>Super nice Clinical Instructor

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It’s Thursday, which means I had clinical today n the school system. It was a VERY slow day; a lot of filing, twiddling of thumbs and inconspicious clock checks.
An hour before the end of the day I got a call from C’s school nurse. She said his inhaler wasn’t working well and she couldn’t give him any more. I asked if she had given him the nebulizer and she said no because she didn’t think the wheezing was all that bad. Funny thing about wheezing…. if you don’t stay on top of it… IT GETS WORSE! So, by the time I got there he was struggling pretty badly. The inhaler works BEFORE the attack, by the time he starts wheezing the nebulizer is the only thing that can help him. He has moderate to severe asthma, and has had it all his life so he knows what he needs. If only she had asked him rather than assuming she knew what would work. Obviously he needs it or the doctor wouldn’t have sent orders for the breathing machine.
My instructor was very cool about it though, she excused me from Post Conference. I sent her my Care Plan and Clinical Packet (nursing school homework) and decided to spend tonight organizing my thoughts for my term paper.
The paper has to be on a topic related to OB or Peds. It can be controversial (I like that) and needs to be 15 pages long. A lot of people are doing Breast Feeding/Formula, vaccinations, and new father support. I don’t want to do something everyone else is doing but I’m having trouble deciding on something that interests me. Maybe I’ll just google “controversial pediatric/OB topics” and see what comes up.
It’s almost dinnertime and I still haven’t started anything. In fact, our kitchen is looking a little light. I haven’t been grocery shopping in too long. We have no meat in the freezer, I think all I CAN make is pasta. Yuck.
I need a maid and a butler.

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>Answering the Difficult Questions

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I have had so many ideas for posts over the past few days but I haven’t had time to sit down and actually write so of course, as always, the ideas got twisted in my head and disappeared.
I guess the underlying theme with everything that is going on is the fact that we are approximately 3/4 of the way through this deployment. We are on the downhill finally and it feels so good but at the same time we still have about a quarter of the deployment left to get through. Sometimes it feels like Homecoming is so close I can taste it, while other times I sit here saying “we still have X number of months LEFT“??????
We were in the truck today driving home and B asked me how long until Dad comes home. I told him not too much longer but that we don’t know exactly. He asked me to guess, so I responded with the best answer I could come up with that didn’t sound like too long but didn’t get his hopes up only to be let down. His reaction caught me off guard. He said “why does he have to be gone so long, I miss him, I just want him to come home now”.
For the most part our kids are used to him being gone; deployments, training, even his civilian job had him away on travel. The kids don’t know any other life and it probably wouldn’t be such a big deal if they didn’t have to constantly explain it to their friends. The boys don’t normally ask me to give them specific dates, typically they are OK with an answer such as “he will be home before so-and-so’s birthday” or “we are hoping he will be home before this holiday”.
Tonight was different, B needed something more definite. He needed to know exactly how long he had to wait and I couldn’t give that to him. It is so up in the air (as it always is with the military) that I can’t even begin to speculate on a homecoming MONTH!
I decided to tell him how many days it’s been since he left. I thought that hearing that number might make him feel better. I then told him that when I get sad and miss him I try to think of all the things I want to do BEFORE he comes home; that way I can look at it as “I only have X number of days to complete this task”. He asked me to be more specific so I gave him my goals for the remainder of the deployment.
1. Learn how to make a Topsy Turvy Cake with fondant icing.
 – the practice cake will be used at Bro #2’s baby shower and the real one will be for DH’s bday. This is an example I pulled off the Internet. I will be sure to blog about the baking experience as it is sure to be quite a fiasco.
2. Complete/Pass my OB/Peds semester of nursing school.
 – after this semester I only have one left before I graduate with my RN. Then it’s off to the BSN program.
3. Exercise more and lose more weight.
4. Organize all of DH’s clothes and give him back his side of the closet.
 – I have taken over the entire closet and most of his clothes have ended up in boxes and shoved into the back of C’s closet.
I explained to him that I have a lot to do in a short amount of time and if I think of it like that it doesn’t seem so bad. He then asked me what his goals should be. We came up with quite a few ideas but narrowed it down to a more “do-able” size. His list was a little more fun than mine.
1. Learn to count to ten in Spanish.
2. Organize all of his toys in his closet so he has a separate bin for each activity i.e. Lego’s, art supplies, etc.
3. Get to level 30 on Farmville
 – yes, he does have a Facebook account but he only uses it to play Farmville and post pictures for his Dad. 
4. Grow an inch taller.
5. Get 15 A’s on spelling tests, vocab tests or math tests.
After discussing all this he seems to be feeling better. It’s just so hard to see the kids struggle to handle a deployment because I know how hard it is as an adult and time moves even slower for kids.
How do you all handle these questions from your kids?
How honest/vague are you about length of time?
Are there any goals you can think of that would be fun for all of us to try to achieve before homecoming?
I was thinking of making a Family Goal; something we can all work on together but I can’t come up with any ideas that will interest all of them. What the 14 y/o wants may not be what the 9 y/o thinks is fun and the 12 y/o is just plain hard to please.

>Appreciating what I have

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I had another clinical in the school system today. It was an average day; a couple G-tube feedings, a bunch of tummy aches, a very VERY young girl menstruating already (I can’t imagine getting it at that age, I was practically still sleeping in a crib at her age), and a few asthmatics.
The thing is, (and I know I’ve talked about this before but it’s such an emotional experience I have to get it off my chest) everytime I go into this school I see these kids with these stories that just make me wish I could make it all better for them. I see kids with developmental delays which is sad in and of itself, but when I read in their files that the mother used excessive amounts of illegal substances during pregnancy; it just makes my heart break. Children who were born addicted to a substance and will spend the rest of their lives fighting health ailments stemming from that exposure…. all I can think is “how can a mother do that”?
And it’s not just the medical issues; the poverty that some of these children live in is something I am so incredibly grateful that my kids and I have never experienced. It can’t be assumed that these kids have eaten breakfast that morning; and it’s not because they chose not too (like one of my kids tends to do if I don’t FORCE him to eat) but because there is not enough food in their home.
Then there are the social issues. The swearing, the disrespect, the complete disregard for rules. Not all of the kids are like this, but the kids who do display this behavior astound me. Have you ever heard a 5 y/o say the “F” word???? I hadn’t until I began this clinical. It is shocking the way some of these kids talk to their teachers.
Each Thursday I come home and it doesn’t matter how messy the house is or how much homework we all have to complete in just a couple of hours; the only thing I can think of is how perfect my three kids are. I am so lucky to have three perfectly healthy boys. I am lucky to have a husband who will do anything to protect us and provide for us; we may not be rolling in money but we have food on the table and health insurance, we live in a town that has an exceptional school district, etc. My boys are sweet, well mannered and as if they weren’t already perfect enough… handsome!
I really am lucky, and now I need to go prove my love for them by washing their dirty laundry.

>Cookie Care Package

>First, I’d like to encourage everyone to head over to the Marine Parent’s page and link up. She’s hosting the Military Monday blog hop. It’s a great way to meet other MilSpouses and loved ones. Hope to see you there!

So, today was nice. The boys and I decided to make cookies to send to DH. Of course, after the first couple minutes I was left alone in the kitchen to finish up, but it’s ok; it’s the thought that counts and they DID want to do it. They are boys, there is only so much baking I can expect them to be excited about. They did decorate the boxes though which is good because I am not a very good artist.
We started out with the Pecan Bars, they came out great. It was my first time making these and I think it was a successful venture.
Then we made the Snickerdoodles. They came out great; as always. I don’t remember where I got the recipe, but it is good.
We then made Oatmeal Raisin Cookies which are DH’s favorite. I don’t like raisins but he says it’s a good recipe so I’ll take his word for it.
He wants photo paper but he said he doesn’t want me making a special trip to the store just for him. I told him I already had some at the house (not true) so I planned on going to the store today to get it. Well, I forgot some stuff at the grocery store so I decided to just get the photo paper tomorrow when I go out. That means I won’t ship this out until Tuesday. It also means I have more time to bake some different recipes.
I have to read a couple chapters for Peds but I think I should work on my care plan tonight rather than reading. It’s due Thursday but I always put it off and then stress out the day before. I want to try to avoid doing that if at all possible.
More snow coming this week. The kids have had more snow day in the past two weeks than we did the past two years combined. In fact, I don’t think we had a single snow day last year. Crazy!
Things are looking better. I have had a rough time since R&R. I have missed him so much that I have been less than functional. Today I feel better. I am not completely out of my funk, but I have made a significant improvement. I haven’t cried today or even felt like I was trying to hold back tears. That’s a good thing. Let’s hope I’m finally adjusting; I can’t keep going through my days like this. I have to get back to normal.

>Snowed in

> Today we got some snow.

Yes, those are two full sized grills underneath that snow. This picture was taken around 1100, it continued to snow until about 2030. You see that knob right there in the center of the picture? Yeah, you can’t see it anymore.

I went out with the intention of snowblowing this morning (to get a head start on it) but by the time I got out there it was already taller than the snowblower. I tried shoveling the top half so I could blow the rest but my back and arms were screaming after about an hour and I didn’t even make it back from the first pass.


I gave up. I was not getting anywhere. My truck is BURIED. I am not getting out of this driveway today. My neighbor brought his Super Duty pickup over to plow….. but he couldn’t even get to the driveway. I came inside put some scrub pants on (one of the perks of being a nursing student, your work attire doubles as jammies) and made dinner for the kids.
That’s when I realized
I HAVE MY FIRST CLINICAL TOMORROW!
I panicked! The semester started this week and my clinicals this semester are in a public school.
Just as I was about to get my boots back on and head out into the night to shovel my truck out, BRO #2’s girlfriend called. Told me to turn on Channel 3. And that’s when I saw it.
Just Another MilSpouse’s Kids Public School – CLOSED
Just Another MilSpouse’s Clinical School – CLOSED
Cue the beautiful harp music with birds flying in the background.
So what did I do next? Well, I grabbed myself a big ole bowl of Jubilee Ice Cream roll, sat my absurdly wide rear end on the couch and attempted to read Chapter 34 of my Pediatrics Text.
Well, I got through the first two pages but the game show the kids were watching on TV proved to be MUCH more entertaining.
I am going to head back out first thing in the morning with a shovel and just do as much as I can. I have plenty of Ibuprofen stocked so I can whimper tomorrow night, but I HAVE to get rid of this snow.

>Last Clinical of Nursing 200

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Clinical is over for the semester! I can’t believe how FAST it went. Seriously, this semester flew by. It’s crazy to think that last semester I was considering dropping out because my teacher was so mean and now here I am finishing up my third semester. We only worked the floor until noon and then we went downstairs to the cafeteria to have post conference and final evaluations. My teacher had super awesome compliments for me. She kept telling me that my Care Plans are perfect and that she loves reading my journal and soap notes because I really pay attention to the patient and all the different factors that go into their care. She said that she has found that I have difficulty expressing my thoughts but on paper I have no problem. I kept waiting for her to say something bad but she never did. I FLOATED out of that hospital.
It’s hard to believe that I will be an RN in two semesters. Well, that is IF I pass my final exam on Tuesday. I sure hope it isn’t as bad as some people are saying. It makes me very nervous.
At clinical today I felt really bad for this one girl. I keep thinking about her and I wish there was something I could do. We’ll call her Helen. At the beginning of the semester Helen told me that her husband was in the Guard. As I’ve said before this is a non-military area so finding a fellow MilWife is rare. A couple weeks ago she appeared upset; withdrawn and even less talkative than normal. I asked if she was ok and she told me that they had mobilized her husband and that he was going over this summer. She was upset but it was obvious that she wasn’t ready to talk. So, I let her know that I was there and she could call me anytime if she wanted to talk. Even though we might not be close friends we have a connection that civilian wives don’t have. We have the same fears and pride for our husbands and we “get it” like only other milwives can.
Anyway, today Helen was having a really bad day. She had a very tough, demanding patient. He had her running like crazy. At one point during the day another student poked her head out of a room and asked me to call Respiratory for a breathing treatment asap. I went to the nurse’s  station to get the extension but the secretary beat me to it. I thanked her and went back to checking my meds. Helen was at the med cart next to me and said “that’s my patient” I said “oh, is it”? She said yes and then said “don’t be all confused, I’m just trying to get pain meds for the patient and she was watching him because he was on the commode”. I saw that she was on the verge of tears so even though I wasn’t sure why she thought I was confused I just nodded and said ok. Then she started talking about how our teacher was going to be upset because she wasn’t there with her patient but she couldnt’ leave the meds unattended. I listened to her and finally she said “I’m sorry, thank you for letting me vent”. I smiled and told her that we all need to do that sometimes.
At noon we all gathered in the nurse’s lounge to get ready to go downstairs, but Helen wasn’t there. She was with her patient who had been incontinent all over the bed and floor. She was incredibly upset and stressed out but refused to let any of us help her.  One of the other students was pretty ticked off. She wanted to get out as early as possible and hanging around for 45 minutes made her mad. I told her that it wasn’t Helen’s fault that her patient needed extra help. She replied that even though it wasn’t Helen’s fault, it WAS her fault that she didn’t accept help to make the clean up go faster. I dropped the issue because I didn’t want to start anything but I certainly didn’t agree. This is a woman who is going through a tough time right now. Independence is something that military wives HAVE to have. We have to be able to do things on our own, we have to hold it together even when we don’t want to. Accepting help when it’s offered is something that we ALL need to work on. I don’t know what her specific reason for refusing help was; maybe she was on the verge of tears and didn’t want anyone to see her cry, maybe she was embarrassed that she didn’t get the patient to the commode in time, maybe she thought that accepting help would look bad to the instructor, whatever her reason she didn’t want help.
We went downstairs to eat lunch and she sat at a table all by herself. I kept looking over and she was just the saddest person I’ve seen. I went outside when the middle school called and when I came back in she was sitting at out table next to my seat. While everyone else was talking about going out for drinks after the final exam she started talking to me very quietly; I’m glad I heard her because she was so quiet. She started asking me about the communication I’ve had with my husband. Frequency, quality of calls, duration. Then she asked about safety; has anything changed since 2005? I couldn’t answer that question because my husband wasn’t over there in ’05 and besides I don’t know that my husband would really give me any details if it HAD been unsafe. She asked me a few more questions and appeared to be a little calmer than she had been.
I am hoping that she and I stay in touch even though the semester is over. Probably not likely because she is a really quiet person but I think she could use the support of having a friend that is semi familiar with the military and deployments. I know I could.
Anyway, that was my day.

>My Day Spent With Murphy

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Have you ever had a day that went so completely wrong that it was almost comical? Well, AFTER the day is over it becomes comical, it isn’t at ALL funny when you’re going through it.
Last night as I was trying to fall asleep (my inability to sleep lately is really starting to tick me off) I was thinking about my next blog post. I realized that the last few posts have been a bit on the negative side. I’ve been complaining about things and just venting. I had decided that today’s post would be focusing on the positive aspects of this point in my life. Almost like a belated Thanksgiving post.
Yeah, that was the plan.
That was NOT what Murphy had planned for me today. No Siree, he decided that he was going to flex his muscles and show me who’s in charge.

MURPHY’S LAW:
It is an experience common to all men to find that, on any special occasion, such as the production of a magical effect for the first time in public, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Whether we must attribute this to the malignity of matter or to the total depravity of inanimate things, whether the exciting cause is hurry, worry, or what not, the fact remains.

Ready for a run down of my day? We’ll start last night, yeah, that will give you the total picture.
Last night Z reminded all of us that December was his favorite month and that he fully intended to celebrate the arrival of December in a way that we will all be forced to join in. He then went to bed leaving us all to wonder what his mysterious warning could have implied. I went to bed at a semi-normal time last night and of course tossed and turned as I do many nights lately. I finally fell asleep around 0300.

I slept like a log. 
Until 0500 when Christams Carols began BLASTING through my house.
Z’s idea of “celebrating December” was to turn up the speakers as loud as they could possibly go as early as he could possibly get up.
So, my day began with a headache but that’s ok. I suppose it was a sweet thing that I will remember to tell his wife about when he’s older. I promise you Z, I will  embarass you!
Anyway, B begged me to drive him to school this morning. I agreed to do it despite having class this morning because I know how much he hates the hour long bus ride. As we are walking out the door he asks if he can have a Capri Sun for the ride to school. I said yes, he happily sat there drinking his juice on the way to school until we were about a block away. Somehow, the damn pouch spontaneously exploded; spraying juice EVERYWHERE. How does that even happen?  I have no idea, all I know is that he and I BOTH needed new shirts. I started to yell, but as I turned to look at him his look of shock put me in my place and I instead yelled at the Capri Sun for “throwing up on me”.
He laughed.
I drove home.
We changed.
He was late to school.
I was behind schedule.
Oh and my van was almost out of gas.
Now I would only have time to make ONE stop on my way to class. I needed gas, but I also needed coffee (thanks Z) but the gas station with a Dunkin Donuts has expensive gas and I didn’t have time to get coffee AND drive to the cheap gas station. So, I paid an arm and a leg for gas this morning, but I got my coffee.
So, I am on my way to school and the weather starts to get bad. It’s raining and now the wind is starting to gust. It’s pushing me all over the road forcing me to drive slower than I would like. I make it to school with about 2 minutes to get all my stuff and get to the 3rd floor. Parking lot is packed. I park WAYYYYYY in the back in the middle of a friggin’ puddle the size of Lake Erie. With my backpack on my back, purse on my arm, coffee in one hand and an umbrella in the other I half run/half walk across the parking lot SPLASHING through the puddles; completely submerging my new shoes in water. That’s when a gust of wind comes, blows my umbrella inside out and knocks me over. I literally FELL into the car next to me. Thank goodness it was not a new car; I would have felt REALLY bad if I had scratched someone’s car. I didn’t hit the ground (thank you Volvo) but my coffee didn’t survive. At that point I was very happy to have chosen black jeans this morning; but I was also not looking forward to sitting through a 4 hour lecture in wet pants.
I arrive to class and find the door locked. I find my classmates sitting in the 3rd floor lobby. After waiting for a half hour, we learn that the teacher cancelled class but had forgotten to inform the students. Nice, huh? The week before an exam. So, I head back across Lake Erie this time without an umbrella because I got mad and threw it in the dumpster (what the hell am I going to do with an inside out umbrella anyway?), throw my backpack in the van and start heading home. I’m a little peeved by this though because just yesterday my Doctor’s office called me with a referral to a vascular surgeon. They were booked through mid December except for a cancellation today. I had to refuse today’s appointment because of class, but if I had known class was cancelled I could have taken that appointment and gotten this whole surgery thing taken care of.
OK, so, it’s 1100 and I decide that I should go to Best Buy to pick up the xBox Santa is bringing. I call my bro’s girlfriend to make sure that I can drop it off at their place. I think I mentioned before that everything I have bought so far has been found so from here on out, all gifts are being stored at my Bro’s condo. So the girlfriend says she will be home about 1530. No problem, I had a conference with Z’s teacher at 1430 I told her I would drop it off after that.
I buy the xbox.
Come home.
Realize that I have nothing for dinner tonight.
Yell at my husband for something really stupid when he calls.
Apologize for yelling.
Yell again because I am not convinced he listened to my apology.
Apologize again.
Leave for conference.
The conference goes well, Z is doing fairly well in school. Motivation is an issue but his report card is good. I get out of there and head over to the Bro’s condo. I got there at 1520, so I sit in the parking lot and wait for the girlfriend to show up. (My bro works 3rd shift so he’s home; but sleeping and I don’t want to wake him up). I sit there watching the rain and wind out of my windshield. Now it’s 1530.
1545
1605 – I call her, no answer
1625
Finally at 1640 I start worrying about the kids. They are at home, C is babysitting but I know they are getting hungry and I need to get their homework started. Oh crap! No dinner. McDonalds it is. I call the kids but they don’t answer the phone (unfortunately, this is not an uncommon thing; none of them like to answer the phone and they always assume one of the others will answer it). So, I leave. I’m a bit ticked off that I just sat in the parking lot for almost an hour and a half. 80 minutes that could have been spent doing something usefull like cleaning the house, studying, kid homework, grocery shopping. I kept thinking that as soon as I left she would arrive. I should have left after the first 10 minutes.
I’m pulling into the drive thru when the girlfriend calls; rather than apologizing to me she tells me that she “was at the gym and totally lost track of time, you know when you just get in the zone and lose track of everything”? Ha, yeah, sure I do, like when there aren’t enough hours in the day and I have to decide between washing my hair that day and folding the three loads of laundry sitting on the couch. Yeah, sure, I know what it’s like to lose track of time because I don’t have any to spare. So, wasting 80 minutes in YOUR PARKING LOT WAS NOT COOL!!!!! This is what I wanted to say, instead I told her it was ok, no harm done. Boy, did I eat my words on that one, but I digress.
With 3 Large Value Meals on the passenger seat I am now on my way home, passing through an intersection with a green light when a car comes SCREECHING to a halt with his bumper about 2 feet from my driver’s door. I swerved, hit a curb, knocked my van out of alignment BAD and knocked over one of the sodas. Heart still pounding I turn onto the road that leads up the mountain to my house. About a block from my street I see traffic being turned around. OK, bout face, turn up the next street. Nope, blocked. I go all the way down the mountain, cross to the other side in the next town over.
Not going that way either. What the heck is going on here? The only other way home is going up and around to the other side of mountain via the highway. At this point I’m getting a little upset. I call the boys again. No answer. I call each of their cell phones, and get no answer. Now I’m not feeling good. I am ready to cry. I can’t get home, and I can’t get in touch with the  kids. I start letting it ring constantly and calling back when I get the voicemail. FINALLY, they answer. The home phone isn’t working because the power is out, and the cell phones don’t have reception unless they stand in the doorway. They had been trying to answer the phone but without the wireless router working the phones have no service. I told them I was going to be home as soon as I could, I had to go around the mountain. Of course, I get to the other side and who do I meet???

My good friend, the traffic blocker.
This guy tells me that some trees went down and there are power lines all over the roads. There is one more route I can take and it’s a dirt road, but at this point, if they have it blocked off I have decided that I am just going to leave the van on the road and walk home. Thankfully, it is not blocked. I drive home in the pitch blackness. I pull into the driveway and carry in the cold burgers and fries. The boys greet me with smiles and hugs. They had taken all the flashlights in the house and had put them on various surfaces in the house. There was one in the bathroom, three in the kitchen, a big one sat in the center of the living room on the floor and mini lights were scattered everywhere. They each were armed with no less than four lights a piece. There were flashlights hanging from their necks, looped through belt loops, stuffed in their socks, etc. Every single one of them was on. It was brighter in the house than it normally is when the power is on! I gave them all HUGE hugs and told them the story of my drive home as we turned off most of the lights to conserve batteries. We then played Pictionary by candlelight.
As soon as I was home I felt better. As difficult as the day had been it culminated in such a stressful event that the simple act of coming home and getting a hug from my boys made me happier than anything in the world. It’s funny how that works. For every up there is a down, one of the philosophers that I studied years ago talked about how our postive and negative emotions are experienced in equal extremes. In simple terms he explained that if a person feels a sadness of -5 he can therefore feel happiness of +5. Theoretically, the more unhappy a person is the happier they can potentially be. It sounds strange at first but he believed that the trying times in our lives are necessary to truly value the happy times.
I got nothing accomplished today, I drove around the state most of the day for cancelled classes, absent minded family members, and downed power lines. Mr. Murphy was with me the entire time however that last part of the day; when I was just trying to get home to my kids was by far the worst part but it’s also what made the remainder of the evening so good. If I had been able to come straight home after getting their burgers I never would have played that game of Pictionary with them because the power would have been on and I would have been working on my Clinical Packet for school. If that tree hadn’t gone down, I would have walked in the door 2 hours earlier and said “hi, how was school” to each one. But that tree DID go down, so while I was driving around upset and on the verge of tears, the boys were having a good time playing with flashlights. When I got home instead of just saying “hi” I got a big strong hug from each one. My care plan is not finished and I have just spent entirely too long writing this post, but I don’t want to forget this. I needed to get it down, because if I don’t I won’t remember how good it felt to play Pictionary with them on a school night when I had so many other things to do.
Murphy, I know I complain about you and I was not happy that you insisted on hanging out with me all day today, but looking back, I suppose I am glad you did. Your presence today made me appreciate the simple things tonight. Now, please go away!

>Weekend Recap

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It’s been a crazy few days. I am trying to make cookies and side dishes ahead of time for Thanksgiving. I tried to make a schedule but I’m not following it real well. I have managed to get a few things done but not nearly everything I wanted.
Here’s a rundown of things that have happened or problems I’ve encountered:
Z found all the Christmas presents I had gotten so far and then blackmailed me by threatening to tell his brothers what they were getting if I didn’t give him one of the gifts. What sucks is that it wasn’t even a gift for him; it was B’s present. Ugh, so now I have to return them and buy new things.
My washer/dryer was supposed to come yesterday and I desperately needed them. I have been slacking on the laundry because I was so excited to get the front loaders. I have baskets and baskets of dirty laundry, so much of it that Z has no more clean pants and socks are becoming scarce. Well, Best Buy called and said that the washer was in stock but the dryer wasn’t going to be in until the day before Thanksgiving. They agreed to come out as scheduled with the washer though, and I figured that the washer will spin the clothes so much better that my crappy dryer SHOULD be able to dry them without too much issue. I was right (thank goodness).
This thing is awesome. I am so happy. It sings a little song when I turn it on. It has a timer so I know exactly how long each cycle takes and it’s a big display so I can read it from the front door without going all the way down there. The clothes get so much cleaner too. And the spin cycle is ridiculous, the clothes are practically dry when they come out. There is a funny smell inside it though and the clothes smell a bit like plastic right out of the washer, but after the dryer the smell is gone so I can’t complain. The only thing is that I wonder if the dryer will have a funny smell too, in that case the first few loads should probably be towels and socks; at least until the new smell goes away. Regardless, I am super friggin happy. I love my new washer. And I know I will love the dryer too, I can’t wait for it to get here.
I called Best Buy about the power cord for my computer, they had said it would take 2-3 business days for delivery, but it’s been 3 weeks. Anyway, they are going to send me (free of charge) a power cord and a new extended life battery. WOOHOO, can’t wait for that!
My mom came down Thursday night and stayed here overnight to help me get the kids on the bus Friday so I could go to Clinical. She wound up staying until today which was nice. She kept me company while I baked cookies and started freezing the side dishes for Thanksgiving.
Speaking of clinical, I can’t believe the semester is almost over. It feels like it just began. Our teacher said that our careplans are so good that this will be the last one we have to turn in. That is awesome. They take up so much time; I understand the importance of them but 19 pages is a lot. We actually only have two clinical days left, because we have the Friday after Thanksgiving off. It’s crazy to think that this time next year I could be working as an RN.
So, I wound up making a Maple Cookie recipe that I found in a Martha Stewart magazine. They turned out super yummy. I was surprised. My mom loved them so much that she got up in the middle of the night last night and chowed down. She apologized, but honestly it was more of a compliment than anything else. I sent her home with a bag of them to share with her husband and my brother. I think I will send the rest in a care package, I know he will like them. I will just make another batch for Thanksgiving. The recipe is here, I strongly recommend trying it.
My mother in law called the other day; she told me she was sending me a gift certificate to a fancy restaurant; she wants me to use it on R+R. I told her that the boys and fancy restaurants don’t mix well. She told me that I should leave the kids home and just go with my husband. I tried to explain that we don’t go out alone. We have never gone out without the kids. Sitters were too expensive and we didn’t live near family; so after 12 years of marriage we have never been on a date. She told me that “it’s called romance” and that I should “add some to the marriage or it will never last”. SERIOUSLY?!?!?! I told her our marriage was fine despite the lack of dates and tried to explain that we actually enjoy going out with the kids. We may not go to fancy restaurants but we have fun… as a FAMILY! There was no getting through to her. She insisted that it is necessary to do this type of thing once a week (while he’s home, I’m assuming). It’s hard to take advice from a 67 y/o divorcee who has not been able to keep a boyfriend for more than a couple months the entire time I’ve known her. Of course I did not say any of this though. She was not letting up, and she began insisting that I drop the boys at her house when we go. So, I told her that R+R is such a short period of time that I don’t think it’s fair to steal a whole night from the kids. They are just as excited to see him as I am, spending one of the precious nights of R+R with their grandmother is not going to be fun for them. If we were to do something like that it would be after he’s home for good; not during R+R. We hung up soon after that because she began to get upset with me and I didn’t want to get yelled at. I’m curious to know what other people think, is going on dates routinely a necessary part of marriage or is family time a good substitute?
The timer is going off on the oven; back to baking for me. This wound up being a much longer post than I had anticipated. Hope I didn’t bore you all with my rambling. Talk with ya soon.


>Wisdom comes with age

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I had the most amazing clinical day. My patient celebrated her centennial birthday some time ago, and she was completely lucid! She cracked me up, although she was extremely hard of hearing and could not understand me at all (my voice was “too soprano” she could only hear “baritone voices like that nice looking doctor in the hall”. haha she really was a character.
She asked me a lot of questions but because she had trouble hearing me she would try to guess my answer. I would shake/nod my head and we would laugh when she would get it wrong.
When I first walked in to her room she told me that I looked “educated”. She said “I can always see it in a person’s face, it’s this look that you wear, it looks like this” and she made a serious face with eyebrows raised. I laughed and made a funny face at her and she said that even doing that I STILL look educated. So I took off my stethoscope and she said “ok, now you look dumb”. Too funny.
Everytime I left the room she would tell me that she was going to stay right there until I came back and that I need to stay beautiful.
She asked me how old my mother was; I suppose that was her way of approximating my age. I told her 57 and she went on and on about what a spring chicken my mother was and how she must be loving life right now. Then she drifted off into her own thoughts. I listened to her lung sounds and continued my assessment. A few minutes later she said “being old isn’t fun, I feel so needy and I don’t want to be”, she explained that she was a farmer’s wife and she used to be a tough lady. Now she needs help to sit up. I wish I could have explained things to her better but she couldn’t understand me and it was just too much to write on a piece of paper for her. Prior to the surgery she was almost completely independent. I don’t know that she will get back to that point, nobody can know that for sure, but I think she needs to believe that right now. I stopped what I was doing and held her hand for a while; I knew she was thinking about her life because sometimes she would smile and once I think I saw a tear form in one of her eyes. She really was such a sweet lady.
She really made me think about life though. Everything is relative. My mother may not feel young right now, but to my patient she is a “spring chicken”. I may sometimes wish that my husband and I had had a fourth kid because I really wanted a girl, but for my patient she was raising her kids during the depression and they were limited by finances; she always wanted three kids but they knew they couldn’t afford to feed another mouth. I miss my husband right now because deployments are hard and no matter how much I envy my family for never being away from each other for more than a week or two; she outlived not only her husband but almost all of her friends, and as scary/terrible as it is to imagine… at her age it is not impossible for her to outlive her children. My point is, no matter how much I feel sorry for myself there is someone out there who doesn’t think I have it so bad and my in fact consider me lucky.
She was a very wise woman, I feel privileged to have been able to spend a few hours with her today. I did not speak much due to her hearing, but I listened with more than just my ears. She knows so much, and has a century of wisdom.
At the end of my shift I realized I had left my stethoscope in her room; I went back for it but it was gone. I have no idea where it went, I asked a few people and they all said the same thing “stethoscopes have legs” meaning I will probably never see it again. That sucks because it was new and I realllllly liked that one. Not to mention it wasn’t cheap. But oh well, I gained something far more valuable today. I had a patient who has helped me start to realize that things are all relative. I may feel like a stressed out military wife with three sons who drive me crazy, a messy house and a Thanksgiving dinner menu to create; but she sees me as an educated YOUNG girl who she relies on to take care of her while she recovers from surgery. She doesn’t know about the dishes in my sink, the unfolded laundry or the broken cabinet door in my kitchen. She sees me as a strong person. I liked who I was through her eyes. She gave me confidence today. Of course, it may not last long, I’m sure next week I’ll be back to the timid, second-guessing, clumsy bundle of nerves I normally am; but for today I was her student nurse and I am so grateful to have had that experience.

>ICU experience

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Friday was my ICU rotation in clinical. It was pretty good. I enjoyed my time there, but probably should have asked my teacher ahead of time what information was needed for the paper due. I was under the impression that I had to write a short care plan for each patient I took care of, but I wound up helping out with all the patients on the floor that day. I went through each chart and documented EVERYTHING for each patient, in between running between rooms. I was following two different nurses and they both expected me to be helping them with everything; I heard my name yelled more than a few times that day; I ran between the two nurses, but one of them (the nice one that I actually enjoyed following) wound up “letting” the other nurse have me. So, instead of helping administer meds and listening to discussions with the doctors I was being ordered to clean up incontinent patients and setting up rooms for new admissions.
It was a good day though, I did learn quite a bit. I found out (at the end of the day) that I only need the demographic info on each patient, but the paper only has to be on a single patient of my choosing. That should make things easier.
Only four weeks left this semester. It is FLYING by. Next semester I’ll be doing Peds/OB which should be interesting.