Interesting past two nocshifts

To say the least.  I’m not 100% sure John’s Model (of Guided Reflection) will help just yet. Or if I even want to bother.

On another note, I applied to ICU.  Time for a change…

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Other Side of the Stretcher (Ganglion)

I don’t even recall how I first noticed the bump on the top of my right hand near my wrist.  But I’m going to guess it didn’t just “appear” overnight.  Eventually I started noticing I had numbness and tingling in my pointer, middle, and ring finger of that hand especially early in the morning, and occasional pain and stiffness if I held a pen in my hand for too long.

The funny part, is that it didn’t even occur to me until now to get it checked out.  While working (onco) one day, I showed one of the other RNs and asked about it – her immediate response was “that’s a ganglion!”.  A what?! “You have to whack it with a book.  Drink a few glasses of wine tonight, and get your sister to smack your hand with a bible… err, an old nursing text book. You probably don’t have a bible at home” (ha ha, she knows me well).  I approached one MD while he was on the floor — his evaluation: “it’s part of your joint”. *insert rolly eyed smilie here*. I’m not a doctor but even I know it’s NOT part of my joint (not even close). Finally, I ‘harassed’ another MDs that rounds on the floor.  She just looked at it and said in her accent “that’s a ganglion cyst” and proceeded to give me options to get rid of it.  She took down my information and referred me to one of the better plastic surgeons here. (One of the few perks of working with good doctors).  The cutest part was her calling my cell phone and leaving me a voicemail with her cell phone number to call her back about the appointment she made for me.  It all happened so fast also, which was nice and effortless on my part.

Naturally, my sister and I youtubed “ganglion cyst on hand removal” one night.  Pretty darn gross. If you’re a freak like me, youtube “Hand Ganglion Cyst Excision (Dorsal)” and watch. Fantastic.

The appointment was set for today.  My manager was nice and gave me a day off (paid…. vacation) as I was scheduled to work dayshift today. Another perk: I was able to sleep in this morning. ahhh. (haha Sarah!!) Anyways, as the title of this entry suggests, I now better understand why the general public complains about the hospital.  Could I find a stupid spot to park at 1230pm?! No meter parking left. The rest are all handicapped spots and taken.  I was hoping I would not have to use my parking tokens, but alas, after driving around the parking lots for a good 8 minutes, I finally resigned myself and parked on the rooftop of the north tower where I normally park when at work. Drive through the gate to see there are only handicapped spots left (I contemplated parking there, but then my conscience got the best of me; gdaaamit) and this parking spot that was clearly meant for a smart car.  I managed to squeeze the SUV in, but every part of me cringed at the thought of some idiot leaving a dent in my doors. After this traumatizing experience (and I hadn’t even made it INTO the hospital yet) I felt that much more empathy for my patients and their family members.  And that doesn’t even include the parking fee $$.

I make my way to the ambulatory care unit (which is located on both the 1st and 2nd level of the south tower).  Wait in line with a “pick a number”, only to find out the doctor I have the consult with is located upstairs on level 2. Sigh. Upstairs I go to see the waiting room is PACKED full of people who all clearly look like they don’t want to be there, and grab a new number. Double Sigh. Have a seat. Wait.  And wait. And wait. It’s warm and this guy across from me with a black eye and left arm in a sling keeps staring at me.  Fantastic.  She finally calls my number and I register. Wait again. And again. Listen to a few random strangers talk about how ridiculous the parking fee is at the hospital. I silently agree in my head.  Check Facebook. Boring. Check Twitter. Nothing new.  A short male nurse finally opens the door and calls my name.  Alas. He shows me to a stretcher, asks me to have a seat. Says “Kimberly, right hand eh?” I nod my head.  He then checks something off on the paper, smiles and winks at me.  What. The.  Was that meant to be friendly? It turned out creepy.  And completely unprofessional on his part.  Tsk tsk.  All the while, 2 medical students and a resident (?) are looking at an x-ray of a hand (his name, and personal information clearly visible on the computer screen in my curtained-off area).  They leave soon after but don’t bother closing the x-ray that’s on the screen (eeeek!! confidentiality broken).
Another little wait, and the MD finally comes behind the curtain with a different set of medical students following him like lost little puppy dogs, introduces himself and starts questioning me about my hand.  He stated he could surgically remove it, however it will leave me with a scar and a high risk of permanent nerve damage due to the location of the cyst.  He believes if it’s not bugging me all the time to leave it as is.  But finally says it’s my decision, and left me his office number (and cell, haha) if I decide I want it removed or if the symptoms get worse.

All in all, a pleasant experience, however I definitely prefer being on the other end of the stretcher.  I am happy to be healthy and not needing to utilize our healthcare system at this point in time.  This experience definitely reiterated how impatient I really am.  Included driving the park lots, finding a spot, registration, waiting time, and time actually spent during the consult — a little over an hour.  Not too bad.

PS, I don’t think it’s much of a decision.  I cannot risk permanent nerve damage on my dominant hand. I’ll “suffer” for the time being.

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(Not my hand, but looks somewhat like this)

♔ Kimmie.L

A Nurse’s Prayer / My Day

A Nurse’s Prayer

Be me in the world.
Be my voice to the deaf.
Be my faith where there is doubt.
Be my hope where there is despair.
Be my light where there is darkness.
Be my joy where there is sadness.
Be me in the world.
Be my eyes to the blind.
Be my consolation to those who need to be consoled.
Be my understanding to those who need to be understood.
Be my healing to those who need to healed.
Be my love to those who need love.
Be my forgiveness to those who need to be forgiven.
Be my death to those who need me.
Be me in the world.

– Author Unknown –

I stumbled across this not long ago, and saved it into a Word document as I normally do when something catches my eye (or heart, in this case).

I strive to achieve what this piece of work is all about.  Unfortunately as some of you are aware (fellow nursing professional, or experienced as a patient, or even family member of a patient) with the nursing shortages, increased responsibilities and roles, and the same amount of hours in a day (haha) this type of nursing isn’t always achievable and realistic.

Today was an exception.  If you’ve read my [about] “the girl” section, you will have seen I work on three different floors: respiratory, general internal med/stroke, and oncology/palliative.  AKA “Float RN”.  Today, I was pre-booked on the general internal medicine/stroke floor for day shift.  Last time I was on this particular floor, I had the assignment straight from hell.  We do 0730-1930/1930-0730, so to put this into perspective… that day I didn’t leave until 2015.  A lot of my patients were under the care of what they call “CTU” – Clinical Teaching Unit.  A few MDs oversee the practice of residents and guide/teach med students. So we often joke on the floor that if a patient is under CTU, they are guinea pigs… these Residents and med students practice and put the patient through a slew of tests/procedures/medication changes that would often be deemed not necessary by other “experienced” MDs.  Don’t get me wrong, some of the Residents and (eager) med students are wonderful to work with.  However, the resident I had to deal with that day shift was not.  I literally gave this particular resident my patients chart and said “take this; go do what you have to do.  But do NOT give this chart back to me unless you’re 110% certain of the orders you are writing”.  Why?  Because I do not recall how many times I processed orders and medications, only to have the resident come back to D/C things and reorder something new to try.  I got fed up; otherwise I probably would not have “snapped” on the resident the way I did.  But my poor patient was going through all these things for what? It seemed like torture at the time. So I had to advocate on the patients behalf (+1 nursing point for that, haha).

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Anyways, back to what I was talking about before I got majorly sidetracked (you’ll notice I do that a lot… I rant).  Today was a fabulous day, in that my patients had responsible MDs, nothing too serious happened (**), and the patients were all rather pleasant to work with.  I did however, feel like a legal drug pusher… all 5 patients were on heavy narcotics and relied on them.  But that’s besides the point… I felt like for once in a long time, I was able to actually spend more than 5 minutes at a time in a room to do things other than perform nursing tasks.  I was able to spend time speaking  and getting to know my patients better.  It felt empowering somehow. It felt as if I was in 1st year of the BScN program all over again – except with way more knowledge and less apprehension. 🙂

** except for my patient who was having what’s called “Complex partial seizures”?? our charge nurse called it “complex simple seizure” (no idea). –but weirdest. thing. ever. She was able to vocalize when she felt like she was going to have a seizure, then went completely limp, unresponsive, motionless/flaccid extremeties, and her breathing pattern changed as in she became apneic. Pupils were nonreactive to light, yet her vitals would remain stable and telemetry would not pick up any abnormal rhythms.  I am actually curious to follow-up when the neurologist is consulted on Wednesday.  I have never seen anything like it.  Has anyone??

So, I must post a take-away question to see if I get any interesting responses.  Can anyone relate to what I’ve posted about tonight? You don’t even have to be a nursing professional yourself.  Any life experiences that you’d be interested in sharing, please do! 🙂

I apologize how sporadic and disorganized this entry is … maybe I shouldn’t blog after a long 13 hour day? (No I didn’t miscalculate that; I was at the hospital for 13 hours today) …

♔ Kimmie.L

First Mini Rant (Shift Work, Sleep/Wake)

It’s now 2100… 9pm. I’ve cleansed, exfoliated, moisturized head-to-toe, brushed/flossed/gargled, took my melatonin 5mg (shift work, aaahh — definitely heads up for future posts about this issue) and am now relaxing under my duvet in bed. I love the cool crisp air around me, so I tend to keep 2 of my bedroom windows slightly open even during these cold winter months.  Something about being all cozy and warm under my big fluffy duvet knowing darn well it’s freezing, dark and possibly snowing outside.  Unfortunately, all of the snow we got on December 1 is pretty much non existent at this point.  It rained. As long as we have a true white Christmas….

This seems like a perfectly honest time to bring you up to speed with my work life– ie my entire life right now. Hence the blog; I need some hobbies that don’t include work, work, and work.  I have been full time as a Registered Nurse at an acute care hospital since I was hired as a new graduate back in May of last year.

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I then applied for a pretty unique schedule last Christmas — 2 day shifts, 2 night shifts, 5 off.  Mind you, they’re 12 hour shifts, but I absolutely love it.  After a few of these rotations though of 5 days off, I decided to fill this newfound free time with a second job; a long term care facility.  I’m strictly casual at the LTC facility, as I’m full time at the hospital. But they are extremely accommodating; they’re only 8 hour shifts as opposed to the 12s I’m used to working, and I’ve built a good relationship with the scheduler (so she’ll call in advance to prebook me for shifts around my full time hospital job).  Couldn’t really ask for anything else …

…except a day off! I am so exhausted it is not even funny.  It’s probably all in my head, but I do believe the melatonin helps somewhat in allowing me to experience a deeper sleep for longer.  There’s much debate about how effective taking melatonin really is, but it works for me.  So does benadryl (gravol has lost all effect on me to get me asleep).

Long story short: shift work does suck.  My body does not know when to wake up, when to fall asleep. This is why I resort to caffeine and melatonin to combat both extremes my body faces constantly 🙂

Any shift workers out there? What do you find is the most difficult part? Any useful tips or thoughts?

Time to attempt sleep. 6am comes early.

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♔ Kimmie.L