Friday, December 14, 2012

Controlled Chaos

I am a nurse. Nursing is not what I do, it is who I am. I know there are people who say that, and I used to write those kind of statements off. A job was just a job until I discovered what brought passion to my life. This job I have is not something that I leave when I swipe my badge at the end of my shift. I interact with patient's and their families at some of their most vulnerable moments in life. On occasion I impact them; more often their overwhelmed state and dependence impacts me. I couldn't have planned my life any better if I'd had a fairy godmother. I love what I do. However, there are days that we all pay a price. Not everyone survives their hospitalization; often, some patient's don't have a chance before they even enter the door. 

I participated in my first code last week. I've always heard how violent CPR is, but you never hear how beautiful it is at the same time. There are multiple people in the room, but each one plays a role in a synchronized dance you perfect the moves to the first time you step into the situation. It is the place that theory becomes concrete knowledge. In this particular situation I took part in chest compressions, ventilating the patient, pushing medications, checking for pulses, and acting as a member of a team with one goal in mind: keep the patient alive. In this particular case I experienced something I never imagined. I actually rode on the patient's bed doing chest compressions as we moved to another location. When adrenaline pumps through your body that quickly and viciously everything but the situation in front of you fades out. That moment of utter clarity doesn't happen very often, but in these situations it's a necessity. You don't feel the pain ripping through your body as you push it beyond the physical restraints binding it. 

I am a nurse. It is not a profession, it's a lifestyle choice. It impacts every aspect of my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Country Roads and Old Fashioned Country Thanksgivings!

First of all let me say I have been spoiled beyond belief driving on the West Coast. Admittedly, people from California do not count, because they A) are not PacWest people and B) can't drive. However, I have NEVER seen worse drivers than I have here in Florida. They don't signal when they turn or change lanes, they consistently drive 15 MPH above the speed limit, if you do not immediately take off when lights turn green they honk and may or may not provide you with a less than pleasant gesture, and finally they don't require helmets for motorcycles! I mean come on, can you say stupidity?? But enough ranting about bad driving...needless to say no one here would win the driver of the year award if there even was a reward like that. 

On a happier note, I went to my aunt's house for Thanksgiving. It was a great long weekend (I have FIVE days off from work!!), the drive was beautiful and relatively stupidity free, saw family, played with cats and dogs, had great food, AND rode in a cotton picker! If you have never seen a cotton picker, or had the joys of picking cotton off the stalk and playing with it you have seriously missed out on life! It's amazing to see cotton in its raw state and imagine all the steps it takes to take form and be used (in case you didn't know this, cotton is generally shipped to China and then back to the US in actual goods; also there's cotton in a $100 bill), and it's really just downright fun to ride around on a cotton picker!! 

Thanksgiving was a really fun affair, I got to see family and friends I haven't seen in years, shoot guns, eat turkey and pumpkin pie, and generally have an All-American Thanksgiving. It was a bit nostalgic to not be at my parents, watching football on the back porch (ROLL TIDE!!), and drinking White Russians, but I guess that's all part of growing up. At least I am still near extended family, and we're planning an old fashioned country Christmas as well =)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Start up fees, working 12s, and pesky ole appliances!!

When you sign up for things like cable, internet, and electricity. They never tell you about the "fees" that come along with it. I mean really does Comcast really need to charge me $59.99 to pick up my cable box and internet modem?? I literally drove to Comcast and picked up everything I needed and THEY charged me. I should have charged them the gas it cost me to drive out there since they shipped me the wrong stuff in the first place!! And then to start up my electric, the great city of Tallahassee charged me a $20.00 start-up fee on top of a $180.00 deposit...a deposit? Really?! It's not like I signed a contract, so why do I need pay a deposit?? Needless to say fees are not my friend!!

This was my first week of real work in my brand new job! I had forgotten how hard it is to be on my feet for twelve hours a day. Plus getting up at 5am to get ready for work, leaving while it's still dark, and getting home after the sun sets is HARD. That being said, I really do love what I do, and I love my new job!! There are a lot of adjustments, and new things to get used to...I mean really EKG strips that I am responsible for interpreting?? Very nerve wracking. On a very proud note I did my first blood draw on a very dehydrated patient, and I got it on the first stick! Hopefully the weeks begin to go more smoothly, and I figure out the nuances of the system =)

I got my washer and dryer today. I don't think I've even been so excited to see an appliance in my life...I once again have a surplus of clean clothes! Plus I bought an energy efficient washer so I'll get $100.00 dollars off my electric bill, which will alleviate some of the "fee" issues I've been having so that's good. I think this has been one of the most ADD things I've ever written...couldn't quite decide which of the exciting life events I should write about today...will have to work on that another day =)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Reasons I'm pretty sure my neighbor hates me and other shenanigans

Anyone who has ever lived with me for any length of time will tell you that I am a wiggler. Not only am I a wiggler, but I also feel the need at random times during my day to run through my abode. These are not predetermined jaunts, and I'm doing them before I quite realize that this is happening. So now my neighbor is graced by my little thumper feet. Additionally, I have felt the need to listen to CNN in the morning while I get ready for work. Which means at 6:30am my tv is on, but on the bright side my knowledge of news events and politics is at an all time high. On top of that is my desire to listen to music to combat the silence. This now means that s/he is subjected to my random mood music swings including, but not limited to: country, R&B, rock, alternative, 90s pop icons and 60s jazz. As a result of all of this I'm pretty sure my neighbor probably thinks I'm schizophrenic. And for the record I've never actually seen the person who lives below me...for all I know there's no one living there, but that would make the cat gymnasium on the porch hard to explain.

In other news, I completed my week of orientation...mostly. I have to go back Monday morning for one more 29 question test about cardiac rhythms :P Otherwise it's been a fairly uneventful (e.g. a fairly boring overview of a lot of stuff, but at least everyone has been really nice) orientation, I really like the campus and organization I work for. They have made a lot of improvements, and have touch screen IV pumps...yes I said touch screen. It's awesome. However, they use one of the most archaic electronic medical records I have ever worked with. It is so not cool, but than again I have a job so I can't really complain! And I'm heading off this weekend to the Greek festival or the Seafood festival, or maybe both!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lost keys and large bushes

So one would think that I, who have never lost a set of keys for more than 15-20 minutes at any  time in my life, would manage to not lose her keys in the first 10 days of living in a new apartment. So in one of the more embarrassing moments of my life I went to the gym at my complex. But I get to the gym only to realize that the lobby is closed until 9am and I didn't bring my gym key with me. I go back to my apt to get the key, and when I get to the door I untie the laces on my shoe to get my key out (I had it tied up in my laces). And then, in something akin to what I have seen in cartoons my key flies out of my hand, over the rail of my balcony, and lands in some very tall, overgrown grass that is beside my stairs. I am completely shocked. I have no idea how this could have possibly happened, because I have NO idea how the key left my hand. I then spend the next 5 minutes walking the perimeter of said grass trying to peer into it without having to actually walk into the grass due to my morbid fear of slithering SNAKES...finally I sucked it up and stepped into the grass to search for said key. Now bear in mind that I am looking for your typical housekey; just a solo key less than 2 inches. Needless to say I didn't find it (for all I know a raven...those are the birds that like shiny objects right?...found it and took it to their nest). So I have to walk back to the leasing office (and it's still not 9am!)! Thankfully a groundskeeper saw me standing outside and asked if I was trying to get into the gym. I then have to tell her my embarrassing story of how I lost the infamous key and I'm pretty sure that by the time I was done with my story this woman was barely holding back laughter. She lets me into the office after telling her boss what happened and I get a new key. Probably the most bizarre part of this incident is that the office does not ask me to identify myself in any way...all they ask me is for my apt number. I guess they assume that no one would actually volunteer that they managed to throw their key over the side of their balcony unless they really had done it. 

So summary of my moving adventures: I have a new, big girl apartment, I start a new job, I buy a manual car that I must learn to drive, I have to get used to silence and weird noises, AND I lose my house key. Let's hope that means I'm now disaster least once I start actually working on my unit otherwise who knows what I could lose there =P

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Living alone!

There are lots of perks to living alone such as controlling the remote, walking around in my underwear, and no one else making a mess in my space. However, there are downsides that I am discovering along this journey! Unless I have the tv or some form of music on there is utter silence (unless of course I am talking to myself out loud which is slightly more crazy than doing it silently btw) which is pretty hard to get used to. My solution has been to create a 90s pop Pandora station based primarily on NSYNC and the Spice's almost, but not quite, embarrassing to admit how happy this station has made me as I get settled into my new apartment. The second major problem lies not in silence, but in noise...I know how can I complain about both silence and noise? Well let me tell you! When I am lying in bed half awake at 6am and it sounds like someone is unsuccessfully trying to break down my door I lay there for 5 min trying to decide if this is normal apartment noise, or if someone is really trying to break down my door (for the record so far no one has actually broken into my apartment, but to prove I'm not crazy at least 3 of the last 7 mornings someone from the leasing office has left notes on my door) and at those moments I would be really happy with silence! 

All things considered though, my apartment is pretty awesome...I would post some pictures of it, but I am technologically challenged and am going to have to figure the whole picture thing out later...and I have a huge closet! Oddly enough though, while my own closet is quite large, the storage space in this place is a little lacking particularly in the bathroom. Now don't get me wrong, I am not a total girly girl but I have my fair share of beauty products along with the necessary first aid kit, which currently is comprised of arnica gel and Disney princess band aids (I'm putting my profession just a bit to shame here...will have to work on the whole first aid thing later), so a little more storage space would be appreciated. But other than the storage space and the inability to drink tap water my first solo, big girl apartment is great!

The whole moving in and getting settled process was surprisingly painless due primarily to my awesome dad and uncle Wayne for moving all the heavy objects, and then my dad for using his vacation time to help me get settled and buy all the necessities needed to start out my solo living. My mother also is a genius about moving, and she tucked all the basic cleaning supplies and things such as toilet paper in a laundry basket so when I unpacked all of my stuff I didn't immediately have to run to the store to stock up on necessities (because really I can only go so long without toilet paper!). All in all I'm a pretty blessed girl when it comes to my family coming together to make this transition as smooth as possible!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Moving, mayhem, and Tinkerbell

Twelve days ago I flew overnight across the country to Tallahassee, FL to start a new life far far far away from everything familiar. Having graduated from nursing school in early August, I quickly discovered the life of the unemployed was not for me. This prompted me to spread my wings and take my dream job on a cardiac progressive care unit in a 722 bed hospital...only problem? This dream job was 3000 miles away from the city I'd called home for over 4 years: Portland, OR. 

Thankfully, my dad decided it was a good time to schedule a family reunion (almost all of his family resides in Alabama) and helped me with the monumental task of settling into my new apartment and life. I wish I could say this process went smoothly...but it really didn't. I had decided to ship all of my stuff (BEST decision I made in the whole moving process) and fly down to Tallahassee; of course the only flight we could get that allowed for the use of the coveted airline miles was a redeye with a 5 hour layover in Atlanta. Needless to say Dad and I arrived in Tallahassee sleep deprived and cranky with the monumental task of finding me a new car as quickly as possible.

In relatively short order we found ourselves at a Toyota dealership test driving a 2013 Toyota Corolla. In a surprisingly short period of time I found myself signing paperwork that made me the owner of a beautiful, white, manual transmission (quite an upgrade from the 20 year old Suburu I had been driving fro 8 years). Yes I said manual transmission. Learning to drive a manual transmission has been on my bucket list for several years. However, I overlooked one very important consideration when I bought this car: I had not driven a stick shift in several years, I had less than 8 hours of sleep in the past 48 hours (in fact sleep had been in short supply for the last 5.5 weeks since I found myself agreeing to take this job), and I had to drive this car at least as far as the airport by myself while dad drove back our rental car. Dad decided it was in my new car's best interest that we practice a bit before I undertook solo driving so we set off down the highway in what I can only describe in retrospect as a very comical experience. Several failed starts, jerky driving, and one crying session later I found myself alone in my brand new car following my dad to the airport and hoping I didn't lose him in traffic. In what I can only call a miracle due to the constant refrain of "Dear God please don't let me hit someone" I arrived at the airport without any mishap. Needless to say I was done driving at that point. 

Sometime over the course of dinner I managed to stop hyperventilating and convinced myself that buying a manual car was not the worst idea I'd ever had (it was pretty high up there, or at least it seemed to be in my sleep deprived state), and decided to name my car Tinkerbell. Following that rather calming decision we ate dinner and headed to our hotel where I slept almost 12 hours in preparation for moving adventure for another post!