Saturday, January 31, 2009

Not a hot mess anymore!

Just thought I should let you all know...

...that you may now address me as Shrtstormtrooper, BSN, RN!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

still kind of a hot mess

The NCLEX is hard as crap. Like, literally as hard as impacted crap. I hurt all over while taking it, because it is not a normal bodily function to sweat bullets - though that is what happened. All I can say is that I'm glad it's over.

I'll know the results on Monday (if all goes like they say it will). Even so, I'll most likely check the BON website thirty or forty times a day...Sunday included. Call it a coping mechanism.

Whew. I just...I'm glad it's over. Eegh.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hot mess

I'm a hot mess right now. The NCLEX is tomorrow morning. I think I'm ready, but what do I know? It's not like I've ever taken this exam before. And oh yes, if I don't pass, I fail at life. No pressure.

So to take my mind off of it, let me share with you a blurb 'o life about my brother and I.

My little brother will always be 12 in my mind. It's weird to me that he can drive, get into R rated movies, and owns a nicer iPod than I do. He also just went away to college. Weird. We've always had a good relationship though, and agree on pretty much everything.

Except for Discovery Channel survival shows. The poor guy has no taste in adventurers. He is under the delusion that Bear Grylls is awesome, while we all know Bear is an admitted fraud. Sure, he's climbed Mt. Everest. Sure, he can pull himself out of quicksand. Sure, he can kill a rabbit 2o yards away with a throwing stick. He also has a full camera crew with him and hotels at his leisure, so he can't be that badass. Les Stroud is much more rugged and manly. He might be dry and sometimes boring, but he actually survives by himself for a week in the wilderness. Enough said.

Anyway, the little brother and I always debate back and forth on who is the supreme outdoors survivor. I have to admit though, brother got the best of me in this most recent repartee:

Shrtstormtrooper: Today I saw a commerical with Bear Grylls selling Trail Mix Crunch cereal. That is not Bad Ass, little brother. Not BA. Les Stroud doesn't sell cereal.

Little Brother: im sure the mix consisted of grizzly bears, wolves, dragons and other such creatures that only bear himself could eat. so its pretty badass. all come packaged alived as well.

You've won this battle of wit, little brother. But not the war.

**And Les is still way cooler.

I am friends with the Fabo for this reason: only she can make fun of the vein sometimes visible in my forehead and actually make me pee a little laughing. Observe.

And just in case you need a study break, because I'm sure you are Pauly Shore vein deep in books and study guides and flash cards, you should stare at these pics for a while... they'll live up to their title, I promise!

Thanks, Fabo.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Extra, extra!

I usually read up on the news when I wake up. Mostly the economic and political stuff, but I like to buff up on my entertainment knowledge too.

Mickey Rourke apparently did a great job in The Wrestler, though I haven't had a chance to see it. And now, he's going to jump into the wrestling ring for real (?). MSNBC wrote up about it, and they even included a nice picture of Mickey.

Can anyone spot the oopsie?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Read all about it

This just in: Stomach viruses suck.

That is all.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Let it go

A sweet lady came in today with severe constipation, s/p hemorrhoidectomy. She hadn't pooped in five days. After giving her 500 cc of a soap suds enema, she barely made it to the bedside commode to let it out. She got the majority of it in the pot, but a little bit squeaked out before she could get there. I was thinking she would be mortified that she dribbled, but instead she blurts out this gem:

"I've never been so glad to shit myself before!"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Me: BAMF breakfast maker

I just made the most perfect fried egg in the history of eggs over easy. I mean, this egg was perfect. It was round, it was just slightly browned but not burned, the white was solid and the yolk was just runny enough. It looked perfect. It smelled perfect. It was perfect.

This feat is made all the more impressive by the fact that I have never attempted to make a fried egg before today. Breakfast is the domain of my dad, and I tried not to step on his territorial toes before. But I've long since moved out of my parents' house and two hours is too far for him to drive to make me breakfast, so I figured I should attempt it on my own.

I'm so proud of myself. I might have one tomorrow, too.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Addendum to previous post.

I think I might prefer death to a life immobilized. "After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure." And I'm looking forward to Heaven.

But I have no idea how I will cope when I have to help make those decisions for others.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

"I had never seen so many white coats in my little room. Nurses, orderlies, physical therapist, occupational therapist, psychologist, neurologist, interns, and even the department head - the whole hospital had turned out for the event. When they first burst in, pushing the conveyance ahead of them, I thought it meant that I was being ejected to make room for a new patient...I still could not imagine any connection between a wheelchair and me.

No one had yet given me an accurate picture of my situation, and I clung to the certainty...that I would quickly recover movement and speech...

...Two attendants seized me by the shoulders and feet, lifted me off the bed, and dumped me unceremoniously into the wheelchair. I had graduated from being a patient whose prognosis was uncertain to an official quadriplegic...My caretakers made me travel the length and breadth of the hospital floor, to make certain that the seated position did not trigger uncontrollable spasms, but I was too devastated by this brutal downgrading of my future hopes to take much notice...'You can handle the wheelchair,' said the occupational therapist, with a smile intended to make the remark sound like good news, whereas to my ears it had the ring of a life sentence. In one flash I saw the frightening truth. It was as blinding as an atomic explosion and keener than a guillotine blade."

I have read the arguments of others and I have often wondered what position I would take when faced with the issue of whether it is ethically right to keep a patient alive. Even now, I'm still not sure.

The above excerpt is from The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a book written by Jean-Dominic Bauby. Well, not exactly written. Bauby had a massive stroke one day, which resulted in Locked-in Syndrome. After being in a coma for 20 days, he woke up and found that his only communication with the world was by blinking his left eye. With this method, he dictated the book one letter at a time.

Throughout the book, Bauby gives the reader mundane details about what it's like to be fully aware but unable to give any indication of that fact; whether it's the tv being turned off in the middle of a sports game, being left in an uncomfortable position for hours on end, or losing the ability to drop a witty retort to a statement, these are things that I don't think twice about in my everyday life. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose these, but these aren't even the "big" issues.

He is unable to smile at his children, unable to respond to his father during a telephone call, and unable to do more than sit and blink at people. These are the things that make me wonder if life is worth living like this.

I was hoping for a neat little paragraph to help me make my decision; I was disappointed. Bauby never once states "I wish I had died." He also never states "I'm glad I am alive." In one chapter, he describes a lighthouse that stands guard over the residents of the hospital, "guardian not just of sailors but of the sick - castaways on the shores of loneliness." In another chapter, he describes an afternoon on the beach with his children:

"'Want to play hangman?' asks Theophile, and I ache to tell him that I have enough on my plate playing quadriplegic. But my communication system disqualifies repartee...and I count this forced lack of humor one of the great drawbacks of my condition...

...But I can certainly play hangman...I guess a letter, then another, then stumble on the third. My heart is not in the game. Grief surges over me. His face is not two feet from mine, my son Theophile sits patiently waiting - and I, his father, have lost the simple right to ruffle his bristly hair, clasp his downy neck, hug his small, lithe, warm body tight against me. There are no words to express it. My condition is monstrous, iniquitous, revolting, horrible. Suddenly I can take no more. Tears well and my throat emits a hoarse rattle that startles Theophile. Don't be scared, little man. I love you."

Words like this make me wonder if he wishes for death or is glad to be alive. There are snippets of paragraphs that break my heart with the blunt despair that he feels, yet at the same time the love for those around him and the humor that still exists is more than enough proof that this shell of a person is still a person. So what do we do? Do we try to save the person who will be relegated to this life? Is it cruel to condemn someone to a life where they are at the mercy of their imagination? Is it wrong to put forth every medical effort for someone who will be confined to blinking as their only means of communication, where they will never again be able to smile or laugh or speak or move or hug or play a game with their child? Or do we do everything we can to keep someone alive - someone who still has the potential for a brilliant imagination, endless love for those around them, a scathing humor, and something to say about their lives?

Bauby never does give me a clear answer - except maybe when he wites that "I was brutally introduced to this vital piece of anatomy when a CVA took my brainstem out of action. In the past, it was known as a 'massive stroke,' and you simply died. But improved resuscitation techniques have now prolonged and refined the agony." Obviously this life is painful for him. But it is still life, and he is still a vital player to those he interacts with.

I just don't know. I hope I never have to deal with this. Unfortunately, I know that I will.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

So close

I start work tomorrow. Holy crap! I start work tomorrow! This is very exciting. Although as I was told in orientation yesterday, "you're just a patient care tech, don't touch any medications, and DO NOT CHART anything." Man, you'd think they're afraid of lawsuits or something. But we'll see how long this no touching meds thing actually lasts. I give it three hours.

Good night, folks!

Monday, January 5, 2009


Once upon a time, I used to get a lot of blog hits from people searching for things like "what's a perineum," or "tree branch ass." I concluded that people are weird sickos. (Relevant post links here & here and here)

But lately I have seen a new epidemic spring up. Tons of people - like 1 out of 5, some days - are searching for the culturally iconic Ford Bronco. I've been thinking about it and surely that many people can't know about my little incident, so there must be another reason. Hmm. I guess they really love their OJ.

People are still strange.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I need to buy a new pair of shoes, since I don't think my ratty old ones are going to cut it for 12 hour shifts. Any recommendations on which one I should buy?

Chuck Storm v. Sign Post

This gem was brought to my attention by Keep Breathing over at RT 101. I can't believe I hadn't seen this before...but I definitely feel a little more complete now.

Chuck: Fail!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

This has been quite the year! I would go back and mention all the interesting points, but I'm too lazy to type them out for you. Since I no longer have papers to write, busywork to complete, and school exams to study for, I seem to have lost the ability to come up with witty blog posts. I guess it's harder to concentrate on this blog when I'm not determinedly procrastinating school work.

At any rate, I'm glad the new year is here. I've got a job, a place to live, and the motivation to make this coming year a great one.

I suppose everything is dandy. Well, except for the fact that I actually have to start working next week. Not going to lie, I'm sort of terrified. I felt a little nauseous today knowing that in 5 days, I will start the rest of my life. It's daunting! I know I'm not dumb and that I'll eventually be a good nurse, it's just scary to know that I have to start out knowing very little and trying not to make mistakes along the way. I worked as a waitress before this - something I was good at for 7 years. I was comfortable, confident, and knew what to do when to do it. Waitressing was second nature. Nursing? Not yet second nature. I'm terrified to start, and I just hope that I do okay.

Eegh. I'm ready for next week to come so I can get over this jittery feeling! Come on, January 6th!