Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ha HA! Triumph!

I'm so on top of this whole going-back-to-school thing, I'm giving my nightmares bad dreams; no more anxiety dreams here! I'm kicking ass, taking names, and chewing bubblegum all at the same time.

This whole being poor thing? Not so bad when it comes to financial aid. I am getting a FULL TUITION WAIVER at the community college for the next 3 quarters! Plus $250 for books each quarter. Yessssss!

This means that I'm planning to take 10 credits per quarter and haven't figured out how much work that means I'll do. If I can afford to cut back to working 3 10-hour shifts, I'll do that. If not, I'm gonna have to keep working full time, since my awesome financial aid does nothing to help me pay rent or get food to eat.

Nonetheless, I'm very, very excited. It's looking like I have about a year's worth of prereqs to do before I can apply to the Accelerated BSN program at my state's university. So I'm going to need to get myself some very good grades in chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and the like.

I can't wait to get back to school. I frickin' love science. And science classes. I'm so excited!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dreaming about pills

I think my subconscious is getting anxious about going back to school in the fall. Or maybe just about my upcoming meeting with the advising person who'll look over my past transcripts and tell me which classes I need to take, which should then give me a rough estimate of how long I'll be at community college before I can apply to nursing school.

Last night my anxiety dreams were:

1. I'm enrolled at a med aide course at the community college, complete with practice med carts. I'm aware that I'm not supposed to pop the pills for all of the patients ahead of time, but since I don't know these patients I'm afraid I'll run out of time and do it anyway. The entire bottom drawer of my cart is filled with painstakingly organized little med cups with the correct dosages of pills for my med pass. And then I run it down a couple of stairs and when I open it I've got a huge mess of pills all out of the cups and it's going to take me HOURS to sort them all out so that I get the right ones to the right people.

2. One of our family friends that's just finished her freshman year in college is complaining of butt pain, so I offer to take a look at it and discover a huge stage 3 pressure sore on her butt cheek. I decide to measure it by pouring water in it to check the fluid volume of it and she screams in pain. ACK!

Yeah, not very realistic, are they? Anyway, at least it was easy to realize they were just dreams when I woke up.

My meeting with advising is next week, so I need to go tally up which subjects I have credits in from my first go-round at school. In real life, I'm very excited to go back to school, and have gotten some hopeful news about financial aid. If I can afford to, I'll go to school full-time and cut back on my work schedule. That way I can get my prereqs done more quickly and start applying to nursing schools.

If not, then I'll keep working full-time and go to school as much as I'm able to. Either way, it'll be me taking steps in the right direction!

Friday, June 17, 2011

How To Make Polly Mad

Here's some useful tips brought to you by people I dealt with today. Many were really good at pissing me off, so let's all learn from their expertise:

1. Management
Got a daycare resident with a very annoying specific fixation on another resident who gets combative and will kick doors for hours when you try to redirect him so he doesn't get punched by the object of his obsession? Move him in! Make sure not to have a plan in place to prevent problems so the whole joint can come to a grinding halt thanks to one person. Bonus points if they don't have orders for Ativan!

2. Coworkers
Keep saying "sorry!" and then grabbing my back and muffin top while I'm crouched down trying to put someone's stiff, heavy legs onto their wheelchair footrests. Not at all annoying go me or dangerous for my fingers. How did you know I was dying to be groped by a woman 15 years my senior at 0715? My favorite morning activity! And yes, please put your sweaty head on me while I parcel out meds and ask "is it time to go home yet?" over and over.

3. Residents
Keep pretending to be nearly deaf so you think you have an excuse to scream at me and everyone else. We'll never figure it out when you magically hear your name said in a normal tone of voice 10 feet away. I love having you grab my arm, drag my poor head near yours, and having you yell "WHAT?!? SAY IT SO I CAN HEAR YA FOR GOD'S SAKE!!" over and over.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gotten Spoiled

Now that I do three 10-hour shifts weekly as a med aide, I typically just do one caregiver shift per week in order to stay full-time at my facility. This week I'm doing two, since I covered for one of my least favorite coworkers on Monday while she got all her top teeth pulled out.

Sidenote: a surprising number of my coworkers wear dentures. And the ones that do all smoke and have all been very poor their whole lives. Lesson? If you cannot afford routine dental care, don't spend your money on cigarrettes. I just went to the dentist for the first time in years and I had a couple of cavities but I'm keeping all my teeth. And I don't smoke.

Back to my original point, though, which is that I'm feeling sorry for myself for working 2 regular CNA shifts this week instead of just 1. I've gotten spoiled really fast, apparently, and would much rather pass meds than wrestle people into attending meals, using the bathroom, and going to bed. Also, I'm noticing more and more that the way evening shifts are structured is really not conducive to teamwork. Since one person must "watch the floor" ( meaning be out in the common areas to prevent falls, elopements, and altercations) and our dinner breaks go from 6pm-7:30pm, during that time whoever is doing care in the bathroom or a resident's room is on their own. One coworker is on break and the other is watching the floor. Not handy at all!

So, poor me, I've got to get ready for work now. Happily, my Certification raise should kick in today!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Best of Shift Reports, part 2

The other morning I got a really funny shift report, which was "Charge nurse on evening shift discovered resident trying to order pay-per-view movie entitled 'Slutty Girls Do It For Money'. Resident was not successful." my DON's comment was "Are you sure? I thought 'slutty girls' did it for free." and the dayshift charge nurse suggested that "No it's homely girls that do it for free.". What other line of work would you be having this chat at 7 in the morning?

Anyway, it reminded me I haven't shared any of my favorite shift reports with you people lately, and that's a shame!

So here's one "Caregiver accidentally bumped resident's head on headboard while transferring into bed. Resident did not complain of pain, but stated that she was now dead, and that the caregiver had killed her. Resident shows no signs of injury or death."

"Resident complaining of tiredness, has been walking around all day looking for her 'midget'. None has been found."

"Mr. X and Mrs. Y may not be seated at the same dinner table any more due to throwing food and splashing liquids at one another." came after a 102 yr. old woman started a food fight.

"Resident given an anti-anxiety drug due to her persistent belief that her roomate's oxygen concentrator was going to
kill her, despite it not being turned on."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The best perk ever

The place I work has some perks for employees which are really nice but haven't been useful to me at all. Discounts on childcare? Cool, but I don't have kids. Free meal on Fridays and very cheap meals anytime one is working? Great, but the food there is never vegan. 

But yesterday I got to go drag Mr. Polly in after my shift to check his vitals and most importantly, his oxygen saturation. And that was a gigantic perk for me.

Background: the Mr. has cystic fibrosis (google it) and the only time he's been hospitalized in the 9 years we've been together was about a year after we were married. I didn't yet work in healthcare & found the whole thing terrifying. All that the hospital staff could tell us is that he was experiencing an "exacerbation" of the CF. He spent a short while on oxygen and IV antibiotics, then got to come home. If I had understood things more clearly, it wouldn't have been as scary, but I really had no clue what was going on and was very frightened.

So when Mr. casually mentioned that he was feeling unusually tired and icky and might be having a exacerbation, I started freaking out. When I got up for work the next morning & he didn't stir, I immediately got in his face and checked for respirations and pulse. Oops. Turns out I don't like "the E-word" very much.  

Anyway, satisfiedthat he was (duh) not dead, I went to work & got permission to bring him in and check his vitals after my shift.

And they were just fine.  WHEW!

His oxygen saturation was a bit low ( 93-94%) but totally liveable. Some regular antibiotics should do the trick.

And I absolutely love working somewhere that will let me do that. I bet my charge nurses would even listen to his lungs if I asked them.  I love my facility & my management.

PS for the few non-nurses/nursing students that read this: oxygen saturation is important because that's what your blood does; brings oxygen to every part of your body so that it works. No oxygen, no working. A pulse oximiter is what I used to check Mr' s saturation. Normal is 95% and above. That means the air you're breathing in is making it from your lungs into your blood. Anything below 90% is not good, and that person should be on oxygen. If it goes too low, your organs don't get enough oxygen & stop working, which would mean you die.  If it gets scary-low even with the patient on oxygen, the only thing left to do is sedate & intubate them; just like on TV, they run a tube right down the throat to let a machine breathe for you. I hope to never have that happen to Mr. Polly or myself. Which is why I freaked out & brought him to work.  And he is fine, whew!  That concludes our lesson, boys & girls.

PPS Hey nurses, what's considered a dangerously low sat? 85%? Is that when organ failure is a distinct possibility?