Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'll be home for Christmas

if only in my bed, snuggled up in sweatshirts and magenta colored fleece blankets, and Thera-Flu in my tummy. Though my current sickly condition makes for a less active first days of Christmas break, there is nowhere else I would rather want to be... than home.

I thought I had barely skirted past the winter flu season a few weeks ago, as a few good night's rest took care of it. But I guess I was wrong. It came back full force to invade this nursing graduate's body. (Yes, I took my last final yesterday and have officially passed nursing school.)

As I sat eagerly watching my two younger brothers' basketball games last night, my body was shivering quite uncontrollably. I kept having to switch my sitting position every few minutes in an attempt to achieve comfort for my ever-growing sore body.. and to hide my Parkinsonian-like tremors. By the end of the game, my mother's cool hand could detect a full fledged fever on my forehead and rosy red cheeks.

While I sit here eating my hot chicken noodle soup and drinking my cold Coke Zero (hmmm, my environmental factors do not seem to help my body's vacillation from hot to cold), I am pondering the GREAT previous weekend I had in Salt Lake-- and the severe sleep deprivation from maximizing time with friends and family. ............Ooohhh! It all makes sense now. :)

1} A surprise visit from Derek Erstad, who happened to be interviewing for medical school at University of Utah... unbeknownst to either of us we would both be in Salt Lake the same day. So dinner at DoDo, some Grey's Anatomy and Saved by the Bell, adventures finding the medical school in the dark the night before the big interview, and much laughter to go around... I was more than delighted to be his SLC tour guide.

2} The third annual college-kid gathering to see Kurt Bestor's Christmas Concert, a special treat from Grandma Clifford (aka Nani). Delights from the sights and sounds of the musical gala, yummy food from Lambs Grill and Cafe, and one massive bowl of peppermint ice cream, I was utterly satisfied.

3} Jessica Kruger, and company. That's all there is to it. Except, The Day the Earth Stood Still was something we all could have gone without. Sleepovers cuddling in one bed, waking her up during her tumultuous nightmare, Cafe Rio, munching on her fiance's mother's english toffee, and the never ending laughter between the two of us... I swear to it that if she could just somehow turn male, I would marry her (him?) and I would be the happiest being alive.

4} Kimmy Harman. And meeting her for the first time, but knowing we would have so much fun as hopeful future roommates. Sugarhouse is our desired relocation-and we have found some adorable rentals. So for some reason when I was awaiting a prescription to be filled at Albertson's Pharmacy on Monday, my eyes quickly bypassed all fashion and teeny bopper magazines, and headed straight for the Beautiful Homes issue. And then my imagination went a little wild, with $$$ clouding all rational thought.

4} Late night chats with Grandma Anderson-Mangum. Her listening ear and her keen wisdom are quite admirable. Though she only stands at 5'4", it's no secret that great things come in small packages.

My trip down south only reaffirmed my excitement for the future permanent move.
But first.... I must use all of my acquired education and nurse myself back to health (along with sweet concerned check-in phone calls from my mother).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears

My work on a hospital floor has ended, finished, commenced, taken its last breath… whichever satisfies you. What satisfies me? The relief felt from being the recipient of that “last breath.” I finished my clinical on the Labor & Delivery floor yesterday, having completed all 90 hours of unpaid service to laboring women in Boise, Idaho. Oh how blessed I was to be on that floor for my preceptorship, but how blessed I am to be done. An interesting paradox, yes!
{Photos taken from summer of '07.. guess the scrubs don't quite fit so tight these days. yikes.}

Furthermore, I selected to care for Dr. Klomp's patient on my last 12 hour shift... which meant I would work side by side with the obstetrician who delivered me on that very floor 21 (and a half) years ago. And he happens to be a dear family friend; so when he walked in at 0730 and put his miracle-working hands on my shoulders (in the middle of my IV start, mind you..), I knew I could not have picked a more satisfying finale.

My preceptor, Julie Barta, was the perfect woman for the job. She and I clicked from day one with the initial acceptance of one another due to the common length of our legs. But moreover, she was kind, and patient, and so willing to accommodate all kinds of experiences unique to the floor. She was my mother-hen dressed in blue scrubs, with casual wit and fun humor to combat stress and the expansion of my comfort bubble. She was approachable with questions and willing to teach at the drop of a dime, no matter how many times she has rattled off the same information to many a precepting students or new orientees.

And she happened to be from an LDS family herself, so when not inserting large 18-gaged IV’s and checking vaginal cervix's with two “lubed” fingers, we discussed religion and the importance of balance in our lives. Strange how certain people step into your life at poignant points in one’s existence… Not a coincidence, I do believe. Angels are sent to us in the form of our fellow man for comfort, help, and reassurance.

Graduation is now merely 10 days away, with only one more day of classes, some concluding preceptorship paperwork, and one “final” exam (consisting only of covered material from the last three weeks, i.e. how to be nice, and how to be culturally sensitive…. Yeah, you get the picture) standing in my way. This means GO TIME for NCLEX review and study. This means question after question of NCLEX-style queries. And it means ever increasing anxiety for those upcoming nursing boards. On the whole, I am definitely not an anxious, worrisome individual. But this test, this test really gets my blood pressure up, ignites the racing thoughts, and allows worry to seep in through every presently unclogged pore.

As I sat in Barnes and Noble today for an even longer period usually spent in a single clothing store, I plopped onto the ground in the middle of the Nursing/Medical section. Hair pulled back into a ponytail topped with a red Stanford baseball cap, and black Nike spandex covering every extremity, I flipped through the pages of many NCLEX review books. I got lost in the helpful mnemonics written for the massive amounts of information needing to be refreshed from the dusty and rusty synapses of my brain. For one brief moment, I felt rather confident. Yes, see, I know this stuff! I know it. I know it. I. Know. It.

Perhaps like Dorothy, if I replace the currently appareled running shoes with my red pumps (sans glitter), click my heels together, squeeze my eyes and white-knuckled fists tight, and say it over, and over, and over… I will believe it; and my world will be a bit more black and white, a little bit more cut and dry.

“There’s no place like a Pearson Testing Center to take the NCLEX. There’s no place. I know it. I know. I know it…..”

Monday, December 8, 2008

Enough Already

Okay, okay.. so I am sure many of you will be thinking that very thought after reading this post. However...

I recently acquired this article from Quentin Smith regarding the phenomenon many of us like to call, Twilight. I began reading the piece with a cynical attitude, expecting just another article describing why so many fans (particularly girls and women) love the books and the subsequent cinematic adaptation. Yeah, yeah, I already know why we love it; no need to convince me, or inform me why it is such a success, I know. However...
The article is like poetry to my temporary glass half-emptied ears- as it so beautifully articulates my secret, a secret held by so many. Yes, it's long; yes, I skipped over the discussion about Gossip Girls and Harry Potter, because of course all I want to read about is Twilight. But with an at-first skeptical, soon-turned addict Twilight reader as the article's author (who happens to be older, and thinks of herself 'too mature' for young adult fiction), her sensual words poignantly embodies the allure behind the story.

The rapture of the naked soul, with it's natural human desires, instincts, and fantasies- can seize the psyche, no matter how sober from an ice cold glass of water. No matter how firmly we root ourselves in spiritual beliefs, no matter how green we want to go, or how far we earn formal education, no matter how deep our pocketbooks run... there is an undeniable, irreplaceable, and utterly irrevocable quality we cannot ignore. No matter how far we may refuse, or stifle, or hide it. For some it may be just a faint outline of the elephant in the room, or for others it may be a full fledged raving tie-dye rendition, with fireworks and kinetic chinese dragons.

To love without reserve; to romance with unconditional force; to lust animalistically; and to seize the exclusive invitation for our innate passions is a unique gift. Even if it means simply sitting within inches of, or a touch on the arm, from the one who is the sole catalyst of these fascinating (cardiac and neurologically controlled) entities, regret from savoring it rarely takes seed.

Twilight does not speak of this in a whisper. It is free of a tone of gossip, clearly lacking the image of two teenage girls cupping their hands to their mouths in an attempt to even fend off the best of lip readers. No, Twilight acknowledges, embraces, and celebrates the bewitching power of the human sensuality.

This is why I find great delight in Twilight. It is the passion behind the fictional story- passion to be emulated, admired, and desired. The kind of physically aching, heart palpitating, breath crushing passion.

....Oh yeah, did I tell you I was a hopeless romantic?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Testing, Testing, 123

After some technical difficulties, and useful problem-solving suggestions from this gal, Diana Hulme, I "fixed" the viewing of my pinning ceremony invitation per my previous post.

Reason for fixed to be set off in quotation marks? Eh, you'll see.

Apparently just as much as my artistic abilities suffer, so follows my tech-savvy inadequacy. Bummer.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Artsy Fartsy

So I don't really cook; not that I don't want to, but I am just not very good at it... okay, yeah, I just don't want to.

I don't scrapbook. I severely lack any kind of skill to "cutesify" paper. So instead, I blog. One picture at the top of an electronic screen and that's about my limit.

I can't sew. My seventh grade table runner from Home-Ec class proves why. Or my mangled hot pad, for that matter. My mom recently asked me to help put my brothers' scouting merit badges onto their sash for their Eagle Court of Honor. I looked at her in bewilderment. "With the hot glue gun," she muttered. Oh, okay. I can do that.

I can't draw. Stick figures with massive chicken winged hands are my best method of articulating illustrative thought. Even as a little girl when I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer- I knew I was doomed.

So instead, I express myself by what I wear. Someone else can draw it, sew it, and slap it onto a mannequin.. And I will buy it. I truly value fashion as a form of personal artistic expression. As one of my best friends, Julie Andersen, once said to me, "You are so good at being you." In other words, "you wear some dangerous stuff, girlfriend."

But give me a large green grassy field, a pair of black Adidas Copas (sorry Mr. M. Hansen, it is the one athletic piece of mine that is unfortunately absent of the Swoosh), with a round air-filled ball.. And I will beat some people up.

The one thing I can take credit for that stems from the right side of my brain, is my handwriting. I think I have decent penmanship. But that definitely was not always the case. With every passing academic year, my handwriting changed, even up until my freshman year in college. I had to make a conscious effort in perfecting my visible written word.

My point from all this literary foreplay is this: I am not naturally gifted in the arts. I am nowhere near, nor will ever be, in the realm of Martha Stewart, or Diana Tueller Hulme, or Kimmy Harman. But my handwriting experience is evidence that I can improve. So when I volunteered to design the Nursing Pinning Ceremony (like unto a graduation) invitation, I even surprised myself. But I thought this very special occasion deserved class and taste; and I thought I had enough, so somehow it would work itself out.

So after exhausting all creative juices, this is the 5.5x4.25 inch Cardstock byproduct:

Today I received an e-mail from our nursing resource guru, who stated the head of the department of nursing was so impressed with my little invitation, that it will henceforth and forevermore... be the standard for all future pinning ceremony invitations.

Who knew?!?!?!

Certainly not me.

Go Big, or Go Home

So only a few will understand this post, but for those who do... This is for you.

Go big, or go home. I guess that was my motto without even knowing it.