Friday, December 31, 2010

A Love Letter to 2010.

Dear 2010,
I honestly have been sitting here looking at this little flashing curser for 20 minutes now…wondering what to say. What can I say about 2010? It’s been a ride.

School had been beyond challenging. With Mental-Health and Adult Nursing 1 in the spring and Maternal-Child and Adult Nursing 2 in the fall, I have learned so much this year. Aside from the academic side of thing, I have learned that this IS what I am meant to be doing and it was no accident that I ended up where I am today. I learned that I am capable of a seemingly endless amount of compassion and kindness (maybe too much) but also that I am stronger and much more resiliant than I give myself credit for.
The people who I have had the opportunity to meet through school have truly been a light house in a storm for me and I cannot imagine going through this without their support. They have listened to me cry and complain and heard my success stories and my threats to quit. As one of my classmates said, “Girl, you started this with us and you are finishing it. Even if I have to drag you across that graduation stage by your hair.” They believe in me when even I didn’t. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

This wasn’t the best year for my family relationships. Mother Dearest spent every moment she could in Florida with her beau (even Christmas) and I feel as if I did not see her all year between me being gone all week with classes and her being gone every weekend…and all summer. Our relationship is a complicated one and I really don’t care to go into it in too much detail on this blog because the reality of what it has become since my father passed away depresses me too much. Honestly, and it kills me to say this because I do love her but her ex-boyfriend has been more of a support to me in the past year than she has.
My older brother Rich is not involved in my life for the time being and I am grateful for that. It feels like since he has been gone, I have had a cancerous mole removed. Rich and I were never close. It goes back to even when we were kids. He's manipulative and conniving and he uses people to his advantage. He does things that put people he claims to care about at risk and involves them in situations that could potentially do them serious harm or ruin their lives. When he was living here, I spent as little time at home as possible because I found that even being around him for more than a few hours caused me to have panic attacks. This might sound harsh to the casual observer but I do not consider him my brother (he’s my half-brother actually). He is just my mom’s son and just because we happen to have a few similar genes, that doesn't make us family.
On the bright side, I have gotten much closer to Lee and his girlfriend, Brit. They were here with me at my worst and stuck it out with me. It makes me proud to see the people they are becoming and I want nothing more than to help them on their journey to who they are suppose to be.

Romance was…blah. Don’t get me wrong. It was a very interesting year. Between my fling with WhatsHisName (which turned out to be a freaking disaster even though I still think about him from time to time), a few innocent infatuations here and there, and whatever the Ex and I had, it was fun. There were some good times and some pretty awesome stories (buy me a beer and maybe I’ll tell you sometimes…but for now, to keep this blog at its pg-13 rating, my lips are sealed). ;-)
But despite the physical relationships, something was always missing. I want something solid that I can count on to be there even when I am at my lowest point. What me and the Ex had was as close to love as I have ever come but it was never a solid, stable relationship.
Blah. Maybe 2011 will have that in store for me.

So farewell, 2010. It's been an adevnture. I learned some lessons, got into some trouble, and managed to have a little bit of fun along the way. Thank you for everything.
xoxox
Estelle

2011 - I have high hopes for you. P;ease don't let me down.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Blog Stuff

Holy macaroni!
WordLust has grown a bit this December. Seven new followers?!?

Welcome to Word Lust. :-)
And while we are still on the topic of this blog, I have more fun search terms for you. Enjoy.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The *Feel Good* kit

Hello my loves.

Let's face it. We all have shitty days. Some more than others.
Like today. Blah. [On a side note, if someone asks you if you miss them, don't say "Well, I would if you would stop calling and texting me every hour just to see what I am doing." That is not what they want to hear. But I guess I stopped worrying about hurting her feelings when she decided to cheat on me. So yeah. Whatever.]
But when a bad day strikes out of nowhere...or you happen to fall into a funk...what do you do?
That, my darlings, is where is lovely little blog post comes in.

I'm not stranger to depression. It run in my family (as well as a grab bag of other assorted, fun mental neurosis) and I've been battling it on and off since I was a child. As I got older, it got progressively worse and I eventually had to start taking antidepressants.
But this isn't a post about that.
This is how I deal with it when a bad day strikes.

Music
Be forewarned that this play list is random and the only thing that they songs have in common is that they make me grin and I hope they will do the same for you too.



Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Explanations for a few of the selected songs.
It’s Raining Men – Weather Girls
Okay. So this is one of those embarrassing songs that you don’t ever admitting to liking but secretly desire to bust it out during karaoke after a few beers. Do it. You’ll feel better.
Brick House – The Commodores
For those days that I feel like crap about my body. When my jeans are too tight or I catch a glemps of the dreaded “bus driver arms,” after a few minutes of dancing to this song, I’ll usually feel better.
Good Direction – Billy Currington
So country, it almost hurts. But I get the biggest smile when I hear this song.
Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo – The Bloodhound Gang

Last Name – Carrie Underwood
Brings me back to a road trip with Mommy Dearest where we sung this at the top of our lungs. We were both blushing by the end of it and I am pretty sure we had a few flashbacks while belting out the lyrics. At least I know where I get it from.
Handlebars – Flobots
"I can take apart the remote control And I can almost put it back together"
Gin & Juice – The Gourds
Okay. This is one of my favorites on the list. My sister first introduced it to me a few years ago and it had been shuffling onto my current playlist ever since. It is a remake of the Snoop Dogg song "Gin and Juice" by this kind of bluegrass country band. Hilarious and makes me smile every time I hear it.
Your Man – Josh Turner
Okay. This man's voice is the audio version of melted milk chocolate. It is so smooth and amazing. Love it.
Dixie Chicken – Little feat
Throwback to my childhood. Carefree times. [sigh]
Candy – Mandy Moore
The pop music from our teenage years is good for the soul. I'm convinced of it. Even if it did turn us into fucked up adults who can't have normal relationships.
Don’t Trust Me – 3OH!3
I swear I don't really love this song but every time I hear the line "T-tell your boyfriend, if he says he's got beef, That I'm a vegetarian, and I ain't fucking scared of him," I can't help but laugh.

Yum.
Okay. Some of you will probably jump on me for this especially since I am suppose to be in the health care field and I am suppose to be advocating a healthy lifestyle [lolz. You must be new here to Word Lust if you believe that for even a second]. But sometimes, a really good piece of chocolate or a homemade meal (shared with friends) is all that it takes to pull me out of my funk.

Save it for a Rainy Day
I have a file on my computer labeled "LOLZ." And that is exactly what it is for. If I run across an image that makes me smile or makes me laugh out loud, I save it. When i am feeling like crap, I look through the images and it can make me feel better.
And this is the kind of stupid shit that makes me laugh:

It's Wilford Brimley riding a giant chicken and saying the word "diabetes" but with an accent.
I blame shit that like totally on my mother. I am pretty sure she did some pretty heavy drugs while she was pregnant with me...she must have for me to be so amused by this.

Retail Therapy
I'm not saying go out and spend $300 every time you are feeling down. But I know that when my mood takes a bit of a nose dive, spending a few dollars on a small gift for myself sometimes makes me feel a little better. For less than $10, treat yourself to some tea or coffee, buy a new nail polish, or a few songs off of iTunes.
Or go get yourself a few Four Lokos. Who am I to judge?

Art Therapy
Dig out those scented markers from high school (okay, or borrow some from your niece) and a pad of paper. Start drawing. Flowers unicorns. A giant piano crushing your evil med-surg instructor like the house crushed the Wicked Witch of the East in the Wizard of Oz...and then you steal her shoes. Whatever would make you happy.

Orgasm.
Do I really have to explain this one? Endorphins. Dopamine. Serotonin. Blissful awesomeness.
Grab your guy or girl or toy, lock the door, and go have yourself a ball. Come back when you are in a better mood.

Sing me to Sleep.

I really hate it when bad memories ruin a good song.

Also, I really hate it when she texts me just to say hello. And it would be just awesome if she could stop doing that so that I can forget the past few months ever happened.
Maybe that way, I can get back to my life and possibly even sleep through the night again.

[and if you were wondering, a relationships with a woman is just as fucking complicated as a relationship with a man is. Damnit. Can't win for losing, can I?]

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Stocking Stuffers

My friends know me way too well.
And yes. Those are penis-shaped lollipops. There were six of them but the pink and purples ones were immediately consumed. Even before I got a photo. ;-)
xoxox
Estelle

Friday, December 24, 2010

Estelle's Guide to Nursing School: Part 2 - Scrubs! And Stethoscopes! And penlights! Oh, my!

And now, My sweet awesome readers.
I present part 2 of my freaking boss series *Estelle's Guide to Nursing School*

Okay. I’ll admit it. I am a total nerd (as if ya’ll didn’t already know that). When I was younger, my favorite thing about “back to school”-time was shopping for new school supplies. Nothing says “New semester” like the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and new notebook paper.
Well the fun doesn’t have to stop now that you are all grown up and in nursing school.
These are some of the things that I think you might need (or want) for the journey.

The bag – I use a great teal plaid Jansport bookbag that I have had for a few years now. It has just enough pockets to keep me organized but not too many that I am constantly losing shit.
I know that some of my classmates swear by rolling bookbags but I have never really gotten use to them. I am always afraid that I will knock people over with it or something and then I would forever be known as the crazy nursing student who took out half a dozen people with a rolling booksack while rushing to class one morning.

The scrubs – Okay. I may be in the minority here but I do not like wearing scrubs. Maybe it is because the college mandates the kind we can wear (gives us product codes and everything…not just the color) and they are fucking horrible. Like really, really bad. The most unfashionable, uncomfortable, unflattering things you can imagine. But whatever. They are required and ya gotta wear them. I wear camisoles and tanktops under mine not only for comfort but also, if something is spilt on the scrub top, it doesn’t automatically come in contact with my skin.
Also, if you are so unfortunate that your program requires you to wear white scrubs, choose your underwear wisely. White panties tend to show through white scrubs. Play it safe and stick with nude-colored undergarments. Try to avoid the hot pink thongs or anything with cherries on it (Guys, I'm talking to you too. I know that those silk boxers with the kisses on them that say "Hot Stuff" are just the bee's knees but trust me, you can totally see them through your scrub pants and when all the 50-something-year-old nurses start calling you "Hot Stuff,"...they are quickly going to lose their charm).
While we are on the subject of underwear, some schools have the students perform “mock” physical exams on each other that before they are ever allowed to touch a patient. You may or may not have to take your cloth off for this and don a terribly fashionable hospital gown. If your school does this, invest in some cute underwear. I suggest boy-short style panties and camis for modesty's sake (or go commando...either way works for me). [There is no reason to have this freak you out. But I am fairly sure if the idea of your classmates seeing you in various states of undress in the practice lab makes you totally uncomfortable, you can opt out of it.]

Comfortable, white shoes, preferably all leather – Yes. I know. Leather is cruel and save the whales and free love or whatever but guess what? It is also cleanable. Faux-leather is acceptable.
Make sure the shoe is closed-toe and closed-heel. And none of those vent-hole things like you see with CROCs. Trust me on this. When the shit hits the fan (or the floor), the last thing you want is for any of it to get on your socks and feet.
A word of advice about shoes: Hospitals are really dirty places. Hospital floors are especially dirty. After I got out of clinical for the day, I would usually take off my shoes before I got into the car (I kept a pair of ballet flats there for this purpose) and spray them down with Lysol or use those Lysol wipes to keep the nasty bugs at bay. This is also why, when I got home, before I touched anyone, I stripped off the scrubs and changed cloths. After particularly rough days, I have done this in the car on the way home.

The stethoscope – You don’t have to buy the most expensive one, but do some research and try to buy a quality ‘scope. I bought the “My First Stethoscope”-model that the uniform store suggested and it works just fine. I plan on upgrading at graduation.
So unless you KNOW that you love cardiac stuff and want to go into cardiovascular nursing, there is no reason to buy the $200+ “SUPER-AMAZING/EVERY-OTHER-STETHOSCOPE-SUCKS-MAJOR-BALLS/CARDIOLOGY”-stethoscope…unless your parents/significant other/Sugar daddy (momma?) want to get you that for your birthday or Christmas. Just make sure they spring for the engraving also, because SAEOSSMBC-‘scopes have the tendency to walk off when left on the unit.

3-in-1 printer/scanner/copier – It’s great to have one of these. The printer is a necessity. But the scanner and copier just make life so much easier on you. If you hand-write your notes and want to share them with a classmate who was absent from class one day (because you are just such a nice person…or a complete sucker for a sob story), it is a great option to be able to just scanner the notes and email them.

Spare ink cartridges and extra printer paper – Odds are, if your luck is anything like mine, your printer will run out of ink at 1am the morning that your 15 page paper on renal failure is due. This will be a total inconvenience but not a catastrophe. You’ll drive to WalMart were there will be only 1 employee working in the whole store and he only speaks Turkish. After using various hand gestures and drawing pictures for the kind of ink you need (because of course none is on the shelf), he will inform you that they don’t have any of that kind of ink. And they won’t have any of that kind ever again…because they discontinued it…just to fuck with your world.
Don’t let that happen to you. Buy extra ink. And paper.

Jump drive/Jump stick/ USB drive – Essential. Gotta have one. I type all my careplans and medication sheets up and this makes it easy to carry it all with me. I keep it on my key ring so that there is less of a chance I will leave it plugged into a computer in one of the tech labs at the college.

Digital voice recorder – I’m not an audio learner but I know that these are pretty helpful for some of my classmates. They were able to download the lectures they recorded to their computers and put them on their mp3 players so that they could listen to them in the park while they walked the dog or in the car on the way to lecture.
Just make sure you have permission from your professor to record the lecture. Not all of them allow it.

Pocket protector/pocket organizer – Yes. I am a total dorkasaurous. But this little thing is the bomb for keeping all my pens, pencils, penlight, alcohol swabs and sterile caps nice and organized in one of my 500 pockets. Plus, the one time that I didn’t use it, I ended up ruining a scrub top with a leaky pen.

Watch with a second hand that tells military time (24-hour) – Calculating. IV drip rates. Measuring respiratory and pulse rate. Counting down the hours until you can go home and get some sleep. You’ll need one of these. Also, all documentation in the hospital is done by military time and this will make it a little easier.

Pen light – Okay. I have a confession to make. Ever since I have been in nursing school, I have had an unhealthy obsession with penlights. Seriously. I fucking love those things. And I buy them buy the half-dozen because I like having one in my bookbag, one in my purse, one in my clinical bag, etc. Don’t bother with the cheap ones, though. Buy ones that you can replace the battery.

Drug guide – I have the Pearson’s 2010 guide which is pretty good. Make sure whatever book you get come with an online version also. This is usually accessed by a code in the book. That way, you can copy and paste medication information onto your med-sheets.

Nursing Care Plan guide - I like Ackley. And for the love of God, stay away from anything Carpenito. I am sure she is a lovely woman but her nursing diagnosis books are simply useless.

A planner – Whether paper or PDA, keeping organized and on top of due dates, clinical times, and exam schedules is very important in nursing school (well…any kind of school). I swear by my Uncalender. It is has tons of space and has both weekly and monthly views. You fill in all the dates so there is no wasted months if you don’t buy it in January or August.

Highlighters – I am a highlighter whore. I have them in every color and I use them all. Color coding is the shit.

Black, clicky pens – All paper documenting is done in blue or black ink. If the pens are the clicky kind, you don’t have to keep track of tops.
EDIT: According to one of my favorite male nurses, Nurse XY, "The black clicky pens should be ball point, not roller point or gel tips. The ball points don't smear on lab labels and write on tegaderms and tape."

#2 pencils – Ugh. Exams. Notes. Blah.

Basic calculator – Drug calculation exams will be the bane of your existence. Most schools require you to make a 100% on it to pass and only give one or two retakes. Scientific and cell phone calculators are not allowed usually.

Index cards – I buy these at Sam’s or Costco by the metric ton. Flashcards are a godsend and one of my favorite ways to study with a group.

Binder rings – I use them to keep track of my flashcards.

Binder clips – Way better than paperclips.

3-Hole punch – Most of my instructors post their powerpoints online. I always print them and carry them to class to add my own notes. A 3hole punch makes it easy to add to a binder.

Binders – I also have 2 for every class . I keep all my current notes in a 1-inch that I care back and forth with me to lecture. After I take the exam that those notes cover, I transfer them to a 3-inch binder so that all my old notes are in one place. This way, I can keep track of all of them when it is time to start reviewing for finals.
I am super picky about these. They have to be durable (Avery is my favorite brand) and the rings have to be attached to the back cover of the binder (not the inner spine). This way, when I close it, my notes don’t get caught and cause the back pages to curl under. (I hate that).

Sheet lifters – These are basically a triangular piece of plastic that goes behind all the sheets in a binder and helps prevent page curling. Seriously. That shit drive me crazy.

Caffeine of your choice – Coffee. Tea. Red Bull. No-Doz. Whatever keeps you alert.

Travel coffee thermos – To be able to carry whatever keeps you alert back and forth to lecture.

Lap top – This isn’t completely necessary if you have a desk top computer at home, but it is really helpful to be able to take it to the library or the coffee shop.

Lotion – You’ll be washing your hands a lot. My first semester, I had a huge problem with dry hands. Thank goodness I found Vaseline Intensive Rescue Healing hand Cream. It isn’t greasy like all the other stuff I tried and it has a really nice subtle, clean smell (The night I met WhatsHisName, I was wearing just this and no perfume. He leaned it and whispered in my ear, “You smell really good.” All I could think was “Really? Because I think smell like I have spent the whole day on a hospital oncology unit”). So yeah. The added benefit is that this stuff attracts 30-something-year old married guys. Use with caution.

Mints – Nobody likes to have someone hovering over them who has funky breathe. Since we weren’t allowed to chew gum, this was the next best thing. If you get really strong mints (like Altoids), they have the added benefit that they overwhelm your senses and make unpleasant smells more bearable.

Your nursing ID badge and holder – Not only is this part of your clinical uniform but if security at your hospital is tight (especially for psych rotations) they might not let you in without it.

Lip balm – You might be so busy that you don’t drink enough water and end up getting dry or chapped lips. Burt’s Bees(original) or EOS(Lemon drop or Honeysuckle Honeydew) are my personal favorites.

Hair clips – My school requires women (I saw women because men are not allowed to have hair that falls below their ears) with long hair to have it pulled back and up off the collar. It also might help to keep a few hair ties in your clinical kit for those mornings that you are rushed and can’t do anything with it (that would be most mornings).

Bleach pen – For stains on your white shoes

Tide pen – For any non-gross stuff that gets on your scrubs or lab coat (like ink or some of your lunch).

Storage clipboard – Great for clinical rotations to keep your papers from getting lost.

Kleenex – If you are anything like me, during the first few weeks of school, it never fails that I get a cold for being around so many other people. Also there will be tears and some crying. Get a few travel packs and keep one in your bookbag and one in your clinical bag.

Scissors – Gotta have ‘em. Plus, they are impossible to find on the hospital units.

Hemostats/Kelly Clamps – Honestly, I have never used these but they are required for my program. Normally, they are used to clamp foley catheter tubing to allow the urine to collect so that you can take a fresh sample from the port. I have found that curling the tubing on the bed pretty much does the same thing.
Also note that if you carry these around with you on a regular basis, people are going to think you are a pothead rather than a nursing student. The bloodshot eyes from lack of sleep will not help your case.

Hand sanitizer – I’ve said it before. Hospitals are gross. And this may shock some of ya’ll but they are also full of sick people. Sick people who have germs. And you’ll be touching them. Sanitizer your hands. I like Germ-X Germ Blaster in Gnarly Green Apple. It is better than the stuff that my sites had in their dispensers. Plus it smells like apple martinis (who doesn’t like those?).

Your turn, readers.
Any other suggestions on back to school supplies specific to the nursing student?

Frisky Friday - 'Tis the Season

Happy holidays, my beloved.
Here's your dare: Yell "Ho, Ho, Ho!" at slutty looking strangers. Pretend you are being festive.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Facebook Relationship Options

Hello my darlings

[sigh]
Facebook needs more relationship options.

Let's review:
Single - Yes...sort of. This is such a boring option but it's what I have listed.
In a relationship - Kinda. But not anymore? Grr. I don't know!
Engaged - Absolutely not.
Married - Pardon the colorful language, but fuck no. Currently not interested and probably won't ever be. I think I've dated too many married men to ever consider it.
It's complicated - This might be the most accurate description of my situation but it invites way too many questions from overly involved family members who think it is their business to know all the dirty little details of your sex life. Before you know it, they are telling everyone at the annual church 4th of July party that you are getting your tongue pierced because you love sucking dick and want a tramp stamp that says "fuck toy" across your lower back. (Thanks, Aunt I!)
In an Open Relationship - Second most accurate available description of my relationship status.
Widowed, Separated, or Divorced - Not applicable on any account.

No. None of those will do. Here are the ones I would like to see, because they either apply to me now or have applied to my relationships on the recent past.
Bitter - Only 22 but already jaded to "love" and all that other flowery bullshit. Blah.
Forever alone - Mmm. Not the worst fate imaginable because most people suck anyway.
Mistress - My favorite title. You may call me Mistress Estelle...and you will like it. ;-)
Home wrecker - Yeah. This was totally not my fault. I cannot help that the majority of the men I attract at liars, married, or slightly unbalanced (usually an unsettling combination of all 3).
Fuck buddies with... - How awesome would that be if this were actually an option?!
In a love triangle - It is almost as tricky to navigate as the Bermuda triangle.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

[sigh]

Ya'll remember these little darlings?
Those fabulous little pink, fur lined leather wrist cuffs I bought as a gift to myself for having my heart handed to me on a silver platter by my cheating slut of an ex?
(by the way, hate/break-up sex doesn't count as "back together," right? Even if the break up was a few weeks ago?)
What a piece of shit.
First time I actually use them, they break. Not even kidding. And you would think that the leather would have ripped where it is attached to the chain, right? But you'd be wrong.
We broke the chain.
Let me restate this in simpler terms.
The sex was so good, that we bent and twisted fucking metal to the point of it breaking. How does that even happen?
So yeah, I'm pissed my new toy broke but I mean, really, that is about the only thing that I am upset about in regards to the other night.

So this proves (as if we needed more proof), lunar eclipse bring out the freaks in people. The next one is June 15, 2011. Bring it on. ;-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New LayOut

Okay.
Blog redesign for the first time in almost forever.
Whatcha think?

[Image for Google Reader viewers. Even though ya'll don't show up on the tracker, I still love you stalkers. ;-)]

Totally fetch or what? :-)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Goodbye, BlueGirl. :-(

My dog, Blue, died last night.
She was more than a just a pet, she was a member of my family.
My dad found her 11 years ago while out visiting friends at their camp on the Atchafalaya river. She jumped up into his truck bed and refused to get out...so he brought her home. We don't even know how old she really was.
She hated cats. And most people [we always joked about she was too mean to ever die and she would probably outlive us all]. But she was super protective of anyone she loved.
She also really like green beans. And spaghetti noodles (but not tomato sauce).
Damn. I am going to miss her.
I think what hurts the most about her passing is that she was truely my dad's dog. And now it feels like not only have I lost another member of my family, I lost a connection to my father.

She had been sick for a while. She had trouble moving and seeing. Everyone thought she was going deaf (although, I am pretty sure it was just selective hearing).
And even though I know she isn't in pain anymore, that doesn't make it hurt any less to loss her. [Fuck. Did I mention that I really don't like the holidays?]

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yuck.

Dearest readers

I need my own place. Desperately.

I was in my younger brother's room with his girlfriend. We were talking about her new pet Betta fish and water quality and some other aquatic type BS.
Their bedroom is like some kind of trippy stoner's paradise. Seriously. Blacklights and glow-in-the-dark stars and all matter of other crazy shit that I don't understand. I saw a little jelly ring on the dresser and absentmindedly picked it up. It felt like one of those sticky hands you get from the quarter gumball machines...only not as sticky.
Brit saw what I had in my hands and gave me the a look that can only be described as a combination of quizzical and delayed horror.
Then it hit me.
I dropped the ring and said, "Brit, did I just pick up yours and Lee's cock ring?"
"Yes"
I yelled "What the hell is wrong with ya'll?!?!?" as I sprinted for the bathroom.

Two full on surgical hand scrubs for at least 10 minutes each and half a bottle of hand sanitizer later, and I still don't feel clean. To be honestly, I think the only way I can get rid of this feeling would be for me to burn my hands off. I am seriously considering that option.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Estelle's Guide to Nursing School: Part 1 - So, you were accepted into the nursing program. Now what?

Hello my darlings.

I was looking for inspiration for a new blog series and it just hit me like a baby grand piano dropped from the 57th story of an apartment building. Seriously. It has been right in front of me this whole time and I don't know how I didn't see it before.
A series of articles on how to survive and maybe even thrive in nursing school.
I am almost a little sad when I look back on my blog and realize that I didn't keep as good of a record of my nursing school exploits as I should have. Being that I am in my last semester (or will be when classes start in a few short weeks), I am feeling nostalgic and looking back over the past two years, I have come to realize that I really wish I had gotten some "no-bullshit/no-holds-barred" advice on what I was in for.
So here it is, my doves.
But let's start from the very, very beginning.

I received my nursing school acceptance letter in mid-June and classes didn't start until August. This time elapse offered me nearly two months to go stir-crazy while I counted the days until I could first walk into the classroom and get my learnin' on.
If I had realized at the time that I could have used those two months to prepare, my first semester would have gone a bit more smoothly.

That begs the questions, loves, after you have received your acceptance letter to your nursing program, what do you do before class starts?

1. Celebrate!
You just received great news. Nursing schools is the US have notoriously long waiting lists and incredibly high standards. If you were accepted that means out of all the applicants the school received, the board who choose them believed that you have what it takes to make it through the rigorous course set before you.

2. Don't Panic. Seriously.
If you got in that means you have probably spent the past few years of your life devoted to taking the prerequisites and jumping over various hurtles to get here. All of a sudden, it becomes real. It isn't just, "Oh, I am working on getting into the nursing program"-anymore. It's "I'm a nursing student." That can be a little scary. Just don't start doubting yourself before it even begins.

3. Fuck what the Haters say.
Word of your success is going to get out. It might be by a mass text message to all the contacts in your cell phone (including the Indian food restaurant around the corner), a Facebook wall posting ("ZOMG. Guess who just got their acceptance letter, bitches?!? You can suck it, Med school!"), or by your parents writing it on their car in those chalk marker pen things. Eventually, you'll start hearing "NURSING SCHOOL HORROR STORIES" (:::cue spooky music:::). It seems like everybody and their semi-literate cousin has gone to nursing school and has flucked out. You'll hear the stories about horrible instructors, going weeks without sleep, encounters with nurses that make your hair stand on end. Trust me, you'll hear it all. Just know that these people are trying to scare you. Because they suck.
Also, know that the people who have a difficult time during nursing school (I include myself in this), 4 outta 5x, they do it to themselves. In the end, YOU set your own path.

4. Clean house. Literally.
The time requirement of nursing school is, to put in plainly, a fuck-ton (yeah, I know, I am telling "NURSING SCHOOL HORROR STORIES" now). When you are buried under a mountain of assignments and projects, the last thing you want to worry about is dealing with a bookshelf that hasn't seen a feather duster in two months.
Not only will cleaning yo nasty, nasty house (or bedroom) provide you with a much needed distraction during the weeks leading up to the start of school, it'll also help make the first few weeks of class run a little smoother because it is one less thing to worry about.

5. Clean house. Figuratively.
We all have those friends. You know, those friends (or in my case, those family members). They seems to attract drama and discontent where ever they go and you cringe when you see their name come up on your caller ID because you know they only call or wanna be in your life when it is convenient for them.
It's time to pull the rip-cord on those toxic relationships. Seriously. End them once and for all. Time is a precious commodity in nursing school and the last thing you need is to deal with their crap.

6. Be in a stable relationship or none at all.
(Okay. So sometimes, I don't follow my own advice but, seriously, learn from my mistakes.) Your life is about to be turned upside down for the next 2 (or 4) years. If you are in a relationship, the person you are with needs to understand that. Be realistic and honest with them about what they can expect from you. You might miss date night because you have a paper due at 0700 the next day. You might not be able to celebrate your birthday (or worse, theirs) with them because you are at a coffee shop with your study group working on medication cards until 11pm the night before a clinical day that starts at 0630.
If you don't think that the relationship you are currently in can withstand the strain of what you are about to encounter, it is better to know that now and deal with it while you still have time than to find out the week before finals and end up failing the class (actually happened to a classmate of mine).

7. Don't get knocked up.
Girls: Get on birth control and be responsible about taking it. Not only will it keep you from getting pregnant, but your period will be more predictable (which it might not be otherwise because the stress may through your cycle off).
Guys: Buy some condoms and (if you are getting laid) use them.
Don't get me wrong. Babies are awesome. And I know several of my classmates who got pregnant during nursing school, took some time off, had their babies, and then came back to the program. And I understand that life sometimes happens and these things can't be avoided.
BUT, if it can be avoided, try. You really don't needed the added stress of a pregnancy (or a pregnancy scare...trust me on this one) right now. And just think about how much better the quality of life will be for your future children after you graduate with your new, shiny degree.

8. Get your debt under control.
Ideally, this should be done WAY before you get your letter. Nursing school is expensive and you really don't want your hard earned $$$ going to interest payments when they could be spent on something more useful, like a sweet stethoscope or the new edition of Taber's medical dictionary (or a big-ass bottle of Excedrin Migraine...because you are going to need it).

9. Take care of yourself.
If you don't already, start taking your vitamins. Eat "good-for-you" foods. Exercise.
Realistically, you probably won't do any of these things. Your diet will consist of whatever you grab in between classes from the vending machines and fast food on your way to or from clinicals. The most exercise you'll get is sprinting to class with a bizillion pound booksack and arrive only moments before the instructor locks you out for being tardy (talk about getting your heart racing).
But if you start now with some of these changes, who knows? They might actually stick.
Also, I am serious about the vitamin thing. Take 'em.

10. Take care of all that other crap.
In your excitement, you might not have read your letter closely. Read it again. Pay attention to dates. Do you need to send a letter back to the program accepting the spot they offered you? What about tuition payments, uniforms, drug screenings, background checks and all that other non-exciting/paperwork-type stuff they want you to do before you can actually start learning stuff and saving lives?
Do it early. You have worked too hard to let something like this derail your plans now.

Now it's your turn, my amazing readers.
What are you doing to prepare for the upcoming semester? Or what did you wish you had done?
Also, let me know what you would like to hear about from my vast knowledge of how to survive nursing school with (most of) your sanity intact.

xoxox
Estelle
[Disclaimer:
The opinions and statements in the above article are my own and in no way reflect the thoughts and opinions of my educational institute, clinical sites, family, friends, pet goldfish "Gizmo," or any other person, place, thing, vegetable or mineral.
The above article is not meant to offend. But if it does, lighten the fuck up. Seriously.
The above article was written for this blog (Word Lust) by me (Estelle Darling). If you would like to share it with others, please feel free but also remember to credit. If you don't and try to pass it off as your own writing, you are just a tool.]

Friday, December 17, 2010

Oh, the Possabilities

Hello my beloveds.

It is 11:30 on a Friday night. And I am too excited to sleep.
No. Not because of Christmas (mostly because I have been quite a naughty girl this year and I doubt Santa is very happy with me).
Not because of the sweet something-something that might be brewing between me and a very attractive (and kinda kinky) rebound hook-up.
Not because I just discovered EOS Lemon Drop lip balm (which is freaking amazing and tastes delish).

No, my lovely readers. I am excited because in 6 months I will have my RN degree, pass my N-CLEX and from there, who knows?
There are so many possibilities.
Do I stay in my hometown with my family and friends? Try to find a job at one of the local hospitals where I did my clinicals while in nursing school? At least for a few years?
A few of my girlfriends are moving to New Orleans after graduation and one said she planned on getting a big place and would most likely have an extra room if I wanted to move in with her. Do I want that? I have always loved New Orleans but if I lived there, would it lose some of its magic for me?
Do I get licensed in Texas and Florida also so that I can travel at will? Do I stay in one place just long enough to get some experience and then start travel nursing so that I can see the country while I am young and without the responsibility of a husband or kids?
Do I say, "To hell with Louisiana" and take my sister up on her offer of moving in with her out in the Texan boondocks? I have always wanted to be closer to her and my nephews and that would be the perfect opportunity.
Do I work for a few years, then go for my BSN? Or my MSN? Or do I get on it right after graduation while I am use to being a broke and stressed-out student? Do I work full-time and go to school part-time? Do I want to go the online route or commute to a campus for classes?
And what do I specialize in?!? I am not crazy about the idea of being on a straight Med-Surg floor. I liked my Oncology rotation. But I LOVED L&D and could easily see myself doing that. Oh, or being a circulating nurse in surgery!

If you would have told me four years ago, when I was 18 and in the deepest depression and mental instability imaginable that I would be here today, with all these opportunities and doors opening up for me; I would never have believed you.
For the first time in a long time, I am truly happy. :-)
xoxox
Estelle

Frisky Friday: Say it with Sugar

And if any of you are at a loss for what to get me for Christmas, a gift card from my favorite online sex shop would be just lovely. ♥Eden Fantasys♥

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Oh, oh.

So maybe I am not taking this break up as well as I thought I would.
Let's review:
I have been eating chocolate like my life depends on it. Seriously. You can't trust anything "Willy Wonka" around me right now. I think I plowed through a whole container of double stuffed oreos by myself today.
I have been listening to the saddest music my iTunes library has to offer. it is really quite pathetic.
I have joined 3 dating websites in the past 2 days. One of the was actually reputable..well...sort of...if you consider OKCupid reputable. The other two were only joined at the insistence of a girlfriend who said, "Well, you know the best way to get over someone is to get on top of someone else." So yeah. I doubt anything meaningful will come from either of those.

Speaking of getting on top of someone else, I may or may not have bought these today with the fullest intentions of using them during rebound sex:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just Let Me Go.

hello my loves

Why is it that there is always that one person in your life that, no matter how horribly they have treated you or how destructive they are to your emotional well-being, you always seem to forgive them?
And how is it that you can be perfectly fine, not thinking about them or how empty you feel without them, and then with one little text message your world is turned upside down again?

"I need to see you. I miss you."

My fingers refused to listen to my mind when they wrote back, "I miss you too."
Shit.
I don't want to go back there again because I know that they haven't changed. I know that I would just end up getting hurt again. They still mean the world to me, but they just aren't worth the fight anymore.

But there is a tiny voice in the back of my thoughts that keeps saying, "You know you would rather fight with them than be in love with anyone else."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

May the bridges I burn light my way.

Hello my darlings.
This blog entry was extremely difficult for me to write and share with you all.
Please keep that in mind if you decide to comment.

I finally have had some time to process all that has happen over the past few months and I have discovered that maybe having time to think about all of it isn't the best thing for me.
This is something that has been weighing on my mind and heart for a while now. But I am not sure where to start with this story.
If you are my friend on Facebook, you might have seen this status posted a few days ago:
There is a point in life when you get tired of chasing everyone and trying to fix everything, but it's not giving up. It's realizing that you don't need certain people and their crap. [I probably won't miss you, but I will miss the person I thought you were. Take care of yourself. xoxo, E]


In January of this year, I met someone. We quickly hit it off and became very good friends. Slowly, it grow to something more than just a regular friendship.
I knew from the beginning that it was a bad idea to get involved with them. Our friendship meant the world to me and I knew that once we crossed that line, there was no way we (or at least, I) could go back to what it was before. But at first. it was easy. We were both able to separate those two parts of what we had...our friendship and our intimate relationship. No one knew about what we had because we both kept it hidden very well...not even our families or closest friends.
But as the months passed, we both began having more and more trouble with that. We started to seriously fall for each other. I honestly believed that, at one time, we truly loved each other.
Our relationship was an unhealthy one. There is no doubt in my mind about that. At times, we pushed each other and we brought out the worst in one another. We brought our bad habits and flaws, our addictions and insecurities into the relationship. Our jealously and tempers, while providing fuel to some mind-blowing moments between us, lead to our downfall.
You see, I knew that I was not the only person that they were seeing. It didn't bother me so much at first, because to be perfectly honest, I was doing the same thing. But as I did develop feelings for this person, I became faithful. They did the same thing, or at least, they said they did.
That was a lie.
It became a deal breaker between us.

So here we are.
I feel heartbroken. And betrayed. And I want nothing more than to curl up in a ball, cry, fall sleep, and wake up the next day with no more tears to shed and a heart made of steel.
But despite all the emotions swirling around in my heart and mind right now, the most pronounced one is anger. Not angry at them, mind you. I'm angry at myself. I am angry that I went against my better judgement and opened my heart to someone who couldn't be trusted.
I am angry that I didn't realized sooner that I am not a back-up plan. And I am sure as hell not a second choice.

I learned my lesson. And this will not happen again.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hallelujah

I understand that I have neglected this blog for months now. That was never my intention.
But you should all see me now, it's quite the sight.
I am sitting in front of my computer screen with tears streaming down my face. And for once, they are tears of joy.
Words cannot even begin to express how unbelievably happy I am to see this semester put behind me. It is pure bliss, and I have a feeling of calm and content that I didn't even know I could achieve.
Very few people understand how rough the past few months have been for me. I didn't talk about it much, even with family, what I have been going through. And I still haven't decided if I want to "let it all out" on Word Lust because part of me feels that some of it was my own fault and I feel stupid and embarrassed about it.
I am sure I will tell you all one day...because things like that don't just go away. It's like a crack in a dam. It starts so small, barely noticeable...but slowly the pressure builds up behind it and all of a sudden the weight of the water behind the wall becomes too much to bare and it all comes crashing down.
Let's just say, if I could go back, the past few months would turn out very differently.
I think that this has always been, at least in my program, the "make-or break"/"sink-or-swim" semester. It is the last semester before you take on truly critical patients. And they want to know if you have got what it takes.
And they do try to break you. The attitudes of the instructors are basically, "So, you want to be a nurse? Prove it." And then they throw you to the lions.
Some of the challenges are with the patients themselves. But others are with some of the external factors....
My first week on the Ortho/Med-Surg floor was like that. A family had come up to the front desk and started screaming at all the nurses and the unit clerk about how an antibiotic was late for their mother and how they were all incompetent.
Take a wild guess which patient I got for my assignment?
Yep. This lovely group's mother. The charge nurse even said, "Um...Madam Nursing Instructor, I really don't think a student should be placed with this family." But my instructor insisted on it. I remember that I didn't sleep at all that night because between fits of crying because I was convinced the instructor had it in for me and anger at how unfair the situation seemed, I was up late studying every detail of her condition, disease process, the mountains of medications she was receiving and therapeutic communication techniques so that I wouldn't look like a complete ass in front of her or her family.
And guess what? They loved me.
I know, right? I was just as shocked as you. All that worry. All that stress. For nothing. That was the first time on a med-surg floor when I thought, "Wow. Maybe I can handle this."
But it was so close to not happening.
I nearly failed this semester.
That has never happened before. Never even been close to happening. I have never, ever been borderline in a class. I am not saying that it wasn't my fault because a lot of it was. I made some really bad choices and got myself into situations that should have never happened and for that, the blame rests totally on my shoulders. Like I said, if I could go back....
But hindsight is 20/20 and there is nothing we can do about the past.
Grades were posted on the school's website on Thursday around noon. We were told that they would be there Tuesday afternoon, so we had been on the website since then, clicking F5 every 15 seconds from 6am to midnight.
I received a text message from one of my study buddies, just as I saw the post on Facebook ("GRADES ARE POSTED. CHECK IT, BITCHES.") My heart was nearly pounding out of my chest when I opened Blackboard.
"D"
Wait. That had to have been a mistake. I did the math myself. If I had made 85% on the final (which I did), I should have a C. A low C but still enough to pass. There was no way that this could be correct. Immediately, I called the program coordinator.
"Are these grades on Blackboard correct?"
"Yes. They are. Wait, let me look up yours. Yes. I see it here. You have a D. You failed the class and will have to retake it next semester."
What could I say to that? I hung up the phone just as the text messages from my classmates started pouring in. "Did you make it?" and "OMG, girl....this is some bullshit. No fucking way I failed that class." Apparently, I was in the same boat as quite a few other people.
I didn't want to talk to anyone.
After an hour of crying, I called my classmate and clinical buddy, Matt. He is already a nurse...an LPN going back for his RN...and been such a support to me in the program. He has a way of knowing what to say and saying it honestly without making you want to kick him in the balls for it.
As I was venting to him on the phone, my call waiting beeped. I recognized the first 3 digits of the number as from the college. I told him i had to answer it and let him go.
"Hello, Estelle? This is Mrs. Course Coordinator from the College. So, it was brought to my attention that some of the calculations for the grades online were incorrect. I recalculated the grades by hand and you actually passed."
"What?"
"You passed. You will be in Adult Nursing 3 next semester."
"[Incoherent blabbering in between sobs of joy and thanks]"
"Well, you're welcome. Have a good holiday and a Merry Christmas."
And here I am, my loves.
The endless studying. The all-nighters and countless cups of coffee. The lack of money. The weight gain (and lose). The abandonment of friends and family. The care plans and concept maps. The heavy textbooks and six hour lectures. The clinicals and skills check-offs. The feeling of complete and utter incompetence. It has all lead up to this point.
Graduation is in 154 days....May 14.
I am 1 semester...1 class....7 credit hours away from being an RN.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Frisky Friday - Tempt Me


Tracker

As you all know, I have a tracker on this blog.
The main reason is because I love to see what kind of search terms lead people here. For the longest time, they were innocent enough.
"nursing student stress" or "betta fish advice"
No problem, right?
Then, something happened.

Maybe it was me and my new feature "Frisky Friday." But all of a sudden the pervs have come out of the woodwork....or the porn shop....wherever it is that perverts hide.
Dude, i don't know how "french vanilla semen" lead you to my blog, but I am sure you were sadly mistake.
Or my personal favorite "Dominatrix nurse catheterizing male penis" Fantastic. Just lovely. It does beg the question, why are you specifying that it is a male penis? I mean, did you search for this before and you came up with dominatrices dressed as nurses catheterizing female penises?

I mean, really people. There are no words right now. I am speechless.