Thursday, September 25, 2008

Morning thoughts

Life has been super busy for me lately.  Balancing class, clinical, studying, family, and work have been keeping me pretty occupied.  I've come to the conclusion that I really dislike Med/Surg.  While the content is interesting --- the whole cleaning up poo, wiping butts, catheterizing people, looking at drains and tubes, measuring what comes out of them, and in general being around sick people and their accompanying smells really is not what I want to do.  Plus I have an overarching fear of "old" people which has not been assuaged by dealing with them each week.  I try to "grin and bear it" but yesterday I reached my limit -- teary-eyed -- in a failed attempt to straight cath my pt.  Thankfully this limit was met at the end of my 12 hour shift and at the completion of my 1st four-week Med/Surg. rotation.  I will get 4 weeks "off" in my Psych. rotation but then will be back with a vengeance for the last 4 weeks of this semester. 

In political news, I've got this financial crisis on my mind mainly because I've been hearing all about it for the past couple of days.  (Blame NPR.)  Also, there's craziness surrounding gas down here.  Every time we pass a gas station,  there are at least 5-8 cars in line for gas at all hours.  Gas stations are out of gas -- it's really weird.  I've never seen this type of thing in VA when I was there.  So I guess we're really in a crisis.  Thank goddess I purchased a bike in March.  I haven't driven my car in awhile.   Should I need an automobile, I just take Beloved's car.  

I took this morning off -- I'm supposed to be in class, but decided that I needed a stimulus-free morning home with the dogs.  After clinical, I find that I'm quite over-stimulated.  There's smells (generally unpleasant), constant sounds of various sorts -- people talking, beeps, buzzers, machines, phones, beepers, and harsh light.  When I get home, silence is golden.  I think I'm not meant to work during the day.  After doing both days and nights, I much prefer the relatively semi-quiet night shift.  Although we're busy at night, it's easier to work rather than spend *all* day in the hospital.  But I recently learned in my Professional Development class that night shift workers live shorter lives.  Fantastic!  

I'm so far enjoying my Birth & Global Health class.  It's wonderful to see other people learn about birth and want to create change.  I feel like it was me a few years ago.  I love to be able to help others along their journey.  Plus I'm learning too.  It's not an academically-rigorous course so I have time to enjoy the content and discussion.  Well I suppose my stimulus free morning must come to an end because I have a test tomorrow that I need to study for.  

Monday, September 8, 2008

Orgasmic Birth

School is back in full swing.  We started back the last week of August.  I am entertaining a pretty busy schedule including Med/Surg. and Psych. clinical rotations.  We started our first IVs on each other last week -- all of us succeeding!  I decided to take an elective class called Birth & Global Health taught by one of my favorite midwives at the school.  Its syllabus includes some great authors such as Robbie Davis-Floyd, Jennifer Block, Marsden Wagner, Brigitte Jordan, etc.  I'm enjoying the content very much so far.  

Before school resumed, I stole a little bit of time away from work and went home for a much-needed visit/vacation.  I miss my family terribly and enjoyed catching up with them.  We spent a lot of time just hanging out at the house, even went to the beach as a family!  I saw a lot of good friends as well.  Overall, it was a wonderful visit and exactly what I needed to start school off on the right foot.  

Working at the very busy hospital in Mother-Baby is going well also.  I took care of my first lesbian couple this past weekend.  I'm not out at work, so it's interesting to hear what co-workers had to say in reference to this family.  I wanted to chat them up but decided against it.  Also interesting this weekend was very anti-choice snippets overheard in the nursery.  I simply cannot understand this point of view at all.  I've cut down to only working 2 nights/week, but can occasionally pick up shifts if needed.  I feel like working has helped me a lot in feeling comfortable in a clinical setting, effectively managing my time with several patients, and working on interpersonal skills.  Also, I've gotten pretty excellent at breastfeeding instruction.  They call me the "breastfeeding guru" on our floor.  I will help anyone at anytime breastfeed.  I'm a breastfeeding-initiator and have helped a lot of my patients get off to the right start.  

I have been cycling pretty regularly throughout the summer.  Combined with the 15,000 steps walked each shift at work, I've lost a substantial amount of weight (circa 20 lbs.) without even really trying.  I had my first official fall from my bike last week which resulted in a huge bruise on my calf and a turned ankle.  I will survive, but am certain I will be purchasing a pannier to center my weight lower on my bike.  Right now I've got a rack with a milk crate.  While it works amazingly, when loaded, it carries weight much higher on the bike and can result in instability.  So I think I may bite the bullet and purchase a bonafide pannier to install.  

Yesterday I got up earlier than normal to attend a screening of Orgasmic Birth.  It's pretty much in line with Business of Being Born but it focuses more on the sensuality of birth.  A few orgasmic births are documented but not as many as it would seem since that is the title of the movie.  The main message was that birth can be pleasurable.  It was nicely done and I'd recommend it.  After the movie, there was a small panel of people to do a Q & A session.  It included two local midwives (CPM and a CNM) and two women who wanted to share their birth stories.  

Afterward, myself and two fellow classmates waited to speak with the midwives.  Many of the midwifery students in my program whole-heartedly support homebirth; however when trying to make contacts and connections within the birth community, CNM students face resistance with the CPMs.  This questioning of "Why do you want to be a CNM?" spurred a conversation among our group.  I really wish there was more of a collegial relationship between CNMs and CPMs.  Both have valuable knowledge and resources.  I feel that if midwives (in general) show a united front, we would perhaps have a stronger voice.  For me, the education I'm receiving provides me with important skills and knowledge that I feel are invaluable.  Additionally, working within a system in order to create change is my ideal.  A spirit of collaboration instead of divisiveness is what needs to happen.  Nurse-midwives aren't all "just as bad as doctors" -- there are a lot of midwives agitating for change and working just as hard as CPMs to see it happen.  Just because CNMs work within the system doesn't necessarily mean they agree with it.  This is an issue that continuously reoccurs within our circle.  

I have some awesome pictures that I will post later.  Sorry for the silence -- I have been keeping up with all of you even though I haven't written much myself.