Sooo our wedding was last month, and it was amazing. I can't believe that I could love this person more everyday. I still get all choked up when i look at the pictures. it was really special. I'm also relieved its over so we can move on to the next phase of our lives, we really spent the good part of a year planning the event, and i'm ready to be a person with hobbies again! but gosh it was so great. one of my favorite parts was our first dance to Bruce Springsteen's Jersey Girl. and let me tell you it was every bit a middle school dance spectacle with the two of us with hardly any dance skills, but just holding each other giggling, and feeling euphoric. it was just beyond words. pix here:
so Jamie and I had planned a fourday weekend off together a few months ago, the original plan was that we were going to visit asheville, NC. Then we decided we were far too exhausted by even the idea of driving 11 hours both way, so we went to the ole standby vacation spot of the catskills.
we took our dog. we stayed in a hotel. we reconnected. and we hiked around the beautiful lake minnewaska. it was really great. i finished reading a novel i'd been plugging away at for ummmm about a year. it was amazing to just be around so much GREEN. to walk through sticks and underbrush, to stand on mounds of moss. to lie beneath pine trees and just breath in the fresh mountain air. i cried a little on the drive home, well, while reading the end of my book, it was moving, but the whole trip was just a bit cathartic. it was thunderstorming and i felt sad to just watch the scenery change from enchanted forest to billboards then just concrete landscape. what an empty mess. i'm still just wondering what it will take to make this leap that i've desired for so long.
the other night i dreamt of myself as a pre-teen, wandering through the woods behind my family's farmhouse, sitting on familiar fallen trees, tracking hunter's pathways through our property. just this real everyday connection i had with the natural world. i miss that.
sooo, i guess i've become a bit of a job consumed person as of late. its funny, one of the most repeated tips that the senior nurses offer me while on the floor is to always ask for help if your workload becomes too much to bear, before you "feel like you're drowning." There is actually so much reference to drowning, and i think its quite an accurate, and shocking metaphor for the work that nurses do on this really fast paced floor. i mean, i've never had a job where the work was likened to such a severe panic as losing your life.
as a newbie, i often feel like i'm about to drown, like i have a little raft but its leaking air. There is an expectation to move rapidly through patient's rooms, which has taken a lot of the satisfaction that i could have from actually getting to know my patients, talking to their families, forming a relationship with them and employing a more holistic approach to their health. Thats just not possible with the amount of tasks that need to get done in any given hour. I feel like i'm storming into people's rooms, performing any number of procedures to them that are invasive, try to keep a smile on my face and a pleasant demeanor to relieve the anxiety or terror of the child and worried parents, and exit the room as quickly as i came in. its fucking hard. every time i have to help hold a small child down to get an iv placed, or get catheterized, the terror in their eyes it just breaks my heart. and not having the opportunity to sit with them or help comfort the family through a really rough hospitalization feels wrong to me. there's really nothing pleasant about them being in the hospital, and its hard to be a part of this scenario that will most likely be remembered as a really hard (if not outright traumatic) period of their life.
so there is this sort of numbing that happens to healthcare workers, to just cope, i see it happening in me too, and i'm grieving it. i have to detach myself enough to pick up and move to the next thing. and quickly. I think one thing i'm trying to learn is how it seems that most the other nurses came to this work because they "wanted to work with kids," which i admire, but i'm not sure how they are gleaning satisfaction from it, or where they are finding the positive connection. I'm wondering if I just have a more cynical view of "the power of" western medicine and healing that makes it hard for me to feel good about the whole slew of invasive procedures and inherent depersonalization within the great big beast of the hospital machine. In the bigger picture, its hard for me to feel that what i'm doing is helping them get better, since the results are not pleasant, immediate or apparant. I guess part of that is that a lot of the kids on our floor actually don't get better, they are chronically ill, alot of them stay for months on end in the hospital. So the medical care you provide just feels really disruptive to their lives as children, but on the other hand, that care is necessary for them to live, so its complicated. Well, so i see what i do as part of this form of care for chronically and acutely ill kids, but maybe i'm just meant to be a different type of healer. I know the "grass is always greener" but i'm just yearning for a more gentle and intimate setting to work with people. I fantasize that if i was a midwife, it wouldn't be like this, i can spend however long getting to know my clients, offering resources, support and guidance and all that warm fuzzy stuff that i'm really missing right now. I don't know. I'm at least going to stick it out for a year or so. The job market sucks. I'm feeling a little defeated and wondering how to cope. Today i feel like quitting and becoming a barista.
so, this is my first week working night shift and it is just wreaking havoc on my body and mind. and spirit. and nerves. yikes!
i guess i'm to expect myself to so quickly adjust to working two weeks of 7a-7p then 2 weeks of 7p-7a. This will be my life. Tonight i'm off, but am home forcing myself to stay awake until 7am at least, then i'll sleep until late afternoon, wake up feeling confused, jittery and exhausted, then do the same thing tmrw night.
i'm trying to do things like, clean the bathroom, to keep myself awake, but i think i keep waking up Jamie (poor thing) who is a regular human being who has to get up in the morning for work.
i wish the supermarket was open at least so i could take care of life errands during the night. nothings open, nobody is up to talk to, its strange and lonely, this overnight business.
its funny b/c i think of both of my parents. my mom worked an overnight shift at a publishing company when i was young. my dad is a truck driver and delivers bread to schools and grocery stores and starts at like 2am. So its funny to feel so sorry for myself then realize that both my parents work(ed) nights. I think the thing that feels chaotic to me is this whole shifting back and forth from days to nights. I am a creature of habit, and sleep happens to be my most favorite habit. Oh well.
This whole orientation process seems to be a series of lessons in adaptability and humility. I am so overwhelmed, constantly asking questions, making mistakes, feeling perplexed, and having small victories that i quickly forget. I came home today and just had a big cry fest over it all. I can't wait to come out the other end of this transition. its consumed all of my energies. can i go to bed yet?
so today was my second day shadowing a nurse on the floor. She had a CRAZY day (both days) although she had *only* 3 patients (most adult med/surg floors you would have 5-6) the patients have complex needs. omg. kids glucose levels rapidly dropping while another kid is needing a med that hasn't been ordered by the doc, threw up her nasogastric tube, and it just went on and on. Plus one of the kids moms yelled at my nurse, and she burst into tears while preparing meds in the med room. I felt so bad and overwhelmed. I mean, i know there will be days like that, but i still don't know how to even work all the pumps, and many of these kids have lines running out of most major organs. SHIT! oh, and speaking of shit. there IS a lot of it. that is not a myth. I think its funny (or insulting) that the perception that the general public has about what "nurses do" is just constantly cleaning up poo or vomit, giving sexy sponge-baths to middle aged men, or being mere handmaidens to patriarchal doctors. oh please, dont even get me started! The work requires complex technical skills, medical knowledge, and mad interpersonal skills. Anyhoo, that said, there is a lot of shit and vomit on this floor. It is a GI floor, so you have to test many of the kids poo for blood (and weigh it, and describe its appearance in detail in the chart) and kids barf, alot. but oh well. Super STinky. i guess i'll just get used to that part of it, and it will make me less quesy. I wanted to work on a medical floor!
Also, they gave me a 2-way pager, so i get pages all day (like "you have a call-parked on 24567" like what the hell does that mean? what? who? where?) that I still don't really know how to answer to respond to. Long story short, its a pretty fast paced environment and its really just hit the ground running. I swear there are like 20 nurses that work on the floor too. I can't even begin to remember who i've met, what their names are, and all that. Geez!
From here on out, i work 3 12 hour shifts a week (7a-7p). I am tired! I can't wait to get paid! I feel dirty like i need a shower! wish me luck
its funny how i slept until 7am this morning and that feels like "sleeping in." Well i've been getting up at 5am most of this week to be at the hospital by 7. So sheessh! schedule change is rough.
but now i'm eating one of my most favorite simple meals: toasted sunflower mastermacher bread (yknow, the kind that comes in a small square loaf, looks all weird with the 1970's labelling) but it is SOOOO GOOOD. it tastes a little bit sour, like sourdough, but is super dense, nutty and slightly chewy. its really something special when you toast it and smear earth balance margarine and nutritional yeast across the top. DEEELISH> yknow its really the simple things people. my saturday just got better. And i'm feeling a lot better, on the mood tip, since i've been back on a regular life schedule.
I just finished my first week on the job. Well, we have 2 full weeks of orientation, so most of the time was spent watching presentations, reading policies, and filling out paperwork. Its been a bit mind numbing. but the floor is awesome, the hospital is incredible. there is beautiful artwork, mobiles, mosaics everywhere. there is a family education center where families can go, get free tea coffee, use computers/fax machines, find books/resources about medical conditions, and they even have private rooms with beds where family members can spend the night. Its like the disneyworld/hilton hotel of children's hospitals. And it is SOOOO clean. i cant even tell you. its like you could eat a meal off the bathroom floor. Everywhere. Having done my clinical rotations at like, 4 other Philly hospitals, this place looks like heaven. really awesome. I'll be excited to actually start being a nurse. next week i have a couple of shadow days, then the following week i start taking my own patients, and I have a precepter who will spend every moment with me, teaching me, making sure i dont eff up. which is really great and reassuring. I'm super nervous. Working with sick kids is a huge responsibility, and i don't want to make any errors. So, thats my scoop on the job tip. Studying for my nursing boards (NCLEX) which i take Feb. 9th. Not really making much progress on that front... Also h elping to plan a baby shower for my sister Jess (who is due in April!) we are very excited. If anyone has any recommendations for where to make a registry (besides babiesrus) that has more eco friendly stuff, let me know~!