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. ♥

Prepping for NCLEX - The Twitter Edition.

My tweets in the days leading up to taking the NCLEX-RN.
[my post is coming along nicely by the way. As always, I appreciate you patience.]

  • Best things about nursing school: I learned to survive on a diet of coffee, energy drinks, & Emergen-C. Sleep should be called "pre-death".
  • Was told the best way to study for NCLEX is to do a fuck-ton of practice questions. So how does that help if I keep getting them wrong? O_o
  • By the way, *fuck-ton* is an official unit of measurement.
  • Was going to say, a fuck ton is way more than an ass/shit load.
  • Making acid-base disorders and fluid & electrolyte balance my bitch.
  • Casual acquaintance: "Kick ass on boards. Make sure you pass. I need a private nurse." Me: "You couldn't afford me, babe."
  • Panic mode: activated. T minus 24 hours until NCLEX.
  • Not sure which I am looking forward to more: putting this exam behind me or the 2-day Harry Potter book & movie marathon that will follow.
  • On being asked how I planned to celebrate now that I had completed the exam: Getting completely wasted and engaging in acts deemed 'lewd and lascivious' in multiple Middle Eastern countries. :-D

Monday, July 25, 2011

The 10 Most Common Emergency Drugs.



The 10 Most Common Emergency Drugs.
  1. Epinephrine - increases heart rate, constricts blood vessels, dilates air passages.
  2. Lidocaine - local anesthetic and antiarrhythmic drug.
  3. Furosemide - loop diuretic used in the treatment of congestive heart failure and edema.
  4. Digoxin - cardiac glycoside widely used in the treatent of various heart conditions like atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and sometimes heart failure that cannot be controlled by other medications.
  5. Sodium Bicarbonate - used as a buffer in respiratory acidosis-induced cardiac arrests.
  6. Dopamine Hydrochloride - increases heart rate and blood pressure.
  7. Nitroglycerin - vasodilator to treat heart conditions, such as angina and chronic heart failure.
  8. Atrophine Sulfate - used to treat episodes of bradycardia, asystole and cardiac arrest.
  9. Dobutamine Hydrochloride - used in treatment of heart failure and cardiogenic shock.
  10. Morphine Sulfate - used to treat both acute and chronic pain. Also used for pain due to myocardial infarction and labor.

[Don't be too impressed. I totally stole this from The Science Blog.]

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sleeping with a Foxy RedHead

Whoa. What's this? A totally un-nursing related post?!? Zomg.
On Twitter the other day, my darling Tine over at Thought Dropbox called her lovely dog a "Leggy Blonde." This amused me far more than it should a person who was sober and not at all smoking pot. Like I seriously got all giggly and it made me wonder what exactly was in the tea I was drinking at the time [*fingers crossed* for any upcoming drug tests I have].
Then it totally dawned on me that my lovely Australian Cattle Dog [aka my red heeler...like a blue heeler...only red], Rebel, is a redhead. A foxy, foxy redhead. Who steals the covers. Photos included for your viewing pleasure [not of me in bed, silly. Of the dog.]

A glamour shot of him. He can be such a ham in front of a camera.

This past semester. I hate that ugly yellow throw but he loves it. Ugh. Security blanket, maybe?

He's playing football. Yeah. Football. Without a doubt, he's a southern dog. ;-)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Oh, It's Funny Because It's True

I suppose since I have mostly nurses and nursing students following this blog, I probably ought to post something semi-nursing school related.
So allow me to present: Nursing Student Cat. 
Y'all, Nursing Student Cat totally feels our pain. From the 0630 clinical call times to constantly fielding the question "Why didn't you go to medical school?"









And I am really, really, super-duper sorry that the NCLEX post is taking forever. The fact that the NCSBN has been visiting this blog has me a little spooked so I am taking my time and trying not to say anything that, oh I don't know, could make me lose my nursing license. So thank you for all your patience and understanding. I couldn't ask for a more loyal, amazing, supportive group of people. ♥
xoxox
Estelle

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Frisky Friday - True Story


Just because I haven't done a Frisky Friday in over a month. ;-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Perceptions

This is how I *think* I look when I am feeling sexy:

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In reality, this is probably more accurate:

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Adventures in the Country - As Documented on Twitter

Hey, my darlings!
So, you know how sometimes I go for days or even a week or more without a post here on Word Lust? Well...I don't totally disappear off the face of the earth. You can usually find me over on Twitter. It is just so much easier to be clever in 140 characters or less.

Anyway, last week (I think it was last week...maybe the week before), a girlfriend called me at 11pm on Tuesday night. Her and her -ahem- sweetheart of a boyfriend had gotten into a fight and he stormed out. Well, she didn't want to be alone. Knowing what I know about this girl, it would have been a terrible idea to let her be by herself while she was upset. And I wouldn't have been able to forgive myself had *something* happened to her after she reached out to me for help.
Being the amazing friend that I am, I grabbed my purse and a few changes of clothes and headed out to the country to keep her company for the next few days. Rather than rehashing the whole story, I will let my Twitter account fill you in.
Enjoy.
[This actually kind of reminds me of the *Textually Active* post from last year where I posted some of my favorite text messages. Hmmm. May have to start making this a regular feature.]

~*Tuesday Night/Early Wednesday Morning*~

FUCK! One of my girls is having an emotional breakdown. Heading out to the country tonight to keep her from doing anything stupid.

I should be a goddamn psych nurse. With all the crazy bitches I hang out with, it's like it was meant to be.

And of course that motherfucker couldn't have the common decency to break up with her during the daylight hours. Had to be at 11pm.

It's midnight, I'm wearing sweats and I'm driving out to BFE. This is how every single horror movie/porn I've ever seen has started.

Y'all. It's dark. There are no city lights. I see cows and I think I may hear banjos. I'm scared. The shit I do for friends.

Oh lord. There. Is. A. Fucking. Horse. In. Her. Front. Yard. I may not make it out of this alive.

Holy fuck, y'all. Who stays in a relationship *this* fucked up? I mean, really? Why didn't she drop his ass months ago?

Estelle, suicide intervention and drinking buddy. I should print up goddamn business cards.

Totally re-living therapeutic communication from psych nursing right now. >_<

Okay...she's alright for the moment. I am so fucking tired though.

~*Wednesday Afternoon*~

Fuck....my head hurts...

After 10pm, the only counseling skills I possess are to just make you drink until you feel better.

I woke up disoriented and in a bed that isn't my own. Oh hell. It's like every weekend I ever had in college.

Lying on the bed and clinging to it for dear life so the world will quit spinning. I'd even settle for it just slowing down a little.

I need a massage and a bloody mary...and some aspirin.

So...um...has anyone seen my shoes?

Estelle's hangover update: the room has stopped spinning. Mostly.

Disregard previous tweet. Room still spinning.

~*Wednesday Night/Early Thursday Morning*~

This bathroom is so fucking pink. Highly unsettling. I don't want to be here right now.

At a bar. On a Wednesday night. *Crazy Bitch* is blaring. Yeah. No way this could end badly.

Estelle Darling; RN, Crisis Intervention, alcohol poisoning spotter. Lovely.

Well...this isn't the first time I've had a drunk girl with her head on my chest saying how much she loves me & what a good friend I am. Oy

All I ask is that she please not throw up on my boobs.

You'd be surprised how quickly you sober up when you are holding back your friend's hair while she's leaning over a sink .

Apparently, I am "the most bestest friend a girl could ever ask for and OMG can I live inside your bra?!?" O_o

Estelle's bra = no vacancies.

~*Thursday Afternoon*~

Well...this is just the tiniest bit awkward.

I lied. It's really fucking awkward.

Friend's ex showed up. Has a key...just walked in.

I'm wearing the tiniest, most revealing pajamas imaginable. And I haven't showered today.

If the look on his face when he saw me was any indication, he thinks me and her spent the past two days fucking. Lovely.

You know how two days ago I said this could either turn into a horror flick or a porno? Yeah...my money is on the horror flick.

If y'all don't hear from me in the next 2 hours, it would be safe to assume he has killed us both & is now burying our bodies in a field.

Did I mention he's a bouncer at a strip club? I couldn't make this shit up even if I tried.

I would like to assure all of you that I have not spent the past two days having raunchy, kinky lesbian sex.

I've spent the past two days drinking vodka, watching bad movies, and listening to her bitch about him not being able to get it up.

You know an argument is getting serious when the woman used the words "premature ejaculation" and "sad ass little broken dick."

And now she's in the bathtub upstairs and he's talking to me about nursing school. How the fuck is this my life?

"You're only 23 and you're an RN now? Impressive." "Dude..let's not pretend I didn't just hear your gf call you a lousy lay."

I made it home! And I wasn't killed by an impotent strip club bouncer & buried in a field in the middle of nowhere! :::Happy dance:::

I kept saying to myself, "For the love of God, Estelle, don't make a joke about his penis not matter how hilarious it would be."

[End scene.]

Saturday, July 09, 2011

I Cannot Stop Listening To This Song

Seriously.
I may have a problem.

An intervention may be necessary.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Hello, NCSBN!

Hello loves!

For the longest time I have been very careful about keeping my online persona and my "in real life/wears scrubs and a nametag/eats Greek food with colleagues/professional"-self separate. Miles apart, if you will. Light years, even.
But in the past year, I have been slipping. I've gotten close to some of you..to the point of feeling like we are all part of some big cyber family [group hug!]. And with that, some of you have actually gotten to know the real me [the real actual living, breathing, Greek food-eating Estelle....I am totally craving gyros right now. Can't you tell?]

So that whole not mixing the blog me with the real me thing hasn't exactly worked out so well.
Now...this wouldn't bother me normally. Because I trust all of you [foolish, I know...but like I said, we're a big cyber family] and I've never had any negative feedback on this blog whatsoever. Aside from the fact that I must be doing something wrong if I haven't offended or pissed off at least a few people, I take that as a sign that it is pretty well received by the general blogosphere.

Well, as all of you know, I run a tracker on this blog. It is more of a view counter really. It keeps tabs on the daily hits, search terms [which provide for hours of amusement], as well as the IP addresses of all the individuals who view the page.

I am fairly sure I was overreacting when I saw this and my first instinct was to delete my blog, close my Twitter account, dye my hair and move out of state:

This blog hit originated from the NCSBN headquarters in Chicago. Now, if you don't know, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing develops the NCLEX exams as well as do a whole bunch of other stuff that I am sure I would be more impressed if I were not in fact exhausted and slightly worried that someone is checking up on my activities.

It is just the *tiniest* bit suspicious.

I am not concerned so much about them looking into any HIPAA violations [even though HIPAA violations are a big freakin' deal] because like I have said numerous times, the very few stories I have shared about patients have been scrubbed and sanitized to within an inch of their life. Fuck, for all ya'll know, I could be [and have been] making all of it up.

But it has got me thinking about this blog and how it reflects on me as a so-called professional. I've always been concerned about people seeing me as a "good nurse" because of some of the things that go on in my personal life. Regardless of the fact that I think the going-ons of my personal life have little to do with my ability to practice as a nurse [within reason. Just so long as I am not putting patients at risk].
I have fucked up relationship [who doesn't?].
I swear like a sailor at times [I really ought to quit but is there a word more amusing than 'fucker'? I think not.]
I like to drink and I may overdo it at times. Seriously. Been known to get straight up trashy drunk at those "End of the Semester" bashes with the classmates and make some *really* bad decisions. [Bad decisions like...oh, I don't know...applying to nursing school....I'm kidding! Kind of.]
Basically, when I am not on the clock, I can be as unprofessional as they come. But that is the key. When. I. Am. Off. The. Clock.

Y'all know me. Probably better than most of the people who know the "real me". Ever since I graduated and took boards [even before actually], I've had this on my mind. Where does Estelle the nurse end and Estelle the person begin?
I know that now [as I have been told by my aunt numerous times...who totally personifies the "angel in scrubs" BS image] that I have a "professional obligation" to maintain a certain "front" now that I am an RN.
But I did not sign up for sainthood when I started nursing school. I'll take the scrubs and stethoscope but you can keep the wings and halo. My horns kind of make the halo sit crooked anyway. ;)

Word Lust isn't that big of a deal. It's my outlet...my sounding board...my connection to some of the most amazing people that I know. My readership is about 100 people [and I love each and every one of you to pieces. Group hug!] with maybe fewer than 10 of you who know my real name.

So there's no way this site could come back and bite me in the ass, right?

Monday, July 04, 2011

I Don't Know Anything About Anything

Hello my lovelies!

I know. I know.
I have been absolutely MIA lately and I am terribly sorry for that.
Will you forgive me if I tell you that I have been suffering from a debilitating case of Writers' Block? Really. It's bad. I'll stare at the computer screen for an hour at a time...watching the curser blink...and blink...and blink...trying to will the words that I so desperately want to say out of me.

This is something I have been thinking about for a while but haven't been able to put into words.
As a new nursing graduate (for some reason, I cannot yet bring myself to say that I am an RN until I am actually working....as hard as I worked for those letters behind my name, go figure), I don't know anything. At all. Seriously.
Sure. I have a book shelf full of binders and binders full of notes and so many textbook that it would make your eyes water and your head spin. I have a shelf full of NCLEX review crap and a CD case full of practice question discs.

But. I. Don't. Know. Anything.

Sure. I may be able to put in an IV on a person who is well hydrated with veins like pipes. I can keep a person calm and listen to them and reassure them that they will be taken care. I can give shots and insert Foley catheters and do a physical assessment and recognize abnormalities. I can quote normal lab values and tell you the general pathophysiology of a disease.

But drop me in the middle of a code? Or have my "healthy patient" suddenly stop breathing?
Well...I hope the patient wasn't someone you liked very much because if I am in charge of their care at the level I am at right now, they probably won't make it. [And yes. I realize that no nursing supervisor worth their salt would put me with a critically ill patient without back up of some kind...but still...the idea remains the same.]

Like I said. I don't know anything about anything.

A professor told me this was normal. Everyone feels like this when they first graduate. That it takes at least two years before a nurse becomes comfortable in his or her abilities. She said that she knew I was ready to graduate because I realized I still had so much to learn.
Say what?

I guess what brought all this up was a conversation that I had with a paramedic friend. I don't even remember how it started but I think I asked something about if all medics were like him (self assured....or cocky, if you will). He said they should be.

Estelle: Why do you think that? What is it about the field that makes y'all like this?

Him: You gotta have big balls to dance with the devil alone in the streets so to speak. There are only 2 of us in an ambulance as opposed to several docs, techs, nurses, etc. We don't have chem 7s, 12s. Can't check cardiac markers, etc. We have to go only on pathophysiology and our gut instincts for diagnosing. And we have to be accurate otherwise it's back to square one when we arrive at the ED. And for me, doing critical care, we have to make acute care decisions that will last several hours.
We have to have ACLS in order to have our license, it's a choice for an RN. I am an ACLS instructor, teach doctors how to run codes. We paramedics save more than doctors do. I can compress chests, do surgical airways, intraossious lines, intubate, reduce fractures, chemical sedation, induce chemical paralysis all while cutting someone from a car or taking them from a house. Nurses really don't know what we do in the field. We do everything but take x-rays.
I teach EKG and 12 lead interpretation to docs. Paramedics are almost as good as a cardiologist. Paramedic school is basically equal to almost 3 years of medical school. We come out of school ready for action. Nursing only prepares you for NCLEX.

Woah.
Okay.
First off....how fucking awesome is that?
Secondly, read that last line again.

*Nursing only prepares you for NCLEX.*

I've heard this before. And it pissed me off to no end. My reaction was something like this:
"WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN IT WILL ONLY PREPARE ME FOR NCLEX???!!! I AM NOT SPENDING THE NEXT TWO FUCKING YEARS OF MY LIFE LOCKED AWAY IN A LIBRARY JUST SO I CAN PASS SOME GODFORSAKEN EXAM. TEACH ME SOME SHIT THAT IS USEFUL!!!11!!!! RAWR!"

My reaction now?
".....fuck.....i am going to kill someone...because all I knew how to do when I got out of school was pass boards.....fuck...."

>_<
Heaven help me....and any of my unfortunate patients.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Frisky Friday - Zombies

The fact that *looking* is misspelled bothers me way more than it should..
But regardless.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Coveted *RN*

Who has two thumbs and gets to put an RN after her name from now on?
This chick.


That's right.
I rocked that exam like a hurricane...or an earthquake...depending on your particular geographical location.
Who wins? I do.

xoxox
Estelle

[So...does anyone want to give this very enthusiastic brand new registered nurse a job? Seriously. Any takers?]

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Pearson VUE Trick for NCLEX

Okay. I was going to keep quiet about this until after I had seen the results tomorrow but Scrub Ninja [from *Trust Me, I'm Almost a Nurse*...And he actually is a nurse now! Yay!] mentioned it in a comment on my last post so I decided to talk about it.

The Pearson VUE Trick. [dun, dun, dun!!!...that was dramatic music for effect.]

Nursing students are not known for being the most patient people. We want to know what we made on an exam the second we walk out of the lecture hall. We want the grade for our careplans yesterday...even though they weren't due until today. We've been known to harass instructors for midterm grades or clinical evals...
And when it comes to something as big as being licensed for practice, the wait for the results can be torture.

Basically, after you finish taking the NCLEX [I believe it works for RN as well as PN], you try to register for the exam again [as if you think you failed it]. If you are taken to the credit card information screen to pay for the exam...that's a bad sign.
But if you get a pop-up saying "Our records indicate that you have recently scheduled this exam. Please contact your Member Board for further assistance. Another registration cannot be made at this time," break out the party poppers and celebratory tequila because you passed, baby!!
At least that is what everyone I have talked to says.

Wanna guess which one I got?
There's the screen-shot.

;-)

Full explanation of the Pearson VUE trick can be found on the AllNurses forum. Oh, look. Here is the link it. I am too good to y'all. ;)

Until next time, my darling readers.
xoxox
Estelle

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

NCLEX

My dearest readers:
wow.

That is all I can say...wow.

I took the exam this morning at 8am. Cut off at 75 questions.
I'll have access to the quick results on Friday. Now is just a waiting game.

But I am going to try to stay busy until then to keep from going insane and checking the Pearson VUE or LSBN websites every 30 seconds [Are the results available? Are the results available? How about now? No?...What about now?] So I have all the Harry Potter DVDs and books, a copy of "Screw the Roses, Give Me The Thorns: The Romance and Sexual Sorcery of Sadomasochism" [to be fair, this was given to me by a friend. It would have been rude to say no. ;)], as well as a sexy toy from Babeland that I still need to review. And a big ass bottle of wine. I think that should do the trick.

Or I could just spend the next 48 hours watching this spazzy cat. o_o

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Of course, I will be posting a more detail explanation of what the testing process was like [all while adhering to the confidentiality BS that I signed several times at the testing center] but not until after I get the results.

xoxox
Estelle

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tomorrow morning.

Before I even start writing, my darlings, I want to apologize for the jumbled up crazy mess that this post may very well be. Not much sleep + fuck tons of stress + a few glasses of wine = "What the fuck is she trying to say? I can't figure this shit out at all."

I take the NCLEX in 11 hours.
The past two years. Everything I have worked for. All the bullshit I have put myself through.
It all comes down to this.

But then again...it really doesn't. What's the worse that could happen? I fail. So? There isn't a firing squad waiting for me out of the testing center.
I'll just get a CNA job, wait the 3 months or so, pay the $200 again, and take it again.

But honestly, I have a good feeling about this. I think I'm ready.
But it never hurts to have a little extra help.
So darling readers, whatever you believe, whether it be prayer, the power of positive energy or dancing naked around a bonfire in the moonlight, do it for me tonight. Burn some sage, light some candles, raise a glass, whatever you feel like.
Just have me in your thoughts.

Or in other words, [wish me luck].

Time to get some sleep so I can kick ass and take names in the morning.
Because I plan on making that exam my bitch. No safe words. ;)

*muah*
xoxox
Estelle

Monday, June 13, 2011

Frisky Friday - Let's Make This Happen

Oh hell yeah.
Let's make this happen. [*swoon*]

Photobucket

On a sidenote, have I EVER posted a Frisky Friday on an actual Friday? Nah. Not except for the first one or two...maybe. Meh. Don't care.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

NCLEX-RN

Hello my doves.

Well, I received my ATT (Authorization to Test) from Pearson VUE yesterday evening so I went ahead and scheduled my exam.
I am taking the NCLEX-RN on Wednesday, June 22 at 8am.
I had the option of taking it this Monday (the 6th) but I don't think I will be ready. I need more time to do practice questions....even if I don't actually 'learn' anything new, they will help to elevate some the anxiety I am feeling over this.

Oh and am I feeling the anxiety.
After I received the confirmation email for my appointment, I couldn't stop shaking. All I kept thinking was that every single one of the graduates from my program passed the NCLEX on their first try. Granted, it is a newer program (I think I am in the 4th or 5th class to graduate) but the fact still remains that none of them have had to take the exam a second time. It is just a * tiny* bit of pressure. And no one wants to be the one to break the school streak.

After scheduling, I sent the boyfriend a text message.
"So in two years when you are freaking out over NCLEX and I am telling you that you'll be fine and that you have nothing to worry about, remind me of this moment...where I am sitting in my bedroom shaking because I am so nervous so that I can be more sympathetic"
I am sure he will be more than happy to remind me of this when I am trying to reassure him when he graduates. Ugh.

[Yeah. And I know what you are thinking. "Estelle, why in the world are you dating a nursing student?! Don't you know they are all insane and don't have any spare time and are stressed to the nth degree?!" Yes, dear reader, I am aware of all this.]

Wish me luck, darlings. Because I will be spending the next 18 days cramming and practicing.

[Oh and I also didn't sleep a wink tonight and a close friend is insisting on spending the day together before I disappear into a library. Ugh. It is going to be a long day.]

Friday, June 03, 2011

Something Else That is Making Me Smile

I am grinning like a total idiot right now.
Seriously.
OCD-kitty makes me happy. :-)

Photobucket

Love it

I saw this on another blog recently although but I cannot for the life of me find it on my RSS feed. Grrr. Anyway, the blogger was going through a rough time so she wrote all about the things she loves.
A very good idea, darling.
Shall we?
So, without rather a-do, the things that have been making me smile lately:

♥ Kid shampoo. Right now, my hair smells like strawberries. Tomorrow, it may be coconuts. :-)

♥ Studying for NCLEX. Okay, okay. I know it sounds crazy. But look at it like this: I have spent the past two years trying to cram as much information into my head as possible at a rate that is superhuman. In nursing school, you basically get a two year crash course in running a hospital from the ground up. Aunt Jo (Head Nurse) compares trying to learn all the information to trying to drink from a fire hose. It just comes at you too fast and you don't always have time to truly absorb it [much less, appreciate the complexities of a disease process or the delicate intricacies of some of the pharmacology]. Now that I am done, I can linger over the pages and make notes to myself. I can make connections that I may not have seen before or really take the time to look at a concept I might not totally understand. Plus, I am remembering more than I thought I would. Good news because I had assumed I would have to basically relearn everything from the past four semesters.

♥ Android smileys. They are too freaking cute. Seriously. If I ever do go over to the dark side and get an iPhone, I am going to miss them. Hmmm...unless I can figure out how to jailbreak it and still have the Android cuties. ;-)


♥ Lemonade. Especially strawberry or raspberry lemonade. Is there anything better on a summer day? Nope. I don't think there is.

♥ Lebanese ice tea. My favorite thing ever. Tea + lemony goodness + roses + extra pine nuts. Ahhh. Yum.

♥ Warm weather. I complained all winter about how cold it was here in south Louisiana [which is odd because we didn't even get any snow this year like we have in the past several]. Well...I got my wish. It is now summer and complete miserable here. Was 104 degrees today. Ugh. But in the early morning, when the sun is just starting to peak over the horizon, it is really nice. And considering I haven't really been sleeping much lately, I have seen quite a few sunrises.

♥ These rings. How cute are they?And DIY?!? Awesome. :-)


♥ My boyfriend's voice. Okay, don't tell him because he already thinks he has me wrapped around his finger but I could listen to him talk for hours...even if it is just him bitching about work. Yep. I kinda like the man.

♥ My Twitter nursing school buddies. Get on Twitter, ya'll. There is a whole healthcare/nurse/MD/pharmacy community. *Most* of them are awesome [You run into the occasional psycho but take the good with the bad, right?]

♥ This tattoo. I want it. OhMyGoodness...How I want it....Please someone tell me that the healthcare industry doesn't frown on visible tattoos. I am just dying to get one and the only places I want it are visible [on the wrist or behind my ear].


This blog post from NP Odyssey. I didn't think it was possible for this guy to be any more awesome...but apparently, it is. He wins me "Amazing Blogger" prize of the day. It has no cash value and can't be redeemed for anything other than my respect and admiration.

♥ My most resent obsession: Pinterest. This website is like 4 different kinds of addicting. Really. I think it took about 3 hours for my Twitter nursing pals to start pinning. The website describes itself like this: "Think of Pinterest as a virtual pinboard — a place where you can create collections of things you love and "follow" collections created by people with great taste." You submit your email address and wait for an 'invite' but the time varies on how long it can take to be approved [any where from half an hour to a week] but members can invite their friends. So if you are interested, send me an email and I'll send you an invite. :-D

♥ The fact that my aunt talked to the HR people at her hospital and they are pulling my resume. "squeal* Nothing is guaranteed but I am just happy that someone will be taking a look at it rather than an automatic thing that searches for keywords.

♥ Finding out a few of my classmates received their ATTs today. The ATT (or Authorization To Test) is required to register for the NCLEX-RN. I saw on Facebook tonight that some of them are taking it in as little as two weeks. Yikes. I am pretty sure I'll get mine tomorrow or early next week and then...the real fun begins. :-)

♥ The fact that I am now able to listen to "our" old songs and not feel anything. Nothing negative. But also no desire to fix what we had or to make everything better. Some things are better broken, even if it is simply because all you would do by trying to fix it would be cutting yourself on the pieces.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Passage

I never finished the book "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I'm not sure why but I think I made it through Italy and most of the way through India...but I never quite got past Indonesia.
Well the other night, I was flipping through the pages and came upon this passage:

The context is that the writer is in Rome and suffering from a serious episode of Depression and Loneliness and she is having a conversation with herself. This is where she realizes she can be her own friend and that even though she isn't surrounded by the familiar or the comforting, she has herself.

I don't know where I am going with this blog entry. Maybe I am just jealous of her and the fact that she can love herself like that. Probably because most days, I am my own worst enemy.

Frisky Friday - Grass

But just a little. ;)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Frisky Friday - Thoughts

Just thought you should know.

[And yes. I am perfectly aware it is Tuesday.] ;)

Monday, May 23, 2011

I'll be okay.

Hello darlings.
I want to thank all of you for the outpouring of love and support I have received. I think that I had things pent up for a while now and they just finally came out.

Thinking about it today, I realized that I have much higher standards for myself than I do for any of my friends or the people I love. If they have a problem, they need time to process it, grieve if need be, learn from it, and then to heal.
But if I have a problem, I need to get over it. Like, yesterday. I don't allow myself the opportunity to let things out because I think that I have to be "the strong one" all the time.




I promise I will try to be nicer to myself.
And I should probably look into seeing a therapist, and maybe even have my doctor increase my dose of Wellbutrin.

[& I wanted to give a special thanks to NP Odyssey and Pollyanna. I could seriously kiss both of you right now. Absolutely ♥ ya'll. Thank you.]

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Unwell.

I just graduated nursing school.
I just did something that hundreds, if not thousands of people across the country dream of.
And yet, I am not happy.

I should be happy. I should be over-the-goddamn-moon happy. I should be first-kiss, dancing-in-the-rain, cuddling-with-a-puppy, chocolate-chip-pancakes-on-a-Saturday-morning happy about this.
But instead, I don't feel anything.
Actually, no. That's a lie.
When I am not feeling completely and totally empty about the whole experience, all I can think about is how meaningless it all seems without my dad being here.

I am not okay, my lovely readers.
I have never been okay.
I'm a liar. And a hypocrite.
And I am really fucking depressed.

I know that I am loved. And that I would be missed if *something* were to happen to me. I know that I have people who care about me. It is strange how I spend most of my psych nursing rotation talking to depressed and suicidal patients about how beautiful life can be.
I am such a fucking fraud.

I am just not sure how much longer I can stand this. It hurts. Like physically hurts. I don't want to see anyone and I am avoiding phone calls. Two of my closest friends got married yesterday and I skipped the wedding because I hated the thought of the dark cloud following me to the ceremony. All I want to do is shut the world out right now. I know that one day this pain will make sense. I know that it will be useful to me somehow, just as it has been in the past. But I just hate it so much.

The very first sentence in my psych nursing textbook in the chapter on depression reads: "No amount of information can adequately convey the personal pain and suffering experienced by the individual with depression."
So there is no way to accurately explain it. You can't understand unless you have lived it.
It's like being dropped into the middle of a maze and someone shutting off the lights. All you can do is run your hands along the walls to try to find your way out.
It's like you are drowning but you are only a few inches below the water's surface.
It's like there is a tiny drop of poison in a bubble in your heart. You could be content, happy even. But that little bubble is still there and all it takes is for a hiccup to cause it to burst and the poison starts pumping through your veins. It spreads through your heart, and to your lungs, and to your brain. It's like a cancer. And it is a fight you won't win. Because day after day, the poison keeps spreading until eventually you don't have blood in your veins anymore. All you have is the poison. And it is just so exhausting trying to fight it. And you know that one day, your heart will say enough is enough and decide to stop beating as to no longer pump the poison.

Mad Girl's Love Song

Not even my lovely Sylvia can make me feel any better. This might be more serious than I thought.
[By the way, I am in love with this poem. Couldn't even begin to tell you why.]

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New blog?

So I am thinking of creating a new blog.
I want to take my *Estelle's Guide to Nursing School* posts, "clean them up" a bit [aka remove all the naughty bits], and post them to a separate site designed specifically for nursing students.

Now before you say, "Oh wow. That is so sweet of you, Estelle," I am doing this for purely selfish reasons.

I didn't work while I was in nursing school [not exactly true...worked as a CNA in a nursing home for about two months but I don't include that because I left on bad terms]. So I don't have much on my resume in the way of healthcare experience and I need something to make me stand out from all the other nursing students. I think this might be a good idea.

What do ya'll think?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Something I Never Though I Would Have to Say

I was talking with friend recently about how odd it was to think of her as a mother.
Even though she is almost 10 years older than me with two kids, it is still strange when I see her at her home "being mommy"...especially when the weekend before I saw her downing shots of Patron and helping me kick some ass in a game of pool against two guys who thought they had it in the bag.

Anyway, I am getting sidetracked.

She said that even she thought it was bizarre that she is a mom. And that she often found herself saying things to her kids that she never thought she would say in her life.
Things like "Don't bite the cat" or "Stop licking the wall. It tastes nothing like snozberries."

Well, dear readers, today I find myself saying something that I never imagined I would have to spell out.

PLEASE, for the love of God, do not email me or text me photos of your rashes.
Or your funky looking moles.
Or your questionable [possibly syphilis?] lesions.

I give ya'll a lot of credit. None of you have done this to me.
And yes. While I have had someone describe a rash to me over the phone, no one had ever sent photos before. o_O

Since graduation on Saturday, apparently word has gotten out to my younger brother's friends that I am now 'officially' a nurse [trying to explain to them that, no, I am not a nurse yet, doesn't work]. I already knew more than any of my classmates about splinting fractures and stabilizing strains because of them. They are all skateboarders...or BMXers...or they get high and do stupid shit like fall out of trees.
I just don't ever want to hear "Um...does this look contagious to you?" again. And if I do, I want to be getting paid for it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Computer Drama

So, if you read my post last night, you saw I was (and still am) having a bit of trouble with my dear laptop. My files [photos, music, videos] are all floating aimlessly around inside my hard drive and I have no idea where to find them or how to access them.
[sigh]

On the positive side of things, I can still listen to my music and access the Internet so I can still put in job applications.
If any of you have any major connections to hospitals in south Louisiana (preferably the capital city area), I would love to hear from you [estelledarling{at}gmail{dot}com]. It seems like the only way new graduates are getting hired around here is if they already have an "in" [teching, CNAs, etc] or if they know someone in management or HR.

Fuck.

So i was in the middle of redesigning this blog when the hard drive on my lap top decided it didnt love me anymore and failed.

The are five critical errors that my system manager thing failed to fix. And I have no idea what to do.

It says...
read time of hard drive clusters less than 500ms
30 percent of hhd space is unreadable
bad sectors on hard drive or damaged allocation table
boot sector of the hard drive is damaged
hard drive does not respond to system commands

The crazy thing is that I can still open and play music on iTunes but I dont have access to any of the music files.
I also tried to do a system recover or restore but I dont even have access to the accessories tab when i click on the start button so i couldnt click on restore and even if I did I don't think that would fix the problem because something is wrong with the hard drive.
so if any of my super smart readers out there have any idea what i am suppose to do about this...i would love your help. By the way...i have windows 7.

Take care, darlings.

Friday, May 13, 2011

It's Over.

Over the past week:
I was pinned.
I made a nursing instructor cry.
I turned 23.
I took (and passed) my final exam.
I graduated nursing school.

I really don't know what to say. Tomorrow, I walk in my graduation ceremony. I'll write more after that.
Thank you all for being there for me. ♥

Also, I found this quote. Love it.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Unanswered Questions.

My last entries prompted a few of my dear readers to ask a few questions about some of the goings-on in my life lately. I suppose how I addressed the situations was a little vague and does warrant a little more detailed response.


So here we are, darlings. Hope this answer helps. ♥


The Doctor's Appointment:
On the April 13, I had a doctor's appointment with an endocrinologist. I first saw her about two years ago because my primary care doc found a small nodule on my thyroid...and that was the last time I saw her. Between the time demands of school and just life in general, I always seemed to cancel my appointments. Well, I actually went this time.
After she palpated my thyroid (which felt like she was trying to choke me), she sat down and looked me in the eye (always a bad sign).
Doc: "Estelle, that nodule is noticeably bigger than it was two years ago."
Estelle: "Well...that's not good."
Doc: "I think it might be time to start thinking about a biopsy."
Estelle: "Ha. I'm sorry, Doc. I thought for a moment there you said biopsy."
Doc: "..."
Estelle: "Oh, shit."

She scheduled the biopsy for April 22, which gave me a week and a half to stress over this (when I should have been writing papers). And medical knowledge really isn't comforting when it is you on the other side of the stethoscope.

Never mind that most nodules are just that...nodules….just little over growths of harmless tissue.
Never mind that if a nodule is cancerous, the chances of it being malignant are somewhere between slim and none.
Never mind that if the cancerous nodule is malignant, the survival and cure rates are like 99.9999%

Nope. The only thing you notice is that if the nodule is painless and the patient is under 30, the chances of it being malignant go up.
So yeah. I really didn't sleep during this week. At least no more than two or three hours at a time. Which caused me to be super moody and snappy at everyone (leading to the drama with the honey...but we'll get to that later).

A fine needle aspiration is when a very tiny needle (a 25g...smaller than the kind used to draw blood) guided by an ultrasound into the suspicious tissue to collect cells. This is done five or six times to insure that enough cells are collected in order for a pathologist to study them. Did I mention this is all done without the use of anesthetic of any kind? But according to the doc, she “makes the skin cold to trick the brain into not feeling it”. Wow, yeah, okay. I am sure than can of air duster you have is really going to help me in this situation.
And honestly, I really don't care how small the needle is. I don't want someone to stab me in the throat with one.

So on the 22nd (Good Friday), Mother Dearest and I got in the car and drove to the clinic where the test was being preformed. I, having spent most of the night curled in a ball crying, took enough Xanax that morning to where I really didn't care whether they cut my throat open and took the whole thyroid out.

They called me in the back where I met the ultrasound tech, a really sweet older lady who kind of reminded me of a bird with her short, silver hair and crazy earrings. I am also sure she was the same woman who did the original ultrasound of my thyroid two years before.

She explained the procedure and got me settled on the table with a wedge under my knees and a pillow under my shoulders so that my back was slightly arched and she had better access to my throat.
The doctor had reminded me to wear a low cut top so that they didn't get any skin prep or ultrasound jelly on my clothes. I kind of laughed at this...because pretty much every top I own is low cut. Ha.
The tech started doing her thing. After a few minutes, she stopped and said she had to go check on the previous scans. A short while later, the doctor walked in.
They talked for a few moments as the tech started to ultrasound again. All the while, I am just chilling on the table, thinking how soothing their voices sound. I am pretty sure the Xanax took effect by the point.
Bit of their conversation stood out through my pharmacological-induced fog. "Not sure....this side, right?.....not seeing it.....no, it just isn't there...."

That is right, ladies and gentlemen. After a week and a half of basically losing my damn mind worrying over this...the nodule wasn't even there.
It's a miracle!
And of course, I went home and had a very long nap. ;)

The Broken Friendship:
I really don't know how to tell this story. I mean, I know what happened and what i want to say but I don't know how to say it. Plus, I am being very careful about what I say because I know for a fact that he knows about this blog. :-/

So I guess I'll just write and see where this goes...
I am sure most of you remember me telling you about how much I love Twitter and how there is a huge group of nursing students on there. They are amazing. Supportive, sweet, caring. I have actually made friends with several of them to the point of adding them on Facebook.
Well, there was one follower that I got close to. We had quite a few late conversations that ended up going places that they never should have gone. I blame myself for this. I think something about me puts people at ease and it lets them open up to me about things they would never share with other people under normal circumstances.
Things were said that should not have been said. Especially from a married pastor to a girl with a boyfriend. I decided it was time to put an end to it before it went any farther and anything else that he (or I) would regret was said or done.
That evening, I unfriended him on Facebook, unfollowed him on Twitter, and even ended our Words With Friends game. I honestly didn't think he would notice. I mean, why would he? It's just the Internet, right?
Because I was exhausted (hadn't been sleeping, remember?), I fell asleep for about an hour. Well in that hour, he noticed. I woke up to a friend request and a few Facebook messages, as well as several emails to my personal account, and a message sent via Words With Friends. There were also numerous references to this on his personal Twitter page.


I was a little shocked. I didn't know what to say so I told him I was sorry and that it wasn't his fault. I haven't contacted him since despite several attempts by him to get in touch with me (even going so far as to ask several mutual friends what was going on since I had locked my Twitter account…something I think that was completely out of line for him to do and made me feel like I owed these girls apologizes for him feeling it was necessary to drag them into the middle of our personal business).
I am hoping he just forgets about me. I don't want to start an argument over why I ended our friendship but I am afraid that if I were to respond to him, it would end in a screaming match.
Some of the things he has said to me in his emails were just uncalled for...and even cruel. To tell me, "You, though, have broken my heart and have not acted like the healer I know you are" is a low blow and one that I believe was designed specifically to get a rise out of me and force a response. But I refuse to play that game.
But, I will say, that hurt a lot more than I wanted to admit.
Part of what bothers me about this is that fact that the people who knew and followed both of us only heard his side of the story. Basically, that I befriended him and then suddenly and without provocation, dropped him like a bad habit. So in the end, he came out smelling like roses while I am the cold, callous, heartbreaking bitch. Oh well. Such is life.



The Honey Drama:
Ahh. Not really sure what to say about this either but here goes.
The Mr. and I are in a long distance relationship for now and have been for the past few months. I have never been a part of one of those before and, to be frank about it, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I never expected that I would care about him as much as I do or that I would fall for him as hard as I did. And the fact that he is so far away makes it all the more difficult.

I really don’t remember what the argument was about and I am not sure it even matters.
We’ve gotten into several arguments over the past few weeks…mostly stemming from the fact that I don’t like to say what is on my mind and I let things simmer beneath the surface until it becomes obvious that something is very wrong even when it started as just a small issue that could have been handled easily if I had brought it up earlier. Because, apparently, the boy isn’t a mind reader. Shocking, I know.

I mean, he can be cold and distant at times too so I am by no means saying he is perfect. But even though he isn’t perfect, he is right for me. I feel it. He puts up with my flaws and even loves me for them. My craziness and panic and my constant pushing him away in the beginning and giving him “outs”…basically telling him over and over again “Here’s your chance. No one would blame you if you left. Least of all me”. He put up with all of it. I really can’t think of another man who would have (or, hell, even could have) done that.

A few days ago, he said something that shocked me…even more than the first time he told me he loved me. “I worry about you. You aren’t alone anymore.” I didn’t say anything to him about it at the time but that little phrase, as simple as it seems, made me shed a tear. I believe him. I’m not alone anymore. And as hard as I fought in the beginning to keep myself from falling in love with him, I want to fight even harder to make this work.