Jan 31, 2006

"Sim Man"

We had an excrutiating long 90 minute lecture on blood transfusions today. It was OK to bear however because the other 90 minutes (3 hours instead of 4 this semester, Yay!) we got to run a real time simulation on "Sim Man" ,the simulation dummy. It was fun. Our instructor picked 4 people to run two simulations. I got to do one. The 4 people acted as the one Nurse. One to do the charting, one to lead, one to do meds, one to draw blood/put in the IV. I did the IV. It was an emergency scenario, Patient coding. I go to start the IV with an older cath. I thought I had it the first time but I didn't see the flash of blood (red food coloring in water). They kept asking for IV access and for some reason...no flash. I finally think screw it and leave the cath in and withdraw the needle. Sure enough I get return but it's just water. The group before us pushed a bunch of "medicine" (water) into the "veins". UG! My instructor mentioned like 3 times during the review that we needed a line in him. I had the line in and didn't see red! So unfair!

Jan 30, 2006

Calling for malpractice...on mechanics

I can think of a handful of occupations in our culture that have a majority of sleazeballs carrying the title.

Mechanics, Lawyers (some...Kelly..... Some) , Evangelists,Clowns, and Dentists. Yeah...... That's right I said Dentists. I have been lied to by a dentist before and have witnessed same to a few friends. I mean, how do you KNOW you really have a cavity unless they actually show the x-ray (which most don't). When I was in LA, I went to the dentist and was told I had 4 cavities. I had to go on a payment plan with them to pay for the fillings and the whole time I'm there they are trying to sell me some fancy toothpaste and fluoride treatments that they sell only there. Later, a friend of mine goes into same dentist and is told she had 6 cavities and needed a root canal. She knew about the root canal (pain was the reason she was there). The quote was so expensive she decided to hold off and go to the AF Base where dependents CAN be treated on a last priority basis (you could literally wait all day to be seen and never get to). The base dentist saw her and told her, yes she needed a root canal (it had even abscessed) but she only had 2 cavities.
She asked why would the other one lie. The base dentist asked almost joking "Did they have a new office building?" Sure enough the practice was brand new and fully staffed. Dentists are Doctors for pete's sake!

A little ADD today so bear with me. Anyhoo, My car had been doing this HORRIBLE screeching for a few months, ever since my oil change place changed my belts out. (2 belts, my A/C belt and my alternator belt.) I took it back and the mechanic said there's nothing wrong with it, he said they were new belts and sometimes they need breaking in. He put some oil on them and sent me on my merry way. I took it back the next day after the oiling didn't work, still screeching, and seemed to be worse when I ran my A/C. He had the car all day. Calls me and says, it's not the belt, it some fancy schmancy A/C part that's gone bad and the belt is making the noise because of it. I actually say "Well that's odd because, my belts made no noise whatsoever before you replaced them, What incredible timing that is." He agrees. Well I told him, I'll just have to do without A/C because $800 was way too steep for me, even for the TX heat, and I'll just have to deal with the screeching.
That brings me to Saturday night, driving home from hanging out with Jen. I'm driving hearing the usual screeching and then suddenly the screeching stops and simutaneously I feel something fall out of my car and I run over it. At the same time, my battery light comes on. I have an instant revelation, It wasn't my A/C belt, it was my alternator belt. (My past experiences with piece of crap cars gave me the knowledge that Batteries and alternators are best friends)
By the time I got home, coolant and steam was spurting out from my hood. Yeah, I know I should have stopped but I was on a not so busy highway at 1 am, there was no way!
It actually started again the next day so I took it to Firestone (about 1/4 mile away) the closest place that happens to be open on Sundays. My alternator belt was missing alright and it damaged my alternator and power steering belt in the process of snapping off at 65 mph. Grand total $460 dollars.
I know I should've pressed the issue with the initial mechanic. I'm just so passive and hate confrontations. I thought my sarcastic remarks would do it.
Thank-you Jenni, Cathy, and Jon for being my ride the last 2 days. Finally have a vehicle again and I feel less vulnerable. I'm gonna have to put a rush on my tax refund though. I used my school money to fix the damn car.

Jan 27, 2006

Clinical day 2

Yesterday was awesome! When I first came on to the unit, initially I felt overwhelmed though. What we do is we get assigned to a nurse and then we pick or the Nurse recommends our patients. I introduced myself to her and she told me right away she had 2 good ones for me.

A post-op spinal fusion and a post-op I & D (Incision and Drainage). They were good, IV starts, IV piggy back meds, and a couple JP drains to play with. However I listen to both reports and realize the OR nurse is the only one reporting. I thought, "Well that's weird, maybe the previous shift hadn't had time to record yet." So I get to both charts and realize they were Post-op.....RECENT Post-op, they had both just gotten to the floor within the hour. So I was just a tad bit concerned about my abilities, not to mention there were frequent vitals to monitor, orders to check and making sure the pharmacy has and was processing their post-op meds.

After the first few hours though, things calmed down, both patients were stable and doing fine. They were also both really nice and one was a jokester who made me laugh every time I went in. He even sang my praises when my instructor assisted me with the IV antibiotic.

The IV start didn't happen until there was 15 minutes left for me on the floor. There was another IV start for my classmate at the same time (she had less experience, had only tried one in the past) so my instructor asked me if I was comfortable doing it with my co-nurse. Of course I was! (More comfortable, actually) She said I did great. It went perfectly, first stick, no digging, patent IV. I hope my co-nurse reported this back to my instructor.

I felt more like a nurse yesterday, then I have in any clinical day so far. It was great!

Jan 25, 2006

Semester 4, Day 1

I spent my first day of my last semester on the Ortho/Neuro floor. We were told we would be assigned to a nurse and that we should pick one from her assignments that would have "the most going on." What she meant by that was to find one to practice our skills such as picking the patient with a central line and a foley versus the guy who can walk, talk, and will probably be going home soon.

So I did, I had a hard time listening to report (we use a voice mail system) and it kept cutting out and the night nurse had a very thick accent which made her hard to understand. I had to listen to same report 3 times to sort of get the gist. Well turns out despite my patient's issues with not eating, being cachetic, and having a gastric tube, today's patient was pretty easy. On the floor at 7, assessment completed by 7:30, Meds done by 8:30 (all morning meds) and Bath and linen change done by 9:30. From then on I think I was harassing my patient with my frequent visits and my constant "Are you doing OK, need anything?" questions.

I went to my classmates down the hall, asked if they needed any help, I think they were afraid to ask but they looked busier then I. I went to my primary Nurse asked her if she needed any help. She let me follow for a bit and help with some small tasks with her other patients. Overall, too laid back of a day. It made me feel guilty in our post conference meeting when I heard how busy everyone else was. Why was I so bored?

Luckily we increase to 2 patients tomorrow and then on to 3 next week. I think I may start my patient profile homework now, so I don't have to worry about it over the weekend.

Jan 23, 2006

Da Dum Da Dum dadumdadumdadum DaDaDaDA!

I just applied to the Texas Nursing board for State Licensure!

If that doesn't hit home, I don't know what does,

Holy cow, I'm going to be a Nurse in 4 months!

Excuse me, While I freak out.

Jan 22, 2006

Blog Wars


I never would have thought writing this in response to Dr. Charles story about a Trisomy 21/Down Syndrome patient would have started a blogging war:

"I've always believed that Down's syndrome patients are "God's golden children". I can't remember where I got that title but I can tell you, I've never met a sufferer who was unlikable or mean-spirited. They just emit happiness.I love this story."

I'm not the bad guy here, am I? I'm about to be a medical professional and I'd like to think that I would treat all my future patients wth the utmost respect and dignity, chromosomal differences or not.

Is this really about being Politically Correct?

I'm guilty for not being politically correct, behind closed doors. But in public, If I'm not sure about a "correct" term, usually I'll say nothing at all. But frankly, since I'm being honest, Political correctness as a whole irritates me to no end. Changing the name of something or a term that has been used for decades maybe centuries doesn't change what it is.

I can't keep them straight. I joked in my comment box in my last entry about having a PC handbook. I kind of wish I really did own one.

However, some things can be offensive to some and not to others even when they are in the same boat. You can't please everybody.

I'm truly sorry if my above statement offended, I really am.

However, I still truly can't understand why saying someone or someone's are not unlikable, meanspirited, and happy is a BAD thing.

But I'm the kind a person who doesn't nitpick and tends to look at the big picture in every situation.

Jan 19, 2006


First week of the last semester is over! I feel better now that my first Math exam, Mastery skills check off, and orientation to clinicals are over. I feel more optimistic as well, here's why:

1. My instructor seems very nice, laid back, practical, supportive, and intelligent. She proved this on Wed. when she graded my check off and did not freak when my shaky over caffeinated, on asthma medicine hands had a hard time re-inserting the trach cannula. I broke sterility but I acknowledged it and she was cool with that.

2. I'm in the same hospital I was in the entire 2nd semester. It's also run by the same company I work for. This is perfect for many reasons. I am way familiar with the charting system. All the floors at this hospital generally keep everything in the same place. Since this hospital runs almost exactly the same as the hospital I'll work for when I graduate, then it's like training for my own job.

3. After we peppered our instructor with a billion "what can we do with or without your supervision" questions, she said, "You are NURSES this semester, you will take probably 5 patients by the end of this semester, work 8 hour shifts, but with few restrictions. You will do everything a Nurse is expected to do all semester long." I like that.

4. My Clinicals are varied. Unlike second semester where we spent the entire 13 weeks on one floor (Mine was GI/Medsurg, If I get another Pancreatitis I may have to stick an NG tube in my eye). This semester I won't spend more then 2 weeks on any one floor. First, It's on the Neuro floor, then I get the Cardiac/telemetry unit. Then there's Oncology. Mixed in, I get one day in the ER and one in the ICU. After that we do management and team nursing simulations and clinicals in March. I don't know what to expect yet for that.

5. Paperwork is so much less then it was in previous semesters. Seriously, I could do it in less then an hour without a doubt. (And I don't have any to do this weekend)

6. I like everyone in my clinical group, I don't think we have every laughed and joked so much during an orientation (that's including the instructor).

My check off went pretty smoothly. When I came in early I decided to practice the skill I felt least confident about. It's ironic that the skill was Tracheostomy care since my late husband was trached twice in the hospital and I even then cleaned his trache. Unfortunately the military hospital nurses didn't teach me the correct way and there's a lot of sterile technique involved. When I was practicing, I joked with Jon, that this would probably be the skill I got stuck with. Skills were chosen at random by picking index cards that we chose, I got Trach care of course. She said I did good though.

So I feel better. :)

Jan 15, 2006

Home sweet Home

I thought that I would show you what I did today. It's been so long since my house was completely clean. Usually I tend to clean the front rooms and ignore the bedrooms but even they are finally clean. It's also a chance to show you my humble abode.

My living room, notice lazy dog on the cat scratched couch .

I also have tile floors, very easy to clean with 1 dog, 2 cats and a 4 year old.

Where I spend too much time and where I am right now.

Easter cat in my dining room, where the goldfish are. The goldfish

are named Dory and Marlin.

My kitchen. Notice I collect magnets from places I've been

and places my friends have been. I've got over a 100 on there.

My bathroom. Theme : Rose

My bedroom, also a Rose theme. I love my sleigh bed.

Sweet Ari sleeping in her nice clean room, a rare occurrence, a clean room

and her sleeping in her own bed.

Jan 12, 2006

Pre-school blues

I'm stressing out already! If this is what I'm like now how am I going to be when school actually STARTS next week?!
I met my fellow classmate and friend Jon up at the school today to practice our skills and sign up for time slot (with my instructor on Wed) for our mastery skills check off. We practiced (on Bob the dummy) Tracheostomy care and suction, Foleys, NG tube insertions and suction, central line dressing changes, and we talked about injection landmarks. * a Check off is when our instructor presents us with a scenario which includes a major nursing skill picked at random, a med dosing issue, and a mock injection or IV administration. We run through it as we would as a nurse using a dummy as our patient*
It really surprised me how much I have forgotten since spring of last year. I hadn't had many opportunities to use my skills in OB/Pedi and mental health and there were a bunch of little things that had escaped my brain.
Jon started telling me all the stuff he's done to prepare so far and along with the other classmates and their preparations I was left feeling quite a bit panicked. There's a quiz I need to print out and do online, videos to watch, fingerprints to get and send in, some more studying to do for the check off.
I snapped at Ari when we got home and nearly threw a plate of spaghetti across the room as a result of her whining. I don't like myself at this moment, I need to chill.
So, I'm going to do one thing now off my nursing school list and then veg out and watch my shows after. Tomorrow I'll make more head way.

Jan 10, 2006

Last semester is upon me

I'm finally up to blogging again. Generally, I feel OK, I've been just taking pain killers before bed. I find if I don't, I end up rolling over and waking myself up on the hour.
Ari had a good weekend with Mom, they went to the zoo. She had a bad morning though. She says her tummy hurts but I think it's because mine does and she wants to stay home with me. I promised to pick her up today rather then let her ride the bus, so that she would let go of me this morning.
Saturday night was not fun to say the least. I spent 7 hours in the ER with my pregnant sister who was bleeding. The same ER saw me within an hour for my gallstones, it took them 3 hours to examine her. Turns out she has a subchorionic bleed(small spot in the uterus is bleeding) and has a 50% chance of miscarrying. Now I understand there isn't much you can do for a pregnant woman at 13 weeks gestation but the waiting was hell. It was all I could do to keep her and her fiance' calm. As of then, though, the baby has good fetal heart tones. They went back home Sunday.
I've got my follow up Thursday, also have to go to the school lab that day to practice my skills. We have a skills check off the second day of school (next Wed) so it'll be a busy day. There's so much to do this semester and it's going to be so expensive. We have to come up with $300 by Feb. for the applications and background checks. Then there's another $550 for the NCLEX in May. This on top of tuition and books. I think it's safe to say I'm going to have a busy and stressful last semester. And I've already started freaking out about it. :)

Jan 7, 2006

Swift recovery

Doing fine. I'm VERY comfy on on Vicodin right now. My surgery didn't start until 12:30 yesterday (suffering without my morning coffee or anything to drink was miserable!)
I was discharged at 4:00. So it was a piece a cake. I was determined to be home in my bed last night and I was.
My sister and her fiance' surprised me with a last minute visit last night. They've been feeding and entertaining me.
Having a hard time sleeping more then a few hours at a stretch though. A combo of pain and Vicodin I think. My doctor actually gave me a copy of the pictures they took of my gallbladder. Unfortunately, they didn't cut it open to see the stones because they wanted to send it intact to the lab. I'll post it here later when I'm more clear and work my scanner. My doctor did report that one stone in particular was the size of a golfball.
Just reporting in, I appreciated the warm wishes and emails.

Jan 5, 2006

Wish me luck

Well I may not be blogging for a bit due to the big surgery tomorrow. Please check back in though, you never know what Narcotic-painkiller-induced post may pop up. It could be very interesting. And entertaining.
Wish me luck!

Jan 3, 2006

Dominant Genes

Thanks to Dr. Charles I found this great site with a picture of my ancestor, Confederate General Benjamin Franklin Cheatham. He's like my Great-times-ten grandfather. I borrowed the pic. (I am a relative afterall) and wanted to show you the creepy resemblance to my Dad.

Here's Gen Cheatham:

Here's John Cheatham, My Dad, in a dorky 1970s photo with my mom:

Geez, it is just me or do my parents look a little stoned? I know better (if you knew my Mom...no way!) but they still look it. I think my sister was the one who wrote on the picture (photo blasphemy!!!) because that's not my handwriting. Anyway, I think the resemblance is a little creepy, the Cheatham nose apparently goes back a couple centuries even.

Jan 2, 2006


This might be how I feel today

On my first day of 2006, I slept in....way, way in. You see, I am one of those people that will sleep and sleep and sleep if there is nothing (ie. an alarm or child) to wake me up. Ari is at my Mom's until Monday so I slept a good portion of the day away.

When I woke up, feeling pretty guilty about sleeping away New Year's day, I decided (after having my coffee) that I would clean my house thoroughly and remove all my Christmas stuff. I also decided that if I managed to do all of this in a timely manner, I would treat myself to the latest showing of
King Kong. That I did.

Now I'm normally not one to be picky about movies. If there's just a few ounces of entertainment value in a movie I generally don't dislike it. I heard a lot of really good things about King Kong. The previews looked awesome. It wasn't, It was KING CRAP.

I will give the special effects ONLY a thumb up. That was the only thing worthwhile in the movie. Oh, and
Adrian Brody, I love him, he's an excellent actor and his scrawny figure and rat-like face, for some reason, makes me all warm inside. I can't explain my attraction for that man so it must be his acting abilities, or maybe it's his intense demeanor.

However, the movie itself is not worth seeing. It's THREE hours long. The first hour and 20 minutes was character and plot development. The second hour, people running from beasts on the island. The third hour, Kong getting his ass whooped in New York. The dialogue was REALLY BAD. They gave way too much screen time to the bizarre love triangle involving Kong,
Naomi Watts, and Adrian Brody. If they had cut 90 minutes out of the film and focused more on the island and New York, it might have been a good movie.

I know some, maybe a lot of you might disagree, but I just feel like I wasted three hours of my life.
But my house is clean, and my Christmas stuff is packed away in the garage. So the day wasn't a total waste.

Or maybe it's just I'm in a bad mood because I haven't had a smoke today. Yay me, poor Kong.
It's only 8 or 9 bucks, you can decide.