Thursday, October 27, 2011

First week of hospital orientation

I finished my first week of hospital orientation, which translated into multiple 8-hour days of class, basically. Seriously, I finally got a tour of my unit the last day, AFTER everything else (except restraints) had been covered.

And how was all this class, you wonder?

Pretty cool, for the most part. We're the pilot program of them implementing CNA's at Father Sainty's, so every single one of the CNA's for my floor was hired and trained all together. So it feels like we're a graduating class together after all these days of orientation classes together, which is neat. Dayshift, swing shift, and noc shift all got trained and oriented together for the pre-floor stuff. We learned new things (bladder scans!) and slung each other around using the overhead lifts in the patient rooms. Good times!

Now for the humiliating news: I passed out. Cold. In front of every single other CNA on my floor, two nurse educators, and one of my managers. It was AWFUL. We were in the classroom and I have a needle phobia.

I do okay when someone is actually in front of me bleeding or has an IV inserted or whatever, but that's because I can move around to keep my BP up, and because I know I'm responsible for them and cannot faint. I've cared for someone through a compound fracture and been okay. But when it comes to the classroom setting, when someone verbally starts describing blood draws or the like, I get woozy. Even if I'm listening to a nursing podcast and they get too graphic, I have to change it or I'd be a danger on the road.

So not only do I have a crazy phobia, it's ridiculously specialized; a DESCRIPTION of blood and needles phobia.

So our nurse educator is merrily telling us how to do glucose checks, and going on and on about it, and about how we may not "milk" their fingertips to get more blood, and I was getting woozier by the second. I trying to hang on as long as I could, then I figured I'd better get out in the hallway where I can put my head down without anyone seeing me. So I stood up and started walking towards the door.

Who can guess how that turned out? - Save money this St. Patrick's Day by passing out as fast as humanly possible

Yep, I woke up flat on my back on the floor, with people over me going "Are you okay Polly? Are you okay???".

So. Freaking. Unbelievably. Embarrassing.

So now one of my managers thinks I'm going to do this while working the floor, and the rest seem undecided. All I can do is prove them wrong. And once I do, hopefully this will become a funny story about way back when I first started working at Father Sainty's.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Two Days Left

I've only got two regular days left at the GreatRep, and then my orientation at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday. I'm planning to still work one day a week at the GreatRep, because they'd like me to and I could use the extra income. Today I was looking at my residents and thinking about how much I'll miss some of them.

And then a call light went of because Mr.UberCombative (the one who Darth Vader choked a nurse) was attacking two CNA's with a full size floor lamp and they'd locked themselves in the bathroom to get away from him then hit the call light for rescue. And then while I helped the remaining CNA from that wing hunt down our charge nurse (he ended up grabbing the DON and the Administrator to deal with that fun situation) I found the charge nurse, who pulled me into another bathroom to help hold up a 103 year old woman while she digitally disimpacted her and avoided her resulting mule kicks as she screamed "That was HURT!" at us all. Poor baby, I bet it really, really did! She was waaaaaaay backed up.

And then I hustled my butt over to where I was originally supposed to be doing what I was originally supposed to be doing (helping the less able residents drink their ensures for snacktime).


I don't expect the hospital to be a cakewalk. But I do expect to be assaulted a lot less regularly.

Cross your fingers for that, anyways!

A few minutes after all this, I saw our maintenance man walking down the hall, having confiscated said floor lamp. He looked PISSED. I wonder if he has a special room where all the furniture that's been used as weapons goes for "time out" the way I used to put toys that the kids were fighting over in "time out" for a while to let them all calm down?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Yeah Buddies!

I got my first Chem exam back, and scored an A-. I'm thrilled by this! The first two chapters, what the test was on, involved me relearning all the algebra I'd forgotten since high school. Plus all the regular chemistry topics we were all learning in the class.

Now that we're past that part, the following chapter on naming compounds, Lewis diagrams, and predicting molecular geometry are way, way easier.

Plus my lab partner is really nice; she's a CNA also, and works at a skilled nursing facility. We were swapping stories about the weird residents and the most horrifying post mortem cares we've done, and it's great because we're both 'returning students' (she's in her thirties) so we're both actually motivated to do well in the class because we've got other stuff to do besides goof off.

Work today was sucky.

One of the CNA's that's been at the GreatRep for a few years was fired this week for getting into altercation with a resident. WTF? I haven't heard any details, so I don't know if she just snapped, but the resident she was yelling at is very compliant and nonverbal, and never combative. Not like it's ever okay to really yell at someone you're supposed to be caring for, but if that person had, say, slapped you across the face with their wet brief and then spat on you, one might understand raising your voice a smidgen more than your heart tells you is right. But I can't imagine that anything like that had happened, given who was involved in this. Bizarre.

And yes, the brief-slapping thing is real and did really happen. Not to me, thank goodness. But the resident who did it is alive and kicking. And told me last week that she would like to "shoot [me] with a gun and make a beautiful mess out of [me]". I just sighed and rolled my eyes. That's her horrible, horrible baseline.

I cheer myself up by talking to the adorable little lady who asks for cocoa by calling it "kokomoko". So cute!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Occupies my Heart

I'm no financial genius. I bust my ass 40 hours a week for very low pay, and go to school thanks to a state tuition waiver. My husband and I are perpetually struggling to pay off medical bills, courtesy of Cystic Fibrosis and our country's lack of socialized health care. The amount we spend every month on our health insurance premiums (mind you, I'm talking about JUST for coverage, not meds or anything else) is equal to 45% of the amount we pay for rent. Between basic health care and a place to live, that's most of our budget.

I've never invested in stock, never had a mutual fund.

I'm the 99%, clearly.

And the Occupy Wall Street protests are thrilling me. I look at the sea of people protesting that wide, wide income gap, and my heart beats faster. I feel honored that my new job is not only in healthcare, helping people, but is at a nonprofit hospital, and a union job at that.

I loved this quote from a CNN article about it: "The protest has drawn some criticism for its lack of concrete goals. But the fact that Occupy Wall Street is still going strong 19 days later means it's done what it set out to do: Draw focus to the concerns -- and anger -- many Americans have about the country's growing economic gap, plant the seed of an organized voice, and let the protest evolve naturally.

'We're showing that 'we the people' really are here, present, from all walks of life," said Tammy Bick, 49, an unemployed former medical secretary. "It's a meeting of the minds and a voicing of our issues. That alone makes it the best single experience of my life.'"

The other day, I had to go to the nearest Big Town to go get my BLS card (CPR for healthcare providers) before I start orienting at Father Sainty's. I kept Mr. Polly company when he needed to go a litle further out of the Big Town for an appointment with our accountants to get our taxes all finished up. The accountants that we use are people I've known most of my life - they work from home, and their home is on the street I grew up on.

Since we were right there, I saw my childhood home for the first time since the foreclosure. My Mother was still living there up until recently, but I hadn't been there, because of issues between me and her. I was having a very hard time setting foot in that house for the last few years, because of the condition it was in. I believe my Mother is a hoarder, although she would say differently (and does). At any rate, anyone would agree that the house was deeply in disrepair and looked obviously out of place in the neighborhood; it was the one on the block that was 'the eyesore'.

I hadn't seen it since my last visits there which were when I was cleaning and repainting the interior a few years ago.

Since it's been foreclosed, it's being renovated; pretty much gutted and redone. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about that. I think most people feel nostalgic about their childhood homes, and don't want anything changed. I found it to be a big relief to see the house being rehabilitated. I hope it turns out nicely and that the next occupants will be happy and healthy there.

I don't blame the bank for taking away the home, in this particular instance, I'm grateful that it happened. But I understand that's a rare reaction. And I would much rather that any profit from the whole transaction would be shared equally among all the workers involved.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Israeli Couscous and finding my replacement

My current job of Med Aide at the GreatRep is officially open for applicants, and there's even a job description up in the break room for current employees to apply for it. I know who I want to get it, but the DON will make her own choice there. A lot of the CNA's have told me they want to apply for it, and will I put in a good word for them, but what I've said is that the DON isn't asking for my input. If they press me on it, I've been just saying "Well, how's your attendance? That's one of the most important things" because it is. I haven't missed a day of work in months, whereas a lot of the CNA's call out at least 2x/month. We even get a bonus if you make it through the whole month without missing a shift, and they STILL don't do it. Flaky people drive me nuts.

My background check, UA, and all that other good junk is complete for Father Sainty's, plus I'll go get my BLS card before work on Monday. Look out, people in need of lifesaving, I'll be ready to go on Monday. Just kidding, I don't look forward to having to do CPR and hope it doesn't come up. I'd be terrified of cracking someone's ribs.

Between all that and studying for my upcoming first exam for Chem 121, I've been a busy bee. I've been sticking to basics for cooking, so a lot of Israeli/Pearl couscous and tempeh. Tasty, and fast! I also finally got out the food processor and made more pizza dough this week, which is always fun. I like kneading and tossing and all that. I usually put spinach and olives on my pizzas, with nondairy cheeze if I have some, and without it if I don't. 'Cause I'm still vegan.

One of the teenage CNA's at work is borrowing my copy of "Skinny Bitch" aka the book that turned me vegan, so we'll see how she comes along with all that info. I felt badly, because I forgot that she is uber-wholesome and that book is full of bad language. She even brought her parents and grandparents in to tour our facility today because they wanted to see her workplace - adorable!

I bet you 50 cents she's soon an adorable vegetarian if she reads that whole book.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Coming soon, Hospital CNA Polly!

I got the job!!!

I start on the 24th, it's about a 30% pay increase, and I get health insurance for myself and Mr. Polly.

For now I'm tentatively planning to still work at the GreatRep one day a week until I get busy taking more classes next semester. I'm very, very excited and nervous.

Coming soon: orthopedics floor Polly!