Friday, January 31, 2014

From Edgar Allan Poe's The Poetic Principle

   We struggle by multiform combinations among the things and thoughts of Time, to attain a portion of that loveliness whose very elements, perhaps, appertain to eternity alone. And thus when by Poetry - or by Music, the most entrancing of the poetic moods, we find ourselves melted into tears - we weep then - not through excess of pleasure, but through a certain, petulant, impatient sorrow at our inability to grasp NOW, wholly, here on earth, at once and forever, those divine and rapturous joys, of which through the poem, or through the music, we attain to but brief and indeterminate glimpses.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thursday week three and all is well

Routine is your friend.

I keep telling myself that.

Over Christmas break, Himself was ever lovely, gallant and helpful as I rearranged furniture and tried to get the house in better odor (meant to type order but odor came out, and I hadn't the heart to strike it after it took all the pains of showing up, so odor it is) before school commenced.  I felt, rightly so, that getting things better organized would be key to my sanity this semester.  Turns out, that was prescient, indeed.  Things look better and stay tidy easier, and I don't walk in the door and have a Bette Davis moment-- that is a great mental boost. Got a $75 sofa at a resale shop that is better for working on my laptop with at the coffee table, and the broke-down overstuffed behemoth of a sofa-- dear as it was-- has ferried to its eternal Somewhere Else.

Classes are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, giving me the broad expanse of 4 days to get my mud in a ball before the following Monday. Work squeezes its demanding arse in hither and yon, but generally there are 4 broad days to work with.  New routine is getting up about 10 on Thursday, putting laundry on the line and doing another load for hanging out to dry, coffee, yogurt and I'll try to make a habit of Thursday morning blogging.  I'm about to study for 2 hours, and then I'm off for an artist's date to see a movie.  I have a mini quilting project going -- quilting little jackets for the pups-- but at this rate, my goal will be to have these done in time for cold weather in the Fall. I also have a lot of projects fully formed in my mind, but starting new projects is third-tier in relevance.  Summer may be the time I really tackle those things.  But when I do, it's going to be awesome! I feel the urge to make things, but I have to channel that to studies.

Going to see August: Osage County this afternoon, primarily because two of my favorites are in the film - Ewan MacGregor and Benedict Cumberbatch.   Cumberbitch? Guilty as charged.  Oddly compelling, that one.  I LOVE the BBC's Sherlock-- no one else would have been able to convince me he is actually Sherlock in the modern realm. Marvelously done. Tonight I'll make a cheapie spaghetti, open a red wine (RIOJA!) and watch an episode of Sherlock on the sofa with Himself and my darling pups. I suppose that makes my Thursday my Friday night, yeah?

Fridays will be nearly entirely study, and necessarily so.  I do some study on Monday and Tuesday evenings, but Friday and Saturday will be primary study days, but with the goal of completing all assignments for the coming week on Friday at the latest. Going to try to see at least one movie a week to clear my head and take a break from things. Saw Catching Fire with my sweetheart last week, and I liked it even more than The Hunger Games.

And speaking of assignments-- they are like teeth of the Hydra - slay one and two more of the beggars spring up. Gnashing of teeth, indeed!  It's okay.  It's the volume that's overwhelming, but I also understand these function to make these processes routine.  It has a purpose. Eyes on the prize, and all that.  I am meeting with a study group tomorrow, 6 or 7 of us, and we will do each others' vital signs for a project due on Monday, as well as other study and review.  Himself says the problem is the volume of information is staggering and very like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. How true.

I'm every day more convinced I want to be a nurse, in spite of the difficulty of everything.  I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to be in school and studying and doing this. So, yeah.  Routine.  Habits.  Good processes that give me rails to run on when I'm too tired to think as the semester grinds on.  For now, though, my smalls are drying on the line, I've got my ducks in a row and a good game plan for the next 4 days, and life is good.  Off to study now.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Can't sleep.

A cold front rolled in about midnight on 45mph winds and woke me up. 

Then 40 min lAter there was a big thump as something fell over on the porch. I can smell something is on fire north of here. 

I hope the whole county doesn't burn up, and I hope my roof stays here on my house. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dosage calculation vexation

I'm in the early stages of dosage calculation, and I have my first test today. I've GOT the early stages because I look at the problems of this stage and my brain SEES the answer. 

See photo. 
12:9  = 8:x

My brain instantly computes that 12 is to 9 as 8 is to 6. 

The problem will arrive when the figures are much more arcane than easily computed numbers. I'm going to drill on this stuff. It's amazing that so far I. Nursing, the maths are the easiest thing for me. 

Because I used to think I wasn't good at maths. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I can't tell you in less than a million words how utterly rodeo my life has gone here...

...but I'll give it a stab, anyway.

And it's good, too.  I'm ridiculously busy but that's apparently the way I like it.  

I type this missive from my sofa with a toasty, insulating ring of pups encircling my butt and legs.  Think of it as a furry puppy horseshoe. Awesome!  It was great to find I can do school work on my laptop from the sofa, because while sitting in a chair a pup ALWAYS wants to be on my lap, and that's not conducive to productive keyboard time, particularly with Chuy looking balefully up into my eyes with his patented sad-puppy-round-and-glistening-eyes technique.  

On the very best days, I wake up in the morning sleeping on my side with Mochi in my arms like a baby doll.  She'll either be on her back or on her side facing me, but always with her head resting on my bicep, my arms enfolding her.  She's the only pup I've had to do that, and I love this so very dearly. Today I woke up with Mochi in my arms, facing me.  So sweet and cuddly. She is a doopie.

Tomorrow I have one test to take and Saturday I have a test to take.  Today I have a quiz and a lot of studying to do.  Tonight I go in to the PD to train for 6 hours. OH!  Did I tell you I landed a new job?

Last spring I applied for a dispatcher position at a local PD, and they called late in the Fall semester and asked if I'd still be interested.  I'll have a guaranteed 8 hours per week, but will fill in otherwise, and they won't touch my Mondays/Tuesdays which are school/clinical days.  Wednesday after school is out is when I'll work my 8 hours, so technically, my time obligations per week will be from Monday 8am through 10PM on Wednesday, and then the rest of my time will be free for study and possibly that land of leisure time of which I've dreamt so fondly.  I'll work a max of 28 hours per week if I'm filling in for others, and the extra money won't break my heart. The pay was less than I was making, but there is zero commute time/zero cost for gas and the net effect is more pay per hour, actually.  I stated training during Christmas break. It's going well, but the department is so small that even if I'm on the radio and phone most of my shift, I still haven't been in the office when there's been a fire call, and there's only been one EMT type call.  Sometimes the phone goes for hours without ringing, and I'll be able to study at work-- how great is that???  I won't be able to sign on to timed activities like tests or quizzes, because I have to be on the spot with calls from radio or phone, but it seems the best possible job.  It's a 4 block walk from my house.  The people are great, and I feel I've been taken in to a family.  Now I'm just praying not to be the Barney Fife of dispatchers.

Yesterday's lectures in Basic Nursing and Pharmacology were the first truly heartening moment for school in the past two weeks.  Both were lectures on the Nursing Process, and made me feel on much more solid footing as to my process.  I'll give you the mini-version, which is ADPIE:
  • Assess
  • Diagnose
  • Planning
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation
Since the hallowed Florence Nightingale astutely worked the whole nursing practice mud into a ball way back when, there has been an evolution of process which tweaks and refines, all in hopes of the best outcome for patients.  The awe-inspiring thing is that FN was spot-on and so right-headed instinctively, so she effectually leapt medicine forward into a modern age with her practices which focused on sanitary processes and peaceful environments for healing.  

It's profound to think how nurturing and selfless the nursing practice really must be-- it's all about the good of the patient.  I think caring for others in this way must be one of the most profoundly contemplative, humble and heart-filling vocations one could have.  I know it has its stresses and heartaches, but that is present in all of life and with every imaginable job.  If you're in for a rough time anyway, you may as well be doing something meaningful and helpful to others.  

Blah blah. I'm sure you all will get sick of me waxing euphoric about the profundities of nursing sooner or later, so I'll just stop there.

Anyway, training for 6 hours tonight, and I'm going to take a bath with a lovely Lord Of Misrule bathbomb from Lush, and study through the afternoon until I go to work.  I hope you have a lovely day.

Short post seeking advice on a pulse oximeter

For the sake of ease and convenience, I'm going to invest quite soon in a pulse oximeter of my own so I don't have to schlep from one end of the nursing facility to the other to check one out for brief occasions.  I believe in spending money to buy a quality product that will be durable, but I also don't care if something looks super-slick or whizz-bang at twice the price.  Something durable and serviceable that will last me a few years would be nice.

Any recommendations you experienced folks might offer would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

shocking words!

I heard something at school that shocked me to my core.  A teacher handed a graded paper back to a student with some written comments and the student asked her what she wrote on his paper. She said "you can't read my handwriting?" and he said "I can't read cursive".

I'm a bit astonished, actually. 


First day of clinicals went well. I like the folks we're working with, and everyone has been very nice so far. :)

First Clinical starts in 35 min




Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: portrait of Mochi

Excuse the dirty rug, but it was just so cute. I couldn't figure out if she was scratching her back or trying to catch her tail, or both!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Beautiful sunrise

I LOVE having a three day school week. 

I have a lot of studying to do and to work tonight, but it feels great to have until Tuesday to be back in class. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Never thought I'd say this but...

...getting up very early to study before going to school really suits me.

I have nearly two hours until class and all my homework was completed last night, so now I'm free to do additional reading.  Actually, it's reading I really should do, and not supplemental, but the nature of this kind of information overload dictates that sometimes you read what you have to read to get by.  I'm trying to start off this semester with improved processes for learning.  It's too early to call if this is an improvement on my absorption level, but I'm optimistic.

Clinicals are going to be great, actually. Today is my final day of school week, so by 11 today, I'm done with classes until Monday. I do have one on-line class, but I do that entirely on my own time, so I'm not counting it in with the grind of scheduled classes.   Clinicals will be at a retirement facility where the people are in impressive states of repair, actually.  There are no assisted living folks there, and the facility is quite upscale, so I'm guessing that my hopes of helping some folks with wound care will go unfulfilled this semester.  At this point, I lean strongly in the direction of wound care.  I can say with absolute certainty that I don't want anywhere near children or babies (I'll suck it up and deal with whatever comes and I'll get through my Peds, but, given my druthers, I want no truck with snot-slingers). A good rolling purulence sounds vastly more appealing than the loin dumplings of others.  MY puppies, OTOH, are a delight to all who meet them. If human children were such darlings as my pups, I'd have no reservation about the little blighters.

I forgot to mention that I landed a small part-time job with a small PD in the area and I'm finishing up my training for that.  It is extremely quiet most of the time (hours pass with no phone or radio calls), so I'll be able to get a ton of studying done at work, too.

So, getting up early is nice, sometimes.  The pups have done their morning ablutions, everyone having fed/peed/pooped and they crawled back into the warm bed.  I wish I could read comfortably in bed.  Tried that last night, but no go.  My current mattress is just too cheap and sprung.  Ah well, I needed to get up anyway and get my darling caffeine coursing through my system.

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: bye bye sofa!

I found a decent sofa at a consignment store for under $100. I hope the pups will forgive me. They just got this one properly broken in, though it's always smelled perfect since it came from a home with a musky bloodhound. 

Someday I'll get a sofa that's not second-hand, but this'll do for now. 

Gorgeous day, here, 60-ish degrees and sunny. The puppies are on the watch again. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Y'all is owed a post, and here one is.

So terribly sorry to be so scarce in recent months. Life continues apace and wildly busy, at that.

Taking stock of 2013, QEII said it best when she said 1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.  Probably six or more months of the year were spent in a relative fog following my December 2012 maxillary osteotomy. I wasn't in pain, but I had no idea of the general malaise one feels after protracted general anaesthesia.  A wise man told me a good rule of thumb is about one month to recover per hour you were under, so that was 7+ in my case.  Mind you, I'm so glad I had that surgery - the repair of the deviated septum in itself was worth the attendant inconveniences and discomfort, but it comes at a price.  Then again, not a day goes by without great gratitude that my teeth fit together and really work properly for the first time. I wear my retainers at night religiously, and after years of my teeth not resting comfortably together in any position, my jaw hinges (and ear) no longer have a constant ache.  Nice!

I have to say a hearty thanks again to my lovely parents for their kind and constant caring for me after the surgery. Because of the bones in my face re-knitting, it was important that I have peace, quiet and no dogs jumping into my face, so for three weeks I stayed there from December 13 into January.  Mom lovingly Alpo-ized my food in a food processor when I was finally off liquids-only.  Dad drove me hither and yon, and they generally waited on me hand and foot.  Dad also sweetly didn't watch the screaming stock-market guy much, so that helped me heal!

Also much gratitude goes to Himself for keeping my home fires burning and being constant attendant to the sweet puppies, who I'm sure were sad and bewildered that I abandoned them.  It must have seemed a very long time to them, and when I came home, they were amazingly careful with me-- they seemed to instantly recognize something was fragile about me, and they were quiet and lovingly snuggly. Himself was and has ever been supportive and helpful, and he's such a lovely gentleman. :)

Thank you for your constant friendship to my dear, dearest Lin. If they kept therapy tabs on friendships, I'd be found deeply in your debt. Your encouragement has been a great help to me in keeping on point with my school goals.

Upon return to work after the surgery, I was very discontent with the job and when I went full time to school in the Fall, I reduced hours to one day per week, but issues at the job (and not the work itself) continued to plague and leaving at the end of October was the best possible thing I could have done for myself.  Ironically, shortly after leaving that job, I got a call to go to work at as a part-time/relief dispatcher at a small PD in the area, and I'm still in training, but I love it.  The town is very quiet and I'll be able to get in at least a few hours of actual study time per shift.  The people there are fantastic, too, and it seems the perfect fit, if I am to work while continuing school.

School finished up last semester with me solidly in the middle of the pack, to my satisfaction.  Nursing school is one of those endurance situations where you just need to tuck your chin and hang with the big dogs and cross the finish line.  I learned from a fellow student who failed the semester that she was one of 10% of our class who flunked the first semester. 

Yup. Middle of the pack is good enough.  I do hope to do better this semester, though.

The puppies have all been in fine fettle for 2013, and there were no snakebites and no splodey-butt trips to the vet, thank goodness.  Mochi has discovered how to plunder Mummy's handbag for verboten treasures on which to munch, so I have to be more careful where I leave that thing!  Mochi is mellowing a bit and seems to be less traumatized with time. Her early puppy-hood was one of abuse and neglect, so I'm thankful for her to be feeling more safe and secure. She is a little urchin, but never lost her joy in spite of whatever ills befell her before. She has a fine spirit.  Chuy is looking skinny to me, but Himself insists that Chuy is just less fat.  I take umbrage at this mis-characterization of Chuy's fine physique. Thick or thin, Chuy is my love-lump.  I have come to recognize that Praline is a Momma's Girl, and it really touches my heart, because she is such a perfect little specimen that she looks like a toy, and it's easy to forget she has emotions when she is such a marvel of a squirrel-killing machine. One week this Spring, Praline killed a squirrel every day.  I'd let her out the back door and in she'd come 60 seconds later with a carcass, dripping scarlet on the yellow linoleum. *sigh* Praline had a fracas with a cat in the yard and then under the house, and the poor varmint died under the house this Fall.  Up under the house.  Too far under the narrow crawl space to be reached.  Joy.  The stink abated more quickly than I dared hope for, and fortunately Praline didn't conclude the event with an eyeball dangling from a socket. I felt awful about the cat, and I'm not thrilled for her to be a cat killer.  I love my little dogs so very much. They are content and exuberant, and daily illustrate for me that joy may be found in most of life's moments, if one but seeks it.

Several lovely friends came to town last weekend and I had a splendid time visiting and catching up.  I was very sad not to go to Blogorado this year, but one thing I've discovered is that with school being as intense and stressful as it is, my immune system becomes depressed rather easily, and travel compounds this issue, so I'll be laying low as much as necessary to survive the coming 4 semesters. It was painful and sad, but the right decision for that moment.

I've gotten a lot of rearranging and organizing done in the past few weeks. I've ticked nearly all my priority items off the list for MUST DO during the break, and I plan to get the final two completed by Sunday evening.   I feel that I'm poised for a more successful semester with my home much more organized, and my feathers seem much less ruffled. I cleaned my car out for the first time since (not exaggerating) summer of 2012.   There wasn't a lot of garbage in there, but things like coats, scarves, bits and bobs picked up at yard sales and stuff for the recycle bin and charity bin.  It feels very good to clear the decks and feel less crowded in by clutter.

I'm always going to default to a sort of clean clutter/semi-chaotic atmosphere, with all my projects and momentary fancies erupting all over the place, but my ardent hope is that having home a little more organized will help me to focus my energies on studies and to make productive use of my time.  By the end of this weekend, I'll have kicked a bunch more stuff to the curb.  WOOHOO!

I'm not optimistic about what's going on in our culture and country for 2014, but I am personally optimistic for myself.  I figure it's that act-locally equation, and I'll just to the best I can do with the resources at my disposal, and that will have to count as my contribution to making the world a better place.  I often think of how we run on rails in life, how we have to function within the constructs of society, and I wonder when are the perfect moments to flout convention.  This is why I wear obnoxious shoes.  Life is too short to dumb it down and hide it under a bushel.

I want to extend my gratitude to the folks who keep coming to my blog, be you a commenter, friend or lurker. I appreciate that you find something to enjoy here. My blog has always been for myself and a way of marking my moments since I started it in 2002. I never imagined so many folks would find something to merit frequent visits here, and I'm honored by your time and attention.
Thank you, truly.

They say that any year you walk away from is a good year. 
Yeah: pretty good year.

Wishing you and all your dear ones much health and many blessings for 2014.  Make the most of your moments. I intend to.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Life's persistent questions:

Wondering how to achieve even distribution of corn nuts and Vienna sausages in an aspic/jello mold suspension. 

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: watchdogs are watching

They love watching what's going on outside!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Wishing the blessings of health and contentment to all my friends and family for 2014

Any year you walk away from is a good year.

2013 was rough in many ways, but I'm grateful for a full year successfully ended, and I'm hoping for the best for 2014.