Sunday, November 29, 2015

I'm a BIG girl now!

The training wheels have come off! I just completed my first full week off of orientation!

No preceptor anymore, just me...all by myself...trying not to kill any of my patients.


So far, so good. We'll see how it goes later this week, when I work three days in a row.

I just had my first overnight shift (by myself), it was excellent, actually. Though  now I feel like a zombie. I think I'll watch the last episode of "Jessica Jones" and go back to bed.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Nope, not tea.

Then there was the elderly patient who asked me politely to dump the contents of his cup down the drain before he could accidentally drink it. When I asked him why he was worried about drinking his iced tea, and that I could get him some more ice, he told me he thought he had mistaken his empty cup for a urinal in the middle of the night and peed in it.

I carefully set the cup back down and said, "Let me get some gloves..."

And I made sure to document the dark amber color of his urine.

BTW, he had THREE urinals at his bedside!

Monday, November 09, 2015


Mission: To make a jaded, seen-and-done-it-all male nurse blush.

We're transferring an elderly patient from a crappy foam bed (thanks, ED!) to a fancy-schmancy Envision bed.

I'm on the opposite side, so I have to lean across the Envision bed to slide the patient towards me. Right before we begin the transfer, aforementioned male nurse says to me:

You need to spread your legs.

My reply:

Yeah, I hear that a lot...

Totally inappropriate, I know, BUT I made my colleague blush and the other two nurses laugh their butts off, so I'm calling it a WIN!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

There's somebody behind the curtain!!!!

I'm giving a patient an extended-release potassium pill, which is gigantic and extremely foul-tasting. The patient is having a procedure, so can't eat or drink anything (except for her meds), so she can't chug a giant glass of water to get the pill down. You can't dissolve it, crush it, or chew it, either...unfortunately, the instant it comes into contact with moisture, it starts dissolving...and tastes incredibly disgusting.

Me (watching the patient shove the pill all the way to the back of her throat with her finger): Oh, it's like giving a cat a pill!

The patient's twenty-something daughter: It's like giving a blow job...

Me (inside my head): Only if you have a gag reflex...
The patient reaches out with her free hand and smacks her daughter's arm: I can't take you anywhere!

Me (to the daughter): Maybe that's not the best thing to say in a semi-private room!!!


Things to consider when you're in the hospital:
-even if you're in a private room: NO PRIVACY
-but definitely worse when you have a roommate: you can hear EVERYTHING, including when the other patient is shitting into the bedside commode.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Let's see...well, the job is going well, according to my preceptor! According to ME, I'm a failure, because I'm not handling everything by myself, all the time. I know I'm new, and I know that I truly don't know very much (still), but I want to be the best damn nurse out there. Now.

I don't want to be the person nobody wants to work with. You know, THAT person. The one who always needs help and never gets her shit done. As it is, I already feel like I don't get to spend enough time with my patients, that I'm charting all the time. I've been told that as I get more familiar with the (electronic) paperwork, I'll have all that done much faster, and more time will be freed up for actual face-time with the patients. Heh, "patients"...I have patients but no patience (for myself)!

So, skills. I'm getting there. I had to give a patient six different medications via IV yesterday, and I rocked it! I was slow getting everything together, because I'm CAREFUL. All of these meds were clear liquids, you gotta be careful and organized (pretty much OCD) with that shit!

All syringes were labeled, I knew which meds were compatible with the (continuously) running IV fluids and which weren't, which meant I knew which meds could be administered via the implanted mediport, and which had to be given IV push through a peripheral IV site. I knew exactly how long I had to push the meds (generally over two-three minutes, which is a LONG time when you have fifty other things to do and the patient is getting IMpatient, even though you've explained it to him five MILLION times...).

I've done discharges and admissions. I helped administer a unit of platelets, and I'm learning to tactfully and diplomatically DELEGATE TO THE LNA. A very necessary skill, because I don't have time for all that (sometimes literal) shit.

I've given shots subcutaneously (lovenox and insulin) and intramuscularly (flu shot, that's a honking BIG needle!).

I've given patients little cups brimming with colorful pills and capsules, scary the polypharmacy, but necessary. And I've been able to tell them what they all are and what they're for.

I've done lots of patient education, about many different things. Like nutrition and portion control. Why they might be retaining water, and what the docs might do about it. And what they, the patients, might have to do at home to deal with it.

I've done dressing changes and linen changes. I've wiped people's bums. I've catheterized one poor soul. Successfully. On the third try. Hey, it's way harder to do females! Have you looked for a female's urethra lately?!

I've gotten my first, and hopefully last, needlestick. Don't worry, the "source" came back clean, so I'm ok.

I've dealt with doctors, interns, residents, and medical students. I've spoken with PTs, OTs, case managers, social workers, and pharmacists, among many others. It's all good, nobody's has ever accused me of not being a talker!

I've discovered that patients misunderstand or mishear a lot of what you say, and that they also forget a lot you've said. And sometimes they even forget that you were the one they talked to!

Along the way, I've learned that pancreatic cancer is a fucking bitch. And that Graft versus Host Disease is a VERY SERIOUS MATTER. Ugh, what a nightmare!

I've also found out that with age truly comes more tolerance. I've had to caution some younger folk, to A: talk more quietly at the nurses' station, and B: that they never know the whole story, so stop JUDGING.

Regarding my move, I love the area. New Hampshire is glorious in the autumn, truly. And I need to move as soon as my lease is up, because you never make as much (take-home) money as you thought you would, and convenience and proximity to the hospital makes my apartment too expensive for me. I have student loans to pay back!

And I finally am in a position to make my private massage business a reality. And it's perfectly legal to do so here out of my home, which makes it a lot easier for me. I have my spare bedroom set up as a treatment room, and it's wonderful! Hopefully that will ramp up as time goes on and word of mouth spreads. We'll see.

So, that's the update. I'll try to be better about posting more frequently, I see that it's been over a month! YIKES!

Yeah, I have a blog post dying in the drafts folder, since I lost the fire to finish it as the immediate urgency waned. It was about the Day of the Needlestick. It was a Very Bad Day. I had a discharge followed immediately by an admission (like, the minute the room was cleaned), and the discharged patient was the one I got the needlestick from. I was deaccessing her mediport, and the honking big Huber needle whipsawed back and jabbed me in the thumb. Right through the glove and I started bleeding like a stuck pig. Hurt like a motherfucker. Turns out there's a safety mechanism on said needle and I didn't engage it. Whoops. Now I know.

Oh, and that day was super-busy. Only my third day on unit, I never got lunch, but I did get my period. Yeah, one of those days. I had to fill out an incident report about the needlestick. And as it was a weekend, I had to wait until Monday to go to Occupational Health for an exam and blood draw.

See, this was pretty much the blogpost I had planned, so you didn't miss out at all! Except for maybe some Atomic Level Whining, so you're better off this way.

Anyhow, I'll try to post more often, but understand: When I get home after my shift, I usually just walk the dogs, eat, and go to sleep.

This weekend I'm headed back to Mass to visit and do Fun Things. Including going to my first rave. With my twins. God help me! So maybe I'll even have something to blog about!

Take care and see you on the other side!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

I love living in the future

As I was walking the pups about an hour ago, I realized I had left the apartment without my trusty maglite. Dammit!

Now I literally couldn't see shit.

While Tucker was completing his patented PoopWalk in a spot under a shrub, I was wondering whether I should be a dick and ditch the poo, or head back to the apartment to get my flashlight. Then the figurative lightbulb went off above my head, and I remembered I had been wanting to get a flashlight app on my phone for awhile. A few seconds later, smartphone in one hand and plastic bag in the other, I was able to do my duty.

Living in the future ROCKS!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Made it!

Mostly in one piece, even.

I have a ton of bruises on my forearms and thighs from schlepping heavy stuff up stairs, ESPECIALLY the super-awesome sleeper sofa that Marko and Robin gave us.

It has a queen-sized bed, which decided to start opening when the twins and I were half-way up the flight of stairs to my apartment.

Then the unfolding bed frame kept getting lodged on various parts of the stairs. The girls and I were laughing, because at that point, what else can you do? It was either laugh hysterically or start sobbing.

But we didn't give up! And now my apartment is all set up, except for the pictures, certificates, and diplomas I still have to hang up.

Oh, and I want to set up the spare bedroom as a nice massage/treatment room. When I have some extra cash (hah!), I want to outfit it with a hot towel cabinet and nice artwork and decorations, so it has a real spa feel. Oh, and those amazing electric, rechargeable tea lights! They had those in the last spa I worked at and they are truly lovely.

I have been running really low on sleep, what with working until the day before my move, and being obsessed with getting everything unpacked, sorted, and put away. Plus the dogs have been understandably anxious, so have been waking me up super-early.

Yesterday evening, around 6PM or so, I decided to lie down with the dogs and read a little before making my dinner. Next thing I knew, the dogs were waking me up at midnight to tell me they needed to go out, NOW.


I walked them, got ready for bed (for REALZ, this time) and crashed again. Until 7AM this morning.

I guess my body and brain both needed the rest! And I STILL took a nap this afternoon, albeit only for an hour this time. I am totally taking advantage of my time off, since I start my new job on Monday (*gulp*). Not that I'm anxious about that, AT ALL. Oh, no. Never.

The best thing that happened today was meeting my new dog walker, Beth. She's this amazing lady who adopts dogs considered "unadoptable". She currently has six, but has had up to eight at a time. Needless to say, she doesn't live in an apartment! Anyway, she's very nice, comes highly recommended, and my dogs loved her. Oh, and she charges very reasonable rates, which also thrills me. I'm very relieved to know that she'll be spending time with and walking my dogs anytime I'm working a twelve-hour shift.

The second-best thing was meeting a xoloitzcuintle in real life, for the very first time!
Her name is Eva, and she's very friendly and was playful with Harley and Tucker. Heh, her owner said she has a full-body suit for the winter, and I guess she'd need that!
She looks just like this, only female:
 Image Source

So, that's the updatey info! I'll be sure to post about orientation and all that jazz next week. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

It Begins...

the Great Northern Migration, that is.

Today is my last shift at the AWESOME spa I've been working at since January. I'm far sadder to leave that job than my nursing one, which I bid adieu with nary a whimper on Friday.

Two of my children are helping me move (THANKS, TWINKIES!), but since neither of them currently has a driver's license, I have to drive my car up to New Hamster this afternoon, catch a bus back to Taxachusetts, then do the whole UHaul, schlepp, load, drive, unload, schlepp thingy on Monday. Then drive the twins back to Mass and pick up my fur babies and take them to our new home on Tuesday.

Lots of driving, ugh. Somewhere in there, hopefully tomorrow, I'm driving the UHaul over to Castle Frostbite, where Marko and Robin are very generously donating some items they no longer want or need to the cause of Furnishing Christina's Abode.

Wonder if I can smuggle Ygraine out with the furniture? She's adorable and a little neurotic, just like MY dogs...shhhhhhh, don't tell!
Somehow I think three pets aren't covered on my lease, landlord wouldn't approve.
Well, it was a nice dream while it lasted! I'll just have to give her extra scritches when I see her.

A week from tomorrow I start my new job...not that I'm nervous or anything. No. Not at ALL.

Anyway, wish me luck and that my knee doesn't give me any problems doing all this heavy lifting!
See you on the other side!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Awkward Realities of Home Health Nursing

The setting: My patient's family's apartment. It's 9:00 PM, time for me to head home. I can't just walk out and leave, I have to make sure there's a responsible adult in the home. I open his bedroom door and the rest of the apartment is dark, except for a light in the kitchen. I peek in and see my patient's younger brother, playing on his iPad at the kitchen table as he eats a bowl of cereal...

Me: Hey, Pete! Is your mom or grandmother home?

Pete (9 years old): I think my grandma is upstairs at my uncle's, I dunno where Mom is...ask my sister.

Me: OK, thanks!

I peek into the kids' bedroom, the door is open, and Hazel (age 11) is on the top bunk, perusing HER iPad...

Me: Hey, Hazel! Do you know where your mom or grandma are?

Hazel: Grandma is upstairs, sleeping at my Uncle's place. I think Mom's in her bedroom.

Hazel proceeds to climb out of bed, leaves her room, and blithely walks over to her mother's room and opens the door, WITHOUT KNOCKING OR WAITING...

Mother's boyfriend (scrambling off of mom and off the bed): I'M CHANGING MY CLOTHES!

Hazel meanwhile calmly closes the door, turns and walks back to her room.

Me: Okay then, Hazel! Your mom is home, your brother is doing fine, I'll see you next week! And you should really knock on doors before opening them. BYE!

Then I hightail it out of there, probably leaving a contrail.

How hard would it have been for mom to poke (ha!) her head into my patient's room when she got home from work, just to tell me she's actually home. Or she could've even texted me if she didn't want to do that. And have people forgotten how to lock their bedroom doors? And hell, what about WAITING TO GET BUSY WITH THE BOYFRIEND UNTIL ALL HER CHILDREN ARE ASLEEP AND THE NURSE HAS LEFT?!

I'm so glad next week is my last in homecare. I can't wait to work in the hospital, which will bring its own challenges, I'm sure, but hopefully nothing quite this crass. I move to New Hampshire a week from Monday.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Neither Ping nor Beer.

I have a nasty cold, still. I had a sore throat from the beginning of last week, and while I had hoped it was merely allergies, that hope was dashed as I started feeling worse and worse while working at the spa last Saturday.

The manager ended up sending me home because they definitely didn't want my contagious ass around the clients and (especially) the other employees.

Upon arriving home early Saturday afternoon, I put myself to bed. And there I remained until Tuesday afternoon when I had to get ready for work. Yes, I called in sick for Sunday AND Monday, even though I hate missing work and really hate losing money.

I remember brushing my teeth once or twice during that time period, but other than that, my hygiene was seriously lacking. It's tough to think about showering or brushing your hair when you're struggling to even breathe. Summer colds are the WORST.

When I finally dragged my fragrant carcass out of bed, I remarked to my roomie that my pong was more lethal that any infectious microorganism I might still be harboring. She never replied to that, I think she was holding her breath...