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Thursday, January 05, 2012



It's a new year. I have a new(ish) job. I have a new appreciation for how excellent my life is. I mean, I've had that appreciation for a while, pretty much since I got interested in nursing. But either my life is way more awesome recently, or my new job has sharpened my focus, or maybe both.

So yeah. I'm a hospice nurse now. This is the job I've been working toward since before I started nursing school. I work for one of the smaller hospice outfits in town, albeit the only one with an inpatient center - and I am really loving it. I'm a float nurse, which means that I don't have a regular caseload of patients that I see... instead I go see new patients every day. I could be covering for a casemanager nurse who is out sick or on vacation, I could be visiting because the patient is having a problem and needs a nurse on a day that they're not scheduled to see the casemanager, or I could be admitting a new patient to hospice services. It's kind of terrific - I'm used to meeting new patients and families every day because of my hospital background, and although my role is important for patient care, I am not ultimately the person responsible for the patient's care plan. And here's the best part: I work 7 days on followed by 7 days off. I was scared about working 7 days in a row coming out of the hospital, but it's completely fine. I see between 2 and 4 patients a day depending on their needs, and I usually get home before 3 or 4 PM and finish my charting at home. It feels like a vacation.

I'm rediscovering the joy of simple things like cooking dinner, going out for a drink with friends after work, watching a movie on a work night, and best of all, not being physically exhausted and in pain after every shift.

That's not to say it's been a piece of cake. I actually had a great deal of anxiety last week, which was my first full week on my own after orientation. In fact, I sat outside a patient's home in my car for 15 minutes having a panic attack, complete with chest pain and dizziness. If I had been my own patient, I would have done an EKG and then given some lorazepam. But instead I pulled myself together and went inside - and it was fine. I talked about it in couples counseling and again at the hospice staff support group, and getting it out in the open seems to have helped. I've worked 2 days this week so far and I feel fine.

Today I saw an elderly woman living alone and was blown away by the amount of trust she placed in me - I mean, think about this. I called her and told her I was a hospice nurse and I was coming to see her, then I show up at her (unlocked) door and let myself in, then I told her I needed to listen to her heart and lungs so she unfastened her bathrobe for me... it's a phenomenal demonstration of trust and faith that I was there to help. I feel so touched and honored that (some of) my patients feel that way.

I have a great deal to learn and I'm still a newbie - but I feel for the first time like I'm doing a job that I could do for the rest of my life. That is pretty amazing.

I hope to get back to blogging. I am sure that there will be topics I wish to process and experiences I want to share. This is a good outlet. Any nurses or prospective nurses out there who have questions? I love to talk shop. :)

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Thursday, November 24, 2011


thankful 2011

Thankful 2010
thankful 2009
Thankful 2008
Thankful 2007
Thankful 2006
Thankful 2005
Thankful 2004

My heart is so full of thankfulness this year I'm not even sure where to begin.

  • I am incredibly thankful for my new job as a home hospice nurse, which is what I have wanted to do since I was in nursing school. I feel so lucky that I was able to find this job with such lovely, kind coworkers and supportive management.

  • I am thankful that my stress level and exhaustion are steadily decreasing as I get further away from my Big County Hospital job... I didn't realize how much it was wearing me down until I walked away.

  • I am really, really thankful that my husband is doing extraordinarily well in his consulting work, for a number of reasons: he's less stressed than he was either unemployed or working as a full-time Microserf; we're going to be able to pay off a great deal of our debt this next year as well as have a nice nest egg in savings; we agreed that I don't need to try to work 2 jobs anymore; and I am so proud of him for being extremely successful after that horrible Year of Financial Difficulty.

  • I am thankful for my family and my friends new and old - there is a lot of love and laughter in our lives thanks to all of them, and isn't that what life is all about?

  • I am thankful that we live in this beautiful house that we enjoy every day. I am also thankful that we can afford to have someone help us clean it, because it's a lot more to clean than anywhere else we've lived.

  • I'm thankful that R* and I travel so well together, because we did a lot of traveling this year and hope to do more next year.

  • I'm thankful for our sweet darling furry Kismet kitty, who is a daily delight, even though she occasionally shits on the rug.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Now go hug and kiss someone you love.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011


dear internets

I am not dead.


Just kidding. I mean, I'm not dead, that is true. But I have a little more than that to say.

-R* has been working as a consultant for a few months and we're feeling a bit less terrified about money.
-We had our taxes done and it looks like our refund should be big enough to enable us to tell the IRS to go eff themselves this year.
-A bunch of my friends have had babies recently and that's a lot of happy. And baby snuggles.
-Work is going fine. I continue to adore my coworkers.
-It's not pitch-dark outside when I leave for work at ridiculous o'clock in the morning!
-I don't feel quite as much like my lungs will fly out of my nose when I try to run, thanks to several months of biweekly workouts.

There are still things troubling me, too, but I'll get back to that another time.

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Friday, November 26, 2010


annually thankful

thankful 2009
Thankful 2008
Thankful 2007
Thankful 2006
Thankful 2005
Thankful 2004

This has been a tough year in a lot of ways. We were stressed and worried and exhausted and frustrated for many different reasons... but still, I have a lot for which to be thankful.

  • My intact and functional body that pretty much works exactly like it's supposed to - unlike so many of my patients' bodies.
  • My mental health, which permits me to function in the same world as everyone else and doesn't cause me to see and hear things that aren't there.
  • My wonderful smart talented silly hard-headed husband, who has made the best of a very difficult year of unemployment.
  • The job that my wonderful etc. husband landed after that year!
  • My job, along with the wonderful coworkers and friends I have there. My job would be unbearable without them.
  • My other job, where I go do temp work at other hospitals and they pay me lots of money. It's stresseful to work more than full-time between the 2 jobs, but I am so thankful that I have the option available to earn more money for my family.
  • My lovely funny parents and their continued generosity and encouragement in our adventures of home-owning.
  • Our good friends who have made us laugh and offered hugs and wine and dinner dates when they were really needed.
  • Our fantastic house that makes us happy on a daily basis.
  • Our trainer who is slowly but surely kicking our butts into shape and continues her positive attitude and encouragement no matter how much we whine.

    Mostly I am grateful that our lives are so ordinary. I know that may sound silly but I see so many people whose lives are extraordinary in some awful way - being normal and boring seems like a gift in comparison.

    I hope your Thanksgiving was warm and filled with love.


  • Sunday, June 20, 2010



    Pancreatic pseudocyst - basically, your pancreas gets angry and tries to digest part of your insides. This is, you know, bad. I took care of a patient who had one removed that was the size of a BASKETBALL. Granted, the patient was not a small person, but jeez!

    How to invite Ethiopians to dine - phonetically it sounds like "nem la" to me. The person who explained it to me said that it's loosely translated as "let's eat" and that culturally, they are bound to offer to share food with anyone who is around. In the US, many Ethiopians have modified that to offering to share food with other Ethiopians who are around... although now I understand why one of the aides who I've gotten friendly with keeps trying to feed me. I'm one of us now. :)

    Commenter Irene, I accidentally deleted your comment! Sorry about that. To answer your question, no, I'm not Chinese. I'm just interested in visiting HK because I think it would be a cool experience, and I'd get to eat lots of interesting food. I love trying new things. Good luck with nursing school.

    This weekend I have attended a yoga class that was really above my skill level but made it through without any injury. I've cooked two yummy dinners with my friend who is visiting. I've gotten plenty of sleep. And although I love my husband and my friends and my family, I am ridiculously glad to be spending the afternoon at home alone.

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    Sunday, June 13, 2010



    I'm all about the lists lately.

    Things that have recently made me happy:
    -My amazing coworkers and their enthusiastic hugs, support, assistance at work, and ongoing admiration for the extra work I'm doing.
    -My husband's love, support, and general holding-down of the home front.
    -A message from a friend inviting me to come spend time with him and his adorable baby.
    -The positive reaction I get from patients and families when I attempt to speak my terrible Spanish with them.
    -Learning the polite way to invite my Ethiopian friends to eat with me, and better yet, trying it out on my coworkers and watching them look surprised.
    -Waking up at 6:30 on Saturday and still making it to work on time!
    -Paychecks from staffing agency work.
    -Anticipation of my friend E's return visit to Seattle
    this week.
    -My house.
    -My garden even though it still needs a lot of work.
    -Weird flavors of Lucerne light yogurt - Bartlett Pear Mangosteen?

    Things that have recently made me sad:
    -War. The entire concept and the individual loss of life.
    -Reading all the recent studies about how getting more sleep makes one's life 1,000 times better and being unable to control the fact that if I spend 14 hours on work & transit time, that doesn't leave enough for shower/dinner/quality time with husband/winding down enough to sleep/getting the recommended 9 hours of sleep. Clearly we need 30 hour days.
    -Lupus with severe, life-threatening complications in a patient younger than me.
    -Lice, scabies, bedbugs, and all their little friends.
    -The IRS
    -Colostomies and corn - two things that do NOT go great together.
    -Losing my fancy Bluetooth headset like a dumbass.
    -Giant pancreatic pseudocyst.

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    Friday, June 04, 2010


    I wish

    -I could play the accordion.
    -I weighed 80 pounds less.
    -I made more time for yoga.
    -And playing the piano.
    -I was as kind to my loved ones as I am to my patients.
    -I knew how to cook a steak.
    -and mix a good cocktail.
    -and sew.
    -that the pelicans in the Gulf were oil resistant because their photos make me cry.
    -that my friend hadn't died last summer.
    -that I made more time for friends.
    -and less time for worrying.
    -that I could make up my damn mind about whether I want to have a baby or not.
    -that I could travel to Ireland & Germany & Italy & Spain & Japan & Hawaii & Hong Kong.
    -and Belgium.
    -and Portugal.
    -and San Francisco.
    -that we could manage to arrange a time to have dinner with R & M, and have dim sum with K & A.
    -and see Andy face to face instead of only through a computer.
    -that my garden would produce lots of tasty food instead of getting eaten by slugs.
    -that people would stop judging other people because of the color of their skin.
    -that everyone in this country had healthcare coverage so no one would have to go untreated.
    -that it was easy to tell people when you love them.


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