Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Why I Might Not Graduate From Nursing School After All

1.  I have a Pinterest account

2.  I am currently addicted to reruns of The Office

3.  Baby Cravings/Fantasies

4.  My kid is way cute.

5.  My dogs are hilarious

6.  Cystic Fibrosis sucks and I don't want to read about it.

7.  I haven't started an IV in weeks.  On anyone.  I'm contemplating whether it would be morally reprehensible to start one on the dog.  He looks kind of dehydrated.  Too far?

8.  Naptime is so much more therapeutic than writing a paper. 

9.  A shockingly small amount of nursing school is actually dedicated to the care of babies.  Why is this?  If I can't have a baby because I am too busy studying/attempting to pass my classes, then why WHY can't I just hang out in the NICU all the time?  Why must I read textbooks and write papers?

10.  I think that's all.

Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm Insane, Right?

I had this dream two nights ago...that I was pregnant.  I got up and said, "Huh, that was strange and out-of-nowhere."  I went about my day.  Since then I haven't been able to shake the strange feeling that I might be pregnant.  It's absolutely ridiculous.  I am not even a little bit late.  I do not know why; it is just such a disconcerting feeling.  I'm writing about it here because A) it's bugging me and B) it is somewhat embarrassing that I am so insane and hormonal so I think it's best to vent about it here rather than face-to-face with someone. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow Day!

This morning I woke up to over 8 inches of snow and it kept on coming.  We have had nearly 12 inches so far and it is still snowing.  It's pretty unbelievable.  

Kiddo and I took the dogs outside to play in the snow.  It took me over an hour to shovel out my porch, car, and the little path in between the front door and the car.  I was scheduled to do a hospital rotation tomorrow, but all rotations were cancelled due to weather.  I am trying to embrace being snowed in and not be annoyed by the fact that I have now prepared the night before the last two hospital rotations and not made it to the hospital.  Last week sick, this week snow.  I'm starting to feel like a fake nursing student.  At least  I get to sleep in tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Orange

Kiddo is up late, having sweet-talked me into having a movie night because we don't have to get up early.  She shouts aloud during all the exciting (!) parts of 101 Dalmations, though we have seen it probably 20 times together in her little life.

I clean up the kitchen, pick up the toys, let the dogs outside, wash my face, get ready for bed.  She is still awake, eyes gleaming, staring at the television.  I turn it off and this does nothing to dent her enthusiasm.  She starts asking me philosphical questions.  You know, the really important ones.  "Mommy, why didn't the other reindeers let Rudolph play with them?" (what cruel person would ever tell their little girl that Christmas is over and Rudolph is no longer relevant?  Certainly not me; it's Christmas time all year in this house.) "Mommy, do you like bats?" "Do you like chocolate, Mother?"

I give up trying to study and start thinking about getting an orange from the kitchen.  I casually mention to her that I'm going to get one.  She is SO FREAKING EXCITED.  I mean this orange is a big deal.  She loves oranges.  Especially at bedtime when she is supposed to be sleeping. 

I peel the orange while she squirms on the bed in excitement.  I give her a piece of the peel to smell.  I split the orange with her.  She is so happy.  Her green eyes are just sparkling and she is smiling and laughing and watching me and letting her long hair fall on the orange wedges as I hand them to her.  I hope she is always so happy.  

Nothing makes you stop and appreciate a simple, everyday moment like a child.  Lord, please send me ten more of these delightful little creatures.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Baby Cravings (Round 5)

Well...I think baby cravings are smacking me at full force.  I am trying to reason with myself by pointing out that it is almost time, just a little longer to start Project Baby.  I'm trying to reason with myself by pointing out that I always crave babies at this time of year.  From January to April, I inevitably ricochet between bad periods of grief over the loss of my child and an insatiable desire to have another baby.  Add to this a sprinkling of insane and inappropriate jealousy when people marked as "unworthy" of another child in my hormonal and grief crazed mind dare to deliver a child of their own during this time period.  That's right folks.  Sanity and reason are not personality characteristics I always choose to utilize, no matter how level-headed and calm I may seem here.  

How, you may be asking, do I combat this potent combination of Winter/Baby Blues?  I wander the baby section at Target until I realize I don't belong there or until my four year old starts screeching that I haven't taken her to see the toys yet.  Whichever happens first.  I complain loudly to Jerry that I want another baby during every.single. conversation.  Even though he is not the one holding up the show.  I am.  He has long ago started making comments regarding his readiness for another child.  Yet this does not save him from my loud, dramatic sighs and overly descriptive depictions of the adorable baby(ies) I recently viewed.  When Jerry can't listen to it anymore, I then tell everyone else I know.  It's a good time for everyone involved, I think.

And I start baking.  It's pretty ridiculous.  Right now I am baking this.  I will not be posting a picture of my culinary masterpiece here because...I just don't want to.  But feel free to view this talented lady's version.

As you may imagine, all of these activities have been making a serious dent in my study time.  And house cleaning time.  However, I am pleased to report that my daughter now knows 20/26 alphabet letters.  And yesterday we watched the original version of Annie together for the first time.  She loved it, but was very intense during the viewing.  "Mommy, what is that mean lady doing!"  "Mommy, why is Annie running?"  "Mommy where are the orphans?"  "MOMMY!!!"  She requested a second viewing this morning, but I politely declined in favor of a movie that wouldn't incite such raw emotions (and headaches).  We have also played several variations of princess games, in which she dresses herself elaborately and gives me very specific instructions on how to rescue her while she collapses in a dramatic heap.  Aww Disney, raising generations of helpless females.  But good fun.  So while not much has happened in the productivity department, and the Baby Cravings are running high, I have had some fun with the Kiddo.  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekly Catch-Up

The first week of school passed mostly without a hitch until my Thursday. I had a clinical rotation at the hospital.  I had to get up by 5 am and be in the car with the Kiddo by 5:45 in order to report for duty at 6:30.  I thought it was odd when I popped awake at 4:30 unsure of why but knowing that something was wrong.  I gave up on falling asleep and decided to start my day.  As I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror, I noticed I was having some very intense hot and cold flashes.  You know the kind.  One second you are boiling hot and sweating and dizzy, the next second you are freezing cold and shivering.  I swung back and forth on this little climate-change coaster several times before I remembered that Kiddo had had a brief and violent episode of stomach flu over the weekend.  Normally, I am terrified and popping extra vitamins as soon as I realize she is ill and I may soon become ill.  But the hullaballoo of the first week back in class distracted me, I guess, because I found myself completely unprepared.  I found myself chanting "no, no, no, NO" over and over as I forced myself to get dressed.  But I couldn't get my shoes on because I was so dizzy and nauseous I couldn't see straight.  So I called my instructor.  I am allowed to miss just 2 clinical days in a school year or risk getting KICKED OUT OF NURSING SCHOOL!  I know people, especially in health care, are not supposed to go to work sick, but trust me when I say it is ingrained in every aspect of nursing school that you do not miss class, no matter how sick you think you are, no matter how sick you think your kid is.  You get your ass to class or you will find yourself in some high-ranking instructor's office attempting to explain yourself and avoid throwing away years of expensive education.

In my case, the absence was okay because I have not missed a clinical day yet and actually have extra rotations on my roster thanks to the NICU rotations I've taken on (that means begged for).  If you think this soothed me at all you are incorrect.

I am a single mother.  I know I'm not single, but for all intents and purposes I am doing the child-rearing/nursing school/overloaded schedule coordinating/studying thing ALONE.  With Jerry in North Dakota, my "help" is reduced to a sometimes comforting voice on the phone at the end of the day and checks that show up in the bank account.  I don't mean to minimize this; my guy rocks and I am so in love with him.  We are coming up on 7 years together, and I am so proud of us and the obstacles we've managed to overcome together.  Not bad for two stupid kids in their early twenties who thought they were having a "good time" when they first hooked up.  But....there is no one to help me solve the day-to-day problems now.  There is no one to cover when someone is sick.  There is no one to take over the main parenting for a day so I can study for a test. I could write a book on the time management skills I have had to learn in the last 6 months.   Like I said, ALONE.

So...the fact that it is the first week back at school and I have already missed a significant day was not helpful.  Abscences must be hoarded for extreme emergencies, not piddly little sick days.  Plus when I called I wasn't entirely sure that the nausea wouldn't just pass in a few minutes and I'd be mad at myself for wasting an absence on nothing.  Usually if you are sick on a class or hospital day it is best to show up anyway so the instructors can see you for themselves and send you home.  But I just couldn't make it.  So I called in.

Boy, was I glad I called an hour later when I started puking my guts out.  It was crazy up in here, ya'll.  I was pretty proud of myself for interpreting my body's signals correctly for once because I am usually way off.  I would much rather spend the day sick on my own bathroom floor than the employee bathroom at the hospital while trying to juggle patients.  Plus, for the first time since I was about 17, I had to call and have my mommy come take care of me.  Kiddo was zooming around and needing things and getting very worried about my state of health.  

I felt better at night, passed out, and ignored my ringing phone.  Woke up to a text message from my dad saying he was "just pulling into town."  He had decided the night before to come to town to visit a friend in the hospital and I didn't get the memo.  So I had to stagger into the shower and shove crap into cupboards in order to look like a sane person by the time he arrived.  I think I pulled it off.

Oh, The Bad Debt List.  I did make it last Saturday after I posted.  It was ugly.  My office is now strategically organized and free from paperwork that is laying around unopened.  This is a good thing for finances and studying.  I find myself studying in bed or in the living room (where I also fall asleep easily) if the office is a mess.  Mr. Ramsey and I have been commuting together this week.  I negotiated with the first big bad debt creditor to start making payments and have made two so far, with the goal of paying it off by the beginning of February.

And Jerry and I gave up a trip to visit each other this weekend in the name of better budgeting.  That part really sucked.  I miss my guy. I so rarely have a spare weekend when school is in session to get over to see him that I badly wanted to take advantage of it, but alas.  Here we are.

I think that pretty much brings us up to speed.  I am already procrastinating some school work that is due today, so I am going to hold off on a few other things I wanted to post about until later. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A New Year's Vow

I've been blogging for a year now (Yes, I love it) and in that time I have explored probably a few thousand blogs.  I love stumbling on a great new blog to read when I wasn't even looking for a great new blog to read.  I love that whenever I am feeling anxious or sad or overwhelmed--guess what?!  There's a blog for that!  Maybe it's just me and I am just not looking in the right place, but I've noticed that people never seem to discuss financial woes in the blogging world.  Maybe it just doesn't make for interesting reading.  Maybe it's for privacy reasons.  Maybe people just don't want to project themselves on their blogs as people who have real problems, financial problems.  I have followed along this line of thinking on my own blog.  I don't even want to think about my financial problems, let alone write about them and open them up for discussion with the world.  I started this blog as an outlet in my ongoing journey of loss.  That's still what I want this place to be.  A place where I am Matthew's Mommy.  I just don't have many of those places, and I'm sure there are many people out there who understand that.  And yet... I find that daily events are often what's on my mind and I don't always bring them here for discussion. 

As some of you may know, I had originally started nursing school before I got pregnant with Matthew.  I left in the disaster pregnancy/child loss aftermath.  Crawling my way back through nursing school has been a major challenge for me.  On this journey I have had to face up to many things about my life and myself.  I've learned that I can't always separate one element of my life from another.  I thought I could leave my grief tucked away in a neat little drawer and go trooping back to nursing school.  Oh, how wrong I was.  Instead I was introduced to the most severe series of  PTSD flashbacks I have ever experienced.  You know...."Five years ago right now I was a 22 year old nursing student with no idea what was about to happen to me."  "Five years ago right now I thought unplanned pregnancy was my biggest obstacle."  "Five years ago right now..."  What a fun game.  I have played this game to some degree since Matthew was born.  "One year ago, I hadn't even met Jerry, hadn't even been accepted into nursing school, didn't have a clue what was going to happen in just a few short months." Because it was (and still is) absolutely shocking to me.  Biggest bitch slap ever. It was like I was just walking along and all of a sudden the ground wasn't there anymore and I was falling.  I wouldn't say I "hit rock bottom" because even today I am not always sure that the fall ever ended.  Often the time that has passed since 2006 has felt like one never-ending fall into chaos for me.  Chaos that I have very little control over.  So I was no stranger to the PTSD flashback, but nursing school brought on a very intense version of this game that I just hadn't anticipated and wasn't prepared for.  In hindsight....Duh.  Of course I was going to have some issues and obstacles to overcome.  I  vastly underestimated the impact these obstacles and issues were going to have on my life and thus was unprepared for the onslaught of emotional meltdown type of behaviors that piled down on me. Live and Learn.

I think I've been pretty open here about what an emotional mess I am.  So brace yourself because I am about to unleash even more honesty.  I (We) am also a financial disaster.  If you have ever pictured me sitting in my three story house eating bon bons while I write I am about to change all that.  I live in a trailer.  I know some people like to say "mobile home" these days, but trust me.  It's a trailer. My couch is so old it is a true horror to behold.  I have massive debt.  Massive unmanaged debt.  I rarely worry about identity theft because there is nothing to steal (so that's something, right?). 

 Lest you think I am a societal delinquent, allow me to preface this little tale by saying that I do not live off the government.  I do not have credit card debt from racking up purchases of expensive things that I don't really need.  I do not spend excessive amounts of time shopping.  Jerry and I are both very hard workers.   My financial story goes like this. Got my first job at 16 (15?).  Made great money for a teenager who lived with her parents.  Other waitresses at work were comfortably supporting families of 5 on the money we made at our job.  I drove a new little red car, which my parents kindly cosigned a loan for at 17.  I paid it, but I don't know what else I did with my money.  I certainly didn't save any.  I bounded through my teens and early twenties with no real concept of financial responsibility.  Even though I lived on my own I didn't own a checkbook.  I would hand my mom cash and have her write a check for me or I would pay in cash.  I would pay my bills when (and if) I got around to it.  I'm ashamed to say my parents have had to bail me out quite a few times over the years.  I think they always saw that I (and then we) was a hard worker and I had goals and they wanted me to reach them.  My financial discrepancies were seen as sort of a youngish quirk.  I saw them that way too.

By the time I enrolled in my first nursing school and met Jerry, I realized I needed to make more money.  Making sure we take the steps we need to take in our careers in order to ensure an adequate income in the future is one thing Jerry and I have under control right now.  I'm proud of that.  Through hard work and lots of sacrificing and late nights studying, we have the potential to have a financially stable future. But that's all it is right now.  Potential.   Anywho...Jerry and I moved away from our families and very quickly Matthew came along.  To this day I regret many things about the way we handled the whole situation.  I regret that I even considered an abortion for a tiny amount of time.  I regret that I quit nursing school the first time and that we moved back home after our son died without even trying to go back.  So many things.  For the purposes of this post though...I regret that after Matthew died and the bills were arriving in huge, thick envelopes every day I didn't take care of them as they arrived.  I didn't even open them.  I shoved them in a drawer and ignored them.  For months.  I didn't even begin to try to deal with them.  And then I had another baby.  Without ensuring any true degree of financial stability aside from being employed, having a place to live, and having a vague notion that "someday" I might return to nursing school.  That's not to say I would ever regret having my daughter.  She's...everything.  It's just that when she arrived and I held her in my arms, breathing on her own with no medical intervention and looking up at me, I realized that I owed her so much more than what had been provided.  The love was certainly there and the basic life necessities are there.  But...more, you know?  I owed myself more.  And I owed Jerry more.  I vowed that I would get "more" for her, for us.  

In the years since my daughter's birth, we have tried to make the right financial decisions (we have tried to make all right decisions, really).  But we aren't completely making the right financial decisions.  Because we haven't gone back and fixed the mess.  Neither one of us ever learned to adequately manage money before we became a family and we certainly haven't learned since then.  I honestly have never added up all the bad credit debt we actually have.  I really haven't wanted to know because I haven't been able to pay it anyway.  So we haven't really paid at all.  Suffice it to say I receive frequent phone calls and frequent letters in the mail.  Jerry also made poor financial decisions before we met and we have combined those messes and allowed those messes to be added to over the years.  I try to pay bills on time, but if my Kiddo needs something?  She gets it.  Before the bill gets paid.  Ditto for many other "necessities."  The brutal truth is that Jerry and I will never own a real house, will never have any real savings, will never stop needing bailed out, will never take that trip to Europe if we don't face the music and get our shit together.  And I want those things.  We want those things. 

I'm not a New Year's Resolution type of girl because I rarely keep them.  I rarely even accomplish my to-do list for the day.  So this year, I am making a New Year's Vow.  I want out of debt.  We are going to get out of debt.  I want the letters and the phone calls and the nasty "oh, a collection company can do that?" surprises to STOP.  I don't want to be afraid of finances anymore.  We are cleaning up the mess, folks.  

 Here is the plan of action(!) I have compiled thus far:

1.  Clean out my office.  I will stop piling unopened envelopes on any available surface that is out of my sight (and thus out of my mind).  I will stop ignoring.

2.  List our debt.  This one is a biggie.  I have never done this.  If, a few days from now, you see a psychotically emotional post about some random fixation of mine assume that I am working on The List and am simply stalling the discussion of The List on my blog.

3.  Dave Ramsey is my new in-car entertainment for my commute to school.  First up:  Financial Peace University.

4.  Start paying up.  Big time.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Is Your Refrigerator Running?

In true Winter Term Fashion, my refrigerator appears to be broken.  I say "appears" because even though everything in the freezer is thawed to fridge temperature and the water bottle I just pulled out of the fridge is not as cold as it should be, I am not ready to face the fact that I will have to go fridge shopping.  Pronto.  

Winter Terms are consistently bad for me.  Two years ago, my FIL was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer during Winter Term.  He was on and off the vent and I was back and forth between my house, school (1 hour commute) and my father-in-law's house/the hospital (2.5 hour drive).  It...wasn't fun.

Last year, however, was the Winter Term of Epically Bad Proportions.  Nursing school was hell.  19 of my fellow students flunked out in a five week period.  That was 50% of our class.  I would literally go to class one day and the person I had sat next to the day before would be gone.  Gone.  Everyone was on the verge of flunking out.  The curriculum was rough and the teachers were mean.  It was one of the worst winters in years and the roads were terrible.  I would sometimes have to leave 2.5 hours before a class began just to make sure I was on time.  I also had one of the worst bouts of depression I have ever experienced.  The months leading up to Matthew's fifth birthday were awful for me. I miss my baby boy so much every single day, but last winter the weight of it felt too heavy to breathe. One of the most undeserving-of-pregnancy women in known existence to myself was pregnant and due in March.  Unfortunately for me, she is also family.  I also had a "break-up" with one of my closest friends in January; the relationship had been a toxic one for a long time, but it was still hard to end communication with her.  To top it all off, Jerry went from working 40+ hours a week to being cut down to around 10 due to poor management practices and a bad economy at his employer.  So we were broke.  And Jer was really frustrated.  

Just awful. I don't know how I lived through it.  

So I would really like Winter Term 2010 to be mild-mannered and pleasant in comparison to the last two years.  Really.  Classes start Monday and I am busy this term.  17 credits.  Not the most I've had to take at once, but not a light load either.  I am just praying for everything to go smoothly.

It is time to get on the pre-pregnancy health wagon.  Seriously this time.  I know I said I was going to start working out more and eating better several months ago, but I freaking mean it this time.  As previously mentioned, I quit the birth control pill last spring (summer?) and have been using prayer, rough counting methods, and the enforced abstinence that my long-distance relationship has sprung upon us as my birth control method.  I am now officially in the grey area between January and June when it is not official TTC time, but a pregnancy would not be unwelcome or extremely poorly timed.  And I just don't think there's an OB out there who would call swallowing my prenatal vitamin down with Red Bull every morning an adequate pre-conception diet.  I have a true motivation deficit when it comes to physical activity, and I am busy enough to make excuses.  I'm going to stop doing that.  I swear.  Stay tuned.  I guess I can start by perusing the aisles of Lowe's for that fridge tomorrow.