Monday, February 22, 2010

Not to rub it in but...

The countdown to Mexico begins today! 12 days until Joc and I are in the hot weather. Thank God! This Michigan winter is enough to send someone off the deep end. February has proven to be very blah, cold and more blah, okay so last week we had a few sunshine days but I was mostly indoors without the opportunity to get out and experience them so baaaa! they don't count for me. As excited and ready for a break as I am, it worries me that the semester is progressing so quickly and without regard for my stress level. I keep telling myself that life will ease up after spring break and after the cumulative exam on the 17th but I'm not so sure, but praying it gets lighter. My last three trips to Lansing happen this week (2) and next week (Thursday) and then I'll have a few extra hours to complete homework and readings and get some resumes out to colleges.

I had a particularly emotionally draining day at work yesterday, I am precepting a senior level nursing student (what we call the leadership rotation, it's an opportunity to get the student into the nursing world) who is hungry to learn everything and anything she can. This can be particularly draining simply because it's double the load on my brain and can really slow down my day that is already busy and complex. But, I love to teach and love to offer experiences so I truly don't mind in the least and if it's just not a good time, I say, "we'll need to talk about that later". Anyhoo, we had a 63 year old gentleman who was alone at home for approximately 5 hours and found unresponsive by family, EMS brought him to the ER where he deteriorated quickly needing a breathing tube (for my medical friends he promptly vomited and aspirated with the intubation adding to his problems) then his CT scan (of his brain) showed a brain stem infarct (large) (translation: he had a large stroke). To keep the story short: neurologist comes to assess him and tells the family he is nearly brain dead (but not quite), ICU doctor tells the family he is nearly dead and he will most likely not survive this stroke, family is large and outspoken, upset (understandably), don't understand that his reaction to pain is a reflex as opposed to the brain telling him to respond to pain appropriately. I took over Sunday morning where we met with the neurologist twice (once for a thorough assessment to demonstrate to the family how poor his prognosis is and a second time to look at a new scan of his brain that showed about 80% of his brain tissue severely and permanently damaged), then with the ICU doctor twice to talk about his code status and the options for treatment as well as at the end of the 12 hour day to talk about his rising and uncontrollable temperature (between 38 and 39.5 celcius or 102-104ish F). There were many emotions running high all day and I left with a headache and exhausted. He will die, they were coming to terms with the decision to take him off life support because he will never recover. I hope I helped them feel at ease with that hard and unimaginable decision. They want to be sure he will never wake up, no one can tell them for 100% certainty, we can offer a 99% chance he will never wake up but they cling to that 1% chance of a miracle. Are they wrong? If we wait too long and he doesn't herniate on his own, he will live on a vent with a feeding tube in a nursing home for however long it takes his heart to stop beating of its own accord. How many people want that?
It's been a long time since I've been involved in a case like this one, it felt good to come into their lives at such a hard time and offer a support they needed. They look for hope in every small nook and the word miracle was thrown out a few times, with the neurologist and ICU doctor both saying if he survives this and wakes up, it will be a miracle. It sounds bad to most non-medical people, but I pray he dies on his own. I pray his brain herniates and his heart stops beating and his family is relieved of this burden they truly don't want right now. Can you pray that God will do that for this family?

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I just changed/updated my blog page and read a few people's posts and now I'm inspired to post another post. (I was going to try to squeeze the word "post" one more time but decided against it)
Life has been a bit crazy around here for me, this final semester of grad school is proving as the most difficult. On top of the 6 credits (which may not sound like a lot, it is for grad school on top of working and living...) the program I am in (MSU) has a comprehensive exam that my classmates and myself must pass in order to graduate in May. It covers the 4 core courses of the program and also will require me to design a nursing course, including writing objectives, creating a syllabus and I'm sure some lesson plans too. It's a lot. We were given a study guide and I have met two other classmates and we have studied some together. Thank God I took all my classes quite seriously over the years so much of this will be reviewing and re-establishing the pathways created years ago. It's still nerveracking. The exam is the 17th of March, about a month away. It's a 4 or 5 hour test, mostly short answer/essay, which I consider myself pretty good at. And I found out that my class is the final class taking the comprehensive test, bloody likely!
Classes are interesting, I'm student teaching at MSU in Lansing at Sparrow Hospital two days a week, through the first week of March. I have enjoyed the students in our clinical group and I'm learning a bit about the professor I plan on being both in the classroom and in the hospital setting. I'm currently job hunting, GRCC has a few adjunct prof openings that I'll send my resume over for as well as Ferris and I'm debating in my head whether I should send a resume to UDM (my alma mater). My co-workers keep asking what I plan on doing and while I don't plan on quitting bedside nursing, I know that right now I'm experiencing some role ambuiguity and confusion but that goes deeper than my education and I don't want to go too deeply into that on a public blog. In my mind, I would love to take an adjunct position at a local college and teach one classroom course and one clinical course, ideally that would start me out on a good foot. If I find that dream job, I plan on continuing in my current position at Saint's and staying part-time, two 12's a week (as long as I don't get too overwhelmed). The most important things to me are educating my students well and giving safe patient care, if my schedule impedes my abilities in either I will modify the one that is easiest to modify. It still doesn't feel real that I will have an MSN in 3 months! (P.S. graduation is May 7th and Joc and I are planning an open house celebration at our house on the 8th... we are thinking Yesterdog to cater!)
On the home front, Joc and I are attempting to begin a family... difficult when we're shooting blanks! (Ha! i love to throw that out for people and they get this look on their face, then get the joke) If we go the insemination route, I will carry our baby. But we are also looking into adoption, which is very difficult to acheive through a MI agency, so we've found one in Indiana. Although, same sex couples can't legally adopt in the state but please don't get me started on the discrimination laws in this country! We are also shopping for a lawyer to help us take the right steps. I follow a blog (Be gay about it) about a couple in Wisconsin who just got two babies and it's so exciting to read about. I can only hope that whichever way a child comes into our family we can provide a good, safe, happy and loving home for them.
As you can see, I had a spurt of writing umph hit me there but now I should continue on with my homework and studying. Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Here I am

I missed a month, on here that is, not in life... I was definitely present for the last month in life.

I've been thinking a lot about old friends lately. Why do we stay friends with some people and not others? I think back on life, and I remember many different people's influences in my life yet only a handful are still an active part of my life. You know that quote, "Some people come into our lives and leave foot prints on our hearts" that's not exactly the right words but the idea is that people come into our lives and leave us but what they leave behind is what we have to remember them. I'm not the best of friends, I am not good at returning phone calls in a timely manner. Maybe this is why I have more footprints on my heart... There is something to be said about re-connecting with an old friend. I enjoy the feeling of talking to them and learning about their lives and what has "come true" of their dreams.

My writing drive is on leave.
Life is sucking me dry lately.
Just got to let it be and find my way.