The Vortex Effect

Well hey! Jumping right in here, hold your breath!



A few days ago I stumbed on this article.  Which became the inspiration for my baby song list.  The baby song list? Yes, it’s the menu of songs I mumble/sing to tiny humans when they are being fussy, need a blood draw, or just need an extra dose of TLC.  The seasonal special right now?

Baby It’s Cold Outside

OHMYWORD POLAR VORTEX BABIES! I love them.  And apparently, if the baby forecast is correct, this is just the beginning of the “storm”.  Right now we’re entering some November territory, which if I remember correctly, was the start of the legendary Vortex of 2013-2014.  And if some of the theories suggested in this article are right, I guess sometimes CVS just isn’t close enough.  *shrugs shoulders* I’ll take it, the wind chill for 90% of last winter was enough to bring me to wear a week’s worth of clothes in one day, all at once.  The list of necessities became a lot shorter as the temperature fell off the livability scale.  In fact, I think the only thing I was willing to venture out for by last January was either cheap whiskey and toilet paper.  Ok new parents, ya crazy kids. Thank you for your chubby-cheeked late Christmas gifts! They are sassy and fine.

Some other singin’ favorites/car tunes:

‘Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys’–Willie

Blood Red Sentimental Blues–Cotton Jones

Let Him Fly–Patty Griffin

Valley of Death–Blitzen Trapper

Not that you want more winding tales of the thug lyfe (also found under the title, “The Fresh Nurse of PA”) but it’s what’s for dinner. OK? ok.

So baby nursing.

How I feel about mandatory black/white uniforms:



How I see the nursery:



How I interact with most infants:




When another nurse says “make the student do your _*insert task*” while gesturing towards me (while I’m clearly in the middle of doing my own official tasking. For my legit patients because you know, I have those now.  Also, have you seen my amazing new RN badge?! But sure.  I’ll do your _____.)


“WAIT.  you say there’re cupcakes in the break room?”


Your early discharge patient keeps calling you to tell you she’s ready, while you’re trying to discharge your other normal discharge patient and take an admission patient from the PACU.


Looking for anything on the unit. Or anyone:

“Go get the nipple shields” they said.  “would be right inside the door!”, they said.  They lie. 


The nurses station anytime there is a professional male sighted on the floor.  Male in scrubs.  (“and he’s gooood lookin’!”—Spunky Well-Seasoned Nurse) Oh wait…he’s a student? dang. *SorryWe’reNeverSorry* 


Finding your nursling buddy for food minutes:


Changing the baby in front of mom and dad after his circumcision:


(or anytime the baby cries and I happen to be in the room)

When a patient requests you to help breastfeed:


When you completely improvise this breastfeeding demo and what started out as dad trying to “milk” mom in front of a screaming infant, to you, grabbing your own chest** in desperation to demonstrate proper handling techniques to mom, to a quiet grizzly baby, relieved mom, and hands-off smiling dad!

**(realizing that you may need to make a Victoria’s Secret trip before your next demo because who’d have thought you’d actually need some material to work with before a show? I can’t wait to be able to tell the cashier that I need this psychedelically over-stuffed bra “for work”)

“Do I need to go to discharge class?” UMMM…..



Your new nurse friend shares her chocolate with you because the gift shop line was too long during your lunch break and she knew you were itching for sugar.  All while you’re rocking a fussy nugget: 15hlil2

Watching babies sleep:


Getting the vein on the first shot.  On what the PCT refers to as “a hard stick”:


The few times I’m able to solve patient woes!



So there’s the comic strip, and know that in between all the sass I do really enjoy the nurse life so far.  Can I keep on that for a second?  Well yeah I can, so thanks for parking it.  Despite enjoying OB nursing, I’m finding myself missing med-surg clinicals.  Holy cow what is coming out of my fingers. Of all unholy things! Med-Surg.. of all things! I can’t believe I’m typing that.  My internal nursing student PSTD-self is shrieking.  Med-surg was essentially the reason my junior year roommates couldn’t use the TV because I had LOTR on replay 24/7 in an effort to self-soothe after long clinical days.  So what’s with the rose-tinted rearview mirror action??  I think I miss having patients without an entourage.  Not that nursing in any area doesn’t involve the patient’s family but I miss patients who aren’t the popular item–do you get it?  I miss the elderly man who’s kids live in California and his wife has to work so she can’t make it into the hospital to visit.  I miss the little lady who tells you about how she fell in love with her husband while you’re changing her sheets.  I miss visiting with patients who actually seem (or pretend) to enjoy the light-hearted chatter or just a casual checking in-turned-to-conversation.  Cripes, I miss patients who can’t talk at all because they are waiting to escape a painful, ending body.  I even miss the grumps, the emotionally crusty patients who don’t want to give you the time of day.  They offer choices that no other patient can in regards to character–how you perceive and react to them is a practice in human puzzle solving.  Sometimes the puzzle isn’t necessarily solved, but you know the pieces make a bigger picture that just isn’t clear without some work.  Those patients are the essentially why I need to practice nursing like a vitamin.  That’s what I said, to do nursing like a vitamin.  It’s a practice that targets and supplements some areas of my own human deficiency in my ability to love others.  The use of the word “need” is a new concept to me in regards to a career because I really don’t think I need nursing to be who I am or anything like that, I could quit tomorrow and be just as complete as I was today, and I’m completely open to the idea of closing this career book someday if the time comes around.  I am using ‘need’ because I’ve been thinking a lot more about how I landed in the field, especially when I’m doing something else that I love, that makes me feel amazingly tuned into life (playing music! no pun intended..).  It’s easy to wonder why I chose to do something else while feeling so ‘tuned-in’ seeing the smiles (or the eyebrows) of the audience.  (Well, here’s a good reason–street fiddling doesn’t buy the moccasins.  Also I’d probably have to know how to read music so there’s that.  All pretty solid rationales to why my day job is a necessity. I digress.)  Honestly, if I had a preview of what school and post-school nurse life would be like before entering that crazy world, I would’ve quickly shut the door and walked away.   Sometimes I laugh when I think about how God may have “tricked” me into this predicament, but everyday I understand a tiny bit more of why he did!  Because I’m not naturally externally-focused.

” My life testifies that the first thing I believe is that I am the most important person in the world.  My life testifies to this because I care more about my food and shelter and happiness than about anybody else.  I am learning to believe better things.  I am learning to believe that other people exist, that fashion is not truth; rather, Jesus is the most important figure in history, and the gospel is the most powerful force in the universe.  I am learning not to be passionate about empty things, but to cultivate passion for justice, grace, truth, and communicate the idea that Jesus likes people and even loves them.”  –Don Miller, Blue Like Jazz p. 111-112.

Just an excerpt I read the other day, and as much as I wish I could smile and say it ain’t so, it’s simply too obvious.  There is this idea of a saint-like nurse, caring, smart, super intuitive, goes above and beyond set expectations out of the goodness of their sweet nursey hearts.  Goodness knows I might be one of those things on a reallly benevolent day.  The other days?  I’m selfishly thinking about how many hours are left till I can book it out of there, smiling to cover up the groan of laziness.  “hey! why don’t you/don’t you want to do ______”



Cause’ that’s just how I feel too often.  Not that I don’t do the things, play the flute, whateverwhatever. But I’ve come to think more so that nursing is a life filter that someone upstairs is using to weed my overgrown heart out.  Because, yes I come into a day seeing people as their lab values and how many orders are in for them (aka how much work have to do) but by the end of a real day, these people are making my heart do emotional yoga. Making it stretch bit by bit, in different ways that make me able to catch a glimpse of their ‘puzzle’.  So yeah, I’m not a saintly Florence Nightingale, and I might not be such a great gift to my patients, but perhaps the most necessary understanding of being a nurse is to accept ‘gifts’ from patients in the ‘stretch’ they provide.  Nursing doesn’t need me so much as I need the puzzle time.  Are there predicaments like this which you find yourself in?  Things that expose tiny voids you didn’t realize were there?

‘I’m Set Free’–The Velvet Underground

O.K. DONE! You are free.  Thank you darling, this is yours.

Vanilla ice cream met olive oil and they got funky with the salt


Aaannnddd you are sharing yes? Naw, it’s cool I had 3.

Your weekend is almost here, one more day!  Hope it’s swell, hug a tree, kick a rock.

Windowpane Rain

Dear You,

What are you doing right now? It’s 10:19 Saturday night.  No, 10:20.  If you are trying to become flush with your bedroom floor giving gravity permission to push you as deeply into the carpet as it can then we are doing the exact same thing lovely!  Are you listening to Radiohead too?  Now sit up, cross your legs, and just let your top half sink forward and then your head.  Feel that floor magnet in the top of your head to the ground but don’t give in!  Just feel the pull of your head to the floor, with only your neck suspending it just above.  Ah. Just let that pendulum itself happy.

Fake Plastic Trees–Radiohead

Insomnia–Electric President

Chances are you are out doing exciting Saturday night things and I’m pumped for whatever that is and hope you’re having a blast.  Today was a much needed super chill day for Yours Truly, a day for sleeping in, coffee, walking over bridges, and admiring a new skyline through the unapologetic river-scented breeze.  All while being totally rain-baked 🙂 Yes, that’s the new term for that beautiful sleepy, doughnut-glazed-over feeling you get during these deliciously overcast days.  Waking up to the raindrops on your windowpane telling you that nothing is required today.  Nothing.  Go back to sleep darling, everything is exactly right.

Tennessee Blues–Bobby Charles

She’s A Jar–Wilco

May I share a few visuals of the new nest?  In case I have been so scatterbrained to inform you, I’ve relocated my fresh RN-self to the charming city of Pittsburgh, PA to work at Magee-Women’s Hospital for a little while to see if I’m cut out for the wide world of Ladies and Their Babies.  We shall see if I sink or swim but either way I’m sure it’ll sift me right to where I need to be eventually.  Maybe that’s not Magee, maybe that’s not OB nursing.  I hope it might be, or I wouldn’t be here, but it’s ok if it’s not.  Maybe I’ll finish out the trial period here and perhaps the times will indicate it’s time to swim back to State College and see if they’re looking or nurses there, or perhaps it’s time for Maine…! Someday, you and I will be sitting on the top of Cadillac Mountain eating tiny blueberries (with me silently hoping I remembered to lock the car doors where the rest of the snacks are…) I digress. Right now we are not eating blueberries on Cadillac Mountain.  We are excited to use our brand new shower lo0fa, just sitting on the destk with tags still on, that hasn’t made it to the shower quite yet.

Meet the New Nest:


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And Now for the front yard…






The “front yard” is basically a castle garden. A magical Beauty and the Beast+Phantom of the Opera style escape from the urban sprawl.  With a little Pride & Prejudice thrown in there too.  To the muggles it’s known as the Allegheny Cemetery, hence the gravestones and such but I like it even more   so!  The area is so big, with a ton of walkways and many opportunities to find a spot and detox from the day.  More on this later, because I’m so tired right now that I’m about to fall off my chair.

Anyways, hope you had a lovely week, sending raindrops your way!

Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key–Billy Bragg, Wilco

Slow Slow Tune–My Morning Jacket

End Of The Line

End Of The Line–Hurray For The Riff Raff

I Know It’s Wrong (But That’s Alright)–Hurray For the Riff Raff

Broken Drum–Beck

Two weeks ago I took a little trip down to Pittsburgh for some nursey interviews (really channeled my inner Schrute for these)





During Interview:

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Post Interview:











Interview day ended on a fantastic note because I wound up playing music with pals in a lovely city on a lovely night!  It was so nice to get out on a little solo trip by myself, just to spend time driving alone is kind of therapeutic.  Had some great times, musical reunion, great breakfast food, wonderful live music with none other than Mr. Jeff Tweedy (who as good as his music is, wasn’t the most polite stage character, but we all have those days I suppose!) and Trampled By Turtles 🙂

What else is new? First, there is one thing I’m pretty sure about regarding the flow of late college/early adult life is that either nothing is happening at all or everything is happening all at once.  (is it a thing to call yourself a ‘baby adult’? Because that’s the term I think would communicate my human status right now).  I went on a short dip into the ‘nothing at all’ category after graduation and was basically just waiting around to get my authorization to schedule my NCLEX test date.  But one fated night I received The Email=Ready. Set. Chaos.  Scheduled the test, realized I had no recollection of how studying occurs and realized I had a sensation not unlike that feeling of being strapped into a roller coaster that your friends are making you ride because they think you need to get over your intense fear of amusement parks.  And the roller coaster people are checking your seatbelt and you are looking up at them with pleading eyes to release you from the self-inflicted terror trip, but too late duckie!  You’re in.  And it’s going straight uphill.  And it’s the uphill before the straight downhill that makes me sick with disorganized terror, the anticipation of falling off the drop is like canned panic.


Thanks to group text, I’ve been able to communicate with the post-Hersh nursing school world and share sentiments with equally “fine” pre-NCLEX nurslings.  In fact, one of them-my sweet roommate from months past, took great sympathy on my increasingly erratic emotional windstorms and ended up driving down to State College last week for a little QT and therapy sesh.  Spending time with her again was kind of like drinking water after chewing desert sand.  She’s a gem.  I sometimes think of ways to kidnap her.  #RedFlag..?


SPEAKING of chewing rocks-that is what I told my dentist I did when they showed me an X-ray of my molars riddled with microscopic fractures last week.  Turns out I was the only one joking and they began to seriously evaluate me for pica  to which I realized a little late in the game and had to clarify with them that I did not in fact chew rocks in my spare time.  Turns out my teeth are ticking time bombs due to severe jaw clenching over the past few years.  It’s like I was in nursing school or something.

On an even sillier note, I’m enjoying some Jenna Marbles–>

What A Girl’s Hair Means

What A Girl’s Makeup Means

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Have a Wednesday!


*Thank you pintrest, and tumblr for any picture that moved and this last artsy one.