Breaking Blue

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This sweet wine mug was a gift from a dear postpartum nurse friend and ally!  It’s great, she’s great I miss the people in black&white ❤

Remember when I spent my last semester of nursing school binge-watching Breaking Bad?  Then there was Downton Abby (and then Matthew died and I couldn’t move on).  A few weeks ago I stumbled on this number ‘Jane The Virgin’ thinking it would be a re-make of ‘Secret Life of the American Teenager’ (yes…I watched that too..) and it basically is.  Except for it knows that it’s a crazy show and totally plays it up so it works!  Anyways, a few weeks ago I found out that the newest episodes aren’t on Netflix.  Shoot.  So while waiting for J.T.V to get updated on the streaming service I’m willing to pay for, I resorted to test-tasting ‘Orange Is The New Black’.  Ever heard of it?  Probably.  I’d heard of it but really wasn’t planning on watching it because watching a story about a gal in a ladies prison just didn’t appeal to me (…and a high school science teacher becoming a methamphetamine drug lord did….?).  After 2 episodes before working a nightshift  I couldn’t keep going.  Not because I wasn’t getting into the storyline a bit, but because all the emotions it was swimming through (and some of the character/environmental set-up) was totally giving me deja-vu to working in a womens hospital.  Not the way to walk into night shift eh? Oh yeah, and I’m not saying that my workplace is a prison.  Just that is shares a lot of the same emotional waves and colleague relations that are portrayed in this particular drama that takes place in a womens prison!  (but without the lesbian sex), and we have a ton of sharp things everywhere that we aren’t strip-searched for.  Thank goodness because I’d be incarcerated for the rest of my life for the number of times I find packages of needles in my washing machine…oops.

I can’t figure out if I like this show or not.  It depends how close I am to my next shift.  But for real this so reminds me of learning the ropes of bedside nursing (especially womens health!!) Not so much about patient-nurse relations but more of nurse-nurse relations.  It’s a total jungle out there. If you work in a hospital you know what I mean.  As a new nurse you are the Piper Chapman of your environment and you will probably meet a Miss Claudette, a Red, a Nicky, and maybe a Yoga Jones.  You will most definitely have a Crazy Eyes on your unit.  A lot of people won’t be able to recall her name but they definitely know who she is by some notable feature .  Nothing labels you as the unit ‘Crazy Eyes’ quite like running into a resident in a public restroom outside of work and staring at them for about 30 seconds before saying:

Me: “you work at Magee right?  So do I.”

Resident: “oh! yeah. I know you…” *looks confused*

Me: “it’s the hair.”

Resident: “It really is.”

So here’s the scuttle at work and life:

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When your preceptor surveys your face after saying you’re going to do something solo…

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When the physician points out the stupid thing you did, and another nurse looks at you with the “What The Heck Is She Even Doing?..Look” (the answer is: I DO NOT KNOW! I’ll let you  know when that changes, but if you’ve got a minute to spare I could really use another set of hands to help me slap a band-aid over whatever this nutzo situation is! K. Thanks.)

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But you still manage to behave accordingly:

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Angrily shoving your scrubs into the scrub machine’s mouth after a bad day:

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…but when you get into your shower:

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Nothing like a hot shower with the essential oils of “Failure” “Shame” and “Insecurity”

When you catch a nosy family member looking at the computer chart in the patient’s room and deciding they can interpret the fetal heart rate tracing/contraction pattern to the patient instead of you.

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Patient’s Mom: “so when do we go for a c-section?”                        Me: “labor is long.”

Postpartum Throwback: When it’s 30 min before shift change and you have a mag patient who just lost BOTH IV access sites, and a patient being ruled out for a PE all the sudden:

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How the heck am I going to explain this to the oncoming nurse??!

How I actually spend my off days:

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When your admission is kinda bossy/defensive and says she’s going to have a natural birth…

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Listen, I’m all for you achieving your dream of feeling your vagina rip in half but how about you tone it down and just see how this goes eh?  Nobody is going to force an epidural up your spine, we  won’t need to because I’m 80% sure you’ll try to put it in yourself at some point. **Really guys, I’m a full on supporter of natural-goers, when they get it done it’s so cool and you feel so happy for them because they are proud of themselves–as anyone should be after having a baby no matter how they do it!

What the Mother-Baby unit looks like between 10am and 1pm and everyone is trying to leave. (Doctors, nurses, patients, discharges, students, and visitors all trying to move at the same time in the same place.  Oh, plus babies.)

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When a (rather bossy-self-important-slightly-too-well-read) patient says that her pain isn’t under control because we’re giving her Motrin and her doctor said to take ibuprofen. 

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Let’s fix that med order STAT!….

LDR vs. Postpartum on a Bad Day:

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**This is for funny sake, we all have bad days and sometimes the nature of our positions sort of pits us up for frustration towards other departments even when it really isn’t anything the other did.  You’re just a tired grump who doesn’t want a 6:50pm admission.

Being asked to do skin-to-skin in the OR when you have 5 scheduled and 2 surprise c-sections back to back:

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Trying to use the new online scheduling system:

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When you’re about to go into a room to NAN a baby and a provider (whom you’ve never seen before in your life) pulls you aside and says “I know she’s planning on bottlefeeding but can you just get her to breastfeed?  Tell her the baby looks like he wants to breastfeed.” You:

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*I will never guilt-convert a mom to breastfeeding.  I will offer/explain and if she seems curious I’ll help her, encourage her etc… BUT if she flat out says she’s bottlefeeding, has 1+ other kids I’m not even going there. 

Charge nurses making assignments for the next shift:

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 When parents watch you do anything in the nursery:

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 When your patient tells you she’ll never send her baby to the nursery because “they hit the babies down there!”…ok so I’ll make a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ crib card for your kid…

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When you see the next shift come on and you’re team is exploding with deliveries, security has been called several times for crazy family members and a then there’s a Code Blue:

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So I tried to find more nice-not-irritated GIFs and funnies to share with you about how many super cool patient and nurse interactions I’ve had recently too and then I got tired of making my computer over-heat with all the animations on it’s desktop. In case I never told you (because I never talk to you anymore..) I had a little work-shift recently.  I transferred from the Mother-Baby Unit to Labor & Delivery.  You know what is funny?  (and kind of sad) for the time I was feeling the itch to do something else the only thing I was sure of was that I didn’t want to do L&D.  I was 100% positive that it was the last place on nursey earth I would willingly sell myself too and so now I’m there…makes total sense.  No really, for me it kinda does!   Lately my life trend has been “Everything happening out of the blue and all at once or not at all”.  So I guess this fits.

Leaving my first nurse job was really hard because it’s hard to leave somewhere you finally feel somewhat comfortable/capable, and where you’re plugged into the social scuttle with friends and people who look out for you and help you survive the day.  Entering a different unit in the same hospital doesn’t have all the difficulties of changing work environments entirely but it still has it’s share of transitional oddities.  People can be familiar with you but not have the same connection and support that you built with your previous unit.  That takes time and unfortunately you sort of have to prove yourself all over again 😦 And by that I mean you have to demonstrate that you are able to carry out safe patient care on that unit and contribute to your team effectively.  I remember this from starting on postpartum too, it felt like everyone had to be my teacher and not my friend and I was drowning.  This is not bad really, it is how it has to be while you are new until you can swim without arm floaties.  Plus, it’s better to have more eyes on you than too few.  But being the new kid on the playground is lonely, you know how that is.

So for now I’m helping birth the bebbies and living like anyone would live when they see a lot of concentrated glory and sin.  Which is basically living to go home and sleep off your emotions.  I am actually terrified of each shift I have yet to complete of my labor/delivery nurse life and my main coping mechanisms are melatonin, yoga and car crying.  At this rate I’ll live till I’m 30.   *JOKES GUYS,jokes.*  I’m probably going to make it a few more years after that but the whole living in terror of not knowing how to handle a situation or doing something that might hurt a patient or kill their baby (not to mention the possibility of being torn in half by the law if they take you to court) is a little overwhelming when you think about it for more than 5 seconds…

The other day Jonathan was encouraging me after work by saying how if there was a situation in which I didn’t know what to do or was scared all I needed to do was call for help.  My response was not my proudest moment but it was the eruption of a cold fact–help isn’t always a certainty.  There are times when there is nobody available to come help.  The charge nurse is in a delivery, your team is all having issues at once.  The whole unit is trying to bail out the water but we feel the boat struggle to stay above water.  And it’s true for all of medicine but so so much in birth—Minutes Matter.  Each minute waiting for a baby’s heart rate to return to baseline is another minute of potential wasted time if it ends in going to the operating room.  What if I wait too long?  What if my slowness to act or know what to do causes permanent damage to a newborn or worse–permanent sorrow to a family?  What if I act incorrectly and loose the respect of my coworkers and the confidence of my patient?  What if I try to do the right thing and then I get an email in my inbox to have a conference with the manager over a bad situation?  What if I get deposed and find out in that case I forgot to chart my interventions? So yes, in most cases I always have help at hand.  But I have to think and prepare like I will have none.  Maybe this isn’t the best way to think but for now it’s how I’m learning to cope with great responsibility and great fear of what can happen.

Aside from the gloom and doom of my catastrophic “chicken little” style thoughts up there I can’t not give great admiration and credit to the nurses I work with, both in my postpartum experience and now in labor &  delivery.  They are super and I love watching each individual nurses strengths.  Someone is a toco wizard while another is awesome at IV’s and another can bring calm to any crazy meltdown, not to mention the charge nurses who make you feel like things are just gonna have to be O.K. no matter what.  There’s nothing quite like needing help and the nurse who walks in the door saves your nursey butt! (or at least makes you look less dumb in front of the patient) Believe me, I know this feeling well 😉   When staffing is horrible and the expectations placed by management are insane, nurses protect their own.  The nurses I watch in the labor suite survive on teamwork and maybe that’s part of why I fear the breakdown/lack of the team.  In reality over the short time I’ve been learning how to do labor&delivery I have always had helpful teams and preceptors.  I know that 99% of the time that is the case and it’ll be fine.  But that doesn’t really make me feel less crazy.

I think the thing that keeps me level (at least while on the clock) is meditating on the belief that God goes before me in that next shift.  He already knows the patients I will care for and he has predetermined that our paths will cross as part of his plan.  Even when I am angry, fearful and don’t see a good reason for things to occur in the way they occur or when I feel extremely incompetent to deal with a patient or situation.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

The other day I was discussing the question of what make it ‘easier’ to believe in Heaven.  My thoughts about Heaven and Hell have changed over my life and now Heaven to me is when God makes everything right, redeemed, and relationships whole again.  Hell is a space without God and therefore void of relationship–which to a creature built for relationship is death.  Seeing sin and sorrow doesn’t weaken my belief that there is a God or Heaven, it just heightens my need to see them.  Listening to a man curse at the mother of his child, seeing fear in a man’s face as his wife is emergently whisked away to the operating room, looking at a mother’s face fall when the last bit of hope for a miracle is dashed and her stillborn is really dead.  To zip a tiny body bag shut over small blue feet decorated with a yellow tag.  Those are the moments when our souls simultaneously cry out “God, why!?” and “God…when?”.  And after that surge, there can be a small peace.  A small place of great calm and rest in the hope of Heaven.  Not in a self-righteous place of reward for earthly living, but in the real dwelling place of a relational God who pursues us most fervently in the midst of our sin and our broken world.   The Heaven he will build on earth in His own time, which is far beyond our comprehension.  So I guess my real coping mechanism is just I have to believe that it won’t be this way someday, and that for now there is wonderful glory in even the darkest moments through the kind souls I work with and the souls we are privileged to care for.

As always, if all that I just said there isn’t your cup of tea that is all good and I just say those things because it’s my blog and I’ll theologically cry if I want too but am so happy you stuck around even if it was just for kicks.  So much love to you!

Thanks for listening!  Hope you’re day is rad.

Also, if the title of this post is confusing and irrelevant, you’re right.  It was my weak attempt to referencing one of my favorite TV shows and the change from me wearing black&white scrubs to blue scrubs.  Haha, thanks for indulging me..

 

 

 

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The Cure For Paper Cuts

So I had this long beautiful post-NCLEX post all typed up for ya just in the final stages of filtering out the excessively wacky brain leakage and then yesterday happened. Yesterday was a huge brick in the face and ended with 3 therapeutic measures,

1.  burning stuff

2. sugar

3.  grandpa’s old cough syrup.

…all combined unapologetically.

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Before I share this antidote for the paper cuts of life, I want you to interpret this sign:

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You are probably a smart cookie and perhaps can translate this to me.  I wish you were in the baby subaru with me when I parked in the most fateful zone and came back to a subaru-less spot just 1.5 hours later.  Let it be known that it is the worst time of the year to need to drive your vehicle anywhere within the downtown state college area (ArtsFest=FartsFest.  Used to like it but now I hope it drowns in parking tickets).  After forgoing more than 2 other parking spaces that I believed were risky zones to park in, I chose this spot, practically a state away from where I had to be so looking back I might as well have simply parked perpendicular to the road in the middle of Beaver Ave and it would’ve cost exactly the same amount.  You may be looking at these 4 bass-awkwards signs and see exactly what the powers that be see but I am a lowly civilian who saw this as a “park here for 2 hours, but after that=towed”.  Turns out that red arrow did not mean the tow zone was in the yard (which I figured was a silly sign to make anyway because most people probable know not to park in people’s front yards, but maybe that had been an issue here?….whatever.  I park.) Came back.  No Car.

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After calling all 3 towing companies in the state college area, full of motherly anger and rage at whoever was the evil-doer that kidnapped my angel of a car against her will, I was informed the baby subaru was out in Timbuktu awaiting pickup with a hefty $115 kidnapping charge AND an extra smack in the nose from the local police in the form of a ticket (slowly pouring salt water over the mother of all paper cuts).  The towing guy was the nicest person all day so I couldn’t be mad at him, “oh, ma’am…you do look upset…”-Friendly Tow Man (I decided he was my ally and the real enemy was the State College Borough).  After picking up my angel car and feeling like the worst car-parent ever I went back to the war-zone of downtown to (in my mind) wreak justice upon the horrible government and their ability to park wherever they @#%$ well please.  (Sorry, the last time I cursed as much as I did yesterday was junior year of nursing school). That visit went just as realistically as you’d think, they don’t really give two cares about fresh penniless nurses trying desperately to follow the parking laws.  As I seethed in the corner of the parking department, paying my ticket with smoldering eyebrows, I silently wished the biggest IV needles and un-lubricated catheters upon their future hospital stays.  (WOAH, that is mean.  Sorry I’m not sorry yet.) End story:  If I ever have money to burn (never will this happen) I will use it to park wherever I want in the most obscene places all over State College, PA.  I will continue to do so until my penalty fees are funding 90% of the local government, to which then I shall immediately stop parking like a nut leading them to a financial car crash.  (yes I understand that also would never happen but let me pretend).

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Well, yesterday just wasn’t my day.  But this year has been at least an A- so win some, lose some.   SO. It’s been a little while since an update and a lot of things have been in the works…in a nutshell:

I’M A BONAFIDE HONEST-TO-FLIPPIN’-GOODNESS REGISTERED NURSE.

Can I get an “R-N”???!! (pronounced like “AMEN!”) 

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So yes, there’s that, and there’s also way more detail and story where that came from, which I will tell you in a future post.  Anyways, I’m Registered and I want those parking villains to KNOW IT.  Not that it would help my futile cause at all but I will say that walking into the Mordor The Parking Office I had a little extra sass in my off-balance step because all I could think of while stomping up the cement steps (refraining from a very tasteless gesture I was a little too tempted to make at all security persons in view) was “Do they KNOW who I AM?!?!….I’m A NURSE.”   …“I’m a limo driver!” …. Kind of wish I’d been in some real scrubs-y attire with my stethoscope of righteousness around my neck for this encounter.

Guys, sometimes I’m a butthead.  But you knew that.  I wasn’t a butthead to the people in real life, just a very clearly frustrated, smelly, sweaty, tired 22-year-old lady who…just can’t.

Let’s get back to how I enticed you here.  And that would be this:

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Whiskey-Kissed Salted Caramel Sauce (barely adapted from this blog. Essentially the exact same recipe but with a little salty action)

1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream (room temperature)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 Tablespoons whiskey of choice (or whatever was on sale)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt

**follow directions on this blog, just use these measurements (too lazy to type). Anyways, this is a cure if I ever did have one.  Administer in large quantities PRN till relieved.  Happy Thursday!

 

Where Is Claire?

Right Now

It’s 8:50pm EST.  We’re sitting at the porch table emotionally exalting the most glorious summer weather day I recall since June. It’s that peachy sunset evening ushered in with a chorus of crickets and a slight whisper of autumn smell on the tip of the air (but just the tiniest bit!).  We are waiting for Claire to get her little feet home  and watch LOTR with us.  Because we think we told her that was the plan…but did we tell her?…Or is this one of those time we are the only ones aware of said plans?….

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Maybe it’s not us.  Maybe it’s me. Yes I think it is just me.

This tends to happen a lot, I make plans with Claire and get all psyched about it but somehow it slips my mind to tell her.  Or, more often, I am totally delusional and could describe (and HAVE described to total strangers waiting for me to hurry up and make their latte!) conversations in great detail that I find out later—never happened. Heck, I’ve sent honest regrets to social invitations on grounds of plans with the Sister! This ends up with me sitting at home wondering where she is and not figuring out she has no idea of the events I’ve decided—Kray-Z.  

Well, at least I know my rapper/hip-hop artist name.

Which makes me wonder what other “memories” are total delusions…hmmm 

sometimes it’s best to shrug and wave!

Also, the dog is freakin’ out now over a dead rabbit in the yard.  Like he’s throwing is little self scratching against the door.  The only similar sight I can think of is Yours Truly when mom brings home groceries!

ANYWAYS, just a little shout out to you here, more in the works for ya later but in case you want a laugh (OR to make fake plans with me), I offer my delusions 🙂

Hope Claire comes home soon.  ImageShe will. She has to.

*picture is incredibly spot-on with the essence of last week’s Family FunFest 😉 Or, National Lampoon’s Domico-Domination Vacation (2013)

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Yoga 101

If you’ve talked to me for more than ten minutes and yoga comes up, you’ve received this look:

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*a lot of debate went into including this pic, but in the end I’d rather give you the real deal “look” even if it includes no make-up, double-chin action and nutzy hairs over a less accurate but more visually acceptable picture. I threw aside my photographic dignity because I care. And I want you to laugh at least once today.

Sorry about that.  I’m an insensitive nugget who doesn’t go to yoga enough.  I used to settle on the whole idea that yoga is an expensive quack-waste of time which would be better spent doing stuff like clipping your toenails upside-down or something equally more productive than twisting yourself into a human pretzel and then falling asleep in said pretzel.

Now however, I’ve seen the golden sunbeam of zen!  (or the flashlight of “why not? It won’t kill you. And if it does-you underestimated it and therefore find it a choice way to be overcome!” –Crazy Bird-Woman Thought Process.)  Want to know how that happened?  *just nod, it’ll be over like a flu shot soon 😉

Several weeks ago one of my darling friends invited me to go to a yoga class with her.  And because she’s too irresistibly fun-tastic to be around and I figured my flexibility was really on a downward spiral since entering the ripe old age of 21 I bit the bullet and said “absolutely I do!”  I panicked the day of the class (though totally playing it cool on the outside…well as cool as I get which is mildly frazzled.) knowing that the moment my hands couldn’t touch my toes everyone in there would know I was a trash-talking ex-wannabe-gym-rat just looking to zone out on the peace n’ love bus for an hour.

The Instructor:  “I want to start by asking you what poses your afraid of” (said to whole class)

Me: “EVERY SINGLE ONE.  I just want to take the Inner Peace Nap now.” (this stayed in my head (I hope so at least… it was really hot so maybe I did shout it at some point?  would never remember!) 

I learned quickly that yoga is very hard and required more patience and self-control than I can hold at one time.  The only thing keeping me grounded was the intense effort I was exerting in preventing natural bodily functions from causing a yoga studio tragedy…eh huh..TMI rebecca, T+M+I.  (but come on guys, all that rolling around?  That’ll do it.)

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Strangely enough by the end of this class I was ON MY HEAD. For real upside-down chilling out all zen-like and that jazz!! Who knew?!? I sure didn’t.  And in those upside down moments when the instructor was asking us if we really knew which way up or down was (if you haven’t lost your sense of direction and equilibrium I guess you’re doing it wrong!) I realized I do enjoy forgetting where I am, where my nose is, what my name is….etc. ya get the picture 🙂

Or if you want a better description of how I became a recovered Yoga Troll:

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And that’s the story of how I stopped being a (yoga)hater.

Because my dear Rachel Lady Girl here is a great example and buddy–AND yoga is actually fun when she is doing it too! 🙂 Plus she is very smart and knows that you don’t need post-workout recovery soy protein glitter shakes when there’s food and free beer (and my personal favorite recovery beverage) down the road!

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Yippee for Yoga! And Friends.  Mostly Friends. Thank you to them!

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