Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nearly there...

Intern orientation is nearly over! Yippee!! I am incredibly exhausted and ready to get to the Labor and Delivery unit and off of my seat. I spent Monday and Tuesday in surgery. I do not like surgery. I am not grossed out or upset by it - in fact it is incredibly fascinating to me. Nope, that isn't the problem at all. I just don't have any desire to stand for many long hours in one very cold spot and just do very little! Monday I watched a unilateral thyroidectomy which took about two hours. I have had a total thyroidectomy so this was of interest to me. This particular patient had a mass on her thyroid and it took some doin' to get it all out, but it was still interesting.

Yesterday, however, was flat out grueling! Patient: 4'11" female post gastric bypass surgery in need of extensive plastic surgery. Our job: to remove excess skin and fat from her abdomen and under her arms (known to plastic surgeons as "bilateral bracheoplasty and abdominoplasty with liposuction"). This surgery took SEVEN hours, people! I simply stood there - got to hold her arm up while this phenominal surgeon got her draped and prepped. Then I stood there! The doctor was incredibly nice (and believe me, some of them aren't) - he explained everything and talked and joked so the time didn't necessarily drag, but I was still exhausted! I won't gross you out with details, but that lady was wheeled out of the operating room weighing considerably less than when she went in! A rewarding process without doubt, but not for me!

Today the chaplain of the hospital came by. Ours is a Catholic hospital so we have a very strong Christian mission statement and they do a wonderful job of making certain that all of the employees know and embrace that concept. I have long held a great deal of respect of Chaplain and he didn't dissappoint me today either. I just think it is so wonderful that I can go to work in this day and age and get to listen to scripture read over the PA system at 10 AM! Chaplain is working hard on a new program he would like to establish where all the team members coming off of a code blue or any other trauma (death etc.) would be required to "decompress" after these events. He wanted to make certain that all the interns knew that he wanted to hear from us if we needed someone to pray with us or just listen. His words were so neat and I know they will remain with me a long time: "You cannot minister from an empty cup". This is so true, but I think it is just incredible that I get to work for a hospital that recognizes and attempts to address this issue.

I have been working on travel plans for this summer. When the hospital hired me, my supervisor told me to go ahead with any travel that I wished for this year so I am taking her at her word and planning! On July 3rd Randy and I will sail out of Galveston on our first cruise - I think I mentioned that before. On July 23rd our family of six will fly to Orlando, Florida and spend the next eight days at the Disney gaggle of parks there. We are excited that Aunt Esther may get to come see us for a while when we are there. In August I am going on my first "work and witness" mission trip. Our church is taking a group to Sri Lanka and I get to go! We are taking a medical team into the tea plantations of Haton. A very dear friend of ours is an obstetrician/gynecologist and she is going with us. We will be there for 10 days - I know this will be a life-changing experience and I would love to have your prayers as we go. I will definately keep ya'll updated as I travel.

Tonight I am grateful and excited that God has put me here at this time. Monday, June 23rd, I will be taking nursing state board examinations. Provided I pass, I will be finally able to close the book on the odyssey that has been nursing school.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I just LOVE peonies! I have always loved them and today I hit the jackpot at Randall's. I found these beauties alongside their hot pink sisters and snatched them right up! Trust me, the photos don't anywhere near do them justice - they are a stunning bright white with a gorgeous pink blush getting deeper as you get toward the outer petals. And the smell is divine! I wish you were here to enjoy them with me...Melissa is here to enjoy them with me! I sure wish I could grow these beauties, but alas my thumb is as brown as mud. Maybe someday I'll figure it out!
In other news... Andrew was awarded the highest honor our church awards in it's scouting program - this is the equivelant of an Eagle Scout! Get a load of the tie...
Tie notwithstanding, we are very proud of our son! You can kind of tell how tall he is - the kid standing to his right (the left in the photo) is the same age as he is and they are standing on the same step in our sanctuary!
Today I finally received the ATT for the NCLEX. (Authorization to test for state boards) This was a huge thing for me. This means by early next week you could log on to the website for the state of Texas and put in my name in the "graduate nurse" section and it should show that I am licensed! I had wanted to take the exam by the last week of June, but alas there are no test dates available at this time for that week - so I had to take early July. I really had wanted to get it over with while all the information was still fresh, but I suppose I will just keep on studying.
I am in "intern orientation" at the hospital. This is two full weeks of classes going over the policies and procedures of the hospital, touring each unit, going over the policies and procedures of the hospital, meeting all the administration, going over the policies and procedures of the hospital, dissecting crash carts, going over the policies and procedures of the hospital, learning every square inch and did I mention going over the policies and procedures of the hospital? So far I have received two three-inch binders and one two-inch binder full to bursting with papers and we are going over every one with a fine toothed comb - not to mention review and examinations on the computers. It does seem like these two weeks are taking about forty-'leven years to get through but I do know it will all be worth it in the end!
Today we went on "grand rounds"! Doesn't that sound professional? Grand rounds! It was very interesting - a group of people (one pharmacist, one dietician, one doctor, one cardiovascular nurse and six interns - plus a gaggle of ICU RNs) go around the acute care units of the hospital and review each patient to see if everything is being done appropriately for that patient. Is there anything new? Can this patient be moved to a less-acute area of the hospital, etc. It was a great learning experience, but I was ready to sit down by the time we stood around for several hours listening to various nurses give report on their patients!
We have started doing critical thinking exercises that are actually fun! I never thought I would say that! Critical thinking is something that is pounded into nursing students and the bane of our very existance - trust me, by the time you graduate if one more person tells you to "think critically" you are ready to help them... you get the idea! Anyway, when I saw that we had several hours over various days scheduled for these critical thinking exercises, my heart just dropped. But this has turned out to be fun! The education director at our hospital has these videos of very excellent actors acting out a problem and you get to diagnose the problem and pretend to act on what you see/hear. Mr. P is seen lying in the bed post thyroidectomy and you watch him start to squirm and become increasingly more agitated and then start to wheeze and grab his throat and chest - interpretation: compromised airway. Whatcha gonna do? Give oxygen, reposition, call the doctor, monitor. Prepare to give steroids and or intubate depending on the progression of the problem. Anyway, it is much more interesting than reading endless tomes on critical thinking!
I surprised Randy on our 16th anniversary with tickets to a four day cruise. We live close enough to Galveston that we can just drive to the dock the morning of departure so it should be a great little vacation. We will be sailing to Cozumel, Mexico on July 3rd and arriving back on July 7th. Mom and Dad are coming to take care of the house, kids and dog for us. Ya'll pray for them...