Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sensory Overload, Internal, related to overactivity of frontal lobe as evidenced by this draft of an email and headache.

This is an email I decided not to send. I think it's more of a journal entry. I'm tempted not to even post it here. I seem to have lost my internal editor lately. I wish I could speak in declarative sentences more often. My friend actually had to stop me the other night, and say - Is this still parenthetical to the story you wanted to tell? Because my attention is waning.

I really have been just so full of the ideas for the past couple months (this is the same sort of thing I was describing as manic in February!) and I don't have a good grasp on how healthy it is. On one hand, it's very possible that I was so 'shut down' (curses Dr. Phil and every self-help book in Barnes & Noble) and disconnected that now this level of interaction is appropriate? On the other, maybe it was just fine to think of things and then not tell anyone about them! Internal dialogue - it's a good skill!
If I can pinpoint what feels unhealthy, it's the constant and immediate desire for recruitment for these ideas. I can't have a thought, but two seconds later, I'm thinking who I can call about it, and what group might help me put it into play. Again, good to collaborate. Good to have these resources. Nice change from isolated and cynical. However: it's Bad to collaborate too early, because if I don't follow through with it, I look like a flake. Bad to ask for collaboration and committee formation for something that's really smack in the personal realm. Not necessarily bad, but egocentric to assume that what's worrying me is also worrying others.
I also think there's an element of avoidance at play. I'm very busy being very busy so that when I get a B in Health Assessment, and I know I could have easily gotten an A, then I can say, but look how busy I was! If I ended up doing everything I've thought of doing, I'd be raving in a week. Wait, I'm raving now, just thinking of it!
Pressure to pack as much into the next five semesters as possible? Of course that's a factor as well. My admissions essay here was all about how if I can do this job and move into this career, then I feel I should. good for an overall motivation - bad for day-to-day decisions. I told someone the other day that I have this sense of deprivation precisely because there's so much that could be done, that is available to do. This is part of what Inga was talking about in that excerpt from her book, Autobiography of a Blue Eyed Devil. And I can see intellectually how it's ridiculous to whine about an abundance of choices and activities - but it feels so relentless. Every day I'm finding out about things I wish I had done, or things I'd like to do. It's like the polar opposite of Buddhism - it's like trying to suffer as much as possible by wanting to do everything and never reducing the number of possibilities.
Occasionally seeing people as resources who aren't? Ouch. This one sucks when it happens. It doesn't happen often. But there's nothing like going to someone, and asking for a hug and having them look at you carefully. Is it appropriate to ask your professor for a hug? No. (I haven't, by the way!) I just mean that I don't know if what I'm asking of people in the way of help or brainstorming is appropriate. It's such a new experience for me to be asking for help at all!

Professor P,
I seem to be full of ideas lately, and I'm having a hard time determining on my own if they are realistic, or helpful to anyone but me, so I've been just trying to ask the person that I think might best help me figure out if they need follow up. I also wonder if this stuff is already happening and I just don't know about it. Anyway!

First idea - Tutoring sessions for Concepts and Skills for the new folks this summer, just in the beginning of the semester. We could review the basics and make sure that folks are solid in these early on, since they apply so broadly to the curriculum. I think this material was covered really well in lecture, but I also think that the terminology and the underlying ideas are so familiar-yet-unfamiliar that more time spent, outside of class, would be helpful. Does this seem like a good idea to you - or am I projecting about what I wish I had?

Second idea - I've been really thinking about the conversation about staff ratios and care of incontinent patients today. It seems that we keep bumping into the idea of disparities between what we're learning as ideal practice and the practical limitations of the field. I don't want to start out, in my first semester, with the assumption that I won't be able to give this level of care that we discuss in class, but I also don't want to waltz into practice thinking that I will be able to do it all for everyone all the time. I don't have any clinical experience, and I'm anxious about the amount of responsibility an RN carries. It seems unrealistic, to expect someone to both do all the bedside care, and all the pharm research, and then also be responsible for monitoring all the techs and aides caring for my patient, and coordinating patient education and coordinating with family. Oh, and be a leader for the profession at conferences and such. At times, what I get out of the curriculum is an exhortation to not forget this aspect of care or that element of care. It's hard to imagine how to do that, and it's clear that in practice, it often doesn't happen. Do we have a whole class on this later in the curriculum? Can you and I sit down and talk about this sometime?

Now I've gone from passing along my questions to avoiding studying my Health Assessment. Neither of these is urgent, obviously, but I'd be happy to hear what you think.

Thanks, Kati

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