Thursday, December 8, 2011

here I am...

I said in my last post that I would be blogging more...that never happened and I am ok with that.  There has been just enough time in a day for class, homework, family, cleaning, sleeping and working that blogging just had to go.

The amount of information they have stuffed in our brains these first 16 weeks has been amazing.  I have learned numerous tasky things (foley catheters, trach suctioning, hanging IV bags, passing meds, oxygenating patients, doing bed baths, ambulating patients...etc) plus how to do a full assessment on a patient.  LOVE the assessment part.  I still am a little shy about making my patients let me do an assessment...I am too nice and when they say/act like they aren't interested...I waffle.  I get the required vitals, breath sounds, bowel sounds, heart sounds ect...but the extra neuromuscular stuff....I let them rest.  I have to admit, the patients are soooo sick!  Not one of my patients has been an easy case.  They have multiple disease processes going on, dozens of meds, and multiple teams of doctors.  I have loved seeing and learning more about how the healthcare machine works/doesn't work.  Some of my favorite things are reviewing lab values, going through the chart and seeing the journey of the patient's health-where they have come, what has happened, how they have been treated, what has worked, what hasn't, and where they are going...the plans and goals for the patient.  I have been on a Med/Surg floor this semester with one patient for 5 hours (with my instructor and an RN there if I have questions) and next semester I will be doing Psych and another Med/Surg rotation with up to 4 patients for 12 hours! I am also starting as a float tech at the hospital in a paid position working as a nurses assistant in various departments based on hospital needs and acuity levels.  I will be doing that 16 hours a week.  Next semester will be REALLY busy, but hopefully it will fly by like this semester has!  I still do not know where my interests lie...hopefully being a float will help me see the ins and outs of different departments.  The ED was ok.  I don't think that I am supposed to be an ED nurse.  With the MDs always there writing orders and discharges...there wasn't a lot of time for assessment by the nurse other than initial vitals...then they would just do IVs and meds...set a splint or two.  I like the critical thinking part of it all, and it just didn't seem like it was there...lots of walking...yes...maybe I need to become an NP...hmmmm

Thursday, September 22, 2011

1 month down-19 months to go

 Here I month in.

First off...I am loving what I am learning.  

We have covered the nursing diagnosis (ADPIE) process, patient safety, bathing, wound care, vital signs, skin assessment, health history...some of the basics.  I have my skin assessment check off in the morning.  This consists of doing an assessment on my lab partner of all parts of the body except for the breast and genital areas.  Some may feel weird about assessing someone or feel weird about being assessed...but I think it is so fun!  We have gone through our first round of exams and I am doing really well.  The first exams were on really broad topics and I felt like there was no real way to prepare well for the exams...but in the end, I did just fine.  One thing that I am having to get used to is Team Based Learning and multiple group projects.  They are trying to teach us how to work well as part of a team and how to rely upon others for information (apparently, we can't know it all!).  We have had a few quizzes were we take the quiz together-each of us bringing a bit of knowledge.  I am not used to having to rely on someone else for part of MY grade.  It has it's pros, though.  I am getting to know the people in my cohort really well.  

I will try to post more often...when there is a free minute...but when they said Accelerated BSN...they meant it!  

One month down....just 19 to go :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Just tired

Some days, no matter how much I try, I can't get energized.  I'm tired.

My husband is working a killer 7 days a week...only 2 more weeks (I HOPE!) which means there is no real down time to relax for either of us.  Managing the house, my son, school is on me and it is never ending.  S is working so hard, so I can't nag at him that I need a break, because he needs a break too!  I can't wait for his current weekend project to be done so that I can have him around the house to relax some...even just to watch a movie or something.  N can sense that we are stressed and I feel bad about that.  He is only 3...but is it too much to as a 3 year old to play independently for just a few minutes while I try to get my Statistics homework done?  It probably is...I am his playmate after all...a bad one at that.  I did pick up some water colors last week and we have been having a good time doing that.  It is fun for him and a stress reliever for me. 

Taking 2 classes right now is killer one should ever sign up for a 6 week Statistics class...the things I do for an online option so that I don't have to find child care...only 3 more weeks...yes just 3.  GOOD.  Saturday night I took my first Psych exam.  It was 52 questions and we had 50 minutes.  I was not prepared...I had lazily skimmed the chapters to complete the discussions, quizzes and papers and will be fine. was a lot harder than I thought and I was having to look up a lot of stuff...ok...every question.  So...less than one minute a question.  Needless to say, I ran out of time and didn't finish some of the questions.  I had about 7 questions left and N started crying in his bed.  I tried to ignore it for about 2-3 minutes thinking he would fall back asleep.  But the cries got louder, and exam or not, I had to go and comfort him.  My "sshhh, sshhh.  Go back to sleep.  You're ok."  was not good enough.  I gave him a kiss on the forehead and he was on fire...FEVER!  Perfect timing!  Where is his dad??? Oh, yeah...working.  So, I picked him up, brought him out to the couch with me and tried to finish my exam...TIME OVER.  Oooops. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Even Better!!!! Accepted ABSN!!!!!!!!!!!!

It paid off.  I got into my number one choice...the ABSN program at my alma mater.  I saw the mailman stuffing the box at about 11am this morning and immediately threw my shoes on and ran to the box.  I saw a big envelope from the school and screamed and jumped.  Big envelopes are a good sign!!  I ran inside to my waiting 3 year old (who was sad that I didn't put his shoes on to go out to the mailbox) and did a little happy dance in the middle of the kitchen with him.  I then ripped it open to read the "Congratulations."  And that is all I needed :)  N was so excited because I was so excited that he proceeded to rip open all the mail and yell and scream in excitement with each bill and piece of junk mail.  What a happy way to begin the holiday weekend.
I already faxed over my acceptance letter and began to get all my immunization records in order.  I have an appointment on Tuesday for some boosters and a Hep B shot (the beginning of 3 that I need).

THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING!!!  I need to call the ASN to tell them to give my spot to someone else, but I am going to wait until Tuesday for it all to sink in.

I am going to be an RN.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Accepted into ASN!!

Good News!  I am going to become an RN one way or another.  I got into my second choice, the community college ASN program.  I am very happy to have been accepted and will go there if I hear bad news from the ABSN program at the university.  Fingers still crossed and still stalking the mailbox.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Is it to be or not to be...

The ASN program campuses have started to send out their letters...

Now starts the nervous/excited walks to the mailbox daily.  Today, nothing.  Tomorrow...we'll see!
I finished Advanced Physiology and Microbiology with the A's I needed for the ABSN program, so I feel pretty confident about my chances.  It is amazing how competitive it is!  I have just over a 3.9 and it isn't even a sure thing.

I started summer school and I am actually thinking it isn't going to be as bad as I thought.  I have a 6 weeks Statistics of Business and Economics class that I thought was going to be horrible, but so far so good.  I have had one test already and did just fine.  It takes some time for the concepts and all the symbols to sink in, but once they do, it really is pretty easy.  I hope it stays that way!

The Lifespan Development class I am taking seems really easy.  There is a lot of busy work, but none of it is too bad.  This week, for example, I have 3 quizzes, 3 forum posts, a web activity, a writing assignment, a syllabus quiz, and an exam.  Even with all isn't too bad.

I spent today looking around at some more daycare centers for my son for the fall.  One I went to didn't seem too bad and the other smelled like pee (crossed that one off!).  I am so lucky that he is so excited about going to school...he is practically begging me to take him.  When we are visiting these places, he wants to stay and never leave and tells me he loves it soooo much.  I am glad.

The other thing I have been working on is speaking Italian with him.  I am not sure when I stopped.  When he was a baby, I only spoke Italian and then somewhere along the line, I stopped.  Now that he is talking, he is speaking only English.  He understands Italian and responds appropriately in English....but anyway.  I felt pretty guilty that I let that happen.  He is with me 99% of the time, so I can't rely on my husband to teach him.  So, I have been speaking Italian as close to 100% of the time as I can and amazingly, in a few days, he is already saying more words.  He should pick it up just fine as long as I am diligent.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

keep truckin'

I can't believe it has been almost a month since my last post.  I have been terribly, terribly busy.  I have been pounded for the past few weeks with exams and other responsibilities that I have not had a moment to reflect.  I fellow classmate asked me to help her study for exams, so tutoring her took some of my time.  I wish she would have done better than she did...I feel someone responsible that her grades were not better, but I know I did my best.  I got an A in Microbiology and provided I pass my AP final, I will also get an A in there.  That final is on Saturday.

I have also been busy trying to learn how another school systems, email, books, online courses, bursar etc.  I am taking 2 classes over the summer at another school to finalize the co-requisites for the ABSN program.  I am taking Statistics for Business and Economics and Life Span Development (a psychology class).  I have started looking over the syllabus and the psych class looks like a ton of reading and a number of 4-5 page papers.  The statistics class, on the other hand, looks REALLY hard!  I hope that all the special math symbols and excel format do not give me too much trouble.  I am not proficient in excel at all!  I have used it some, but I am still an newbie. Both my summer classes start a week from tomorrow.  I am on the hunt for the text books and I am downloading new software as we speak to so I can open some of the econ files.  It never ends...

Other than that, in my other life as a wife/mother/sister/ son slammed his head on the coffee table and one eyelid is really swollen.  I was really worried...but he seems fine.  I hate when he gets hurt!!  He is so wild and I tell him he needs to slow down and calm down and the response I get is, "But WHY??"  Well, son,  look at your face.

I am helping my brother move on Friday, going to a volunteer update course today and teaching my best friend how to make the world's best potato leek soup tonight.  I love being busy.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Book Review-How to Survive Clinical

I am always on the look out for ideas that can make my life more simple, smoother and just plain easier.  If someone has already been through what I am about to go through, why learn the hard way, right?

I picked this book up the other day at the library.  It was a quick read.  I think I read it cover to cover in a few hours.  What it consists of is quotes from nursing students and instructors about how to study, learn, behave and succeed in nursing school.

One of the sections that was really helpful was the section that talked about getting organized and prepared for your clinical each week.  One great piece of advice was to create a one page sheet with the medications that your patient is taking for quick reference during the day because you are going to refer to it often.  They also talked about making hourly goals during your clinical so that you can stay focused and feel like you are accomplishing something, because at times, the amount of information and distractions can be overwhelming.

Another section talked about nursing school classmates and how it is recommended to try and find someone that is smarter than you to be your nursing school best friend.  You really only need one (maybe two) close friends.  It is not a popularity contest; results are the goal and you want to surround yourself with people that can help you reach that goal and visa versa.  Also recommended is to find an instructor that is a good personality match to your own and the resources and information they can provide is priceless both during nursing school and during the job search and even years down the road.

Another thing I really needed to hear was to not throw anything away...notes, tests, care plans.  There will come a time that you will need to refer to past assignments.  If you have tossed them out, it will make your life that much harder.

All and all it was a good read and a great pep talk for nursing school.  I recommend it!

I put a link to the book in the sidebar.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

the science of wellbeing

I have always though that there should be two types of prescriptions; one should be for medicine to alleviate symptoms and one should be for improving health so that these symptoms show up less frequently (or ideally, never again).  One would think that big business insurance companies would be promoting something like this in order to reduce medical claims, but I really don't see anything other than a woman's yearly exam (preventative) or your yearly health physical (which I have not done since grade school, because you had to do it for sports-tisk tisk).  But even then, there is little education going on in the room unless you come prepared with questions for the MD...why is that?  Busy, too many patients, not what they have been trained to do?  At my last yearly, my MD recommended I get a colonoscopy at 40 due to family history.  That was good advice, but what about information on improving my digestive/excretory health.  Diet information, for example.  I am pretty good about doing my own research, but are most people doing this?  I would assume, no.

Could that become part of a nurse's job?  The nurse could present the MD's two prescriptions and then explain.   The nurse could provide web addresses to go to for more information.   I would love to be a wellness nurse.  I think back to when I had my son and the postpartum nurses called my house to check on me.  I thought that was really cool.  They called to see if I had any questions, to see how I was feeling, nursing, recovering.  They made great suggestions and provided resources for breastfeeding difficulties, postpartum depression, and childcare.  The care I received was less about the pain pill medications, but about the mental and overall physical well-being of mom and baby.  Loved it. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

good morning....this is today

I really love mornings.  I would much rather get up early and have to function than stay up all night.  The house is quiet this morning with S and N gone to help my brother work on his house.  S and I already went through a pot of coffee and I don't want to make a full pot just for me, so I am drinking this roasted chicory and barley drink.

It sounds kind of gross, but it really is good.  Too bad it is caffeine free...but it is something nice, nutty and warm and I can make one cup at a time.

This morning I am taking a test over blood values in Advanced Physio.

Normal WBC-7000-10000 cells/um
Normal Female Hemocrit-42% +/- 5% and male 47% +/- 5%
Normal erythrocyte count female 4.2-5.4 million cells/um and male 4.5-6.2 million cells/um

Never Let Monkeys Eat Bananas-
Neutrophils - 50%-70%
Lymphocytes - 20-40%

The ones I am having trouble with are the mean corpuscular hemoglobin, MCV and O2 carrying capacity.  The number values I have memorized.  It is the units of measurement that make no sense to me.  In O2 carrying capacity, the normal is 16-25 ml O2 per dL .  ml just seems wrong, so I am having trouble envisioning it, thus having trouble remembering it. 

This is a bonus quiz.  After this last test (84/100), I am hovering right at about 92%, so hopefully I can get a few points here and bump it up.  We'll see.

One thing that I would love to vent about is the way that some of my classmates compare grades.  I don't run around shouting my grades and never ask anyone else what they scored because it is none of my business.  In this AP class I am taking, it is just like when I was in high school.  One of my classmates happened to be standing right next to me when I was reading my score on the first exam (96/100) and since then he has made it a point to bring me up in conversation with other students how hard they have to work and how easy it is for me.  It really ticks me off.
1. It is not easy for me-I study constantly
2. Grow up.  Stop picking on me
3. Stop being concerned about everybody's grades and focus on your own grades

It is like high school all over again.  I graduated HS at 16 and was always made fun of.  I was picked on so much that I was never proud of the fact that I was a good student.  They would call me "Doogie Howser."

At the time, it really bothered me.  Now...15 years later, it just annoys the crap out of me.

I work really hard for my grades and I am proud of it!

Friday, March 11, 2011

totally must be right

I sometimes wonder why I am so interested in nursing.  Where did that come from?  I believe deeply in God's plan and can only imagine it comes from that special plan for me.  The other day I was able to do chest compressions on a patient that unfortunately did not make it.  I (surprisingly) was able to disconnect completely from the emotional aspects of a lost life and was able to focus (with much fascination) on the medical aspects of death-the signs of death...foggy eyes, settling blood.  I am truly fascinated.  With my first application in and my second soon to be turned in, clinicals are right around the corner and I am on cloud 9.  I told my husband that I will seriously go into a deep depression and cry for days weeks months if I am not accepted to one of the programs. I pray before each and every test.  I ask God to be with me as I take the test and say, "God, if you want me to be a nurse, help me during this exam.  Clear my mind.  Help me find the right answers."  I thank Him when I have been successful.  Thus far, I have been very successful.  Thank you, God!  I am a little anxious to find out how I did on my AP midterm, but what  I had my exam Saturday morning.  This was after entertaining my family in an after-funeral party for my dear great-uncle Friday night.  We had a great time catching up and I was tired and hungover for the exam.  Not the best say the least.  Hoping for the best.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

running a mental marathon

Do you ever feel like your head just might explode due to the amount of information that you are trying to cram into it?  Add to it the pressure and stress and my head just might pop off and roll out the door.

I am frantically studying for my two midterms (tip-frantic studying is not effective).  Micro...I am getting there.  I printed off an encyclopedia of study questions and have been reviewing the "few" (42) short video clips that go along with the chapters.  On a positive note...though there are a bagillion videos...they are helpful because I am a visual learner.  The exam covers viruses, microbial nutrition, microbial genetics and genetic engineering.  Microbial genetics was rough and is still pretty foggy in my head.  Viruses and genetic engineering were actually pretty interesting and pretty straight forward.  I need to take the exam by Monday, but I think I might take it today so that I can focus on studying for my Physio exam that is on Saturday.  That one is even crazier!  Nerve plexus routes...damage to the plexus...what happens? How do wee see?  How do we hear?  Which way do you have to be spinning in a vertical axis for depolarization to occur within the hair cells of the ear?  What happens when you stop spinning?  What happens if you have a tumor in the optic channel?  What field of vision is effected?  What happens if the spinal cord at level T5 is completely severed on right side?  I am learning an extraordinary amount of information...all valid...all interesting.  I just somehow wish it was in a more relaxed pace...oh well.

More important than either of these exams is being there for family.  My great uncle passed away and family is coming into town for the showing and funeral which are this Thursday and Friday.  I want to be able to spend as much quality time with them as I can as we don't see each other often.  I work best under stress and all these things at once are a blessing in disguise.  I will survive and come out on the other side wiser, stronger, and probably exhausted and relieved.

I sent my application to the ABSN program last night.  I realized that I am going to have to register for summer school classes required for this program and start to take them before I even know if I have been accepted to the program....real nice!  So, I might spent $2000 for fun...for the fun of Statistics and Life Span Development.  My husband assisted me in convincing myself to take the TEAS again.  It is only $40 and 4 hours of my life and not worth the risk of nonacceptance to the ASN program for a few points (that is provided I can improve my score that much!)  I plan on registering to take it over spring break...which I think is next week?  Or 2 weeks?  I need a week or so to prepare...

So, in order to relax a bit, I tickle and play with my son.  Laugh and act goofy.  Turn the music up loud while cooking.  And breathe in breathe out.  Good luck everyone with midterms!!!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Busy few weeks..

It has been a hectic few weeks...February is almost over and I don't even think I have had a moments rest.  I started out with my first online Microbiology test.  It went well (94/100).  I have gotten a few low A's and B's on lab quizzes, so I need to really watch my points so that I can retain an A in this one.  We are studying nutrition and microbes right now..what exactly it is they eat to survive-both prokaryotes and eukaryotes.  It is not as interesting as the viruses I studied last week...but I think I will survive!

I had my first Advanced Physiology exam last weekend, too and was extremely happy to have gotten an A on that exam, too.  Since this is the in class/lecture/closed book exam, I was hoping for a B and that is what I had thought I had gotten when I I was presently surprised.  We have moved on to the nervous system and are studying the nerve pathways and the physiological effects of damaged nerves (what part of the body will be effected and how).  My professor suggests putting all the nerve pathways on the refrigerator so that you see them often and they are constantly in your face.  I did just that and it really does help. 

Last weekend, my son turned 3 and I hosted a big party for him with family, friends and neighbors.  It was a tough Friday and Saturday!  I had been shopping for weeks for all the ingredients for the party (at least the ones that would not go bad) and so Friday, I went out to get all the perishables.  I checked and rechecked all my lists and had to go to 3 stores to get everything.   Saturday morning, I woke up and made cupcakes, tiramisu, and mixed the meat mixture for my husbands favorite homemade meatballs.  Then at 11am I went to AP and took my exam, then had lecture and lab and got home at around 4:30ish.  Made all the meatballs and more cupcakes (my son had eaten 4 while I was at school!!! Where was his dad? :)) At 7:30 I had to head to the hospital to volunteer and then got home at 12:30am.  I was exhausted!!! and still had Sunday and the rest of the cooking and party to go.  I got up early Sunday and finished all the cooking and straightening up...felt like death!  (Thank the Lord for good, strong coffee).  The party was a huge success.  Everyone loved the food and my son was so happy and couldn't believe that everyone had come over to celebrate HIS birthday.  He really enjoyed it and went from crazy excited to hugging everyone because he was so happy.  Even though it was tough to fit it all in and I was so tired, he was so happy and it was worth it.  Now a week later, he is still singing happy birthday. 

About 6 months ago, we tried potty training because he is starting preschool in the fall and needs to be totally trained and 6 months ago, it was a totally disaster.  He was just not ready AT ALL!  All he wanted to do was pee and poop all over the house.  He has been a bit more interested lately and even has given himself a goal-if he pee pees and kakas in the potty he can get a geo trax.  This was all him...I am not sure how I feel about bribery, but if it motivates him, I guess I am all for it.  He says that geo trax are for big kids that go pee pee and kaka on the potty and so I said, "So if you go pee pee and kaka on the potty we can get geo trax??"  And he said, "That's right!!"  So, he still refuses to wear underwear, but he has sat on the potty 2 times this week (own doing) with no production, but we are moving in the right direction. 

SO, that is what is going on in my life.  I am also working on my career goals essay for my admissions essay for the ABSN program. It has really gotten me thinking about my ultimate goals in nursing.  I know that I want to be a nurse, but what kind? I love the idea of teaching, but I don't know if that means clinical, or within the workplace or just community outreach.  I also like the idea of research.  I would love to be part of a study that advances nursing and patient care and can improve lives in some way.  That would be so satisfying on so many levels.  I am still thinking and will post it when I am through...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sharklet - Does this stuff really work?

I just saw this product talked about on Sunday Morning on CBS and I had never heard of it before.  It claims amazing things about resisting bacteria growth simply because of the raised design on the plastic product.  Apparently, the bacteria do not like to grow on the bumpy texture.  It was designed after studying  the skin surface of sharks under the electron microscope.  Shark skin is resistant to the growth of organisms and researchers found it is because of a special pattern of bumps and grooves that resists the growth.

They are saying that it could help the healthcare industry fight things like MRSA.  I found it really interesting and timely because of my microbiology class.  I even put this topic on our discussion board to see if anyone else had heard of it and to find out what my professor thinks.

Have any of you heard of this?  Do you think it really works??

The product claims:
Sharklet SafeTouch for Healthcare enhances infection control by reducing bacteria on high-touch surfaces by 80%. Place Sharklet’s hygienic surface on hotspots to reduce dangerous pathogens.

Some examples of places to put this product is on nurse call buttons, bedside trays, patient ID bracelets, catheter tubing, doors, and bed rails.  Will the hospitals of the future be covered with Sharklet? 

If it works, it sounds like something that should be implemented.  Their website claims that to "Sharklet" a patients room would cost $1 per day.  If I was a patient, I would personally fork up $1 to know that 80% less bacteria are going to colonize my hospital room.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

the uncertainty of the nursing school admissions process

Anyone that is working on their pre-requisites for the admission to a nursing school program knows what it feels like to be uncertain about their future.  What you do know is that you want to be a nurse and end up with that coveted RN behind your name (hopefully!).  You really aren't sure what road will actually get you there or how long it will take. You know that you must keep working towards the goal, no matter what obstacles fall in your path.

I sent my transcripts last week to the ABSN program I am applying to next month.  I received a courtesy letter today in the mail telling me that the transfers have been processed and can be viewed on their website etc etc etc.  I don't even know if I want to be in that program.  Maybe "want" is the wrong term.  I want to be in their program.  I also want to be sure that I am going to get a scholarship to go along with it...and we all know there is no sure thing in the scholarship business.  If I don't get a scholarship, I don't want student loans, so I wouldn't pick the ABSN as my first choice because of the cost.  Then there is my possible ASN program where the application is due April 1st.  They said the applications would be available for pickup starting February, I need to stop by the office to get one.  The ASN program is so much more affordable, it makes me want it more from a cost standpoint, but I want a BSN ultimately, possibly more, and it makes those goals so much further off.  But, it is the financially responsible option.  With the American Opportunity Credit, my tuition only cost me $380 in 2010 for 15 credit hours.  Not so bad!!  I can handle tuition like that!  I am not sure if they are planning on renewing the education credit for 2011, but if it definitely makes it more affordable to be back in school.   

I am still not sure if I am going to attempt to take the TEAS test again for the ASN program.  I haven't heard a lot of scores yet from other people, so I am not sure how I rank.  People are really keeping to themselves about their points this admissions term. I can take it a max of 2 times in 2 years and I have taken it once, so this would be my last chance and if I do take it, I better get a better score!! I would be so disappointed if I wasted the opportunity to improve my score.  My 90 is good, but is it good enough?  I hate to have worked this hard to be short a few points and not be accepted...for possibly 2 years!  The ASBN is straight GPA and I have a 3.85 now which should be good enough, but I have these 2 science classes right now that will be figured in at the end of the semester, so we shall see. 

PLEASE PLEASE let me be admitted SOMEWHERE!  I wish there was someone I could send cupcakes to that upon receiving them would say, "Congratulations, Anna!  Those cupcakes put you over the top.  We would be honored to have you in our nursing program." 

Now that's just silly...I guess I should just go study.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Oxygen - Carol Cassella

When I was returning Healer to the library, I buzzed over to the fiction section to see if by chance they had Oxygen and they, with a tinge of guilt knowing I would be reading the novel instead of my Micro book over the next few days, I checked it out.  Cassella's writing style is very simple and is an easy read for a person like me, with a limited vocabulary.  I have to admit that vocab isn't my strongest suite and I DO work on it...I guess....I read.  That is how you work on vocab, right?  Cassella's writing isn't very helpful vocab wise, but is a good read for those pursuing careers in health care.  Like Healer, Oxygen was full of medical terminology and though some parts seems to be plucked out of a Grey's Anatomy episode, I could picture life behind the scenes of a hospital operating room. 

I liked it.  Life changing??? No.  But it left me satisfied.

can you hear the crickets??

It has been quite in here, hasn't it?  My son was throwing up for three days (I would say a little prayer after each saltine hoping it would stay never did).  Go figure, that when I gave the kid some lemon cake, he was miraculously cured and it stayed down.  Fats, sugar, food coloring...who knew!  I guess it just had to taste good for it to stay in the tummy.

My biggest worry at this very moment is an ICE STORM that is headed my way.  I am lucky that I don't need to drive anywhere in the weather (also fortunate for all the other drivers on the road....I never can seem to remember which way to turn the wheel when sliding on ice), but my husband is going to have to drive home from work in it in the morning and then back to work in it tomorrow afternoon.  I worry about him :(  He is a good defensive and confident driver...and this might be why I worry.  Is he going to be over confident and drive too fast?  The other reason I am worried about this ice storm is that they are predicting that it is going to bring down trees and power lines.  I can deal with the power out.  I can dress my self up in all my clothes like the State Puff Marshmallow Man and dress my kid up the same and we will have fun.  What I worry about is that I live in a forest up on a hill.  That means:
#1 My house is surrounded by trees that could fall on my house
#2 There is a hill up to my garage and then there is a hill out of our drive way and a hill up the road to get out to the main road....we could be here for days!  It is predicted that to be very cold for days and days...Even if my husband gets home from work, there is no way his car will get off our property!

I did put some water in some pitchers (we are on a no power would mean no water either).  I have my phone charged up (never use the thing...I have a minute by minute plan because I never have the thing on except in emergencies and I throw it in my purse when I work at the hospital) and I charged the emergency radio/storm station thing and the flashlights.  Oh, and I have my 2 oil lamps all ready to go.

So, anyways...I am not thinking at ALL about school right now.  I have to take my first Microbiology exam by next Monday.  I assume we would have power back on by this weekend, right???  Now, I feel like I should be studying to take the exam tomorrow during the day instead of sitting here blogging and drinking a glass of Chianti.  Guilt.  Great. 

I curse winter every year.  I am just not a winter girl.  The summer thunderstorms bother me, too, though.  I always worry the tornado is going to head straight for my house to knock those darn, beautiful 200 year old trees right into my bedroom.  I love to watch a thunderstorm.  I love the rain.  It is the wind that I could do without.  So, where is it I should live so that I don't have any weather worries?  I am not sure there is a perfect place.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sick kid...need to study

UPDATE:  Sick kid wins.  I thought we were good to go Wednesday, and we were Wednesday and Thursday and then today arrived.  I have spent today rubbing backs, holding puke buckets, and cleaning up diarrhea.  Every little thing that he drank or ate immediately came right back up.  Poor guy kept saying, "I'm so sorry, Mamma," while he was throwing up.  Then he would say, "I'm ok! I'll sleep now!"  I feel like I am covered in germs; I have washed my hands raw in the hopes of staying well.

It is ironic that I am studying my microbiology these days and learning about viruses and bacteria.  It is kind of neat to understand the biology behind illnesses that are so common.  Maybe I will just find the cure.  Wouldn't that be nice.  

He is safely tucked into bed.  It has been hours since I gave him anything to eat or drink, so he should be good until the morning.  I hope tomorrow is a better day...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Healer - Carol Cassella

 I have been reading a lot of non-fiction these days (a day in the life of...types of books about nurses and doctors).  I have a few in my sidebar that I recommend that I picked up at the library. 

I just finished Healer by Carol Cassella.  Great book!  I couldn't put it down.  This one is fiction.  The author is an MD and while enjoying a good book, you can pick up some medical terminology.  The main character and her family are ripped from their upper class comfortable lifestyle by financial troubles.  The main character, Claire, a non-board certified MD, returns to practicing medicine in a small town to help the family make ends meet.  It gives a great look into mission type medicine...working for the love of healing, not for a paycheck or prestige.

This same author has written Oxygen that I am going to pick up next.  These books are a huge distraction from my studying, and I should have the self control to JUST SAY NO!, but I love novels and at least when the subject matter is focused on medicine and health care, I feel/know I am learning something while relaxing. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spoiled Milk or Stomach Bug

Two magical days after every family event (Birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter), my son gets sick.  I can count on it like clockwork.  He doesn't attend daycare or school right now, so I know that he hasn't been exposed much, so he always gets sick.  This past Sunday, he and my husband went to the birthday party of 2 of our nephews while I was at school and today, diarrhea.  He went to bed at about 4:30pm this evening...about 15 minutes before I was supposed to drop him off at a friend's house so that I could go to school for a nursing admissions meeting.  I am not sure if he is sick because of something he picked up at the party or if it is because he drank spoiled milk this morning (my fault...way to go, Mom)  Yesterday afternoon, I gave him a cup of milk; he had a sip and then left it on the table.  I didn't notice until this morning that the glass was still sitting there and almost empty, and I knew he didn't drink it all yesterday.  I asked if he drank it this morning and he said, "Yes."  No vomiting (yet...aghhhh), but sleepy and diarrhea.  Yay! 

Missing the admissions meeting isn't too big of a deal, I don't think.  I know all the information that they have posted on their website and have met all those criteria, but it would have been nice to sit and listen at the meeting to see if there is anything that I have missed or any information that is not posted on their website.  I made a post on the school's forum asking others that are attending to comment on it so I know what I missed...hopefully someone will be nice enough to do so.

I know that it is going to be hard to juggle school and my son.  I wish I didn't have to do it!  It would be so great if I had a live in nanny that could do all the cooking, cleaning and watching him while I study and attend classes...oh, I guess I need a wife!  My husband works nights and I am not sure how this whole scheduling thing is going to work out.  I did hear some good news from one of my friends that her sister may be interested in watching my son this fall since she is going to be home with a newborn and had to take time off work.  It would be great to know that he is at someone's house.  All the daycare centers around here close at 6 or 6:30 and I have been reading that clinicals are many times in the world could I pull off that schedule???  I worry about it and keep praying and looking for options. 

Hoping it is spoiled milk and he feels better in the morning...until then, fingers crossed for clean sheets.

UPDATE!!  Upset tummy and fever are gone this morning.  Apparently, spoiled milk can make you feel really crummy...poor little guy!    Looks like we are free and clear of passing anything around.   I dumped the gallon just to be sure...not worth the risk.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Sister's Keeper

I am not a big movie buff...I don't even have cable.  I miss the evening news on most days because I either have my nose in a text book or some other book that caught my eye at the library.  The past Wednesday, my 2 year old wondered into the DVD section at the library while we were there and picked up this movie and said, "This looks good, Mommy.  See?? Bubbles!"  I read the back of the cover and he was did look like it would be a good movie.  So, we checked it out.

Without giving the whole story away, it is about the strength of a family and their journey through leukemia with their middle child.  I think I cried through the whole movie. In the evenings, I have to keep the TV volume low so that I don't wake my son and I kept moving closer and closer to the screen so that I wouldn't miss a single word.   If you are wanting to be a nurse, or if you are already a nurse, you should see this movie.  If you have no desire to work in health care and you know nothing about illness and how it effects patients and families, you should see this movie.  Or, if you just like to cry during movies, you should see this movie.

It makes me think a lot about how I am going to handle my emotions when I am a nurse.  I can easily put myself in the shoes of the patients and the families, because I just imagine what my emotions would be if I were them.  But putting myself into the shoes of the nurse is not so easy for me.  The nurse is to be comforting, but also strong.  The nurse is there to care for the patient and do treatments for their physical bodies...but also must provide care for them emotionally.  I know that all my patients are not going to want me to walk around and cry all the time and I am sure that they will want me to understand their fears and their anger/loss/pain/confusion/betrayal/ or their continued hope/faith/joy/peace.  I pray the right words always come to me when faced with difficult situations or questions that don't have easy answers.

Any other "must see" movies I should add to my library request list along these lines?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Trends in Nursing Specialties

Trends in Nursing
I am far from deciding which nursing specialty sounds the most interesting or fits my personality best.  How am I to know until I experience them first hand?  I have been reading books about the ICU, ER and Critical Care and I am finding them ALL fascinating.  This article touches on some of the changes going on in nursing specialties. 

I had my yearly GYN visit today and was talking to my MD about nursing school and my volunteering experiences.  It made me feel so good to talk about it and she was genuinely interested in hearing my ideas and was willing to answer some of my questions.  She made it clear to me that even though I am volunteering in the ER now, it is not a Trauma 1 ER and I MUST MUST volunteer or student extern in a trauma hospital.  She said that all specialties within a trauma hospital are unique and great learning experiences.  Within the trauma hospitals, all specialties receive the sickest and most varied injuries and illnesses.  You are more exposed to transplant patients, serious injury recovery patients, and improved technology.  Good advice from my friendly OBGYN.

The semester started today!  Advanced Physiology and Microbiology, here I come!  I have printed off the syllabuses and lecture outlines...started reading Micro...and then decided to blog :)  Micro is so interesting and I am only on page 12.  I say this because it surprised me!  The AP class is going to go more indepth physiologically on the 2 semesters of Anatomy I just finished.  It will be nice that the info is not brand new, and I am interested in seeing how that class plays hard is it going to actually be....hmmmm.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Finding Lurking Cancer Cells

Lurking Cancer Cells

What a blessing this would be!  This is an article about a new product that has been designed that can find one cancer cell among millions! 

Wouldn't this be a wonderful thing to add to your yearly physical...a simple blood draw to see if you have cancer in any part of your body.  WOW!