Tuesday, October 28, 2008


So, to my dear friends and family; here is why I haven't returned your phone calls, met you for lunch, or otherwise communicated since March. Here is a typical week in my life:

Up early at 0700 for duty at the rescue squad
1000: PT for my broken ankle, learn I may not get the walking boot/cast thing off for awhile yet
1200: Dentist appointment, I don't want my teeth to become like my patients teeth :)
On the way home, stop by the mechanics and learn that my car needs $3000 of repairs
Spend the afternoon studying, and writing a paper
1900: Start my work week, work in the ER of the trauma center for 12 hours

0700: finished with work day (night), What a night! Sometimes this place actually resembles the TV show ER. Sumdood was really busy shooting and stabbing people last night...Oh, and beating up the occasional person. Throw in a code and a couple MIs and you have my night. Plus, we were extremely short staffed. Being up for 24 hours straight is hard on my body!
0800: home at last, that hour drive is really hard when I'm this tired. Now, for some dishes and housecleaning before I shower and fall into bed for 5 hours.
1900: at work again, try to smile but fail miserably when I learn we have only SIX (6!!!) nurses for all 80 of our beds. 9 doctors, 3 PAs, and an NP, but only SIX!!!!! nurses. I just hope to make it through tonight without killing someone! Does anybody wonder why I'm looking for a new job? Plus, my ankle really, really hurts tonight. The Tylenol just isn't cutting it anymore. Why can't I take even Motrin for my broken ankle, dear doctor? I know the research studies, but right now I don't care! I am walking and working on the broken, torn mess I call an ankle, you could at least let me take Motrin!

0730: Off work finally. What a night!!! I had 4 beds, plus the 2 trauma rooms to care for. I am crying as I leave work, I so want to be a good nurse and all I can do at work is run around and pray nobody dies because we don't have any staff. My GSW to the head made it to the OR, but shook me up a bit. He was exactly the same age as me, born on the same day. How in the world is he shot in the head, upstairs in the OR right now getting the bullet taken out? Other than that, a couple of cases of DKA, a massive subarchnoid that was transferred to us, a leaking triple A, a ruptured spleen with a BP of 29/19 upon arrival, and more made up my night. There are 60 people in the waiting room at 0700 this am, some have been waiting for 11 hours to get a room.
0800: Out to breakfast with some good co-workers. They have a few beers, I have some coffee to get me home awake and alive
0930: Home, didn't quite fall asleep behind the wheel. Housecleaning again, than to bed.
1900: Back at work, I cried coming in tonight. Fortunately, our numbers are better than last night, we actually have 9 nurses for 80 ER beds.

0700: Off work on time. Last night was better but still busy. The RT said we intubated 8 people in less than 90 minutes time. People are sick, sick, sick lately. I don't think I saw one person who wasn't truly sick.
0800: Home, shower, bed for 4 hours to try to sleep, but the pain in my ankle is so bad I don't get much sleep
1230: Up, try to be awake, I have to swap to dayshift now so I try to sleep only a little on Mondays
Study for awhile
1430: PT for my ankle again. The fall at work on Saturday night did nothing to assist it in healing.
1500: Decide I should cook something for the week, might as well attempt at being healthy. I decide on spaghetti and while it cooks I fall asleep on the couch and burn it. Oh well, I can say that I tried!
Study all afternoon
2100: To the rescue squad for duty group tonight. Check off the truck and immediately get several back to back calls. Most did not need an ambulance, but the cardiac patient and the drunk dude did. You have to love running rescue in a college town, BAC of .44 in a 19 year old does not help him remember to breath!
0350: Finally get to make my bunk bed and fall into it.

0600: Up after 2 hours of sleep. Hey, I got some sleep!
Home for a quick shower, change of clothes, and right back out the door 30 minutes later.
0800: Clinicals start in a town over an hour away. These are my paramedic clinicals so I have to look bright, shiny, smiley, and competent. Not happening today, in fact as I look down I remember that I forgot to polish my boots. Oh well... The medic today is really nice and helpful, he knows me from the ER and is very understanding of my exhaustion. He gives me a break on my skills, and trusts me on the calls. Cool!
2000: Off for the day, headed home
2100: Home, study for several hours for my big test tomorrow. Complete my paperwork that's due tomorrow.
0100: Shower, bed for a few hours

0700: Get up, glad to finally get 6 hours sleep!
0800: Leave for class
0900-1400: Class, big test that I do well on.
1400-1700: Stay at school, not worth driving 2 hours to be home for 1 hour, study hard
1700-2200: Second class, another test that I pass, not as well as the first one, but I pass
2300: Home, finally. Time to do laundry, polish my boots, and find that pesky stethoscope for tomorrow.
0100: Shower, collapse in bed

0600: Out of bed, get ready for clinicals again. I can't keep my eyes open this am
0700: Stop and get gas, I am so tired that I buy not just my 24 oz coffee, but a liter of Mountain Dew as well.
0800: Clean, and wrinkle free I arrive at my clinical site. I try to smile, but that is hard when you are this tired. The medic is nice, and I answer his questions fairly intelligently. He is complementing me when he finally recognizes me for the ER nurse I am. Something about my walking cast being rather distinctive, I am apparently known as the RN/Paramedic student who wears a cast :) So, my preceptor then immediately ups the questions a level, and I still get them right. Yeah, score one for me! I successfully run several challenging ALS calls, including a nice MVC with a head injury, an unconscious person, and a "man down", who had gotten beat up by sumdood and was rather injured. I walk away exhausted, but I learned many things today and I feel more confident about being a medic.

I start all over again, up early and stay up for 25 hours straight. You have to love my life!!

So, this is why I haven't returned your calls, or even acknowledged that you live. All I can think about is sleep these days. That, and passing this school so I don't have to do this anymore!!

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