Month: March 2013

Goodbye and Hello

I’m LOVING this stay at home thing.  Plenty of errands and fun things to keep me occupied.  I’m not going to miss the paperwork or the pager or the vomiting or the cranky hospital staff. 

Good-bye to this!

Last day of workLast day of work

Hello to this!

First day homeFirst day home

For now it feels like extended vacation.  I’m sure it will be some time before the finality of this sinks in.  But at least I can sleep through the night, sleep in the morning (until 7:30!), and schedule appointments any day I please.  Jack is sick this week and for the first time I’m not filled with dread for when I will catch it and how bad it make working for me.

My last patient

Written Saturday night

Watching the lines turn from scarlet to salmon pink, I jot down the last ten numbers for my flowsheet. I deftly clamp the patient’s lines and strip them off the machine front while pre-rinsing it with water. After the double beep I drop the two jiggly wand connectors into the vinegar, which still smells like pickles to me.
I make a tight cinnamon-roll of gauze and press it to his arm while I ease out the first needle. I’m careful with the wiggly sharp and tube, like a one fanged snake. As I hold pressure on his arm I put my right foot back in tendu derriere, a trick I taught myself years ago to relieve back pressure when I have to stoop. A Spanish language game show blares on his TV. My gaze wanders over his shoulder to the window behind him. This hospital has the best views; I will miss it.
Today the snow has left a heavy frosting on downtown Denver. The trees in the park are drooping under the heavy dollops received today. The creek is swollen from the downpour. The traffic moves slowly along Denver’s main thoroughfare, brown and slushy. Like usual, it’s Saturday evening and I’m alone in the my unit with my last patient, waiting to close up shop. I wonder how long it will be until I can join those folks on the road to somewhere better. I wonder if I have will be coming back here in a few hours when I should be asleep in bed. But luckily no one needed plasmapheresis that night.
I shift my weight and put my toes on the base of the dialysis machine, right next to the bicarbonate jugs. A great way to stretch my calf; good to do several times during an ICU run. I only hold it a few seconds before switching to the second needle site. Luckily this patient is lucid and strong enough to hold pressure on his arm, so I get a jump start on wiping down all the equipment and telling his nurse on the floor how he did. Twenty minutes later they wheel him away and I tell him “Hasta luego,” even though it’s a lie. After locking up the needles and paperwork I’m leaving here and not coming back. I’m not a dialysis nurse anymore.

F-R-double– No, the long way!

F! R! E! E!
It’s time for my biggest announcement yet:
I QUIT!!!!!!!!!
Three weeks ago I gave notice to my employer. Saturday was my last shift as an RN. Oh, I will keep my license up, for sure. But I won’t be a dialysis nurse for the time being.
Inevitably when I tell someone I quit working, they ask “What are you going to do now? Work at a chronic clinic? You got another gig?” “Nope,” I tell them with a grin on my face. “I’m going to be a mom for a while.”
While having a nanny/child in daycare is possible, and we certainly make more money with two incomes, we learned that it’s not the lifestyle we want. Ben and I decided it is very important to us that we have a parent in the home. Not only to raise our child/ren but to be the head of household and keep our family running. Lots of things have fallen through the cracks with us both working. We have been feeling like we are barely making it through each week since Ben went back to work in September.
Not only is it hard with both parents working, MY job in particular was hard. I was exhausted after every shift. We never knew how long I would have to work. I was on call more days than not, plus callback increased frequency from 33% two years ago to 75% now (I tracked it). Ben could never commit to activities with friends because my job controlled our life. I feel like I have been living with a heavy net over my head.
Plus the job has gotten out of control with work or duties in addition to my shifts: daily emails about apheresis treatments and patients for the next day, classes required for each hospital every time they roll out a new product or policy, maintaining personnel records at every hospital as well as our own company, staff meetings, weekly emails extolling all the things we are doing wrong, etc. It felt like I never had a day off. Even if none of the above applied, I’d be trying to gather my strength to make it through the next marathon day.
The negative feedback was continuous, even if it is aimed at others who are doing things wrong (I freely brag that I am quite obsessed with following policy and documentation, so rarely did these emails apply to me). Morale was low. Every aspect of our work has become more complicated over the last few years. Chloramine checks went from 10 seconds three times a day to 18 minutes 5 times a day. Jugs went from bleaching weekly to bleaching daily. RO water checks doubled in frequency on portable runs. We triple document some charting at every hospital. We record on/off times SIX times for each treatment. The daily To-Do list has doubled in length. Etc etc etc. It’s ridiculous really.
The work itself is fine. I like being a procedure nurse. I’m really really good at what I do. I will miss that part of it, and miss my co-workers too. I will miss that proud feeling that swells when I read stuff like this.
But when I faced the choice to go part-time I declined. Less hours wouldn’t mean less stress. All of the above would continue but with a lesser paycheck. No, I wanted a clean break. I’m burnt out.
Sure, I might go back to dialysis some day, or certainly another nursing job. I’m well trained and had a fantastic (nearly) four years. But for the next few years, I’m going to be a mom for reals.
. . . . 
Except for my new work-at-home gig for The Retina Center, because a little pocket money and insurance assistance is still welcome. But working for my parents at home is a LOT different than the above. So I have been loudly singing in my head all day:
Oh, what a word!
Oh, what a word!
Say it again.
I often thought,
I often dreamed how it would be–
And yet I never thought I’d be–
Once again.

Jack addendum

RecipesThe internet just reminded me it’s pie day!  And I have no pie!  I asked Jack if we should go to the Humble Pie Shop to buy a pie, or if we should make a pie together.  I’m sure you can guess his answer.  Actually, no.  Usually his answer is “Both!” So keep in mind how much my kid loves to bake.

I told him we have to decide what kind of pie to make.  He ran to his book basket “Find recipe!  I look Clifford book for recipe! Hmmm, need flour.”   Then he started to pull his chair up to the counter.  I had to explain that not only do I need to find a recipe too, but we will need to buy ingredients. 

He was a little disappointed, but then he turned Caillou back on his tablet and now is making engine noises while he flies his toy plane.

Yeah, he gets spoiled the day after I’m on call.  I only slept a few hours due to phones calls for a CRRT all night and a cat begging for extra meals. 

Some Jack things

My parents came up for a fun, if hurried weekend to see the musical. The kids did great! The final performance was postponed due to heavy snow on Saturday. At least we were able to rush up Friday to see it. I couldn’t make it to the moved finale last night because I was working late and on call.

There was one casualty to the weekend. Jack’s beloved gift from Brian, a Bumblebee Transformer, was left behind in my parents’ car. Luckily they discovered it and mailed it back right away. Jack was dramatically distraught when he learned his Bumblebee (“Bubby”) took a trip with the grumpies. He received it yesterday and, except for sleeping, it hasn’t left his hand. I recorded him talking about it and reading the enclosed pictogram-letter this morning.

 There’s a new Disney series I’m excited about. They are making 19 shorts in the classic 1930s style to bring Mickey back in a starring role for the company. The first one is out and you can watch it here. I found it charming and impressive that they decided to speak French without subtitles. Jack watched it and found it hilarious. He was very concerned that the motorcycles crashed.

Jack tried to use his camera but the memory card was full! That finally got me to upload his latest batch of photography. You can see them in the set on flickr, labeled Feb-March 2013. Here are a few of my favorites.

Feb-March 2013 by Jack

Feb-March 2013 by Jack

Feb-March 2013 by Jack

Feb-March 2013 by Jack

Feb-March 2013 by Jack

Feb-March 2013 by Jack

Feb-March 2013 by Jack

Feb-March 2013 by Jack

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