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Friday, December 30, 2011

Renovations on Home #2

Hello!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  I had intended to write a large post detailing my impending disconnect from the online world before I left to spend a few weeks with Jerry.  The post didn't happen because, in a cruel twist of fate, the internet connection at my house was down the day before I left.  You see, the house we bought in The Middle of Nowhere is the definition of roughing it.  No internet.  No cable television.  No washer and dryer.  Yet, anyway.  The thing is, all our stuff is still at home with me and the Kiddo 600 miles away.  The house we purchased is in dire need of a renovation  (You will recall this post).  Since Jerry has a few friends from back home staying and working with him over here while I finish up school, the house is an obvious guy hole.  My scalp started itching as soon as I saw the kitchen...it needed cleaned.  

More evidence that the house is not suited for female occupancy just yet....the toilets.  The toilet in Bathroom #1 runs constantly.  No one thinks this is a problem.  If I close my eyes I can almost pretend it is a table top fountain with pretty smooth rocks.  The toilet in Bathroom #2 only flushes halfheartedly.  You never really know what's gonna go down and what's gonna stay.  Neither toilet sits on level flooring because the previous owners let the wood rot.  They said the toilets had "always been like that."  Umm.... My charming guy acknowledges that the toilets are a problem but seems to have no actual plan of action for fixing them other than running a snake down both lines to ensure there is no obstruction.  Oh and he did replace the flooring around the toilets, too.  My first action as woman of the house was to march him to the local hardware store and purchase two shiny new toilets.  I would also like to note that I paid nearly twice what I would've paid at a Home Depot or Lowe's for these little gems.  My gosh I miss chain stores.  But I am thrilled to say the toilets behave appropriately now.

Our progress on the house so far.  Floors relaid with new wood throughout the entire house. Toilets replaced. Sections of wall that previously sported a faux brick appearance have now been refurbished with old barn wood.  It is quite an improvement.  And my personal favorite....cable and internet services hooked up, though not without a two week waiting period between sign-up and installation.  Thus my extended absence from the blogging world.  Oh well, it's a distant memory now. I've been lazy about painting while here so I only have a couple more days to get a few things done before the Kiddo and I have to head back.  Classes start in a little over a week for me.

I will readily admit to spending most of today cuddled up in bed under the new handmade quilt I got from my mother-in-law for Christmas eating chocolates and over-indulging on internet.  I was right.  I can't live without the internet.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Break Reading List


I probably won't get to all of these, but we all have dreams right?

1.  The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George

Isn't there a new Cleopatra movie coming out soon (stars Angelina Jolie)?  I'm a sucker for historical novels.

(via Amazon)

 
2.  The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larson

I think most of America has already read this series.  I'm only on the second.  You know, nursing school and all.

(via Amazon)

 
3.  This Lovely Life by Vicki Forman

In honor of my NICU obsession, this book is written by the mother of 23-week twins.  The book follows their journey well beyond their first days in the NICU and the author has a beautiful voice and an optimistic outlook in some very dire circumstances.

(via Amazon)

 
4.  I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

I read this for the first time several years ago.  I'm reading it again because it is just that good.  Oh, and Oprah likes it too.

(via Amazon)

 
5.  Fast and Easy ECGs by Bruce Shade and Keith Wesley

Lest you think I intend to let my brain rot completely during the break.  Truthfully, this book is #5 because it also falls pretty low on my list of priorities.

(via Amazon)

 I'm linking up with Elizabeth's blog today! 

I'm also still dying for a Pinterest invite.  I'm not getting any younger sitting on the waiting list.  My email is reesesrantsandraves@gmail.com if anyone would be so kind as to hook me up!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ah Ah Ah Ah...Staying Alive

I have survived another semester of nursing school.  Yay!!!  Finals are over, clinicals are done, practical demonstrations passed, papers are turned in and graded.  All in all, I consider myself lucky to be getting out alive.  I had some complicated things occurring and I doubted my ability to overcome the whole way through.  So...on with Xmas Break!

I need some new TV shows to watch.  I didn't pick up any new shows from the fall line-up this year.  There just wasn't anything that grabbed my interest and I have to keep television to a minimum during school.  But I am ready to scout some new shows now!  The Vampire Diaries (my all-time favorite) is on winter hiatus.  I am also caught up on Dexter and Jersey Shore. 

Speaking of intersting things....why didn't I know about Pinterest sooner?  I generally avoid time-sucking internet hobbies (aside from blogging, of course), so I waited until my finals were over to check it out.  It is freaking awesome.  I am now shamelessly trolling for an invite.  Anybody???  Apparently, I may be on the waiting list for awhile since I don't know people, and I must. have. a board.  My email is reesesrantsandraves@gmail.com if anyone feels like hooking me up.

Tomorrow I am going to the local bookstore to drink overpriced coffee and browse the shelves.  This has been a fantasy of mine for the last several weeks.  It is going to rock.  I'm also going to scrub my floors so that I can enjoy a half hour of pet hair-free floors.  It probably isn't going to rock.

Anyone waiting on the edge of their seat to learn how my fitness regimen has been coming along....is going to be waiting for a very long time.  I am lazy and enjoy junk food.  The fitness DVDs have not been used and neither has my gym membership.  It's on the list. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Random

On Thursday, I proved my independence as a woman who can make it with her man living 600 miles away by fixing my own leaking sink.  At least I thought I fixed it at the time.  As I was getting ready for a twelve hour night rotation at the hospital yesterday afternoon (you know, one of those NICU ones that I beg for as though I actually have spare time) I heard the bastard dripping again.  Now I am alternating between staring at it as a form of brainstorming ways to fix it myself and just not using my bathroom sink until I have time to call someone to fix it.  Which wouldn't be until next Friday at the earliest since it's Finals Week.  

I get to put my nursing school uniform (you know, the one with the embarrassing patch) away for a whole month now!  It gave me great satisfaction to shove it into the very back of my closet today. 

I am in love with other peoples' babies.  Seriously.  Some of those little babies are so cute that only the site of my own Kiddo can take the edge off my baby cravings.  I am particularly in love with this one little squirt who is angry at the world over the limitations imposed by his current feeding schedule.  The rage with which he sucks his binky and screams when placed back in his own plastic hospital crib is so delicious.  This kid can sense the most minute changes in elevation and notices that he has been transitioned from being held to being alone in bed within seconds.  Three pounds of fireball, that one.  Of course, I do get to leave him and sleep so that probably helps my adoration along.

My daughter is obsessed with those stick horse thingys that consist of a stuffed horse head and a long wooden handle.  Apparently it is all the rage in this house to have one of these with which to gallop around the house neighing loudly.  I haven't bought her one yet because I fear that the long wooden handle will quickly be utilized as a weapon with which to herd terrified dogs into a corner of the living room.  

Update on my mental status:  since the day I had the little talk with myself about chilling out, I have taken my heartburn medication twice.  Why, you ask?  Because apparently the combination of decompressing and taking allergy medication will make the throat lump and heartburn magically disappear.  I would complain about the expensive medical interventions I required to figure this big medical mystery out...but I'm just glad it's gone.  Good riddance.

So excited for the upcoming break.  I will be spending some serious time in North Dakota with Jerry.  I am looking forward to it, but the lack of a decent internet connection has me frantically calling businesses to attempt to get the connection taken care of before my arrival.  I can deal with a ridiculously small town (population of less than 600 people by the way.  Like I said, ridiculous) but no internet connection is a deal-breaker.  I am also going to try sedating my hyper dog so that I can travel with two dogs and a four year old.  This has not been attempted previously so it should be interesting to say the least.  

But for now...it's time I focus on studying for finals.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mission: Accomplished

In honor of the new Mission Impossible movie (I have seen 0/4 of these movies, BTW) I would like to present the scenario that has been my life for the last three days.  Without the overly exuberant couch bouncing--although I am tempted.  

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:  two final papers.  16 and 19 pages respectively in APA format.  to be accomplished in 48 hours.  On Thanksgiving weekend.  With a four year old.  Oh yeah, and a practical skills demonstration exam immediately following the papers.  

I believe 2 papers in <2 days is a new record.  One I hope to never surpass. Why, Why! do I procrastinate until the last possible second?  All I can say is I finished them.   Grade on Paper 1:  A.  Grade on Paper 2:  jury's still out.  Practical skills demonstration exam:  Passed.  Just don't ask me if my house is clean or my hair is combed.  Or when my last shower was.  At least my Kiddo is clean and dressed appropriately.  That's right folks.  Nursing school is hardcore.  Sometimes success can only be achieved by sacrificing the simple joys--like showers.  But tonight....is a benadryl night.  I've got 8 hours of sleep coming my way, baby.  Don't say I'm not a fun girl.

One final left to go until Xmas Break!!!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving and an Autopsy

Thanksgiving was a little understated at my house this year.  Since Jerry and I are far apart, I spent it with my mother and her husband at their house.  Consequently, I am not plagued by Thanksgiving leftovers and am now roasting a chicken so I can make homemade soup at around 11 o'clock tonight.  Guess I didn't start early enough this morning.

Actually, I spent my morning watching an autopsy.  My stepfather is a forensic pathologist and what he lacks in social skills he (almost) makes up for in clinical knowledge.  I can't say autopsies are my first choice on the list of medical procedures to watch, but it was something I felt I needed to see at least once in my life.  One of my fellow nursing students came along and we had a pleasant morning.  So...I have no tales of sale shopping for you today, but if you ever want to hear about fatal skull fractures....

Death always seems so final to me.  I know I've talked here about my fears of getting some awful chronic disease like cancer or multiple sclerosis, but sudden deaths also terrify me.  There is no rhyme or reason to it.  Here one moment, gone the next.  Today I'm just glad to still be here.  Raising my daughter and procrastinating on writing those papers and with the knowledge that the people I know and love are safe and healthy.  There just isn't anything more than that when it comes right down to it. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why the "Natural Childbirth" Moms Irritate Me

There isn't much that's more irritating to me in Labor and Delivery than mommies who are competitive about the way their child comes into the world.  Seriously?  If you think gritting your teeth through a labor in which you are blessed to have everything go well makes you a better mommy in the long haul...it doesn't.  And if a doctor tells you that you need a C-section, you have no business arguing with him unless you also have a high level degree in the medical profession.  Even then you should probably shut it.  If you do not know what the word "hypoxia" means and how your stalling may be contributing to this condition in your unborn fetus you should probably shut it.  His advice does not mean you should argue, refuse for the next 6 hours while your baby displays intermittent distress, and then continue to argue as you are wheeled into the operating room.  We know, we know.  You have a birth plan.  You want to do this the right way.  C-sections increase the risk of complications.  So does fetal distress, my friend.  I mean, congratulations on being tough and all, but I think your priorities might need some adjusting.  The goal here is:  baby. out. alive. with no brain damage.  Unfortunately, it's your baby and you need to be the one to see that and do the right thing. 

I have seen many mothers pull this, but I'm starting to notice a common thread.  The "natural birth" moms seem to do this more.  And some of them are also the mommies to whom it all came easily:  conception, pregnancy, baby--in exactly that order with no trouble at all.  So some of these mommies have no actual clue what it is like to walk a mile in a mommy's shoes who really had to work for it.  And as a C-section mommy (it wasn't my choice people, just wanted my kid out alive) who has been judged a few times for the way my births have gone down, I find it incredibly annoying.  Take that C-section and own it, sister.  I consider breastfeeding the true predictor of the "hardcore mommy" anyway.  Childbirth is not a competitive sport.  Now cupcake baking for that child's preschool class in four years....different story.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bad Weather Frustration

I've always insisted to Jerry and anyone else who will listen that I was made for tropical climates.  As in not Montana.  I do not enjoy winter sports.  I do not enjoy winter at all.  Not even at Christmas.  I'd really rather decorate a palm tree. One of my current fantasies involves a weekend Vegas vacation where I lay around at Mandalay Beach and only consume beverages decorated with colorful little umbrellas.  This fantasy also includes me wearing a bikini though....it might be a tad out of my reach. 

Jerry, on the other hand, lives the Montana experience to the fullest.  Hunting, fishing, hiking, you name it.  I can fake being a nature girl during the summer months, but I've always fallen far short of his adoration for this place.  Until this weekend.  Jerry and I were planning a hotel rendezvous at a halfway point between our current towns.   The Kiddo was really excited to see Daddy.  I was really excited to see Daddy, too.  I was also really excited about the pool and room service.  This morning the Kiddo had an appointment to get her holiday pictures done.  On the way there the roads were dry.  When we left the studio it was fricking blizzarding out.  I drove home doing 35 miles an hour on the highway and feeling like I was risking our lives.  That was at 11 o'clock.  It's still blizzarding with no signs of letting up until Sunday.  Wind chill will be bringing the temperature down to a cozy -15 degrees Fahrenheit.  Since we were only going up for one night and it involved about a 5 hour drive both ways, any hazardous road conditions sort of make it difficult to spend any real time together.  So I cancelled the reservation (not before my card was charged and this particular website takes "up to two weeks" to refund.  And I conveniently have a bill due before then.  Nice.)  Jerry is so disappointed; I think he might be coming around to my way of thinking on the weather.  I may get to move to the Bahamas yet.  I wonder what NICUs are like in the Bahamas. 

We had wanted to try not to go six weeks without seeing each other again, and this really sucks.  I know, all the most eloquent writers use the word "sucks" all the time, right? The Kiddo is not taking it well either.  She misses her Daddy so much.  Every other word is "Daddy."  She gets frustrated that she has to deal with me all the time and frequently requests Daddy.  Daddy is the fun one, Mommy is the one that makes her clean her room and get dressed and go to day care.  So now she has no fun at all.  I don't blame her a bit.  I'm sick of dealing with me too.

The flip side is that the extra time gives me a better shot at my goal of finishing all three of my papers by Wednesday.   Then I have an extra 12-hour clinical rotation on Wednesday night.  And Thanksgiving weekend will be spent preparing for my practical skills test and finals.  Unless I cancel the extra rotation and decide to drive up to see Jerry.  Who will likely then have to work the whole time since we had thought we'd see each other this weekend and he signed up for overtime over Thanksgiving weekend.  Crap.

Alright.  Trying to see daylight.  I am now determined to make another weekend work.  Even if it's the weekend before finals.  I definitely didn't underestimate how hard this was going to be, but I am going to suck it up and just get through.  WE are going to get through.  We've obviously made it through worse things than this, but it was easier to get through when we were together.  Soon I will have 3 weeks or so to spend over there with him.  I will get to cook dinner and read books and do crafts with my daughter.  I will get to be waiting for him when he gets home.  Nothing that's going on in my life is that bad.  No one is sick (crazy maybe, but not sick).  No one is starving.  Things are ok. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Not You... It's Me

After my appointment with an ear-nose-throat specialist the other day I was forced to scrutinize my place in this world.  Basically....I am officially crazy.  Well, not crazy.  I'm told that crazy people don't usually know they are crazy.  The latest doctor stuck a scope down my nose (Yes.  Fun.), saw nothing at all, and asked me how my anxiety levels were faring.  Umm...I didn't know what to say.  I honestly did.not.have.the.energy to tell him my life story thus far.  Essentially, I admitted to experiencing some elevation in anxiety levels "every so often" and we then moved on to discuss more of the reflux/allergies theory, which is the only remaining explanation for the lump in my throat besides anxiety.  The plan right now is to continue my current meds for awhile (Disregarding the fact that I want to get pregnant, of course.  I guess I'll just put that on hold.  Right.) and see what happens.  

Which brings me to a spot in my life where I need to reevaluate how I am coping.  I felt pretty strongly that the fact that the lump would.not.budge. no matter what my stress level was on any given day was evidence that this was a physical problem.  Now I am being forced to consider that my emotions/grief/stress levels could actually be making me physically ill.  I've always been someone that my friends and family (mostly) look at as a picture of "coping well with loss."  Yet...here I am.  Maybe not coping so well.  Not just with the loss of my child, but with life in general.  I feel myself slipping a little in school, and with Jerry gone it has been a little rough.  My mother is my only other family member in town....and although she is a good grandmother, she isn't capable of being a strong support system.  So I'm alone a lot.  And being the Head Problem Solver takes its toll.  And nursing school is just killing me.

My stress management techniques are not healthy ones.  I feel angry more often than I'd like.  I feel anxious more often than I'd like.   I (rightfully) make my daughter my priority, but I need to make sure I am taking care of myself too.  I've always just thought that if she's ok it doesn't matter how I am. I mostly still think this is true, but I can't make her the priority if I am falling apart at the seems.  All this "stuff" seems to be getting to a point that it's affecting my health.  I have a personal goal of living until my kid(s) are grown.  Lately I think that maybe I should try medication.  The problem is I haven't really tried very hard to make the positive lifestyle changes I need to make before I would be comfortable turning to medication. 

This means I need to actually make these positive changes.  I need to take life as it comes and deal with it the best I can.  Starting with finals.  Failing that, I'm going to need some strong medication. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Post Removals

So...anyone who visited my blog since Saturday got to see my NICU post.  I removed it today for a variety of reasons.  I am always very careful about the information that I post about patients here.  It would be illegal for me to post specific identifying characteristics about any patient (as well it should be), but it is generally acceptable (to the best of my researched knowledge) to write about a patient as long as names, dates,  locations, or over-specific descriptions of their medical conditions are not used.  I posted about my recent experience because it is so much a part of who I am and why I have a blog in the first place.  I am confident that I left out all identifying details and have kept my patients' privacy intact throughout my school experience.  I also do not have a F.ace.book page (I am verrry anti-f.ace.book, but more on that another time), and I do not use specific names of teachers, hospitals, fellow students, my school, or even the town I live in.  None of my fellow students know of this blog.  

However.  I recently read a story about some nursing students (who shall remain unidentified here) that got booted out for posting details about their clinical patients on f.ace.book.  I don't know how personal the details were, but it doesn't matter.  I can't be having that.  Someday (hopefully sooner rather then later), I will be done with nursing school and will be free to leave many ranting posts on here detailing the many reasons why I call my school "The Nursing School From Hell."  Seriously.  My school has booted students out for some very minor infractions and once even no infraction at all other than a perceived "attitude problem."  I often write about things here that I would never express out loud in real life.  It is a place of therapy for me.  It is a relatively new blog, and not many people even read it.  So I never really thought about what I should or shouldn't say here other than to protect the privacy of my patients and my own personal privacy (you know, so that I don't have to be afraid of the cars that drive by my house at night).  You may also notice that other than the picture of my deceased child and the side of Jerry's face while holding him, there are no pictures on my blog.  I would love to post pictures of myself and my daughter but I don't know how I feel about that yet, and I would never want to be recognized by someone stumbling upon this blog (like my sister-in-law.  or my mother for that matter.) and making an association between my face and my school.  I also don't use my real name (Gasp!)(It is my stripper name, though)(Just kidding) or my daughter's name. Matthew is safe from anything another human being can do.  And Jerry is such a common name that it could never be used as an identifying characteristic.

I still believe that my post was safely within the boundaries of what is appropriate and will likely repost it after I graduate.  If anyone is reading this and you missed it then here's the gist:  I went.  It was good and bad.  I loved it.  I made it out okay and I will go again.  Like any blogger, I love the feedback and the comments that I get here, but for now I will have to satisfy myself by writing posts in word and putting them up at a later date when it comes to my NICU experiences.

Friday, November 4, 2011

What...a Jerk

So, no ulcer.  No anything actually from the EGD.  And no resolution of the heartburn or the lump in throat.  Next up:  appointment with an ear, nose and throat specialist on the 16th.  Fun fact:  an EGD is not the best way to view the throat, just the stomach and duodenum.  I was informed of this by the doctor as he was hooking up the fentanyl/versed syringe to my IV.  I really was hoping for an ulcer/h.pylori thing.  Easy to fix.  My mom works for the doctor who did the procedure and I have spent several of my clinical days watching him do this and other GI procedures so I have an easy relationship with him.  Still, I was annoyed when he and my mom had a jokey conversation about how when they were in medical/nursing school they were sure they had every disease they read about (I will admit to occasionally being absolutely convinced that my profound fatigue is the first sign of multiple sclerosis...or cancer...or rheumatoid arthritis).  Ha Ha.  But seriously, about my throat?  Hey, what's another two (three?) thousand dollar test in the grand scheme of things?  I will not deny that whatever I am experiencing could be completely brought on by stress/anxiety, but I am not imagining the symptoms and I'm going to need an actual diagnosis.  Besides anxiety.  Which I pretend not to have in front of doctors.  I definitely think that's the way to go.  

Tuesday was a pretty bad day.  Jerry had to head back to North Dakota so I had wanted to spend the morning with him, but I had a four hour lecture on EKGs that I just couldn't miss.  I needed to leave it an hour early to make my EGD on time anyway, but I headed up in the morning to catch what I could.  Well, I cried all 68 miles to school, showed up with some seriously reddened eyes and tried to listen to the teacher talk.  An hour and a half in, two of my friends ganged up on me and sent me home.  They did kindly turn their webcams on to record the lecture for me.  Jerry stayed late to drop me off for the procedure, but I had to say goodbye to him in the waiting room.  Then I had the EGD.  But I have to say that the rest of the day passed pretty pleasantly in a mild, drug-induced haze.
 
Umm...the NICU.  I think I am going next week.  Stay tuned.

My daughter has.a.cavity.  I feel so badly about it.  She has an appointment to get it filled on Tuesday and I am dreading it.  They asked me to sign a consent for something called a P.ediW.rap; the hygenist tried to describe it all cute:  "It's like a blanket that we wrap around the child and it kind of hugs their arms to their chest."  Right lady.  Not only have I let my daughter get a cavity, but now I'm supposed to watch you put a straight jacket on her and fill her cavity?  I decided not to sign it before the appointment because I don't want them to automatically put her in it; I think I'd rather "hug" her.  Maybe.  Then I started questioning the lady incessantly about what meds they planned to use.  Healthcare workers love me.  Oh, and the topper on the cake?  I was basically forced to fess up that sometimes I still let my four year old have a binky.  Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night and asks me for it.  If I am exhausted and only have 5 hours to sleep before I have to start the day again, I sometimes cave.  I know, I know.  I did also note that this conversation appeared to be the dental equivalent of a doctor telling you that something may feel "a little uncomfortable."  "Uncomfortable" is always code for "It's going to hurt.  A lot.  Try not to scream."

Even more in the "Reese is Awesome" department:  My brother has a new girlfriend and I'm fairly sure I've caused her to hate me before we've even met.  Oh, and got my brother into trouble with her as well.  Early this spring, my brother had a rather nasty break-up with his girlfriend right before they were supposed to move to Washington together.  He left, she stayed.  I have always liked Bethenny and have continued to have an easy, uncomplicated friendship with her since the break-up.  Enter new girlfriend.  On the phone, he starts telling me how the new girlfriend doesn't like him talking to the old girlfriend so he is trying not to talk to her anymore.  My immediate reaction (which I verbalized for his listening pleasure) was something like this, "Oh please.  How long have you even been dating--like a month?  Don't you think that's a little controlling for her to decide who you should be talking to in the first month of dating?"  And oh, my friends, I wish I had stopped at that.  But the actual version of this was about 15 minutes long.  I kindly pointed out that he was with Bethenny for a long time, so what if she still calls him a little too much?  And who does this new girlfriend think she is anyway?  Oh, a pharmacy tech?  Well, it turns out she was in the room with him and he wasn't sure how to put a stop to the conversation.  Yeah, not the first time my smart mouth has gotten me into trouble.  I really have a way with both tact and words sometimes.  Still...isn't it controlling to verbalize a problem with an ex at such an early stage in the relationship?  When Jerry and I had been together about ten months, I noticed that he didn't much like when a very distant ex would call every few months to say hello.  I had also noticed a particularly annoying exgirlfriend of his that I didn't enjoy.  So I proposed a trade and we just sort of eased off staying in touch with exes.  I definitely think she is within her rights to ensure that he's not still all hung up on his ex (he's not) though, and I am feeling badly about my grumpy but well-intentioned speech.  Shouldn't my brother have tried to tip me off that we were not having a private conversation?  Good Lord, I really need to learn to shut it.  I'll put it on my to-do list.  Seriously.

Finals and research papers in the next few weeks.  I would really love to kick my studying into high gear, but I am exhausted.  And I may have mentioned I have a lump in my throat that is pretty distracting.  And Jerry is out of town.  So I am feeling pretty motivated. 

I am becoming increasingly aware that TTC time is almost upon us.  And I am horribly out of shape.  Plus I don't eat all that great.  I am making it my personal mission to start going to the gym faithfully and preparing my body for potential pregnancy.  Today, in the name of motivation, I purchased several J.illian.Mich.aels DVDs.  I took the wrappers off.  Then I took a nap with the Kiddo because she is really cuddly at naptime. I really want the baby but...I abhor physical activity.  My ideal workout involves the couch and the television. We'll see what happens tomorrow. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Jerry's Home!

I've had some trouble writing about this.  I feel like if I verbalize these fears, then something awful will happen to me.  Like I'm jinxing it or something.  Ignore it and it will go away.  I have to have my throat and stomach scoped on Tuesday.  Since July, I've had this strange sensation of having a lump in the back of my throat.  I ignored it.  Then the heartburn started.  Severe and constant heartburn, completely unresponsive to any medication I threw at it or any dietary changes I made.  I've never had heartburn so this is not normal for me.  And since I'm a student, you can safely assume that my health insurance is not good.  This has been producing some pretty severe anxiety over the last several months.  I finally went to my regular doctor last week and she ordered exactly what I predicted she would:  an EGD.  Great.  At this point I am scared enough to not care about the money, but I have been Googling myself into panic attacks on a pretty much daily basis over this.  And all medical googling of symptoms ends with one nasty word:  cancer.  Ugh.  For me, this heightens my fertility fears considerably.  Chemotherapy would fry my ovaries.  Therefore, I would have to find some way to freeze eggs before I could receive treatment.  Since I can barely afford this procedure, freezing embryos is considerably out of our financial reach.  And dear God, what if I don't get to be around to help my little girl grow up?  Jerry is a spectacular father, but he doesn't really know what he's doing when it comes to little girls.  And I do not have a family member I would like to see raising my daughter.  Also, pretty much any medication a doctor would prescribe for this undiagnosed condition of mine is not a medication I want to conceive  on or be pregnant while taking.  And it's almost time to TTC again.  I really don't care if it says Category B in my drug book; one lost child and none of that matters.  And so on...  In my more reality-based frame of mind, I am betting I've got myself an ulcer.  I will hold off on my philosophical discussion of the things in my life that may have caused an ulcer until I officially have an ulcer.

The school year has fortunately been a lot gentler on me than last year was because between my health and Jerry being in North Dakota, other areas of my life have been a challenge to make it through.  I've just finished up midterm week and am taking a weekend off from studying because Jerry is finally home.  We went five weeks without seeing each other this time.  I was starting to forget what he looked like.  And we are both so sick of the phone.  I am so very glad to have him home, even though it's only for a few days.  I am halfway through the semester at school, and I have nearly the whole month of December off so we are getting through.  Just trying to soak up some time with my guy.  I even had the time to do a full-course, from-scratch dinner tonight.  The four-year-old doesn't really appreciate my culinary talents so it's nice to have the Man around. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Nursing School Update

Well...I've been very busy.  I am supposed to be finishing up a case study on a pregnant woman with rheumatoid arthritis today, but the words aren't coming to me easily.  As I advance through the levels of nursing school, the papers are getting more complicated and more difficult to organize on paper.  I am starting to really enjoy my clinicals this year; my instructor is wonderful and has really been making sure that we all get rotations that are in challenging environments. This week was in the Intensive Care Unit.  It was one of those perfect clinical days where the patient is wonderful and the care required is enough to keep you challenged and busy but not completely overwhelmed.  This patient was having respiratory issues and our advanced respiratory unit in class was relatively recent so everything was very applicable to what I was learning in school.  This never happens.  More often than not, I am reduced to saying, "Umm...we haven't covered that yet."  The patient also required several skills that I hadn't gotten to perform yet:  catheterization, IV medications, bipap mask.  I was thrilled with the entire day.  When I left my patient hugged me and kissed me on the cheek and his family told me I was going to be an awesome nurse.  My instructor also said she was pleased with how well I performed.  Since I normally feel like a clumsy idiot at clinicals, I would call this a good day.

Then yesterday, I had an extra rotation in a Nurse Midwife's office that was a lot of fun.  I spent the morning talking about infertility treatments with the midwife and finding fetal heart beats with a doppler.  I dipped urine samples and looked at them under microscopes and palpated pregnant uteruses.  I was very comfortable and although it wouldn't be my first choice for a job, I know I could do it and probably enjoy it.  I find that my experience with all things baby before nursing school helps me out in spades when it comes to rotations like this.  While other students are reading up, I just don't have to.  I had a great day, and was invited to come back, which is not required by either the nurses or the nurse midwife.  The nurse I had when I was pregnant with my daughter also works for this office now, but wasn't on shift.  I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to talk with her.

But the best news in the nursing school department by far is still to come.  My clinical instructor told all her students to send her an email detailing what we hoped to accomplish in clinicals this year and what our interests were for after graduation.  So I blabbed about some areas that I wanted to learn more about and then mentioned my interest in NICU nursing.  Just to clarify, nursing students in my area don't go to NICU.  The patients and parents are in extremely vulnerable and sensitive situations.  There is a huge risk for infection in preemies (a scenario I know all too well), and it is not an area to practice starting IVs or tube feedings or anything at all.  Nurses who work in NICU need to already be familiar with these procedures and need to be extra sensitive in very difficult situations.  So...that translates to no nursing students.  At all.  I was aware before starting school, of one nursing student who managed to get a preceptorship in the NICU at the end of clinicals.  All along this has been my ultimate goal, but I have been trying to reach out to other areas so that I have a backup plan.  On our first clinical, the instructor pulled me aside and inquired about my interest.  I explained that I was aiming for a NICU preceptorship and that I had gathered a few recommendations from two NICU nurses as well as the OB instructor from last year.  I told her it was absolutely what I wanted to do.  Well, she completely shocked me by saying that she would see what she could do.  She mentioned the former nursing student that I know who made it into NICU and it turns out, she taught that student's OB rotations back in the day.  After she dropped me off in the unit I was scheduled in, she went straight up to NICU to try to find out what I might be able to do.  She came back and said that she hadn't been able to talk with anyone who thought it was doable.  I thanked her for trying and told her I hadn't really been expecting to get in during clinicals anyway.  I was excited that she even went above and beyond the call of duty to inquire for me.  Rotations are scheduled in typical areas like Rehab, Orthopedics, Med Surg, Endoscopy, Labor and Delivery, and a few others.  If you are lucky, you might get some time in ICU.  It is certainly not required that one student's interests be followed up on.  Her job is to make sure I know the skills I need to know to pass my licensure exam next summer.  That's it.  So after this I already adored her.

However, I received an email several days later saying we needed to talk about NICU.  When I arrived at clinicals this week, she filled me in on what she had been doing.  She tracked down the nurse manager, explained my interest, highly recommended me, and mentioned the other staff that I knew might be willing to take me under their wing.  So the nurse manager went out of her way to draw up extra paperwork that would allow me to get in.  Then my instructor went to the director of my school and is having her draw up extra paperwork so that I can do as many rotations as possible on top of my clinicals.  I can drop one of my clinical days, but the rest of my rotations have to be on my own time.  I started to feel a little guilty for not disclosing my reasons for wanting to do NICU nursing so badly so she and I ended up having a really nice conversation about Matthew and the ways my experience with him can help me as a NICU nurse.  So...it's looking like I will get to go to NICU while I'm still a nursing student.  I can only observe, but that was all I wanted to do anyway.  I have been excited all week long over this news.

I have other things to blab about but I also have a paper to write today.  If you have time, stop over at Band Back Together today for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day to check out the wall.  My Matthew is near the bottom of the list.  My thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of you as we continue on this journey together.

Also, have you seen Carly Marie's blog?  I stumbled upon it by shear accident and was so impressed with the work she is doing.  This wonderful lady is a baby loss mama who dedicates some of her time to remembrance pictures that are amazing.  She writes angel babies' names in the sand at the beach near her home and photographs them in the sunset.  I have one coming for Matthew and I am so excited!

"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight"

Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Serenity

I was having a considerably better day than I did yesterday.  I woke up feeling positive about going to class.  I had a very good lecture on newborn assessment, and since my favorite subject in the world is babies, preemies and NICU patients in particular, I was living large.  I always get a few wide-eyed stares from nursing students who don't know my story when we have baby lectures.  I came into nursing school with a much larger knowledge base on neonatal complications than the average person.  Ditto for the review session on ventilators following the baby class.  Great school day.  One of those days where I remember why I am going to nursing school and that I actually want to be doing this.

So...I thought I'd throw a monkey wrench into my serene mood.  I figured, "I know so much more about lab values and vent settings then I did back in 2006...why not break out Matthew's medical records and have a look?"  Right.  About 6 pages in I had deduced that I do, in fact, know much more medical jargon now.  And that no matter how many premature case studies I can plow through without batting an eye, my own case study still really wrecks me.  But wait, I had an even better idea.  Break out the DVD of Matthew in the NICU and his ultrasound footage and curl up with the Kiddo to watch it together.  Serenity successfully chased away by grief.  However, I believe I can watch ultrasound footage all day long.  I find it so soothing.  I have about 10 minutes of tape from Matthew's ultrasound but I have about 3 hours from the Kiddo's zillion ultrasounds.  I am contemplating combining them and playing the DVD as I fall asleep.  It would probably work better then the nature sounds.

I also have a rousing game of "Where's My Period?" going this week.  Let me know if you want to join in.

Mateo and Tobias via Etsy

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mom Moment of the Week (Possibly Year)

The Kiddo has been sleeping with me pretty much constantly since Jerry went to North Dakota.  For the last week or so she has been asking for glow sticks instead of a night light.  Since she usually just leaves them on her wrist, I have been giving them to her.  Last night she really didn't want to go to bed.  I give her a glow stick.  I am folding laundry and watching television when she wanders into the room saying, "My eye hurts."  Assuming this is a variation on the usual, "Mommy my tummy hurts" or "Mommy I need another hug" bedtime-avoidance tactic, I march her back to bed.  Well, I didn't need to turn on the bedroom light because as soon as we stepped into the darkness of the room I noticed that the entire bed was bathed in a green fluorescent glow.  I amend my voice from one of mild exasperation to one of frantic concern.  "Which eye did you say was hurting, baby?"  We spend the next 15 minutes flushing the eye under the bathroom faucet and with most of a bottle of saline while she screams.  When we are through she asks me for another glow stick.  It breaks my heart when I tell her "No" and her eyes fill up with tears.  She says, "Because I won't break it, Mommy."  As though I am mad at her!  Poor child.  She was treated to three extra bedtime stories and I was treated to a reality check on my common sense.  Or lack thereof.  Hope I've made you all feel like a better parent for the day.

I was pretty irritated at having to drag myself out of bed and go to class this morning.  I am trying to remind myself that after years--YEARS-- of struggle, I am finally going to be done.  There is an actual end in sight.  It seems like far away at this moment, but 7 more months in the grand scheme of things is doable.  I think I've been a little depressed because I may have to move to a really small town after graduation.  Small towns have no NICUs.  I like nursing, find all the medical aspects really interesting, but the truth is that the heart of why I'm doing this is so that I can do NICU.  And in the town I currently live in, I have a great shot at getting a NICU position right out of nursing school next spring.  A shot that I have worked my butt off to get.  But I can't stand to be away from Jerry, and the Kiddo misses him terribly, and we want to have another baby (I may have mentioned this baby obsession before).  So, the fact is, I may have to turn down my dream job offer to move to a tiny town and work in a nursing home or something.  That depresses me.  I am doing my best to just let go of the things I can't control and trust God that I will end up where I'm supposed to be.  

Fresh Words Market via Etsy

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Little Girl

This weekend I have had time to sit and be fascinated by my daughter.  I have always found it humorous that I can watch her for hours a day--sleeping, talking, laughing, playing.  I feel like every time I take my eyes off her for a second she is growing up.  She is ever the entertainer, concocting strange and complicated outfits to parade around in, corralling one of the dogs to be her horse, her goat, whatever pops into her head.  If I let a bad word fly out of my mouth she will inevitably find some inventive way of repeating it while exclaiming over something that happens on the cartoon she is watching.  She can no longer be trusted not to say something embarassing in public regarding someone's hair color, use of supplemental oxygen, nail polish, or general attire.  Trust me.  She is so wonderfully patient with me, much more so than I am with her sometimes. She refuses to learn to write her name, preferring instead to watch me beg and try to come up with creative ways to trick her into learning.  She loves princesses.  And fairies.  Together, she and I know all the Disney movies and nearly every princess type children's book that exists is on our bookshelf.  She loves to have her nails painted.  She thinks everything is funny.  When you are four years old, everything is part of a fairy tale.  I pray she gets to stay in it for awhile longer, this world where "bad" is clearly identifiable and no one ever truly dies.

Photograph by Racetay via Etsy

Photograph by Celtic Cat Photos via Etsy

Friday, September 30, 2011

Still Flailing Along

This week was Week 1 of school for me.  When compared to my previous Week 1s it is exactly the same.  We are absolutely broke.  Classes are intimidating and overwhelming.  The commute lasts forever.  The mommy guilt is heartbreaking.  I am behind from the starting gate.  The list of things to know and study is already a mile long.  There are piles of forms to fill out.  I have trouble getting motivated.  Oh, and clinicals are TEN hours long this year, so clinicals are freaking me out too.  I am snappy and anxious and tired and alone.  And I have no idea how I am going to pull this off.  Yep...the usual. 

Today, I had an appointment that I really needed to get to.  I laid down to rest for a moment and fell instantly asleep.  I woke up ten minutes after my appointment time. I panicked.  I called them and said I'd had car trouble and should I come now or reschedule?  They rescheduled.  I hate making up fake excuses because I feel like I am jinxing myself.  Now I probably will have car trouble.  I have never used "my kid is sick" as an untrue excuse because I am afraid...well, you get the picture.  So I am very frustrated with myself and the fact that I never seem to do anything all that well.  I never seem to handle things beautifully.  Let's hope I can get a few things done over the weekend so I don't go crazy by Sunday.