Tuesday, November 27, 2007

the next week-ana-haf

It's not going to be pretty folks. Not pretty at all.

First off, tis the season to begin calculating what I'll have to get on my finals to maintain or improve my current grade in each course. And then, because there's still time left in the "fart around" block on my calendar, I can calculate exactly how far the 5 credit hours of a B in Peds is going to sink my GPA and if there's a way to recover. Since there's approximately 42.5* hours total left in my schedule for studying, and my other exam grades this semester have been 98, 85, and 84, it seems unlikely that I will score the 99% that I need on the final to make the cursed 92=A**. sigh.

today is a bust - but I did get the presentation for Thursday's genomics class done, and have about another hour or two to spend on my clinical worksheet for tomorrow, and then I'm taking my movie back to Blockbuster and getting something dumb like Fred Claus.

Wednesday 11-28 - up at 5:20a, leave home by 5:55a with lunch and hard boiled egg breakfast, drive thru coffee kiosk by 6:13a, park and ride lot by 6:22a, hospital by 6:42a, conference room with oatmeal ready for report by 6:46a. Twelve hours of 14 yo with idiopathic scoliosis s/p spinal fusion due to 41 degree curvature, logrolling q 2hr, monitoring morphine PCA and IVF, possibly d/c a foley and hopefully think of something to keep him from being bored out of his skull. I wonder if he plays chess? Catch the bus by 19:08, park and ride by 19:22, home by 19:51, feed cats, shower, eat something that doesn't require me to wash the dishes, make tea, finish worksheet, email genomics ppt to prof, trade out the laundry, scoop cat shit and collapse in bed by 23:28.

Thursday 11-29 - alarm at 6:12a, snooze til 6:32, leave house at 6:55, park at elementary school and feel slightly guilty for not saying good morning to child by 7:15, coffee from library coffeeshop at 7:38, sneak into lecture hall past man who yells about food and drinks by 7:51, Peds from 0800 to 1100, Genomics from 1100 to 1200. Get food from bookstore, take bus to elementary school, work on missed assignment from week before last in Research in school multipurpose room til 1330. Collect reading buddy, read Bear About Town and A Color of His Own, return buddy, collect new buddy, repeat. Return to MP room at 1430, refocus on Research assignment and lament the lack of reading completed for this class all semester. At 17:45, present self at Music Room for assistance with the Herding of the Parade of Children for the Multicultural Gala, in which child will be singing "Hello to All the Children of the World!" and cheesing it up as usual. Stay as short a time as possible, corner ex-husband to review end of semeter schedule, demanding a commitment for child care during next Saturday's scheduled final exam in Research, and dash home. Repeat Wednesday's evening activities at home, without the genomics email and with the added joy of supervising ready-for-bed activities of child.

Friday 11-30 - alarm, snooze, park at elementary school all as per Thursday's schedule. Present self at the library at 07:25 to work a shift at the Book Fair, collecting quarters for pencils and imprinting credit cards slips in an old ca-chunka credit card thing. Bus to campus, coffee from bookstore, lecture hall by 08:58 at which point all the good spots will be taken and I'll have to climb over five rolling bookbags and six laptop cords. Psych lecture from 0900 to 1100, and ATI test from 1100 to 1200 to heighten my anxiety about finals and my Lack of Mastery of the Material. Lunch with friends that I haven't seen in two weeks because of conference and then the holiday. Research at 1300, for which I will realize that I haven't prepared at 12:47. Prof will read her ppt, break us into small groups and then release us an hour before class is scheduled to end. Buy a 20oz Coke, and go to library for 1hr 15min to print out everything I can think of to use up my printing allowance for the semester. Bus to elementary school. Collect child from after school program, who will not want to be collected, and who has likely forgotten one of the following items: lunchbox, jacket, Gator Communicator, water bottle. Go to Food Lion for veggie chick'n nuggets, juice, bread, milk. Home. Cats. Dinner. Bed for kid. Write agenda for committee mtgs tomorrow, and reports for my position for November, and goals for the year for meeting tomorrow. Wish there was wine in the house. Bed for me.

Saturday 12-1 - Plan to get up at 0700 and study for an hour, then at 0800 to go to farmer's market for eggs from the Happy Chicken guy. Sleep in, and wake kid up to go to whole foods with friends around 0945. Wake up friends. Go to Bank and deposit amazing Merry Christmas check from Generous Aunt which will make it possible to avoid working any shifts at the restaurant during finals week. Mentally thank Generous Aunt again. Sit around drinking coffee and eating overpriced underdone scrambled eggs for an hour. Leave child with friends, remember that I forgot my scrub top at home for group picture and go get it. Drive to nearby city for board of directors meeting of state nursing student association - struggle to find parking and arrive at bldg 12 minutes late. Meet until 2pm, avoid snapping at abrasive board members, and find a way to discuss grammatical errors without offending. Pick up kid, chat with friends, offer to take her child to park with us, go to park, knit while kids run. Drop off kid, offer to spend some of Generous Aunt's money on dinner for the four of us. Eat a lot of delicious breakfast food. Go home. Glare at the cats, their shit and the still-unwashed dishes. Also, on Saturday, I have 2hours worth of work to do on my clinical presentation due next Wednesday, which includes a 2page paper, 2 articles and a handout for my classmates on my interesting case study. Do this and then spend half an hour shopping for vibrators and dildos.

Sunday 12-2 - shit. I have no idea. schedule reads Peds from 09:00 to 12:00, county library with kid from 12:00 to 14:00, childrens museum from 14:00 to 16:00, grocery store from 16:00 to 17:00, dishes then dinner then dishes again from 17:00 to 19:00. There's a note that a chorus meeting is from 13:00 to 15:00 at the Friends Meeting House, but I don't know if I'm going. At some point, kids' father is sposed to pick him up for a roller derby match, but idk when. schedule also notes more Peds study time from 1900 to 2200, but that is unlikely. More likely that I will be on the computer until 0100, paying my bils with Generous Aunt's money and deciding on yarn for that afghan I'd like to start over break.

Monday - 12-3 get up at 06:18, leave house with kid (and whichever of the four essential items that made it home on Friday) and hardboiled Happy Chicken eggs and go cups of juice by 07:08 to be able to park at elementary school by 07:38, get kid inside before 07:40 bell. Buy the kid's stocking stuffers (with G.A.'s money of course) from the Book Fair. Collect reading buddy at 08:00, read for 20 min, collect another buddy, read, and then walk to bus stop for bus to campus. Coffee from coffeeshop, up to favorite nesting spot, plan to spend nine straight hours studying Peds and Psych. Fuck Genomics and Research. The finals are worth 40% in those classes? Oh. Spend an hour obsessing about grades in all four classes and filling in next semester's academic calendar. Spend another 30 minutes getting a latte, toasting a bagel and checking email. Wish that I still smoked and could take a smoke break. Force myself to go back to nest and sit down for another 3 hours. Take last bus to park and ride lot, forget that car is at the elementary school, take bus back to campus and then back to elementary school. Get home by 23:00. Glare at cats and their shit. Feed them, then go to bed.

Tuesday 12-4 - this morning is going to be hard. I don't have anything *scheduled* until 10:30 (which is my first dentist appt in SEVEN YEARS, and I'm a little Anxious About It) and it will be tempting to sleep in. I would like to get up at 0700, shower, make coffee and quick breakfast, then sit down to look at Peds for two hours before going to the dentists. After dentist, park and ride, campus, read Research in hospital lobby. At 15:00, go up to unit and get patient assignment for Wednesday, research chart for two hours for clinical worksheet. bus to park and ride, car to elementary school. home, cats, dinner, dishes, chess, kid = bed. clinical worksheet, set five alarms, self = bed. Remember to email clinical group my presentation and print multiple copies of handout and articles.

Wednesday 12-5 Okay, this morning will be harder than Tuesday's! The kid has to be at his father's workplace at 06:15 for me to have time to drive to parking deck and be ready for report at 06:48. I don't even want to think about when we have to get up. clinical until 19:00, parking deck, whole food buffet which had damn well better include some macaroni and cheese, home, cats, shower, type up clinical worksheet from a day's worth of scribbled notes. wait to email it until Thursday to allow for one more editing opportunity - I need every point I can get on these worksheets for that mythical 92! tea, email, check for an episode of house, fall asleep during it.

Thursday 12-6 I would like to get up at 07:00, be at the library at 07:45, get coffee and a study room, and spend all day on Peds, with short study breaks of Psych and Research thrown in. Maybe meet with study partners from last two semesters, but I'm feeling like it's a bad idea to study with them for the first time this semester the day before the final. I really hope that next semester will allow for some more regular study times when we're all on campus. This semester, it's been scattered all over for clinicals M T W, and in class from 8-4 Th and F. Rescheduled Reading Buddies to another time, maybe Monday morning. Eat a good dinner, take a bath, lay out my clothes, and set five alarms before I get my 8 hours of sleep.

Friday 12-7 Peds final exam 09:00 to 12:00 Get to campus early enough to get coffee and a bottle of water. Sharpen pencils. Layer clothing. Read each question three times, underline key phrases, circle any negatives, check each answer backwards - does the answer make perfect with the question? I will plan to be there until noon. I will not dash out of the room to be the first one done because I'm nervous. I will also spend 5 hours on Research Friday afternoon, and repeat the whole Twas the Night Before a Final routine Friday night.

Saturday - 12-8 Research final 09:00 to 12:00. I am too exhausted to even think about this.

Sunday - 12-9 Write Genomics paper on asking my family about their medical history over the holiday

Monday 12-10 Psych Final 09:00 to 12:00 Write Genomics paper on Case Study Project. Read all Genomics powerpoint slides

Tuesday 12-11 Genomics Final 09:00 to 12:00 Collapse into small quivering pile.

Wednesday 12-13 I've decided that this would be a good day to donate platelets. I don't know WHY I decided this. I've also scheduled myself to work a lunch shift on this day. I think I'll keep the platelet appt and release the shift - I deserve a day on the couch with a season of Scrubs, a big bag of Grandma Utz's potato chips, some sour cream dip and a two liter of coke. mmmm.

* Oops, make that 41.5. I just spent 30 minutes catching up on Google Reader and I'll spend at least 20 constructing ridiculously long sentences here.
**It's not even a real 7 point scale. 100-92 = 8. Dammit! It's annoying enough to make 92 the lowest A, but don't call it a 7 point scale if you do so!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

rob brezney wants me to tell a story

Leo Horoscope for week of November 15, 2007

Verticle Oracle card Leo (July 23-August 22)
Stories interest me more than beliefs. I'd rather hear you regale me with tales of your travels than listen to you recite your dogmas. Filmmaker Ken Burns agrees with me. He's worried about the increasing number of people who love theories more than stories. "We are experiencing the death of narrative," he told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We are all so opinionated that we don't actually submit to narrative anymore. That's the essence of YouTube: Abbreviate everything into a digestible capsule that then becomes the conventional wisdom, which belies the experience of art." Your assignment, Leo, is to help reverse this soul-damaging trend. Spout fewer opinions and tell more stories. Encourage others to do the same.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Condition is stablilizing

I have plans for t-day break. Big plans.
I'll be in the car for 12 hours total with my stepfather, who wants to always be the driver, and my mother, who doesn't like music in the car, and my son, who has been a little surly, and my own head, which is spinning at usual nauseating speed.

I'll be spending 12 hours a day assessing or avoiding the assessment of my grandparents, who don't want to be assessed, thank you, but who each want me to assess the other!

I'll be off to the county library if the dang place is open, to use the free wifi and try to get the paperwork sorted through from the national convention (fun, revolving restaurant, iceskating, focus sessions good, met the president of the american holistic nurses association, sad about the lack of cohesiveness on my state's board). I'll work on a day in the life post, and I'll do some research about whether I'm willing/able to write a resolution for the NSNA convention in March. i'm also going to work on a FAQ for poor folks who go to national conventions, and sketch out an article on nursing blogs before ANA gets all in my business with their nursespace.org stuff...

I'll be playing chess with the kid, writing stories with the kid and then passing the kid a Captain Underpants and Super Diaper Baby book and taking a nap on the blessed baby duck-upholstered couch.

I unfortunately will not be working any shifts and trying to get out of this gaping financial maw which is the end of the semester. I will, however, be eating my grandparent's food. I will pay the low low price of wearing a nice sweater to t-day dinner for this privlege.

But did I mention the drive yet? it's the part I dread the most, though it's not going to be as bad as all that. Every time we set out, I think, this will be the trip that I buck up and say that I'm ready to take over driving, so that he can choose either passive or aggressive once and for all. Maybe I'll just do the first leg of it this year, and get all Cesar Milan about it. Shht!

I tell ya one thing - I am pretty damn tired of everything that's coming up for me being something that's playing out in the kid's life now! I am feeling like a giant projection screen, just showing him how to become a steaming bowl of crazy of his own! had a relatively good follow up conference with his teacher today - but I leave there feeling a little slimy, like it's going to take a few hours of steady thinking and writing to get clear about what I think about what she said. too much work, people!

speaking of crazy, it's ridiculous to whine about being tired and looking tired, but staying up. I turned off the alarm this morning, and we slept in til 8:45am because he didn't go to sleep til 10pm and I didn't turn off Scrubs til 2:20am. so. good night.

Monday, November 5, 2007

more emo - who can get enough?!

Peds is still kicking my affective ass. After the shower-sobbing reaction to my shifts in the PICU and NICU, I then had a series of less intense but recurrent crying jags last week after my first 12 hour shift on the unit. I am SO good at dissociating that I can't even really tell you what triggered them - but it was akin to the med-surg crying, based loosely around the idea that during those 12 hours, I could have done something or not done something to hurt someone and would never ever know it.

Therapeutic interventions recently employed:

  • massage. wow. I said to the nice LMBT, "I feel like I can't breathe a full deep breath, like there's a little ball of silly putty right *there* in my spine and if I could just bend the right way, it would crack open and I'd be able to breathe again. I've also been doing a lot of crying, and I don't want any of that sadness to get stuck in any crevices of fascia and fester". She said, "I can handle that." And she did. She did something under the edge of my rib cage that made me think of my ribs as completely detachable. And she did a controlled version of a sternal rub that warmed me up for hours. No surprise, I cried on the table. But not out of control, not like I wouldn't be able to stop crying - more like the way you might cry when someone you love tells you a very sad story and you hold their hand while they talk. It was good. I felt so guilty picking up my backpack after she'd just spent an hour integrating my upper body bilaterally.
  • tea. I don't know why, but I seem to only think of tea when it's chilly outside. I can drink hot coffee through the summer - though with admittedly less enjoyment, I do have to shoulder through it. But it's been a journey through the Stash Herbal Tea Sampler Box lately. The colors of the little packages are almost as soothing to me as the tea itself. And I had enough honey and didn't feel like I had to skimp or be judicious.
  • art. went walking around a historic neighborhood with an artist friend yesterday, looking at amazing pieces of art. It was a Winnie-the-Pooh sort of sky and blustery wind, I woke up in a good mood and so did the kid, it was good all over.
  • a productive-feeling new notecard system for Psych and Peds exams upcoming this week. I'll sign off in about five minutes to do more of these. I'm really hopeful that they will help me turn around the Bs from the second exams back to the As from the first exams of the semester.
  • journalling. Psych instructor, who I have a complete identity crush on (I love her hair, her shoes, her style of speaking, her humor) mentioned it the other day in class, and I have meaning to get started again. I stopped at some point around the time I left my husband, catastrophisizing about supeonas and whatnot. It was intensely helpful Saturday night when all of a sudden, I was going to turn myself inside out with feeling alone and sad and completely helpless to fix either of those things.
  • write-ups. I know, it's counter-intuitive that school-work would help me feel less overwhelmed. But what's happened is that I'm less afraid to include this emotional response in my weekly reflections. I think that my experience in Psych a few weeks ago (jesus, it seems like a year ago) helped me get a point of comfort, that yes, I am usually able to judge what's appropriate to disclose, and what's inappropriate. And yes, when I say something, and someone looks uncomfortable, it doesn't necessarily mean that I shouldn't have said it - it may mean that they are simply uncomfortable. And no, I shouldn't avoid writing the story about how the nurse said that some parents should be sterilized to me in the break room because I'm scared of getting her in trouble. It's good information for my instructor to have that this is the kind of thing that I'm trying to integrate on a weekly basis. This is an accurate reflection of the level of emotional processing that I am personally doing. Sure, not everyone is having this reaction; who would expect them to? But I am, and that's okay, and I want the prof to know it.
The other thing that's been really helping me this week is reading and re-reading the Love Letter to Nursing Students at Head Nurse. I can see myself in some of the things that she is excited about, and I am vicariously proud. A Love Letter to Nurse Preceptors will be forthcoming posthaste.

Smitten Kitchen is feeding me lately with images of amazing food, and reminders that food is something that I love, not just something that means dirty dishes and rotten potatoes. (though rotten potatoes are hands down the most disgusting thing that can happen in a kitchen, I think. You reach in and it looks okay and then you pull it back and it's... not okay. not not not okay.) I've purchased pumpkin and french bread. I cooked a mini pumpkin for dessert last night for the love of pete! I'm considering stuffing some onions! Come on!

speaking of amazing images, these pictures at deputydog are broadening my horizons and making me sit up and drop my shoulders. love love love them. We already talked about the 7 amazing holes list that he has, right?! wow.

Things that are not getting written about this morning - the upcoming parent-principal meeting regarding the kid and his second grade class (still not going well), the fact that I hurt myself with my menstrual cup and feel really annoyed about it, my continual brokeness and the recent crisis proportions, the chance to do an hourlong interview with a grad student doing research on single moms who went to community college and then a four year school, and the upcoming trip for the ANS Mid-Year Convention.

later, tater.