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 My neck had screamed in protest at my constant hyperextension, trying to increase the magnification factor of my outdated bifocals, to no avail.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 http://www.crocs.com/)