Saturday, September 29, 2007

Really excited

I just bought tickets to see Ani Difranco play in Atlanta on November 13th!! I haven't seen her play since 2003!

This is a definite perk to living in a major city.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Less lame

I have been trying to be more social this past week. I went to a panel discussion at the Feminist Women's Health Center. The topic was being gay or lesbian in the Latino community. Although, I myself am not Latina, Beloved is Puerto Rican. So I thought it would be an insightful panel, as well as a way for me to introduce myself to the center. And let me say...I had so much fun. I really felt like this was the first time since I've been in GA, that I felt completely at home with a group of people instantly. I was among fellow Women's Studies students, lesbians, and feminists. It was a wonderful time. One of the ladies there also comes to speak to a nursing class about reproductive issues (so I suppose I can look forward to that in 2 years?) There's an art opening tonight that we were also invited to attend. I'm pretty sure we're going to make it out -- just not sure when.

School has been kicking my ass this week. I'm behind in my reading (as usual) but I think I will try to make it up this weekend. We have a Pharm/Pathophys. test on Tuesday. We have about 50+ drugs to know for that exam (antihypertensives, drugs of the ANS, antidysrhythmics, etc.) *sigh* I'm pretty sure I will do well on it. There will be lots of studying taking place this weekend. After we get through next week, though, it will be Fall Break! And while I'm excited for the (brief) break from school, when we come back from break our *real* clinicals start. Yay for having to report to the hospital at 6:45a. I don't think that first week we'll get patients. We're just helping dole out flu shots to doctors, nurses, and staff.

On a side note, people that drive here can be complete assholes. Last night on my way to the panel, I was driving down my destination road. Unfortunately, my GPS was having a bit of schizophrenia and kept misdirecting me. So I missed the turn for the center. No problem, I thought, I will just make a U-turn. I come to the end of the street where I have only one option...turn right -- it's an on-ramp for the highway! I have definitely not navigated the highways here yet and I wasn't about to start now. So I'm sitting there, trying to figure out if I'm going to make the right turn, or make a semi-illegal U-turn onto the wrong way of an on-ramp to turn around. My decision making was clouded by some complete asshole behind me who literally laid on his horn and shrieked at me to get out of the way. Clearly my license plate is from out-of-state, and clearly I'm trying to make a decision here. If he was in such a fucking hurry -- he could have easily gone around me. But no, he decided it would be helpful to simply honk his horn and scream at me. So finally, I decided to make the U-turn, let the asshole go on his merry way and I pulled in safely to the center. But who the hell ends roads in on-ramps to the interstate? This is a completely foreign concept to me. I was so frazzled by the incident, I had to call Beloved. She just laughed -- she's from NY so assholes here really don't bother her.

Anyways -- I must be off. I have an altered schedule today because there's some discussion with alumni from SON and our class. So we have to go to this presentation thing, then they bought us lunch. I dunno -- it just means I have to go to school an hour early and go to lab an hour later. I can't wait for the weekend to be here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Quick update

So the first test of my nursing school career went fairly well. It was mostly straightforward and I think I will get a high B/low A. Not bad. I got to school a little early today so I decided to update a little bit.

Last night was my first exposure to the political climate in GA. There's a public hospital that's on the verge of shutting down mainly due to lack of funding. This hospital is a teaching hospital and has ties with two prestigious medical schools here. Unfortunately, there's a lot of discussion about this hospital because it serves a majority of uninsured and under-insured patients who would be displaced should the hospital close its doors. The "solution" which has been proposed is a restructuring of the hospital which will allow private corporations and philanthropists to support the hospital. But there is a severe mistrust of the "restructuring" process and many think it will end this hospital primarily serving the uninsured/under-insured.

So last night I attended a panel discussion on the hospital's future. There was so much hostility -- it was palpable. The state representative (Republican -- ::vomits::) was awful. She absolutely tried to make the problem one of immigration reform, not about the growing population of uninsured Americans. She intimated that people chose to be uninsured because they thought they were invincible and didn't need coverage. WTF!? Is this woman living in the same country as us? People don't have insurance because it's fucking expensive. Outrageously expensive. I barely had insurance and know many who would *love* to have insurance but coverage is well beyond their means. This problem of this hospital is not an isolated problem, but a larger problem of health care.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I have been feeling down on myself this week. I realize with all that has been going on with school, I feel I just need a break to do something really fun. And this would be the time I would call my girls to go out for drinks and dancing with me. But my girls are in VA. So instead I'm stuck at home, wishing I could go out. I'm a true Leo, so I don't really like being solitary. But I'm not quite comfortable yet with the area to simply find a lesbian bar and go have a beer. Beloved would totally have a beer with me, but we're on completely opposite schedules. She has days off when I'm in school -- I have days off from school when she's working. And I know how hard she's working, so I hate to selfishly ask her to go out when I know she's tired. And then my classmates...I see them all week, I'm sure they'd like to get a beer too, but I *think* none of them are gay (well, maybe one is...) or would feel comfortable going to a gay bar. I loathe straight bars. Going out isn't complete without at least one drag queen.

So what am I to do? I haven't felt this sort of loneliness since the awkward years of high school. Even then I had friends.

In other news, school is going well. I have to re-take my medication administration quiz in order to go to clinicals. We have to get a 100% on it. I missed 2 questions the first go-round. It's not that the math is difficult (because it really is simple) but the program where we have to enter our answers is very specific. Ie. your answer is wrong if you wrote "tablet" instead of "tablets." So blah -- I think I will try again this afternoon. We had our first validation on Thursday. I did my VS correctly. My partner was a "patient" who had just had a LLE (lower left extremity) surgery, so I had to insure I checked peripheral pulses and he was on CBR (complete bed rest) so his VS were taken lying down. I played a "patient" who had DOE (dyspnea on exertion) and a cough. Fun times. We actually *do* our validations in practice exam rooms.

Yesterday we did medication administration -- IM, ID, SQ, and PO. So meds by mouth or different forms of injections. We didn't practice on each other -- we had this "slab" which is meant to mimic human flesh. One of the girls in our class faints every time she gets a shot or has her blood drawn. I was pretty good. Needles still kind of freak me out -- especially 5 other people who are inexperienced with needles running (not literally) around with them. I did not get a needle-stick - thank goddess! Someone else did from (just like our text says) recapping needles. Our needles were kind of older and crappy. The insulin syringes weren't fitted correctly so they kept drawing up air. And then the insulin syringe is the one that broke through the cap and stuck my classmate. Luckily it wasn't dirty. Next week we learn how to start IVs. Apparently the first week of clinicals we practice our IM injections because we help out with the flu shot drive in the hospital. We'll be administering flu shots to doctors, nurses, etc etc. I'm excited about it. Learning how to do things is really interesting to me. I feel like I'm getting somewhere!

In other news, we had our first topless moment in Health Assessment on Wednesday. We were doing cardiovascular and pulmonary exams. So we had to disrobe, wear a gown, and have our partners do complete system exams. Inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation. It wasn't that bad. They tried to make our little rooms more private and I was wearing a bra after all. No big deal. My partner was pretty cool. The hardest part was writing up our SOAPs in like 30 minutes. Complete health assessments are due on Wednesday of next week. I still have to finish mine.

Coming up next week is our first Health Assessment test (Monday) -- lame. I really need to get to work studying for it. We're also moving right along in Integrated Science (Pathophys + Pharmacology.) Pretty soon we'll be seeing real patients in the hospital. I hope I don't kill anyone.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Notes on self-care

I really love how professors will send out an email that reads something like this:

"Please read Chapters 4, 6, 9, Chapter 10 pp 175-177 and 189-201, Chapter 12 pp 221-266, and Chapter 18. Also, take the two quizzes by midnight today. Read chapters 19, 20, and 21 and take the quiz on Sunday. And do something for yourself too."

Ah yes, in between drowning in reading, studying, assignments, reviewing, and actually attending class, perhaps I may do something for myself. I think showering, sleeping, perhaps eating a meal would be wonderful.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Don't touch the models

Alright, so in our Clinical lab classes, we mostly practice our newly acquired skills on each other. (see post below) Today was no different. We were learning about body mechanics, patient positioning, etc. In our lab we do have life-size models who are anatomically correct for us to practice doing foley catheters, IVs, rectal exams, etc. One such life sized model was occupying a bed we needed to use for our demonstration. This model was essentially a male body, but instead of a penis, there was a vagina. A pretty well defined, realistic looking vagina, urethra, and anus.

All of the classmates gathered around the model as we moved it -- we haven't done anything with the models yet, so we were all interested in seeing it. Well, the genitalia was the first topic of discussion. It appeared as if you could simply remove the vagina and put a penis there. I then proceeded to pull the vagina off the model, then put it back on the model. As I did so, a stream of yellow "urine" squirted out from the model onto my hand! I shrieked, "It peed on me!" And my entire class erupted in laughter (including me.) I was so surprised that I turned beet red and laughed so hard I cried. It was the funniest thing that's happened since school started.

A whole new world

So as I am in week #2 of nursing school, I have come to realize that I have immersed myself in a new world. It's a different way of thinking than I'm used to. We're encouraged to assimilate, dress the same, perform the same way, etc. Dissent is frowned upon as is questioning. We're being indoctrinated into a hierarchal organization and learning "our place" is an integral part of the curriculum. We're being taught a new language, how to communicate within this new system, and how to form new professional relationships. Coming from a liberal arts background, I am quite used to asking "why" and asking how things may affect a variety of people.

For example, as a nursing student, we're expected to be the "patient" in our lab classes. We're expected to disrobe, wear a gown, and allow a classmate to practice on us. In any other discipline, this would be pretty outrageous. Requiring an art student to model for class, nude or semi-nude, isn't common. They hire models. I know they have "practice patients" for medical and nursing students. My main issue with this expectation was that it is assumed that *all* students will be comfortable with being this patient. It was never discussed in any of our classes, orientation, etc. And here comes my liberal arts line of questioning...

1. What if you have a history of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or rape? You would have to divulge these details in objection to participating in this way. And you would most certainly stand out among your classmates who'd inevitably wonder why you wouldn't participate.

2. What if you have body image issues, past history of eating disorders? Being weighed weekly, complete with a BMI calculation and a recommendation for weight loss, could wreak havoc on what self-esteem you have.

Since there was absolutely no discussion regarding opting out if you felt uncomfortable, it seems as if the program doesn't consider the feelings of individuals who may have these issues or others like it. And this general quit-your-whining and just-do-it mentality is not something I'm used to. And since we're pressured to assimilate, no one speaks of these feelings. I'm sure I'm not the only student whose had these feelings or issues. But others aren't going to express anything to buck the system - so-to-speak. So it's a matter of processing these new feelings and asking if others may feel the same way.

My friend from California is feels similarly to myself. We're both confused at how easily our new group of classmates just do everything without questioning. Perhaps that's what my liberal arts education taught me...question everything, especially when it requires you to be semi-undresses among your classmates. It brings a whole new meaning to going to school naked.

My nursing friends, any thoughts?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Things I'm excited about

1. My instructor who introduced "evidence-based medicine" with the example of administering IV fluids during labor. She stated it did not improve the mother or child's outcome. (She's also a CNM.) She indicated evidence-based medicine is the best, not relying on tradition or protocol.

2. Atlanta Doula Co-op. A volunteer organization which provides doula services in the Atlanta-metro area. Most of these doulas are nurse-midwifery students. Their informational meeting is this afternoon. Although, they're CAPPA certified...I'm DONA certified --- I hope this won't be a problem. A doula is a doula, right?

3. Feminist Health Center. They have a clinical internship aimed at medical and nursing students. This organization sounds really wonderful. According to my adviser at my alma mater, very few of these centers still exist. I've already emailed them to see what I can do to help out.

4. The weekend. I am swamped with homework, reading, assignments, etc. already. I need to catch up.

Monday, September 3, 2007

First official day of school

Last Friday was my first day of school. I think they're easing us into a routine because it was only one class. All we really did was learn our way around the lab, wash our hands, and reviewed a syllabus. I think I'm really going to like this school. It seems like a good fit for me. There are a couple doulas in my program as well.

I was mildly irritated when I told my "mentor" group that I was a doula, my mentor was like, "A what?!" She's a cardiac I'm sure my birth opinions don't really interest her. But I did meet one of the coolest girls I've met in a long time. I didn't really pay attention to her until I realized she had the *entire* female reproductive system as a "logo" on her hoodie. Awesome :) She told me she used to volunteer for a free clinic. She's going for a public health nursing degree but is in the same "program" as myself. Another woman who introduced herself to me is working on her degree while she works for Planned Parenthood.

So that makes a couple of doulas (more are in the nursing class ahead of ours), someone working for a free clinic, and someone working for Planned Parenthood. I suppose I can breathe a sigh of relief to be somewhat surrounded by women's health advocates. I was extremely afraid that I would be thrust into an overwhelming pro-life group.

Which brings me to the question, what organizations should I join? There's a Feminist Health Center in Atlanta which looks like a pretty interesting place to volunteer. Perhaps practice my new skills? But there's another organization, Health Stat, which focuses on important issues in the local area. One focus of this group is discrepancies in access to health care which I'm sure some women's health issues fall. I also want to look into a feminist organization on campus. College political group? And our student nurses' association -- perhaps run for office. I really just want to throw myself head first into all of this stuff.

Anyways -- I must run the pups outside and get started on dinner. Mac 'n' cheese for Beloved. I'll write more later.