Friday, September 23, 2016

Doctor Searching

I've been thinking about finding a doctor lately. I feel like I should go in and get checked out and try to be a "good patient" that sees a doctor every 5-6 years... instead of my current method of thinking I'm dying of cancer, going in to get checked out once every 15 or so years, then finding out I'm completely fine. I mean it works, kinda, but that's not the example a nurse should set for her patients, right? At least they're babies and won't ask about the last time I went in for my sniffles or the weird lump on my hip.

Along with thinking about finding a doctor, probably an OB/GYN, comes the thought of how to tell them to be extra careful with me. I have read about it some, and it usually gets the point across by simply saying I have a past history of sexual trauma. Short and to the point. I was gonna say short and sweet, but let's be real, there's nothing sweet about it.

Now, I was contemplating all of this, while throwing the ball for my dog in my backyard, when I remembered a completely random memory: I remember being at a karaoke pub with the girls from my senior year OB and peds rotation, celebrating that we were all done with clinicals. Exfiance was there, and it was after I had already gone to the cops, I believe, but the detective hadn't issued a warrant for him yet, so he didn't know about what I was doing. At some point I had to follow my friends out to the parking lot to make sure they had a buddy to come back in, and he caught me alone. He kept calling my name and I just walked away. I walked away with all of the strength and pride a woman can muster after finally leaving her abuser. I walked away knowing in my heart, that I am fighting for justice with all the courage and strength I could muster. I walked away from him with confidence that I was no longer in his grasp and he now has plenty of stories recorded with his name plastered ALL over them so that if some other girl happens to come forward (and I pray it's no girl that ever meets him after me), then his ass will end up in prison for the rest of his days because of the atrocities he committed towards myself and the other girls.

For having been struggling with insecurities, the sadness of realizing I can't handle a relationship right now, and the thought of ending up alone (which I am more and more okay with as the days go by), this random little memory gave me such strength and hope. I was able to be near him, and his tentacles could no longer permeate my heart because I am already gone. Yes, the damage has been done, but I finally had enough of his shit. I finally got the window to escape, the resources to help me do so, and the time needed to separate myself from his grasp.

For those of you who keep going back to abusers, who keep getting sucked in to their lies and manipulation, or who have to stay for safety reasons or children, I get it. I understand the needing to stay for just a bit longer, or accepting the burden of going back because there isn't sufficient safety in leaving just yet. I get it, I understand, and my heart is heavy for you. I am terribly sorry that you are going through that. I pray that one day, you are able to find your window to escape, and that you run and don't ever look back. Sure, the legal system will drag you back and make you relive the memories. Anniversaries will pop up and bring you down. However, keep fighting and moving and running and working towards your freedom. I promise you deserve it. I pray that once you get to leave, that you never see your abuser again, unless required by the legal system and then only in the presence of the cops that are required to guard him/her and a whole bunch of witnesses. More so, I pray you find your freedom and then peace and confidence to be you.

Praying for you victims and survivors tonight.

...And Closure

So I got the closure call today. He was really sweet and apologized for being insensitive and for wanting the relationship to move over my hurdles of: riding in a car with somebody, going to the movies, going over to his apartment (yes, with his roommates there), etc. These are things that most girls don't have such a difficult time with. I have understandable fears about these things, but it requires a guy to be extra patient with me, and I get that.

Well, he wanted me to come over to his place, he thought not riding in the same car was odd, but he complied without complaining to me, and he tried a couple times to go to the movies, but didn't push it too bad when I refused to. Sometime last week, he told me that he thinks that I just need to push past some of my fears of going over to a guys house, going to the movies, and riding with somebody. I got a little upset, but stayed true to my boundaries concerning those things because I went back on those things once and it turned out worse than the first tragedy. I can be made fun of all day long, but I think that it's about time that I start fighting for myself and what I know to be true and what I need to do/not do.

He had called saying he really missed me and wanted closure. I don't know if I gave that to him, but I stuck true to my desire to wait until I was at least a year past my anniversaries. I fought to get out of those shitty relationships of 2015, I am not done fighting for myself, and I will continue to advocate for what I need regardless of what others want. I am shocked that he ever apologized, I think it was really sweet and the things he did that gave me pause weren't on purpose. He's gone through some tough stuff too, so he was trying to help me "get over" my stuff the way he was able to work past his stuff. Thing is, 1) not everybody heals the same way, 2) my wounds are still fairly fresh, and 3) we went through different ordeals. In fact, they are very different. Still very real and very scarring, but we can agree that they are different.

So, on with my day I go, as a single lady in Small Town...


I broke up with a guy that I didn't know I was dating... I think that maybe both parties should be notified if a friendship suddenly moves into the dating phase... Maybe that's just me?

 At least he took it well. He told me that we couldn't get dinner together or hang out without other friends around anymore. He also told me that "since we're not dating, we can't hold hands and no more forehead kisses anymore." He said it in such a way, that he seemed to be making that a punishment. All I could think was: Bro, you're the one who did those things. I did not instigate such gestures. But hey, at least he had good boundaries in "dating" and he's willing to enforce different, more strict ones after a break-up.

When I originally broke the news to him that I couldn't handle the dating and girlfriend labels because I'm just not ready, he told me that nobody is ready because dating and marriage are all about being self-less and learning to serve another. Well no shit, but it's also about communication so that THE OTHER PERSON KNOWS THEY ARE IN A RELATIONSHIP!!! I'm not being selfish by refusing to "date" you and I'm not changing my decision. He was nice, but I got frustrated that he went on his little tangent. Seriously dude, just don't even go there with me. You don't know my life, you don't know what I've been through. You don't even know me! So don't start.

The next day I sent a text to Best Friend asking: "Am I a heartless bitch for not being sad after 'breaking up' with a kid I didn't know I was dating?" Oh to have heard the laughter in person!  He told me I wasn't and proceeded to laugh, as only he can at my strange life circumstances and told me that I am very serious about being clear of what my relationship status is. I asked if he was being sarcastic, as he normally is with me, but he told me he was not. Apparently he recalls the slow, painful road he and I took towards that front a few years ago. Oh that poor child, at least he knew where we stood at all points in our relationship, from acquaintance to friendship to "trial run" of potentially dating.

I'm so glad somebody gets me and finds humor in the things I find funny. After the "break-up" call with the recent fella, I was too baffled by what he was saying and his little rant to be able to say anything more than "okay" repeatedly. I feel a little bit bad that he's now worried about me being super sad, even though I wasn't because I was unaware I was supposed to be emotionally invested. However, am I supposed to stop him and say that I'm not actually sad in the least? Nah, that would just be mean. This kid is a believer and he goes to church. I don't need to add on extra issues to the stresses he's facing in his life at the moment.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

NIghtshift Begins

I worked night shift as a CNA for a year and a half through nursing school. I was a patient sitter, who sat with 1-4 patients on the nights I worked. 12 hours, in a dark, chilly hospital room, trying to get a patient to sleep is difficult work. You may think it's easy or lazy work, which leads me to say: "You do it!" I have had multiple patients grab, kick, punch, and hit me. Yelling doesn't even count as attacks anymore, but some people come up with some nasty things to say when they are on AWA (alcohol withdrawal) precautions and need themselves a little buddy for their hospital stay. I have had to stand in the way of elevator doors and hand on for dear life as a dementia patient was pulling me in then pushing me out in hopes that he could get the elevator to work so he could go home.

It may not sound like much, but I have sat with suicidal 15 year-olds, patients suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, AWA people, dementia sufferers simply wanting to go home, and with so many confused patients that even the nurse refuses to come into the room because of the tension and stress the patient causes for the patient. And yes, they charted that they had done their assessment... I saw it in the charting system but never once saw the damn nurse come into the room (I would know, I was in that stupid room all night, without a break).

Anywho, I predicted that working nights in the NICU would be slightly smoother and a little less difficult to stay awake during. I was correct... for the time-being. I haven't needed mid-shift caffeine boluses (for myself, we started a couple on the kiddos) just yet, nor have I been nodding off while charting. Granted, I just worked my second night shift last night and I'm still working on staying on-time with meds, labs, and feedings, so I stay pretty busy most of my shift.

First Night in NICU: I show up, bright-eyed and bushy tailed for the first day of night orientation. We get report on our two sweet babies and get started. Everything is chugging along with on kid that was admitted a couple hours before we got them (so they required a lot of extra help), and another little punkin that fought feedings with everything the kid had. My gosh, the baby would cry when not being fed, but refuse to eat when we finally gave the bottle. Hahaha, it happens, in my short amount of working, I have seen a few kids do that. So, we got through to about midnight and got notice that we would be getting another child to our assignment. Praise the L-rd I had a preceptor because I didn't even help with our third baby. Then, around 0430, we got a call that our already short-staffed unit would be receiving another little bundle of joy via surprise c-section! Seeing as I'm still learning, and two... one and a quarter nurses are better than none at said delivery... off we ran not even ten minutes later to a delivery that proceeded much more quickly than we were warned about.

When all the day nurses that had been teaching me for  the past several months asked how my first night-shift was, all I could do was allow my eyes to get really wide and say, "Well, I learned a lot." That's it! My gosh, I did learn a lot and the nurses learned that I could be counted on to do their assessments if I happened to not be crazy busy while one of their little patients decided to go meet Jesus as an inopportune time for us. I know it's all about working with the babies and their schedule, but them leaving us to "go towards the light" is not something we take kindly to.

Plus, I realized at about 0200 that it was the Harvest Moon, which is a full moon that packs in EXTRA crazy, obviously. The labor board was chalked full, our NICU is full to bursting, and all of the babies (both earth-side and those still earth-bound) were in cahoots. The ones we had were mostly trying to die or crying their little lungs out. While the kiddos still cooking in mamas decided that it's about time they join in with our fun. Well, normally I'm all for lots of babies, but when said babies are just a couple weeks over halfway baked, it causes a bit of stress for the medical professionals committed to trying to make sure living humans remains living.

NICU Night #2: We started with two infants and gave report on only those two infants. Oh my gosh, it was glorious. We had time to help other nurses that were crazy busy, and all of us went home and clocked out on time! Charting completed, meds given, learning opportunities utilized, IV placed on child, and teachings done!

When day-shift nurses came on and asked how my shift went, I couldn't help but beam with excitement. I stayed on-timeish (minus getting behind for pulling an umbilical arterial line (scary) and doing labs at 0500. Besides that, the shift went fairly well. My gosh, I have been so incredibly blessed with good preceptors and my night-shift preceptor is no exception. She is a wonderful nurse, a great teacher, and a really sweet lady. I am very glad to be able to get to learn from her and know that I can count on her when I am on my own drowning in the future.

My orientation is technically over in 4 shifts. That completes my 12 weeks of training and preceptorship and the more I work the more under-qualified I feel. I'm not a parent. I've never breastfed. I am a brand-new nurse that has a college degree essentially giving me permission to begin on-the-job training. In a field that is life and death, that is freakin' terrifying. Throw into the mix that the life-or-death circumstances belongs to people's literal babies, and I'm plumb scared off my rocker.

Between being scared of breaking or killing somebody else's child and being terrified that they think I'm gonna be okay to be on my own soon, there is also the worry of the night shift staff. So many of them are girls that are a year or two out of college, but already thinking they should be charge nurse. However, these girls don't even keep up with the responsibilities they have to keep their babies clean, fed, and organized. I'm so sick of my generation thinking that they are better than other, they are entitled, or that they can climb the ladder just by sucking up to those in management positions while degrading and bullying those of us perceived to be "less than" them. Why am I "less than" you might ask? I don't know. These girls won't acknowledge me, look at me, speak to me, help me, or otherwise respect me as a living being. The only thing that shows that they can actually see me, is that us "less than's" tend to be tucked into various jokes. At least I provide comedic relief to somebody! I'm constantly laughing at myself, but it's nice to know somebody else can laugh with me too.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

My Heart Breaks

I stumbled upon this blog, and it hits close to home. This young lady lost her husband in a car wreck that she was present during.

Her post about Job is something that I very much relate to. I did not lose a husband, but the thoughts of suffering, grief, pain, and the roller coaster that is present after trauma is very much in line with revelations that were made to me in the aftermath of my traumas. I remember reading Job after I broke up with exfiance. Of all the times I had read it before my two years of hellish life events, I never understood how Job could continue to love the L-rd, how he could be so grief stricken one moment, and yet defend the L-rd. Having lived through the shit I've somehow survived, it somehow makes a little bit more sense now. I've been to the place where I was in so much pain I was praying the L-rd just end my suffering. Let's be real, I still have a few days like that here and there. I have been to the point of not caring, of being so broken and hopeless that I was sure life couldn't get worse, and then it did. Yet, I believe the L-rd brought me through. I have no idea why. Why this was my lot in life and why certain people experience things while others don't.

However, I have met so many people that simply don't understand how to be empathetic. They sing worship songs about suffering, sadness, loneliness, and pain, but it means something different to them than it does to me. I know this because of how they talk about the songs and also because I used to be there. The songs about suffering and loss used to remind me of wanting a boyfriend, losing belongings, or otherwise being sad that I was not handed all of my wants and desires on a silver platter. Now, having been through the events that put me here today, these songs remind me of the horrors I have endured and how I am still standing. Songs of salvation, forgiveness, love, and redemption bring me still that sting of intense pain (and typically a lot of tears), but also a sweeter peace than I knew before. I know the L-rd in ways I never thought imaginable and through it all, I feel like I know who I am just a little bit better. I praise the L-rd that many people do not understand this shift I am talking of, and I don't hold it against anyone because I don't want anyone to have to suffer in order to understand what I feel. But I am so very glad that despite the evils done to me, there is some hope and some type of silver lining to the brokenness and struggle of my life.

Please visit Ms. Murri's blog here and her other one here (though it only has a couple of posts). She's a great writer and doesn't ramble on like some people we know *cough, cough, wink, wink (me...)*

Struggle of This New Nurse

As my orientation season begins to wrap up, I can't help but think about how I felt when I started, and also how I'm not sure I can do it on my own. So far I can get the basics down, but there is always someone watching me and right next to me.

When I need another syringe, they are right there supervising and will run and get it. They are there to answer my millions of questions, without me ever having to leave the baby's bedside. They help one mom breastfeed as I assess and situate the next baby on my assignment list. They make milk, give baths, and do all of the cares that I cannot seem to fit into my work list because I am still slow in the tasks I do as I begin to figure out my muscle memory and routines. They help remind me when I have a med to give, I need to look at labs, and they help me be able to talk to the providers (NNP and neonatalogists) so that I do not get eaten alive just yet.

As I begin to get down the basics, I'm finding more and more that I am so far from knowing how to be a nurse on my own. Orientation for me ends at the end of September. I finished my last day shift orientation yesterday and I begin night shift orientation on Sunday...

To say "the struggle is real" is an understatement.

As I go about learning the ins and outs of a "typical" day, I have found some serious things I struggle with:
  1. Breastfeeding. I don't have children. I don't know what it is like to breastfeed. I try to learn what I can from the nurses I am precepting under, but I feel terribly unqualified. When parents and grandparents of the babies ask if I have kids, I have to shamefully respond that I do not. That is followed with them asking how old I am and how much schooling I have left... Apparently the make-up I decided to start wearing so parents wouldn't be freaked out with how young I am, isn't working at all.
  2. Families. The baby's families scare me. For every sweet, loving, adoring, easy family, there is an equally "different" family just down the hall. The kind of family that tells you they were a NICU nurse at the hospital I work at, but after further investigation you learn they were in the float pool and only floated the NICU one night to act as our unit secretary because we were severely short-staffed. There are families where we worry if the parents are on too many pain killers because they are falling asleep holding their 3 pound baby and asking the same question over and over. There are the families that we wonder about the safety of the mom because the dad is overbearing and there are signs of domestic violence. Parents who don't seem interested in the child. Women who tell the staff they will be adopting a baby that is in our NICU, throw a fit when they are not allowed to see said baby because we have no paperwork to say they will be the kid's guardian, and then we find out later there was never a plan for this lady to ever be involved in the care of the kid. Now, many of these situations are simply the stories from the nurses I've worked with, but I have experienced some of them between the few hospitals I worked at in Home State and now Small Town Hospital. Parents/family members scare me!  They blame us for what has happened to the baby even when the kid would have died if we didn't come help. They get upset with us for a positive drug screen in a 2 hour old infant, but I know we aren't the ones doing drugs through the pregnancy... I get that many of them are scare, and coping (though not always effectively coping), and they are in a situation that was unexpected and stressful. I get that. But I need serious practice with the parents and family members.
  3. Time management. As soon as I feel like I get caught up, a kid pukes, poops, pees, or the family comes in and puts me right back to being behind. Through in a child needing a bath and bed change and I don't know how I will ever do it without having my preceptor there to help me out.
  4. Remembering all of the "little" things. Little things like checking the med list for the babies every time I do an assessment so that I'm not late with antibiotics. Knowing how to give certain medications... Knowing who to ask for, how to ask, and what to do when I am needing a certain supply. Remembering the normal vital ranges and care tasks for babies when I am still so used to adult numbers and cares. 
  5. Staying out of the cliques. Now, this one is a little different for me because I already have a target on my back. My grandmother (Mema) works in the NICU at my hospital. She has been there for years and years and years. My great aunt (Mema's sister) is the DON of the floor containing the NICU, L&D, the women's med/surg specialty floor, newborn nursery, and other various similar care departments. She is also the one who does the hiring and runs the meetings... So, you can see how many of the girls on the floor could be concerned and upset with me working there. Throw in the fact that night-shift NICU crew is known throughout the hospital for being ridiculously "cliquey" and I already starting with a handful of major disadvantages. So, while I need to work on time-management and all of these other things so that I can be "on-time" with all of the tasks I need to do, I am so very grateful that I am slow and always having something to do to stay busy because it keeps me from even being in a place where I could have downtime to have to talk with the girls. Maybe, by the time I get to a place where I am okay at being a NICU nurse, I will be so used to being busy that I will remain out of the clique scene all-together and nobody will ever know that there is another way for it to be.

So, here I am, about to be pushed off a cliff. Time to see if I will sink or swim.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Don't Tell Me What I Believe

It's a well-known joke in my family that I got three doses of stubbornness. One from my mom, one from my dad, and one from my mema. I have a hard head and a lot of opinions. My brain is constantly going and I analyze just about everything I hear and see in order to try to figure out how the world around me works and how I fit in within that world.

Recently I met a guy. He is studying history in an attempt to eventually get a PhD in Old Testament theology or something. We get into some discussions about beliefs, but it often stops at a fairly shallow level in order to avoid offending the other party. He makes sly remarks now and again about Messianic beliefs, and I normally bite my tongue and let him go on. 1) because I'm not great at defending my beliefs, even though I have poured hours and hours into researching and figuring out what I believe and 2) because I don't want to step on toes. I have very strong beliefs that do not commonly match up with other people's beliefs, but that doesn't mean I think anyone else should believe this way just because I do. I don't want to change anyone's beliefs, that's not my job. I may be wrong, they may be wrong. Maybe we're all wrong! Who knows?!

Regardless, this guy also started saying some things about how midwives "take over the role the husband should be playing during the birthing process" and so he doesn't believe they should be used and a doctor's management of labor/birth is a better plan. OOOOOOOOOOOOH!!!  Son, you did not just say that! Oh child, yes he did.

After a week or two of me holding my tongue and gently reminding him over and over that I want to be a midwife. He said it again. This time, since I had been contemplating what I would say the next time he uttered those despicable words, I had an answer. First, I asked where he got his info. Then I added in my own experience and the research I had found. We had a nice little discussion and he now says he doesn't think they would be that bad to use. Maybe he was just trying to not get in a bigger discussion, but I sure hope I was actually able to change his view on midwifes because they are not in the business of "taking over" the husband's role. Nurse-midwives are essentially the nurse practitioner version of an OB/GYN but they do not perform the cesareans themselves. Mostly, nurse-midwives manage women for well-woman visits, healthy/low-risk pregnancies and births, as well as birth control and other woman's health areas. OB/GYNs are versed in the high-risk and complicated pregnancies and births. It's not that either is better than the other, I think there are just different times to use each along with pro's and con's of both.

Now, getting back to theological discussions, he keeps making remarks as if he knows all about what Messianic's believe. I can tell you right now that most of what he tells me about what Messianic's supposedly believe are not things that I have heard of Messianic's actually believing... I don't know where he's getting his info, but I think that if you are going to discuss beliefs with somebody you should maybe ask them what they believe instead of talking like you know their position... Maybe that's just me...

Still, he doesn't degrade me the way ex-fiance did or even the way ex-boyfriend did. It's weird being able to be heard and also being able to actually talk during a discussion because we're both actually discussing things instead of one person (him, a.k.a. ex-fiance) yelling at the other (me). So, even though I'm infuriated with the process and the way in which he (new guy) thinks he knows it all, he still seems to at least give me a moment to explain my side, when I get the gumption to be able to share my side because I'm still used to remaining shut down talking to people.

I don't feel like we're compatible for marriage or dating, but it's still nice to be able to work on my discussion/debate skills and work on being able to stand up for my beliefs while knowing how to walk away, if the need should so arise.

I'm fully aware that my beliefs are really weird and that I'm too damn stubborn on most issues. I get it. However, if everybody stood for nothing, would anyone on the earth be able to have convictions and would we get anything done? Our passions are what make us unique and valuable. My odd thoughts on the way the Bible is written and how the world works gives me different insights into what is needed on earth than my neighbor might have. With these different beliefs and views, we (the people of the world) have a chance at finding creative solutions to the troubles we encounter in our every day lives. Right?

I dream of the miraculous. I'm not talking walking on water, turning water into wine, or any of the other amazing things talked of in the Bible. My desire of a personal miracle is simply to be blessed with a guy why is so incredibly good to me and the kids we could potentially have. Kind, sweet, gentle but strong, able to provide, and somebody who not only respects my beliefs but believes similarly so that we are not constantly fighting. How hard would that be? Somebody to support my dreams and career goals while also having goals and a strong career of his own. However, of course, I would want him home for supper and able to get off for children's events and to be there for sports and whatnot. Somebody who knows how to take care of cattle, livestock, and horses and who could allow us to have land with all sorts of animals and horses. Ideally, this guy is super smart, but kind and humble and still goofy/silly/easy-going, especially when I need him to help me relax. I want somebody who believes in the traditional roles that I believe in and see in the Bible so that I can focus on serving him, as a wife, and he works with me to set up a great household for ourselves and kids. I want someone to inspire, and spoil, and love on, and encourage, and grow old with. Somebody that knows I love him and who loves me right back so that we never have to question it with each other. I want a best friend, a leader, a supporter, and somebody that is somehow excited and comforted to find me, of all people.

My list goes on. I know the Good L-rd performs miracles every day, I'm simply asking that maybe, if it be His will, that I be blessed with an amazing guy that allows me to know that G-d is willing to allow amazing things in my life so that I forget the evilness of ex-bf and ex-fiance.