Updates and musings from one momma nurse


Blog Archive

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Oh, I know!

Upon hearing that we were out of cereal one morning, Sweet Pea proclaimed, "Oh! I know! Stir stir stir!" and pointed to the pancake mix.

When looking unsuccessfully for something, she'll say, "Ummm, nope!" with each place she looks.

As we drive past houses with lights up, I hear an excited, "Oh! Oh! Ah ah more merry Christmas lights!" as she points to each and every display (no matter how small).

She randomly inserts specific parts of Little Einstein episodes into conversation. "Baby chimp ah down down down down, waterfall!" as she wiggles her fingers like the chimp does.

When she's picking up her toys, she sings, "Keen up, keen up, keen up, keen up, body keen up.." I can't stand that purple dinosaur, but her version of the song is pretty darn cute.

We've had a grand total of maybe two inches of snow so far this winter, but she's enjoyed it. We got out the snowpants from last winter (which fit perfectly this year, yay) and went outside to "dig in the snow". Throwing snowballs was her favorite, I think.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


We did more tree decorating tonight. We finished putting up the garland, then we got out some ornaments (mostly R's from his childhood, and a good handful that Sweet Pea has somehow accumulated.. I have misplaced the box of my old ornaments).

It was nothing fancy, but just sitting by the tree hanging those ornaments, seeing Sweet Pea's excitement at all the new things as she touched them (mostly) with one finger (new rule ala MckMama), hearing some of the stories behind my husband's ornaments.. It warmed my heart.

Maybe in future years, we'll make it more of a defined tradition, by playing Christmas music or drinking sparkling grape juice or something, but for this year, it was enough.

There is something special about breaking from your past (no matter how wonderful) and establishing your own new present. Tonight I felt FAMILY.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November gone already?

Busy busy month; time for more bullet points:

-Sweet Pea pointed to the tv during a random commercial (maybe even about the health care reform) and said "I want that!"

-1st time doing post-mortem care on a patient, almost had another opportunity to do so

-applying knowledge from psych (current clinical) to my job

-traveled for Thanksgiving, Sweet Pea thoroughly enjoyed herself there. She spent much of her time wrestling with her cousins (11 and 7 year old boys) and "playing" the Wii with them (she had her own steering wheel that was not hooked up to anything). She also loved the quality time with her grandparents, who she doesn't see as often as we'd all like.

-put up the "Merry Christmas tree" (Sweet Pea's label), added some garland. Will gather the ornaments and hang those up eventually. The tree is a little Charlie Brown-ish, but is sufficient for now.

..There's probably more I meant to write about, but I'll have to save that for another time.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Study Buddy

Attempting to motivate myself to study on a more regular basis, I now get out my notes to review them even while Sweet Pea is still awake.

The other day she "helped me study".. She climbed up on the couch next to me and I gave her her own piece of paper and a highlighter. I highlighted my notes and she highlighted hers. Worked fairly well! Kept her occupied for a while anyway, and she's generally a fan of "helping".

Sorry for the lack of regular updates. School and work is certainly keeping me busy!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


There was a clinic at my university this week, and I was able to get the H1N1 vaccine for Sweet Pea and myself (from one of my classmates, no less). Both of us had already gotten the seasonal flu vac a month or two ago.
I didn't warn Sweet Pea ahead of time because 1) I didn't know if they'd run out, so didn't want to work her up for nothing, and 2) she freaks out at the sight of medical personnel anyway..

She started crying as soon as we walked in the door, and I had to hold HER arms down to get MY shot, so she wouldn't slug my poor classmate.

After getting her shot, she was ticked, of course, but thankfully she calmed down pretty quickly. ("Sweet Pea, do you want a sucker?" "*Big sniffle* ..yeaaaah *sniff*")

She and I have compared "stickers" (bandaids) many times since then. She likes that we both have the same one, and likes to feel mine and hers, but heaven help you if you even mention touching her sticker!

Another random development is that she is FINALLY letting me put pigtails in her hair! It is a battle I had given up on for a while, and it took a lot of sweet-talking, distraction, and mirrors, but she now asks for "tangles" most mornings.

How could you ever say no to this face?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Parking Spots

Sweet Pea and I went grocery shopping the other day.

We waited several minutes to park, as the driver in front of us slooowwwwly pulled halfway into a spot, backed partially out, pulled back in, backed out again, etc.

Once we had finally taken the open spot two spots away, I looked a little more closely.

Our friend, a gentleman pushing 60, was parked in the "Reserved for Expectant Mothers" spot. Would it have been rude to congratulate him and ask when he was due?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Here and there

Poor baby threw up a couple weeks ago. I took a half day and stayed home with her to keep an eye on her. She seemed to recover quickly, but when I gave her some Pedialyte to drink, she took a few sips then handed it back to me, saying, "Sweet Pea no yike(like) it."

Patient tossed her cookies at me. No, literally, she picked up the cookie from her dinner tray and threw it toward the door while calling me and the nurse liars and cheats. Dementia is fun for everyone..

Clinical is going well. Instructor told me on our second day that my charting was excellent, I'm efficient, and wanted me to take two patients right away (rather than one). That clinical ends next week, and then it is on to Psychiatric Nursing. Should be fun. ;)

I am learning tons, from each patient I have. I am developing more of my nursing confidence and personality. I'm getting better (though still not a pro) at assessing. I love looking up meds and figuring out why a patient is on them and how they might interact. I love chatting with patients and getting more of a total picture on them. I love being able to do a little education, whether it is on how a med works, or an aspect of self-care, or nutrition, or even lifestyle changes.

Even when I head into work on the weekends, I find myself applying what I've learned during the week. I wish I could sit down and do a more complete assessment on some of my patients, because I see needs and just want to be able to meet them..

My first degree was in Education (Special, then Elementary, then Junior High), and while that wasn't quite the right fit for me, I can see what drew me to it. I do enjoy connecting with people, teaching them, giving them tools to be healthier/happier. The difference maker for me seems to be "class size", so to speak. I do fabulously individually and in small groups (<10), but stick me in front of 30 kids and I panic.

I just got my schedule for next semester, and it is looking good. Critical care and community nursing, plus a research class with a prof who is brilliant, has high expectations, and teaches well. Can't think of anyone better to teach it.

Sweet Pea is forever asserting her independence and testing her boundaries. She almost always wants to climb up into the car/carseat by herself, no help, rather than having me put her in. At bedtime, she likes to pull up her little rocking chair (handed down through my family from over 100 years ago) next to my glider and hold my hand as we rock, rather than sitting on my lap the whole time like she used to. She tries almost everything first on her own before asking for help if needed. She is a car-radio dictator, protesting loudly if she does not like whatever song is playing, but declaring her approval if she does. It has now become necessary to channel some of her toddler bursts of emotion.. The word "MINE!" has entered her vocabulary. She is learning to say something like "I'm playing with that right now" instead.

Though we've weaned (as of her 2nd birthday), Sweet Pea sometimes still asks to nurse. The other night as we rocked side by side, she pointed and said, "Mommy boops?" Yes, those are Mommy's boops. "Sweet Pea eat Mommy's boops?" No, no you are not going to eat my boops. Thank you for asking.

She's starting to understand if.. then.. statements. One morning she refused to put on her jacket on our way out the door, but when I explained that it was cold outside and we could only go to Grandma's if she put her jacket on, she said "ok" and calmly walked over.

I know they call these the Terrible Twos, and we have moments where I want to pull my hair out, but overall I am loving this stage (as I have enjoyed each stage so far).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 15

is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

I think more people have been affected by a loss than most of us realize.

Know someone who is going through a loss and don't know what to say?

Don't say:

-You can have another. (I don't want another. I wanted that one.)

-It was God's will.

-There was probably something wrong with the baby.

-nothing. (Loss is isolating. Thinking no one else remembers/cares is an awful feeling.)

Do say:

-I'm sorry.

-I'm here for you. (Hugs, someone to talk it out with, and a shoulder to cry on go a long way.)

-How are you doing today? (And listen to the answer.)

Every person grieves differently. What helped me most was writing out my thoughts in a journal, having a tangible object (for me, a Willow Tree figurine) to hold/touch as a physical reminder, and talking about it.

I have more to say about nursing school and a sick toddler and work, but today those take a back burner.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A couple more stories

1. This morning as I was getting her dressed, she was requesting songs. She'd say "A C O song?" and we would sing the alphabet.. she'd say "1 2 Jesus song?" and we'd sing the 1-2-3 Jesus Loves Me song. Then she grins and says "Doo dah song?" I cannot recall any song she calls that, so I question her.. "What is the doo dah song?" She cracks up. She asks again. I say "I don't know a doo dah song." She cracks up again. Did my kid just tell a joke?

2. This weekend we did some shopping. As we are walking out of the mall through the department store, we pass a lingerie display. She points to a large picture and says "Boop!" Yes, that is a boop. Then she looks at me, leans back, and points to my chest with both hands. "Boops! Same!"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sweet Pea-isms

Some funny things and new phrases the kid has said in the last several weeks (some of these may be repeats from Facebook):

-When she wants something- "Mommy get it" or "Mommy reach"
-When she wants to do something independently, like climb into her carseat- "Sweet Pea do it"
-If she's standing on something she shouldn't- "Careful"
-When she falls down or knocks something over- "Oopa" (Opa)
-"first down" while watching her favorite sport
-When it's time to comb her hair after a bath, she requests to watch football
-There's a statue of a pirate (Captain Morgan) on top of a local bar we pass a few times a week.. she has called it "Jesus" on more than one occasion. Most priests are also Jesus.
-A phrase she hears often at daycare, she'll walk around saying "Shh, friends sleeping."
-"big hug" (love those!)
-She wanted to play catch with a friend at daycare, but the friend wasn't paying attention and Sweet Pea couldn't remember her name. She yelled, "Catch.. honey!" and threw the ball.
-When putting dolls to bed, she says "potty first" and sits them on the potty for a few seconds before covering them with a blanket.
-I put her to bed, and lingered for a minute telling her things like "I love you, night night". She responded with "Door?" I said "Yes, I'll close the door". She said "Mommy, go!" Ok fine, so much for ooshy gooshy sentimentals.

Sentences are getting more complex: "Daddy waffle all gone" "Grandma's house tomorrow"

Formula for fun game:
Cover knees with washcloth/blanket/wipe.
Proclaim "knee hiding"
Repeat till caregiver acknowledges that yes, your knees are hiding
Pull washcloth/blanket/wipe off and yell "Boo"
Repeat process with other body parts and/or any nearby object.

Other fascinations:
-comparing "big" and "little"
-playing catch
-running (and proclaiming that she is running)
-biting things (darn those 2 year molars.. they had better show up soon- she's also drooling like a 6 month old and has her tongue hanging out 80% of the time while awake)
-voicing an opinion on whatever outfit Mommy has picked out for her for the day
-pointing out body parts on pictures, other people, animals
-finding things that are the same

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy birthday!

My sweet baby girl turned two this week!

We had a low key celebration; nothing like her first birthday bash. The night before, we took her out for dinner and let her have ice cream for dessert. The day of, she opened presents (her grandparents and aunt came over for a few minutes), then the three of us headed to the zoo before I had to go in to work.

So much has changed in the last two years!

Happy birthday, sweet pea!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Body Awareness

I thought for sure the public embarassment didn't happen till a little later. The other day, Sweet Pea was in the bathroom with me. I didn't think she was really paying attention to what I was doing (she was messing with the towel rack), but then she proclaimed loudly, "Ewww Mommy, stinky!" It was loud enough that I heard Grandma chuckle from the other room.
Tonight as I was rocking with her before bed, she was rocking her doll. She was singing and talking to it. Then I hear her say "nurse?" and she lifted her pajama shirt and held the baby up to her belly for half a minute. Cutest.thing.ever.
I also started my OB rotation. Love.it. Two days in and I'm already considering making this my specialty. It is that awesome. This week I get to spend time on the childbirth unit- hopefully I'll get some good experiences down there and see some exciting laboring/delivering.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two stories

Story One:
I come on shift and find that Susie Q Patient is one of my assignments for the evening. Susie has a history of some mental health issues. Susie is a little impulsive and sporadic in conversation, so I set her bed alarm before I leave the room after taking her initial vital signs. I'm afraid she will try to get out of bed on her own and end up falling.

Within a few minutes I hear the bed alarm go off. I come in to find Susie on her way out of bed, and there is a strange smell. "Are you smoking?" I ask. "You can't smoke in here, this is a hospital."

"Oh, I didn't know that, just help me out and show me where I can go to smoke."

"No, it is a hospital wide policy, you cannot smoke anywhere on the grounds of the hospital." At this point I am still trying to locate the dang cigarette. Finally I find it, IN BETWEEN THE BED AND THE RAIL. Yes, please do what you can to burn down the hospital.

I dispose of the cigarette, then as I am pulling her pack out of her bag (charge nurse told me to confiscate them), she offers me her lighter, too. Well alright, I will take that too!

Story two: (Less funny, more warm-and-fuzzy)
Mildred P. Oldlady has just had surgery that day. She is anxious about recovery, and Mr. Oldlady is not doing much to relieve her anxiety.

I do what I can to be reassuring, anticipate needs, etc. Standard plan of care on my part.

Toward the end of my shift, it's clear that Mildred will be needing a catheter inserted. I go to let her know, and she starts freaking out. Completely unexpected response. Come to find out, she's never personally had a catheter, and the only bystander experience she's had was extremely negative. Just the mention of catheters brings up all sorts of emotional memories for her.

Holy smokes, looks like I'm going to need to do a little bit of holistic care here.

When I come in to do the actual procedure, I do a whole lot of explanation. I tell her just about everything I'm doing and why. I tell her what she can expect in the following few days related to the catheter. I have her tell me a little more about her fears. I teach her a simple breathing exercise (4x4 breathing) to help focus her energy.

When I have finished, she says she hardly even felt the catheter go in. She is visibly more relaxed than she was when I had first given her the news about needing a catheter.

I come in a little later to check on her, and she says she has been doing the 4x4 breathing ever since I had left the room, and she loves it. I make sure to come say goodnight before I clock out, and she says she will not forget me, and that I have made a difference for her.

Ah, patients like Mildred and situations like this are why I am becoming a nurse!

Attention span?

Wait a minute, when did MY child get the beginnings of an attention span?

The other day I decided to check on her, since she had been playing in another room and I hadn't heard anything from her in a while. I walk in to find her lying on her belly looking at one of her books. When she saw me, she jumped up, grabbed a stack, and asked me to read ("Mook?").

Wouldn't you know it, she sat on my lap and we read three whole books and the first half of another before she got bored and wanted to do something else!

This is the kid who flips to her favorite pages and will spend a few minutes on those, but rarely does an entire book start to finish.

She also had her 2 year well child appointment this week, and it almost went more smoothly than usual. :)

She hates being at the doctor's office, no matter who the patient is, and screams and hollers till we leave.

This time I tried to prepare her a bit, talking about what they were going to do. We even practiced stepping up on our scale at home so she could see the numbers and see how big she was getting.

That part worked beautifully! She stepped up and stood still long enough for the nurse to get a reading. (Usually we have to weigh me with and without her and subtract, cause she throws such a fit.)

But then it kinda went downhill from there. Even though we talked about how the doctor would listen to her tummy with the stethoscope, she wanted no part of it. She was ok with the doctor listening to ME, but not to her.

And the shot? Oh goodness.

And here's one: Doctor wanted her to get blood drawn to do an H/H and lead test. They did not stick her foot like I expected. Nope, they busted out a tourniquet and actually drew blood from a vein in her arm! Holy smokes, she was not a fan. We had to hold her down hardcore to keep her still enough to get poked in the right spot. Technician commented on how strong she was, lol.

Anyway, she's doing well. She's back up to the 75th percentile for height and weight, and her head is off the charts again.

I have a few work stories, but I'll save them for a separate post.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I am officially on break now (for about a week and a half), and I have every intention of fulling enjoying it.

Last night after work, instead of staying up insanely late working on homework, I went to bed at a reasonable hour. This morning, I slept in past 8! Heavenly.

On the docket for today:
-make a couple doctor's appointments (DONE)
-freecycle our couch (DONE)
-vaccuum where couch used to be (DONE)
-get new-to-us couch from R's aunt (Call made, will be here later today)
-put away clean laundry
-wash and dry at least one load of dirty laundry
-take a walk if the weather clears
-turn in papers for Sweet Pea's new daycare
-spend quality time with Sweet Pea (IN PROCESS)

This is so doable.

The Staff Assist button is NOT a toy!

Three times this weekend, someone visiting a patient on my floor has hit the Staff Assist button, when all they wanted was a glass of water or some pain meds.

Hey, Einsteins.. that is what the call button on the remote is for. Can you see it? The button is red and has a picture of a nurse on it. The patient knows how to use it; he's been using it all day.

The Staff Assist button (which is located completely out of the way, behind the bed, next to the CODE BLUE button) is intended for use when a Staff member needs immediate assistance from other staff, like if a patient has fallen or has become violent.

We don't mess around with the Staff Assist button. If you push the button, you will get several nurses and aides in the room within 10 seconds.

Don't waste our time by hitting it unnecessarily.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

23 months

First clinical is over, and hurray, I passed! It got better and better as the weeks went on, and though I have a long way to go, I feel that I learned a lot and grew in confidence.

Sweet Pea (23 months) is undeniably no longer a baby. I am amazed at all she can do, how quickly she picks up on concepts, how much she knows! She knows most of the basic colors (green sometimes gives her trouble) including gray and brown and black, counts to 4 on her own and to 10 with help, recognizes some letters and shapes, and has been talking more and more. It's hard to believe three short months ago is when she really started saying words!

She likes to sing (I catch her singing to herself in her crib in the mornings), taking walks and pointing out evvvverything she sees. ("Car. Red!" "You see a red car?" "Yeah! Bike. Helmet, no!" "Yeah, he isn't wearing a helmet, is he?" "No! Inside?" "Sure, maybe he left his helmet inside today." "Ball! Boy! Green car! Kitty, eow!"), scooting around on her ride-on toy, toting her baby doll around (changing her diaper, taking her to the door and pointing out all the colors of cars to HER), and coloring. Oh how we love coloring!

She is a sweet girl, sleeps well, can sometimes entertain herself, and even picks up and puts away toys when she is done with them!

She starts daycare this fall, which I'm sure will be a tougher adjustment for Momma than for her!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Weeks 2 and 3

I still have a long way to go. But I feel much better going into Week 4 than I did coming out of Week 1.

Last week I administered medications for the first time. I got a lot of practice on my patient! He had meds in just about every form you can think of- oral, subcutaneous injections (like insulin), IV push, and IV piggyback. It was a good week to test my skills!

The week before that, I got to observe surgeries. One day was in the outpatient surgery center, the other was in major surgery. That was really interesting! I enjoyed it a lot. Will I become an OR nurse right off the bat? Maybe not, but I certainly wouldn't rule it out now.

And just a random side note: This week I found my very first varicose vein! Pregnancy didn't give them to me, nope. Nursing school did!

Alright, back to working on my pharm paper.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day One

Today was our first clinical day, and I wanted to get some thoughts down while they are fresh in my mind. I want to be able to go back to this post in a year and see how far I've come.

We partnered up and picked a patient yesterday when we were touring the floor. We looked through his chart, noted his treatment plan, researched the medications he was on.

This morning, we talked to his nurse to determine the plan for the day, then went to the patient's room.

We did a quick head to toe assessment, took vital signs, and helped him up to the bathroom to get cleaned up for the day.

Not too much later, the nurse went in to do her assessment, and we gladly observed. I watched as she palpated his pedal pulses, got an interesting look on her face, then asked us to go get the doppler (which can help find "hard to find" pulses). She used the doppler and stated that the pulse in the operative leg was clearly stronger than the pulse in the not-yet-operated-on leg.

And here's where I feel like a useless tool.. When I palpated those pedal pulses, I felt the opposite. The pulse in the operative leg was less bounding than the other. Did I assess incorrectly? How did she know to get the doppler? What kind of inconsistency is acceptable given the patient's medical history? Is it possible that a pulse would feel stronger but sound weaker?

I did fine with our tasks for the rest of the day, but I'm thrown off by that assessment.

I know that some of these skills come with time and practice. I've seen that in my job as an aide. I just don't like being at the beginning stage of it.

I want to fast-forward several months, to a place where I will feel more confident in my skills and judgment.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Encountered some potentially challenging things in the last few weeks.
-First transgender person I've ever met
-Youngish patient with new diagnosis of probable metastasized cancer

..Thought there were more, but can't think of them at the moment.

We took a vacation down to see R's family; I will have to post more about that (with pics, promise!) another time.

I start my first clinical this week. I'm on a Med/Surg floor, similar to the one on which I work. I'm excited and nervous, all rolled up into one!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

God bless..

During bedtime prayers the other week, Sweet Pea asked God to bless Daddy, Kitty (at Grandma's house), and her 6 year old cousin. Those were the only three she could think of. :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Words words

Little miss Sweet Pea has had a language explosion here lately! The other day I was writing in her journal and started to list the words she knows. Off the top of my head I came up with over 40! Amazing to me. I had started to worry at 18 months when she was only saying "hi" and "bye", though she was signing several words.

In the last month she figured out the connection between me and the word "mommy" (though before that I had heard occasional "mamamamama"), and now I hear it all day. :D

Monday, June 8, 2009

Running on Empty

Saturday, after a trip to the zoo with friends, I headed to work.

For whatever reason, we are extremely short staffed right now, on nearly every shift. After working my normal 8 hour shift, I got mandated, meaning I had to work the next shift as well. That meant I was working from 3pm Sat until 7:30am Sunday, and then guess what? I had to work Sunday evening too.

Then today (Monday) I had class 8:30-4:30.

I am so looking forward to getting a full night of sleep tonight!

Friday, June 5, 2009


Nursing school began three weeks ago. Um, when they say "accelerated", they aren't kidding!

I'm in class M-F from about 8:30-5:00, not including any extra time before/after to study/write up/practice skills.

Today we finished up our first class- Assessment. Part of the final was validating on a head to toe assessment of our lab partners. It went even better than I thought it would, which is exciting. The next three weeks, we'll be doing Science & Technology- more of the how-to of nursing, like inserting catheters and trach tubes.

Meanwhile, we're taking an Intro to Nursing class, and Pharmacology is online and runs the entire summer. Our first clinical (Med/Surg) begins in July.

I have 13 classmates who I will see daily for the next year. What a fun group! I knew a few of them from previous classes (A&P, chemistry, microbiology), but I haven't met anyone I don't like. :)

One thing I like about this schedule is that I'm home for dinner every night during the week, and I have some time to snuggle/play with the kid before putting her to bed and diving into homework. It has been nice!

I am still working every weekend, in order to keep my part-time status, but weekends generally aren't awful, so it's not so bad.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Giggle Shirt

One of my projects this week was boxing up Sweet Pea's 12 month clothes (overdue) and sorting out/washing her 24 month clothes. In amongst the clothes I washed was a shirt that I had worn and loved as a tyke. It most likely passed down through a few of my siblings as well.

I put Sweet Pea in it this morning and dropped her off at Grandma's on the way to class. Grandma recognized the shirt right away. :)

I hunted down a picture of me in the shirt, so without further ado, here is a comparison shot.

(No date on the back of the photo, but I think I'm about 3 years old here.. Sweet Pea is 20 months. Slightly different builds, you think?)

Sunday, May 10, 2009


This one goes out to all the druggies.

If you're consistently all coked up on various illegal substances, and you come to the hospital with some broken bones, chances are we're going to have some pain management issues.

Yes, I believe you when you say you're in pain, but no we can't give you six Percocet at a time. Sorry.

Monday, May 4, 2009

bullet points

Another bullet point kind of day:

-ended up with an A in Anatomy & Physiology II
-found out I'm in the running for a significant scholarship through my employer, should find out in a few days
-vacation with my whole extended family- wonderful to be around fun, supportive people.. I really needed it this week
-two weeks till I start nursing school!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Crazy Ones Make Me Laugh

Recently I cared for a young man we'll call Fred. He had one of those patient-controlled pain pumps, where the patient can push the button and get pain meds through the IV whenever they want.

Well, there are limitations on the pumps. The nurses set a timed lockout on it per doctor protocol. So if the limit is one dose per 10 minutes, the patient can push the button a billion times and the pump will only deliver one dose in that 10 minutes.

Ok so back to Fred.

Nurses discovered that Fred was going through a syringe of pain medication in just a few hours. That is awfully quick for the rate he was supposed to be at.

They watch Fred a little more carefully and see that Fred has figured out the code to get into the settings menu on the pump, and has taken the liberty of allowing himself a dose every minute or so.

Tsk tsk Fred.. That is NOT the way to get on the good side of your nurses!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rash update, and a little story

Doctor agreed that the rash looks bad. He said sometimes bacterial infection and yeast infection look awfully similar, so we're trying a new regimen of creams.

The nursing committee met last Friday, so when I got to class today, I sought out a couple of the people I knew who had applied. Both of them said, oh yeah! They called me up on Friday afternoon! Didn't they call you?

No. Hmm. Uh-oh..

The rest of the afternoon, I silently freaked the heck out. I pondered whether that was a bad sign that they hadn't called. They said they'd let us know either way.. Did that mean it was a definite no? Or maybe I was on a B list and they were waiting to see if the whole A list said yes? What the heck do I do if I don't get in? Do I still go with the traditional program? But if I wait a year and apply for the accelerated program again, I'd still graduate sooner than with the traditional. But if I do that, I'm out of school for a whole year and I'd probably forget everything I've just learned. Do I take classes in the meantime? But they wouldn't be toward my degree, and I don't think I can afford that.

Yes, my mind went through a zillion thoughts.

After my lab, I went up to the nursing office.

"Hey.. Do you know when I'll hear if I got into the accelerated program?"
"She called you Friday!"
"No... No call."
"Hmm, she said she called everyone Friday."
"Ok. No call though. Do you know? Can you tell me?"
"Let me see, here's the list of rejections, [my last name], nope, you're not on here. Ah, here's the list, yep there you are! You're in."
"Ahhhhhhhhh thank goodness!"

So there you have it. I've been accepted! Provisional, of course, upon me passing A&P2.

2010 graduation, here we come!

Take II

I wrote out a whole post Sunday afternoon, and SOMEBODY wandered over and managed to replace it with a bunch of jibberish. Sigh.

I have a test in the morning. I've done quite a bit of studying (actually, more than the other tests I've had this semester), so hopefully I'll do well. It would be nice to be able to keep my A!

Before my test, though, I'm taking the kid in to see the doctor. Poor girl has a bad diaper rash that made the doc think she had a bacterial infection. We've been using the special cream on it, but it's not getting much better, so I'm taking her back in. She's hating diaper changes lately (understandably), so hopefully we can get this issue resolved so it's not so painful for her, and less of a struggle for me!

With that, it is time to go to bed. We have an early morning tomorrow!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Performance Evaluation

I had my annual performance evaluation yesterday, and it went well. Boss says I'm right where I need to be. She says she rounds on patients in the mornings, and they all speak highly of "the little redhead" who took care of them the night before. :) Some highlights from my review form- "nice mastery of the skills required at the bedside", "take direction well", "eagerness to learn and assimilate information", "proactive", "unconditional positive regard for others", "calming effect on your patients". Good start! She also said that the folks on the nursing program committee would be crazy not to take me. :)

He's good, but not THAT good.

While I was at work last night, R had Sweet Pea. He said that while he was making dinner, she was whining at him, and he kept telling her she had to wait until he was done. Finally she looked up at him and signed "nurse please".

Friday, March 13, 2009


Did I miss a memo? Was yesterday National Cleanse Your Colon Day? Several of my patients were celebrating the occasion.

Even when I went to answer other people's call lights, yep, you guessed it, more celebrating.

....I was going to give some examples, but I think we'll just leave it at that.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Work Work Work

I picked up a couple extra shifts last week (one of my coworkers has been put on bedrest), and switched weekends with another girl, since I needed next weekend off, so this is what my week looked like:
Tuesday- class all day, last minute errands
Wednesday- work double shift (7am-11:30pm)
Thursday- class in the morning, then work evening shift
Friday- work morning shift, then to an overnight with our high schoolers
Saturday- rest of the overnight, then work evening shift
Sunday- (on one less hour of sleep) cantor at church, then work evening shift

By Sunday's shift, I was exhausted, so I was pulling up a chair and sitting down when I went into rooms to do accuchecks. (testing blood sugar)

I did get about 9 hours of sleep last night before the little darling decided it was time to be up, yay!

I really do enjoy my job, and it is a great fit for me, but it is nice today to just sit around and not have to rush anywhere.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Little Socialite

Last week we went to a fundraiser dinner at our church. After she was finished eating, Sweet Pea opted to wander around in search of entertainment. She quickly spotted a little boy (her interest sure is piqued by the male 2-4 demographic) and ventured closer to see what he was up to. Soon they were passing a plastic dixie cup back and forth, and were joined by another little girl.

Later she integrated herself into a group of bigger kids (ages 3-8ish) and sat in a circle with them while they played Duck Duck Goose. I don't think she ever got Goosed, but she let them Duck her several times without protesting, and watched as they chased each other around!

Our budding hippie even walked around giving hugs to anyone under 4 feet. Some of the kids ignored her, but some reached down to hug her back.

I'm so proud of my baby, seeking out social interaction without prompting!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Yesterday afternoon, I was hanging out with the kid in the living room, playing with her Little People or something. I become aware of faint music. What is that? Oh, it's my phone! Um, where is it? *search search search* Finally I locate the phone, underneath the couch, just as it stops ringing.

Flip it open, see a number that I recognize as being from the local university. Shoot! Wait for the caller to leave a message, listen and then call back.

The secretary of the nursing department says that the committee for the accelerated program met Friday and would like to bring me in for an interview!

Interviews aren't until the second week of March.

Whole new meaning to the term "Two Week Wait"!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bullet Points

Today is a bullet point kind of day.

  • Took my first lab test Friday, results posted today. Another A! :D
  • So far, doing a little better than I did at this time last semester.
  • Worked at the hospital over the weekend.
  • Nothing particularly noteworthy, except that I witnessed just how quickly an enema can work. (And I'll leave it at that.)
  • R's birthday is rapidly approaching, and I have no idea what to get the man.

Ok, that's it for tonight.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Non-Work Update

Sweet Pea (almost 17 months old now) just learned a new sign! Though I've been signing to/with her for the last year, so far the only sign she has been using is "more" to mean "I want something". Yesterday she started signing "milk" when she wants to nurse, and I thought I caught a "please" once.

Though she isn't saying any whole words (beyond "hi", "bye", and sometimes "no no no no no"), I'm hearing the beginning sounds of more words now.

She also has picked up some extra inflection when she babbles, and seems to be including me more in her conversations, if that makes any sense.

I do believe we are on the cusp of a communication breakthrough!


In non-kid news, I got the results of my first exam in Anatomy & Physiology II, and got an A! This is the same professor I had last semester, and this is the highest score I've gotten on one of his tests. Woot!

Monday, February 2, 2009


This is a little story about something called a Posey.

A Posey is restraining device. It is a cloth band that goes around the waist and has strings that are tied (quick release) to the bed, or chair, wherever the patient is. It is used on patients who are confused and who have shown that they are likely to try to get out of bed on their own.

One of my little old ladies (LOL from here on out) the other day had just had surgery on her left hip that day, and had dementia, among other issues. Sweet as could be, but very confused as to where she was, why she was there, who was with her.

The nurse went in to give her medicine and saw that LOL had her feet hanging off the bad and was trying to get up. We quickly conferred and decided to put a Posey on her.

Later, I was sitting at the nurses' station charting when I heard chirping from a machine in LOL's room. I'm familiar with the sound by now- it meant that her foot pumps were either disconnected or off. I went in there to fix them and saw something I was NOT expecting. LOL was naked, on the floor, several feet away from her bed (and yes, one of the foot pumps had fallen off in the process). Holy crap!

I hit the staff assist button, and with the help of the others who came dashing into the room, got her gowned and onto the commode (which is where she said she was going), then into bed. We got vital signs, and I put a new dressing on her hip (she had pulled that off too). And yes, I got the foot pumps adjusted.

Looked like she had managed to undo one side of the Posey. So I retied it, put wrist restraints on as well, made sure the bed alarm was on, and stressed to her the importance of letting us know if she needed anything.

Every time I went in there for anything, I triple checked to be sure the restraints were all on and the bed alarm was set. And I passed along in my report to do the same.

One thing that struck me that night (and other times I've worked) is how smoothly things go when you work as a team. Within seconds of me hitting the staff assist button, I had three nurses and another aide in there, all pitching in and doing something that needed to be done.

If I know another aide is on her lunch, I will watch her lights. If she's busy in another room, I'll watch lights. If someone needs help moving a patient, I will gladly help, because what goes around comes around. If I help them, they are more likely to help me.

I am still new and know I have to earn the respect of my coworkers. They have seen many come and go, and until I prove otherwise, there's no indication to them that I'll stick around, or be dependable. What I do is being noticed, though. Another aide took a family member down to the main entrance (too much construction for simple directions), and I helped with one of her patients while she was off the floor. Her nurse relayed that to her, and later she thanked me for all my help.

In other news, I had a good conversation with one of the float aides who is applying for the same nursing program. He was told that though 20ish people took applications, 5 have decided not to do the program. Hello, better odds! He and I seem to have similar philosophies when it comes to balancing priorities, and it was encouraging to talk with someone else about it. Applications were due today- hopefully I'll hear soon about an interview!

Friday, January 30, 2009

One more and we could field a baseball team

Yesterday was a little insane.

R found out at the last minute (Tuesday!) he had to travel for work Thursday-Friday. We did some scrambling, and with the help of Grandma and Fairy Godmother, it all worked out.

Thursday morning I dropped Sweet Pea off at Grandma's and went to class. After class I stopped by, ate some lunch, played with Sweet Pea a bit, and nursed her, then changed and left for work. Sweet Pea was very confused.. She saw me put my coat on, so she ran over to the door so she could go out with me. I waved bye to her, and she turned around and waved at Grandma.

Eventually I made it out the door, sans baby, and headed off to possibly the most hectic shift I've worked yet.

I had eight patients (the most I've had), and though none of them were hard persay, quite a few were pretty needy. I enjoyed interacting with each one, but it was hard to cut conversations short and move on to the next room. I went to answer one call light, and asked what I could do for the patient. He said "Tell me goodnight." ....Is there anything else I can do for you to help you be ready to sleep? "Nope." Ok... goodnight..

I did have one patient discharged, so I was down to seven. As I was finally sitting down an hour later to start charting, I see a patient being rolled into one of my rooms. ...Um, hello, who is this? Is he one of mine? I know nothing about him. I don't even know if he's a post-op or a transfer, or what.

Yes, he's mine (so much for seven). Transfer from ER. Learned his name but still didn't have a chart or diagnosis. Surprise! He needs a catheter inserted. And vitals done. And blood sugar checked. And a urinalysis down to the lab. Now. Oy.

Finally got home after a very full 8.5 hours and was pleasantly surprised to find that Fairy Godmother had managed to get Sweet Pea pajama'ed AND asleep in her crib. Woot!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It Is Finished.

Today I turned in my application for the accelerated nursing program. They are due in two weeks, then the committee will review and rank them, then make calls to set up interviews.

I saw that 21 people had taken applications. I don't know if all 21 of them will decide to turn in the application, or if they will all be eligible (baseline GPA, done with pre-reqs, etc), but I do know that only 8 (possibly up to 12, but likely only 8) will be accepted into the program.

Applications for the traditional nursing program are available February 2. I will fill out one of those, just in case I don't make it into the accelerated.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both, of course. With the accelerated, you finish in less time, so you save on tuition. With the traditional, you actually have some time to have a job, so maybe you can pay for that tuition.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Orientation Over

Yesterday was my last day on orientation. I have a few days off, but my next day on, I'm flying solo! I'm not too worried- the last week has gone pretty well, and I feel prepared. I also know that the others on my shift are helpful, and glad to answer questions.

More positive feedback from patients and families. One gentleman said he wished I was his daughter or daughter-in-law, because I was so nice. Multiple others said I will make a great nurse.

I went in to check on one lady, whose husband Mr. B was there with her. When I asked if either of them needed anything, they looked at me like I had just offered to donate a kidney. I explained that I have been the family member of a patient before, and it's always nice being acknowledged. And when I came back with crackers and peanut butter and Sprite for Mr. B? Forget about it. When Mrs. B got discharged, I wheeled her down to where they had parked and helped her into the car. I got a hug and gratitude from Mr. B. Made my day!

And finally, a little PSA for y'all. If you are visiting your family member in the hospital, and the family member is getting a blood transfusion, and the pump controlling the blood flow starts beeping, please do NOT turn off the pump! I don't care if you are about to start your first semester of clinicals in your medical assistant program. Turning off pumps and then not notifying anyone tends to annoy those responsible for your family member's care.
In child-news, Sweet Pea has finally given up her lifelong boycott of meat. Lunchmeat and chicken strips are currently popular.

And today (1.10) marks five years since R and I have been a couple, and five years since our first kiss. We are celebrating by watching football, just like that day in 2004. We may even get crazy and hold hands later, to recreate the moment. :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Shift

Though not talking yet, Sweet Pea is now signing "more" and shaking her head no. This means we can actually have a little bit of a back and forth conversation! Kids can be interactive.. who knew?

Yesterday was my first day working evening shift at the hospital. Evenings can get hairy, but yesterday was pretty low-key, so it was a good day to start. I had eight patients, and zero post-ops, so there weren't many surprises. It went well! If every evening were like that one, I'd prefer that shift hands down!

What's the difference between day shift and evening shift, you ask? (Pretend you asked.) What a good question!

Day shift is more structured. There are a lot of things to get done in certain time frames, so it is busy, but one day is generally similar to another. Vitals, breakfast, baths, linen changes, vitals, accuchecks, lunch, dressing changes, charting, pass on report, go home! Of course, you might have a discharge or a post-op in there, but each day you can expect some of the same things.

Evening shift is less structured. The only things you can count on are vitals when you get there, accuchecks before dinner, and another set of vitals mid-shift. A lot of post-ops are on evening shift, which means more sets of vitals. You never know how many post-ops you'll get, or what time they'll come up. Yesterday was pretty quiet, but today (I'm off) there are 13 surgeries scheduled, so it will be hectic!

Random fun fact: PG was the house float yesterday, so I got to see a familiar face every so often. :) Hi, PG!