Friday, January 25, 2008

What did you do in school today?

After meeting a friend for coffee this morning (what, like an adult? with disposable income and free time to just chill at the coffeeshop? who am i!), I careened into the park-n-ride lot, got the last spot in the next to the last row away from the bus stop, and got to campus by 10a.

Stopped by the Academic Counselors office to sign for being a Patho tutor again (I am certifiably insane. Seriously. It's not even funny anymore. I cannot stop signing up for stuff!!). I loved this so much for the half a semester that I did it! I wish that they had told me a week earlier so I could have included it in the last round of scholarship application stuff that I sent out.

Disciplines of Nursing class, which I love. We watched some of a movie calledWit, with Emma Thompson and talked about caring. I had a chance to tell my favorite store of watching residents change a wound-vac dressing (huge abd wound) without any additional pain meds on board bc they couldn't/wouldn't/didn't wait for the nurse, and I didn't feel I could ask them to wait, and the patient didn't/couldn't/never thought to refuse the procedure at that time.

I'm really impressed with this teacher - she has five word phrases to add to each of her bullet points, then comes out to the seats and prompts discussion in a way that lets us know that she really wants us to speak up. I sent her an email today saying that our class is traditionally very close-mouthed. (It seems almost passive-aggressive to me sometimes, the way they will just stare at a lecturer. That and the packing up at 11:48. stop it. sit still for another two minutes.)

Then I dashed to a discussion panel - two lesbian researchers/faculty talking about issues of being out in academia. good for folks who are looking at phd interviews and such. I enjoyed it. nice to do something gay. found a new fellow SON queer-friendly person in the room.

Then dashed back across campus, ducking into Maternal Child late. The guest lecturer was from the hospital where my son was born, and at the break, I told her of my story of having an 11lb 11oz newborn in the special care nursery with transient tachypnea of the newborn, and how it was hard to be beside the parents with 2lb babies and hear the nurses all fawn over my chunky bubba. She told me that she finds the moms with the most elaborate birth plans to be the ones that end up in the special care nursery. I managed to not get bristly until she said - I just wish they would make this their birth plan - Have a healthy baby, get an epidural and be done with it. Oh, I said, and went back to my seat to mutter for the rest of the class.

Then tonight, I've been making a jeopardy board and a big jar of phlegm for the anti-smoking session of tomorrow's nursing school outreach for Girl Scouts. What's in a cigarette and starts with N? How can you find a smoker with your eyes closed?


Thursday, January 17, 2008


Dammit if this Public Health Nursing class hasn't started out exactly like Fundamentals of Nursing, which was the bane of January 2007. I just shake my head when I read the syllabus. Whenever I bravely pick up the text and attempt Chapter three, I am greeted with pages of seemingly impossible distinctions between terms which mean NOTHING to anyone but a dictionarist or a nursing textbook editor. Why do I care what the difference between a population and a community is? What if I ask someone else - won't they have a different set of criteria to distinguish the two which would be equally logical as the authors' rationale?

We watched a video today about a Community Based Public Health Initiative. When asked to explain the program, one woman said, Well, it's a public health program that is based in the community.

I'm reduced to asking, as my erstwhile 'traditional' undergraduate students do: Will this be on the test? and if so, in what format?

because, honestly, it's a string of meaningless words to me right now.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

what're we here for again?

Last night at 130am, I was very busily filling in my week's schedule, and looking for the chunks of time to get groceries, write up the scripts for the Nursing Student Outreach project, and buy puzzles for our upcoming SNA conference. I realized that I had yet to find the chunks of time before class on Thurs that I could skim the material.

I get very attached and almost proud of how full my schedule is. It becomes a challenge to see how many activities I can cram into one day - tomorrow, I'll be in seven different places to meet people! What do I win?!

What's so funny to me is that the classes, the school, well they're the reason for all this hubbub, the very stage where the drama is happening! And yet, my focus is so often NOT on the classes. I'm very attentive during class itself- and I'm an excellent studier the week before the exam. But day-to-day, keeping a focus on the coursework? Blah.

Part of this happened during my transfer from bare bones community college to big-time, fancy-pants university. I want to get my financial aid worth! A lecture and panel on incarcerated women? I'm there! Meet a couple folks about an LGBT movie night? Absolutely! (by the way, I'm gearing up to ask the powers that be to host a gay movie screening and discussion - wish me luck!) Print off that stuff on 100 Projects for Peace, with the application that's due today for $10K of funding when you have a tiny idea of something involving kids and Quakers and art... sure, why not.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the feline tumbleweeds are taking over again. I'm currently debating between allocated $50 to an air filter that would suck the cat fur out of the air, possibly, or vacuuming more often, which would reduce the total mass of fur, but would stir it up that much more.

Off to bed, with four Advil for the sore new-filling-tooth (my first in 21 years!) and the hopes that I don't kink myself all up again in my sleep after that yoga class.


La salud Materno y la salud publica

This semester looks tough, but I'm feeling quite calm about it so far.

Maternity – I’m going to have to really work on checking myself in this course. Angry notes on the first Powerpoint like when the prof said quite cheerfully that “the lithotomy position is essentially pushing uphill” and that it’s really designed to help “the provider deliver the mother”. Oh. Ouch. On one hand, thanks for being frank. I agree, as do a thousand other mothers who are on their backs right now, pushing uphill for the benefit of their providers. On the other, WHY ARE WE SITTING IN THIS CLASSROOM AND NOT WRITING LETTERS AND MARCHING UP AND DOWN THE STREETS AND WHATNOT? I was trying to explain this to my mom tonight and I could just hear my voice ratcheting up and getting nasty-mean. I wonder sometimes when I will feel less angry about my son’s birth. It’s certainly not going to be Fridays 1-4 or Mondays 2-9p.

Tonight, in my first clinical, we worked in the newborn nursery, and I got to give a Hep B shot, take vitals, and hold a couple babies. It was good. It was a little weird to realize how new in the world they were, and how calm, relatively, you know? There were two babies who had just come from being circumscised that day and one hadn’t nursed since, coming up on five hours. The other had some bleeding at the site, and diaper change was really hard, with the Vaseline gauze to wrap around a bleeding penis smaller than my pinkie.

My hard-to-leave-it-there moment was with a mom who was wheeling her daughter back to the NBN from having fed her in the room. The baby needed to go back under the bililights, and I said that the sunglasses they used here were much more stylish (and more effective-looking) than the ones my son had when he was under the lights. I told her about the little velcro stickers they put on his temples and how I wanted to scream because that was my new baby that they had just stuck stickers on! She smiled, but still looked so sad, and I said, It's hard when they're under the lights - it feels like they're so far away, like you can't pick them up or snuggle. She nodded, and teared up.

I wasn't really expecting the tears (note to me: expect tears). I definitely wasn't expecting the staff nurse to come roaring around the corner, demanding to know if John or I knew why that mother just left here sobbing (ie, what did one of you fools say to her on your very first night on the floor!). I told about what I’d said, and the staff nurse suggested we try to get an order for one of the bilibeds they have.

I told my clinical instructor, she's on board, but she won't let me call the pediatrician to ask for the order bc I can't take a verbal order. So the staff nurse tracked down the ped. He said that he hadn't seen the beds and didn't know enough about them to order it. I was really crushed, and wanted to run down to the mom's room, and tell HER to call the ped and make him order it right now. Hard to leave knowing that she'll feel that sad or sadder for at least another 12 hours, if not longer, if breastfeeding doesn't pick up and she doesn't pink up.

Community Health - which is also full of import, since I think that may be where I'd like to practice, and I'm worried about saying that too many more times before I actually start clinicals! I'll be doing prenatal home visits with a nurse based at a local health clinic. I meet her tomorrow, and I hope I like her!

Both of those are the five hour courses, and they both have a couple of big papers/assignments/careplans/critical incident writeups.

Then there's two one hour courses - Disciplines of Nursing: Professional Roles and Disciplines of Nursing: Eight Touchy Feely Concepts That Needed to Be Incorporated into the Curriculum.

I'm looking forward to both of them - the profs look good and sharp and we appear to be on the same page that the class is not the most important thing happening this semester, but the most important thing that you're doing from 11-2 Thursdays or 2-3 Fridays.

I'm also taking Spanish for Health Care Professionals. I placed into the advanced section and I'm hoping that I can hold my own. It's online for assignments, and if I come to conversation hour (which sounds a little scary), I won't have to call in for conversation one on one with the instructor (which sounds scarier).


I've been attending Quaker meeting for a couple of Sundays, and tonight I went to a yoga class that used bolsters, blankets and eye pillows to create poses that one essentially laid in for several minutes. All in dim light and silence. Very odd. It's a nice contrast to the chaos of the first of the semester. When I laid down into the first pose tonight, it felt like my body was ratcheting, creaking tighter and tighter with each breath. By the end of the class, I was feeling more smoothed out, less crackly.

I'm grateful to have had the luxury of silence in this week.