Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hey NURSE! Stories from my time at the County Jail

A brief caveat here. This post is a bit graphic. No more so than CSI. But, still, you might want to put down your lunch. It's also a bit long for my taste. But, I promise though, if you can man up and make it through, it's well worth the journey.

One of my jobs at the county jail was "short visit nurse" at the central jailhouse. The jailhouse had an exam room in the basement that I would work out of. It had some medical supplies, a blood pressure cuff, thermometer, some bandages and an otoscope. There was an exam table placed diagonally across the center of the room. The room looked a lot like this.

Every morning I would receive a roster of about 40 inmates. The list would have their name and inmate number. It would usually have one word describing the inmate's health concern. Most of the time it would say, "Rash" or "Cough" or "Blood pressure check". Sometimes it would say, "teeth" or "crack tooth". It was an interesting mix of common inmate health problems.

Either way, I saw inmates in 20 minute intervals and did what nurses do. Which is to assess the patient, determine and execute a course of nursing treatment. All while educating them all about it. I had been a nurse for about five years at that point. I was well schooled in the art of delivering a direct and efficient hit of quality nursing care.

While the job required no grand skills, it afforded me the chance to relax. I only worked every other weekend, nine to five. Plus, I didn't know these inmates. I did not need to hear their whole story, just the bits required to do an excellent job. I was about 7 months pregnant and going to school part time to become a nurse practitioner. My daughter was 3 years old. This easy breezy job was exactly what I needed.

One Sunday morning, after assessing a particularly nasty rash, I was washing my hands and looking over the roster. The next inmate was to be seen for "stitches". This meant he needed stitches removed. I pulled out the sterilized kit. It contained tweezers and a pair of sharp little scissors. I set up the supplies on the exam side table.

Two guards arrived flanking the inmate, resplendent in brown polyester uniforms. He had silver ankle chains attached to a waist chain attached to handcuffs. Standard operating procedure. The inmate was gigantic. About seven feet tall and 300 pounds. Shaq size. He had massive black dreadlocks skimming the waist chain. He carried himself like most the inmates did. A fully formed and upright badass, about the see the nurse.

After the hardware was removed, he sat on the exam table. I thought he was going to break the thing with his massive proportions. I washed my hands again and introduced myself using only my first name. The florescent lighting buzzed overhead. He put his hands on his knees and made poor eye contact. He looked tired. Then I said, "So, where are your stitches?"

In one smooth motion, he turned his palms up. Supination is the technical term. He revealed about fifteen to twenty slash marks up and down each forearm. There was no pattern. It looked like he just hacked away with a very sharp and straight edge blade. Then, I imagine, after he was done with one arm, he transferred the knife to the other hand and began slashing anew. There were about 200 stitches in all. This presented a problem. This was going to take a while. Longer than 20 minutes.

I flipped on the goose neck lamp and got to work. The sutures were clean, the skin was warm to the touch, uniform in color. No drainage or other signs of infection. "Looks good and clean," I said. "Removing the stitches shouldn't hurt that much, it feels like plucking hairs." He nodded, continuing to make poor eye contact. Massive shoulders slightly hunched. I got to work.

I would clip a black stitch with my scissors and pluck it out with the tweezers. Sometimes the skin had grown over the stitch making it more difficult. I would dig, then clip, then pluck. He would twitch or grunt. I would say, "Boy, that was a tough one.", and try to sound encouraging. Mostly though, we said nothing. It was very quiet. The guards were still standing guard, flanking the exam table. I clipped and plucked, clipped and plucked. After about twenty minutes, my back started screaming.

The exam table was lower than my waist. I had a huge pregnant belly. Which meant I was bending at a awkward angle with my big gravida belly hanging forward. I stood up, rubbed my back. "Whew! You're sure making me work here!" I said and smiled. He made eye contact for the first time but didn't change his badass expression. A moment passed. We still had about 100 stitches to go. "Ok, let's get back to it. We're almost done.", I said gently.

Whoever stitched the stitches did a good job. It was fascinating seeing the different layers his skin. He had hacked through a different layers at different angles. His bark brown pigment was just the surface layer. Underneath was gleaming white sheathes of dermis and smooth tendons.

Surprisingly, with all his frenzied hashing, he didn't hit any veins. I could see the vessels pulsing underneath. It was all very fascinating. He took no notice but preferred to stare straight ahead. Eyelids hooded.

After another 50 stitches I told the officers I needed a break. My face was sweaty and my back was down right spasming. There was no room in the exam room for me to sit. I hopped up on the counter next to the sink. After catching my breath I looked right at him. He looked at me, no longer sneering. It was a soft exchange. Then I said, "You weren't messing around were you?"

"No, no I wasn't." He said plainly. For one brief moment there was a window. I saw and felt it. It was right there, standing in front of me like a big red fire truck blaring it's yellow orange sirens. But, I didn't take it. I didn't ask what happened.

"You don't have to tell me what happened. We are almost done here." Then I hopped down and finished the job. All told the job took about an hour. It was the most stitches I had ever removed in one sitting.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Movies worth watching: Wildcats (with Goldie Hawn)

In 1986 Wildcats was released. I was 10, my brother was 12. He played football in the pee wee league, in high school and in college. He coaches football and teaches physical education for a living now. He's 35, I'm 33.

I really had no use for sports or phys. ed. growing up. I could've gotten to know my brother a lot more if I was into sports. But I wasn't. Years and years worth of games and I never went. It just wasn't my thing. bah.. That's crazy sauce.

No matter what, this movie will always be tied to my brother. We watched it over and over again on the VCR. I had no idea how inappropriate it was for a 10 year old to be watching this film. After all, re watching it recently, I noticed a truckload of swears and some blatant Goldie Hawn nudity.

Goldie Hawn is a woman who was born and bred to be a football coach. Only she has a jerk for a boss. A jerk that doesn't want her to coach. But, he eventually gives up and gives her a job coaching high school ball. Unfortunately, this job is in the ghetto. The Wildcats are comprised of hoodlums and ne'er do wells. Here they are in the ghetto milieu.

Meanwhile, she is also a mother of two girls, a teenager and a 12 year old. A single mother. I didn't get this story line when I was a wee pup. Watching it a few days ago though, I was blown away. And now I can't stop thinking about it.

There's a scene where she comes come late from practice. She tries to hastily make dinner. The older teenage girl pitches a fit, she just wants to go to the library. The 12 year old girl whines because she is not home as much.

Goldie Hawn takes the girls onto her bed and explains the following.

"Mommy is a coach as well as a Mommy. And I want to be the best coach there is. Just like I would you want to be the best at whatever you want to be."

The 12 year old girl pipes up, "I wanna be an astronaut."

The teenage girl goes, "Don't be stupid, you can't be an astronaut." And rolls her eyes all stupid teenage girl like.

To which Goldie Hawn replies, "She can be anything she wants."

Then she hugs them and I just about lost it.

Because I am a mom that does not home school, bake bread or sew her kids clothes from scratch. I am a nurse practitioner who spends 9 hours a day in the service of others. I have every weeknight and every weekend off. And I hope and pray that because of this, I am being the best Mommy I can be. I am showing my girl that if you work hard enough, if you dig deep, you can conquer anything.

If you have enough fortitude and work hard enough, your dreams will come true.

So let's end this with my favorite scene.

This scene is from early in the film. The team is none to pleased with a woman coach. They try to degrade her and make her quit.

She gets pissed. She then challenges them to see who's tougher. If they win, she quits, if she wins they start calling her by her proper name, Coach.

Guess who wins?

You're right.

Mothers are a tough bad ass bunch.

Pancake Picks a Song!

"Hey Pancake, what song should we put on the blog today?

"HOT and COLD!"

UH OH It looks like we got case of love bipolar . . . .

Friday, September 25, 2009

Jesus watches over the wet bar

This is the wet bar in my possible future house. If you squint you can find the picture of Jesus.

Feel free to make all sorts of jokes in the comments. :)

Is there anyway to do something with that godaweful cieling?

And now, let's open our hymnal to Alfie chapter one verse two and celebrate the virtues of the THC.

Take care and everyone have a good weekend.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Random Deli Story and What do I do with this bottle of Tequila?

I use to work at a Mom and Pop grocery store, in the deli. As far as minimum wage jobs go, it was awesome. I would make potato salad, bread and fry up chicken pieces and make dazzling fruit and vegetable trays. I learned about all manner of deli meats and cheeses. It was an excellent job to have, I excelled there. An amazing deli girl was I.

I mentioned this to Mr. Hall yesterday, while at a super market. He said, "You mean the deli where you almost sliced your hand off?" And yes indeed, it was the same deli of which he spoke.

At the deli, I worked the pm shift, which means I did the closing. Part of my closing duties involved cleaning the slicer. I was about 21 years old. That night, the store was quiet and the store was almost empty. Just like every night, I was cleaning the slicer while it was running. This way, when I ran the hot soapy rag over the blade, the bits of meats and cheese would melt and whirl right off. Then, out of nowhere I hear BING! I jumped back about five feet.

Blink.. blink... blink...

I stopped the machine and looked down at my right hand. There was a nickle sized hole where the knuckle should have been on my index finger. There were shredded bits of knuckle flesh on my middle finger. I saw the whites of my tendons.

Then, like a flash flood, both knuckles filled with bright red blood. I was stunned. I went into the kitchen and wrapped my hand in paper toweling. After finding the manager in aisle three I said, "I have to go to the hospitalI'vecut my handon the slicer." He looked a bit puzzled. He was a skinny, nerdy guy who looked like Marty McFly senior. He was a good guy though, I liked him.

He said, "Ok Holly, um, you can drive over to St. Mary's, it's just two blocks away."

Then I said, "NO. YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND. I CUT MY FINGER AND I NEED TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL." I wasn't yelling but I felt the need to raise the volume so he could hear me.

A plumb, blonde cashier was dispatched to drive me. On the way there she talked about her fertility treatment. She had been trying to conceive and had to go on Clomid. This helps a woman release multiple eggs. The seats were comfy. It was rainy and inky dark outside.

The ER nurse was nice. She cut off the flap of skin hanging from my knuckle and gently washed all the blood from my hand and arm. It really stung, but I was a trooper. My Mom came and proceeded to bitch me out. She had to get the truck from the store and drive it to the ER. It had no gas. She was freaking and pissed off because she had to stop at the gas station. Meaner than a rattle snake.

The next day I went to a special "hand surgery" place. It was in a strip mall. The surgeon had these huge, life size Beatle posters on the walls. I remember laying on the table while he took syringes and injected stuff into my hand. The pain was unbelievable. It hurt like a son of a bitch. I did some very deep breathing. Breathe, breathe, breathe...

The doctor took notice and became very chatty. He asked, "Have you had a child before? They way you are breathing, it's . . . " I said, "No. I don't have any kids." He went on injecting. Unbelievable pain. Breathe, breathe, breathe... Then he said, "You're doing Lamaze breathing, seriously, have you ever had a child? You are literally doing the Lamaze breathing." He was astonished by this. And staring at me, watching me breathe.

Again, he was literally inserting needles into the base of my knuckles.

Let's all take a minute here. Let's all look at our hands and knuckles. Go ahead, take a look. NOW. Touch your knuckles, give 'em a pinch. Feel around a bit. This is where he was injecting stuff.

Hurt like a son of a bitch. MEANER THAN A RATTLESNAKE!!

Breathe, breathe, breathe . . . . . He spoke up again, "Wow young lady! You're REALLY doing Lamaze breathing. Are you sure you haven't? . . . Huh . . . . " I shook my head no. And tried my best not to thrash around because the pain from the injections was ripping me in half. Breathe...breathe...breathe....

They took a square of skin from my hip. They were careful not to take skin from my tattoo. They sewed that skin onto my knuckle. By then my hand was all numb.

For the next month or so I practiced bending my fingers. This hurt a lot. As my fingers were healing, scar tissue would adhere to the tendons. Bending the fingers literally breaks scar tissue off the tendon. That was the hurt part. But, it only took a month. I was a trooper.

Overall, it turned out pretty good. The skin graft took really well and blended right in. You can barely tell anything happened. And the blonde cashier got knocked up soon after. I left the deli job when her baby was a few months old. Then I left that city and started nursing school.

NOW about the bottle of booze....

After we closed on our house our real estate agent gave us a fancy schmancy bottle of tequila. Seems fair, she gets 6%, we get a bottle of fancy Tequila.

Only what the heck I am suppose to do with it? I mean, we have small kids, we don't get hammered. We are not people who "party".

And even if one of us imbibes the other one doesn't because the kids need a sober parent to drive to the hospital in the middle of the night.

In case they are really really dumb and clean a deli slicer while its running.

So we have this expensive bottle of tequila just sitting there.

What do I do with this bottle of Tequila?

Any suggestions, just let me know! ;)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Crackhouses as viewed by a nurse (repost)

I was thinking about this post this morning as I drove into my office. It's hard to believe this was just a year ago. Enjoy.

My job will change soon. Right now I am a home health nurse. Again, this means I drive to peoples' houses and be a nurse. My patients range in age and location. Of concern today, are my patients who are not white and not rich.

There are very poor pockets of this town. The next step is homeless. These enclaves are often called ghettos, section 8 housing, the projects, or crack house lane. All accurate names. And so there I go, before ten am, in my car. Me, the white nurse.

The man I saw today was not appreciative of my visit. For better or worse, he has expectations of the agency that I work for. These expectations are not being met. After I knock, he hollers to let me in. I open the patio door and enter his first floor apartment. He is angry and short with me. I explain that I am not his regular nurse but I can relay his concerns to her. I feel his angry and aggressive energies. I breathe deep and stay centered.

He's seated in a recliner, dressed in shorts and a tank top. He's watching TV. I have never seen a tv like his. “You have a see through TV.”, I say, rather chirpily. This is my natural and genuine tone. Flatly he remarks, “It’s a prison TV”.

It would function as such, the outer casing is clear plastic and you can see all in inside electronic trickery. No hiding shivs there. “Oooh, I seee.” I say. “That's exactly the point.” He smirks. I smile. “That’s a funny joke!” says me. Chipper monkey, thy name is Mrs. Hall.

So we get down to it. My task at this appointment is four fold. He refuses all but two. I take his vitals, listen to his lungs, his heart. Then the diabetic foot care. His feet are a goddamn mess. Toenails all thick with green and yellow fungus, nail beds splitting apart at the seems, feet all dry and flaky. A mess indeed.

I am sitting cross legged on the floor, in front of his recliner. It is the kind that moves up and down with a remote. His carpet has foodstuff ground in. I move aside a bottle of Jameson, empties of Hamm’s beer, and the cockroach spray. My tools are taken from my backpack. And for the next 30 minutes I work through this mess.

I notice that as I lean forward, my white t-shirt dips down, revealing cleavage. My shirt is quickly adjusted and I look up to see if he had noticed. He is twisted completely to his left, leaning over the arm of the chair. A mere six inches from the TV. Glued to The Price is Right. He takes no notice of my labor.

I do an excellent job. He feet respond well. When I am done I repeat my offer to complete my other tasks. He says no. But this time, he smiles. He is no longer short and angry.

In a way, I find my job selfish. On this visit I had an opportunity to give dignity to a man who has very little. This is the privilege of service.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Movies worth watching: Terminator 2

I've never been a fan of the 'bangs below the eyebrows' hair cut. I always get twitchy when such things appear on screen. I reflexively push my bangs to the side. Yet there she was, with her bangs in her eyes. I was stilled by it.

I will never forget the scene where she is in a white tank top, cotton hospital pajama bottoms, having just clobbered the guard with a broken broom stick and then she runs down the hall.

She has the guards black nightstick tucked behind her. The hospital is all white and moonlit. She skips along the hallway, staying very close to the wall. She is very deft and quiet. I remember how it felt watching this. I remember feeling the vinyl flooring, the socks on her feet. It was all surreal and hushed.

The hospital she was in, was a crazy hospital. She often looked crazy in that film.

Which is unfortunate.

The Terminator films fall under the category of "Science Fiction". Also, the star of the film is this machine like man.

I can tell you I have never seen a film with him in it. Well, besides this film. I am not sure I ever saw Terminator One. I am not a girl who understands Science Fiction very easily. Which is sad for me. My husband just loves Blade Runner. I've watched it about three times now. I still have no idea what the heck.

The same can be said for this film. The underpinnings escape me somewhat. What never failed to escape me is the humanity of it all. That crazy woman had a son. Edward Furlong was my age when this came about. He's my age now.

After she escapes the hospital, she meets up with her son. There is lots of shooting. She escapes in a car with her son. They haven't seen each other for quite sometime. He is a confused, messed up kid sitting in the backseat who just sprung his mom from the booby hatch. He is elated. She is in the passenger seat. She turns around and reaches for him as they speed down the highway. He leans forward for a hug.

But she's not hugging him. She's patting him down to make sure he's not shot. He is hurt by this. I was crushed a bit too.

There's a speech that Sarah Conner has. Clad in a army green tank top, smoking a cig, cleaning her gun. She's watching her son high five Arnold. She talks about who Arnold is to her son. He is a man who will protect her son at all costs and never leave him. Of all the father figures she could have chosen, this is the one who is the best.

And as crazy as she is, she's right. But then again, mom's usually are.

Now, you tell me. What do you remember of T2?

And for the love of Pete! Did ya'll know there was a T4?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tearing the roof off this thing

Hello all. The house we were going to buy, it has issues with the roof. Which the inspector found and then we had roofers take a look. That happened last week.

The issues with the roof are that it was built wrong. And that is why it is sinking in. We just thought it was a bit uneven in places. The best way fix the roof is to tear it off and start again. But, again, this is not our house. It's now up to the seller and how badly they want to sell it.

Either way, looks like I won't be moving as fast as can be expected.



On a much better note, my car has surround sound speakers. They are jammin'!

And this song right here, it sounds so awesome comming out of multiple speakers!!!

Rock on my people, rock on!!!

(the song starts about 20 seconds in ;)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Making donuts in the snow and how to be late in the morning

I've been late to work, lo these past three days. About 15-20 minutes late. I planned this. My work knew, so it's all good.

I was late because I've dropped off both kids to their day care and school. My parent's usually dance the drop off tango. They love doing this. They consider it "our job". Which is awesome for me. All I have to do is get them ready and pack up them in the car. That's the fun part of the morning.

Mornings are the best time for my kids. Not yet sticky, so very cute and all pink cheeks. Tired and a bit snuggly. My six year old daughter sleeps so good, all hello kitty jammies and spooning her pink unicorn. My two year old son has the squishiest thighs, sleeping with his blanket all askew. All upside down on his Thomas the Train bed.

I wake Pancake first. Her hair is all clumped together, sheet creases on the cheeks and sleepy eyes. Oh those sweet, sweet cheeks. She eats her cheerios, drinks her milk. When she is done, she puts on her capris, purple heart t-shirt, and pink mary jane tennis shoes. The ones with the teeny butterfly pattern. Combs her hair all by her self. I sit next to her and sip my coffee, eat my oatmeal. Then she gets all smiley.

At this point, she goes to wake her brother, the wee Mac. She crawls into bed with him, snuggles and coos. He's a toddler now. After a few minutes of watching them love, I leave to put on my make up on in the next room. I listen to them giggle and snuggle.

Then I go back into the room, time to get up for real. Mac flops onto his belly, curling up into a ball, clutching his pooh bear blankey. I tickle his legs and rub his back. Pancake jumps on his bed. He eventually gives up and gets up.

I take him to the bathroom. Still clutching his pooh bear blankey, he lays down on the bathroom mat. "I seepy" he protests. I scoop him up, rub his cheeks. Down goes the pull ups, naked baby butt on the commode.

He pees like a champ. All proud of himself.

"I PEED!!!", He exclaims.

"That's great lil' man! Now, stop playing with your peter. And get off the pot", I say.

Or, as Mr. Hall says, "No more ding dong ditch for you!"

I kneel next to him, his puts his chubby hands on my shoulders. He does this to balance himself while I get him dressed. He says, "I look at my shoe so I don't fall down." Indeed, he watches his chubby foot as he pokes it through the legs of his race car underoos. "I not fall!" He's all proud and so am I. On goes the wee little cargo shorts and red t-shirt. He bolts for the door. Grabbing a toy train for the road. "I line up!!" He shouts.

We were running a bit late this morning. I grab his sandals and put them on in the car. It's warm summer morning outside. Sun lighting everything up. Perfect for running barefoot on the concrete driveway. Slap Slap Slap- go the feet. "I walk down.", Mac says. The driveway is sloped downward and this is fun for him. Everything is fun when you are two and half.

While we were driving, I thought of how my Mom would drive my brother and I to school. We were perpetually slow in the mornings. Driving makes her nervous. Most days, she just couldn't take it. I remember how she would freak out. We would stop at a Burger King so she could use the bathroom. My brother and I waited in the car.

When my brother was old enough, he took over the morning drive. It got better, except in winter. Driving in snow makes my Mom nervous. So there we were, in the Burger King Parking lot. All snowy and winter morning. Cold seats and winter coats. The defrost blasting away, wipers smacking back and forth.

It was early, still dark. The parking lot was empty. So, my brother, being my brother, would make donuts in the snow. This would happen most mornings. He got quite good at it.

Then, this morning, I woke up later than the others. We rushed a bit. Then, when I dropped the wee Mac off at his day care, Pancake came with. His wee class mates run up and hug him. His teacher, Miss Abby, bent down and scooped him up. She is simply lovely and so loving. Mac loves Miss Abby. I love her too.

Pancake grabbed a toy snake. She started hissing and chasing the gaggle of two year olds. "Ima snake! hisss hisss hisss" she says, all wiggley like. The wee ones delight in being chased. Smiles for miles. We lingered.

Then we drove to her school and for the record, she was not late at all. We noticed something interesting. The entrance to her school is a set of double doors. The wind was caught in between the two, which prevented the doors from shutting all the way. They were open slightly.

I said, "Hey Sweetcheeks! Look! The wind is opening the doors for us."

"Oh YEAH! COOL! Thank you wind!" My daughter says.

Very cool indeed.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm looking forward to the big boobies

I am a woman who takes matters into her own hands.

This is especially true when getting pregnant.

Mr. Hall and I will try for our third child soon. To start trying I need to stop my birth control. Which causes some complications. My birth control is a mirena IUD. That being said, before I got pregnant with my son, I made an appointment to have the previous IUD taken out.

Which placed my matters into someone else's hands.

Which really, this was no good. I mean, the appointment went fine. But, deciding to get pregnant is a crazy lust filled crazy oh my god I love yes yes yes yes I wanna have more babies with you type moment.

I don't want no stinkin' doctor involved. And I don’t need no stickin' doctor!!


A nurse practitioner even.

All schooled in the arts of self care and womanly empowerment!!

So. Then.

Last night we made it possible for me to become with child.

My womb is about to go crazy with all the re regulating and preparing for the getting pregnant again.

We weren't phased until this morning.

We looked at each other after we woke up.

Our eyes met and we raised our eyebrows.

There is a large difference between talking about getting pregnant again and then actually doing it.

hee hee hee

I can say this without any doubt, I am soo looking forward to my boobs getting bigger. I miss being a d cup.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dresses that cause the devil to rise

On the Sabbath, the Bible advises rest.

And on this day, that dress would befit the rest of Mrs. Hall.

After which, I would rise refreshed. Ready to begin my work anew.

And that devilish red suit right there, oh my! That would do.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

During the interview, I told them how I failed

To summarize yesterday's post- A year ago I went on an interview. I was interviewing for a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner position. I wore my killer boots. I entered the interview room to find forty people, told them my story. Then I was left in the room with four doctors and told my story further. There was a pot luck. After three hours, I was tired. I excused myself and left. I was done.

On the drive home, they called my cell and offered me the job. And yes oh yes, I said yess.

It's been a year, I'm still here. It 's a fabulous job. Everything I dreamed it would be.

During that interview, I told them how I failed while learning how to be a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.

It was a failure of technique really. Traditional nursing is practiced using a blend of caring and science. When I was a regular nurse, I used science to take blood pressure, read lab results, understand medications and how they worked. I used caring to talk to a patient, explain those labs results, blood pressure and medications.

In mental health, there are no labs. No x-rays. Just the patient sitting in front of you. And they are often lying. The key is to listen to what they are not saying, to hear their body language.

That was a skill set I utterly failed at. At first.

I utterly failed my first patient that I had while training to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Failed. He had come in to the psychiatric hospital full on psychotic. He felt the FBI was out to get him, him mom was helping the FBI, he was being monitored from every angle. In fact, they could see and hear him right now. He was hearing voices. He was 23, smart. Studying to be a doctor even. So, I tried to teach him that he was developing schizophrenia. Read him chapters from my textbook. I explained his thoughts paranoia about the FBI was just a symptom. I was using my science and utterly failing at my caring.

He stopped talking to me, stopped cooperating with the treatment team. Stopped taking his meds. I broke whatever trust he had in his treaters. I have honestly never forgiven myself for this. I took a patient and made him worse. This was my failure.

I told the group this. I told them how I failed. Then I told them what happened next. I completely turned everything around. I started listening to my patients more, reacting and adjusting my approach to reach them better. Which is what a nurse does, she tailors her treatment to fit the patient. Basically, I started articulating my nurse DNA and then, I started to get good at my job.

During the interview I said all of this. It wasn't planned or well rehearsed. It was me, explaining me.

While telling that story, I felt my strength. The strongest lessons are learned through our biggest failures.

Maybe this is why I got the job. Or, maybe it was those boots.

Either way, this job completes the part of me that says, give unto others. The part of me that says, people are out there, suffering-go to them and help. I couldn't be more thankful to do what I do.

I really adore my job. I love being a nurse.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hey look what I wrote a year ago (pay attention it will important for the next post)


so you get this. Which is very good and very important for the next post.

and a damn good post in and of itself ;)

Original title of this post:

Second interview: Reserved

I drove there a few nights ago. Went to the interview place. Met with the receptionist and she lead me to a conference room.

There sat about forty staff. It was the largest group interview I had ever had. After that group listened to my story, my professional exploits and adventures, they all left and four doctors remained.

Me and the four doctors chatted. Spoke clinical speak. I was very intimidated.

And tired. This driving four hours to new interview places is wearing me out.

And telling my story over and over again is wearing me out. The weight of my decisions are wearing me out.

I hope it went well. I mean, I was sitting in a room with four doctors. Doctors and nurses have different training, different language. We do the same things though. Treat patients. And while everyone practices differently, we all have the same goals. Hopefully.

It was very weird. I mean, who walks into an interview and finds forty people waiting there? And then gets a second go round of questions and answers with four people. But, they kept having me go to more rooms and find out more things. And they were having a pot luck and wanted me to join.

Have some cheesecake! Have some of that ambrosia salad! Well worth the time to try the sloppy joes!

Or Spanish hamburgers as it is called around these parts.

It was about three hours into the interview at this part. I literally had to excuse myself at this point. I have to drive back I said.

It was nice and weird at all the same time. I hope I rose to the occasion.

I wasn't on my full game though. I was . . . . reserved. Normally I am bouncy and confident. But this is me as a nurse. I am a now a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Still getting my feet on the ground.

What helped was my wardrobe. I had my black, knee high leather boots on. The ones with the four inch heal. I had a pretty dress and my hair all cute. Wore make up. Smiled and spoke.

But speaking in these types of interviews is very different. There are no stock questions like 'What is your greatest weakness or Where do you see yourself in 10 years?'

It is, "How comfortable are you with prescribing these types of drugs?" or "What is your experience with this type of patient population with x or y diagnosis?" And honestly there are pockets of certain populations and diagnosis I have never seen. And some I understand like the back of my hand.

And I try my best to stay concrete and in the here and now. I try not to lapse into waxing poetic or getting all philosophical. And I remember that the majority of people in the science fields (i.e. MEDICINE) are not artsy like me. So I let my right brain show more.

Which is not something I am use to. Speaking from the right brain. And again, there was a language barrier to content with. Doctors are trained one way and nurses another. Each with its on shorthand and vernacular. I wonder if I made sense. I actually ask them this. They assure me that I do indeed make sense. God I hope I did.

And I was so very honest. I say things that I haven't rehearsed. I say things I haven't said out loud before.

All in all it was hard to read them. The interviewers. There was no head nodding or agreeing with me. Just listening and reservedness. And there was some warmth at the end. But, I am not sure if they got me, or perhaps they saw me as I am.

A brand new Psych-NP. I am barely a fetus at this point. My heart is strong and I am starting to wiggle. And given the right place I will grow ten feet tall.

I hope, I think, this is the right place. I hope they think so too. After all, they have cheesecake.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We're already in outer space

On the way back from closing on (and thus officially selling) our house, we stopped at a truck stop restaurant. There was a larger than life size mural of a space ship orbiting the earth.

The sandwiches were ok. I had a tuna melt. Mac had the pickle. He tried to tear it in half to share with his sister. She didn't ask him to, he was sharing spontaneously.

Then Pancake took it and cut it in half, giving half of it back to Mac. They did this very quietly. No real talking, they just did this automatically.

And oh my goodness, my heart swelled with pride and I got all googley moogley with Mommy goodness.

It was out of this world . . . :)

And yeah. Sold the house. Will buy the next on in 26 days . . . . :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Labor Day tribute to all

Today is the day we celebrate being workers. No matter the job, no matter the place. If we are working we are making worth, both for ourselves and others.

Happy Labor Day All!

And yes, I do love me some Dolly Parton!

She was born in a one room cabin in the mountains. She was one of eight children.

Amazing what hard work can create ;)

Now get out there and get some BBQ!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My crazy is attracting wildlife

This one time, at band camp, wait . . no, that's not right. Lemme start again.

This one time, when I was driving on a four lane highway, I saw somebody's wheel come clean off. I was in the right lane, he was all the way over in the opposite right lane. And his front wheel just rolled right off. Then a huge, bright-orange shower of sparks flew into the air as his rim skidded on the concrete.

He pulled over safely. The tire merrily rolled it's way across our lanes. No harm, no foul.

That's my brain right now. The wheels are falling off. And my crazy is activated. Which I am perfectly ok with. Because I know why I am going crazy. And it's all good.

Now animals are getting in on the act.

A few days ago, I was driving home from work. I had just left the parking lot and was on a side street. Then I saw an animal lounging in the middle of the road, almost blocking me. I slowed to way down, trying to figure out what it was. It took me a good five minutes. It was about the size of a cat, but it was reddish-orange and had wiry hair. It moved more like a dog but with a big puffy tail, with a white puff on the end. Then it hit me.


I have never seen a fox before. It was really cool. And really, it was lounging. We made eye contact. The fox sauntered off, all causual. There was no scurring, it just sauntered. All relaxed and see ya later babe.

Then yesterday, I was walking to my car on my lunch break. Looking down, I thought I saw a grass hopper on the sidewalk. It was blindingly sunny out. OOH so sunny and oooohhh so deliciously warm. But, it couldn't be a grasshopper. It looked too big and had a slanted "H" shape. I thought it was a wood chip, all broken or something.

I was walking and staring at it and walking and ... WHAMO!! Two grass hoppers jumped all the way up and pounced against my chest.

I screamed like a little girl!!!!!!

It echoed. Really loudly. I looked around and thank God I was alone.

The grasshoppers, they were getting it on. Right outside the building where I work. On the sidewalk in front of God and everybody. And even in mid hop they didn't unlock themselves. That's dedication to propagation.

After the yelp I realized I had left through the wrong door. My car was parked on the other side of the building. Now, our building only has 10 parking spots. All of which are in the back. Not only had a left through the wrong door, there was no reason for me to forgot where I parked.

Yet, there I was. Getting pelted with mating grasshoppers. In the blinding midday sun. I started giggling at my dorkiness. Then I started laughing. Laughed all the way to the car. ;)

So really, the brain, it's coming unglued a bit. And being rampantly silly. And now, my crazy is attracting all sorts of wildlife. :)

Which is fine and dandy. I have been so wound tight, driving this tense stress ball of my life. Keeping it all together. And now, very soon, I will have a house all to my own. My husband will be back where he belongs. With us, the wife and kids. It's about time I unglued!

When I think about our new house, I feel like I've won the lottery. I just know the guy with the big check and camera crew and people with balloons are just waiting for me. I just keep seeing it, us, in our house.

Paroxysms! Visions! Unstoppable seizures of joy I tells ya!

It's been a long, long, long road. And finally, it's leading me home.*

*Thank you Cam! Your the best!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

That's how I am, but, how are you?

For the last two days I have been yawning a lot.

Which is weird.

I mean, I am tired but, I am always kind of tired. And sometimes exhausted. But my yawning. This is new. I was dictating and I was yawning. Showering--yawned. Eating my oatmeal---yawn. Going to bed? A bit giggly.

And then, I was playing with my son. We were on the floor in his bedroom. I was blowing raspberries on his belly. Then I layed down next to him and we looked at the ceiling fan.

"woo-woooooo-woo" he said while tracing circles in the air.

Then Daddy came, he popped up and ran to him.

I curled up in a soft little ball, listening to the kids go crazy with their Daddy.

All sorts of giggles and kids being tossed about.


I feel asleep.

And slept really hard for 10 minutes. Right there on the floor.

Which was weird.

Well, in less than a week we close on our house. Hand over the keys to the new owners.

Then, in less than one month, we close on the new house. Some other couple will hand over their keys to us. And then, we will have a house again.

They accepted our offer two days ago.

Maybe this recent fit of yawning and passing out on the floor is not so weird after all.

So, that's how I am, but, how are you?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

And this is me when I talk all crazy like

I've been very splintered as of late. My time is getting all demanded on.

The blog, it suffers from my usual well crafted content and stark revelations. I feel kind of bad for it. It just sitting here. Waiting for me. le sigh.

And my real life conversations are just getting crazier. Luckily, my husband never skips a beat.

Let's listen in to this ditty heard in the car yesterday.

Mrs. Hall: (gently rubs eyes) Ugh, even my eyelids are all sore. My face was all tense and scrunched last night. I really hate it when you tell me to hush. It messes things up. Not being able to make noise traps the energy, messing up my "O" feng shui. My arms are all sore from bracing against the stupid nightstand too. ugh.

Mr. Hall: yeah, I know. I don't like telling you to shush. Damn cheap house with the thin walls. But next time loosen your face a bit. It's kind of like getting in a car crash, you need to go limp to survive. That's how people don't break bones, and avoid injury, they just go limp. If you fight it and brace yourself, you're just going to get hurt. You need to go limp. (winks)

Mrs. Hall: What? What the hell? How do you know this? I've been in like two car accidents and wait, no, I was was just hit by a car. Does backing into stuff count as accidents? huh. Um, if we get a gas stove can you install it in the new house?


More silence.

Mr. Hall looks over at his wife. Looks at her like she's nuts. Wife tilts head in response, all curious like.

Mr. Hall: Ah, yeah. I installed the gas stove at our old house.

Mrs. Hall: What??!! Really???!! How did I not know this? I mean, was I there? I really like these new shoes. All cute and girly. What do you think of the name Hunter? They really fit well. Do you think we can buy some fancy patio furniture for the new house? They're a bit bit sassy too.

Mr. Hall: Yes. I enjoy when you dress up a bit.

(He reaches over for her hand as they drive down the road).

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