Month: July 2009

A little blood

One month into my new job. Somehow I’m on “week 6” in my training. They’re trying to get me up to speed as fast as possible.

I’m keeping track of the number of sticks I’ve done:
Grafts – 4
Fistulas – 8
Catheters – 12

Today was technically a bad day. I cannulated a guy with a smaller fistula, sort of my first “non-easy” attempt. The stick itself went fine. The arterial line was perfect. The venous line a bit trickier to get a flash. I had to fish around a little and push deeper than I expected. Finally that pulsing red ribbon appeared. About 45 minutes into his treatment his pressures kept sy rocketing. The nurse and tech came over to assess. They flipped the needle and pulled out a little. When we restarted treatment he infiltrated. Darn. I helped recirculate the blood while they put in another, higher stick. The rest of his treatment went ok. So I didn’t infiltrate him personally, but I feel responsible for the venous line going awry. Later I took off a different patient. As I was removing his venous line the tape nicked the safety wings and brought the needle out as I pulled off the tape. A fountain of blood squirted at me, I was not prepared to cover the hole yet. I grabbed a fistful of gauze and tried not to stick myself with the errant needle. Blood all over the floor, the table, my supplies, and my shoes. Ok, so it was probably only 10 cc, 20 at most. But this was the first time I had blood on the loose! I was able to stay cool, calmly asking my preceptor to bring me a LOT more gauze. The patient continued to snore the whole time, completely asleep.

I’m glad for these little mishaps because they show me where I’m making mistakes. Things have been going so smoothly. I’m happy when I spill blood, when a line is busted, or when a patient gets hypotensive. How else am I going to learn to handle these things on my own?

10 years in love

I love you, Ben. Happy 10 year anniversary of our first date. I’m looking forward to getting Chinese food with you tonight, just like we did 10 years ago. And I bet you get me home by 8 pm again too. I’m so happy that you found me, that we could grow together. What wonders are in store for the next decade? Where will go, who will we be?


Snow in July

Ok, not snow. But the heavy hail we got tonight made it feel like snow. There’s a thick white crunchy layer on the ground. The trees have been pummeled, releasing a sweet evergreen scent. It feels like it should be Christmas.

On our way home from the Bulldog we hit heavy baseball game traffic and detoured away from the standstill highway. Out west the rain got heavier, whacking the car windshield. The wipers couldn’t keep up. Ben called and warned us that there was three inches of hail in Lakewood, but that it had stopped falling. We creeped along Colfax. Most of the businesses were dark – multiple power outages. We glided through the street with rivulets of rainwater and floating ice. It looked like the arctic. There was low swirling fog from the ice condensing on hot asphalt, illuminated by colored stoplights, police cars, and fire engines.

Our cars escaped damage (yay carports!) and we are one of the few in our building whose windows were not broken. We replaced our ancient windows the summer we bought the house. I think they were stronger and had springier screens that could withstand the force of the hail. Our neighbors are all milling around outside picking up the broken glass and buzzing about Channel 4 news supposedly coming out to cover the storm. We feel very fortunate to have no damage.

I had taken the Flip camera out with me today to do a 5×5 video. After dropping off friends I got some action on the road and at our house. Here’s a little clip of us enjoying the crazy lightening.

Hailstorm Aftermath from Rachel Mason on Vimeo.


Thanks for all your kind comments! Many of you (here and on facebook) dissed the melting pot, thanks for the tips. Ben has been there and loved it, so we might have to on another day. Last night we went with the French place, Felix Brasserie. It was par for French food. Classic stuff. I had a frisee and yellow beet salad, country pate plate, and steak frites. Ben had a green salad, oysters, and halibut. It was all good, but not the kind of French food that knocks your socks off. I think Brasserie Ten Ten in Boulder was better. But I love eating in new places anyway, we didn’t mind that it wasn’t awesome.

After dinner we met friends in Denver who were playing board games. I bounced over to Fancy Tiger for their 3 year anniversary party and got a free gift (a pattern), then we went to Sweet Action. The place was hopping! I’m happy that it seems they will survive their first year. After dessert I went home, leaving Ben with friends and games. I watched the whole first disk of How I Met Your Mother that we had ordered from Netflix. Went to bed right after Ben got home, a little before midnight. What a great, long day.

A little splurge

I had 10 minutes left on my shift and Ms. A was taken off the machine. Some powers that be (too much Angel?) decided that it was the perfect time for her to have a ginormous BM. I helped clean up while the docs fled the room, then frantically put three machines in test mode and ran out the door. I’m forbidden from going into overtime while on training, so I got to take off early today. Today, which is my very first PAYDAY!

After a short stop at the bank I went straight to Anthropologie. By golly, it’s time to celebrate! I changed out of my scrubs in my car and spent a glorious hour and a half trying on lovely things. For once I was the woman with an armful of clothes in the checkout line, the women who cause me envy. Sure, all from the sale rack and the “for once” might be “for the last time” too. But boy was it fun. That poopy bed felt miles away, even though I had to drive by it on the way home.

Behold my bounty!

At home another treat – Jem is at daycare so I’m free of dog duties! I made a plate of cheese and pickles and popped another Angel DVD in the xbox. (Pausing it mid episode to write this blog, because I couldn’t pay attention to both) Tonight Ben and I further the celebration with a fancy dinner. I’m not sure where. We’ve been talking about the Melting Pot, but I just found a new French Brasserie in the Highlands that sounded good. Decisions, decisions. Here’s hoping the rest of my weekend is as rockin’ as the first three hours have been.

Blending in

Good day at work today. Started at 6 am, like usual. I went in back to start mixing bicarb jugs and string the machines. Then we found out our charge nurse had missed her alarm, lives across town, and won’t be in until after 7. Oops! Usually there are two nurses and a tech and me. But today it was two techs and me. They called our supervisor and she asked me to take report on the patients. Okay, not a big deal But I was really excited to do this! I got to put my license to work, taking report like a real nurse. The only hard thing was not getting too many details. Since I don’t know all these regular patients, I wanted to ask more about their history and current stay, but the other staff knows them so well it’s not necessary. It was nice to feel really useful- I saved the team 20 minutes for when the other nurse arrived and we were rushing to get the patients in the door.

Right now I’m still only qualified to set up machines, assist in getting the patients connected (though not breaking skin or connecting catheters myself), returning blood and terminating treatment, removing needles, and cleaning up.

Tomorrow is computer training. I get to sleep in a tad, but probably work later in the afternoon to make up for it. Monday I did my orientation at the hospital. I’m very happy to have my official hospital badge with access to break rooms and utility rooms. I don’t have to sign in at the front desk on the list of employees who “forgot” their badges. People don’t overt their eyes, searching my person for a name badge, when they see me. I also bought some scrubs in the official colors for RN’s at the hospital, so I REALLY blend in.

Netflix reincarnated

We just rejoined Netflix after a three year break. There’s so much on there now! I’m impressed with the amount of British television – even all of series 1 Doctor Who (9th and 10th Doctors). I think I will be busy setting up a queue this afternoon. Also, I want to get a remote control for our xbox now, so we don’t have to use the controllers.

Random thoughts

I realize I haven’t written in a while. That’s what happens when your life gets turned upside down. I haven’t done the 5 days a week thing in, like . . . my life since high school. Seriously. Once I went to college I’ve had three day weekends for most weeks. Add a workday that starts at 6 AM and you can see why my home life has been a bit topsy turvy. So I’m updating you all that yes, I’m alive. Yes, I’m loving my job. I’m still posting pictures on shot-a-day (link on the right side). I might have more occasional, short blog posts from my phone, since I can do those on my breaks. Here are some other thoughts.

I’m CRAVING anthropologie clothes. When oh when will my first paycheck get here?

I’m planning to get a new (used) car this year. A big chunk of my paycheck will go towards that. Now whenever I drive I’m window shopping the other cars on the road.

Glee looks like it will be the greatest show this fall. Maybe even more than 30 Rock?

Oh wait, SYTYCD will have a season 6 this FALL! Crazy. This summer’s season 5 is killah. I’m rooting for Melissa/Ade and Brandon/Janette for top four. They would do some wicked routines together.

I had lunch out today (guess where) and I saw a doctor in his lab coat, a cop in his blue uniform, and a sailor in his white dress uniform. Add to them my nurse scrubs and we looked like a children’s book on professions!

I freaking love my iphone. I think I still love my macbook more, but it’s a close race now that I’m away from desks all day.

I took out 6 giant needles from arms today. I did awesome in that no blood squirted and the patients didn’t wince. Yay!

Amanda graciously loaned me some fun books. Reading is great. You all should get on Goodreads so we can make recommendations to each other.

Certain-Dri has changed my life. What is this new life? Where my pits are not mucky and clothing wet by the time I blow dry my hair? Where I can lift up my arms without fear? And in July with a nerve-wracking new job! Seriously, Certain-Dri is gaining on Instead cups for best hygeine revolution ever! (And since my family doesn’t want to read about my feminine hygiene I’ll refrain from describing that. But trust me, Insteads are a miraculous invention. Girlfriends, this is almost my favorite subject so ask me about them anytime.)

I spent hours reading a manual on ICD-9 coding today. Did you know there’s a code for a disease called pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism? That was not a typo.

I kind of want a TV tuner card for our project hulu computer-tv. But its only purpose would be to record SYTYCD. Everything else is on hulu itself. Maybe not worth it.

Maybe we should restart Netflix this fall.

My cat is a druggie. It took three attempts to get her inside this morning. When I coaxed her with my feet she ran to get another fix of catnip. I had to pick her up and point her towards the door.

My house feels like a disaster. Not only is it not clean, but we have heavy summer heat. Blech. Also we had an ant infestation. I kicked it with combat traps. I’ve also seen two earwigs and a cricket in my kitchen sink. Dirty bugs . . . I declared tomorrow morning Clean Up The House morning.

Should I try a dry shampoo?

Back in class

I'm watching a video of graft placement surgery. It's surprisingly
gory and narrated by a bored Texan surgeon.

I prefer clincal to class. Time crawls by here.

“Feel the thrill.” Fistula jokes…

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