Saturday, August 11, 2018

Yelling, poop, kiki.

Remember I said that I loved nursing and that I know it's what I'm suppose to be doing now?  I take that back tonight.  lol.  A long day.  With some yelling involved.  And poop.  There is always poop.

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We are enjoying watching the Kiki challenge!  Kiki!  Go look it up.  


Friday, August 10, 2018

JCC, MoCo ag fair, nursing update.

Today was Edda's last day at Camp JCC.  Each year is special at camp, but everyone acknowledged that this summer, at least in Kochavim, this was an amazing, unforgettable summer.  We knew that Kuala & Edda had formed a special bond and Kuala was crying and I was crying at drop-off this morning (Edda was not crying, lol).  We hugged and hoped to see each other again - though she's off to California for college and her parents are also moving to the West Coast; and so we have these moments and memories that we are part of each other's lives and then we scatter hoping to come together again someday.  After Edda and Kuala headed off to the first morning activity, I checked in with the head counselor of the Edda's group and she said in her nine years of doing this, this was the best year ever.  The kids and counselors were well matched, there was nary a parent complaint, all the counselors became good friends and helped each other out during the day.  A great summer.  Edda laughed and smiled the whole way.

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The MoCo ag fair starts today and that means that we won't see Vince for about 10 days.  He's old enough to be running the show now, he's quartermaster - in charge of equipment.  Walkie talkies, flashlights, golf carts (?).  We have to put in parent hours, but we are doing that in one straight shot on Monday.

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I'm working at the hospital both Saturday and Sunday this weekend.  Now I'm a couple weeks into the routine, I will say that I do wake up each day I have to head to the hospital full of both anxiety and determination, but more on the anxious side.  My initial gut feeling is that I don't want to go again, but I tuck that feeling aside and then keep going.  There is so much to learn; first medically: how to hang blood, which IV push meds burn when you inject them and have to be diluted, how to insert Foleys, how to do a bladder scan, that vancomycin needs a blood draw before you dose it so you know that you won't send the patient into toxicity, that lostartan is held in patients with high potassium because it's in a class of medications that are called ARBs and they exacerbate hyperkalemia, second logistically: how to print out armbands, how to call pharmacy when you are out of a med, how to send collected samples through the tube system, how to print out discharge papers, where do the empty oxygen tanks go.   I have so many stories (already) that can not be told, that are important to me and because I can't tell them, I'm afraid I will forget them.  I know this is the unit I'm suppose to be on, I have found nothing but kindness in all the other nurses and managers.  Everytime someone passes me - they ask if everything is going OK, they ask if I've had a break or a snack or taken a proper lunch.  I left my shift on Wed, even though I was tired and overwhelmed and feeling incompetent, thinking - I love this.  This is what I'm suppose to be doing right now.  Hopefully I can sustain that feeling.  Look!  I got a thank you gift from a patient's granddaughter. 

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Monday, August 6, 2018

MLK, maps and weeds.

I spoke with Paul, my running coach, this weekend to figure out how to train with the new nursing schedule. I'm not sure what I'm even training for anymore, I haven't run a race in so long.  I haven't even really strung together a good bit of training for months.  I've been hamstrung by my hamstring since the beginning of the year, everything about myself is getting older, and summer is my least favorite season to train and now I'm busier.  But we'll see.  There is a plan.  haha.  There is always plan!

I went for my regular weekend run on Sunday down at the national mall.  The local orienteering club was hosting an urban orienteering event starting at 9 am.  I was reluctant to go because, omg, it was going to be hot. And it was hot and a lot of it was a slog, but the last bit around the tidal basin when I was running through the MLK and the FDR memorials full of tourists was surprisingly moving for me.  I felt good striding through the paths, seeing all the people visiting DC and feeling more hopeful than I have in a while.

It was a super efficient run in terms of sightseeing.  I loved it!  A bunch of museums & little gardens, the Washington monument, the Vietnam memorial, the Korean War memorial, the WWII memorial, bumped into Einstein, MLK, FDR & Jefferson.  A bit over 7 miles, all under 2 hours.

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I had, on this running adventure, managed to find myself off of the printed orienteering map, so I pulled out my phone to figure out where I was and this park ranger was like - are you using MapQuest?  you can't use MapQuest!  you need a real map! and handed me a NPS map and proceeded to teach me how to use it.  I couldn't bring myself to tell him I was actually doing an activity that required me to use a map, so I listened to him show me how to orient the map to the surroundings and then to keep the water to my left to find my way back to my car.  He was very enthusiastic.  Hooray for park rangers!  He reminded me to drink plenty of water.

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out of a mountain of despair a stone of hope.  -mlk

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After I got home on Sunday, Vince and Jeremy went to my parents' house to weed.

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It was weedy and still very hot.

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In an unusual mood, Jeremy mowed the lawn and even edged it.  Crazy.  And he weeded the flower bed too.

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Vince made a rare appearance at Sunday night dinner.

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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Plumber, firehouse subs, bed.

Somehow I got on an email list for special needs families headed by a very determined mom of an autistic boy.  This is where I get my info for those sensory movies that Edda and I go to on the regular, but also, this woman basically throws a party every month for special needs families - there are water park days where she arranges for the whole waterpark to open early or late just for the families, there are trampoline parties, pizza parties, golf parties.  We don't go to these parties because some special needs kids need to burn off energy - Edda isn't one of them.  And every year she sends out lists of professionals who help out - plumbing, handyman, taxes, lawn service, babysitting, carpet cleaning.  I didn't use any of the recommendations until yesterday when I reached out to Bobby the plumber.  He showed up at 8 pm on a Friday night, proceeded to fix my 4 plumbing problems: a clogged washer drain (which was crazy stubborn), an intermittently flushing toilet, a sputtering faucet, and finally a faucet that ran backwards (hot was where cold should have been) all for $125.  I couldn't quite believe it.  Then I said - I got your name from.. and he said - Whitney, I know.  Then he cleaned up and left the house at 9:20 pm and then said, I'm gonna see someone else on Whitney's list right now and then home to bed. 

Today, Jeremy went off biking somewhere in the morning and Edda and I headed to Home Depot to get some plumbing supplies the plumber suggested and then we headed to Firehouse Subs for lunch which is in a new development across the street from the HD.  I'm always looking for new fast casual restaurants to try.  This was not ideal for us, the layout was of many movable tables that were very close to each other.  There was no way I was getting Edda to an interior table.  A lady who was just waiting for a take out order sprang up out of the chair at one of the outer tables and offered it to us.  The guy in orange in the photo below, though I could tell was slightly flustered at figuring out what to do, helped move tables to and fro and then schooched his kids in so I could three-point-turn Edda into her spot.  I'm reminded that 1) I don't take Edda out and about often enough and 2) people are usually willing to help out.

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Edda and I shared this enormous meatball sandwich which was good.  But I think it's not going to be a regular place because of the seating! 

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Jeremy got back from biking at about 2 pm. We had pizza for dinner.  Now we will go to bed at 9 pm.


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Friday, August 3, 2018

Plumbing, drop off, man-bun.

OK, the plumber is in the house right now fixing our water stuff.  One problem, the sputtering faucet was fixed by just opening the valves more.  I was slightly embarrassed that I couldn't figure that out myself.  The main problem, the non-draining washer is taking some time.  He's been up and down the stairs a bunch muttering - it's not going well, but we'll fix it.  Yipes.  I can hear the snake running down the interior walls of the first floor.  I'm glad I called someone to help me fix it.  And he's here on Friday night at 8:30 pm. 

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With Adriana off at her new job, Jeremy and I are running camp drop off.  It's amazing how much time this can take.  Even though her camp is like 15 minutes away, somehow it takes me an hour?  What am I, like a little snail driver?  Probably.

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Vince made dinner.

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With his man-bun.

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

First week, narcotics, backed up washer.

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I made it through the first week on the unit.  It's been crazy, but not at a level that was entirely unexpected by me.  I work on a standard med/surg floor.  I'll tell you that no one says that they want to work on a med/surg floor out of nursing school.  The go getters want to work on an ICU floor, the people who love babies clamor for L&D (labor and delivery) or M&B (mother and baby), a whole 'nuther subset want to work with kids.  All of these specialties would have probably meant that I would have had to work a rotating shift - half days and half nights, something I didn't think I could physically do and keep my mental sanity and not yell at my family members (it's a shame to spend all your niceness efforts (because nice takes work) on strangers and then have only not-so-nice left for your family which I know would happen if I worked nights).  A med/surg floor contains the scut work of the hospital, the census is high, the turnover of patients is quick and everyone needs something, usually all at once.  Even though no one says they want to work on this type of floor, everyone acknowledges that you get to see it all.  It used to be that all new nurses should start on a floor like this, but that is no longer the case.  Let's see - the first week: an overdosed psych patient, young patient with acute kidney failure, cancer patients in for a lumpectomy or for symptomatic treatment, diverticulitis flare up with abscess,  alcoholic with ascites, outpatient surgery patients who ended up needing a bit more monitoring before they headed home, pelvic inflammatory disease, a burst appendix, diabetic whose toes were falling off one by one and I know I'm forgetting a bunch.  It's a vast overview of what goes on with people day in and day out.  Most patients can talk to you, most patients can make it to the bathroom on their own.  Nursing is an apprenticeship and my mentor has been a nurse for 20 years, she's been on the unit for a decade.  She's great. We are not, at first glance, an obvious pairing, but I think we work well together which is a good think since I've spent more time awake with her in the past 4 days than I have with anyone else.  About 4 hours into my first shift (which really was crazy since they were short staffed), she looked at me and said - I think you're going to make it.  Not that I thought I wasn't going to make it, but I laughed said - you've known me for only 4 hours, you can't tell.  She said - oh I've trained people where I think - you are going to be fired before you'll be able to help us out.

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Narcotics are carefully counted all the time, everyday, every shift.  All the meds (not just the super addictive ones) are kept in a computerized cabinet/bin system that not only helps you not give the wrong meds out, but also keeps tracks of how many oxycontin pills are in the drawer. Each time you take meds out of the bin, you have to log in with your ID and fingerprint and give the computer a count of how many are in the bin, if the count doesn't match then I think the whole thing freezes and then they have to track down the errant pills. If you take a narcotic out of the bin, but then the patient refuses the pill, then you have to return the pill back to the robotic cabinet.  But you can't just return it under your login, you have to get another nurse to witness that you put it back with their logon & fingerprint.  There is med diversion (a fancy way of saying that staff steal oxy all the time) and they tell you at that the system can detect if you are deviating from the standard levels of taking out/returning rate on your unit.

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I pride myself in being able to fix plumbing problems, but I think I need to call in a professional.  Our washer is not draining well and ends up back filling into the utility sink.  I tried snaking it tonight, but it didn't work - I actually think I made it worse.  Boo.

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Dance, Sari, Vince is home.

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Saturday night, I headed out to Virginia to see my friend's daughter's arangetram, or debut performance in traditional Indian classical dance.  She had invited me a few months ago and I kind of understood it to be a dance recital, but I didn't quite understand that it was going to be a 2 hour solo performance with live orchestra for over 200 guests followed by a catered dinner.  It was a beautiful, beautiful performance.  I have some exposure to classical Indian music by being friends with Vidya and Kiranavali, but I've only listened to music practice in their house, never an actual performance. 

Vibha's mom is Satya and she's here with Karuna.
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Vickey and Karuna.

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When I was walking up the sidewalk to the performance hall and I saw all these colorful saris, and suddenly I remembered that I do own a sari which was given to me by a friend in Singapore and I thought ah! I should have worn my sari, I have so few chances to wear it.  But then I couldn't quite decide if I was allowed anymore to wear a sari.  Oh well, it doesn't matter, I forgot that I had one so I'll have to wait another 10 years for an occasion to present itself again.

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I went to work at the hospital on Sunday (my first day on the floor) to find out that an old classmate of mine was charge nurse!  I said - Eunice!, you're charge today? And she said - today is my first day as charge, where everyone's problems become your problems too.  And then she asked, who talked you into having your first day on Sunday of all days?  I'm said that it was a long story which doesn't need to be retold here. 

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While I was at work trying to remember that it was Sunday and not Monday, Jeremy went to pick up Vince from scout camp.  He took Edda and got there by lunchtime.

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They ate at Jimmy John's.

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And they got home!  And then I got home!  And then we are all together again.

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