Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My goal is to keep people alive.

I believe I may have mentioned that my school is liberally utilizing scare tactics in order to train us to be careful, deliberate, scrutinizing nurses. Pretty much weekly, some professor or clinical instructor will casually drop a horror story in which an otherwise competent nurse accidentally pushed a nasogastric tube up through the patient's sinuses and into the brain and he died instantly.
But nothing compares to the lecture we had on Monday. This particular professor was teaching us about legal issues in nursing-- how incredibly important it is to document carefully because nurses are increasingly being sued.
She covered negligence, gross negligence, malpractice. She delved into assault and battery. She touched on failure to report abuse. And throughout the 3 hours, she peppered her lecture with newspaper clippings that detailed lawsuits against nurses and hospitals. She must have told approximately 50 stories, all of which ended with the phrase, "...and then the patient died" or "... and she bled to death in 20 minutes" or "...and the mother survived but the baby died instantly" or "... and he died later from complications of the punctured lung." By the end of the class, we were TERRIFIED.
She also mentioned that, as student nurses, we are potential candidates for lawsuit. Even though our clinical instructors and our school and our preceptors at the hospitals are overseeing and educating us, we are ultimately responsible for our actions. We need to be extremely careful and detail oriented and constantly check and recheck ourselves. And we can't do anything in the hospital that we haven't learned in skills lab or from our clinical instructors. I've been lucky-- most of the nurses I explain this to have been receptive but it can get difficult when you're working with a nurse who you are supposed to be assisting and now all of a sudden you say you can't do something and you look sort of incompetent or unhelpful. Especially when they kind of pressure you to do it anyway.
Our professor gave us good advice, though. She said that when someone tells us to do something we're not comfortable with or trained to do by saying "Oh just do it. Don't worry about it, I'm right here and I'll take the responsibility," then still don't do it, because it's as if they are saying "Oh come on, just let me put it in for a second. I won't come."
I think that may be the best analogy I have ever heard.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A tiny break from making flashcards

In order to keep up with this program I've become unable to keep up with various parts of my life that previously made me happy. First I stopped getting to bed at a reasonable time and became sleep deprived. Then I stopped exercising. Then I became really lousy at getting back to my friends and family (the best way to reach me is currently via text message). And now I don't watch TV anymore because I was planning to combine exercise and TV time and use the fancy machines downstairs but since I haven't made time to exercise, TV is gone too. And did I mention that my love life is.... oh I don't want to talk about it... ? Or that I don't know very many people in this city since I picked up my entire life and moved? Or that I also can't drown my sorrows in food because I have a very sensitive tummy and I need to eat things that won't aggravate it on weekdays? Having a drink or two seems to calm my nerves after a long day, but I really don't want to get to the point where I need to have 7 beers before I can start my homework. Even I recognize that as unhealthy.

I don't mean to complain or sound like I'm freaking out... I really am glad I'm doing this program and I feel like I'm learning a lot. It's just a very high stress, tough environment to be in. I'm really trying to keep myself together and make it through the year-- this week actually represents the midpoint of the first quarter (!!!!)-- but how can I do that if I have to push aside everything that keeps me sane and happy?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Magic Birthday

It started out as sort of My Tragic Birthday... but this weekend ended up being lots and lots of fun. I'm still hoping I get to do something else, possibly out of town, for my birthday, involving persons who live farther away. We shall see.
- Friday night: Dan's house for the BBQ with my classmates. We grumbled the whole way there "why the hell does he live out here?? It's so far away from everything!" But then we got there and realized why-- because Dan lives in the coolest house EVER. It's a warehouse that's been built into a series of rooms and living spaces. He has a ladder that goes from his room to his little office. It's like he lives in a treehouse! And he had room enough for like 40 people to park their cars. So we ended up staying there a lot longer than I was expecting. Drank me some more vanilla vodka and _______ (I actually don't know what it was since Nicole made the drink, but it was quite tasty and contained no roofies). And then a few of us headed out to this place called Whisper. We got there late so we only stayed for about an hour and a half before going home to pass out-- but we did manage to shake it for a bit.
- Saturday (My Actual Birthday!!): I had a lovely family dinner at Palapas and then went out to see Mamma Mia, both of which were fantastic. Then I picked up Miss Jenny from her cousin's wedding and we hit the town. Jenny was quite adept at procuring free drinks for me since it was my birthday, which is something I didn't actually know was a skill. My experience in LA with my birthday has been that if you said it was your birthday, you got a free drink. Or several. Bars, restaurants, wherever, whatever. Birthday = free drink(s). But everywhere we went in Santa Cruz, the bartenders demanded to see my ID to prove it was my actual birthday and a couple of them even pointed out that it wasn't my 21st birthday. Yeah..... SO???? But like I said, Jenny was very good at talking them into giving me a free drink; especially since she made the rule that I wasn't allowed to talk (and eff it all up, which I am very likely to do). She also reminded me that many of the free drinks I got last year possibly had something to do with the fact that I may or may not have been making out with the bartender. Whatever. Who remembers that stuff anyhow??
- Sunday: drove back to SF... stopped at Target on the way and completely lost track of time. I got to buy kind of lame things like a plunger and a cutting board, but I made up for it by also getting a really cute skirt. Then Prav and his girlfriend took me out to dinner at Cha Cha Cha. The offered me Sangria but I think I'm still pretty saturated from the weekend I've had. And now I'm home and I really should be studying but I think I might have to hit the hay and at least get my beauty sleep before another week begins.
And now I'm 26. Lets hope this year is a good one!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

make a reservation

Because I now live in San Francisco, I fully expect people to invite themselves to crash at my place. My place, I warn them, is very very very small. But it is still conveniently located, clean(ish), inhabited only by me and Bowiepants, and most importantly, FREE. And so the hints have been dropping. I am only too excited to have company in my little casita since I've never lived alone before so when Jenny said she was coming to town and using me as a hotel, I said "Yay!" I was already on board with the plan so the drinks and food she plied me with were icing on the metaphorical cake.

And so last Thursday, they came. Jenny and her baby Gabey for the evening until his papa picked him up on Friday. This was a fine arrangement since it meant I got to see the little one... except that he was sleeping in a strange place and kept waking up. And therefore waking me up since my apartment is lacking in certain areas. Like walls. And doors. But it really didn't matter since I don't sleep very well the day before clinicals anyhow so I probably got just as much sleep as I normally would have and I had an excuse to watch the Little Mermaid the night before.
So. Went to Clinicals all day long. Had a lovely dinny with the parents' who had just come home from their very long and exciting trip. Drove the hour back to my apartment. Got dressed. Changed mind about what to wear. Got dressed again. Left for the cocktail party.

Apparently from a combination of caffeine and being at a conference all day where she had to be outgoing and enthusiastic and "on point" the whole day, Jenny had turned into a..... well, a rather high strung version of herself. She greeted me with, "HI! I was just coming outside to look for you because I assumed you'd be here by now did you get my message? I met a girl and she said I could use her phone to leave you a message in case you got lost. Did you get your drink tickets? Give me one, I think I get three and you get one, okay?!"
I can't blame her for being this way-- it was the end of the day and she'd been going strong all day so really what I was witnessing was how I'm sure I was toward the end of my school interviews where I had had three in one week, and had been traveling coast to coast and throughout CA, so by the end of it all I was electric.
But. Friday I had not gotten much sleep and had left before the sun came up. And I had been on my feet at the hospital all day. And commuted. So I could not take the madness.
I threatened to leave. I force-fed her pasta for 10 minutes. I drank. And she did her white girl dance for me in the bathroom and won my heart all over again.

And we ended up having a rather ridiculous time which included but was not limited to, meeting a cat that looked, sounded, and acted just like a miniature version of Bowie, Jenny having an in-depth conversation with our Russian cab driver, hanging with a boy wearing a baseball cap made of tweed and fur with a leather brim, and taking a shot with a girl who works in an abortion clinic.

Saturday we woke up rather late. Okay that's not true. Jenny woke up on time but I snarled at her until she left me alone. We went to fabulous panel at the BlogHer conference. Miss Grace sort of makes it sound like I was the reason we left lots of our activities that day, but I was there and the decisions were quite mutual. She wanted the beer, hot tub, & nap combo more than the conference. I just listed it as an option. We enjoyed the Macy's cocktail party, loaded up on free lube and jump drives (!!!!), and bought shoes on the shoe level party and bought underwear on the underwear level party. It really is probably good we didn't make it to the handbag or furniture level parties. We crashed out early that night, exhausted and full of approximately 4 lunches and 1 dinner (each).

The Hotel Jules quite enjoyed its guests. Some come one, come all. But be sure to observe checkout hours.

A compromising position

I have had many new experiences since moving to the Bay Area and starting school again. Some of them have been fun like going to baseball games at Giants' stadium and ice skating at the Yerba Buena Center. Some have been challenging like driving the carpool from SF to San Rafael and learning to get up and leave my apartment well before dawn on clinical days.

And some have been.... unexpected.

Like shopping around town for what I had to eventually describe as "cute, orthopaedic shoes." I am not yet used to standing up for hours and hours and hours on clinical days. And the days are only going to get longer. So come Friday night, my feetsies are pretty disgusted with me and ready to have a bath and put themselves up for awhile. But I would really, really like to continue to have some semblance of a social life. And I really, really don't want to continue to go out on Friday or Saturday nights looking adorable from the ankles up but with sneakers on because I just can't bear to shove my poor aching feet in anything else. I dug out the Dansko's that a friend had originally bought for herself and gave to me and I think they may just work. They're cute... ish. But I'm still on the lookout for more pretty, orthopaedic shoes.

Another unexpected occurrence has been clinical lab days. I mean, I knew that we would be practicing skills and assessments on each other. Listening to heart sounds, feeling up each others' ribcages, asking about bowel movements-- I was sort of prepared for all of this. But then yesterday I found myself lying back on an examination table (fully clothed) holding a prosthetic vagina to my area so that my classmate could insert a foley catheter into it. You know-- so it would feel more like a "real" situation and he could remember where the drapes and sterile field were supposed to go and such.

As my clinical instructor reminded my classmate to be sure and lube the tip generously, I thought to myself "This is why I'm going to nursing school."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Jules A Palooza: Gold Edition

This year is the 26th that I have been alive. And Saturday, the 26th marks the date on which I was brought into this world. Screaming, and with the umbilical cord strangling me. And then the doctor broke my collar bone. But after the rocky start, things have been pretty good.

So, yes, ladies and gentlemen this year is my Magic Birthday!!! I shall be turning 26 on the 26th. According to Wikipedia this may also be known as my "Golden birthday" or my "Star birthday." I'm pretty excited about it since, as far as I'm concerned, birthdays rule. Especially mine. A few years ago I started a tradition of celebrating my birthday over a series of days (or weeks) with a variety of events. Which I was hoping to do again this year. I'm not sure if it's going to work since I'm so ridiculously busy with school. And I just moved to a new city so I don't know all the super fun things to do or the super cool people with whom to do them....
However. This is my Magic Birthday. I don't want to look back on my 25.98 year old self and shake my head that she didn't even try to make it a spectacular event.

So here is the plan thus far:
Friday- go out on the town and get drunkitty drunk drunk drunkiepants! Kelly asked what I wanted and I replied "drinking and the potential for dancing."
"anything else?"
"Oh, you know, debauchery, tomfoolery, rabble-rousing, horseplay....."
"Okay, let's go to the Mission."
So that's where we'll be, apparently.

Saturday- my plan is to head over to my parents' house where my mom promised to make me a custard pie (possibly to shut me up about them) and then to take me out to Mamma Mia. All are welcome to join us at the theatre to watch Meryl Streep's movie tribute to ABBA.

So that's the plan thus far. I also had high hopes for taking a trip to Vegas in September during the teeny tiny break I get from school, but I'm not sure that's actually going to get to happen which is suckey. Yet I believe there is still much potential for Jules A Palooza: Gold Edition to outshine the rest with its utter fabulousness.

Some photos from past Jules A Paloozas

Jules A Palooza (the Original)

I believe this was taken at the White Lotus when it was still the White Lotus and not Ritual. And I believe this may have been the night when I fell asleep halfway in the bathroom and halfway in the hall. Naked.

Jules A Palooza v. 2.5
These were taken at Busby's. I've since learned that Busby's is not actually a cool place to go (the music is rarely good, it attracts a specific douchebaggy crowd of guys in striped shirts, and it's generally pretty lame) but for awhile there I was getting free drinks and no cover. Plus it was so very close to my apartment....

These were from Hamburger Mary's Drag Queen Bingo night. It was my birthday, so they spanked me.

Not sure how I'll top all of this but I'm definitely up for the challenge!

Today, I

- got up far too late after hitting snooze about seventeen times.
- missed half my morning class. Which I am starting very much to dislike, so I wasn't exactly heartbroken about reaching the train a good hour and 15 minutes after I should have been there.
- have a test in said disliked class which I must take between 4 and 9 on my computer at home. With no books, notes, web sites, or persons whispering the answers into my ear. Honor system!
- ate a delicous lunch of food made by my mommy.
- am wearing a new sweater!
- am starting to panic about the upcoming weeks and the various tests and assessments that are looming.
- will likely be drinking PBR whilst I study and take the aforementioned test. Nothin but class.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Exhausted in a good way

It is Friday!! YAY!! And Miss Jennifer is in town. We have a tendency to drink excessive amounts of vanilla vodka and various mixers and behave ridiculously. Sometimes she licks me.
I just got home from another loooong clinical day which wasn't too bad because I was busy and I felt like I semi sort of knew what the hell I was doing. So even though I was running on 5+ish hours of sleep, it was really an okay day. And now I'm off to meet Jen at the BlogHer cocktail party, even though I didn't go to any of the daytime events. And then possibly out on the town and wherever the wind may take us!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Royal Pain

After reading the comments about how Molly may be shutting down her blog (don't do it!!), I googled my name, my nickname, and the name of my blog and fortunately (???) my blog didn't come up. I guess it's because I'm not as popular as Jenny for various reasons (I don't update enough, she's been doing this longer, she knows more about it, she's cooler than me in very specific ways). And also because I'm also not as popular as this book. It's about the fictional Alaskan royal family and the adventures of a loudmouth chef who unwittingly falls in love with the crown prince.

I was about to get all up on my high horse and talk about how lame a book concept that is and how ridiculous it is that I happened to pick the same name for my url...... but then I realized that the author of The Royal Pain also wrote these books. To which I am totally addicted. I read the first one, Undead and Unwed, after I found it on a shelf in the garage at my parents' house. Initially I read with a half-smirk on my face, grimacing at the bad grammar, uneven plot, and inconsistent character traits (and names). But then... I don't know, I sort of got into it. I have to be serious and read intelligent or boring books so much in my life that it felt nice to read a little fun book like this. And it sure didn't hurt that certain parts are, well, rather titillating and raunchy. And the latest one just came out on July 1. Not that I'm planning to buy it or anything but if it happened to end up in my apartment I probably wouldn't say no to a bath, a drink, and a peek into the complicated, sexy, sarcastic, extravagant lives of the king and queen of the vampires.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Eating my way through the week

Instead of the Freshman 15, my classmates and I are apparently going to gain the "Masters 20." And I can definitely see how that might happen to me.

The first day of school I bought a half sandwich, salad, and soda for $10 and quickly realized that there was no way I would be able to continue buying lunch sine I'm already swimming in debt from doing this program in the first place. But the problem was that there is not a fridge anywhere for me to leave anything that could potentially be gross or spoiled without being in a fridge. And there is no microwave. Okay, actually, I think there might be a microwave somewhere on campus. But anything I make that I would want to bring would probably be pasta of some kind and on the first day of school, this girl Diana mentioned that if she eats wheat at lunchtime she feels sleepy in the afternoon. And it was like a lightbulb went off above my head because for approximately a year while I was working at the ADHC, I would eat a big bowl of pasta or something equally carby and then always feel sleepy in the afternoon. The afternoons were also kind of slower and less eventful, but still. So now any kind of rice or pasta or potato dish are out and those represent quite a large percentage of the foods I can potentially make, store, and take to school.

For the rest of the first week, I brought hummus and various things to dip in it. And the second week I brought salads with all kinds of goodies on top. But I'm running out of ideas of things I want to take to school and/or clinicals. I can't bring anything that might spoil or go slightly bad since I have kind of a sensitive tummy anyhow. And I just can't bring myself to be like the rest of my classmates and bring, say, beet greens and figs. Oh and those bags of nuts everyone is so fond of. It's really just not my style. So what, then?? I guess for the two days I'm on campus I eat whatever I manage to scrounge from my refrigerator and try to make appealing. The combinations have been getting rather creative. [HELP!!]

I've starting branching out on clinical days. One day a week when we are in San Rafael for lab there is this insane buffet for $6. So far I have been getting their hot entree in addition to a salad. And last week Lauren came back to the table with the most delicious pie ever. I usually don't eat dessert because sweets aren't something I can't live without. I much more enjoy my savories-- give me a bag of pretzels instead of a candy bar any day of the week. But this pie was amazing. Amazing. I guess it was a custard pie; Lauren identified it as an egg custard. Which meant it was creamy and not too sweet but very.... satisfying. I only had about two bites but I've been thinking about it for a solid week so I'm pretty sure I'll be getting my own piece next time. So Tuesdays are shot in terms of healthy eating.

The other two days I'm at clinicals I pretty much want to eat all day long. Getting up at 5:30 makes my body sort of go "Wait?!!... WTF?" So I eat a much earlier breakfast than usual. And then a snack during break in the late morning. And then I still manage to be starving at lunch and all that sounds appealing is the biggest plate full of whatever is worst for me. Turkey with stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy? Yes please! But don't waste any space with that broccoli crap. And then it's back to the unit for another couple of hours until postconferance when we sit around and discuss our days and I usually cannot possibly get through it without a bag of chips or a piece of fruit.

Combine this with the fact that it's pretty difficult to fit any form of exercising into my schedule and I'm thinkin I might be a bit pudgier come next June.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

One down, 83 to go.

This weekend I was able to participate in lots of fun activities.... hanging out with friends, drinking, baseball games, bars, watching fireworks from atop my building, drinking, etc. It was fantastic. Except that I sort of forgot about how exhausting my school is. I actually did a fair amount of studying over the weekend, but still came home on Monday feeling overwhelmed and was nearly in tears while I did my reading. Tuesday we had skills lab out in San Rafael all day and then after that I had to study for my Pharmacology test today. Going to bed late after studying combined with waking up at least an hour before I am supposed to get up with a horrible feeling of panic in my stomach have made me rather exhausted this week.

Tomorrow and Friday, I have my hour commute to clinicals and I'll be at the hospital all day. I have to get there at 6:45 and leave at 4. In a few weeks we have to start getting there at 6 and then a few weeks after that we have to start leaving at 7pm.

There were 84 students in my class but one person has already dropped out. Here's hoping I won't be next!

I can do this.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I guess it's hereditary?

So I decided to spend the weekend at the hometown and try to fool myself into believing that studying at my parents' house would be lots more fun that studying at my apartment. It sort of worked... I made a lot of flashcards.

I was making said flashcards when my sister sat down at the other end of the table and proceeded to eat dessert while leafing through what appeared to be the local yellow pages.

"Um. Are you reading the phone book?"

"What? Oh, yeah."

"..... Why?"

"Well it's really the only thing I can handle right now-- I'm exhausted and I can't read anything that stresses me out like Time or Newsweek and this is mindless and sometimes, you know, I'll find something interesting."

She showed me an ad for a carpet cleaning service and then I tried to tell her about how when I'm on a plane, I can open their inflight magazine and stare at the various maps for a good hour. I don't really have concrete thoughts while I'm doing this-- I'll just consider the US or the world and let my mind sort of wander and touch on subjects.... where I've been, where people I know have been, where I might like to go, if I can even identify most of the states east of the Mississippi, if I can even identify the Mississippi....

She told me I'm crazy.

And I hadn't even told her that reading sometimes stresses me out too, how if I'm just looking to curl up with a book I have read I often can't decide on one because my mind automatically focuses on the parts in the book that make me cringe or feel angry and I have to decide if it's really worth it to open it back up. Same with movies. Now you see why I like going to the theater so much.

I also didn't tell her that I wash my hands before and after I use the bathroom. Or that I can't wear clothes with objects on them that don't "go" together. Like I was all flustered the other day because I wanted to wear a sweatshirt with a unicorn on it, but I also wanted to wear my warmest long-sleeved shirt which happens to have a mammoth on it and they're not really in the same category.

The plan went awry

Today we had our all day long skills lab out in San Rafael. I was kind of panicking about getting there due to how well I (do not) know the city I now call home. But a nice classmate responded to my cry for help and thus a carpool picked me up at 8. It was actually pretty nice to go out to San Rafael... the weather is much more "LA like." As in sunny. Which always puts me in a happy mood.
We had to do a lot of skills today, which involves practicing on each other. That's fine for now since we're doing assessments and transfers and such... I'm sort of nervous about a few months from now when we'll be drawing blood from each other but I guess that's what I signed myself up for! One of the things we did today was to practice these pressure relieving bandages which forced me to expose my frightfully hairy legs.

I promise, I shave regularly. Really I do. Even in the winter because you just never know, particularly in LA. I usually shave on Thursday nights; a sort of "getting ready for the weekend" thing. But this past Thursday I didn't. And then it was cold on Friday night so I didn't. And then I felt like I had missed my window. I thought that as long as I hadn't already shaved, I should just wait until this next Thursday because I'm sure I'll just wear pants the rest of the week and I am not planning to go swimming or otherwise expose my legs.

But the plan went to folly when I had to roll up my pant legs and have bandages applied. Not that it matters but.... I guess I was still sort of hoping to come across as, like, "pulled together" or whatever.