Friday, December 27, 2013

when they say, "I love you"

sometimes, you walk into work, see your assignment and think - okay, this night just may go pretty smoothly.
I have 4 patients, a few blood sugars at bedtime, meds here and there...
1900 hits [7pm], and you start to get report from the day shift nurses from your patients - meeting them one at a time.
Right before you meet your last patient, you IP phone rings and it's your charge nurse telling you - "you're getting the first admission. Its so and so coming from the ED and I'll get their information".
This is all happening before you have even gotten report on all the patients you planned to have for the evening.

At this point, its hard not to let these things throw you off your plan of action for the shift - to add to the stress of getting things done in a timely manner.
it's hard when you're asked to do one thing - like pull pain meds for someone - and just as you walk up to the pyxis to pull the meds, your IP phone rings again and someone else needs you to look at their IV - then while in that room, it rings again and magically, the techs are no where to be found and you have to go help someone to the bathroom.
[or maybe it was just the night I was having and it's NOT totally normal??]
in other words.. busy busy busy.
All the while, you're trying to do assessments, go thru all your doctor's orders, pass 9pm meds, make sure you have all the supplies and flushes you need - and quickly run to make sure your new admission's room is set up and ready to be occupied.

If you're lucky, you can get some stuff taken care of before the ED nurse calls to give your report on the new patient.
and in between running from one hall to the next, decked out in sheets, pillows and blankets for the cot/couch bed for a patients spouse, the new patient is being wheeled down the hall with a couple family members in tow...

What do I do in moments like these?
Even when there's not even a minute to pause and think about what comes next,
I breathe
and know that I'm only one person.
If I need help, I ask for it.
I do all that I can.
and that's about all I can do...

Just so happens, the new admission is a jewel.
a sweet, sweet person that helps the fact that you weren't even completely ready to have them come up and be admitted yet.
And it's only the beginning of your night 1 of 2...
AND it's Christmas night.
apparently there were a LOT of stabbings Christmas day..
In no way is THAT Christmas cheer...
I digress.

As I've learned from one of my most favorite assistant nurse [night] managers, I like to spoil my patients.
all of them.
I like to talk to them.
I'm there when sometimes family is not.
And no matter now frustrating it can be at times, I can honestly say I take good care of my patients.
I leave a little piece of my heart with them.

I try.
I make the effort even when I have 6 patients - which if you don't know - its a lot and hard to deal with in itself.

and when I'm leaving them in the hands of their day shift nurse after giving report, when walking out of their room for probably what will be the last time I'll ever see them, and they say,
"thank you for all that you've done"
it makes me smile and feel that I've accomplished the goal of meeting their needs.
NOW, when they say,
"I love you!"
it warms all of my insides and further validates the fact that I put all of myself into what I do - leaving them a part of me.
Those 3 words - I love you - are such a sweet, sweet gift after such a long, exhausting shift [or in my case, 2 nights in a row]

I have taken care of some of the best people I will ever meet as patients.
People that otherwise, I would have never crossed paths with.
People that touch my life hopefully as much as I've tried to touch theirs.
People who make me smile when I think about them weeks down the road.

Only about a handful of people have told me they love me, but so far, its a handful that I've never forgotten.

I love what I do.
I love going to work.
12+ hour shifts take a lot out of you but there are sweet children, men and women out there - posing as patients in hospital rooms - that make it all worth it.
It is a blessing that I'm able to say I'm a nurse.
I get to help others in need on a daily basis.
and those connections last a lifetime.
I never take for granted when they say, "I love you"
I smile and say it back ;)
Love you too!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I'm a nurse. Really.

I love my patients.
all of them.
from the absolutely insanely mad ones...
to the normal you and me ones.
the young ones.
the old ones.
the VIP ones...
and even the quiet, I don't need anything -at least nothing I'm comfortable with asking you for, anyway... ones.

They're all so different.
and every day is a brand new day, no matter if its the 2nd or 3rd day in a row I'm taking care of them.
There is no way to predict how the NIGHT will go.
totally keeps you on your toes.
and TRUST ME... those toes are WAY TIRED after a 12+ hour shift.

Yep. Night shift nurse.
When all are normally fast asleep, we are dutifully working away, passing meds, assessing vital signs, carefully watching oxygen saturations, making sure you're breathing, not in incredible pain, and are as comfortable as possible [in the state of health you're currently in].
it's been 6 months.

what the heck?
time sure is flying.
I can remember all the study guides and tests and time away from my family.
and I can say it's all been worth it.

things are changing around here constantly.
Its no longer the static - I'm in nursing school without a job and your are the sole provider of the family so we have to make this paycheck stretch as much as possible over the next 2 weeks... or 1 week... I can't remember what it was then...
It's the new normal.
and that is even changing.
We're buying a house.
and that is stressful in itself.
all the paperwork, and providing documents... GEEZ!!
can't we just be done and move in already???
[more on that later...]

We're reconciling relationships that have been struggling for the past few months...

and on that note...
how do you tell someone you want them in your life?
what needs to happen for YOU to establish the beginnings of a relationship that you know and want to be there because you are such a part of each others' lives that it's totally necessary and enjoyable.
especially when you're antisocial  a home body and know that it's what is needed but you're just not that extroverted to put it out there and say... Lets go do this, or, Come on over and we should chat...
because you really do want them in your life.
and it's easier when things are harmonious between everyone [especially when your husband tends to take things to the next level - always - and you really have no desire to go as far...]

OK. now that is out there.

In the last 6 months, I've learned so much.
Nursing school & Nursing in general are 2 totally different monsters.
They say as much when you talk to people on the "outside" when you're in school, but you never really know how much until you really get out there.

For Seriously.. You are your own accountability when you are one-on-one with the patient.

It can be as "by the books" or as necessary as it is in that moment.
I've seen people put in IV's where I just cringe and want to scream.... LET ME DO IT!!! THAT IS NOT THE MOST PRACTICAL WAY!!!!
but I don't because they are much more knowledgeable than I when it comes to some things.
I've already found people that I could totally see being Mentor status to me in this short 6 months I've been a RN.
I watch and see the way some people "spoil" their patients and I want to do that!!
With so much of me, I want to spoil them.
My husband jokes because with him, I'm like...
Oh, your elbow hurts??? it's fine. I don't see anything. You will live.

And with my patients, its whole nother world.
I don't know them.
I don't know their "normals".
I can't just look at them and say, "Oh, you're not hurting" or "You'll be fine" because with a potassium level of 3.2, you're not gonna be just "fine".
I have a bigger picture with them, but again, it's just lab values.
and they teach to look at THE PATIENT instead of the numbers.

Sometimes they tell you things that you just can't repeat to anyone else... in the world.
Because they trust you implicitly.
Even after only knowing you for a few days.
And sometimes, they don't have to tell you anything, and you can correctly draw your own conclusions after seeing the same sort of thing over and over again...

In saying all of this, I guess what I'm fumbling around trying to say is...
it's been 6 months.
I'm a brand new nurse.
There is STILL so much for me to learn.
BUT... but, I'm starting to feel better with some of the things I do on a regular basis.
I want this to go on for a long, long time.

I love what I do.

Monday, December 16, 2013

right about now.

right about now.
I'm seriously considering taking a nap.
I'll be working tonight and the next night.
Oh, those longer than life 12 hour shifts.
12 hours is a LONG time.
Especially when it turns into a 13 - 14 hour night.
Brutal, even.

right about now.
I should probably be cleaning the kitchen.
I have a load of laundry in the dryer... story of my life...
I just spilled a bottle of water on the floor.
It's water, I'll just mop it up and say I cleaned the floors ;)
It works, right?
I'm clumsy.
I spill a lot of stuff, drop a lot of stuff, stub my toes on things, so Hailee gets it honestly.

I almost just uploaded these pictures to the blog and was gonna call it a day.
Because I didn't really have anything pressing to say.
But, y'all...
it's like 9 days until Christmas.
Hailee's school Christmas program is Thursday night.
I cannot believe how close it is.
Then, the day will pass and another one will be in the books.
We're thinking of just spending Christmas day at home together instead of trying to hurry through the morning, not playing with anything, rush through getting ready and going to grandma's to eat lunch with the rest of the family.
I've done it every year.
I have to work Christmas night so all that moving and hurrying is just going to not happen this year.
We may do some Christmas Eve family stuff.
and I'm sure I'll take tons of pictures.

So I slept most of the day yesterday [worked the previous 2 nights].
And when I woke up, we played outside.
It was nice for a while, then the sun started setting and you could feel the temperature drop.
Hailee loves it outside.
I love to watch her play.
I do not believe she woke up even once last night.
There's nothing like fresh air.

and without further adieu, I give you...
playing outside

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I love my new camera.
Merry Christmas to me, huh!

now about that nap....

Thursday, December 12, 2013

favorite things.

Here we are a day less than 2 weeks away from Christmas and I can honestly say...
we've had our tree up since Nov.1st-ish.
Round here, we're all about making the season last.
Mainly, my husband enjoys putting up the tree and taking in the twinkle lights - no matter how frustrating getting that gat dern faux tree out of the box and branches fluffed out seems.
Then of course there's the ornaments.
Oh, the ornaments.. and how it took us hours to locate them - even though we live all crammed tightly in this tiny house - they were crammed even more tightly in a bag in the top of the linen/hailee shoe/light bulb/hailee's pants/misc junk closet. And yes, we've made this tiny space work long enough.
[not much longer now ;)]

But family traditions.
We're still sort of feeling out how we want to do Christmas traditions.
LUCKILY... we're both off Christmas eve and Christmas day - I do have to go in to work on Christmas night. But we'll have the other special times to spend as a family.
And that makes me happy.

You wanna know what else makes me happy??
Here are a few of my favorite things!!
In no particular order:

my Erin Condren Life Planner.
They also have notebooks, teacher lesson planners, wedding planners, address books...
basically, everything.
I use mine every day. It keeps me straight.
The possibilities are endless - and talk about personalizing... you can pretty much have input on almost every little detail. Mine was a graduation gift I got myself after finishing nursing school.
It's durable, the perfect size, can go anywhere, has folders/pockets... it's just great.


Now, onto the next little goodie...
Washi Tape.
This decorative tape is pretty much a favorite of mine. I had never even heard of it before and then a fellow blog friend of mine - who lived in Japan at the time - showed how she used some of hers.
Sue, thanks so much for introducing me to the wonders of washi ;)
This is how I keep mine all together and organized.

I got a small adjustable rod from the curtain rod section of walmart, put the tapes on there how I liked them, adjusted the rod to fit perfectly in that little spot under my desk and - BAM! instant washi organization.
Where do I get my washi??
If you want the lowest price, head on over to downtown tape's online store.
If you want pretty washi with TONS of different varieties, go to La Zoie - an amazing etsy shop I frequent.


We like coffee.
My husband tends to take it to the next level - the coffee connoisseur that he is - and get the bags of whole beans, and crushes them himself.
ME: just give me the grinds and I'm good.
But, NO, he has to grind them, THEN he makes me smell the grinds.
My response is the same pretty much every time... "yes honey, it smells like coffee"
But we have some friends from high school that started their own coffee kiosk in the Irmo, SC area and that is where we try to get our coffee from now.
Loveland Coffee
This stuff is pretty much great and amazing.
They even have a website where you can check them out and order... go here.
Our favorite beans are the Indian Monsooned Malabar - its got a story behind it and everything as to how the beans are processed. I'll save that one for Roger.. He likes to tell stories.
That's probably Beach Loveland's hand right there, holding that bag o-coffee.
And if you're in Irmo, you need to go get some coffee from him.
I, a creature of habit, always enjoy the Ole Espanol while Roger chooses the Mayan Mocha.


Tieks by Gavrieli
These little ballet flats are the cutest [and look to be] the most comfortable.
Each pair is hand made and come in nearly every color.

One day...
They're a little pricey and that's why I haven't gotten any yet.
But I'll just keep plugging away at these 12+ hour days working as a nurse and maybe, just maybe I'll be able to get a pair semi-soon ;)
Could have been a lot sooner, but the whole - buying a house - thing has stopped the spending for a bit.
But aren't they just too cute??


Tiny Galaxies
These precious glittery earrings will always be on my favorites list.
Each pair are hand crafted by Sara Broski - the Tiny Galaxies etsy shop owner.
She is amazing to work with and always has just what I'm looking for.
I have a bunch of her earrings and never leave my house without a pair in my ears!
You should check them out - especially if you have someone in your family who likes tiny, glittery earrings!!

She also makes necklaces and leather bracelets.


This awesome company takes your instagram pictures and turns them into little instagrammy magnets, phone cases, ipad covers... I got 2 sheets of the 9 little photo magnets and Hailee thought they were the coolest!
She likes to rearrange them on the fridge.
Instagram is probably the main reason I wanted an iPhone - and now, there are so many ways to get those instagram pictures - this is just one of many. But one of my favorites!!

They'd probably make some pretty awesome gifts too! Or just some neat keepsakes ;)


and last but not least...
a favorite getaway
The Wildberry Lodge, near Asheville, NC
This rustic log cabin is nestled in the great smoky mountians off the beaten path.
When we first found the driveway, I thought... How is my car going to make it up that much of an incline.
Because, Yall.
It is straight up the side of that mountain!
This beautiful house is ran by a sweet family and is the perfect place to get away and escape the city, the lights, the people, it was everything we hoped it would be. We hope to go back in the future.
The views were breathtaking.
The air was crisp.
We stayed in the wineberry suite, a cabin off from the main house.
The breakfasts every morning did not ever disappoint.

There you have it!
I'm sure there are more on the list of favorite things, but I just kind of threw this together.
Go check out Lindsay's - she has some pretty great things too...
I got the app for children she suggested and my 4 year old LOVES it.

now a favorite song...
This song makes me think of my husband and I so much.
[michael franti & spearhead]
Roger, life is better with you. xoxo.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

our trip to the burg.

It wasn't that long ago when I was making the hour long trip to Orangeburg every day [and back for a round trip of 2 hours and 104+ miles a day].
6 months to be precise.
This time last year, I was more than likely immersed in books/study guides/lectures/notes wrapping up my 4th semester of nursing school.
And all I have to say to that is... Thank the Lord, it is done!
Hailee and I recently took a trip down to my home away from home for the last 2 years while I was in school - my aunt and uncle's home which is been in the Stroman family for generations.
I love it.
There's nothing like being in the country and watching your child run around, soaking up every minute.
We had an awesome visit, as you can tell by all the pictures to follow...

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I cannot believe how close it is to Christmas now.
Just a few more things to add to our list.

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