29 March 2008

Blogging together

Eowyn and I are sitting here reading everyone's blog. Eowyn is very interestedly following along as I scroll down and read. And now she is very engrossed in watching me type. She has really become such a sweet kitty lately. I have been making extra time to spend with the cats and it really seems to be paying off. Missy has a new obsession with trying to escape out the front door whenever Mike or I come home or leave. She has gotten out a few times, but then she doesn't know where to go after that, so we pick her up and bring her back inside. The cats really missed Mike and I when we were gone for Easter. I'll blog about that pretty soon. :)

13 March 2008

Spring is arriving!

Spring is arriving!!

There are patches of new, green grass sprouting up from among the dead brown, winter grass. There are white blossoms on some of the trees at school. There were birds flirting and flitting about on the Broncho statue at one of the school entrances. It was warm today, in the high 60's. Just beautiful. Partly cloudy skies, not too windy. Perfect weather to drive with the window down to and from school. :) Yay!!!

Good news

Mike went in for his ultrasound this morning on base, and the radiologist said that he did not have any gall stones, or any other abnormalities in his abdomen. Answered prayer! Thank you all for praying for Mike this week. We really appreciate your prayers. :)

I'm guessing he just had a really severe case of the flu last weekend. He has one more doctor's appointment tomorrow to review all his other lab tests and stuff.

10 March 2008

Scary Saturday Night

I finally finished my clinical paper (longer than I expected it would be), so now I can blog guilt free.

Mike was sick over the weekend; he started feeling pretty nauseous Friday night, so we left Bible study early and came home. He went straight to bed. Saturday morning when I woke up, he said he still felt sick, so I asked him if he wanted me to stay home from the OSNA conference in Tulsa. He said that he would be all right; so I told him to text me if he needed me to come home early. He texted me about 45 minutes after I left to say he had vomited, but he didn't want me to come home. I got home from the conference in Tulsa about 1700, and he was up and about and had taken a shower. This was a good sign. I made him some soup for dinner, which he ate with no problem.

Late in the night Saturday night, Mike woke up and started vomiting again. He was complaining of a lot of pain, so I called Tinker AFB clinic to talk to a nurse. I left a message. Before they called back, Mike's pain had increased, so I decided to go ahead and take him to the ER. After he got dressed, he was in the living room and just laid down on the floor. He was in so much pain, he was literally writhing in pain. He said that he couldn't get up [to go to the ER]. I asked him if he wanted me to call an ambulance, and he said yes, so I called 911. (That was really scary - I have not had to call 911 for a medical emergency before). I told them what was going on and they said to not move him and just make him comfortable. Mike's shirt was now almost soaked with sweat and he was in so much pain. I had no idea what I could do for him. I was so scared to see him in so much pain and not be able to do anything for him. I couldn't give him tylenol or anything because he would have to drink to take it, and drinking with stomach pain is a BAD idea. After what seemed like forever, but was probably only a few minutes, in which time I shut the cats up in the bedroom, the EMS people finally arrived. Mike was throwing up again when they showed up, so I just yelled that the door was open when they knocked. They asked a few questions and looked at Mike. They asked if he could walk now, and he said yes, so they took him downstairs where a gurney was waiting for him. I followed, barely remembering to lock the door behind me. Mike laid down on the gurney and they put a blanket on him and strapped him in. They said I could meet them at the hospital and they would take Mike in the ambulance. The ambulance was parked on the opposite side of the building, so I ran to my truck and got in. I didn't even notice the cold, even though I didn't have my coat on. By the time I had turned the ignition, I was crying. I was so scared. The only person I could think of to call was Abby, so I called Abby and Asher answered. I asked if I could talk to Abby, and just asked if she could come to the hospital, and that Mike had been taken by ambulance to the hospital. I wasn't even thinking straight, I was so scared I didn't know what to do or what to think.

When I got to the hospital, I just parked in the first spot I came to, and ran into the hospital ER. I went straight to the ER triage nurse (who thankfully was not triaging a patient), and explained the situation and asked where I could find my husband. She checked the computer and said that he hadn't arrived yet, to just sit and wait and she would come and get me when he arrived.

So I sat down, and was crying. At this time, the nurse from Tinker called me back and I just explained to her what had happened, so there was no need to talk to her further. After what seemed like another eternity but again was probably only a few minutes, the triage nurse came and got me. Mike wasn't in a room yet, he was in a hall. So I went around the corner, trying to calm down so Mike wouldn't see me so upset, and went to Mike and just grabbed his hand. I asked him how he was feeling, and he said the pain wasn't as bad. After a few minutes, they brought him into a room and we waited to see the physician. The nurse came in and started an IV on him and drew some blood and gave him some Phenergan for the nausea. After he took the Phenergan, his pain started to disapte a bit. And by now, Abby had arrived. I was glad she was there, but I felt pretty bad because she looked so tired. It also occured to me somewhere in this time that I had left the cats in the bedroom, with no litter box and no food or water. After the doctor came in and did his exam, he said that it was either the flu or gall stones. There wasn't really much they could do for Mike at this point, but they wanted to wait to see if the pain returned. If it didn't return, they would discharge him. They also said that if it was the flu, then he would probably be getting diarrhea later in the day (which never happened). So around 0600 or so they discharged him and we went home. After Mike was safely tucked in bed and sleeping, I went to fill his prescriptions at Walgreens on the corner. Then I came home, got Mike some seven up to put by the bed and got into bed. I was back up about an hour later because Sarah texted me about church. We talked for a few minutes and then I called Deanna, one of our Sunday school teachers to tell her what was going on and that we wouldn't be in church. She prayed with me and I am very thankful for prayer.

Mike woke up around noon later that day, and I moved the small mattress into the living room so he could lay down and watch movies. I made sure he had lots of fluids and when he was ready, I [tentatively] made him some more soup. He didn't complain of any more pain the whole day, or night.

This week he's on an exercise, so he's out in the field. He's not supposed to even come home until Friday night. :( I have talked to the nurse on Tinker and they want him seen pretty quickly. However, I can't get ahold of Mike in the field. I did send him texts with her number and such. If I don't hear from him by the afternoon, I might call his shop and speak to a supervisor there. The doctor/nurse on base is not happy that he's out in the field on an exercise. I don't know what I can do. I don't want to get him into trouble by being presumptuous in calling his shop and getting him out of the exercise. He did talk to his supervisor yesterday and told him what happened, so at least I know that someone out there in the field with him knows whats going on.

National Scholars Honor Society

I received an invitation to put in an application with the National Scholars Honor Society. (www.magnacumlaude.org). I put in my application (GPA, school organizational activity involvement, community involvement, etc) and I received an email this morning that my application was accepted (however, I was not accepted for any scholarships). I just have to put in my acceptance now and pay the one time payment of $85 for a lifetime due.

I have a question for my readers: do you guys think it's worth it? I can put it on my resume, scholarship applications, etc. They give me a nice parchment document and a little lapel pin. You have to have a certain GPA to get invited. As I was perusing the members list, alot of members were MD's, etc.

I, personally, would like to do it, because I like to have things like that on my resume. Basically, it's just an ego booster for myself (and my self esteem). I am a member of Alpha Chi and Phi Theta Kappa, other honor societies, and actually received an invitation to join another honor society at school, which I probably will. I paid $55, and $60 in dues to those societies, respectively. The difference between the National Scholars Honor Society and the school honor socieites is that it is not associated with school. It is an independent honor society.

P.S. As my GPA stands right now, I do not qualify for top honors recognition of Summa Cum Laude (which is what I want), I do qualify for Magna Cum Laude - but just barely.

Hmm, well, leave a comment and let me know what you think. :)

08 March 2008

OSNA Conference

Today I went to Tulsa for the Oklahoma Student Nurses Association Conference. It was a really great conference; the key note speaker was pretty good. We had a NCLX breakdown session of what the NCLX is really like and some myth buster things. There was also a fantastic pharmacology review. Since I'm in pharm right now, it was really helpful.

We also had breakout sessions where we got to meet nurses from different areas such as NICU, PICU, ICU, ER, L&D, M/S, ARNP, the Navy and a Clinical Nurses Specialist. We had to choose four to see, so I chose Med/Surg, the Navy (of course), the Clinical Nurse Specialist and Labor & Delivery. They had a lot of really great insight into the different areas of nursing. One of the things that I love about nursing is that it is so diverse.

I was expecting to be the only student from UCO there, but Katherine and Renee and two other students were there. So we all sat together. It was good to see some friendly faces.

I'm really glad that I went. It was definitely worth the drive to Tulsa. :)

On a different note, I checked the UCO webCT when I got home and my psych grade was posted. I got a C. :( I was pretty bummed out about that. I felt really good going into the test, I studies a LOT of NCLX questions, Christine and I met for study group, I did online quizzes from the text book, and I did the extra review stuff. I don't really know what happened . .. Now I have a C in the class. :( I was really hoping for an A. I'll have to do REALLY great on the next tests. . .

06 March 2008

More Closed Doors

I had wanted to run for UCO Student Nurses Association office at the last meeting in February. However, I was still pretty sick with bronchitis, so I missed the meeting, and the chance to run. I checked the webct tonight, and they are having another chance to run for office at the March meeting (which I had actually forgotten about). Fantastic! I thought as my hopes rose. I still have a chance. The announcement referenced the bylaws in our nursing student handbook, which I had not actually read since last summer. So I read them again. I am not eligible to run. Why? Because I am a part time student. So once again, more doors close for me because I got sick last fall. I also re-read some of the scholarship stuff, and it appears that scholarships are only awarded to full time students, which I am not. So, I did all that work on writing essays, and running around getting transcripts copies and letters of recommendation (instead of studying, I might add), and it will be to no avail. I am really frustrated right now.

I feel as though I am being left behind, forgotten, invisible to other nursing students around me, unable to relate to what is going on because I am there only part of the time. Passed up for financial opportunities, passed up for leadership opportunities. Passed up for more opportunities to get involved in nursing. Passed up on being able to try to relate more and be a student more.

In closing of this blog, I am going to copy the essay I wrote for one particular scholarship outlining why I am dedicated to nursing and a brief summary of my background and my goals as a nurse.

Committed to Nursing

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Herodotus said that, around 420B.C. Herodotus was talking in reference to the Persian mounted postal couriers, however I think that this quote could also apply to nursing students, and to the nursing profession itself. Switch “couriers” with “nursing students” or “nurses”, and one has just outlined one form of the type of commitment to care and to people that a nurse must possess. As history teaches us, we also have to know where we have come from while at the same time having a goal for the future. In this essay, I will briefly address these three topics.
In my personal life, beside the conditions that one must brave in the above quote, I think I could also add: “nor debilitating sickness, nor lack of financial means, nor other unpredictable life-changing obstacles stays these couriers [nursing students] from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Since I have begun my journey in nursing school, I have been faced with a number of obstacles that might encourage another person to give up and turn back. After being hospitalized for infectious mononucleosis last fall and the subsequent months long recovery, and then facing the $10,000 plus hospital bills because I didn’t have health insurance, I was faced with a very big decision. I could quit nursing school, recover and go back to work as a research coordinator and pay off my debt, or I could stay in nursing school while recovering (at a much slower pace of study) and think outside the box of how to pay off my debt. Because I am committed to the profession of nursing and fulfilling my calling to nursing, I chose to stay in school and not return to work. I will admit that it has been a very difficult for me to accept that I will graduate a year later than planned. However, that has not swayed me from the commitment that I made to become a nurse. If anything, I have learned that one absolutely must not give up in the difficult times, that healing comes, and there is a way for the committed. I know that I will carry that with me through out my career and hopefully be able to pass that on to others.
I am not one of those nurses who say that I grew up knowing that I was going to be a nurse one day. I knew I wanted to help people from the time when I was a little girl, I just didn’t know what avenue I would take to do that. It wasn’t until I was 21, and working for the Center for Research in Women’s Health as a Data Manager, that I realized that I wanted to be a nurse. Working with patients in various research or clinical settings really opened up my eyes to the world of nursing. I also had a few really great nurse mentors that embody the spirit of care that is nursing. So I changed my major to nursing and began the journey toward nursing school, and ultimately to becoming an RN. During that time I worked full time, first as a Data Manager, then as a Clinical Research Coordinator. I started my own company, TeganHGCA, LLC, when I was 23, and began to contract out with various research clinics as a coordinator. In September 2006, I sat for and passed the national Society of Clinical Research Associates Certification Examination, thus making me officially a Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP). Coordinating clinical trials has been the closest I have been able to come to working as a nurse, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. However, my drive to learn more about the art of nursing so that I might be more thoroughly equipped to care for people in whatever setting I am in has propelled me to continue my education and not settle with where I am now, educationally or occupationally.
I do indeed have my sights set on the future, and I know that the future holds nursing for me. I have several, short and long-term, goals that I am aiming for. The first goal, and right now, the most important, is to successfully navigate and graduate from nursing school. Immediately following is successful passing of the NCLX. Once I have graduated and passed the NCLX, I do possess specific ideas of how I can help my community as a nurse. As a Believer in Christ, I hope to be able to reach out and minister to people as a nurse with the love of Christ, no matter where nursing takes me. It is my hope that I will be able to use my nursing skills during short-term health care mission trips in other countries where health care is not as accessible and there is a need. As far as what area I want to specifically work in as a nurse, I have an interest to work in two areas: the first is research, continuing as a clinical research professional. The second area is in a hospital setting, such as a med/surg unit or critical care nursing. I do know that wherever I serve as a nurse, I want to serve with to the best of my ability and with the utmost care for my client.
Herodotus may not have covered the commitment to nursing that an individual must possess as a whole when they enter the profession, but I think he is definitely on the way. Nursing is not a profession to be considered on a whim or even lightly. I have put careful thought, time and consideration into the commitment to nursing that I have made. When faced with tough choices, I have not backed down. In essence, I feel that I am committed to caring, to the art of nursing. Coming from a research background, I have also carefully thought through my goals and outlined the route to take in which to achieve said goals. In ending, I complete this essay with a quote from Florence Nightingale, which I hope will leave the reader with the feeling that my actions in the past, present and future will show my true character and commitment to nursing: “I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words; they ought to be distilled in actions which bring results.”

05 March 2008

Psych clinicals

I had my first week of psych clinicals this week. My rotation is at Griffin Memorial Hospital, the state run in-patient psychiatric facility. It's actually the only one (as in state run in-pt facility) left in the state of Oklahoma. There are about 100 patients there right now, and some patients have been there for years. The goal of Griffin is to get patients back to a level where they can function in society ~ for some patients, that isn't ever going to be a reality. (For example, if you think you are from another planet and you aren't living in reality, it makes it hard to function in society.)

Orientation was Monday, yesterday we had a meeting with our group reviewing the outlines of the papers and process recordings that we have to write. Then Brittney, another nursing student, and I, were assigned to Unit 53-300, met with the charge nurse, went over policies and procedures and then we reviewed a chart for our first paper.

Unit 53-300 is an acute care unit. Basically new patients who are admitted to Griffin to come to this unit, or the other acute care unit. Some people are detoxing off any number of illicit drugs and/or alcohol or they are having an acute episode of a psychiatric disorder.

Today was our first full day on the unit. When we got there, we learned that there had already been violence on the unit that morning; a male patient had broken the plexiglass in front of the TV and a shelf. Hmm. We had been informed about the possibility of violence and what to do if a situation like that arose. The first thing that we did was sit in on the team management meetings of the morning. This is where the doctor, a resident, the head nurse, and one or more social workers (plus students) meet with the patient to talk about their progress, or lack there of, and the treatment plan. It was a good way to get to meet some of the patients, or at least see who they are.

After that, we went out onto the unit. At Griffin, all of the patients are kept behind various sets of locked doors, for safety reasons. It was actually pretty interesting out on the unit. There were a variety of patients there - bipolar manic, depressed, delusional, paranoid schizophrenic, detox from polysubstance abuse. Brittney and I just sat down where some patients were congregating in the day room and just observed, asked casual questions, etc. Some patients were really nice, some were a little on the aggressive side, some were really out of touch with reality (Snow White is not your daughter). There weren't any more violent episodes on the unit while we were there. Some staff members or other patients got cursed at, but we were told not to take it personally if we got cursed at.

I actually really liked it. Some of the patients just wanted someone to listen to them, so they would tell their story. It didn't matter that we weren't therapists or counselors, they just wanted to be heard. People are people, and some just have disorders that make it hard for them to function. Of course, next week might be different . . . .

04 March 2008

Close Call?

So Sunday night Mike and I decided to go out to eat for dinner even though there was a severe thunderstorm in the area because we didn't have anything the fridge/freezer that would take less than an hour to make. And we were both pretty hungry because we hadn't eaten in about 10 hours. We don't have TV, so we didn't check the weather before we left to find out exactly where the storm was or was going. So we go outside, and it's pretty calm actually. Eerily calm. And it's warm - like high 60's. You could see the lightening from the thunderstorm off to the southwest and west. When we got into the car, I turned the radio to a station that was giving frequent weather updates. There was now a tornado warning for SW OKC, down where Hillcrest was actually, but by the I-44 and I-40 junction. So I'm thinking to myself, well, that's about 20 or 30 miles to the southwest and the storm is heading north, so it'll just barely miss us. Mike and I had decided to go to Don's Alley for dinner on SE 29th, so we were headed west down 29th street. By the time we get into Del City (about three minutes), the tornado sirens were going off. And it was still really eerily calm (and warm). So Mike and I had a brief discussion and both agreed to get fast food and go home. So we pull into the nearest fast food place, Wendy's, and as we drive by, we notice there is no one in the restaurant. So we pull around and leave. We drive back east on 29th street, tornado sirens still going off, and Mike turns north onto Air Depot because there are quite a few fast food places on Air Depot. Just as we're pulling into another Wendy's, the radio announces that the storm has turned and is now heading due east down I-40 and Reno Ave. (We live off of Reno ave about a mile from I-40). So basically, the storm was headed right for us. Again, it's the same story at Wendy's - no one's there. I said they're probably in the deep freezer hiding. So I told Mike to just go home and we'll see what we can find to eat. By now the wind is really starting to pick up, and the sirens are still going off. By the time we get home, the storm is literally also right on top of us. As Mike is pulling up, the wind has really picked up and it's swirling all around. The leading gust front was right on us. By the time Mike had parked the car and standing with the door still open, I was out of the car and down the hall of the building we parked in front of. (I was a little freaked out.) Noticing Mike wasn't moving with quite the same urgency that I was, I stopped and shouted for Mike to "Run!". So Mike and I ran up to the apartment as the wind was swirling around us at a rather high speed. We were still under a tornado warning, so I knew a tornado could form at any minute and we were right under the storm, literally. Just a side note: I seemed to be running a lot faster than Mike. So we get into the apartment and the first thing I did was change out of my kakhis into jeans, which took about 30 seconds. Then I grabbed Eowyn and threw her into the bathroom. Mike was just calm and pointed out that we didn't really have anywhere to go, we were upstairs in an apartment building. I knew he was right, but I also knew we could always take our chances in the bathtub. Then we couldn't find Missy, so I got even more frantic looking for her. It turned out she was already hiding in the bathroom cabinets. The storm did pass us by and we ended up not hiding in the bathtub. Mike was quite calm and level headed through out all of this. This is actually the first storm that has freaked me out in a number of years.

So after the rain started, we turned on the computer and watched the live radar. Once the worst of the storm had passed us, we decided to reventure back out for dinner. It was now raining really hard. And I mean really hard. We went downstairs and peered out from the hall of the building, making our plan for a mad dash to Mike's car. Even running at full speed, we were still completely soaked in the seconds that it took to get to Mike's car. And it was COLD. It had to have been in the 40's. (Remember that not even an hour before, it was almost 70 degrees.) As we started to pull out of the apartment drive, Mike remembered that his car doesn't do well in the rain - something about the fan belt quitting or something. Not wanting to get stranded in the rain, we backed up and parked next to my truck and made another mad dash in the rain to get into my truck. I was really glad we decided to take my truck because the roads were flooded with 6 inches of water in some places. (Keep in mind it's only been raining for about 20 minutes). So we decided to go to Chili's since it was after 2100, and Chili's is really close by. I had to drive 30 mph the whole way and avoid the outside lane because it was pretty much just thick water the whole way there.

We ended up getting to Chili's safely and got to have a nice meal. It was a nice impromtu, memorable date. :D Hopefully there won't be any storms with tornado warnings passing right over us in the future though.