Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year to All!

Just a quick note to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday evening! Alex and I are spending an evening with some Pittsburg friends, which we are thoroughly looking forward to. Shouldn't be anything to exciting, but we plan on having ourselves a good time.

Work has been going fine, now that the holiday season is winding down that is. It has been especially hard having to work through the holidays this season since I have never been required to do so before, but I was completely prepared for the hardships. I knew I'd be rather bummed about working, so I guess I was prepared to be bummed, if that makes any sense!

I actually did get some compliments on my abilities at work in the last week. To make a long story short, I was singled out by some of the night nurses saying that I was one of the only new grad nurses that was actually doing very well and doing things as I was supposed to. I guess my preceptor Marine, JD, really paid off. Thanks JD!

Anyway I've got some things to do before our festivities tonight. Happy New Year!! See you next year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Here and There, This 'n That

Well it's been an interesting last couple weeks. I've had a couple good days at work and a couple of bad. Real bad days. But those happen, I'm over it.

But here's the crazy thing. I'm sick, but I'm not really sick. My "crazy herb lady," aka Connie, for those of you who know her, has prescribed me some Lobelia for a lung cleanse. Well apparently I have a lot of "junk" in my lungs and it has proceeded to cause an all-out cough fest-FOR 5 DAYS!! I've only taken it a few times and I'm still coughing up a lung. And it caused me to miss work today, and possibly tomorrow. But not because I'm "really" sick. Connie says I don't have a single illness in my body and am in no way contagious. Oh yeah? Well I don't think my co-workers or patients would feel that way when I am literally standing over the toilet, about to cough up my lungs. Hmm. What to do, what to do.

Other than that, really things have been grand on my side of Kansas. Alex is wonderful, he treats me like an angel : ) We went to 3 Christmas parties this weekend, so needless to say, I was completely tired out by Sunday. We did have fun though and I got to meet a few of Alex's bosses. They all seemed very down to earth and easy to get along with. Too bad I had to be introduced to them right before we were attending out Ugly Sweater Christmas party at the Reimer's...nice first impression Emily. Actually there was a couple at that same party that was going to a White Trash Bash right afterwards and they had some really horrid looking clothes I didn't feel too ridiculous.

Must close. Time for dinner.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

This Is A Test

As I sit here watching The Essence of Emeril, Jozie, the black boxer/lab mix has been playing with her bone on the floor in front of me. Yes, Jozie the dog. Last weekend Alex and I went to Pittsburg to attend a friend's birthday party and we decided it would fun to bring home Jozie for the week. Jozie is Alex's friend, Josh's, dog. Alex and I love her to death and thought this would be a good "test" to see if a dog would make a good addition to either one of our homes. So far it's been going pretty well. The worst part is adjusting to her schedule. When she has to go to the bathroom, it doesn't matter what time of day it is...she's gotta go. I thought waking up at 2 am two nights ago was a little ridiculous, but when she woke me up at 7:45 this morning on my day off, I was a little, how do you say, ...perturbed. But I'm starting to understand what people are talking about when they say "They are a lot of work, but I'm so glad I got one!" She is so cute and can you not get attached?? Here are some pictures to show her cuteness:

I asked Alex what we are going to do if/when we have fallen in love with her by the end of the week? He said we just won't tell Josh where he lives, that way Josh can't come and pick her up. Ha, yeah right.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The End of a Tough Week

So today marks the end of a very long week for me. I worked Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday this week and it really was a landmark event. To explain, Tuesday was my first day of taking patients completely on my own. Although I am not yet counted as a full nurse and technically still considered on orientation, I still am able to take on 3 patients all by myself. And let me tell you, I had a very rude awakening into the real life of a nurse. And while I feel very comfortable being on my own, it seems as though God decided to challenge me the best he could on my very first week of being on my own. It wasn't so much the acuity of my patients that challenged me, it was the ethical and social issues that really gave me a run for my money. The good thing was that since I worked 3 days in a row, I got the same patients back each day so I got to know them really well. But I'm not gonna lie, feeding pain pills to a lady with an infected spinal surgical site just so she could make it outside to smoke every 3 hours was real tough for me. I'm not kidding, she wanted her 12 mg of Dilaudid right before she would go outside, then the rest of her 4 mg when she got back. And only to wait 3 hours (the minimal amount of time that she had to wait for her next 12-16mg) and promptly ask for her next dose. And this continued for the next two days...only to discover yesterday as I was listening to her belly with my stethoscope a small bug that did not resemble any bug I had ever seen before. After I snatched it up on a small alcohol wipe, (ugck, it makes me itch to talk about it) I took it out to the nurses station for everyone to exam. After one of the old hippie nurses proclaimed that it might be a louse,we proceeded to look up a picture online of a louse, and sure enough: there in my very hand stood a louse. For those of you not familiar with this term, louse translates to LICE.

So on top of the slowest, weirdest nursing student that was assigned to me that morning with my other patient who is an 87 year old alcoholic, (don't worry, story to come) my day had just got a jumpstart to "sucky" as Cathleen, the "old hippie nurse" put it. After what seemed like a bazillion phone calls, I had initiated contact precautions and summoned the doctor to prescribe some medication for my lice-infested, drug-seeking smoker.

So on to my 87 year old alcoholic. Ya know, this lady really was a peach, but man she had some issues. She somehow couldn't get in her head that whenever she needed to get out of bed, she needed to let us know so we could unplug her IV pole and role it with her. Maybe the fact that when she was admitted, she had a serum alcohol level of 200 had something to do with it. ("Normal" is between 15-30 for someone who is probably fairly intoxicated.) Apparently she likes her white wine-a lot! And really this patient wasn't that difficult, but throw in a student who is in his first semester of nursing school and has never charted anything before, let alone document every 2 hours for someone on alcohol withdrawal, this patient suddenly became more and more difficult. While we were in the process of discharging her home, we discover that she has no shoes and needs to somehow get a hold of her neighbor to come pick her up from the hospital. So in conclusion, we could summarize just those two patients by solely saying that the social worker and I got to know each other very well this week.

Unfortunately, that was only the first half of my day. The second half begins by the doctors making a roundabout decision to to send my lice-infested, drug-seeking smoker lady home. Well although that was all fine and dandy, as I was getting her paperwork started, I realized that none of these doctors appeared to be talking amongst themselves. There were numerous bits of paperwork that weren't signed, medication scripts that needed to be written, and about 3 different specialties that needed to ok her discharge. Seriously I was discharging this patient from about noon till 8 pm, when I finally left.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that my [lazy] charge nurse decided to give me an admission. And at the same time that I'm trying to discharge the lice-infested, drug-seeking smoker. Ok fine, I can handle this. After my patient arrives (at least he walked in his room instead of being wheeled up on a cart-that's always a good sign!) I'm trying to finish up admitting him by filling out paperwork and assessing him, but every doctor known to man decides that they get to do their "thing" before me. Thanks guys. So I ended up leaving my shift without finishing up noting off all the doctor's orders or even getting to do a complete assessment on him. The worst part about it was that the nurse taking over on this patient is really a royal snot head and of course was NOT happy about the situation I had left her. But to tell you the truth, I worked harder than I have ever worked in my life yesterday, and at 8pm, I decided that I deserved to go home.

Ya know, I've always heard about days like yesterday, but never really comprehended my abilities to work so hard. I've always heard of new nurses going home crying because they feel so worthless, and Wednesday I finally had my first introduction to the going-home-crying experience. And yesterday I had the urge to breakdown, cry, and crawl into a corner MULTIPLE times. Welcome to the real world of a nurse! Whatever happened to the days where I was still on orientation with my preceptor and somehow I was bored because my patients were so easy! Hopefully next week will be better!

On a more positive note, I did buy some new shoes this last week for work. They're the popular nurse shoe and I'm so excited to finally own a pair myself! Supposedly they're going to improve my posture and help my body realign itself. And they're very comfortable to walk in for 12 hours! (Or 13.5, as evidenced yesterday)

Alex comes home today from Seattle. I'm very excited to see him! I'm picking him up at the airport then we're headed home, to McPherson that is. Yep, that's right-we're headed back for the weekend. I guess this will have to be my Thanksgiving weekend. And yes, I am VERY excited to see my family and be away from my job for a few days!

Well I guess I'll close. I'll see most of you this weekend!

Monday, November 5, 2007

New Look

Just wanted to show you all a quick photo from the "Rainforest." Alex and I ate their this last Saturday evening and had a wonderful time! There were all sorts of fake animals on "display" and they would come to life like every 15 minutes or so. So besides the fact that we shelled out more than our budget just to get the souvenir drink cups, we had a fabulous time!(Oh, and did ya notice the hair? It's my new winter hue!) Hope everyone is well. I'm off to work out!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

So Much Fun

I've been sitting here, on the couch, for hours on end. Why? Because it's Saturday, and there's football on. Not just football, mind you, but Michigan football AND Notre Dame football. Alex loves Michigan football, therefore I have been hearing all the commentary (from the TV and from Alex) for the last few hours. What an invigorating afternoon!

Actually we have kind of a fun evening plan. Alex and I are headed to the Oak Park Mall (as soon as my headache goes away, of course) to shop around for a few winter clothes and then we are going to try out the legendary Rainforest Cafe. I'm actually very excited; something new and fun! And tomorrow we're going to the Kansas City Zoo, (only because Kansas City, MO residents can get in for FREE) and only if I can tear Alex away from the Nextel Cup race. I guess the zoo has a whole Australia "area" complete with Kangaroos and all. We were also excited to learn that they also have a Africa area with meerkats! We love watching Meerkat Manor on Animal Planet, so any chance to see a live one in person is thrilling for us! Yes, I know, we lead very boring lives. Ha.

So I dyed my hair yesterday...don't worry, nothing drastic, I just went a little darker. My friend Danny did it and it actually looks pretty good! No pictures yet, but I'll post one as soon as I get a good one. Maybe tonight at Rainforest Care we'll get a cute one! haha

Anyway, looks like I'm supposed to be getting into the end of this Michigan game. Get excited! More to come.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Calm After the Storm

So sorry it has been awhile since a good post, but things really have been busy!

This weekend Alex took me to Pittsburgh, KS to attend the famous Homecoming/Fall Sigma Tau Gamma Formal. I had been hearing about since we met and all of his friends thought it would absolutely insane for me to miss it! And I must say, it was so fun to have fun to get all dressed up, pretty up my hair with the girls, and then have the boys come pick us up like it was prom! (Thank goodness for my bridesmaid dress from Hannah's wedding!)
So, needless to say, we had a wonderful weekend, but we both were very glad to get back to the good life here in Kansas City. And of course while Alex gets to work every day for the next 5 days (like a normal person,) I get to rest up and catch up on my errands and cleaning around the apartment. Man, I love my job.

Speaking of my job, I did get scheduled for the holidays, and let me tell you, it's not exactly ideal. I had a feeling I was gonna have to be working on Christmas day. And whadya know-Christmas day I get to be spending quality time with all the drug addicts, drug seekers and slightly-ill people of Kansas City instead of with my wonderful family in McPherson. There is a possibility, though, that I might drive home to Mac the night of the 23rd (after work), spend Christmas Eve with the fam, drive back to KC that night, work the 25th and 26th, then come back home. I just can't stand the thought of spending Christmas Eve by myself, alone, in front of my fireplace. Ugh, it give me chills just thinking about it.

This will be officially my first holiday that I won't be at home for at least a week with my family eating lots of delicious food and watching movies till 3am with Mom. To say the least, I'm quite devastated. But I didn't have a choice. I'm required to work 1 major holiday a year and since I just started, I had to fulfill it. And although I'm not working on Thanksgiving Day, I work the day before and the day after so that won't be much better than Christmas.

And no, Mom, I haven't decided on what I'm doing for Thanksgiving yet. I'll let ya know here as soon as I decide. I am, though, DYING to come home. Alex and I have had several conversations in the last week about how this going to work thing is already getting old! It's mind-boggling to think that I have to keep going back to work every week to keep making money! Ahh! Oh, and working weekends is getting old REAL fast. But as my preceptor, JD, has said: "You are no longer a civilian, you are a nurse. Get used to it!" Keep in mind that JD is an ex-marine. Thanks, JD.

Alright I suppose I'll start my day. I've done enough laying around! More to come.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Just a quick note to let everyone know that I am in the process of scheduling my work schedule for December through about the first part of January. If you guys could let me know any plans for the holiday season NOW so I can maybe be able to get off work for some of the them, that would be great! I work again this coming Tuesday and will probably be signing up then. So let me know ASAP!! Thanks!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Day in the Life

Ok so I know I haven't written in awhile, but things have been so busy lately! This weekend I worked so I didn't have time to do much of anything! Actually, I worked Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. After I got off work on Saturday, Alex and I met up with Sheri and some of her friends down in Overland Park for dinner. Apparently she was here for a Qigong workshop, so it was good to see a familiar face! After dinner, Alex and I went to Bret & Alyson Reimer's for a football party. It's always good to meet up with friends for a fun night of good food, football and some drinks!

Speaking of football, how bout 'dem Wildcats? We all were a little (ok maybe A LOT) disappointed and flustered after the KU game, but man did they do well against Colorado! I've heard they're back in the rankings, but I couldn't tell you what number.

Work is going well, extremely busy, but good! It seems as though each day they ("they," meaning my patients) challenge me even more! I guess that's what's so cool about my job-I will always be learning something new! Besides my patient that had about a bizillion medications to be given ALL AT ONE TIME, my latest challenge has been working with a deaf man. We only had an interpreter on staff for a few hours out of my shift, so the rest of the time it was up to me to figure out how to communicate with him! Also, he didn't read lips very well so let's just say I had to utilize a pen and paper A LOT! Thanks goodness I at least know the alphabet in sign language! I also seem to be experiencing a lot of admissions at 6pm, which means that instead of finishing all of my charting and reporting off to the next nurse by 6:45pm and being gone by 7:15pm, I am doing an admission til 7:45pm; by the time I'm finished with everything else, it's already 8 or 8:15pm! So anyway, I'm really working on my organization skills and being able to complete things a little bit faster. Sometime I think to myself, though, "How can I work any faster?" "How could I do this without my preceptor??" I guess it all comes with practice!

I'm working Wednesday, Thursday, Friday this week. I'm very excited for Friday because my friends and I are FINALLY celebrating my birthday! We have been trying to plan for months a good time to all get together, so I think we've finally decided that this Friday will work out the best for everyone. Alyson is making food for me and we'll probably end up going down to the Plaza for a night of good friends, fellowship and of course a few celebratory drinks. This is the epitome of why I love my life right now...good friends, fellowship and a few celebratory drinks!

Here's a few pictures from the KState game weekend:

(Left) All of the ladies in our group at the tailgate
(Right) Two of my best friends: Bret, Alyson Reimer and I headed to the tailgate a few weekends ago:

Oh, and I finally got some new running shoes! Sadly it was a very big deal for me to get new fact, I think these are the most expensive shoes [period] that I've ever bought! Have a look:

Friday, October 5, 2007

Quick Note Before Work

Today is day 3 of my work week. By this time, I'm usually dead tired, as I am feeling today. Alex is out of town this weekend, so I'm on my own, so to speak. I'm going with Bret and Alyson Reimer to the KState/KU game Saturday. The game is at 11am which means we may be leaving at about 5 or 6 in the morning on Saturday! I know, I know, that is VERY early to leave for a football game, but don't worry-it's definitely worth it! All of my old friends are gonna be in Manhattan and I'm so excited to be back in my old stomping grounds! They say that if you're not in Manhattan by 7am on Saturday, there'll be a line just to get into the city! Thus the reason for leaving so early.

I work today 7am-7pm. Things are going really well; I have been taking my own patients every day now (with my wonderful preceptor trailing after me to make sure I don't kill anyone!) He's great about letting me do my own thing and then checking my charting, etc later to make sure everything is done and done correctly. Yesterday was my first day with 4 patients-my max before that was 3. So I'm really moving up! Oh, by the way! I started my SECOND IV yesterday all by myself! And on top of that, my preceptor said it was a really hard place to stick; he said most people would not have gotten it! I stuck this guy on his underarm, right beneath his elbow. My excuse for being able to get it is because I'm left-handed; it was on his left arm so I could weasel in there pretty easy as compared to a righty. Anyway, the exciting thing is that I got it!

Alright, must shimmy off to work. Only 13 more hours till my day is over! haha

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Honestly, who works on a SATURDAY?

As much as I am loving my job, working weekends really isn't my cup of tea. I can't stand the thought of all the social events going on without me! Because I had to work today, I could only attend the housewarming/engagement party going on last night for a few hours (only to stay up too late, of course); I missed attending a K-State football gathering today at my friends' house, AND I missed out on going to Atchison with Alex to watch Kasey Klenda play soccer and celebrate his 21st birthday! And now that I am finally home from work, I'm too tired from staying up too late last night to even think about meeting up with anyone! So I guess I'll stay in. Honestly, I think this might be the first time I've stayed in on a Saturday since I moved here!

Even though I know I'll be FINE by staying in tonight, the cool thing about NOT staying in is that it shows how much more energy I have now. Looking back at this time last year, I was struggling through my 3rd semester of nursing school, hanging out at Scott's ALL THE TIME, and doing nothing but studying and sleeping. And the thought of working 12 hour shifts would not have even been feasible! So in comparison, it is obvious that my health and energy have skyrocketed! It's so great to finally discover the youngster in me! And as Alex says, "You're always doing something...I have to schedule plans with you like a month in advance!" It is true; I am very busy all the time and I absolutely love it that way!

This is my "before" picture: September 2005
And this is my "after" picture: August 2007

So cheers to being 24, being healthy, and being a nurse! (Does this mean I can have a glass of wine now? haha)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Real quick, I just wanted to put in my two cents for the day.

As I was hustling and bustling at work yesterday, I stopped. I thought to myself "this is what I've been wanting my whole life. I am finally doing not only what I went to school for, but what I LOVE to do...helping people.

Actually, I am technically on orientation. I am supposed to following around a preceptor to get to know the routine and become comfortable. I am supposed to be doing that until the beginning of November, and then take a "small load" of patients to transition into being a real, live nurse. Well, yesterday was my 3rd day on orientation, and my preceptor felt that I could handle my own. So the three patients that we were assigned to, she let me go ahead and assume the role of the nurse and then consult her with any questions I had. (Which obviously I had tons!) But I was it. I was the real deal. When the doctor called with a question, the call was referred to ME! I even called a doctor myself to clarify some orders on sending a patient was the scariest thing I have done so far!

But when I stopped in that hallway and looked around, it was the coolest feeling knowing that I have finally achieved my goal! And I can finally wear a stethoscope around my neck with my name badge gleaming: Emily RN, BSN!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Another wonderful day

I love that lately, every day I wake up with a smile on my face. It seems like it's been so long since I have been this happy!

I know I haven't really given you any background on this, but Alex Koehn and I have been hanging out a lot lately and getting to know each other. So far this has been one of those relationships that you would never expect (which is by far the best kind!) We seem to get along so well! He is such a gentleman; he has taken me out to dinner numerous times, opens the door for me, and has even fixed me dinner! It's just so nice to have someone like that after being lost for what seems like ages. And whether or not he is my soul mate, he still makes me happy and is a great friend! I guess I'm just so excited to have someone in my life again, although sometimes it does make me a little uneasy that he is so wonderful-Scott was wonderful too, and look what happened there!

Being in a quasi-relationship is a scary thing for me. I absolutely love to have the companionship, but after thinking that I had found the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with, it has really made me ponder the thought of "how do you ever know who is the right person?" And even though Alex and I haven't even had the "Define the Relationship" talk, otherwise known as the "DTR," it still makes me wonder. Any advice for a young, naive, single woman such as myself would be much appreciated!

Anyway, enough about my "cloud 9" talk! I could talk about it all day! I am loving these new-found butterflies in my stomach and all the moments when I close my eyes and realize all the great things that God is bringing my way!

Friday, September 21, 2007

My Personal Beginning

Hello all! I suppose I'll start off by introducing myself (even though the only people that are probably reading this already know me!) My name is Emily, I'm 24 years old and I am here to tell everything that is happening in my life.

Now, you say, "Why do I want to know everything that is going on in Emily's life?" Well, you probably don't. But recently it seems that so much has been changing and evolving in my life, but unfortunately I never seem to have the time to share these things with the people I'm closest to. Therefore, here is my blog.

I think I should throw in a disclaimer right about now saying that I am NOT an experienced writer, unlike my other fellow bloggers and family members in which their postings could actually be published in books. Keep in mind that I am strictly here to inform my family members and friends of my ever-changing life-happenings!

Ok, here we go. I will begin with the past couple of months, but will spare you all the history up til then since most of you are caught up through about July!!

As most of you know, I spent my ENTIRE summer preparing for the NCLEX exam, which is the licensing exam that all nurses are required to take in order to obtain the "R," or "registered," in the name "Registered Nurse." I was very confident in myself and felt that the two months of studying was really going to pay off. Well, to make a long story short, I took my exam July 12 (finally) and found out two miserable days later that I had failed. Yes, failed. Even with all the studying, practice questions (all 3,000 of them), note cards, positive self-talk and re-assurance from everyone around me telling me that there was no way that I could ever fail that exam, I still failed. I took 365 questions (the maximum amount) and walked out of the test trying to hold back my tears, only to make it on the elevator before they started flowing like wine. I knew I had failed. I went to my car and sobbed to my mom over the phone as I wondered if I could even make the drive home to McPherson from Wichita. When I got home, the tears had FINALLY stopped and I was exhausted. I have never in my life felt so emotionally and physically drained. The rest of the day was spent intermittently crying to my mom and dad as I was nuzzled up against them like a sick, pathethic puppy. I was worthless! And the worst part was that I was forced to wait two more days before I had the confirmed failing results.

Here's where the real story begins! Two days later I began my big move up to the Big Apple of Kansas, otherwise known as Kansas City. Little did I know that the minute that I started moving up to Kansas City, almost every aspect of my life was going to change. And when I say everything, I mean everything. I was now going to be living in a new city, in a new apartment, meeting completely new friends, and becoming a "real" person working 40 hours a week! (Actually it's only 36, but still.) Oh and who can forget paying my own bills, starting payments on my loan debts and financially supporting myself. Did I say paying my own bills?

Well, I think that's enough for now. Besides the fact that my ADD seems to be kicking in, my eyes are tired and I need to get lots done before my fabulous weekend begins! So keep checking back and hopefully soon I will have you all up to date. Thanks for reading!