Then I Knew

The last four weeks have been….. well….. different.

I feel as though much of the last 4-6 weeks has been a blur and non-normal.

I finished my final exams mid December for microbiology (with flying colors I’ll add) then stepped into a new job with not a full week to spare, right before Christmas and the holidays holidaze.

The past month and a half I’ve been through every emotion ever invented:

  • excited
  • tired
  • guilty
  • angry
  • confused
  • scared
  • empathetic
  • loving
  • hateful
  • grateful
  • unorganized
  • organized

…..the list goes on.

Week one (week of Dec. 17th) I spent Mon.-Fri. in orientation, thinking about all the Christmas shopping I had left to do. Week two I spent shadowing a tech on the trauma floor, getting to know my new team mates and training (the day after Christmas). Last week and this week I’ve been learning how to place physician orders and manage the front desk, if need be.

Week one of my new job ( about mid week) I lay in a fetal position on the couch, crying as I wonder what the heck I got myself into. Additionally, I had a panic attack on the way home from the hospital one day as I scared myself into thinking no one had picked the girls up from school. They are left in the cold dark night  crying and scared, probably starving  at this point.

I’ve cried myself to work almost everyday when I leave the dark quiet house in the mornings and wish I could give my girls wakeful kisses and hugs and see them off to school.

Yes…..

  • I was late to work one day
  • forgot to give the afternoon babysitter a house key
  • sent one of our girls to school sick
  • forgot to have the TB test read in employee health
  • left my lunch box in the fridge at work
  • forgot to clock in one day
  • felt like a failure several times
  • suffered with self doubt

….and so on.

It’s all new for me again after being home with my girls for 7.5 years.

But, the trauma unit is interesting, new and exciting. I know without a doubt that I was created to be a nurse. It’s what I’m very passionate about.It’s not something I have to do, it’s something I want to do. Doug continually reassures/reminds me that if it’s too much, I should step back. But, I’m choosing to move forward. I’ll tell you why.

Week one  I got to shadow a PCT (patient care tech) on my new floor. She didn’t know I was coming. The nurse manager assisted me in finding her. She was with another PCT working hard to turn a tall, frail and resistant mid 20 something year old male patient in bed. We’ll call him Mr. A. When I got a little closer, the pictures on the wall confirmed that Mr. A was young and clearly not a psych patient. He has cameras in his room, which is usually indicative that a psych or Baker Act patient resides and needs continuous monitoring via video from the front desk. His hands were placed in soft restraints so he couldn’t pull the tube coming from his throat or the IV. He’s been at the hospital for over a month after a moped vs. auto accident. He doesn’t have brain damage, just still incoherent at this stage and probably on so many meds that the only thing he can do is sleep.

After I met my new preceptor and another PCT who was helping Mr. A, I quickly went right to work. I jumped in to help them turn our patient, then we got him cleaned up with much resistance.

Also in week one, I met a mother of two that was in a bad car crash and has spent 27 days (much longer at this point) in the hospital and had over 10 surgeries. The only thing she could think or talk about was her high hopes of being home for Christmas with her boys. We’ll call her Mrs. B.

Then there’s Mr. C and Mr. D who reside in the same room and are monitored at the front desk via video because they are both unstable alcoholics who could fall if trying to walk on their own. They’re buddies and plan on leaving the hospital together. They’ve built quite the friendship and its kinda cute.

Mr. E is a young (early 20′s) male who got into a motorcycle accident and is now a paraplegic needing extra care while Mr. F a 17 year old recovers from a gun shot wound.

Mr. G and Mr. H had a fight with fireworks on New Years Eve (two separate cases) and both of them suffer from severe damage to their hands and face.

The list goes on, and I’m not making this stuff up. There’s usually at least 25-30 patients on our floor, healing from some kind of traumatic event.

When I arrived back for my 2nd shift I got to help Mr. A walk the halls with physical therapy. It was his first time out of bed since his moped/scooter accident. He was still quite incoherent and not wanting to open his eyes. Two PT’s stood behind and to the side of him for support and my job was to take his hands and coerce him to move forward by using the words Come with me Mr. A, let’s take a walk. His skinny frail legs wobbled as he walked, almost the way I imagine a new baby deer walking for the first time, except he’s much bigger and very tall. I was his cheerleader and at one point he looked me right in the eyes, a little confused but then almost grateful. I got to help him walk for the first time after his accident and after over a month of being bed ridden.

My job is more extensive then just checking vital signs and blood sugar levels. It’s about being there for the patients.

I also got to help Mrs. B (mother of 2 in car crash) get cleaned up as we talked about her kids and the accident (thank God her kids weren’t in the car). She has a hard time moving but I was able to help fix her sheets, wash up from her bed, set up her laptop, find her phone charger and tidy her room. She was so grateful, and before I left the room (with tears welling up in her eyes) she said “I love you so much” and blew me a kiss. It made me tear up because honestly it was my pleasure……really, it was. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but to a young woman who has always been able to do for herself and her family, and  is now confined to the bed, it’s hard to ask for help with simple things. Can you imagine the emotions she’s feeling too after being away from her family for nearly a month and a half and stuck in a hospital bed?? She’s a very grateful person though; grateful to be living.

I’ve had several experiences like this, when I know I’m helping someone feel comfortable or helping them do simple tasks that I know they wish they could do on their own. If it’s not doing  something for them it’s encouraging them with my words or a smile. These people need a little sunshine. It gives me great satisfaction to know I’m helping in some small way.

It’s been hard to train at the front desk the past week because when a call light goes on and a patient needs assistance I want to run and help. It’s in my nature. I can’t though. I have to stay put and hope a nurse or another PCT can take care of them. I’m hoping I’ll be back on the floor soon.

It’s been a rewarding 4 weeks and I have confirmed to myself that I’m headed down the right path towards my goal of becoming a nurse.

Even though I cried myself to work the 2nd, 3rd and 4th shifts, the moments I got to help Mr. A walk,  Mrs. B with simple tasks, Mr or Mrs. C, D, E, F, G and H  feel comfortable and cared for, were the moments that I can honestly say I knew I made the right decision.

Not only that but since starting the new job, there have been some other benefits. I’ve learned to be much more organized and prepared (because I have to). I’ve savored every second with Doug and my girls. I’ve been much more productive on my days off because I know I have to get things done when I have the time. I’ve learned to prioritize what’s important in life and what’s not and only the important things get my attention and time.

This weekend was so nice with the exception of a trip to the ER to be with my sweet niece Ruby (I’ll tell ya about that later). Saturday night Doug and I and the girls sat by a fire on the dock and enjoyed being together. We ordered a pizza and had a picnic dinner out there. The girls sang several different Taylor Swift songs and provided us with great entertainment. I have video’s I’ll post soon.

Daddies girls

Sunday we went for a long bike ride then came home to a wonderful smelling aroma as a roast cooked in the oven all day long. Doug made homemade bread too. It was amazing. Love that man!

Girls bike ride

The weekend felt like the old days to me and I loved every second of it.

I’m grateful for where I am right now. I’m grateful for my family, for their support, for my new job and for new opportunities. In the spring I will apply for the nursing program! I can’t believe it’s already time. I remember when I first started back and had so many pre-requisites to complete. Now I’m even closer to my goal and even more excited about it because of those moments in the trauma unit the past 4 weeks when I knew I’m doing what I was created to do!

When I start to feel overwhelmed I think of this great quote:

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” -H. Jackson Brown Jr.

To my friends and family, I know I haven’t been around much lately, but please know that I still love you! I’m still trying to get acclimated to my new schedule and soon things will fall back into place.

Have a great week family and friends. xo

L

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