Monday, October 17, 2011

All I needed to learn I learned...(on the job)

Did I know when I started nursing school that I would

Clean up vomit?
Change diapers on big people?
Change dressings on gaping flesh wounds?
Have to gain the ability to think 2 steps ahead of the doctor or try to read a doctors mind?

Did I know that I would:

Be exposed to TB, Hepatitis, AIDS, MRSA, and toxic medications?
Love some patients and put up with others?
Be told by my patients that I treated her like a dog (she had Alzheimer's)?

Oh and did I know that we would use leaches to treat a patient?

Nope.  I was never told that in nursing school.  (Or graduate school for that matter). 

It was only a kiss...

My 20 something year old cancer patient said to me on Sunday:
"I haven't kissed a girl since February.  Emily, What if I never get to kiss another girl before I die!?!"

I didn't know what to say.  Nursing school didn't prepare me to answer questions like this. 

The white board in all patient rooms have an area for patients to write down questions for doctors and goals for the day. 

The goals listed were:
1. Have a cute nurse.
2. Kick cancer in the butt.
3. Kiss a cute nurse.

I like the way he thinks.  Goal oriented and all.  And I'm the kind of nurse that likes to please. 

Before he was discharged from the hospital on Monday, I stopped by the 7th floor to drop off a bag of these... 

Hopefully he has enough kisses to last him until he returns for chemo in 2 weeks...or until a girl comes to her senses, which ever comes first. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A day (or week) for diabetics

When I was 10 or 12 or maybe a teenager, my dad was diagnosed with diabetes.  I never thought much of the disease-not because my dad didn't manage it or take it seriously, but because he managed it very well and never complained about it.  He took his blood sugars regularly, started measuring how much food he ate (literally using measuring cups to measure cereal and portions of other food).  He switched over to skim milk and pretty much stopped eating dessert all together.  He also started walking daily (religiously, actually, until the day my parents left on their mission).

In graduate school I get to have some very hands on experiences.  I have been in 2 different family practice clinics, a pediatric clinic, and an oncology clinic for rotations.  This past week I volunteered at the free clinic in Provo and saw patients under the supervision of one of my BYU instructors.  Additionally, as a nurse I have the hands on experiences every single day.  Chemotherapy, disgusting wounds, cardiac arrests, antibiotic drips, vomit and every other bodily fluid included in that "hands on" expereince I call my carreer. 

This week school and hands on/real life crossed paths once again. 

In the name of education, research and learning to have empathy for my diabetic patients, I am currently the participant of a research study conducted by my professor and get to wear an insulin pump for 7 days.  I prick my fingers 4 times each day to check my blood sugars.  I calculate the carbohydrates in the meals (and snacks) I eat.  I get to wear this pump on the side of my pants for 7 days. 

I changed the site yesterday on my stomach because it had been in place for 3 1/2 days.  The site hurt for 3 1/2 days straight and the tape was starting to cause and allergic reaction on my skin. 

Today it took me almost 2 hours at work to eat my lunch.  I squeezed in bites of food between dressing changes, transferring patients, tranfusing blood and administering medications to my patients.  Does that really work as a type 1 diabetic?  At work I generally graze....I eat some crackers here, a granola bar there and snack through out the entire shift.  There is no such thing as a 30 min lunch for nurses.  When exactly should I be programming insulin into the pump or checking my blood sugars when i'm not really eating a full breakfast or lunch?  Not to mention the fact that even though it takes literally 30 seconds to check my blood sugar at breakfast, lunch and dinner, I don't like having to interrupt my routine to stop and check it.  Oh and running with it is a nuisance.  And I haven't figured out a good way to discreetly wear the pump on me so I get asked frequently if I'm a diabetic.  All you type 1's out there--do you get asked this every day?!?!  

Dear diabetics--especially type 1's--I am impressed with your compliance to treatment (I cheated friday night and ate way too many carbs and cheated again Saturday when I took off the pump to go for a 4 mile run). 
Dear Dad-thanks for taking your diagnosis in stride.  I know you don't wear an insulin pump, but testing your blood sugar frequently and having to count carbs is a chore and takes some of the fun out of eating.  Thanks for taking it seriously enough that you're still alive today with good vision, good kidneys, a great cardiovascular system and an extra 20 healthy years to spend with your kids and grandkids. 

Ouch. Yes, that really is a needle on that end of that blue plastic.

Sarah and all of the supplies that will be part of my life as a "diabetic"

Dear Fall....

I have been too busy to enjoy you this year.

This week doesn't look good for me either. I have 2 tests, clinicals for school on Monday and Thursday, 24 hrs of work at the hospital and a lesson to prepare and teach for relief society.
Oh, and next week looks pretty similar to this week. 

Can you please stick around for at least another 2 weeks? I think/hope my schedule will open up by then. Does Friday Oct 30th work for you? I'm pretty sure that day will work for me.