Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Night Shift

Night shift is not for the weak, my friends.  I go to my shift exhausted and then, by some cruel twist of fate...I come home wide awake. Sleeping during the day, when life is occurring for the rest of my world, is damn near impossible. So far, I've managed to get 3-5 hours of sleep, before giving up. Then, I just wander through the rest of the day in a near catatonic state.

Precepting in labor and delivery has been interesting. Far more entertaining than the actual work I'm supposed to be doing, is observing and being a part of, the silliness that occurs around 11 pm, followed by the hysteria that hits around 2 am, among the other staff. By 5 am, my eyes glaze over and I barely know my own name. 

Working a night shift at my actual job is a different story. The hustle and bustle and crazy that occurs during the day is put to bed by 10 pm and the building is eerily quiet. There are no extra staff walking around, there are minimal resident requests and my eyelids grow heavy by 1:30 am. Being able to do homework is about the only advantage to this shift. Otherwise, I miss the interaction with my people...listening to their snoring just isn't the same.

If anything, I've discovered that night shift is not for me. I require far too much chaos, in order to function. I don't handle down time well; I would much rather be running my ass off for 12 hours, instead of fighting to stay awake. Bless the night owls that enjoy this shift. I will remain happy to relieve your sleepy corpse at sunrise.

Friday, January 17, 2014


I have used this blog as a journal. As a venting place. As a way to remember the silly, little things, that may otherwise slip through the cracks. I have documented pregnancy, miscarriage, depression, school, funny stories, death...LIFE.

I used to be driven by the comments and the views. I wanted to write to my audience. I wanted to entertain. That was easier when I could tell stories about the 2 year old dumping fingernail polish on the carpet, or the 6 year old asking LOUDLY if I got pregnant in Walmart. People LOVE a good "stay at home mom loses her shit" story. (There is something to that whole, "misery loves company" thing.)

Lately, I have been writing more for me. I don't know who my audience is anymore (or if one really exists on a consistent basis), but this blog has become more of a dumping ground for my thoughts. I see and feel and experience so much lately...that I need a place to get it out of my head. It may not be as popular among the bloggy world to read...but it is great therapy for me.

Sometimes...sometimes I KNOW I need to write. I need to get all the crazy out of my head, before it eats me alive. Before it drowns me. I constantly have a million things pinging around and it can get quite tiresome. With that said, sometimes I sit down to write and...nothing. It's not a writer's block. It's not a lack of material. It's more that all the thoughts and opinions and venting that I want to do just won't. come. out. The thoughts won't bubble to the surface and explode, like I really wish they would. They get all tangled and I end up just sitting...staring at the screen.

At the end of the day, I'm thankful for this blog. I'm thankful for the stories and pictures I have captured. I'm thankful for the people I have "met" because of it's existence. I'm thankful for the timeline of my life, that I've created. I'm even thankful for this...the ramblings of a woman who has too much going on in her head...so she doesn't really say anything at all.

It is all part of my journey.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ninety-nine Days Left Before I Can Bawl...

Ninety-nine days left, before I can bawl.
Ninety-nine days left and still...
I may drown,
Fore it comes around,
Ninety-eight days left, before I can bawl.

Sing it to the tune of "Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall" and it becomes a fun little ditty.

I'm less than one hundred days from graduation. Whoa. Time flies when you're running on empty.

For the next four weeks, I'll be living my preceptorship. Prior to this semester, that word was always spoken with the hushed reverence that I thought it deserved. Now? Now it is said with disgust...typically with descriptive profanity before it. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy. I'm excited to spend 135 hours in labor and delivery. No, seriously, I am. I think it is going to be an amazing experience and I will have learned so much, by the end of it.

What I wish, is that I wasn't balancing 36+ hours a week of preceptorship with 24+ hours a week of work and homework. Oh and those five little people that keep calling me Mommy...they are still my top priority. That is a whole lot of things needing my time and attention.

(night shift(work + school + preceptorship) - caffeine intake)/Leeann = insanity
I know. I know. You're rolling your eyes because I'm complaining again.
Would it help if I mentioned that not only am I juggling 60+ nursing hours a week, but I am also doing all of it on night shift? Can you muster up a little bit of sympathy for me now?
I am worried about the people in my life. Every single one of them. I worry about the people I love...will they feel pushed aside? I worry about my residents...will they be able to tell I'm extra tired? I worry about any random person who pisses me off...will they survive me losing my shit on them?
I am already burnt out. I am already exhausted. I want to scream, more often than not. I feel distant from everyone, at times, because there is this constant internal awareness of the steep slope I still have left to climb. How many times will people accept my apology, before they give up on me?
I know that the light at the end of the tunnel is growing closer and brighter every day...
but how many times will I get run over by the train, on my way there?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Whole New World

I started on a new floor in my facility this week. It is a whole new world. I typically work on floors that are all long term care, but this hall is a mixture of long term care and rehab patients. It is scary for me, because it requires more than "just" handling medications and redirecting. Typically, long term care halls have residents that are pretty stable. Your infections are going to occur. Your falls are going to occur. Your need to referee the residents because they can fight with each other on a level that rivals my children, is going to occur. Perhaps my perception, or fear of the unknown, is what makes me believe that our rehab patients are a bit less stable than our long term care residents. A lot of them are full code, not DNR, which means the handling of a situation occurs on a completely different playing field.

Monday and Tuesday were rough. Things happened. Chaos clustered and piled up. I felt like I had no. idea. what. I. was. doing. I second guessed myself, multiple times. I felt like crying multiple times. I have an extremely hard time with not being in control and I felt out of control at times. Not only was I trying to learn how this hall did things, which is different from how other halls do things, but I was trying to shovel my way out of the pile of shit that kept getting thrown at me.

Now that it is the next day and I'm not there, I've had the time to sit down and breathe. I've had the time to reflect on the past 48 hours and realize...I learned a lot.

It's okay and necessary to ask for help. I know that I'm new. I know that I don't know everything there is to know and I probably never will. I need to be able to ask for help. I'm so thankful that I did, or yesterday could have had a very different outcome.

I'm a new nurse. I embrace all that that means. It means that I have a drive and a determination that perhaps veteran nurses don't always have. I'm still very much in my shiny honeymoon phase and I have this desire to save the world. It also means that I still have a lot to learn.

I learned that I do okay under pressure. I can feel like I'm going to hyperventilate and die on the inside, but for the most part, I can handle my outside. I can still delegate what needs to get done and I can still focus on the important for the moment.

Not all people have common sense. Please, for the love of all that is holy, do not walk up to me and hand me your TB paper to sign, when you can plainly see that I am standing over someone who is unresponsive. Breathing and pumping blood is vital to life, folks and I'm trying to encourage my patient to keep doing that. Me administering your TB test is not important right now.

Even veteran nurses will admit that they are worried or nervous or aren't sure what to do. Thank you. That makes me feel like I'm not a complete failure.

Nurses can still joke with each other, in the middle of a crisis. Not everyone will find us funny, but it sure keeps us sane.

I learned more clinically, in those two shifts, than I have in the last month. Pushing myself outside my comfort zone is going to make me grow.

Growth can hurt. It's okay. I will survive.

I have people in my life that believe in me. Even when I don't believe in myself, they can see in me the nurse that I want to be.

I  am stronger and can handle more than I think I can.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Unexpected Changes

I don't like change.

I am a creature of habit and I'm perfectly happy staying that way. I have my routines that I stick to, my obsessions that own me and I really, really like my comfort zone.

So...I became the mother of five and a nurse. Smart move on my part, eh?

I am learning to embrace change. I am learning to be pushed step out of that awful comfort zone. I am trying, my hardest, to let go of expectation and fear. My life has been full of the unexpected and, one way or another, I have grown because of it or learned a lesson or at the very least...survived it.

I have had a plan for my life...specifically my career...for the last decade. I was warned a million and a half times not to focus on a specialty area, because it would change. I would always laugh and tell the person whose opinion I hadn't asked for in the first place that they were wrong. That wasn't going to happen to me. Labor and Delivery. Babies. Mommas. That was my calling and nothing was going to persuade me otherwise.

I still think it is my calling.

But...I think I'm going to end up taking a little detour first.

I swore up and down...twice...that I would never work long term care. Nope. No thank you. That is not for me. Then I got my LPN and who would hire me? Long. Term. Care.

I have fallen in love with my job. In. Love. I love the people I work with. I love the people I care for. I love their families most of the time. I love it all. That's not to say that it isn't hard work and there aren't days that I question why in the world I ever chose nursing. On the good days I remember why I love it. On the great days I know that I didn't choose nursing...it chose me.

Another area I swore I would never work in is hospice. Dying people...no. thank. you. Watching Jared and Mom go was hard enough. No.

We have many hospice patients at my facility. Whenever we have someone that is close to passing...I am drawn to them. I want to give them all my time, all my love and all my attention. I sincerely love their families and I want to care for them, too. I love talking to them. Holding their hand. Listening. They have amazing things to say.

I think I will take a little detour into hospice, once the craziness of school is over. I want to care for those with not much time. I want to make their passing peaceful and perfect. I want to be a landing place for their families and do everything I can to comfort them.

(Don't tell all those people that they were right not wrong and I really did kinda, sorta change my mind.)

It's a selfish decision, too.

Maybe...just maybe...if I can take away the mystery and the fear of dying...living  won't seem that scary anymore, either.

"Life begins...at the end of your comfort zone."

Thursday, January 2, 2014

On Her Own Two Feet

Every day after I pick Peanut up from school, we head over to the charter school, to pick up her siblings. We have about twenty minutes of free time while we sit in carpool, so she usually asks to go play on the playground. I love watching her run across the black top and instantly make friends with any unsuspecting child that happens to be around.
One particular day a couple weeks ago, the playground was iced over. I contemplated telling her to just sit in the van with me, because I worried about her getting hurt. "Sit with me, Peanut. Sing me a song. Tell me what you did at preschool today. Do you know any funny jokes?" But..I didn't. Something in me decided to let her go.
So, off she ran...little pony tail bouncing with every hop, skip and jump...and you know what?
She fell.
Climbing up the ladder (because the stairs wouldn't have made more sense, would they?), right at the top...she fell.
I jumped. My hand on the van door, I was prepared to run to her. Scoop her up. Check her over and make sure she hadn't bumped or bruised or scraped anything.
But...you know what?
She didn't even look back. She didn't look for me to make it better. She didn't look for me to brush her off. She stood up, on her own two feet, adjusted her coat...and climbed that damn ladder again. I eased off the door handle, sat back and tears filled my eyes.
My job as a parent is to raise them to stand on their own two feet. I'm raising them to be self sufficient. I'm raising them to trust themselves and their own judgment. Good decisions are great...poor decisions come with lessons. Poor decisions also come with the chance to try again. I'm doing my best to teach my kids to always try again.
That comes with the parental price of not being needed anymore. Not all the time, anyway. One day she no longer needed me to tie her shoes or to help her put on her sweater. One day she no longer needed me to pour her a bowl of cereal or a glass of milk. One day she no longer needed the training wheels on her bike.
One day she will no longer need me to help her spell "Merry Christmas". One day she will no longer need me to help her comb her soft little curls into piggy tails. One day she will no longer need me to help her reach the top of her closet or to cut up the chicken that my little vegetarian child won't eat.
One day, that day, she did not need me to catch her. To fix her. To stand her up and brush her off.
She may not have needed me that day...but I know there are other days that she will.
I'll always be behind her, cheering her on, as she stands on her own two feet.