Sunday, January 11, 2015

What It's Like.

This blog isn't really about nursing. It's about life. The life of a young woman who happens to be a nurse.
And life can be fucking messy.

I scheduled my first therapy appointment in 6 months. It's three days from now and to tell you the truth, I am fucking terrified.
I don't know why. Maybe it's all the introspective bullshit and existential crap that it brings up and how I usually get home and don't get out of bed for two days after.

I'm not a 45 minute couch junkie.
Some days, all that holds me together is medical tape and the hope that maybe tomorrow I won't hate myself as much as I do in this moment.
I wish I had the words to describe this feeling. This churning tightness in my chest. This spine tingling, hand numbing, head spinning anxiety that stalks me like my own shadow. This grey wave of depression that washes over me and sweeps away every bit of happiness in my soul.

Anxiety is fear of the future and the unforeseen.
Depression is sadness for the past.
And having both at the same time? Having both is having a private room in hell with your name on the door.

Like I said, life is fucking messy.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Blog Challenge: Day 2 - Nine Loves


Nine things I love. Okay...here we go....I can do this...

1. Michael. This is an obvious choice. I mean, he basically saved my life and he doesn't even know it. In addition to being pretty much the kindest, smartest, strongest, most loving person I have ever met, he has made me believe that maybe I am worthy of being loved and cherished. I mean, if this man [this amazing man] can love me so deeply...maybe there is something special about me.

2. My family. This is an obvious choice. I'm not very close to them anymore because of some of the things that have happened this past year...but I will never not love them.

3. Michael's FurBabies. My boyfriend fiance...has cats. Yes. Cats. I never cared for cats. I mean, they are kind of shifty and untrustworthy and I'm pretty sure if someone broke into our apartment, they'd show them where anything valuable is. I guess you could say I'm more of a dog person. But these furry little bastards have grown on me pretty quickly. 
[Neither of them look particularly enthusiastic to be anywhere near me but I swear they do like me.]

4. Archery. Yeah. Before Brave and Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, I had a bow in my hands. I freaking love it. There is something so satisfying about hearing that sound when the bow releases the arrow and it goes flying. Hitting the target is just bonus points. ;)

5. Trashy "new" country music. Go ahead. Judge me. I don't even care. I will dance to Luke Bryan and Josh Thompson all freaking day and I'll be happy about it. 

6. Indian food. Y'all....y'all....Y'all just don't even understand. I could live on lamb or chicken curry and samosas for the rest of my life. Throw in a really good mango lassi and I am set. 

7. My job. Yeah. I bitch about it. I get frustrated with the paperwork and charting and annual mandatory education and management and all the bullshit that goes along with being a nurse. But at the end of the day [or in the morning, since I work nightshift], I don't have the kind of job where I wonder if I will ever make a difference in someone's life. I do that every night. 

8. Not being at my job. Don't get me wrong...I love it. But a girl needs her down time. Like this morning, I almost cried with joy when I saw the dayshift nurses dragging in with their coffees and insulated lunch bags filled with baby carrots at 7am. All I wanted was to go home, take a long hot shower with some pepperminty soap [Dr Bronners...get it] and make some tea. Which is what I am doing now. 

9. Blogging. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've said it before. But i meant it. Blogging....writing...poetry. They are my release. I need this to get all the pent up emotions and my mental fuckery out of my head. I'm just so glad there are other poeple out there that want to be a part of this journey with me. ♥

Until next time, my loves.
xoxox
Estelle

Friday, December 05, 2014

Blog Challenge: Day 1 - Ten Secrets

So I was asking myself the other day, "What can I do to jumpstart my blogging motivation now that I actually have a little time to do it?" 
Aside from a few other posts I'm working on [which I just can not post yet because they aren't perfect] Then I thought, BLOG CHALLENGE! I found this cute little one on Tumblr the other day and thought it would be perfect. 
Here we go:


If you can't read the light writing, it's called the 10 Day You Challenge. "Ten secrets. Nine loves. Eight fears. Seven wants. Six places. Five foods. Four books. Three films. Two songs. One picture of yourself."

Let's start off with the 10 secrets:

  1. There is no grey area with me. I don't do anything halfway. I either want to sleep for days or have insomnia for weeks at a time. I binge eat or I starve myself [totally unintentionally]. I love/hate passionately or you don't exist to me. I don't know if it is from my bipolar disorder or if it is just part of my personality. 
  2. I have a hard time separating my mental illness from who I am. But it makes me livid when other people can't do the same. For example, when I am having a bad day...I stay in bed...I fantasize about blood in the bathtub or car crashes or just slowly drifting away in my sleep. I don't call anyone or tell my therapist or psychiatrist because the first words out of their mouth would be "Have you been taking your medication?" Or if I'm having a good day, I am bright and sunny and I want to write ALL THE BLOGPOSTS or buy ALL THE GOAT CHEESE at the farmers market. I am bursting with energy. And it's the same thing. "You seem kind of manic. Have you been taking your meds?" And I know it doesn't make sense to be angry with others for not understanding something that I don't understand myself. I have to ask myself "This happiness...this energy....is this me? Or is this one of my demons too?"
  3. I am literally the worst patient ever. I mean, seriously. I know most medical professionals suck at taking care of themselves but I think I win.
  4. For a week and a half, about two months ago, all I ate was cookie butter and Monster ultra energy drinks and lost 7 pounds. This still baffles me. 
  5. I think I have the most boring secrets in the blogosphere. 
  6. Even after being an RN for over 3 years, I still question if I am strong enough to handle it. Especially now that I am working medsurg and my patients are actually sick and dying. At the nursing home, it wasn't that the patients weren't sick. They were. And when they died, it was still sad. But it was a different kind of sadness. It was the kind of sadness from the family that comes when you lose someone you love. But most of the patients were ready. They had made peace or they had been trapped in a broken body for so many years, death set them free. They had lived. The nurses and CNAs and family were sad for themselves because we'd never see them again. In psych, very few of my patients were physically sick. The only way they would die in the hospital is if they killed themselves. But in medsurg, these patients fight. They WANT to live. That's what gets me. I hate seeing a fighter lose. 
  7. Speaking of questioning my abilities to continue being a nurse; when I was in my final semester of nursing school, I seriously considered moving to New Orleans and becoming a professional dominatrix. Like I was looking up apartments and spaces for a studio/dungeon. I still think about it sometimes. Plus I look awesome in black leather. 
  8. I think that the people I have loved in my life, regardless of how I feel about them now, still hold a tiny piece of my heart. It pisses me off. 
  9. I've lived on my own [or with my fiance] for seven months now and I still miss home even though home doesn't really exist anymore. 
  10. I have missed blogging terribly.
Okay, my loves. It's your turn. Do this blog challenge with me. 
[For real..do it. I don't want to have to call any of you out. But I will.]

xoxox,
Estelle

Sunday, November 23, 2014

New, Shiny Posts

You know, dearest readers, I would post sooooo much more often if the Blogger mobile app didn't suck more than a 5$ back alley crack whore.
Anyways. I just finished my second of SEVEN 12 hour shifts [My scheduled weekend...Friday/Saturday/Sunday...plus two shifts I picked up for the overtime and incentive pay....and then my two regularly scheduled days]. I had a minute so I thought I'd drop in and say hello.
Actually, the real reason I'm posting is to let y'all know so exciting things are happening here at WordLust! {Mainly because the semester is coming to an end and I have time to post.]
Anyway...here's what you have to look forward to:
  • Estelle's Guide to Planning a Wedding that Doesn't Suck [Spoiler alert: we're eloping.] This is basically the title I'm giving the series of blog posts in which I take all the wedding related bullshit I've been getting in the mail [like catalogs and magazines....seriously, what the fuck is up with all the mason jars??] and I make fun of it and the wedding industry as a whole.
  • Random nurse related posts. 
  • The addition of a Twitter feed. Yes my loves! I am on Twitter. You call follow me at @EstelleMarieRN
  • My nursing philosophy. An assignment for one of my nursing classes but I think it's good. 
  • Random product reviews, app reviews, food reviews. Hell, I might even review my boyfriend's cat [what is less than 0 stars?] Ya never know what you'r going to get.
  • The long awaited, three-years-in-the-making [mostly because I'm lazy] ESTELLE'S GUIDE TO THE NCLEX-RN *cue fireworks* Basically, I'm gonna tell y'all how I passed and all the back ground information you need to know. 
There is more stuff too but honestly, I'm too tired to remember it at this very moment. 
Off the sleep I attempt to go. [Hopefully the nightmares don't follow.]
Until next time, my loves. 
xoxox
Estelle

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Geaux Tigers

So anyone who knows me [which is actually none of you in real life...but regardless], you'd know I'm a huge SEC football fan...mainly my home team, LSU. 
So for our anniversary, M got us tickets to my very first football game. 
Yep. You read that right. 
I HAD NEVER BEEN TO A HOME GAME.
This travesty has been corrected. And I had a surprise waiting for me after the game. 

Our tickets. 

Pregame field access. M knows all the LSU football players and coaches so some of them came up to say hi before the game. 
I thought it was kind of strange that one of the coaches congratulated us and wished us good luck. I assumed it was because of our anniversary. I mean, we have managed to stick together through one of the most difficult years of my life. I'd congratulate us too. 

Game day grass.


Yours Truly at the goalpost.

Our view of the field. Snuggled together, it was the best seat in the house.
Y'all know I have an intense fear of crowds. The stadium holds over 100,000 people and it was a packed house. Michael told me afterwards that he was so proud of me for facing my fears and being able to go to the game with him. AND having a huge smile on my face during it.

After the half-time show, we went back to one of the stadium suite-type rooms and watched the rest of the game on the big screen TV. It was so strange feeling all the energy around us yet we were in our own little world.

And then this happened:



Darlings, I don't know what to say. I mean...literally...I'm still speechless. Even as I type, this ring keeps catching the light and sparkling as my fingers move across the keys and all I can think is "holy fuck...is this even real life right now?"
It isn't about a ring. It isn't about a party or a dress or some stupid pinterest-inspired DIY mason jar wedding bullshit.
This is about two people who want to spend the rest of their lives together.
If you had told me a year ago if this is where I'd be...working on a new hospital unit...living in my own little apartment with a man I love...ENGAGED...I would have thought you were insane and needed a psych eval.
So here we are.
I said yes, obviously.

And the Tigers? They won too. ;-)

PS: I'M OFFICIALLY OFF THE MARKET, Y'ALL

PSS: DAT ROCK THO

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another Apology Because I Suck At Blogging

So, something I learned this week: I suck at blogging and I am horrible at keeping promises.
Sorry, y'all!

I know I said I'd post more but school and work have been kicking my ass. I think I say that every time I post so you'd think I would eventually run out of ass to kick but my jeans still fit fine so I must have enough to spare.
but I realize that I am back in the trenches of nursing school with my lovely readers and knowing y'all are all going through the same hell as me makes it a little easier.

 Professional Role Development with a chai tea latte in my favorite mug. It makes studying a little less painful.

Chemistry and "Transition into Professional Nursing" with my study buddy hiding in the shadows. He's a bit camera shy.

On the work front, it's been...challenging. I understood when I started on this medsurg unit that the acuity is incredibly high and I would lose patients. I've been told by other nurses that the patients I take care of on my unit would be in the ICU at any other hospital in the state. 
But when you lose a patient, especially several in a row (two codes in one night AREYOUFUCKINGKIDDINGME)...it makes you question things. What could I have done differently? How could they have declined so fast? Did I miss something? 
It makes you question your competency as a nurse and there is nothing more frustrating than that. Other than tutoring, nursing is all I have ever done. To have self doubts about my ability to handle it isn't just a work related issue, it is a crisis of identity. 
Nursing isn't just something I do. It is who I am. Yes, I've said before that it's a job and you have to leave it at the door but what happens when your job starts showing up in your dreams? When you hear low O2 sat alarms or code teams in your sleep? My family...my boyfriend...anytime they introduce me to someone new, within the first 10 minutes, they always mention I am a nurse. It is something to be proud of. 

So...I have made a decision. I'm going to let this doubt be a driving force. This creeping feeling of not being good enough will be the reason I am the best at what I do. When I go to work, it won't just be for a paycheck. Every shift is a learning experience. And maybe that is what I have forgotten.

Until next time, Lovelies.
xoxox
Estelle

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sh*t I Learned This Week: Part 1

Life is all about learning, right?
Growing...evolving...assessing our experiences and mistakes in order to evaluate our choices in matters, both small and large, and make changes if necessary [you can tell just by that sentence that I am back in nursing school and have to reach a certain word count on papers.]
But seriously, I'm learning stuff ALL the time now. I never really noticed it before. I mean, obviously I was acquiring new information but I have an EXTENSIVE history of not learning from my mistakes. I don't make a mistake twice, I make it five or six times...just to make sure.
So I thought it might be kinda fun, since I made a promise to update this blog more regularly, to post a weekly [biweekly?? Give me credit. I'm trying] BloggityBlogBlog post about things I have learned from the previous week. 
Let's get started, shall we?

Non-nursing Related Sh*t I Learned This Week:
  • Always look both ways when turning onto a busy street, even when the coast is clear for like a mile around you. Because if you don't, some ASSHOLE in a big red truck with "trucknuts" [Really, dude? REALLY? TruckNuts??] and a bumper sticker that says "Obama isn't my president" will turn into your lane and try to smash into the side of your little Camry and kill you before you have to go to work.
  • My first thought when I thought I was going to die by being hit by a redneck was "Well...if I die, I don't have to go to work." Which is so incredibly sad.
  • My neighbors literally have no idea what to say to me when I am on the balcony of my apartment at 5pm wearing pajamas with a cup of coffee in my hand. Apparently, all the people I live around have "normal people jobs" in which they work like 8 to 4:30pm and are just getting home when I am just waking up. [Where are my other nightshifters??] For example, I LOVE sitting on the balcony and watching the rain splash off the leaves of the crape myrtle tree just outside my dining room window and this being south Louisiana, it rains pretty must every afternoon from June to September. My neighbors don't know whether to say "good morning," or "good afternoon," or just try not to make eye contact because I either look like a crazy person or that I'm lazy and just didn't get out of bed until 4pm [which is true...but not the lazy part.]
  • People have no comprehension of what working the nightshift is like unless they do it. For realz. I had one nurse tell me today in report, "Maybe I should come to nightshift with you so my patients just sleep all night." [Granted, he said it in a really joking/flirty way...but still. Not cool.] Trust me, that's not what happens on nightshift. And the people who especially don't understand are non-nurses. Like, I tell someone I work Friday night and the response is "Oh awesome, so you can come with us to lunch on Friday!" Um...no. That's when I'll be sleeping.
  • I get really cranky and vindictive when I tell you I have to work on Friday night and you call me 10 times around 1pm and wake me up out of a dead sleep in order to remind me to meet you and your shitty friends for lunch. Not slash-your-tires kinda vindictive...more like I call you 10 times at 4:30am on Saturday morning and ask if you want to go to breakfast with me when I get off at 8am. SEE HOW IT FEELS, BITCH????
Nursing Related Sh*t I Learned This Week:
  • Nightingale's Law. It's like Murphy's Law but for nurses. Anything that can go wrong with your patient, will.
  • Always assess your patient. Full body. Every shift. ALWAYS. Just because a patient doesn't have a pressure ulcer on Friday night when you get to work, doesn't mean they won't have one when you get there on Sunday. 
  • Always assess your patient on admit. Full body. Take off their socks and look between their toes. Even self-care patients. Yes, it's kind of gross but we're nurses and like 98% of the shit we do is gross so suck it up, buttercup. The rational? Diabetic patients who appear to be healthy with no complications sometimes lie when you ask if they have any numbness or tingling in their hands or feet and then you look at their foot and SUPRISE they have a flat thumbtack lodged in their heel that they didn't feel. That might be the reason for your fever, sweetie.
  • Even patients who are up and walking around at home can get pressure ulcers in the hospital. Yes. That means even the 23 year old who came in for nausea and vomiting and lays in the bed for 12 hours straight on her skinny ass and gets a stage 2 on her coccyx. 
  • Twerking occurs in the nurses' station at 3am on Sunday nights/Monday mornings. This scares the new night shift nurse but she'll get used to it. 
  • Some people are obsessed with their bowels and demand enemas at 3am because they "haven't had a bowel movement and 27 hours." For realz. 
  • The second you hook your patient up to their IV antibiotic, they will have to get up and pee. 
  • Little old ladies will hit harder than an NFL linebacker and are faster than a cobra. [I already know this but was reminded of it this week.]
  • When a nursing home tells you that a 90 year old patient doesn't have any family OR skin issues, they are lying. The only 90year old patients in nursing homes without skin issues are the ones who have family up the administration's ass so that their relative is taken care of. It's a blessing and a curse.
  • You will get farted on when you take a rectal temperature. It's gonna happen. 
  • Watching a telemetry monitor while someone dies is disturbingly fascinating and horrible and amazing all at the same time. It is the closest thing I'll ever get to actually watching a soul leaving a patient's body. Watching the heart rate slow...going from 40 to 38....34...20....then a noisy signal....then asystole. I'm not going to forget that. Ever. [Sidebar: He was DNR, y'all. We didn't just not do anything and watch him die on the monitor.]
  • Hearing the spouse of 50 years of the patient scream as you are watching the asystole rhythm on the monitor will haunt you for days after. 
  • My coworkers think I am the go-to girl for dealing with grieving/emotionally disturbed/hysterical patients and/or family members. Yeah. I'm good at it. But I hate it. [They also think I am the go-to girl for blowjob advice but that's an entirely different story for another time.]
  • Nurses have a really dark sense of humor during stressful/emotional times. Example: Nurse asks for help with postmortem care on a patient because "he was big man and now he's deadweight." Cue entire nurse's station trying unsuccessfully to stifle laughter/shock.
  • I hate nightmares EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I have ever done postmortem care. 
  • I need to learn how to leave work at work and develop better coping skills. 
Maybe I should have titled this "Things I have observed this week"? Because I sort of already knew all this stuff but I was reminded of it this week. Except for the asystole thing...that was new. 
Okay. Until next time, My loves. 
xoxox
Estelle 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Big Ass Catching Up Post

Hello my darlings!!
How I have missed you all. Let's not go so long between conversations, shall we?

OhMyGoodness. Where do I start?? So much to catch up on. My last post, I kind of just jumped into it feet first without giving y'all any warning or primer on how my life has been the past few years since I officially became an RN [!!! still hard to believe] and a real adult. 
An adult that does ADULT THINGS. 
And when I say ADULT THINGS; I don't mean hot, kinky, totally awesome sex [although...that is kind of amazing]. 
Nope. 
The ADULT THINGS I'm talking about are wearing dresses [I big deal for me since I didn't even want to wear a dress for my own never-happened wedding], having dinner parties [perks of having a chef boyfriend], paying bills [yeah for paying off credit cards!!], and waking up without hitting snooze on my alarm clock [still working on that one].

Okay...major life change. 
I moved out on my own!!! I have lived in the same house my whole life. I could tell you every creaky floor tile because I've had to avoid them when I had to sneak back in at night. I could tell you every story behind every patched hole in the wall. I could tell you all about the cedar tree outside my bedroom window and the family of squirrels that lived in it before it fell victim to Hurricane Gustav. 
But sometimes, it's time to move on. 
We grow up. We change. And we need to make our own mistakes and face our own challenges without the safety net of "home." 
So, I now share an amazing little apartment with my boyfriend.
And because of circumstances [possibly of my own making], I don't have a safety net anymore. The words of my mother still ring in my ears: "You'll always have a place to come home to."
That's not the case.
But it's okay, dearest readers. I'm doing well. I'm happy. For the first time in a very long time, I finally feel at home.
The view from the balcony. I'll add more photos when we get done decorating. 

Hhmmm. What else?
Oh! I think I mentioned it in my last post but I'm not in psych anymore [!!! But honestly...when I think about it, everyone is a little crazy so I'll always be a psych nurse]. I did a lateral transfer in my hospital to a medsurg floor. My plan is to spend a few years here while I get my BSN, then transfer to ICU so I can go to CRNA school or NP school. The sky is the limit, loves. 
Medsurg is so different from psych. Both types of patients are sick but in different ways. With my psych patients, most of them were medically stable but their issues were slowly killing them. 
In medsurg, the patients are all physically sick [and some have psych issues so I feel right at home]. You can see your interventions make a difference in the short term so it's an instant gratification thing. 
It's exhausting. It's exhilarating. It's challenging...mentally and physically. 
But lawd, I miss adolescent psych. I miss making a connection with the teenagers because I remember how bad my teenage years were and if I just had someone to tell me that it would all turn out okay, I don't think I would have gone through the kind of hell I put myself through. \
But who knows. Maybe one day, I'll become a psych nurse practitioner. 

Mmmmm. Okay. Soooo.....
I mention a new boyfriend. Well...he isn't really new. We have our one year anniversary in October. But he still has that new boyfriend smell, you know?
Our relationship so far has been...wow. Words don't do it justice. I mean, my actions kind of speak for themselves. I left my home and my safety net to start a life with him.
I'm hesitate to even write about him on this blog because...well...words honestly don't do him justice. No amount of poetic prose on my part could possibly describe him or how he has changed my life for the better. To say simply that I am in love would be an understatement.
When the day is done and everything else fades away, in his arms is where I find peace...comfort...safety. When he holds me, I feel at home. And, my darlings, I have NEVER felt that way before.
It's terrifying. That deep of a love. It makes you vulnerable...breakable.
But, my darling readers; in vulnerability, we find beauty. We find ourselves. We find our way back home again. And like I said before, I finally feel at home.
Yes. I'm in love with a Ginger. 

One more thing before I go:
Y'all...I AM GOING BACK TO NURSING SCHOOL. 
Yep. You read that right. 
On Monday, I start my online RN to BSN program. I think I might have briefly mentioned it in the last post but I've only been taking an orientation class. But this is the real deal. 
I'm taking Chemistry...which is a class designed specifically for RN to BSN students I think. It's a combination of general, organic, and biological chemistry. I was going to attempt to test out of it which would consist of me attempting to learn two semesters worth of college level chemistry in 4 weeks. I was seriously motivated to do it...until I saw this:
And after my initial reaction of "whatthefuck is this shit?"
my response was "um...how about no. Can we not. Kthxbi"
So yeah....Chemistry. Not my best subject. 
And I'll be taking "Transition into Professional Nursing." The title alone sounds like 20 page papers and a bunch of busy work. I'll keep you posted. 
But, dearest readers, do you know what this means? Me returning to school?
Do you know? Do you know what this means??!!!!? DO YOU???!!!!???
It means the return of 
{pause for suspence} 
*ESTELLE'S GUIDE TO NURSING SCHOOL* 
{Pause for dramatic music}
Yes, darling readers. I know, I know. You can hardly wait. I'll try not to disappoint y'all this time. 

Okay. I have rattled on enough about my life. I have to go. A friend and I made plans to get manicures and pedicures this morning [See? More ADULT THINGS.]
Until next time, my lovelies. 
xoxox
Estelle

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

How Not to Manage Your Stress.

I work 12 hour shifts. 12 HOUR SHIFTS. 
This isn't unusual in the nursing world. It isn't even unusual for nurses to work 16 hours shifts. And often times, those "12 hour shifts" turn into 13, 14, or 15 hours long after all is said and done and charted and triple checked. And you still think about it on the way home. 

So I worked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. 
And I have to say that it was honestly one of the worst weekends I have ever worked on the medsurg floor. The combination of acutely sick patients, continuous bladder irrigation, critical lab values, and medical doctors that don't know how to treat psych patients [in addition to almost being kicked in the face by that psych patient and watching the ward clerk get kicked in the chest], drained doesn't even begin to describe how I felt Monday morning sitting in my car in the parking lot. My hands were shaking and my head was spinning and I could barely make the drive home to my apartment [which is literally 10 minutes from my work...if there is traffic]. 

When I got home, I found my boyfriend getting ready for work. I admit that I let my emotions get the best of me sometimes. I didn't want to be touched. I didn't want to be kissed. I didn't know what I wanted or needed to relieve all the tension and anger that had built up inside of me over the last three days. 
I was cold to him [which I feel terrible about now because he NEVER treats me like that even when he is upset]. I didn't want to talk about work. That was the last thing I wanted to think about. 

So what did I do to relieve this stress? I had a quickie shower, paid all my bills for the month, completed a quiz for one of my online BSN courses, had 3 shots of whiskey, and went to sleep. 
This...was not the best idea. [Aside from my issues with alcohol, but that is another post onto itself.]
Hindsight is 20/20 and looking back now, here's what I should have done:
  • Sat in my car as long as I needed to in the parking garage at work. Staring into space, or screaming and crying [whichever would have felt right at the moment]. Processed what all had happened. And then balled all those emotions up and put them in a little lock box in the back of my mind for the time being. 
  • Turned the music up loud in my car and sang/screamed along to "Let It Go" from the Frozen sound track. [My go-to "PickMeUp" song]. 
  • Kissed my boyfriend goodbye when he left for work. I should have let him hold me like he wanted to [he can always tell when I am in a bad mood. The man reads me like a fucking book.]. I should have told him what was bothering me when I asked because he cares about me and only wants to help. 
  • Taken a long, hot shower. Let the hot water pour over my skin like a baptism, washing away the memories of what had happened. Scrubbed away the scent of sweat and blood and tears and death. Used my favorite body wash and engage in some much needed aromatherapy. 
  • Wrapped myself up in my coziest pajamas. The ones that fit just right and feel oh so good against my skin. 
  • Cuddled up in bed with my stepcats. 
  • Cried. Burst into tears. Sobbed until my chest hurt and my eyes were bloodshot and I had little snot bubbles coming out of my nose. Basically, an ugly-crying session [those usually make me feel better]. I should have opened that lock box up and dumped out every single thought, every single pain in my heart, and every single moment that made me feel like the worst nurse to ever wear a pair of scrubs. I should have opened up like Pandora's box and grabbed onto Hope and clung to it like a life rafted. I should have forgiven myself for my mistakes and my shortcoming and reminded myself that every nurse has "those days." [Even if "those days" last for several days in a row.]
  • Slept for a few hours then went on about my life. Laid out by the pool, went shopping for sun dresses, spent some time on the archery range. SOMETHING. ANYTHING instead of hiding from the world under the covers and wishing I had never become a nurse. 
But no. That's not what I did. I need to learn better stress management skills. They are so easy to list. But to actually follow through on them? Not so much. 

So, my dearest readers, what do you do on those days that make you feel that low? Days when you feel the need to apologize for even breathing.

xoxox
Always, 
Estelle

PS: Also, for your viewing pleasure, my spirit animal and new favorite meme: Calming Manatee. 


Thursday, July 03, 2014

Interest via Pinterest

Wow, okay.
So apparently with the help of Pinterest, my little ol' blog has gotten some attention lately, especially the series of posts on How to Survive Nursing School.
Well my darlings, I just celebrated the 3rd anniversary of me passing NCLEX.
To be honest, even while I was writing that series, I didn't know if I would make it. But I did. And now I'm becoming the kind of nurse who I'd want taking care of my loved ones.

I just wanted to say how honored I am to have helped a few of you along the way with my own experiences, triumphs, and tragedies during nursing school. Nursing school is literally a battle of blood, sweat, and tears.
You [or someone else] will bleed.
You will sweat.
And yes, you WILL cry.

But guess what? It's worth it.
When a family member hugs you and says thank you for all you've done.
When a doctor puts his/her hand on your shoulder and gives it a gentle squeeze.
When your husband/boyfriend/significant other proudly introduces you as a nurse.
When you put a bandaid on your neighbor's kid's knee because he tripped in the driveway.
When you catch labs and vital signs trending in a dangerous direction.
When YOU are the one breathing for a patient during a code or pushing meds to restart their heart.
All these reasons and a million more that I can't even think of at the moment.
Those are the reasons why nursing it worth it.

No matter how much blood, sweat, and tears it takes to get there.

Always,
Estelle
xoxox

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Catching up.

Life is a wild ride. And I'm holding on tight.
Let's review the past year or so, lovelies.

  • I worked as a rehab nurse in a skilled nursing facility. Then wound care. Then unit manager/charge nurse. Then nursing supervisor. Then I quit after two years of blood, sweat, and tears. I walked away and I won't look back.
  • I met the man of my dreams. 
  • I flew halfway across the country [multiple times] to be with him.
  • I made plans. Big plans. Pack-up-and-leave-everything-I've-ever-know-just-to-be-with-him kinda plans. 
  • I got pregnant. 
  • I had a miscarriage. 
  • The man of my dreams and I broke up. It was...painful. It still is. 
  • I became a psych nurse working at the best hospital in Louisiana. 
  • I am slowly starting to love myself again. I thought that I was never worth love. From anyone else, let along myself. I felt terrible about myself, like I am so easy to leave. It is so easy for people [friends, lovers, family] to just walk out of my life. I am not going to fight someone if they want to leave. 
I know this is a lot to absorb. And to be honest, I have a hard time believing that it has been 2 years since I have become an RN. So much has happened. So much about me and my life has changed. 

Also, I can't wait to let you all know what it is like to  be a psychiatric nurse. :)

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Musings

As cliche as it sounds, everything in life happens for a reason. From the slightest change in the tide to the biggest earth shattering events, everything that has happened in my life has made me the person I am today. 
And I love that person.
Finally.
[Credit where credit is due. Photo by Lisa [aka @asthehospituRNs aka godless nurse]

Monday, January 23, 2012

Not dead.

hello loves.
I know you have all been terribly worried about me. I just wanted to pop in on my little ol' blog and assure all of you that I am alright. I've just been terribly busy. Y'all will be patient with me, right?
xoxox
Estelle

PS: I have a few plans for this page. Just watch and see. ;-)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Patient's Daughter, Part 2

I almost started this post by saying that she was a fighter. But that wasn't true.
She had given up. 
She was tired...ready to go home. But she hung on for another two weeks, her daughter by her side the whole time. 
She breathed...labored. But she still breathed. And her heart kept beating. But she was already gone. 
She finally went home last week. She's now finally able to rest. After being on this earth for 90 years, she had earned that. 

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Patient's Daughter

She was probably in her late sixties, with the kind of subtle authority you might expect from an elementary school principal. But she wasn’t in a classroom that day, nor was she surrounded by children. She was in a nursing home room, watching her mother slowly die in front of her. It’s tragic…no matter how much time you’ve had to say goodbye. The 0.45% normal saline slowly infusing into her mom’s veins gave her some comfort. Watching it drip into the chamber was soothing. Slow and steady. It was one of the few things that eased her mind. She has spent every waking moment in that room for the past four days, dividing her time between nervously pacing the floor, reading her Bible, and watching her mother’s chest rise up and down in a struggle for every breath.
This wasn’t my first time meeting my patient’s daughter. The LPN taking care of her sent me a text saying that the patient’s IV was beeping. I entered the room, not expecting to see anyone else. She was sitting in the plush recliner, one of the many personal touches added to the room in the past year the patient had been calling the facility home. I paused before introducing myself again, knowing she had probably met many nurses over the course of the past days and may not remember me. She did. I thought about how much she looked like her mother. The same brown eyes and sweet disposition.
Her mom had taken a major decline in the past few days. She stopped eating, stopped responding to gentle touch. The only thing that roused her was when I attempted to restart the IV after the previous one had infiltrated. Her veins were so fragile, so tiny. Even after 4 liters of fluid, she didn’t show any sign of coming out of this…whatever *this* was. Probably the end. At 90 years old, she was tired. She had even told me so three weeks ago. In a small, breathless voice, she said she wanted to go home. I asked her where home was. She smiled weakly and closed her eyes. “Not here,” she said, barely above a whisper. I asked her if she needed anything. “Sleep,” she answered in the same whispery voice. I gave her hand a gentle squeeze before turning off the light and quietly exiting the room.
Now here I was again. She had gotten so much worse in such a short amount of time. Her labs had taken a turn for the worst. Her BUN [blood urea nitrogen level] was 85. The normal is 5 to 25. Her kidneys were shutting down. Her breath was labored and shallow with periods of rapid, short breaths followed by no breathing at all for as long as 45 seconds, then the rapid respirations would start again [Cheyne-Stokes]. Even to someone who had no medical or nursing experience, they would know that she was near the end.
I did my work quickly, trying to find what was occluding the IV line. The tubing was kinked underneath her arm. But that wasn’t the only problem. The patient already had some swelling and edema to her arms…but it looked worse. I put my hand on the woman’s skin. It was cold. I swore under my breath, forgetting I wasn’t alone in the room. I looked up and apologized, explaining to her I’d have to restart the IV. 
I worked quickly…stopping the infusion, pulling the old IV, adjusting the light, and tying the tourniquet. I studied the patient’s fragile skin, looking for something [anything] that looked promising. All the while, the daughter’s eye never left me. Finally, not one but two veins popped up. I rubbed her skin with the alcohol pad and steadied the needle. She flinched as I pierced her skin. And just like that…the beautiful flashback I saw as the catheter entered her vein didn’t mean anything…the vein blew. The other spot wasn’t as good. It was in her AC..the bend of her arm. Not a good spot at all but it was my only other option. Again, I tried. This time, she didn’t move. I’m not sure if I am grateful for that or not. It was in. I taped it down and put an armboard under her elbow so she couldn’t bend it. I looked up at the daughter just as she exhaled. I wondered to myself if she had held her breath the entire time I was trying to start the IV.
I reconnected the infusion and watched as the fluid dripped steadily. It is so easy to get wrapped up in that kind of thing. The clinical part of it. Starting the IVs or monitoring the physical dysfunctions of a patient.
I turned around and looked at the daughter again. “Are you alright?” I asked softly, as if I was afraid to wake the patient from her fitful sleep.
“Yes,” she said, her eyes not meeting mine.
I sat down in the chair across from her. “Tell me about her. What was she like? Before this.”
The tears the daughter had been holding back for the past few days finally came forth as she began to tell me all about her mother. For the next half an hour, I was told all about how what a wonderful cook she was. How her crawfish bisque was some of the best you would ever imagine. How much she loved her children and how she was always putting them before herself. By the time the daughter stopped talking, the tears had slowed down too.
I reached for her hand and asked if there was anything I could do for her. She looked up at me, her eyes swollen and puffy. “They don’t tell me anything. The hospice nurses. They come in and they check on her and the LPN tries to give her medications but she won’t take them. I know she’s close. I know that it’s almost over.”
I glanced over at her mother again, watching as her chest rise and fall. “When a person…is nearing the end of life, hearing is always the last sense to go. Talk to her. Whatever you need to say. She knows you’re here.”
“Thank you,” she whispered. I quietly stood and told her I would be back to check on them soon. Turning to walk out the room, I didn’t want her to see the tears start to stream down my cheeks. I know how bad it hurts to lose a parent and I’d never wish that kind of pain on anyone. It is a gnawing kind of hurt that doesn’t go away. You think it does. You think you are fine. Then something sets you off and if feels as if you are back to square one again.
Dearest readers, if you are lucky enough to still have them, call your parents today. Tell them you love them. Please.
Always, 
Estelle

Friday, October 14, 2011

Frisky Friday - 'Gasms


[Have I mentioned lately what a terrible blogger I am? I am so sorry, darlings. There is so much going on and I want to share every detail of it with you. And I will. Soon. Just promise not to forget about me, okay?]
xoxox
Estelle

Monday, September 19, 2011

Search Terms

I don't have all that much to say right now. Especially considering work has totally been kicking my ass [remind me to tell y'all about it later]. So since I don't have the energy to do a real update, I'm blogging about my blog. Here are some of the search terms that have lead y'all to yours truly [my personal favorites are circled for your amusement]. <3





Saturday, September 17, 2011

I'm Not Dead. Just Busy.

Oh, hello there, darling reader.
Are any of you still there?

I know. I have been horrible. My last post was about how I somehow managed to get 100 followers. And then I go almost 2 months without posting. Quite a bit has happened since I've last spoken to all of you.

I am now working as an RN at a recovery/rehabilitation unit at a LTC facility. Lots of PICC lines and IV therapy [which I love]. Plus, actually getting a pay check is pretty awesome. :)

The Boy and I aren't seeing each other anymore. I fucked it up [which I kind of expected to happen]. I won't lie. I miss him. And I feel so guilty about the whole thing. I never wanted things to end the way they did because I did [um...do] love him. I hope he is okay and that he gets everything he wants. He deserves someone who can be there for him.

Those are the two major things that have happened since you last heard from me. But I think this post is missing something. But because I really can't think of anything else to say, I'll just post a list of the top ten reasons to date a nurse.

Reason #1 to date a nurse: We’re always up for a good game of doctor.
Reason #2 to date a nurse: We are exposed to so many xrays, it’s like a form of birth control.
Reason #3 to date a nurse: We know that lubrication is helpful in any procedure.
Reason #4 to date a nurse: We know lots of different positions.
Reason #5 to date a nurse: We know how to properly apply restraints. ;-)
Reason #6 to date a nurse: We know all the right places to palpate.
Reason #7 to date a nurse: We’re good at taking orders.
Reason #8 to date a nurse: We’re used to handing all types of bodily fluids.
Reason #9 to date a nurse: Scrubs make for easy access.
Reason #10 to date a nurse: We can assess all areas of the body.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Whoa.

I just realized I now have 101 followers.
One hundred & one.
I am not sure exactly how I managed to fool 101 of y'all into thinking what I write is worth reading but I am sooo glad y'all have poor taste. ♥