Friday, April 22, 2011

Celebrity Baby Boomers

What is with all these babies everywhere?  Are they driving anyone else nuts?  They all seem so blissfully ignorant and happy, like nothing bad could ever touch them or their unborn fetuses.  Of course I would never wish what I've been through on another human being, but sometimes an unknowing mother to be just irks me.  Then I barely stop myself from spitting out stories about every awful pregnancy complication that I've ever heard of.  I guess misery really does love company.  

I have decided that the birth control pill is the devil.  I have put up with years of sore boobs and fluctuating hormones and I hate it.  Also, I occasionally bum a cigarette from the neighbor when I'm super stressed (trailer park, remember) and I then spend the next 1.5 days freaking out about blood clots.  And breast cancer.  And whacked out estrogen and progesterone levels.  Plus, my natural cycle is 33 days and I hate being artificially forced to have a 28 day cycle instead.  Obviously, I've discussed that I simply cannot afford to get pregnant halfway through nursing school so...I'm contemplating going back on the mini-pill.  One hormone instead of two, and I've gotten fairly disciplined about taking the pill at the same time every day.  The drawback is that the progesterone only pill lets your natural cycle do its thing so I don't get my period like clockwork.  And as soon as my period is five seconds late, I basically move into the bathroom and have a whole impromptu psychological analysis on what I want the pregnancy test to read. Negative? Positive?  Then I call Jer in to go over the whole thing.  What does he think?  Negative?  Positive?  Maybe I should take another test while we both think about it?  Um...yeah, that was how I landed myself back on the regular pill the last time.  How am I not single?  Must be the sparkling personality and the B-cup.

Case study got finished well before the midnight deadline today.  Hooray!  It was a frustrating one to write.  My mom called and invited me to Easter dinner with her and her new husband. My friend and I have dubbed this particular brand of crazy talk from our mothers the "You need medication" speech.  You know, the type of conversation where one person deflects everything the other person says that could sit badly with them by suggesting that they get some help.  There's another variation of this speech entitled  the "You need to see a psychiatrist.  Really." speech.  I suppose he's not that new after a year and a half?  Then she called me grumpy.  Which I am.  And that I could use some medication.  Um, yeah probably.  And then she offered to share hers, but I think she was just being antagonizing...she would never share.  I think I said something sweet like, "Why because they do such wonders for you?"  Just joking Mom.  Love you.  No one inspires me like my mother.  Anyhow, she says she is coming over to help clean house in the morning.  We shall see.  My house is not for the faint of heart.  I didn't intend a pun there, but she had a heart attack five years ago...I better get up early and start cleaning before she gets here.  Moms are fun.

High hopes for the weekend.  Having a Pharmacology marathon.  The Man is hoping I will find time to shave my legs.  We all have dreams.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ramblings of an Overcrowded Mind

The other night, I had the following conversation with my daughter while I was reading my Pathophysiology book next to her:
"Mommy, what's this?" as she's pointing to a picture in my book
"Um....that is a picture of a prolapsed uterus."
" he a boy?"
"No monkey, that's a girl"
"Those are not boy parts?"
"Why does she have that?"
"I guess she had too many babies and her uterus got worn out so it fell."
At least it wasn't a picture of a chancre, but still.  I'll be editing the content with post-it notes from now on.  And the Man didn't think my honest answer was the way to go, but I disagree.  When all else fails, tell the truth.  I know there's no way to know for sure at age 3, but she is fascinated with all my nursing textbooks....I think she is destined for greatness.  I mean, note the complete thoroughness of questions regarding uterine prolapse; she even continued on and told her father about our conversation using the words "uterine prolapse" because he came and asked me what it was.  Taking complete health histories at age 3 is a sign of brilliance for sure...I am still learning to do that at 27.

In other news, my patient today was an 82 year old woman with stage 4 ovarian cancer.  It was my first clinical on a med/surg floor and it went well, although I didn't get to cath anyone.  I did get to wander down to OB for awhile as well...more on that another time.  There's always that feeling walking onto the floor as a nursing everyone but you knows what's going on, and they all know that you don't know.  Also, I can't seem to get a patient under the age of 75 for the life of me.  Oh well, at least I'm not still stuck in the nursing home for clinicals.  Next week, I have a rotation in Day Surgery that I've heard is good.

The Man's employment situation is still pretty dire, and I freaked myself out by looking at my bank balance.  Never do that.  He is pretty frustrated and I am just praying that something comes along soon.  I don't know what we'll do if this goes on for much longer than it already has.

Monday is the 25th, the day that Matthew passed away...after 5 years, I still don't know how the hell to get through these days.  The brevity of his little life still wipes me out completely.  It's so strange, because in my heart, he is 5 years old now; I can see him growing, changing as the years go by.  I see myself changing as the years go by, a direct line of blessings and consequences that can be traced straight back to him.  If you take any random 15 days of my life, there isn't a single chunk that has had as much impact on my entire being as the sweeping range of events that was his life.  I don't always know what sort of God I believe in...I pray desperately--often--and I believe he is up there.  But, I have trouble thinking of heaven as an actual place, and I can't imagine that God himself could ever give me an answer about my baby boy that would satisfy me.  Still, I know in my heart that Matthew is safe and that he is not hurting or troubled and under the circumstances that has to be enough.

Alright, I still have an entire postpartum case study to write tonight.  You know, the one I was complaining about making no progress on in Tuesday's post.  Really need this weekend to save my ass on study time.  Wish me luck and emotional stability for the rest of April!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring Quarter ADD?

I am so sick of studying that I can't study.  By the time I sit down to study at night, my brain is off.  Since tonight was a bust, I now have 3 days to write a case study on a first time mother who is on her first postpartum day.  3 days in which I must also spend 1.5 hours commuting each way, attend a full day of classes, attend clinical, drop off and pick up my daughter from day care, find a moment to smile at the Man and pet the dogs, make sure everyone is fed and clothed, feed and clothe myself, read about ten chapters from three different textbooks on the endocrine least I know my brain is still in there because it HURTS.  Is it summer yet?  I desperately need a little fighting spirit and a little energy. I want to go to the gym and take my daughter to the pool and walk my dog and plant some flowers (did I mention it has been snowing outside for the past 2 days?  That's Montana for ya).  I also want to successfully survive nursing school.  If I don't post for a bit, it's because I'm treading water.  

The upside of all this busy work is that I don't have time to freak out about the fact that it's April.  I'm pretty good at compartmentalizing all my emotional stuff when I have school as an excuse.  I mean normally I am.  Obviously January through March cannot be counted as a period of successful compartmentalizing because I was a fricking train wreck; emotional baggage was spilling out of every single drawer and I couldn't shove it all back in for the life of me.  Every time I think of last quarter, I start feeling like I'm drowning all over again.  Yeah, repression is an absolute necessity for pulling A's in school whilst falling to pieces on the inside. Let's just keep all the shit in neatly labeled drawers in my subconscious until finals are over in June.  Then at least something in my life will be in a neatly labeled drawer because the laundry definitely isn't.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Reason Why I'm Here

I'm afraid in starting this little story, I've become caught up in daily details rather than telling the story of how I came to be who I am today.  I wanted to write this journey down, so that I can remind myself where I come from on the bad days.  Be that as it may, I can't ignore the path that I am traveling in the present.  So today...first clinical in a real hospital.  Went pretty well.  I didn't want anything unexpected thrown at me on my first day, but I was assigned to the orthopedic surgery/rehab unit and I was moderately bored the entire day.  Useful:  getting the feel of a day at the hospital, seeing the charting, the medication protocols, the way the staff collaborate with each other.  Same old same:  patients were all elderly or almost elderly, work was mostly nurse assistant stuff that I have been doing for a very long time, and other students were two floors up getting to do actual nursing tasks like catheters.  I really like the clinical instructor that is helping out now, and during my lunch break I wandered down to OB to peak in the nursery window, and got to see a fresh-from-the-womb baby being looked over.  Made my day.  Also, tonight is my TV night:  The Vampire Diaries is my favorite show and Nikita is getting pretty fun to watch too.  Then I get to sleep in tomorrow since I have a rare day off from school.  Big pathophysiology test Monday morning and it's a work weekend, so tonight is my "night off."

I guess I should really begin at the beginning then.  I was a girl with something of a rambunctious streak--I waited tables at a local truck stop cafe, I smoked, I drove a brand new cherry red Pontiac Sunfire (an awesome car for a seventeen year old). My closest friends were boys who were a few years older.  I treated boyfriends pretty badly, always considered them sort of disposable in a way.  I got decent grades, but I dropped out of high school the last semester of my senior year because I hated it and I never wanted to go.  I had an awesome high school guidance counselor who was very patient with a headstrong seventeen year old who quit high school 1.5 credits shy of graduation.  When I figured out that a high school diploma was a good thing to have almost two years later, he made it possible for me to finish the credits and graduate. I should also note here, that I have always been somewhat of a dork.  You know the type-- glasses, braces, reads a lot, skinny, athletically challenged.  Boobs showed up waay late and at 17, I just went the other way from scrawny nerd.

Nearly all my female friends got pregnant within a year or two of graduation, so by 20, I knew the unplanned pregnancy drill pretty well.  Baby daddy had absolutely no long term potential so he would either split right away or stay and make life hell.  Nothing ever went really wrong in any of these pregnancies and they mostly left with healthy babies.  A few of them turned out to be good parents, but many, I'm sad to say, did not.  I thought the kids were cute and all, but I also noted that they were a major buzzkill.  I determined not to have any until at least age 30 or never.

Work wise, I waited tables for nearly the first four years of my working life at a truck stop cafe.  It was not a healthy environment for a teenage girl who's parents set her curfew at 10:30 pm and drug her to church every Sunday.  Really it wasn't a healthy environment for anyone.  Plenty of older burnouts who didn't mind buying a minor a pack of cigarettes (or selling her drugs for that matter).  My first real boyfriend was a cook there, though, and I still look back with great affection on how young and impetuous we were.  Kids.  Anyhow, I got fired for perpetual tardiness about four years in.  I waited tables at another restaurant for awhile and then started working at a nursing home as a certified nurse aide.  I didn't expect to like it at all, but it turned out I was pretty good at it.  Around this time I also started attending college at the local university....or as I like to refer to that time--racking up student loan debt while never going to class.  I was a pre-pharmacy major, but I never took a single serious class, and I believe I passed about 3 classes from 3 semesters of college.  Oddly, while I was flunking out of my second semester of college due to nonattendance, I thought I might change my major to nursing.  I started looking into nursing programs and found one across the state that based their acceptances off a pre-nursing entrance exam.  My dad drove me over to take the test and I somehow scored high enough to get accepted for the following fall.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby Boy

Today, my baby boy would've been 5 years old.  Matthew, Mommy loves you and misses you more than words can ever say.  I think about you a hundred times a day, what you would look like, what movies and toys and foods and animals would be your favorites.  We would be getting ready to go to kindergarten in the fall and I would be teaching you to write your name.  Your daddy would be teaching you to ride 4wheelers and hunt.  I think about how wonderful it would be if you were playing down the hall with your sister, what your laughter would sound like mixed together with hers.  Your spot in our lives and our hearts will never be filled by anyone but you.  I wish I could hold you and kiss you and buy you something special for your birthday and throw you a huge birthday party.  Instead, I send you all my love and all the best birthday wishes.  The day you were born, I was changed forever, and I will never ever forget the way I felt the first time I saw you.  I can't believe there was ever a time before you existed.   I don't know why things turned out the way they did, and I don't know why you were taken from me, but I want you to know I would never give up one single second of the time I had with you.  Happy 5th Birthday, Matthew!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Missing My Boys

I feel very alone today.  The Man got a call this morning from a company that has been offering him employment for a year or so, and in light of yesterday's revelations regarding his current job, he accepted.  The problem?  The job travels a lot and we don't know how permanent the job is.  I don't know how permanent we want the job to be.  He had to leave today, which means he will be out of town and I will be alone on Sunday.  Matthew's birthday.  I want him to have the chance to get out of his awful job, but I am terrified that I will crumble without him.  I've been pretty emotionally unstable these past few months and he has been my rock.  My school/work/life schedule is also insane and I'm not sure that the delicate system won't fall apart without him.  Today I had to sign up for a back-up daycare, to be used when I have to be at class earlier then the kiddo's regular daycare opens.  I never thought she would even have to go to ONE daycare let alone two.  In addition to this, there is still one day a week that I have to beg my mom to help out, and I will also be begging for her help when I work every other weekend.  It's so cheesy and ridiculous to say, but he is my best friend, sometimes my only friend.  Even when we bicker, even when we fight. 

Major accomplishment for the day:  loading the dishwasher.  Also had a curious internal discussion with myself regarding my period.  It showed up this morning.  I've been pretty clear with everyone I know about how badly we want another baby, but we are not even remotely TTC.  I am on the pill for goodness sakes.  I know the period is gonna show up.  I know when it's gonna show up.  Yet when it shows up, I am disappointed and sad.  Hello self! It's supposed to show up.  I keep hoping for another birth control slip up.  I don't know how I ever managed to get pregnant by a birth control operator error the first time, and I am on the pill now for a reason, people.  Still, my heart and uterus don't seem to understand what my head does.  I keep telling myself:  one more year, one more year.  It doesn't help that my OB rotation that was scheduled for tomorrow got moved.  I was going to get a baby fix to take the edge off, but no such luck.  Maybe I should start a countdown to birth control discontinuation on my blog...

 I am contemplating adding to my memorial tattoo in honor of Matthew's 5th birthday. I have been wanting to have his little hand prints inked for some time, and Sunday may be the day to do it.  More to come....

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April, Nursing School, and Looming Unemployment

April.  I don't really know what to say about April except that it's here for the fifth time since Matthew died.  April is the month my baby boy was born in and the month he died in.  I've been talking a lot here and with my family and friends about how the three months before April are often much worse than April turns out to be. I can feel time start to suck me into a black hole shortly after New Years is gone. This year...has been bad.  In April, at least people kind of expect me to be bad off.  I miss my baby boy.

School is back in full force and I have a ton of reading to do.  Today we learned how to do nasogastric tubes.  I was excited because feeding tubes are a staple of NICU life (note Matthew's tube coming out of the right side of his mouth--feeding tube).  Next week is also a big maternity week in Pathophysiology, and I never love nursing school more then when I get to learn about BABIES.  Having the usual trouble getting my head back in the game after the break, so hopefully the brain will click back on for me soon.  I did pass my Medical calculations exam on the first shot today, a feat I did not pull off last quarter. 

My guy needs some prayer and warm wishes sent his way.  He has been progressively losing his job as the economy tries to recover.  And though I have been complain-y about my own silly job lately, his job is terrible.  He has the worst boss I have ever heard of.  Instead of the boss being a responsible employer and letting his workers know the status of his dying and poorly managed company, this guy just leaves them all hanging and doesn't give them hours for weeks at a time.  Then he will call and expect a guy to report for duty in 30 minutes.  Anyhow, the boss likes to get drunk and talk shit about all of the employees who have stuck with him for years.  And this week it's my guy's turn to be talked about in a demeaning and disrespectful manner (Yay!).  Also, the boss has a theory that if he fires some of his workers (or ignores them until they quit) and hires new workers for nine bucks an hour, his profits will go up.  Cute, right?  So needless to say, we are trying really hard to get him the hell out of there.  Cross your fingers for us.  That's all I've got for now--ignored the books for long enough tonight.