Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Interlude

Cuz I'm bored and have no nursing news to report but I don't want you to stop reading!!!

School starts again January 11th! Many more stories involving bodily fluids, and strange and disgusting procedures to come!!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I'll be gone from nursey land until mid-ish January when all HELL BREAKS LOOSE when I start my 10-week Med/Surg rotation. But for now I'm 2/3's a nurse!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Teen Queen

On one of my last days on the adolescent psych unit, one of the kids told me about how his mother had sent him to jesus camp twice hoping she might help steer her gay son back to heterosexuality. I didn't let my shock at what he'd told me show, but it was one of the saddest, most ridiculous things I'd ever heard. He was on the unit because he'd attempted suicide. I wonder if his self-loathing might have had something to do with the fact that his own mother wouldn't accept who he was.

Friday, December 3, 2010

And the winner of best excuse goes to....

One of the kids on the psych unit told staff yesterday that he didn't want to participate in activity hour because he was landing spaceships in his room. Given the choice of 1) coloring or 2) landing spaceships in the comfort of my room, I'd probably also go with the latter.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Revenge of the Turkey

It's almost thanksgiving... I wanna be a nurse already and then I wanna GO HOME!!!! (and I want my mommy)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

cry me a river

I'm watching the patients on the adolescent psych ward and I'm thinking: these kids are amazing. I don't know what it is, but I feel so entranced just sitting there watching them interact. Aren't adolescents the ones who are rebellious, have identity crises, mood swings, all that stuff...? I look at these kids and I see them as being so free. They don't seem self conscious. To me they look care free. I envy them! What's going on here? Why are they all trying to kill themselves? I want to grab them and make them see what I see. Why do all of the girls on the unit cut themselves? Their arms, their NECKS?? I don't get it but they aaaaaall do it and they are always girls.

Aside from the suicide attempts and self-mutilation (you gotta draw the line somewhere...) how much of this stuff is mental illness and how much of it is part of being a teenager? These kids are put on a LOT of medication, and I'm not saying that's a bad thing because why should people suffer if they don't need to, but what the heck is going on here?

The boys are mostly dealing with anger or autism or behavioral issues. There were only 2 boys on the unit today out of probably 15 kids. My favorite quote of the day came from one of them though: (addressing the female patients) "I can read your minds and I know that you all want to have sex with me."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Adolescent Psychiatry

Why do some people have kids only to ruin their lives? I've always wondered this, but now I'm REALLY starting to see what can happen when parenting goes terribly wrong. I shouldn't put all the blaim on the parents though, things can happen to kids that are completely out of parent's hands. Maybe it's just asshole adults in general... or even other kids (both of whom were probably also screwed over by other adults or other kids -this is getting a little convoluted, but you see the vicious cycle being painted here).

Last month in Pediatrics I was witness to how a child's physical health can deteriorate because of neglect, now I'm seeing how their minds can be destroyed. In the words of the co-assigned nurse I worked with this week on the adolescent psychiatric unit, abuse is pretty much a prerequisite for many of the disorders institutionalized kids are dealing with. I wonder how many of them are able to get better or at least become functional and happy. It makes me really sad and angry that kids have to deal with the kinds of stuff I've seen so far on this rotation.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Psychiatric Nursing Rotation...

...starts tomorrow at 7am. Would it be weird if I wore my hair like this?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Another rotation bites the dust...

Wednesday is the last day of my Pediatrics clinical rotation. It's been challenging working with little kids and babies, trying to get them to cooperate, subjecting them to painful procedures...

While I at least got used to seeing kids in the hospital setting pretty fast, last week, working with a 5 week old baby with a really serious heart condition almost got the best of me. Learning about all of the things that can go wrong with our bodies really made me wonder how any of us manage to be born healthy. It's literally a miracle.

I really hate the fact that I'm never going to find out what happened to that little baby.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fun with Medical Vocab


Just like mom makes it!   

Friday, October 15, 2010

Peeds Shmeeds

Everybody calls Pediatrics "peeds" which I thought was really unnecessary at first until I fell into the habit within 30 seconds of being introduced to the term. What's the big deal with just saying the whole word? There's a lot of that in nursing... I was reading a chart one day when I found the acronym, "BRB" (NOT to be confused with "be right back") documented in reference to someones bowel movements. "What does this stand for?" I innocently asked my clinical instructor. "HA!" She replied, "Why don't you try looking it up?" So I did, and then wondered what the heck was so funny about Bright Red Blood in someones numero dos (this brings up the issue of inappropriate joking and coping methods which I hope to discuss in a separate entry).

I guess healthcare workers have lazy tongues... other abbreviations include "cath" for catheter, "segs" for segmented neutrophils (which I can get down with), "tachy" for tachycardia or tachycardic, "telly" for telemetry, and "FOB" for father of the baby (not father of a bitch, as you might have incorrectly guessed).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'd Rather Be...

...digging ditches. A nurse who works at the clinic where I'm a volunteer told me she'd rather dig "43 ditches" than work in pediatrics. Interesting! I guess I'll get the chance to begin calculating my own own ditches-to-peds ratio this Wednesday when I start my next rotation.
Today was my last day of OB... All in all, I saw five births! I can't believe I'll be half way done with this crazy program in November.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Not Your Average Wink

"The anal wink or anocutaneous reflex is the reflexive contraction of the external anal sphincter upon stroking of the skin around the anus. The absence of this reflex indicates that there is an interruption of the reflex arc, which may be in the sensory afferent limb or the motor efferent limb. The synapse between the afferent and efferent limbs occurs in the lowest sacral segments of the spinal cord."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Booty Action

I got to see my very first hemorrhoid today and my instructor even made me poke it.

"Touch this," she said. 
  So I did. 
  The patient said, "Ouch." 
  And I said, "I'm sorry."

Later on I got to play interpreter for a Spanish speaking couple who were going home with their new baby. They weren't leaving though till I gave mom a shot of Depo Provera in the butt cheek. I'm pretty sure I overheard the father discussing employing the clamp that had been used to pinch off the end of his son's umbilical cord as a roach clip.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I started volunteering at this awesome community clinic a few weeks ago just that sees uninsured and under-insured patients. It looks like I'll mostly be working with an OB/GYN which is right up my alley... Today I got to put my Spanish skills to the test, which was a lot of fun for me, and I even learned a new word: "calentonas". The woman who I was talking to used it to describe the "hot flashes" she'd been having. I'm just a little nervous about adding it to my list of vocabulary because, upon further investigation, I found out it can also mean "horny ladies."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Max at 08:47

I was so lucky to see a baby birthed right out of his momma on my second day on the OB floor this weekend. I think they normally put students to the side and let them watch, but since it was just me, the nurse, a Nurse Midwife and an MD they had me hold one of the mother's legs while she pushed. It was pretty A-MA-ZING seeing little Max enter the world!

I'm happy that I can find joy in this experience while still holding onto my conviction that people are having too many babies. When I hear about families of 5, 6, 7 children (even three, to be honest) it actually makes me kind of upset. There are so many kids out there who need families, and so many people who are having kids they don't really even want. I don't think it's a popular idea, but aside from being a social concern it is also really an environmental issue. I think I read somewhere that if women started having just one baby, we'd really slow down the population rate and we might even end up having enough resources for everyone (and less wars over them) down the line as a result. There really isn't enough room for all of us on this planet at the rate we're going!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

chop shop

Just an hour or so into my first day on the obstetrics floor and I witnessed a little guy get his bits chopped down by a physician. It wasn't really what I was expecting. I didn't know that they give babies some sore of numbing agent requiring 3 or so shots in the groin... Lucky for him though because this baby didn't cry at all!

I wonder if more parents would reconsider this procedure if they actually saw what it was like. One of my classmates nearly fainted after it was over. I was kind of a lot to stomach at 8 in the morning.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Women's Health Time!

This Saturday I start a five-week clinical rotation on an OB floor. I think this is going to be my favorite rotation. I hope I get to see a birth!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What's Growin On?

Man, that's a corny title, isn't it? It's been a while since I've posted and I thought I'd try something lighthearted: an update on our garden.

We tried our first tomatoes a couple of weeks ago and I now have no desire to ever purchase a tomato in a store again.

We have this HUGE watermelon plant, but so far, only this single fist-sized fruit has appeared. How will we know when it's ready to be plucked?

Aaaaah, cucumbers.

These past several days have been quite eventful and emotional. I'm now 1/3 of the way done with nursing school and enjoying a 2-week break before starting up again with my first clinical rotation of the fall on an OB floors, and our 12-year old kitty cat is preparing to leave this world for cat nip heaven...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Acute Care Clinicals: Week 1

This week we started the acute care portion of our clinical rotation. Seven other students and I have been placed on the floor of a hospital where people receive care for problems related to end stage liver failure, most are on transplant lists and some have just received new livers. Most everyone there with light skin is bright yellow with jaundice and swollen with ascites. We were all soooo nervous on our first day, but once we got to the hospital and saw what it was like on the floor, I think we all started to calm down a little. I really love the fact that all of my classmates readily admit how scared they are -there are no tough guys in the group. It's really nice to know that when you are feeling really doubtful about your preparedness for these situations, there are seven other people around you to reassure you that, "girl, I'm crapping my pants too..."
On day #2 we were assigned a patient who we had perform a general assessment on. My patient was having a liver biopsy performed on another floor when I got there at 8:00, so I didn't get to work with him until about 11:00. When I finally got to meet him, I found him to be a really nice guy which made it a lot easier for me to do the assessment...!
Aside from working with my patient, I helped another classmate wash hers up . This guy had two chest tubes, three JP drains, a "mercedes" incision (use your imagination) AND these things they wrap around their calves and hook up to a machine that squeezes their legs (I think to help prevent deep vein thrombosis). He had just received a new liver the day before. He was acting a little strange because liver failure can cause neurological problems and I guess he wasn't feeling the effects of his new organ yet. He also had an IV and bandages on both arms. Oh! and don't forget the catheter and butt tube! I mean there was barely an inch of skin that we could actually clean before running into a tube... I also drained a catheter bag (is this getting too disgusting?) and helped a nurse draw blood off of a PICC line. I also saw a craaaaaazy dressing change on this lady's abdomen (the nurse could fit her hand up to the knuckles into the wound).
Next week, we'll start passing meds (just pills, I guess) and the following week we'll be ready for injections!!! This is too fast!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Long Term Care

Last week I started the clinical portion of school at a long term care facility (read: nursing home). We'll only go a total of four days to our designated facility before my group and I head into acute care on an organ transplant floor.

Each student has been paired up with a resident at the nursing home who we'll work and write a clinical paper about at the end of our four days. I was happy when my resident immediately reminded me of my 94 year old grandmother. She's pretty funny and feisty and while I thought she was at least in her late 80's to early 90's, I found out on the second day that she was only 69! That's just a few years older than my mom, dad and aunts and uncles. Why do people age so differently, I wonder.

Being at this home has been a saddening experience to say the least. And not because we're working with elder patients, some of which have dementia or can't talk or feed themselves, and all of whom are incontinent... it's the fact that there is about one burnt out CNA (certified nurse assistant) per 8 residents who's lack of patience or desire to take the time to be a little more caring is all too evident. "Fortunately" for me, I'm at one of the "better" homes where residents just get left on the toilet for 30-45 minutes and rushed in and out of the shower as they cry for the CNA to be careful because they have dementia and are afraid they're going to fall or get hurt. I've heard horror stories from other students who are at different homes who've told me of a resident having her own urine wiped on her by a laughing CNA who left this incontinent person in her bed for three hours and then scolded her for peeing in it... Or others who've told me that the residents in the home where they've been placed are wheeled into the hallways where they spend their whole day staring at the back of the person in the wheelchair in front of them... And we've only been at these places for TWO days! Imagine spending years living or working in one of these homes.

So what have I learned? 1) I don't want myself or anyone I know to ever have to live in a nursing home 2) CNA's need to be paid more and their patient load needs to be drastically reduced.
I can't stop thinking about my resident who's only been at this home for one month but who's already developing a pressure ulcer on her butt from sitting in her wheelchair all day, everyday. It's entirely possible that she could end up dying from an infection resulting from that sore. It makes me feel guilty knowing that once I put in my last day with her on Thursday, I'll go on to something else, but she'll be right there until the end of her days.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Likes & Dislikes

I think it's about time I made a pros and cons list of my new city...

$700 for a 2-bedroom apartment (with an office too)!
It gets warm here!
I can ride my bike to school with no hills or traffic in the way!
There are no hipsters here
People are really nice
Thrift stores are very good

Gas & Electric runs $100 a month and lemons cost nearly 50 cents a piece! (Don't get me started on avocados...)
It's gonna hella get cold here!!
Taking a walk in my neighborhood means going to CVS or Subway or Dunkin Donuts...
There are is no Trader Joe's here
I have no friends
I have no job here and therefor no spending money

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Favorite Quotes...

I've heard some funny things come out of the mouth's of my professors this week... I feel like school is getting more interesting. Today I found out where I'll be doing clinicals this July. We start with long term care and I'm going to be at a facility that is literally right across the street from my house. Awesome (because we still don't have a car)!!

Anyway, the quotes...

"Nursing is not for Sissies!"

"Imagine what their vaginas look like!!"

These are just a couple of the more memorable ones from this week. I'm sure there will be more and lots more stories to tell once clinicals start. I'm excited and nervous at the same time :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Garage Sales

We found out that there were going to be some neighborhood-wide garage sales today, and of course we were aaaaaall over it. We found a lot of cool things (many of which we probably would have purchased if we'd had a way of getting the stuff home but we still don't have a car!).
There are some really cute neighborhoods in this town and the vegetation explosion (see previous entry) makes them all the cuter, so it was really pleasant walking around this afternoon. Not to mention the weather was awesome! We haven't felt this kind of weather in... oh... about FIVE years... so we're definitely happy about it.

Here's one of the houses we saw while walking around...

And we got this poster for our house...

People were really going crazy over this dang thing as we were walked home with it. I think at least four people asked us what it was (people are really friendly here -or maybe it's just the spring weather?), then we'd turn it around and they'd say, "Oh, I love Sargent!! What street did you get that on? One dollar?!"

I think this blog was supposed to be about nursing school but lately it seems to be more of a look-at-the-cool trash-I-found blog... I've got so many exams this coming week, so much reading and preparation to do that I don't even want to talk about it!! Let me tell you that all of this hard work is really giving me a new found appreciation for nurses (thanks, Mom!). Do you realize what people have to go through to become nurses? Let me tell you, it's not easy!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Vegetation Explosion

Springtime around here is serious business. I present to you with Exhibits A and B:

The streets have really erupted with flora. I guess this is what they mean when they say the east coast has seasons...

Unfortunately, I suspect that winter will be also busting onto the scene with this same kind of vigor.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm a spazz

Today, my lab partner discovered that I've got a touch of clonus in my right foot.

Here's to a year of interesting discoveries!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Orange is the New Beer

Just seven days into this intense little nursing program I've gotten myself into and I'm discovering that this school thing is really getting in the way of some of the activities I once enjoyed back in my carefree days of one week ago. One of those activities for which I no longer have time to participate in is drinking beer.

Ah, yes. I like this image because not only is it one beer but it's two beers ...and they're by the pool! Swimming is another activity I could get down with considering the beautiful warm weather we've been having here, but rather than sunbathe I spend most days in a large, dark lecture hall with no windows, or shut in my apartment with my nose to the books.

But with this decrease in beer consumption, I've simultaneously noticed a move into strange and unchartered pleasure seeking territories: oranges!

Over the past few days I've been averaging an intake of 2 - 3 oranges per day. This might seem normal for any other person, but I'm not a fruit eater. In fact, David is constantly chastising me for my lack of fruit consumption so this is highly unusual behavior for me!

I guess I've found a substitute -for now- for an old past time that I can no longer participate in. I just checked the fridge though and I only have 4 oranges left which is going to get me through about two more days under strict rationing. And since I don't have a car there is no way I'll be able to restock my produce in the near future. Maybe when Saturday rolls around I'll go back to beer!

Friday, May 21, 2010

1 week down... 51 more to go

I just finished my first week of nursing school! (*applause, cheers*) ...I already feel behind ...I mean, I am behind, I don't just feel like it :)

It seems like I'm part of a group of pretty good people. Tons of folks from California plus a variety of ages, backgrounds and experience. One thing I've noticed is how committed everyone seems. It's not like my pre-requisite classes back at City College where there were always a few slackers here and there. Everyone wants to be here and seems dedicated to doing well.

In our first lab class yesterday, we got a chance to practice taking vital signs on each other and I felt grateful for my experience volunteering at at a health clinic in SF for the past two years because at least taking a patients pulse, blood pressure and temperature thing was something I was familiar with.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Start your engines...

My parents left for California today so it's just me and Sochi on our own until David pulls into town. Tomorrow night some people from my program are getting together at the local sports bar. I'm getting kind of tired of eating veggie burgers and fries every time I eat out, but I'm not tired of beer so I'm sure I'll be fine.

School starts in just a couple more days. I wonder what it's going to be like... I'm getting nervous! Got my nursing shoes, got my books... I guess I'm ready!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Decorating Time

For what this city has been lacking in sunshine these days, it's been making up for in cheap cute furniture.

I think I'd give up a nice coffee table though if it meant getting my daily dose of vitamin D.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

New Home

When we got here last Monday it was about 80 degrees. We walked around in the sun, checked out the lilacs blooming, ate at outdoor patios (even at night), and did all those other things that a person who has lived in year round 60 degree weather for five years does when they come in contact with a warm climate.

We also visited the home of very famous inventor from these parts and saw an interesting collection of old cameras including the actual one used to take this famous photo.

We had to say goodbye quickly to our heatwave because today it's snowing! Tonight it's supposed to be 37 degrees and I can't figure out how to turn the heater on. Last night the power went out and we were in the dark for twelve hours.

Monday, April 26, 2010


We found a place to live about a month ago. This is where we'll spend the next year while I attend nursing school! Our landlord is a cop and says stuff like, "I could give two shits!

Here's another shot of our house. Our apartment is on the second floor.