Friday, August 29


It's been a long time since I've had to forcibly drag myself out of bed before I was good and ready to get up. I'm not sure I'm a fan.

School has begun again for me. My first day was Wednesday, and that was nothing exciting. Just the standard class orientation, going over the syllabus and calendar, meeting our clinical instructors. The nicest thing about it was having the afternoon off. The saddest thing about it was realizing that I have terrible, terrible people skills, I don't know hardly anyone in my class after 4 semesters, and when we go into groups I'm always the one left trying to wriggle into a group of close-knit friends that I don't know.

Thursday we had "orientation" at Utah State Hospital... it was interesting. I convinced myself that it started an hour later than we were clearly told, so I showed up an hour late to my extreme embarrassment. Luckily the instructor was very nice about it.

Right at the end of this orientation, we had the creepiest, most mentally disturbing little project I have ever experienced in my life. We simulated the schizophrenic "voice hearing experience" through CD players and headphones. Before we started, I was very cockily thinking "Ha. It's a voice on a tape player. How bad could this possibly be?" Well, it was bad. Something about having it so loud in your head.... saying those awful things... while you're trying to pay attention to what people are trying to do... Ugh. It was awful. Demonic. Click here for a small sample of what it sounded like (Rated PG-13 for language and creep-factor). I can't even describe what it really felt like... even listening at first, I wasn't really bothered, but afterward, as time went on, it bothered me more and more. I came home and sobbed for 10 minutes trying to get it all out so I could go to work without feeling emotionally frayed. It worked. Sortof.

I'll have Community Nursing clinicals at Baby Your Baby until October, then my Preceptor clinicals at American Fork Labor & Delivery until December. Very exciting. I'm happy I got BYB for the Community Nursing clinical, because it's rather special to me. I'm hoping I can really talk to some of these young struggling moms on a personal basis and really help them.

This morning we had another orientation at the Utah County Health Dept... and for the most part, it was the driest and most boring thing I've ever attended. Most of the speakers spoke in quiet, monotone voices, the slides were in muted colors, we got handouts of fabulous statistics... ugh. I'm so glad that's over. I'm probably spoiled by IHC orientations, where they almost always feed us. They didn't even have vending machines at this place.

Work today, and then I go down to 3 days/week. I'm excited to have more time to myself, which is what I tell myself even though i know most of it will be taken up by school. Oh well. It's gonna be a good semester!

Monday, August 18

The Kardashians?

For a while now, I've been hearing about the "Kardashian Sisters" in the popular media. And for the longest time, I thought people were referring to the fictional characters referred to in Star Trek: Voyager (and probably other Star Treks as well, but that's the only series I've watched).

The Kardashian Sisters are from some sort of reality TV series. I don't know what warrants them a TV series, but that is NOT Star Trek.

I'm off to work, but I leave you with this video to warm the cockles of your heart:

Friday, August 15

Vacation Update, Part 3: Family Reunion

Well, I haven't done anything all day today. May as well continue the tradition.

The day after we got home from Lake Powell was our family reunion. Technically it was Thursday, too, but we were busy getting home from Lake Powell. Friday morning we went to Seven Peaks Water Park, and me and brit were 10 kinds of lame about the water slides. We went in the Lazy River with my nephews for a bit (which was really a lot of fun)... went on the halfpipe ride (which was really pretty scary)... and went on the "toilet bowl" ride next to it (which was really pretty lame). And we were done. By noonish the concrete BURNED my feet, and I hated walking anywhere. We just hung out with the family under the pavilion and ate their food. And played with my nephews. Especially Charlie, who got STINKING CUTE since the last time I saw him in NJ. My dad convinced me to go on one more ride in a double-tube with him, but that was it for us. It was still fun.

We left by about 4, and went home to take naps and shower (my first shower in a week! BLISS!) before dinner with the whole family again. We went to Canyon Glen park, had hamburgers and hot dogs and chicken, took lots of family pictures, and watched a slideshow. It was fun. Although I think the highlight of my evening was stopping by Costco on the way to the park and watching Emilia buy 12 giant boxes of Ghiradelli Chocolate Brownies.

Some fun pictures from the weekend (sadly, I didn't start taking pictures until after Seven Peaks):
Brit, with my really cute niece, who has a pretty freaked out expression on her face....

Brit and Uncle Val, doing their Guy Thing with computers

The picture of us with my grandparents I didn't get at my wedding. Which I'm pretty mad about.

Benjamin, getting acquainted with Khianna

The effect of the weekend....

Thursday, August 14

Whine Fest 08: Why My Job Sucks!

... but only for one day.

Last Friday was well and truly a day to remember. And that's being pretty nice. I started out the day by getting report, as always, to discover that a patient had a fall that morning and had to be on neuro checks every 2 hours. So I had to keep my eye on her. As we were winding down report (and this is my favorite part) the nurse goes "Hmm... and there was something else.... Oh yeah! You have a new admit today." ARRGH! New admits are my ABSOLUTE LEAST favorite thing in that job, when I'm the one who has to admit them. It means a crapton of paperwork, assessments, sorting through the piles of things and meds and papers people give you, doing every little thing by hand, and that's all on top of the everyday work you still have to do. Not 10 minutes later another patient comes walking down the hall, looking like she's about to fall over. And oh no, this isn't someone you can just gently lead to bed and have her rest until she's stronger and won't be in danger of a fall. She has very little idea of what's going on around her, and will by golly walk herself right into her grave if she could. And if you try to get her to lay down, she's getting up 10 seconds later going "Where's my shoes? Get me my shoes!" And with much more colorful language, besides.

So while I'm keeping an eye on Fall Risks #1 and #2, sorting through my paperwork and trying to get things ready for my new patient, a CNA comes up to me and says "Umm... I know you're busy... but I just took I.C.'s blood pressure and it was 90/60." And yes, he double checked. So I had that to worry about and hand-check myself and look up what his history is and decide if it's a risk, on top of a new patient, a patient that looks like she's gonna fall over and won't sit down, and a patient who's fallen (I think this was her second time, actually) and needs to be personally checked on and vital signs taken every 2 hours. AND THEN, very soon after I receive the news about the blood pressure situation, a patient's family calls and wants to talk to me.

And I proceed to be yelled at for about 10 minutes because their family member was at the doctor when someone came to visit, and nobody knew she'd gone to the doctor (because we don't make a habit of notifying family about routine appointments), and why did she even need to go to the doctor anyway was something wrong? Well, of course I didn't know, because I hadn't made the appointment and nobody had even deigned to tell me this person was gone. So I did some sleuthing, looked it up in the appointment book, and figured out that she had an appointment to "get new eyeglasses." I told the woman this, and proceeded to get yelled at for another ten minutes (all the while not being able to attend any of my other mountains of work for the day) about how she didn't need new glasses, she has three pairs, why would they make her an appointment to get new glasses, she's an old lady who has no idea what's going on, what must this experience have been like for her, etc etc etc etc.

It was about that point that I just lost it. I hate crying at work, where I can't escape the eyes of patients, family, and coworkers. It makes me feel ridiculous and weak. But I could not handle that day.

It's days like that which make me really question whether I'm cut out to be a nurse. Nurses need thicker skin than what I have.... they deal with this kind of stuff all the time. And the area I want to go into is naturally stressful and riddled with obtrusive family. On top of individual days like this, I'm starting to feel like no matter how fast I go or how hard I try, I can never quite catch up with everything I want to do in the day. There's just so much! And with the amazing morning nurse who did EVERYTHING and ALL the paperwork and whatever she could possibly do to take the load off my afternoon now gone, I feel like it's just piling up. I can no longer afford hour-plus breaks... I should probably stop taking breaks altogether if I want to get my charting done before 10. I still get most things done, and I feel accomplished, but it leaves me wondering what I'm doing wrong that I'm still running my tail off all day.

Oh well, enough whining. I still love my job, even when it's busy, as long as those days like Friday are few and far between. Even though I secretly hope I get more days like that while I work here so I can develop the tough skin I'm gonna need as a nurse. But don't tell anyone I said that.

Monday, August 11

Vacation Update: Part 2, or Lake Powell!

On the road!

Saturday night we caught up with the rest of the Christensen Caravan on the highway and headed down to Lake Powell. We stopped in... somewhere... at 10 or 11 at night to sleep in a little motel for the night. Our room-- us and Jordan and Cassie-- did not sleep AT ALL. Well, the babies slept, like babies in fact, but come morning the adults consulted and realized that, independently, every one of us was awake 3-4 times/hour checking the clock and simply NOT SLEEPING. We should have gotten up and played cards.

Sunday morning found us down at the lake, loading the houseboat and shipping off. We camped only a little ways out from the marina (is that what it's called?), in sight of all the houseboats tied up to their buoys. It was a good place to camp, even though the water was a bit choppy most of the time. The majority vote was in favor of being so close to "civilization," so a trip to get ice or water (or ice cream!) took only about 15 minutes round trip. And considering how the experience is rapidly changing with all the babies around, I think most trips in the future will be similar.

Powell was tons of fun, as always. We took a day trip to Rainbow Bridge, which made the babies pretty unhappy, but it was fun. I advanced my skills in boat driving. I tried too quickly to advance my skills in wakeboarding and had a few pretty bad falls, which resulted in me being terrified of the wakeboard for most of the week. I was barely starting to get over it as the week ended. We did tubing, which also scared the crud out of me. I don't remember it being that hard to hang on last year! I was flying all over the place! But the second time we went (after letting Heather and her sister go for a while) I had a lot more fun.

The rest of the week consisted of the standard day-to-day Lake Powell activities. Brit almost lost his wedding ring once-- I grabbed his hand and it slipped off and fell to the bottom of the lake. But we found it! Or he found it. I tried to exercise every morning by swimming out around the campsite before breakfast.......... that actually happened twice. The rest of the time, we lounged about and read our books and jumped in the water when it got too hot. A successful week, I'd say. I'm just sad it had to be cut short AGAIN.

Colby, a regular sailor

The true spirit of Lake Powell

Me, on the wakeboard, probably looking terrified. I can't tell.

Rainbow Bridge.... also the background of the picture of Me and Brit currently on the left-hand side of the page.

After I started getting used to the tubes.... and before I started trying to kick my husband off of his.

Me, looking all captainy, driving my father-in-law's boat.

Brit, looking all sexy and in charge of Little Boat for our day trip.

It took me a few days to get my "land legs" back. I kept on feeling like I was on a rocking boat. We made it back home by about 11:30 Thursday night, visited with my Brother and Sister-in-law who were crashing our apartment for the family reunion, and went to bed. Family reunion update still to come. And maybe a whine-fest about my job somewhere in there.

Wednesday, August 6

Vacation Update, Part 1

I've realized I kindof fail at this whole blogging thing. I think I'm updating regularly, then I look at the archives and see I'm averaging maybe 2-3/month. Whoops. My apologies. I know you're all missing me dearly.

Three separate updates are forthcoming, both about or last week of pure vacationy goodness. I'm separating them partly to keep from overwhelming you all with one gargantuan post, and partly as an out because I'm sure I'll get distracted sometime before I finish.

Friday was my first day off work (after a very long, rather stressful no-break stretch) for my nephew's blessing. We went up to Salt Lake for the big family event. It was fun seeing so many of Brit's aunts and cousins, even if a little overwhelming. The baby bore it well, until right after the blessing when all the cameras came out and he FREAKED. Can't say as I blame him. He was stinking cute, though. Much more interactive than the last time we saw him. His new favorite thing was blowing spit bubbles, and I about died every time.

After the blessing was finally done (an event which attempted to be as succinct as possible, but failed spectacularly (the whole event, that is, not the blessing itself which was beautiful)) we all headed out to a park for dinner and visiting. I wasn't much in a visiting mood, and it was hot, but the food was good and the babies were cute, and it was a good experience.

Blythe and Paul, Brit's favorite aunt and uncle, FINALLY showed up just as everyone was leaving. We went back to Jordan's house to visit some more with them, and of course Jordan and Cassie, and Ryan and Heather, and Brit's parents and grandparents. That was a small, fun group. We really had a good time, even though I was exhausted. And it made me excited for the coming week at Lake Powell with the family. Spending time with them is non-stop entertainment.