29 August 2009

In memorium

This work is dedicated to the memories of my cousins Cindy and Ivan. Rest in peace.

Saying Good-bye Is Never Easy

I sat on the ground as I watched the sun set.
I knew, despite the pain, that I would never forget.

I saw you smile.
I saw you laugh and cry.
I remember both the anger and the happiness you had.
I remember how hard it was,
how life had given you such a horrible start,
how it seemed nothing could ever go right,
or how it seemed like you had stopped caring for a long time.

Eventually, from somewhere deep inside or from on high,
perhaps both,
you found the will and the desire.
You wanted to make things right.

It was so hard at first.
Old habits were always hard to break.
But you managed to do it,
one step at a time.

You fought so hard and long,
and finally MADE things go your way.
You became heroes,
in your own way.

Life was finally good,
or so it seemed.
One day, out of the blue,
you were taken away.

You had done so much,
and had so much more that you wanted to do.
But the weavers of the thread of life had something else in store for you.
And we are left here,
missing you.

21 June 2009

When I die, I want to go peacefully in my sleep like my grandpa; not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

Well, I suppose I should update this blog. I make no excuses. When life and school get busy, this thing takes a back seat.

Quick run down of what has happened since my last post on here:

1) I managed to pass my pathophysiology class. Not everyone in my class made the cut. =(

2) DURING FINALS WEEK, my family and I moved to a new house. Exhausting, but the house is nice.

3) I am taking some summer courses. I just finished the lecture and clinical portions of my psychiatric nursing class, now all I need to do is finish up the last bits of my care plan and turn that sucker in. I think my brain squeezed out of my ear and ran away screaming. I did NOT enjoy my clinical rotation AT ALL. I now know which area of nursing that I do not enjoy. I got my first experience with "countertransference" and it was not pleasant. DO. NOT. WANT.

4) I had a mini-freak out/breakdown/stress out crash and caught a cold for my trouble. I'm still honking my nose like a fog horn. This is related to my suck-tacular experience at my clinicals. That, and some jack off in the movie theater happened to be sitting behind me and sounded like he was coughing up a lung, a spleen and very possibly his shoes, too. Remember kids: SHARING IS NOT CARING WHEN IT COMES TO COLDS!

Aside from that, I'm pretty busy with finishing my care plan and getting caught up in my pharmacology class for the days I was out of town on said clinical. Here's to hoping that I pass these classes and am able to move on the the classes I need to take this fall.

13 April 2009

I make text-y faces because they make me happy!

So... Yeah. I've been so busy that I've barely had time to catch my breath for the past 5ish weeks! I guess I'll just post the condensed version.

I got done with my clinical hours for the semester on Thursday. On one hand, I was happy to be done with them and be able to sleep past 5am again. On the other hand, I was sad that I would not be working with anymore patients until June. I especially liked my last patient. She was someone who had such a good attitude, a good sense of humor and a very kind heart.

I only have a couple weeks of school left until finals start. I have a butt-ton of material to cover in both my classes. Ugh! X_X At least the finals are not comprehensive, but it is still a LOT of material to cover!! This is why I am such a rare sight outside of my home or the college campus! I have time to eat, study, sleep, study, bathe, study... and did I mention, study? I can't afford to really do anything else, or my grade may dip too low. It's really frustrating. My English Literature class has been keeping me busy with writing papers, as well. I have to take this class, as it is a humanities category and the last "general" I need for graduation. After this semester, I only need nursing courses.

I don't even want to talk about how my nursing pathophysiology class is going. I'm passing, but I hear many folks are on the border line. The anxiety and stress that they emit is almost as bad as second-hand smoke! I can tell when it is affecting me. I don't know what I can do to help my classmates (that won't get me kicked out of school) and it's got me feeling pretty sad. I don't like seeing people feel as awful as many of my classmates are feeling. ;_; BUT, I can do without all the drama that is going on. I am SO damn sick of the "us against them" mentality that is starting to creep into everyone involved. >=(

So, anyways. The Princess is tired, exhausted, highly annoyed and ready to start biting people. Ain't life grand?

03 March 2009

Paying One's Final Respects

Today, people from my church gathered together to say our final farewells to a lady of our congregation. She was 95 years old and lived a full life. A very sweet, amazing person to know. She had known my parents since they were like 13 or 14 years old. Mom had been quite sad to see her pass away.

After the memorial service, we went to the cemetary. Funny thing, most of the people who showed up for the dedication of the grave were women. The fellow from the funeral home and our bishop were a little dismayed. Who were going to be the paulbearers?? There weren't 6 men who were healthy enough to carry the casket from the hearse! In the end, the fellow from the funeral home rounded up 8 of us women and we carried the casket which held the earthly remains of our friend to her final resting place. Our bishop had thought women paulbearers were fitting. All 8 of us were her friends or children of her friends. My mother, my sister and I were 3 of those 8 people. It may seem a little odd, but it felt like an honor to help lay her to rest.

This got me to thinking. Why has it always been (to my knowledge) men who were the paulbearers? When it comes time to "plant me in the dirt", I think I want 6 or 8 of my female friends and family to lay me to rest. (Unless I have a husband or any male family or friends that want to be paulbearers, then they would be welcome to join the women doing the job.) I also think, like my bishop, that it is entirely appropriate for women to be the paulbearers for another woman.


02 March 2009

The Fashion Industry Should Die in a Fire For My Amusement

So, done with my second week of clinicals. I get a week off to recover. I feel really sad. I really liked my patients last week, they were able to talk about things. My other patients had pretty much been non-verbal, so this had be a real treat for me. It was fun to be able to talk about religions and not have any bat an eye or give you the "that makes people (who aren't even a part of the conversation) really uncomfortable, drop the subject, or I'll go tell on you!" lecture. I got to hear about great-grandchildren, what it was like to ride a horse in the desert and all sorts of other stuff. I'm no great conversationalist, but I do enjoy getting to hear what people think about things, as it forces me to try to think outside of my comfortable little "bubble."

My weekend sucked. I went clothes shopping. If you know me in person, you know that this almost NEVER goes over well. Such is the lot of this fat girl, it seems. Mind you, I made sure to go to stores that sold the plus or "fat" sizes and to stores that sold ONLY the "fat" sizes. You know, so I MIGHT have better than a snowball's chance in hell of finding something that fit and looked decent on me? What did I find? Jack and Shit. And Jack was out of town. I kid you not. NOTHING fit.

You know what made me break down in tears? One of the clerks (at the fat clothes store, no less) told me, "You shouldn't bother coming in here until you've lost like 4o pounds." AT THE FUCKING FAT CLOTHES STORE!! Let's be real here. My current dress size is a 26. (Yeah, yeah, take those "fatass!!" cat calls and choke on them, fat haters.) This store advertized sizes 12 to 30. Let me see... 26 is BETWEEN 12 and 30!! Logically, this shop should have had clothing in my size. Well... do socks count? Bras are nice, but I need something to wear OVER them in public.... Aside from that, not a fucking thing was to be found that fit. As I was driving home, still in tears, I realized I wished I had said to the clerk, "If I could lose weight with a snap of my fingers, would I even BE here, lady? By the way, how you treat someone who WAS going to be a paying customer? Shitty. Same for your attitude."

"Oh, you must be mistaken about your size, Sarah, you DID put on some weight!" Oh no, I am NOT mistaken. I took my measurements and they were pretty much what a size 26 in a dress would be. (Minus the ginormus boobies, darn it! I am the only fat girl I know who is not well endowed in the boob department. ;_; ) I even had a friend who makes dresses double check me! What is the damn deal here?! 100 pieces of size 12 clothes, a couple 16s to 18s, one 20 one 22 and two 30s do NOT cover the entire 12 to 30 spectrum!!

I think I'll just start buying more of my nursing scrub uniforms and wear those around. At least I know those fit. I hate wearing scrubs, but at least I'm not made to feel like an entire pig stuffed into a 1 pound sausaage casing while in them! I'm debating if I have enough spare time from my studying for exams, writing 2 research papers and somehow finding time to sleep and bathe, to take up sewing. I'm way past frustrated. One more incident like this and I'll just walk my ass naked around town. I'm half way serious, too.

17 February 2009

On a Badass-ness scale of 1 to 10, I'm a -20.

No, it's not the sequel to the doll story. This is something of rather questionable quality that I decided to take a risk and share. A sort of look back at the things that didn't go right for me in life... and my turning around and giving it the "middle finger salute" to its face. I won the fight. It didn't. More moody than my usual wont. Feel free to use the air-sickness bags if you need.

“The Dam Was Damned”

The dam breaks. The water rushes in, around and over.
Too long. Too long.
These hurts and feelings have been held back too long.
It hurts. Sweet Mercy, it hurts.

The poison is being drawn out, so it can no longer harm.
The body wants it gone.
The body and the spirit want it gone.
They want it gone NOW.

But Pride, always Pride, is in the way.
Vainly it tries to stop the crack with a finger.
But this day does not favor Pride’s little Dutch boy.
The village that Pride built will know destruction this day.

I fall to my knees. The village walls crumble.
Pain long hidden away runs like a captive animal from an opened cage.
Tears cloud my sight. The village is flooded.
The raging waters beat against the proud wall that is my throat.

I want to… and yet I don’t… give voice.
Voice to the pain, to the anger, to the offended sense of right and wrong.
Voice to the sadness and grief over what could have been.
I want to give voice so that the poison will torment me no more.

The waters rage and push with greater force.
It will not be denied. Dues must be paid.
Anger, hurt, grief and sadness have no cares for the prideful mind.
Pride never solved a problem. Pride never soothed a troubled soul.

At first just a ragged breath. And then a quivering jaw.
The waters have won. Pride has been washed away.
Then a sob, and then a howl. The torrents continue.
The waters pull the toxin with them as they speed on their way.

I lay there feeling utterly devoid of energy.
Where Pride’s village once stood, only a muddy mire remains,
Not even a ragged fence or piece of wall to remark that it was once there.
My eyes close, leading me to my first peaceful dreams in years.

As always, feel free to speak your peace.

16 February 2009

Be happy I didn't write about a G.I. Joe action figure!

Alrighty. I got brave yesterday and put together a little piece. I was feeling down, so I decided to channel my "blues" into a story. The result is the story of a little girl's toy. It may not be the best thing to ever be made, but I had quite a bit of fun writing it. I have a second short work written in response to this one, but I'll save that one for another day.

Memories of a Doll

The corner is dark. This wooden chest hasn’t been moved in years. The only things that have moved are the dust and the cobwebs. Here I’ve sat, years on end.

I used to remember what light and color looked like. I used to remember what moving felt like, what freedom was. I was loved once. That, I remember most of all.

I was a little girl’s best friend. I was her constant companion. Tea time, whispered secrets, hop scotch and adventures in the garden; all had in the span of a day. It seems like it was just yesterday that we imagined a flowerbed to be some exotic jungle and hoped to spy a lion, a tiger, or even a bear.

Then came the day, that horrible, awful day. We were in the park. An older, bigger girl made her cry. Had called her a “baby” for playing with “that dumb old dolly!” All the way home she ran, not caring how I’d flailed in the wind.

This chest, this very wooden chest, the first to catch her eye; into this chest she threw me. She looked down at me, tears in her eyes. Her face was red with anger and shame. At first, she left me there, lying on my back and all a-kilter. Soon after, she gently sat me upright, fixed my dress, and smoothed my hair. Ever so gently, the lid came down and a soft, hesitant click was heard.

Oh, the many, many times I’ve played this in my head. How I wish, that right then, I could speak. To comfort her. To console her. To remind her that a bully is as a bully does. Is throwing a friend away the price one must pay to be accepted? Is a bully’s opinion worth more than a friend?

Most of all, I miss my friend.
Questions and comments welcome!

11 February 2009

The day I followed the Circulating Nurse in the M/S unit!

So, on to a bit of real life. Today, I got to do my observation day in the Operation/Med-Surg. unit. I was so excited that I didn't sleep much of the night. I got to the hospital around 7am. I wandered around a bit, because I was lost. (Perhaps fortunately for me, I've only ever been to the hospital for being born, and for the yearly blood work to check my thyroid hormone levels. I pretty much only know where the Labs and bathrooms are at in this hospital.) Eventually, I found someone who works in that unit and she showed me around. Then I changed into some surgical scrubs. I was quite shocked that they carried scrubs big enough even for someone as fat as I am! They looked pretty good, too.

After finding a few patients who agreed to let me watch their procedures, and having them sign the consent forms (so I could watch), I got to see several things for the first time. I saw 2 colonoscopies, 1 endoscopy and 1 gallbladder removal. I can't give any details about the patients, due to the HIPPA privacy clause. I hope y'all understand.

At first, I was kinda squeamish during the colonoscopies (I mean, after all, they are sticking a camera up someone's bum! Ick!) but it got better. I got to see what a phyllop looked like in someone's colon. I got to see what diverticulitis looked like. They had a hell of a time with the endoscopy, the patient had a hair trigger gag reflex. (They stick the fiber optic camera tube down your throat for that one.) I got to see what vocal cords look like in real life.

I have to say, that in my opinion, the gallbladder removal surgery was the most interesting and the coolest! I watched the team prep the room, prep the patient, and even watched most of the surgery. Wow! They did all of that with just one small incision! I think it's called a laproscopy. The surgeon was using these really long instruments to perform the procedure. I would have stayed to watch the whole thing, but my time was up and I was getting light headed from hunger.

After a bit of being lost and wandering, I found the cafeteria. The food was actually pretty good. Nothing like the slop they feed you in public school. Amazingly enough, I managed to wolf down my food without feeling the least bit queasy after watching the surgery. Heh. Now if I could just pull that trick off for my fear of needles. I do okay if I am the one GIVING the injection, but I still freeze up in terror if I'm the one GETTING the injection. Quite embarassing.

I'm still not sure what department I want to work in after I get my licence. But Med-Surg seems pretty interesting. I've still got a whole nother year (and passing my state boards) to go before I need to make up my mind.

27 January 2009

Entry the first. A fictional diary!

I will just get with the meat and potatoes. The following is the diary of a fictional person. I had originally done this work as an assignment for an English class of mine. However, I think that this should be read and (hopefully) enjoyed by an audience consisting of more than just my instructor. '
(The following are a series of journal entries of a nurse, Rosario Baez-Richards, who lived in southern California and worked at the emergency department of a hospital. The story is set 6 years in the future and records her reactions to an earthquake hitting her city. All of the people and events in this work are fictional.)

Diary of an Emergency Room Nurse

February 13, 2015
Where do I begin? The shift started normally enough. I went to report, where the afternoon shift had nothing out of the ordinary to report, aside from some new patients that had come in around 5 PM, a couple of 20-something year old men who had gotten into an argument that escalated to a rather severe fight. Knives were involved. Report was finished by 11:30 PM and I went to see if I had any patients waiting for me in the ER waiting room, yet. I only had 2 people at the start of my shift; a drunken man who’d been roughed up by some toughs at a bar and a young mother with her first baby who was very worried about what turned out to be a normal run of the mill cold. From how rudely the drunk spoke to me as I was treating him, I’m guessing his mouth got him into trouble at the bar. All in all, they were the things I usually see when I’m stuck working the graveyard shift.
Around 3 AM, I felt a rumbling in the ground. I thought it was just one of the occasional small quakes we get here from time to time. A couple of the new nursing grads we had hired this week, who were not from the area, screamed and were pretty much good for nothing for the next couple of hours. I’ve lived in this town for the past 10 years, so I have gotten used to the occasional small rumble. To be honest, I was more worried over what I was going to do for Valentine’s Day with my husband. We will have been married for seven years on the 14th. Things were pretty quiet in the ER. We only had one patient in, who had crashed her car into a street light. From the smell of her breath, I guessed she had been drinking pretty heavily before she got behind the wheel. Amazingly, she wasn’t hurt all that badly, but she did need some stitches. As I was checking in on “Little Miss DUI” about 3 hours later, I heard her screaming, “The room’s shaking! Make the room stop shaking!!” I felt a huge quake rattle the building right as she screamed. Tiles fell from the ceiling, half the equipment by the patient clattered to the floor and I was thrown off my feet and hit my face on the floor tile. It was all I could do to try to calm the woman down before I’d even thought I had been hurt myself. It must have looked worse than it really was, because the folks who were coming in for report at 7 AM kept asking me “Rosario, are you okay? Are you hurt?”
I feel so upset right now. Yes, an earthquake happened. Yes, the hospital is going to have to be repaired for the rest of the week. Thankfully, no one was hurt more than a few lacerations. Yes, I know the city is going to be busy repairing the roads. What I’m most angry about? My anniversary is tomorrow and I look like I married a wife beater!! I guess we won’t be going out to dinner to celebrate this year. Too many people would be giving poor Roger dirty looks once they saw me.

February 14, 2015
As grandma Baez would say, DIOS MIO! Today was terrible, and not just because my face is bruised on my anniversary! Roger woke me up this afternoon and told me to watch the news. Normally, he would not have dared to wake me up before I was good and ready to get up. I didn’t grouse at him because his face looked so ashen. I turned on the news and saw most of downtown in shambles. On the poorer side of town, a fire had broken out and destroyed easily 4 blocks, most of it apartment buildings and homes. Roger was frantic all afternoon. His little sister and her two boys lived on that side of town. He could not reach her on the phone. Finally, we went out, despite being told to stay home, and looked for them. We found them after sneaking past a few irate police officers. What a sad sight it was. Their little house was in ruins. Nothing was left standing. Mary was crying her eyes out while holding Trevor while Mark was trying to fish some of their belongings out of the rubble. We had to physically carry Mark into the car because he was determined to get his Dad’s navy uniform out of the rubble. He was angry at us; he kept saying “It’s the only thing of him we have left!”
Mary and our nephews are going to stay with us for now. This is terrible. Poor Mary! First her husband gets killed in the war, now this. I wish I could stay and help her and the boys, but, not surprisingly, I have been called into work. Some of the staff have not shown up and people are afraid they are among the injured. Some anniversary. I guess 7 isn’t as lucky as I thought it was.

February 15, 2015
My heart hurts. The other two hospitals in town were overflowing, so mine had to take in the patients that had been diverted away. We were already “up to our eyeballs in alligators,” as my uncle would say. I’m starting to miss Florida. At least the ground stays still there. There were aftershocks last night. The fire on the east side spread to the north part of town. The fires have been contained, according to the news reports, but the damage has been done. A lot of people have been hurt. I lost 4 of my patients in the first 2 hours of today’s shift. One of them was a girl who was only 6 years old. Damned Doctor Skye made me break the news to her parents. He didn’t have the spine to do it himself. I’ll be seeing the parents’ faces in my sleep for many weeks to come, I think. I saw at least 3 Mercy Flight helicopters carry people away to more equipped and less crowded hospitals to the north during my shift.
It was so hard to try to keep it together when I was working with the patients. By the time my break came around, I hobbled to the chapel and just cried my eyes out between prayers. I wasn’t the only person there doing that. Lots of families of patients were also there. I saw Doctor Hernandez praying with her rosary. It looked so much like the one grandma Baez had. I wish grandma were still here with us. I miss her being able to make everything alright just by holding me in her lap and singing to me in Spanish.

March 2, 2015
I didn’t sleep well at all. I keep seeing the faces of the parents of the little girl who died on the 15th when I dream. Trevor keeps waking up in the middle of the night screaming, thinking that he’s still in his old house when the walls came tumbling down. Mary and I spoke with Father O’Connell today to see if he could come give an anointing of the sick to Trevor. We are at our wits’ end. The child has been having the same nightmare since the 16th. He is only 4 years old. Why does he have to suffer this?
I have to admire Mary. She lost everything in that quake, yet she is the strongest one of us in the household. A couple of days after the quake, she managed to muster up her strength to find what jobs there were to be had. She is still looking, but she doesn’t get despondent even if a day’s worth of searching comes up with nothing useful. When I just want to sit down and cry after a shift, it seems she always has some words that help me make it through another day. No wonder she is Roger’s favorite sister. She keeps a careful eye on Mark and Trevor and is doing everything she can to help them. Mark is about as much fun as a box full of rattlesnakes right now. I can’t blame the boy, losing his father and the only home he’s ever known in the same 12 months. His mother is a saint! If I am even half the mother she is when Roger and I have kids, I will count myself as one of the most fortunate women in the world.
Roger has been working long hours with the city crews repairing the damage that the quake did. We haven’t been able to see much of each other because of that. He will be home soon, so I’m going to stop here for the day and go fix him some dinner for when he gets here.

July 30, 2015
Well, this is it. Tomorrow we pack up the last of our things and take the drive north. Mary is moving to San Francisco. After much debate, Roger and I also decided to move there. Mary finally found a job. She starts teaching 3rd grade in San Francisco in September. After much begging and nagging from Roger, I agreed to not work in a hospital in our new town. He says that he can’t bear to see me come home in tears from one more shift. I survived that quake. I know that much. If I made it through that disaster and still came out in one piece, I’m pretty sure that I can make it through anything. I think his insistence has more to do with our expecting a baby in December. All I can say is that the tears are easier to handle for me than this morning sickness! I also know that I WILL go crazy if I go too long without working. Roger didn’t say one word about working at a school. I think I’ll see if Mary’s school is in need of a nurse.

Comments? Questions? Rotten fruit? Roses?