Saturday, October 27, 2007

Time flies

I can't believe it's the weekend again. My week has been so busy that I wonder where time went. I'm getting into a groove at school and in the hospital, so I'm not feeling overwhelmed at all. This week's clinical went very smoothly. My patient was pretty straightforward and getting discharged. I got to D/C a Foley and an INT. That was the highlight of my morning. Then we did flu shots in the hospital. We had a little cart and peddled flu shots to employees. Our small group of 6 did almost 50 flu shots! I got to give 8 or 9 (I lost count) IM shots. And nothing too terribly bad happened.

So the dreaded breast examination class wasn't bad at all. I think I'm getting more and more used to touching other people and having them touch me. Although I did my exam still wearing my bra, other students went totally topless (if they wanted to.) I'm not sure I could do that with people I'm not comfortable with. I don't have any of my regular friends in this class with me. The lab suddenly becomes a new form of picking teams for dodgeball because we have to pick partners before each exam. And people are summing you up -- you never want to be the last person without a partner. I told my lab instructor that this lab was like being back in high school, to which she replied "Oh yeah? So you got felt up a lot in high school?" HAHA. I was like, "No, I meant getting felt up with someone who has no idea what they're doing." I love my lab instructor. She's great. I (somehow) managed to have her for both my clinical and health assessment labs. She has taught us so much - I feel like our group is way ahead of the learning curve. Plus she has a very dry sense of humor that cracks me up.

The schedule for next semester has come out already. Hopefully I'll be in maternity/peds rotation. I signed up for (potentially) a Saturday clinical. All of our clinicals are now 12 hrs, either 2 6-hr shifts or 1 12-hr shift. The faculty adviser for the co-op teaches the maternity class. Also, I went to a presentation about maternal mortality in Bangladesh. It was pretty awesome. Emory has a center for research on maternal and fetal outcomes which has opened up fairly recently. The director of the program also spoke at the presentation and I really need to get to know this woman. The focus of her research is on traditional birth attendants. She seems to be right up my alley. The doctoral candidate who gave the presentation does a lot of work with EISNA and HealthStat (two organizations I do work with.)

Switching gears, I was in a car accident about a year ago. Some idiot rear-ended me on the interstate, going between 30-40 mph. My car and I both survived. But since starting clinicals, my neck has been *killing* me. And I really do not have the time to sit at home with a pain in my neck. Pain meds don't really help it at all. So I caved in and went to the doctor at EUSHS. (As part of tuition, we can see student health for free.) She referred me to the spine center citing that she wasn't sure if my neck had been properly diagnosed and addressed when I got into my accident. I will most likely make an appointment sometime next week. We've got a hellacious week coming up -- two exams (health assessment & pathophys/pharmacology), a friend from VA is coming for the weekend, and a football game (GaTech v. VaTech -- can you guess who I'm rooting for?)

I'm getting more and more excited as it gets closer to Thanksgiving. I miss my family something fierce. And my friends. I think it will be weird to be home, but very nice. I'm leaving Beloved and the pups for a few days, but they will be okay. I promised her to do a pre-Thanksgiving dinner with her before I leave because she has to work on the actual day. Her family isn't too big on Thanksgiving like mine.

The pups are doing well. Beloved and I bought them some chewies a night ago, they managed to find the bag, and tear into all the delicious dog chews while I was at school yesterday. I'm still trying to find an awesome vet for Emmie's spay surgery. I'm so picky about them. If I don't like a place over-the-phone, I'm not going to take my dogs there. They're like my children. So, anyone got good vet recommendations? I'm down to the wire and I don't want her to go into heat. We have white carpet.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I'm sure many a nursing student has felt. I'm spoiled because I had such a wonderful mentor/advisor during my undergraduate studies. She was amazing -- always had me in mind and kept me informed about many things. She was so good in fact that I still email her at least once a month to update her, gain insight and encouragement. My current "mentor" is not even on the same planet as me. And I'm not meaning that in a harsh way, but she doesn't seem to really care about anything that matters to me. Moreover she acts as if this mentor gig is a hassle to her. Moreover, I went to another professor who is a CNM and sat down with her. She's awesome. She and I spent at least an hour or so talking about various things that actually will apply to my future career. She even recommended Robbie Davis-Floyd to me. I love Robbie Davis-Floyd already. But, since this professor is new, she's not allowed to have advisees this year. ((sigh)) She's much better than my assigned mentor. Wouldn't you think that they would give students a mentor based on their interests? Or maybe their career track? I think they (they being the administration) just did eenie-meanie-miney-moe which I feel is a stupid way to assign mentors to people.

On to another topic: clinical. On Friday I had my first real patient that I was in charge of taking care of. I did very well. I was proud of myself. Suddenly it feels like all of this stuff I've been learning for the past three months is being put to good use. I'm actually remembering/utilizing the knowledge that I've gotten. Plus it's really different to put a face/personality to the imaginary "patient" we talk about. I can really see how to apply the skills that I'm learning to an actual person. The hardest part about clinicals was locating the things that we needed. For example, the Accuchek ran out of strips, but I had to find the bottle which didn't have the appropriate "chip" so I had to find another one. Or managing your time because you have X amount of tasks to do in X amount of time. I think this week I will need to be better organized, time-wise. But I did see a lot of really awesome stuff. We're on an abdominal surgical floor -- so I saw some pretty interesting wounds -- fistulas, etc. The wound care nurses let us help change some dressings. I got a little woozy. I may not be as badass as I originally thought.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Start clinicals off with a bang

Despite my prior forecast that this week would be uneventful, it has turned out to be quite the opposite. School was pretty straightforward. We had two classes and one clinical. Wednesday I was on call for the co-op and didn't get called. But another doula asked if I could serve as her back up for a client who was being induced (the other doula had to go out of town.) My Thursday wasn't too full, so I agreed. I got to the hospital around 5p --- she delivered a healthy baby boy around 7:15a on Friday morning. I stayed the entire time in true doula fashion. But, I had to be at my clinical site at 9:00a. So I rushed home, changed, ate something quickly, and went to clinical. I was barely there on time but it was worth it. Who else could say they started off their clinicals with a beautiful birth?

The birth was pretty normal. I think that going to these births will allow me to introduce my face and name to the residents, doctors, etc. who practice all around. And they can be important allies (as well as formidable foes.) Last night's doctors were not the case. We were at Big Teaching Hospital, so mom had a head of dept, resident, and intern.

(On a side note, although I will never repeat this...I was totally hot for the OB resident. Hello -- she was the hottest doc I have ever seen. It almost made the 14 hr birth even more exciting because she was there the.entire.time!!)

Back to the birth, docs were very liberal (more liberal than what I saw in VA) for pushing. Mom pushed side-lying, squatting, pulling a towel, etc. all at the suggestion of the doc. I was fairly surprised because #1 I've never been at a birth where the doc hasn't "stepped in" at the very last moment to "catch" the baby #2 I've never been at a birth where the doctor was so liberal in pushing was given options and choices, the docs moved around to accommodate mom and how she pushed best (of course, the way it *should* be!) Doc was there pretty much the entire time.

And even though I love being at births despite where they occur, every hospital birth I go to just reaffirms my desire to never ever have children in a hospital. Ever.

Which brings me to a new topic. There are no birth centers in the Atlanta metro area. None. Not even one. Even in VA, there was a birth center! So I want to get involved in starting one. Another (almost graduated) nurse-midwifery student was telling me that she wants to start a center because there's a growing need for it. I'd totally like to either join her (if she was serious) or start my own upon graduation.

Last night I went to the LGBT graduate student alliance house party. I met a few interesting people -- only 1 from my school. Apparently, there's a lot of queers in public health, law, and medicine but not nursing. *sigh* So I'm going to be a lot more active in their group. Hopefully we can do some good and create more queer visibility at the university.

My big toe is alright. It's not doing too well since I was on my feet for almost 2 days straight. I think I may lose the toenail cause it's starting to turn black. Gross. I've never lost a toenail before.

Clinicals went well. We're on an abdominal post-surgical floor so lots of interesting things to see. In spite of being exhausted, I was very on top of things. Rattling off names of medications, their indications, answering the instructor's questions, etc. So I am a smarty pants. The one in the group that everyone hates because I almost always know the answer.

Speaking of smarty pants, I got my Pharm test grade back -- not a solid B as I had predicted, but an A! :) So that's two A's so far. I'm 2 for 2. We have our first clinical exam on Monday which I really need to get to work on. Plus there's lots of readings for assessment. We're doing head, eyes, ears, neck, and throat on Monday & Wednesday. Not to mention getting our first real patient on Friday. I can't believe school is flying by so fast.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mini-vacation recap

Beloved and I just got back from FL in the wee hours this morning (around 2 am.) We managed get everything done except for taking the pups to the beach. Instead we treated them to an afternoon of luxury by the side of a pool. They loved it anyways. Here's a picture of the pups in Beloved's car. She got a new car so this was our last road trip in her old car. The trip went well except for my toe injury.

We were at the tourist spot picking up a new Vera Bradley bag for me and souvenirs for our friends. I went into a little shop to look at wind chimes. There was a shelf that was simply made out of 2x4s but at the ends it was not sanded. I sort of stubbed my toe on the corner and had this shooting pain. I looked down and saw a one inch splinter in my big toe, jammed under my toenail, deep in the nail bed, all the way to the cuticle. I have never felt such pain. I hobbled out of the store, sat down on a bench, and called Beloved in tears. She thought something bad (like a death) had happened, so she ran over to where I was and was like, "'s just a splinter!" It hurt so badly and was deep in my toe so I didn't want to pull it out on the spot. I hobbled back to the car, cursing the whole way, and we drove to Beloved's aunt's house. She performed surgery and removed the huge ass splinter. And while it felt much better not to have the splinter in my foot, my toe now looks like this.

So I hope it gets better soon because it feels bad to be on my feet. Nurses are always on the their feet.

To answer some questions on the blog, yes, I did check out the doula co-op organization. I am a member and they didn't mind that I had done my workshop through DONA instead of CAPPA. They just needed willing hands to help out. I'm actually on-call for today for the co-op. I may get called for a birth, but we'll see. A good friend of mine in my class took the CAPPA workshop and will go with me if there's a birth today. Also, a fellow member called to see if I could attend the birth of one of her client's because she will be out of town for a conference. So I will more than likely be doing a birth tomorrow. (Yay!)

The twins are here in Atlanta, but I have been so busy that I haven't been able to see them yet. I do promise that I will get to see the babies before they leave on Sunday. Anyways -- I have Pharmacology in an hour so I need to get ready. I will post more later on this week -- Friday is our first day in the hospital!! :)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

You can tell it's fall break when...

I spent most of yesterday shampooing my carpets. Apparently, we're entering hormonal phase for Emmie. She has thus proceeded scent marking. (I thought we weren't supposed to go through this *again* because she's a female? Alas, I was wrong...) So for the better part of last week I have remained annoyed at the smell of pee. Yesterday I had had enough and went out and purchased a Hoover All Terrain SteamVac. I shampooed the entire living room and hallway. It smells much better and doesn't look half bad. I think next I will try steam-cleaning my furniture.

After steam-cleaning the living room, I decided I didn't like the way the furniture was arranged. So 1 hour and 25 different configurations later, it was to my liking. But then I decided our living room looks quite sparse. We had moved an overstuffed armchair from the living room into the office. So now our living room just has a love seat, chaise, and small TV on a stand. I have decided that we need to make slipcovers for the living room furniture, purchase an area rug, some curtains, lamps, side tables and perhaps a bookshelf. I love the way our office looks. It's quite cozy and functional. It's funny that once we moved in here, it appears as if we have nothing because our last apartment was so small.

Tonight once Beloved gets home from work, we're headed out to FL via a 6 hour car ride with two dogs. I suppose it will be alright, but I will be driving most of the way because she worked all day. We're going to FL for a visit with some of her family and to pick up her new car. I'm pretty excited to get out of Atlanta and see people we know and love. I'm also excited because Beloved's father makes the best breakfast I have ever had. Plus we could probably take the pups to the beach, visit Beloved's aunt, and get some crucial shopping done at the outlets. Now -- we'll be amazed if we can cram all of that into a 2-day visit.

I have a lot of reading that I'm hoping to catch up on over this break. Although next week we only have three (yes, just THREE!!) classes, we have our first Clinical nursing exam the following Monday. Clinical nursing is our 7 credit hour course, so as you can imagine, it will be a lot of material. It's material not only covered in lecture, but clinical lab material too.

Also on the school front, horrible student teacher may be taking over our clinical lab class starting next week. Once we're in clincals, our instructor who has been teaching us since the start of school will be in the hospital on our lab day. So we get a new instructor that could be:

a.) Pregnant (awesome) clinical coordinator
b.) Lab coordinator who reminds me of Beloved's mother (again, awesome)
c.) Crappy student teacher with poor math skills
d.) Emergency NP peppy student teacher

So I guess odds are in my favor. I have a 25% chance of getting someone I don't like and a 75% chance of getting someone I do like. And although we would only be spending one day with this person, it still has the potential to ruin my Thursdays. I feel pretty lucky so far as to have met several instructors and only dislike two.

Speaking of the Awful One who comes into Health Assessment. You will never believe what she did. So in addition to her being a guest lecturer, she also serves as an instructor in assessment lab. A fellow classmate (who is not the skinniest girl) has the Awful One for her lab assessment class. And the Awful One directly asked my classmate, upon seeing her abdomen (because we were doing abdominal assessment), if she was pregnant! She also chastised another student about her general appearance statement about her partner. She said, You need to tell it like it is. He's a white obese male. (Said white "obese" male was standing right there, and said comment was in front of the entire class -- like 15+ of said "obese" male's classmates and future colleagues.) Any thoughts on how to stop the Awful One my dear friends?

My actual injection administration went very well. After being quite calm and collected, I became slightly nervous right before my parter was going to give me the IM injection. After that one was over, I wasn't worried at all. Except the subQ abdominal shot hurt! Well, at least now I can say that I've given injections and not killed anyone.

Anyways -- I should get to packing/cleaning/getting ready for our mini-vacation. Woohoo to time spent with my little family. :)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Weekly roundup

So my signing ceremony went well (see picture: me signing the book.) For those of you who asked, I will explain what the ceremony was. Basically, back in "the day" when nurses wore caps, they would have a capping ceremony where the nursing students would be capped (see picture.) Each school has their own cap, with a certain number of pleats which stood for qualities such as integrity and honor. Nowadays, however, nurses no longer wear caps, so my school has adopted a signing ceremony for nursing students in lieu of the capping ceremony. We just signed our name to a ledger to affirm our professional values. Several key people spoke, including the dean, and it was followed by a formal tea complete with a punchbowl rumored to be insured for half a million dollars. (WTF...I'm definitely in the south! I've never been to a "ladies tea.")

I did well enough on my Pharmacology/Pathophys. exam -- a solid B. I'm pleased with myself. It was a lot of information to cover. I passed my check-off for medication administration yesterday. I was incredibly annoyed because our clinical instructor had a student teacher with her. This was the first time this other person had been in our lab class. And what does she do? She proceeds to ask questions/do things that we're not being tested on. I'm a fairly well-prepared student and find it nerve-wracking that this woman grilled me and she couldn't even accurately do a *simple* medication calculation. She argued with my partner for 20+ mins about a calculation in which my partner was right and the student teacher was wrong. Wouldn't you think if it's your first day, you'd just shut up and observe, especially if the students are getting checked off?!

Today I have check-off for injections. We have to give our partner three shots -- ID, SQ, and IM. I'm not too worried about that. Although I am mildly irritated that they scheduled our nursing immunization clinic before this check off. So now I have to go before my class to get *real* injections -- Hep B & another PPD. Then I get the shots for validation. Ah well. Practice makes perfect I guess.

In other school-related news, I'm not sure what to do about this guest lecturer who frequents our Health Assessment class. She's absolutely terrible! Her first lecture, about CVS, she did nothing related to the objectives. She talked about absolutely nothing for over 2 hours. This was two days before we were to be tested on this material too! Her next lecture, abdominal assessment, she followed objectives a little better. But she asked the students questions, reprimanded us for "incorrect" answers -- by incorrect, I mean answers she didn't really like, but they were listed within the text. And spent way too much time talking about abnormal conditions which at this point we're not expected to recognize, and little to no time on normal condition of the abdominal assessment. And finally, she flipped out when students began packing up their stuff at 2:55p --- five minutes AFTER class was supposed to get out. She then said...It's only 2:55p, did I tell you that it's okay to pack up? You're staying until 3:00p. WTF. Are we back in high school? I gave her a terrible review, but I am going to shoot myself in the foot if I have to see this woman again.

On the social network, I'm slowly but surely making friends at school. No gay ones as of yet. That might change soon, I got invited to a GLBT graduate student party that's next Friday. (According to my classmates, I'm the token lesbian.) But our little group consists of BSN/MSN segue students. It just sort of happened that way. Beloved and I are going to FL for my fall break which is this upcoming Mon-Tues. Next Wednesday, the twins and their mom arrive in Atlanta -- so I will get to see them! I haven't seen them since July! And most importantly, Friday is my first clinical at the hospital -- 7a-1p. I hear next semester our clinical hours switch to 12 hr shifts. Oh the joys of nursing school.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What stress does to me

I think I'm the weirdest person ever. Exams have such a strange effect on my life. Most recently, I've been unable to sleep well. A few nights ago, I woke up frequently because I was dreaming about my Pharmacology exam. Every time I was asked a question, I'd wake up and say, "I'm not ready for my exam yet!" Even more disturbing was my dream last night. I dreamt I had slept with an old boyfriend from high school. As a result, I had gotten pregnant. But Beloved and I were still together. She apparently was alright with me sleeping with this boy. I guess the point of sleeping with him was *to* get pregnant? I don't know. It was never clearly spelled out. I kept convincing Beloved that I was pregnant. And the dream basically ended with me getting a positive pregnancy test.

Another weird side effect of being under stress, especially school work, is a really vamped up sex drive. I don't know why it happens, perhaps a way to burn off some extra steam? I can say that I have had some of the best times of my sex life during stressful school times, such as exam week. Having said all of that, I feel I'm prepared for my first Pharmacology exam today. I got back my Health Assessment exam and I got an A. I'm feeling somewhat more qualified to be in this rigorous program.

In other news, Emmie has suddenly gotten filled with hormones. She's been humping Graisen all weekend. So the time has come to get her spayed. I always hate taking them to have surgery. I'm such a sucker for my dogs. I called a couple of places to see what their protocol is for spaying. Graisen has to get a booster Rabies shot too sometime soon.

And finally, we have a signing ceremony tomorrow. Beloved will be attending to support me. I'm kind of interested to see how my classmates will react to her -- I've slowly come out as needed, but it's always different when people actually *meet* your significant other.

I have a headache. Wish me luck on my exam & validations on Thursday and Friday! :)