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Think Again



Hi! I'm Slane, and I run a video game store. Anything of interest beyond pictures and the occasional blurb is locked to everybody but Friends.

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Signing off

I don't journal much anymore, but this log has been such a huge part of my life that I feel the need to cap it off with a farewell. That's not to say that there won't be the occasional update from time to time, but I'm too busy living in the moment to bother categorizing it anymore.

My life is amazing. I survived terrible hardships and abuse, and I thank you all for being there for me when I needed you the most. In December, I'll graduate with my BSN, and I've accepted an RN position at Huntsville Hospital that begins in January. After a few years, I'll go back to earn my graduate degree and become a CRNP or a PA. My career will be spent taking care of people, just as I've always sought to do.

Michael is the best husband I could ever possibly ask for. He is everything that Jason was not, and nothing that he was. We've been blissfully married for over a year, and after struggling so hard before, slipping into this comfort in life feels doubly sweet. We're well matched, and we both seek to raise the other one up, not tear each other down. When both people try to give 100% of themselves to the other, the result equals far, far more than just double. He is an amazing man, partner, and father. Our lives are so fulfilled now that we have our little girl. We both have everything that we've ever wanted.

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It's sort of like guest starring in SAW

Dear Diary:

Today I held a morbidly obese man's 80lb leg up for almost 20 minutes straight, helped reposition him into a supine position, and then literally passed out from exertion on the bathroom floor for an indeterminate amount of time. After that we administered a soapsuds enema followed by a digital disimpaction, which our assigned nurse referred to as "having a baby." Then I changed the dressing on a different guy's leg. Or I should say I changed the dressing on a venous ulcer the size of my head and half an inch deep that used to be a guy's leg.

Nursing school. Can't make this shit up.
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Recovery and Classes

Welp, guys. I turned 30 today. I hear that from here on out all I'm allowed to wear is mom jeans and socks with sandals, so I figure I better start purging my wardrobe now.

Things are progressing well. My incisions are almost completely healed. All in all, I ended up missing about a week and a half of classes due to the surgery. That put me behind the rest of my peers a bit, but I still managed to get an 82% on first my Pathophysiology exam. I was pretty disappointed with that score until I saw that the average grade was a 63%. The high was an 89%. The low was a 39%(!). Everybody in the group I'm studying with did pretty poorly on it. One of the girls also did fairly terribly on the clinical calculations test we had on Thursday. It would be an absolute travesty if all 3 of my buddies washed out of the program. I really hope that doesn't happen.

So, here's to hoping things start getting better soon.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go dive into some more homework. On my birthday. Because that's what nursing school does to you.
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A series of Un/Fortunate Events



Yes, that’s me. Yes, that’s me in a hospital bed. No, it was not related to anything education based. I was actually hospitalized for two days last week. Don’t let to picture fool you, I was completely miserable, but my mother was freaking out and I had to stop her from hopping in the car and speeding down here like a bat out of hell. I make it look so effortless, don’t I?

So. What happened? Well….


Friday


I got up for work and left on time as usual. Ended up getting assigned to the phones since one of the operators was out for the day. It’s not my favorite position, but I don’t really mind it either.

About 9:00, I noticed a pain right around my navel. It felt like an ulcer actually. I was afraid I’d given myself some sort of gastric lesion by stressing out over class. I threw my drink out and switched to water, but it didn’t help. After hearing me complain about it for a few hours, one of my coworkers gave me a gas pill and sent me to lunch early. The gas pill didn’t help, but the pain did move to my lower abdominal quadrants after lunch, so I figured it was just indigestion. Despite the fact that the pain was getting worse, I just grumbled about it and finished my shift. They were already shorthanded, and frankly, I needed the cash.

It started to feel better about the time I got off, so I had Michael pick me up for our usual Friday Night Blue Pants Brewery tradition. There was some plan to knock whatever it was loose with good pizza and beer. Two drinks later, and it was none the better. We came home shortly afterwards since I was feeling puny again. I went to bed early.


Saturday


I woke up about 4 in the morning in some pretty radical pain. Michael set up the heating pad for me, and that seemed to help. I drifted back to sleep for awhile, but it was short lived. By 6, I was up again and this time I proved that it wasn’t anything in my gut through a bathroom visit. The pain had migrated down into my bottom right quadrant. Death was looking like a pretty okay alternative to dealing with the pain by that point. I decided to let Michael sleep until 8 and then we’d head towards something medical flavored. I had a pretty good idea of what I was dealing with at that point anyway.

My UAH student insurance isn’t exactly the most comprehensive form of coverage available, though. I didn’t want to head to the ER with just a self-diagnosis. I had Mike take me to the Chase Urgent Care facility, and while we were waiting for them to open I almost threw up on his shoes. I didn’t though, because I’m a champion. Actually, I was just really worried it would make the pain worse, so I held it back with a hitherto-unknown source of sheer stubborn self control.

The doctor took one look at me, tapped me on the abdomen a few times, and then instructed me to stand up on my toes and come down hard on my heels. He asked me where it hurt, and I pointed to a spot just above my right hip bone. He didn’t even look at me, but instead turned to Michael.

“You need to take her to the emergency room right now. I think she has appendicitis.”

On one hand, I was happy that my first medical diagnoses as a nursing student was correct. But I was equally sad that my diagnoses was correct about myself. Sigh.

So, off we went.

I signed in at the ER, and they pulled me back for triage pretty immediately. I must have looked like death warmed over. In triage, I told them that the Urgent Care had sent me there to rule out appendicitis. The triage CRNP looked at me twice, asked me to lift my right leg and asked me if it hurt, and then sent me back out into the lobby. My ass barely made it to the chair when they were calling me back to a room, skipping about 20 people in the lobby.

Sorry guys.

Once they got my peripheral IV started and got a bolus of morphine in me, everything started to feel a lot more manageable. I could breathe normally, and more importantly, I could converse with people without that tight urgency in my voice. And most importantly, once the pain was in check, I was able to look around and think to myself something that nobody else in the history of medical emergencies has ever thought before:

“Hey, this is pretty cool!”

Michael blinked. Apparently I said it out loud instead of thinking it.

When I told the ER nurse I was a student nurse, she opened right up, spoke to me like a peer, and even gave me some tips for passing the NCLEX. She talked me through everything she was doing and how I could get the most experience out of my clinical rotations in the ER. She gave me the run-down of some evidence based practice changes they were putting into effect in the ED in regards to myocardial infarctions (heart attacks). A couple other RNs stopped by and gave me their two cents about what they enjoyed most about nursing and how to be successful as well.

My surgeon was really a stand-up guy, too. I guess one of the nurses told him I wanted to work in the OR after graduation, so he pulled out his phone and showed me some pictures he’d taken from the last surgery he’d just completed a couple hours ago. Even offered to let me shadow him in the OR when I’m recovered, which has me extremely hyped. I really hope he keeps that offer open.

When they wheeled me into the OR, the nurses in there were class acts. I was totally mystified by the sarcastic, relaxed, competent atmosphere that surrounded each and every one of them. I asked the guy closest to me if he enjoys OR nursing, and he laughed.

“Yeah, it’s a whole different ballgame here in the OR. I like the fact that I get to spend my full attention on just one patient. Gotta deal with some pretty strong personalities in the OR, though. As long as you’re fine with that, I think you’ll love it.”

A female nurse from the back of the room laughed and chimed in.

“Strong personalities, huh Jason? You obviously don’t have one of those.” He laughed, shook his head, and placed a mask over my face. That’s the last thing I remember.

________________________________________________________

I had a really great experience, actually. Although I wasn’t really planning on having an emergency appendectomy this weekend, I’m pretty happy that I got to experience what I did. It has completely solidified to me that I do definitely want to work in the OR after I graduate. And all it cost me was an appendix and a few weeks of having some sore incision sites. Of course, the actual process of having appendicitis was pretty miserable. I’ve never felt so nauseous, hot/cold, hurty, and light-headed in my life.

But, I’d say the rest of it was pretty rad!
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Ode to a Parrot

Sometimes I'll leave Kai's cage door open over night if I know that we won't be getting up as early as we normally do. This allows her flutter around the house on her own for awhile. She usually bounces between her favorite places on the top of the fridge, her tree in the living room, and the door to her cage. She's been (mostly) potty trained for awhile now, so the chances of her making a mess are pretty slim. I feel better about it since she isn't as bound up for longer than she has to be.

Lately though, she's been waking us up by walking down the hallway, sticking her beak under the door, and babbling incoherently. The other day I made out what sounded like "BIRDSTEPUPBIRDBIRDBIRDSTEP."

She does this when she really wants to get your attention. She just mashes together every word she knows how to say and rattles it off. It always has me in stitches. I can't say no to her. On mornings like those, she can go anywhere in the house she would usually be chased out of (like her coveted spot underneath the cabinets), but instead she beelines straight for where she knows we're at and tried everything in her little birdy power to get us to let her in.

I routinely refer to her as "the best mistake I ever made." She's loud, aggressive to strangers, messy as hell and needy. But I'll be damned if she hasn't been the light of my life since I adopted her six years ago.



<3 Kai. I love you!
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The Beginning of the End

Tuesday was my nursing school orientation.

As if my previous posts haven’t demonstrated my feelings on starting upper division classes well enough, allow me to go into a bit more detail about it.

See, the thing is this. Everybody keeps asking me if I’m ~*~super excited~*~ to get started. They ask me if I’m jittery or nervous or overwhelmed. They’re expecting me to say yes to both, but the real answer is…no, not really. I’m about as excited about starting as I would be about going to the dentist.

I mean, it’s great to finally be immersed in the material that I’m most interested in. It’s great to learn about what’s actually relevant to my new career path (at long last). I’m not nervous because after two years working to get here, I know that I have the intellect to make it in this program. When I spoke to a few of the other students on Tuesday, it seems that their biggest worry is being part of the 25% wash-out that occurs in the first term. I just don’t share that same fear.

The issue for me is that I must ace every single class in order to have a shot at a graduate Physician Assistant program. My current cumulative GPA is a 2.87, which is not nearly close enough to meeting the minimums most programs require. If I don’t have a 3.2 by 2017, I’m practically dead in the water. Nursing school also has a tendency of turning A students into C students, and I just can’t let that happen to me.

So am I super excited about having to work harder than everybody else in a program that’s already balls-to-the-wall-ridiculously-difficult? Am I excited about the lack of sleep that I’m going to suffer from? Am I pumped that on top of everything that goes along with this degree, I’m going to need to do an additional unrequired thesis so I’m a more competitive applicant later? Am I stoked about the fact that I’m going to practically be a ghost to my friends and family for the next two and a half years?





But I feel the need to fake it every time somebody asks me. So I’ll keep sitting here plastering on plastic smiles and nodding my head enthusiastically, I guess. Gotta keep the audience riveted….
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Dumping on the Rung Below You

I spent Friday celebrating the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality at Free2Be, a local LGBTQ center here in Huntsville. Michael and Sydney tagged along, and we had a pretty great time. They were selling some Pride merchandise, so I bought a large-ish flag in order to support the cause. Decided to hang it on our front porch and see how many different people we could piss off. It is the deep south, after all. LBGT equality has like a 13% approval rating down in my neck of the woods.



Pretty sure that'll get somebody's attention. And it did.

The two little neighbor boys across the street came over today while Michael and I were working in the garage. One of them asked me if I was gay, so I did what any shit-stirrer would do and said I was. He crinkled up his nose and proclaimed that we were nasty and he wasn't coming over anymore.

I really wanted to tell him that not too long ago, people would have thought he was nasty for being black. So nasty, in fact, that he would have been forced to use separate bathrooms because people were afraid of catching diseases from him. In the end, I decided against it. Didn't want to piss off his parents since they're legitimately good people and great neighbors.

Still. I guess the fact that a black kid feels equal enough to join in with the collective shitting-on of gays is progress in and of itself.
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I'm a terrible parront

I clipped Kai's nails today. Except, I got her front left claw too short and she bled a fair bit. I feel so terrible, I've never done that before. Although I've clipped her myself in the past, I've never gotten too low. Normally she gets a trip to the vet so that they can dremel them, but I decided to do it myself. First of all I'm broke, and that's $20 I can put somewhere else. More guilt-inducingly, she's been a total pain in the ass lately and I know from previous experience that she calms down a lot for about a week after she's been toweled for something. So I figured hey, maybe she'll stop attacking the roommate and maybe I'll save some cash.

I was able to get that claw dredged in cornstarch pretty quickly. She's unharmed, but it really, really bothers me that it happened at all. She's not acting like it's even remotely bothering her, but I can't shake the guilt from the fact that I hurt her at all. On top of this, I haven't been a very good parrot mom lately...her toys haven't been rotated in weeks, she isn't getting a lot of one on one, and she's been mostly left to her own devices when she's out. My only solace is that she is out of her cage about eight hours a day, and all of her trees are set up and functional.

Maybe it sounds crazy, but I think the only way I'm going to feel better about this is to utterly shower her in affection, preens, treats and toys. So much for saving $20.