because she likes her belly rubbed...

She thinks shes the queen of England.

the day she got home, when she was a weeee bitty kitten!

taken tonight, she loves me, 80% of the time

Sitting on "her" window

she sleeps a LOT
Okay new topic, nursing! 

The nursing world has also been incredible, packed tight with lots of new changes! (I told you this was going to be a popcorn-post!). Let’s see, since I last updated, approximately four brand new responsibilities have come upon me. For those that don’t regularly follow my blog, I recently switched hospitals in my network so that I could have the opportunity to work in a brand new hospital and a brand new cardiac unit.  For starters, seeing myself grow from someone who sat for the first time in a telemetry course this past October to someone who is now counseling others on deciphering EKG rhythms, it feels incredible. This coming August will mark my second complete year as an employed RN, and I can notice so many changes in myself and my critical thinking thought process. Recently, my hospital has hired a lot of new nurses to my unit. Some new grads, some new to hospital nursing but not new nurses, and some just transfers from other hospital units in the network. Being that we hired so many new graduates, our management crew needed a couple more interim preceptors. One night on shift I got the call that I would be precepting a new grad for the remainding 8 hours of my shift. Although I had never done that before, I was really excited. I never really considered myself a teacher type- mainly because of a lack of confidence in myself and knowledge- but suddenly I found myself wanting to teach her everything I knew. I had to exercise the art of restraint in order to not overwhelm her. Now being surrounded by so many new grads on shift at once on the unit, I can truly see the difference in expertise. I remember being exactly in their shoes, just a short time ago. Elementary questions, concrete problems. It’s interesting to see them come to me with a problem they are so worried about with their patient, something I remember being equally so stressed about in their stages, only to now be able to coach them into making the right decisions now and to educate the severity of their concerns.


 A couple of weeks after my precepting experience, the unit assigned me to be in charge of the unit for the shift that night. I was taken aback; to me it felt like I had just transferred to the hospital- there was no way I could possibly be in charge of the unit. The duties include taking a lighter assignment of patients and then overseeing the entire floor, usually about 4-7 other nurses and anywhere between 20-36 patients, give or take a few. The charge nurses assigns admissions to nurses, is there to help any nurse with any problem or seek the next appropriate level of help, and is there to smooth things over with any unhappy employee, patient or family member on the unit. The charge nurse in general helps out wherever needed over the entire course of the floor and throughout the shift, constantly checking to make sure none of her nurses are overwhelmed or drowning. The charge nurse also attends and takes a leadership role in any emergency on her unit or throughout the hospital. It’s a pretty big responsibility, and I felt surprised and honored that they would ask me to take that role. My first time as charge, everyone survived- employees and patients  and myself, and a couple weeks later I was then charge again two nights in a row. Maybe it will become a lot more common, maybe not. Maybe I want it to, maybe I don’t. But regardless, I consider it an honor and a huge step forward in my career process.


Aside from work but also in the nursing field, I recently have been hired to work as a substitute school nurse in the same district I grew up in. This is a plus, since I know the district very well, they know me, and my mother works there. It’s well paid and could perhaps serve as a gateway for a job opportunity down the line if I want to work school hours (M-F 8-3, summers off!), especially once my own kids (not on this earth yet) reach school age. Something to think about…I haven’t started subbing yet but have shadowed the school nurse in both the elementary and middle school. It’s unreal facing the new challenges working as a school nurse will present. Suddenly you’re acting on your, and only your own accord- making decisions without a fellow team of nurses and doctors in the same building as you. Sure, I can give someone IV cardiac drips and do lifesaving hospital workups but the thought of splinting a childs fractured finger? Yikes! I’m a hypochondriac; you know that if you have been reading this blog. Not only am I a hypochondriac in myself, but it extends to those around me. I worry a lot. If I’m working as a school nurse and a child comes in with complaints of a headache, I’m of course going to be worried they could have meningitis! But of course I had these extreme anxiety-stemmed fears when I first started as an RN in the hospital and the fears eventually dissipated into realistic fears. So I’m sure you’ll see some posts in relation to my new adventures of a school nurse soon! I get to go on a class trip with the kids in late may :)

Also in the nursing field but completely on the other side of the field, I also recently have been hired to work as what I call a “Geri-sitter”, it’s like a “babysitter” but for geriatric population. I have a friend from my childhood whose mom is now in need of some additional household overseeing, and I’ve been highly recommended as a good choice to come sit with her. It’s been a very interesting journey so far and this journey will continue until mid-June. It’s fascinating to me, because patients I only see patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s as my patients in the hospital. Sometimes I wonder what their daily life is like, how they are at home. I realize that when these patients are placed in the hospital without their family or familiar surroundings, their dementia worsens- they become more forgetful, scared and act out more in a defensive manner. And I wonder, are they OK at home? How can the family take care of patients like this? But here, having the opportunity to witness and observe this woman with early onset dementia in her own home, it’s fascinating. Yes she is forgetful and asks a lot of the same questions, but she moves about the house comfortably. She doesn’t enter harm’s way, or harm anything. She’s comfortable here. It’s very interesting and I’ll probably be learning a lot more about the dementia phenomenon in the months to come…


Anyway, I think that’s about all I have to update you with on my life. Sorry it’s such a long post. It just truly blows my mind to see how much my life has changed.  In May last year this was my life:

MAY 2012:

Living: With a roommate in my first apartment

Working: RN on a surgical/oncology unit, no change foreseeable in the future.

Dating: Single, and looking L

Hobbies: Photography, drawing, painting

MAY 2013:

Living: In my first HOUSE that I OWN! Well, the bank owns- but I have a mortgage!

Working: On a brand new telemetry unit in a brand new hospital- lots of change foreseeable in the future, new opportunities. Also working as a substitute school nurse and “geri-sitter”.

Dating: The most wonderful, kind, caring, thoughtful, forgiving and romantic young man I could ask for, and were going on 8 months J

Hobbies: Photography, drawing, painting, gardening, home improvement, cleaning

And I have a kitten!!!

So that’s my update. Hopefully I’ll find something new to update you all on soon! Thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far! Thank you!










Unknown said...

Good read, Julie! I can't wait to see the new house and that kitten is adorable!

Anonymous said...

Glad to see how well things are going for you!