Saturday, August 22, 2009


Hello, Dear Readers.

I want to whisper urgently, "Do you remember me?" I asked that very thing on my Facebook page just this morning. "Do you remember me? The lady with the sweet skinny dogs? I'm here."

I think that if truth be told, I am the one who is trying to remember me. There are some mighty big changes going on 'round these parts.

I've survived going back to work in the hospital. I had to write a journal detailing 'what I learned' during the clinical portion of the RN refresher course. Here is part:

My return to hospital nursing was not without a great deal of personal trepidation. The theory portion of my review course had prepared me well for developing and implementing plans of care for my patients. But, I wondered, could I manage the twelve hour shifts? How would I ever catch up on the pharmacology? What would electronic charting be like? I wished that the theory portion of my refresher course had touched upon some of these critical (to me) issues.

I will be honest in this journal; I have too much respect for my own time and that of those who will read it to be anything less. After my first twelve hour shift, I returned home in a cloud of gloom as thick and foul as the contents of a Kentucky slop jar. I told my husband that this was the biggest mistake of my charmed life. I was too old. I couldn't discuss it further.

I went the next day to a walk-in optometrist (my ophthalmologist couldn't fit me in until October) and paid $400 for new lenses for my Harry Potterish frames. I had been unable to read the microscopic type of the printed-out patient profiles. I couldn't read the computer screens over my preceptor's shoulder. My neck had screamed in protest at my constant hyperextension, trying to increase the magnification factor of my outdated bifocals, to no avail.

Over the course of the next eighty-four clinical hours I learned. I learned that instead of having to carry a Nursing Drug Handbook, all of the pharmacological
information I would need was easily accessible on my Computer On Wheels (COW).
The same COW which contained my patients' eMAR [medication orders]. I learned that my nursing skills still served me, and my patients, well. I learned that my uncanny ability to decipher physicians' illegible writing would still come in handy. I learned that electronic charting seems inefficient and onerous; that it takes the nurse away from her patients, until I learned that the charting can be done in the patients' rooms on the COW. I miss the section of written nurses notes in a chart. I learned that Crocs rock.

I learned that most things haven't changed. I learned that my clinical judgment is better than it ever was. That maturity is a blessing. I learned not to plan anything after doing two days in a row of twelve hour shifts. But that I would be fine during the shifts themselves.

And I learned that I am still a good nurse.

I'll tell you Dear Readers a few other things I've learned. The dogs are doing just fine. But there are subtle changes. When Bill gets up now, say he goes from the TV room to his study, the dogs watch him. Then they turn and look at me, saying, "Oh. You're here." Eventually they will know that when I'm dressed in scrubs I am leaving them. Now they all beg to go with me when I leave in the morning; it's walk time, after all. When I get home at night there is a great short display of E.G.D. (Excessive Greeting Disorder) Then they collapse into the sound exhaustion of dogs who have been listening for my car all day. They are too tired to beg while we eat.

When people used to ask me what I did, I'd answer: I have nine dogs! I write. I used to be a nurse. Now I answer: I'm a nurse. I have nine dogs. I write when I can.

It's a subtle shift, but it feels like an 8.0 on my personal Richter. A gigaton.

The weekend before I started in the hospital, I got to go to a dog show. (I'll get to do more of those once I have a schedule and I'm being paid.)

On Saturday, Emmett won:

On Sunday, Swede William won:

Heather and Lee and Dee went with me and it was so much fun. It was a gentle reminder that life is quite wonderful.

We had a horrible health scare with sweet Spice. The specialist confirmed what I already knew: I am blessed to have a Great Vet. Another reminder that life is quite excellent.

Bill got a nasty respiratory infection and had to sleep in his recliner instead of in our bed. (If he lay flat he'd cough his lungs out onto his stomach and his eyeballs would explode and that was just too messy.) Last night he slept next to me.

Ah. I get it. My going back to work in the hospital is, in the total scheme of things, not such a big deal.

Life is simply grand.

Hug your hounds
(top image from


  1. I'm a nurse, too, and older than you. Even tho' you've been away for a time, you'll do fine. You have the computer skills that may in our generation lack, have nine dogs!

  2. Francarrich from WWAugust 22, 2009 at 4:58 PM

    I have been wondering how you have been getting on now you are back at the front line of the medical profession - sounds as though you are doing fine!

    I guessed the Waggle would get used to your new regime after a little while & it sounds as though they are settling into the new routine too.

    Sorry to hear that Bill has been under the weather - just as well he has a good nurse to look after him! LOL

    Congratulations on the whippet wins, may you enjoy many more now you can afford to pay the entry fees.

    Wags from Banjo, snuffles from Aida
    & best wishes from Carol.

  3. I hope Bill has a speedy recovery, and congratulations on your dogs' wins! I know it has been an adjustment, Patience, but I can see things are working out just fine. So hang in there, girl!

  4. I knew you'd do fine.


  5. Hi Patience, glad you gave us an update, all sounds busy but well. And congrats to the winning wagglers!!

  6. I feel confident that you are a blessing to all the patients that you encounter. The dogs are adaptable, and with time, you will find that they are there for when you have one of those really rotten days. I don't think I would get through my days well without my hounds.

  7. Ah, Patience,

    You learned a lot. Congratulations and continued success!

    Love and Koobuss Kisses,
    Koobie and Mom

  8. You are brave, you are wonderful, and we know you are very tired. Thanks for letting us know that all is OK in Whippet-land, and Teka sends many kisses to Swede William on his win.


  9. You'll always be a good nurse... because you are a good person.

  10. Patience
    When I heard you were going back to nursing, It hought, how in the world will she manage with all she does already, but now i see I was soo wrong. I should have known, you're able to do anything. If I was in a hospital I can't think of a better nurse than you to take care of me. Your knowledge, experience,sense of humor and compassion must be terrific assets.
    Congratulations on the wins. They look wonderful.
    I'm so glad your bill is back where he belongs. Next to you
    Asta sends smoochie kisses to the epanded waggle

  11. Glad the Whippet Household is getting used to the new routines. What an adjustment it must be for everyone. The dogs are happy, I'm sure, so long as there's someone around to "serve" them! Congrats on the good showing. That outing was a nice break, I'm sure.

    My sister gets in-home health care from a nurse practitioner and also home health services. I'm asked her nurses how they like using computers to write up reports, directions, etc. They say it's so convenient and saves so much time when back in the office.

  12. Talk about a learning curve! All that adaptation and information in such a short time. Wow!

    You are right.... exploding eyeballs are messy and might impede the supervision and walkies. lol So glad that he is better now.

    We are so glad all is working out well.....

    Whippet roos for a good transition....


  13. congrats on the wins.

    we're thinking it will be an adjustment for us when our mom goes back to work too. it will probably be harder on her than on us. hee hee. we're glad you remember how to be a nurse. you will get used to it again.


  14. what a lovely update. i am sending thoughts of encouragement and congratulations to you and your hounds.

  15. Congratulations on the wins! When Old Girl gets dressed, I always sniff her clothes, and I can tell the difference between going-out clothes and stay-at-home clothes.

  16. Oh Phyllis...yes, I rolled when I saw the Croc at the top of ur blog...BTW, after about 6 months replace them...they don't feel as comfy after a while...

    We haven't gone to computerized charting yet...we do have a COW...but it's for patient tracking in the OR etc...

    Yes, change is constant in nursing...almost all the equipment that I leaned on in the refresher course in '01 is all changed...sheesch...patients don't change...your assessment skills will be better...

    And as you said your ability to read the crappy fine print on med vials...the new glasses were a good idea...

    We're pullin' for ya!!!!!

    Mumsie et al!

  17. Congrats on the doggie wins. Those are some lucky sick people there in KY. Must be delightful, having you for a nurse.

  18. Tuesday morning - Congratulations again! Woo-Hoo! xxxooo, d.

  19. Well done for having the courage to go back.

    Mine is always failing me, not worked for ten years now.....perhaps it is too late for me to start again. But your post enthused me, perhaps to train for something else.

    Well done on the Dog Shows! And healing hugs to Spice.

    Food for thought on here today for me.

    Jeannie xxxxx
    Aren't Crocs the most delightful and slightly addictive shoes.....!

  20. We never doubted you for a second.

  21. nine dogs?!!! wow! im a dog lover too, right now, i miss my dog rodney.

  22. Wow, that IS a gigaton shift...maybe time for you to schedule a massage soon to smooth out the Richter!

    Love the "E.G.D" expression!

  23. Ahhhh I knew you would do well.I haven't been able to write as I just did a stretch of 3 12 hour shifts(and my tooties are feeling it) The computerized prtion takes a bit of getting used to (I am still getting it down) but I think it will be alright in the end..I knew that all you had to do was just get back on the horse..Proud of you and soo happy you are back in the "force" I can think of no one finer I would want by my side...Diana and A+A

  24. Congratulations, it's sounds like you're going to do just fine with the new schedule. Isn't it amazing what women can do when they put their minds to it?

    Your two winning dogs look great.

  25. Congrats on your wins and on getting back in the nursing saddle. (BAH on computer charting....)
    Though I have been on disability for 8 yrs(300 lb pt-knee-6 surgeries....)Now that I no longer have Mom to take care of,I must rejoin the workforce too. Though it will have to be something like case management. I never let my license lapse, but will more than likely have to be mentored. (UH-have to learn CM too) BUT, aren't we lucky to have such a profession to to back to. Those 12 hour shifts will be killer for awhile. Wish I could do patient care, but, can't. Best of luck I know you will do well. (Hey-I'm a few yrs older than you-I truly believe your maturity will serve you well!!!
    I'm rootin for you.
    Jamie and the kids-Sunny&Scooter
    ps I miss showing alot!


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