Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I refuse to be sympathetic to these poor unfortunate souls. I was before, not so much anymore. I was called by my school's alumni association looking for pledges of devotion towards the university, by monetary expression. This Sophomore, or so he claimed to be, was good at what he did. I really hate hanging up on anybody, and I understand it's their job, but I wish I would have. I feel...used. Here is the strategy...

1) Bring up fond memories of your time at the university so you'll feel gratitude towards the institution
Telemarketer Joe: So ma'am, did you enjoy your time here?
Me: Yes, I did.
Telemarketer Joe: What was your favorite part?
Me: Finishing.
Telemarketer Joe: (nervous laughter) Oh, ha ha, being done, well, yes, good for you, ha ha, well I'm a Sophomore and my favorite parts are (insert long pre-printed list here)

2) Ask for a very large sum of money first, you’ll be more inclined to acquiesce to smaller sums by the laws of telemarketing endurance (they’re going on half dozen cups of coffee; they caught you just getting out of the shower).
Telemarketer Joe: Because of above fond memories, can I put you down for $500 so these memories can be shared for generations to come?
Me: Um, no. I feel I did my part with tuition.
Telemarketer Joe: Oh, ha ha, well, you know, we are not a state supported school and blah blah blah, can I put you down for $200?
Me: Still no. (I am perversely staying on the line to see how long this will continue)
Telemarketer Joe: (rattling right along) if you've been on campus lately you'll see all the fine renovation projects in progress, last year we raised 1.5 million dollars by contributions from faithful alumni like yourself, and most of this was made up of smaller gifts, can I put you down for $100?
Me: that's a smaller gift?
Telemarketer Joe: How 'bout 50$?
Me: I give you credit for being so persistent, but at this point in my life I really don't foresee myself giving anything to this organization, but thank you for the call. (I can smooth talk with the best of them)

At this point Telemarketer Joe knows I'm going to hang up on him, so he saves face by thanking me for my time and mentioning something about keeping the foundation in mind when I next get a big fat paycheck or something...he was talking so fast it was hard to make out. I looked at the clock, 20 whole minutes! That must've been a record for him, I know it was for me. The whole thing felt so insincere and underhanded, trying to be my friend for the nano-second I talk to you so I'll give you money. Honestly. Which is wasn't.


Announcement: I, regardless of appearance, am truly 22 years of age. Yes, I have a four-year degree. Yes, I am a licensed nurse. Yes, I am qualified to take care of your loved one. Yes, I am sure I am not 15.
Most people say I'll be thankful I'm considered younger than I am when I get older. Well, to be perfectly honest, when families and patients look at me like I’m an unqualified Doogie Houser, I wish I had a couple of wrinkles on my face and a few gray hairs. It's not that they don't respect me, they do finally understand that I've been fully trained and equipped to be a professional nurse, and I eventually win them over with my excellent technique and skills, but that initial first impression is a tough hurdle to jump every time I enter a patient’s room. (Unless you're the pleasantly confused gentleman who is in love with me and thinks we should elope. I can deal with that sort of discrimination.) I suppose this is just a soapbox of mine and should stop being so sensitive, but it really does get trying sometimes. And there...I'm over it. I'm so mature for my age...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

First Day....Night

Yesterday was my first twelve hour night shift ever, and my first any shift ever, where I worked all by myself. Filled with some Type A personality anxieties, I brought my gianormous lab book with me...just in case. Bring on the traumas! I was ready. Instead, I got a ventriculostomy with possible shunt on one side and sticky sputum on the other. Not altogether the most exciting experience in the world... but then I got to thinking. Your misfortune means my learning experience. Your tragedy means my exciting night shift. Er, please, bring on the sticky sputum! I never thought I'd be sitting on this side of the fence...I have so many competing emotions, it's exhausting sometimes.
To continue the night saga, both of my patient's had icky things growing in their central lines and were quickly yanked. Then came the interesting part of trying to draw nightly labs with no quick access. I'm afraid to say my phlebotomy skills have gone down the tubes (pardon the pun) since I switched to the ICU. It's so much easier to suck blood from an A-line; one forgets the rigors and techniques of poking. So, I get out my handy dandy butterfly needle…I love those things. They're so much neater than the other kind, they have "wings" you can hold onto and a pigtail already attached, so no messes. (Yes, these are actual medical terms used by trained medical professionals.) I even used bacteriostatic water to deaden the pain. Success? Nope. After an hour (I am not exaggerating) I prevailed upon the more experienced. It turns out the more experienced is just willing to poke the patient more times. No wonder their success rate is so high. Blood was drawn, labs were delivered, results computed in, and I left the fixing of the critical values to the next shift. Good luck hanging five supplements through one IV! I'm for bed...

Thursday, March 16, 2006


My bedroom clock, for some reason not wholly known to myself, is half an hour fast. This mysteriously happened one evening, maybe the power went out, I'm not really sure. But I have yet to set it back to the proper time. I feel it's a mental exercise for me and determines when I'm really awake because I have to look at a clock saying 5:52 am and mentally subtract 30min for the real time and know that I have extra minutes to sleep. It really can be quite difficult for the sleep addled brain but seems to do the trick of mentally preparing me for the day. Try it sometime; you'll know what I mean. And somehow when I lay in bed all day, like I did today, I can make excuses for myself when looking at the clock. Well, it *says* its 12:30, but I know it's only 12, so it's okay to lie here a little longer. It's amazing what the mind does to defend oneself. When I have days off like this it's so nice to just do...nothing. Well, I did re-read one of my most favorite books, so it wasn't nothing nothing, but pretty close. But now I've finally resigned myself to get out of bed and get my day started. I'm switching environments and will be doing nothing on my couch.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


This morning as I was witnessing a spectacular sunrise with the rosy edges of dawn curling over the gleaming white dome of the capital building, I was struck by two thoughts. First, I should not have consumed that can of mountain dew, I will be awake forever. Second, while gazing upon the beauty of pink rays merging with the still midnight blue of the sky, was my heart set on the Creator who created it? And I actually wasn't even struck with this thought until driving home still dwelling on the beauty only an insane few who get up/stay up that early are privileged to view. Why did my heart not instantly leap for joy and in adoration of my Creator? Why did I not highly anticipate the even more glorious splendor of His majesty, in comparison to something he so wonderfully wrought? For, "the heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak, night after night they make him known...the sun lives in the heavens where God placed it." Psalm 19:1-2. Oh Lord, "may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sleepless Days

After a week of night shifts, I've been having sleepless days. Don't get me wrong, when I stumble into bed at 8 in the morning I'm out like a light. It's waking up at 11 in the morning to beautiful sunlight streaming on my face and birds chirping out my window and everything in me saying I'm wasting the day! Get up! is when I find it hard to go back to sleep. I rejoiced on the few days when it was dark and rainy, everybody stays indoors when it's dark and rainy, so I didn't feel guilty for being in bed. Even when I've been up all night. And then there's the dreams. I always dream even when I'm sleeping regular hours, but there's something about sleeping during the day that makes the dreams more vivid. Or perhaps because I'm never very deeply asleep I can remember them with greater accuracy. And they're mostly about work, conversations with doctors, listening to lungs, giving medications, drawing blood. They're the kind of dreams you wonder if you really had... or maybe they happened sometime during that hazy night that was your work "day". The point of all this is... night shifts are not for me. I don't care how many people have told me I'll get used to it, used to living on diet coke and coffee, taking Benadryl to help you sleep at day, covering your windows with thick heavy material, eating lunch at three in the morning, becoming pale and sickly with lack of sunlight, asking your friends why they're going to bed already, it's only two in the morning. No, I don't think I'll get used to it. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to try.