New phones! Vince and I got new iPhones. The same ones. I don’t know which one because I just let Jeremy buy them. I like to write that we got new phones so then I can see how long I can keep them going. Better pictures? Maybe.
I caught up on some of my desk job work today which is good. Jeremy needed to work on slides for a presentation later this week at Yale for which he was suppose to travel for, but he got someone else to travel in his stead. I kept an eye on Edda via baby monitor. We are having issues with her feet which send me into moments of despair with thoughts that she’ll lose her ability to walk when she is older. Kitachi gave me a pep talk earlier this week and said – don’t worry, Edda will walk forever. And I smiled and said, yes, Edda will walk forever.
I think I’ve passed some sort of milestone at my side gig hospital work. I have somehow 1. lost the feeling of sheer terror the night before a shift and 2. not only did I not cry at work all week, but I think I didn’t even feel like crying. My god, having a few shifts of pleasant patients can really make a big difference. Even though everything is still busy and still crazy and I’m still dropping balls all over the place, it’s 10,000 times better when someone isn’t yelling at you – get the fuck out of the room, bitch. Sigh, it’ll happen again, I’m sure. Let’s see, do I have any good hospital stories I can tell? Hmmm. Someone asked me if I was enjoying this job and I think enjoying is too strong of a word. One enjoys a mojito. One doesn’t really enjoy helping someone wipe their ass after going to the bathroom or giving shots or wrestling with tangled IV lines & cords. I enjoy watching people get better. I enjoy my coworkers.
I came home to find that my boss at my desk job mailed me this which is printed on one of those string backpacks:
I think I’m living the dream.
Jeremy got his flu shot on a business trip to CA. I got my flu shot at work. The kids got theirs today at our local corner market that just opened.
Then we go lunch where we all sat near each other, but paid attention only to our screens.
Vince is prepping for Halloween.
On my unit, people usually get admitted either from a scheduled surgery or from the ER. During day shift, we usually get patients from surgery. Nights, I think it’s mostly ER. I only mention this because it means that most patients come to me with a working IV. A good working IV can generally last the duration of a stay on our unit (usually 2-3 days). But almost every shift, one goes bad on me. The patient pulls it or takes a shower and loosens it or it’s in the crook of their arm and they kink it. A good IV gone bad is the worst thing because you have a bunch of anti-nausea meds, pain meds, antibiotics to give all at once intravenously all at once & you are already running behind and then your access is cut off. During my seven week orientation, there wasn’t a chance to really practice. I’m not sure why but I suspect it is because all patients come with a working IV and it’s kind of low on the list of things to learn. In order to get a new IV started, I basically have to beg, borrow and steal. I’m suppose to call IV therapy, but they always say – we are so busy putting in central lines, can’t you get someone to help you? I’ll put you on the list, but I can’t promise you anything. So this week, I made a concerted effort to learn to put in an IV. On Monday, I tried twice with two different experienced nurses coaching me. The first one, I bare poked the patient’s skin, too hesitant to actually pierce (yes, I do give shots all the time, but somehow this is different). The second one, I pierced the skin, but I couldn’t find the vein. Both of the nurses kind of were like – you are too scared, just do it, don’t pay attention to the patient. On Monday night, I took some supplies home with me and tried to talk Jeremy into being my practice patient. He has veins that bulge hugely in his forearms, it seems ridiculous to practice on such an obvious vein, but I just wanted a confidence builder. Jeremy actually hates needles, but he sighed and agreed and kind of muttered beneath his breath, the things I do for you… So faced with a reluctant volunteer, I dismissed him and practiced on myself. Pulled the tourniquet tight on my left forearm. Found my vein approx 3 inches above my wrist on the inner forearm. Set my left arm on the kitchen island and rubbed it with antiseptic from the IV start kit. Took a deep breath and brought the needle in as if I was sewing a small stitch through my vein and advanced it about a centimeter into my flesh. I was rewarded with a deep red flash of blood in the cartridge, I advanced the catheter past the needle into my vein. I was so happy! But then I made a mistake and withdrew the cartridge from the IV needle and now I had nothing stopping the blood flow from my vein which started flowing freely all down my arm, spattering the kitchen floor, staining my clothes. I yanked the catheter out and pressed on it with some kitchen towels. Jeremy commented that I forgot to loosen the tourniquet as well. I gave myself a pretty big bruise. Well, at least I can find a vein. Now the next person I do this to will be my second successful IV start.
It was a slightly exhausting weekend. When I’m off a full weekend, I technically do need to spend some time working from home, but it’s actually really tough to pull it off. I put in a few hours yesterday and a few hours today. We took Edda on a little family date on Saturday night. First to REI, Jeremy had a $20 gift card to spend. We looked at coats for Edda but didn’t buy any. Then we went out to pizza.
After our early Saturday date, I headed over to Lauren’s to hang out with Rory & company so Lauren & her husband could go out to a bourbon tasting party. It’s hard to remember what to do with 5-6 year olds. You say – ok, it’s time for bed and then they look at you and say – no! Rory totally did that with a smile. But he did go to bed with not much more protesting.
Vince was gone most of the weekend on a scouting trip. It was quite cold and Vince wasn’t excited to go, but go he did.
Jeremy’s work team is dressing up for halloween as Mario characters. This is who Jeremy is suppose to be.
Jeremy is home! Everything feels better when he’s home.
Beautiful running day today. I think I hurt my feet today which is kind of unusual. I’d normally be worried about not being able to run, but now I’m worried I won’t be able to work on the hospital floor. Hopefully tomorrow my little injury will be better.
Edda made a brownie beetle at camp.
Jeremy is in California now, he texted me when he boarded the plane at BWI and just now texted me again when he touched ground in Oakland. He’s off doing his work thing. He’s doing me a favor by compressing his travel schedule these days, turning down trips that he feels are not necessary, timing them so he can leave after the morning school routine or coming home in time for dinner. I appreciate all of this. I came home today and Vince asked – so Dad is gone? Where did he go? I said he’s in California. Vince was like – did he drive to California? The van is gone. I laughed – no Dad did not drive to California, he only drove to BWI. I’m on the edge of exhaustion – you know, when you can’t quite tell if you are tired or sick, I’m hoping to go to bed by 8:30 tonight. I think I wear myself out more with my emotions than with any actual physical work. Though sometimes I think it’s good to be emotional (for me at least) because oftentimes, I think I can be a little bit unfeeling & unsympathetic.
It’s been an emotional weekend for me. I can’t shake the feeling from my last two shifts. And not only that, I’m getting unusually stuck on the national news and some of Edda’s issues, just perseverating on the same crappy thing over and over again in my head. Usually, I’m only a forward anxious person. I get anxious for things that might happen in the future. I’m very rarely a backwards anxious person – I usually get over things that happen in the past, quickly shrugging off bad experiences. But somehow not today. I can’t quite figure out why. I’ve certainly had patients yell at me before and I’ve always have known I would have difficult patients, but this one stuck. Jeremy thinks it’s because he’s leaving on a business trip in the morning for 4 days and certainly that might be it, but it doesn’t mean that I can rationalize myself out of a gloomy mood.
I played two games of Life with my friend Rory. The game of Life has changed a lot over the last time I’ve played it. We made up a lot of new rules. It was fun.
Christine tried to take out Gene’s stitches at Sunday night dinner.
Vince & Jeremy working on physics homework. Projectile motion problems with sin and cosine. Thank goodness for youtube, you can basically find a person doing any problem that you have on youtube!
Hello loves! It’s been a long week. Jeremy & I both had challenges this week at work. For Jeremy, it was annual review time , which as a both an employee and manager Jeremy never, ever finds enjoyable. Does anyone love annual review time? I’m not sure it is possible for anyone to love it.
On Thursday, after a week of being pretty sick, Vince rallied to go to school to justify attending the Denzel Curry concert at the Filmore in Silver Spring. He went with a pal and it was decided among three of the four parents that we couldn’t get the kids to Silver Spring in the late afternoon/early evening (all us working at work), so we agreed that the kids would take the crosstown bus which went straight from the Rockville metro to downtown Silver Spring and that would be totally fine and that Jeremy would pick them up late after the concert ended. It was raining that day and the fourth parent came home unexpectedly early from a business trip (and thus missed out on the public transit discussion) and found the boys after school trying to figure out the bus schedule and called them a Lyft. I was like – oh no! What is more of a teenage experience than waiting in the rain for a bus to go to the other side of town to go see a concert? Vince loved the concert. There was a lot of moshing. There was the feeling of being 16 and out on school night and surrounded by everyone else at the concert seemed to be in their 20s. So exciting! Remember when you used to think someone who was 23 was old? Hahaha.
On Friday, I was at the hospital and just losing it. I will now say that I lose it everyday at 5:15 pm. I never work three shifts in a row, but most of the time, I work two days in a row and that 2nd day just kills me. The first day of two-in-a-row, at least I come in fresh from a day off and feel well rested, but that 2nd day, whatever reserves I had to manage whatever crap I am dealing with is just depleted. It is really, really hard to have a difficult patient. On Thursday and Friday both, I had a patient (the same both days) who yelled at me the entire 12 hours. A very complicated patient who needed many, many, many medications, so I needed to be in his room a lot. He tried to fire me on Friday, though no one took him seriously. It was bad enough that the patient in the next room was concerned for me because they could hear him yelling my name down the hall. OK, so that’s going on for 12 hours or 24 hours if you count the two shifts, but besides that, it is like death by 10,000 papercuts. I will give you only a small, small, percentage of what I’m working with. I try to print out a label for a stool sample, the printer doesn’t work from my computer station when I complete the task. I call the lab to force print a new label to the printer. The force print works, but the ink is misaligned so that only half the bar code prints out. I have no idea how to realign the ink and I’m like – do I send the sample with half the bar code – is there enough information for them to accept the sample? Do I call the lab again and force print on the printer all the way on the other side of the unit? Or will I send it and then they’ll reject it and then I’ll have to figure out how to get another sample? I’m trying to infuse albumin through an IV line. Albumin is a thick substance (think egg white) and the IV line is a small bore. The night nurse had to hang a bag at night and she said that it was constantly clogging and that she needed to flush it every 15 minutes. I walk into the room to see that the old bag of albumin is still struggling to be infused. So of course, it does the same for me and I’m like – how the (*&$ am I supposed to get 100 mL of this into this poor patient. I had to rejigger the IV lines in a weird way to dilute the albumin, so that something that was suppose to be done at 9:30 am is finally complete at 1 pm. The pharmacy never answers the phone promptly. I had two patients on Friday that needed, I swear, 8 medications every 2-4 hours. Without fail, 2 of medications would be missing from the medication machine and I’d have to call the pharmacy to replace the medications, but they won’t pick up the phone, or else they will transfer me to someone “covering my unit” and then accidentally hang up on me. Someone needs IV dilaudid because they are in severe pain, I go to med dispenser to get the dilaudid and because it’s a narcotic, you have to count how many are in the drawer to keep the count accurate. The top of the compartment flips open and, I swear, there are 37 loose syringes in the drawer that you have to count before you can pull one – a special kind of torture because if you do the count wrong too many times, it guess it locks you out? It is like this all day, every minute. I’m assured, by many people, that this feeling will go away, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t extremely painful right now. While I was being yelled at by my patient, my male nursing assistant was standing right outside the door making sure that I was alright and wouldn’t get hurt. My charge nurse checked in on me all day and helped me out when I needed it. I’ve given up on not crying anymore, so I cry and someone usually gives me a hug in the medication room (not a patient! yet.). On the floor yesterday, there were 5 nurses covering 30 patients (usually there are 6, but one of the nurses puked in front of the elevators and went home early) and 3 of us (3!) had fewer than two months experience. Honestly, the thing that usually sends me over the edge is someone asking me – do you think they have more lime jello/freezer popsicle icees in the cafeteria? or I think I left my phone charger in the ICU, could you get it back for me? or can you change this medication from a pill to liquid? or the ever popular – when do you think the doctor will come see me? these simple questions drive me batty. You think I could answer all these questions/solve these problems in 30 seconds, but really, they are extremely complicated to execute.
My parents were in town for a hot second. I saw them Friday night.
Here’s my dad trying to buy Vince’s friends some late night pizza.