Calling Code Blue!

Code Blue.
Two little words which stop nurses in their tracks along with the feeling of time.
Like anything else that goes bump in the night, when we start our shifts for the day we spend a couple of minutes as we get ready, both physically and mentally.  We also spend those few minutes ticking off the things we need, know of and send a prayer up.
We pray at the beginning and end of our shifts for our fellow nurse’s to turn up for their shift so we aren’t understaffed.  We pray everything goes smoothly and if we have a patient dying, their care and transition from life to death is a comfortable one.
We also pray we overcome the small and large hurdles often experienced within a shift and we also pray for ourselves.
As nurses, Code Blue is something we never wish to hear in our shift as it sends our feet into a run and our hearts into a faster gallop.  Although we appear collected on the outside, our brain is running at 4000 thousand miles in different directions. We are thinking about the patient outcome and the paperwork we shall be filling out if you do not make it.
We also think of your family and the look that crosses your family member’s face when they hear you didn’t make it.  The look of complete heart loss, heart break and shattered grief flashes before the calm exterior replaces everything as we watch them pull themselves together.
But as we think about your now grieving family members, we think of you and how you are now no longer in pain and the stress upon your body is no longer harsh.  We think of the person we have spent the last eight hours tending to your cares and your every need.  We have been watching you in silence, watching your every body movement to see if you are in pain and just fobbing us off.
Like Woody once said “us toys see everything” to Sid; I can inform you, us nurses see everything.
This Wednesday night, I experienced a code blue of my own.

As I was placing ECG tags onto a patient’s chest, I was going to perform my first outside of a practice environment ECG.  Being a student nurse, I can say this means everything to us students when we come to doing one of these.  For it is an exciting but daunting feeling of accomplishment.  Because within a practiced environment, we have our cardiothoracic teacher hovering over our shoulders.  Not to mention, we also have our group friends (students) who are willing to help you out and move a tag or two into the correct place.

In Wednesday’s case, I was in a hospital ward with a living patient and not within a college lab with a fake patient.

It was daunting, scary but highly thrilling because I felt like I could be trusted by the patient and doctor who’d requested the ECG to be able to perform such task.  Of course all of these emotions I was feeling and experiencing at the time, were rolled into an incredible large adrenaline rushed package as I stepped back to watch.  As the heart rhythm line glided with a faint scratching sound across the paper, the machine hadn’t screamed or beeped as I had done something wrong.

Instead, I smiled at myself because I had just popped my ECG virginity.

Unlike the stories I’d read as to what losing your virginity would or could be like, I neither experienced the pricking or discomfort often felt.  Rather a sense of pride flooded my system as I had done it without the supervision of students and my teacher.

All that was in my possession of doing my first ECG was the knowledge I’d gained from watching one previously done on my last placement within the same ward, a year and a half ago.  Not to mention I used the knowledge I gained from semi practicing one on a fake patient that decided to go George (007) and kill its self.  Finally, the piece of white A4 paper with a roughly drawn chest with dots was my back up.

During this time, I had a frazzled looking patient staring back at me as I glanced down at the sheet and back at the chest of the patient before sticking down a tab.  All the while telling the patient, “I’ve done plenty of these before”.

With the necessary information required, I presented my ECG results on a silver platter to the ward call (doctor) on duty proudly.  As if I’d just won a gold medal for fastest (slowest) results.  This is when I watched in fascination as the doctor poured over the results and I leaned over the nurse’s station.
Hearing my stethoscope clink and clunk with a thud, I asked a vital question.  A question that I consider to be the utmost important question of all.

“Did I do it correctly?”

Practice makes perfect.

The doctor peered up from the paperwork and stared at me with a slightly shocked look on her face.  A look that would have been comical if I hadn’t been standing there with a stethoscope around my neck, asking if I had done the ECG correctly.

“Yes, the ECG was performed correctly” was the response as she dug into her scrubs pocket, only to pull out a madly screaming pager before taking off.  Just like that, another code blue was called.
As she jogged down the hallway, it was in the moment of ‘I hope that person is going to be okay’; I experienced my own code blue.
I realised my expectations for this week had been increasingly negative and in a way, downright mean.
In my case along with anything else I put my mind to, I discovered the goals and objections I had originally written out hadn’t been nice.  These goals/objections weren’t nice in the sense as they were stimulated to cripple and harden the pathway of learning.

With previous placements, I would have written crap like ‘I want to learn more communication skills’ and ‘I want more one on one time with patients’.  Anything at the end of the day that would be pleasing to the eye of my facilitator and the tool I am marked on.  While, I am left standing there going ‘I’m writing the same shit over and over again and I am not making a difference within my own life’.

Placement time came rolling and I found myself trying to figure out what I wanted to achieve and accomplishment in success, I decided to do a complete 180 and do something different.

Earlier last week when it came time to sitting down and discovering what I wanted to accomplish in the sense of gaining knowledge within my nursing placement; I sat down at the computer table.  Sitting in front of me was an empty blank word document and watched as the cursor blinked against the white background.

As I sat there listening to the soothing tones of Adele, I wrote goals and objections I knew would be beneficial in the long term as it would allow me to gain the much needed sense of freedom.  Within my life but also the life I lead’ as independent person outside of the screen you read me off and the life as a student nurse.

I wrote goals and objections that held no ability to be negotiated at a later time after I realised what I had written hadn’t been within the structured format of previous placement. Instead, I wrote things I thought were able to be achieved however would allow for further education to be up taken so these goals can be understood in better details.

Although these goals seem large in size and as a result, daunting to how critical they are with their different elements; I know they will allow me to achieve success.  To be able to dream of things I have wanted while allowing for the journey of undertaking a new path of life to be achieved and accomplished.

Wednesday night and the code blue, I’ve realised I left behind the fearful student who believed and stated earlier that day, “Am I sure this is what I want to do? I think and know I am going to fail!” to her mother.  The fearful student also believed she wouldn’t and couldn’t be able to administer medications for her knowledge of doing so would be extinguished.

In her place, stood a proud student nurse or rather future graduate nurse.

The person I became no longer held the fear of administering medication via a needle.  I wasn’t going to allow a stupid website to state because I couldn’t calculate medications online, I certainly wouldn’t be able to do it in person.  How wrong they were because Wednesday, I managed to not only calculate medications but I was able to administer medication through an IV drip.

As my facilitator looked on while watching me program the machine and handled all medications correctly.  In that space of however minutes, I was never once pulled up for incorrectly calculating medications and told, “you are putting patient’s lives in danger”.

My own code blue made me acknowledge the fact after four weeks of 180 hours of hard slog, long hours of running around, sleep deprivation and mental anguish; I would become confident and be successful.  I would become confident in the fact I have looked after countless amount of patients and when it came to leaving them with the next staff; I walked away from the ward knowing, “you have excellent bedside manners!”.

I would become successful because my medication knowledge had increased along with my ability of being able to communicate medical terminology and diagnosis.  No, I wouldn’t become successful in that retrospect because with medicine because I will be constantly learning as I go from a student nurse to graduate and Registered Nurse.

No I became successful when I opted to rise from the ashes of who I had been as a student nurse, who didn’t know if I were doing the right thing with my life and wasn’t confident in her abilities.  Instead, here I am.

The woman who walks onto a ward and knows what my goals and objections are for my life as a woman and student nurse.  For I am no longer afraid of spreading my wings allowing the wind to pick me up off the ground and soar.  I am also no longer the person who walked around with a large amount of pressure and expectations on my shoulders.

Both of which had been heavily inflicted by my self which in some cases weren’t necessarily in favour of what I wanted to secretly accomplish.  For I craved and desired to gain an education or experience that wasn’t stifled with fear inflicted by myself and a loss of self worth.  For I knew I was better than that but didn’t know how to break the factor of constantly critiquing myself because I had lived many years, doing exactly that.

Critiquing myself against those I had originally paired myself up against and as a result, I never realised that maybe they were sitting there thinking, ‘wow.  She is so confident in herself and I wished I was like her!’.  When they never knew, the expectations I had applied on my already over burdened shoulders were filled with self loathing because I felt like I had to uphold a value.

A value that came from a certain place within myself and also the expectations I felt like I had live by what my college expected me to uphold as a student of theirs.  Not to mention, the secret fear of what society and those around me are constantly thinking about me at any given time.

For as much as I come across confident and like I am ready to kick butt at any given moment, shit can affect me like it can affect you when you are at your weakest moment.  In my personal case, nearly every moment is a weak moment particularly when it comes to something hurtful about me. But you would never really know because of the façade I cloak myself.

As we know, society’s expectations can be stifling as we have all learnt from my blogs and our personal views as we are expected to act a certain way.  These expectations often held by society and its political bullshit, I’ve discovered differ from when I am a normal civilian to being a QUT, School of Nursing walking pin board.This discovery of course led to me giving myself a mental high five.

As someone who lives each day like they could be potentially her last and not really enjoying the benefits of being free of worry or stress; I’ve discovered my expectations of myself are somewhat different from the ones I was born with many years ago.  The expectations of a little girl to a woman, now curdled up on the couch writing this is different in so many incredible ways.

When I was a little girl, my expectations were Barbie wasn’t going to be some hooker driving around in a flashy red corvette with Skipper and Ken hanging on.  Like a bunch of doped up beach babes who surf all day and get high when the sky gets dark.  Instead, Barbie was going to be some fantastic person saving lives either as a doctor, nurse or lawyer.  As a result, her friends would be equally be fantastic as they worked steadily away in the jobs as humanitarian workers of some undisclosed work agency.

In reality, the expectations I had were to be a loving older sister to my three younger siblings.  I was expected to love and appreciate all my parents did as they worked their jobs of being a professional mother and carver of meat.  My personal expectations were different from the one’s of my family as I wanted to achieve world peace, hold power talks on peace and power within the world and not eat meat.
Like any child reaching puberty, my expectations on Barbie and her gang had been packed away and I welcomed the harrowing sounds of Pink Floyd scratching their way across a vinyl.  The sounds of Comfortably Numb bounced their ways off my parent’s lounge room walls, as I lay back on the carpet and stared blankly up at the ceiling as I pondered.  Pondered the definition of what life is really based on, where my life path was taking me and how I went from being a political activist as a child to a highly anxious and depressed teenager.
I also thought about where I would end up in life as an ‘adult’.
Would I be a famous rock journalist, who interviewed rock stars and all things rock, drugs and roll within the music industry for Rolling Stone.  Or would I be writing some sex based article that was brought out monthly in a magazine, for millions of men and women to read on their way to work or home?  Or if I didn’t want to become a journalist, would I carry on with the dream of yelling “I object, your Honor!” or having to tell a family member, “I am sorry for your loss. They didn’t make it”.
Before I knew it the time had gone from hearing about the new millennium excitedly to watching it and now living in the two thousands as an adult, I realised something.
If I was going to continue on with the journey of high expectations, I knew I’d eventually go down a pathway of social isolation, depressed like moods and the person I was living as was changing.  Not necessarily for the good.  When realising this, I gathered the expectations I’d placed on my shoulders and started looking at the life I was living and the life I wanted.

What is a better way of starting a new life for yourself by dusting off the cobwebs and stepping away from the wall as you take a step into the light for the first time.  It was in that moment of stepping into the light and leaving the darkness behind, I had come to a fork in my pathway of life.

As we know, there comes a time in our lives where we come across the forked path, where we must make the decision where we either turn left, right or continue going straight.

We know if we continue straight ahead, we will make the same decisions day after day and for some of us, we are comfortable with this decision.  Not necessarily because it offers us comfort at the end of the night but rather stems from the fact, it is all we have known for most of our lives.

In a way, it is a traditional pathway we have come to accept as our families have sat there and shown us no different or better road for us to take.

However if we decided to break bonds and ties with all the things we have known, grown up with and become accustomed to than we make the decision.  We make that decision to leave everything behind and start afresh as we chose to turn left or right.

In my case, I came across my forked road a few years ago when my relationship with The Wolf started dissolving and I made the agonising decision to walk away.  Walk away from the relationship I had tried to patch up, make a new and put back on the much needed rose tinted glasses for I no longer wanted to deal with what was going on.

I walked away from a long term relationship, knowing the next person who would come along for both of us would serve a purpose.  Whether it would be for a short time or permanently, what I’d decided for the both of us had been within our best intentions.  I made the hard decision to leave the friends I had gained from USQ to seek higher and harder education by moving to Brisbane and starting a new at QUT.

Deciding when I relocated, I would leave behind the quiet and socially reserved me to be the person I had always wanted to be.  Essentially I became Scarlett and at the end of the day, it was fun while it lasted.  Until one day I woke up and decided for my best intetions as a person, blogger and woman I needed to stop going straight ahead and I turned right at the fork.

Fast forward 3 years, I can sit here and say it was the best decision I have made for myself.  Both as a woman but also as a writer, a blogger and student nurse.

The day I decided to turn against the things I’ve known all of my life and other things I could have known if I had decided to turn left, I know I have picked the right path for me.  For I have grown and continue to grow in so many important aspects of my life where I now wake up in the morning with a sense of purpose and self drive.  Where once upon a time, I’d want to hide under the sheets and allow the world to continue on flying past my bedroom window.
I now can walk into a hospital and although I want to go too the morgue, I can walk onto a medical ward and start taking note of who needs additional cares.  I know and have accepted my limit of self worth and self care along with the care those needing.  I’ve also learnt where my limit for tolerating other’s bullshit and cattiness ends before I open my mouth and tell them to back the f*ck off.
Finally, I am comfortable with who I am as a woman.

Before I would have closed that part of me off because I thought it to be ‘weird’, ‘uncomfortable’ and no man would want me.  All because I had been told men wouldn’t want a woman, who wanted a little extra something something in their sex life.  Simply for the fact, this man didn’t accept nor wanted to accept, what he was serving on a rusty platter was complete bullshit.

He had changed my form of thought towards this subject where the old me would have been horrified and disgusted at the thought of taking on a ‘fuck buddy’ and a relationship that revolves around the ever revolving door of sex and fucking.  This thought continued to be carried until one day, I decided to shake off the negative thoughts and step into my own revolving door of sex and not becoming emotionally attached.

My code blue Wednesday made me think about the duration of our relationship and how it lasted because while it lasted, it originally was built on the foundation of friendship before it slipped under the sheets.  It also brought attention to the fact, this person taught me a lot of life lessons and still, surprisingly continues to teach me lesson although they have no idea.

Because all it took was someone to stand there and say, “get down on your knees and put your hands behind your back”.

The most important lesson I’d been taught was it was fundamental to love to myself.  Up until that moment, I had laughed off the same comment and secretly thought ‘what’s the point?’ because nothing had or would come of myself and my relationships.  For they had become broken and jaded like most of the things in my life.  

That day when I got down on my knees in my bedroom, I learned that day when I stubbornly wanted to get back up from my kneeling position, I couldn’t always be the strong one.  There would come a time where I would have to let go of the façade I was living and I would subsequently have to be the weaker person.  All the while, holding onto the power I had over everyone else.

For when they put a hand on top of my head and murmured, “No one can and will love your if you don’t start at ground base and love yourself firstly.  For I hate to mention it Kid, but life doesn’t work like that”; I felt a key be inserted into the lock and a sense of relief flood through my system.

My second lesson was everything I’d dreamt of being, both as a woman and someone behind closed bedroom doors was completely and utterly normal. 

After being told what I had wanted and spoke of was ‘weird, disgusting and not normal’, I discovered the benefits of what it was like to be a confident woman and person in both my sexual and public life I live.  For rather my first boyfriend was indeed the one ‘weird’ and ‘abnormal’ because everyone I know does that.
The idea of being able to tie someone up in bed and blind folding them, not only shows the person how much you trust but also allows you to gain a sense of security.  For the person is putting their trust and life into your hands, your very capable hands that are able to destroy it within seconds.  Having discovered the value of self importance and trust when I stood back from the frazzled looking patient, I felt relief.  Relief in knowing I hadn’t broken their trust in me I had gained when I introduced myself as “my name is Scarlett and I am your student nurse for this afternoon”.

I realised after taking those few steps on my new path after wanting to turn back, I no longer carry everyone’s expectations of how I should act, how I should carry myself and what I should do with my life.

Expectations get you 7’s in life… 7’s are success

Expectations of my Grandparents and cousin, which I realise were good intentions at the time because they were thinking of the future.  However at the time when I was 16 and 17, not really focusing on the future and life as being a college student, they felt like a huge weight on my shoulder and were stifling and restrictive.  As I was forced into thinking I only have two options for my life and they were to become a lawyer or teacher.

After stepping away from my family and living in Siberia for the past couple of years, the tension of having the world on my shoulders has left me.  For once, I actually feel like I able to breathe for the first time in years.  I no longer feel like I have to jump up and down and wave my hands around in the air, hoping both sides of the family would notice me.
It stems from realising I no longer need to prove myself as being a good child who attends college and pulls high distinctions.  Rather, I need to attend college for the benefits of gaining an education and at the end of the day, I need to feel as if I am doing a justice to myself and my life.
Like Lois has told me only a million times throughout my life, “No one can live your life for you.  So you better discover what makes you happy and strive to be happy on a daily basis”.

This of course has made me think about life if nursing doesn’t span out and I find it difficult after a couple of years and I’ve discovered my back up plan.  Bypass medicine and all things to do with needles and blood and bring on the plan of sex.  I love sex and sex loves me.

So why not turn my life into one big sex crazed period and write about sex.  I’m sure you will find it interesting to discuss and read all things related to new sexual positions, toys available on the market and the benefit and pro’s of riding cowgirl versus swinging sex.  I’d be able to talk about BDSM and all things related to being dominated by a dom and living the life of a sub.

Hello Fifty Shades of Yes Sir.

Having released the expectations of my family, society and now just purely focusing on my needs and wants, I feel like my life has been recreated, redefined and restructured.

My code blue has allowed me to access and posses new skills that may not be necessarily one of public appropriateness but at the end of the day, they keep me alive and entertained to a whole new level.  A level most of you would raise an eyebrow and than scroll to look at my photo and think, ‘Her, this girl? Really?’.  But there is always be that possibility you are a family member and simply shake off the knowledge that I am a bit of kinky bitch behind closed doors.

It certainly keeps you, my Dearest Reader, on the tips of your toes as you wait for another blog to be dropped and Lady Blacksnot, wishing to discuss all things sex.  It also keeps me grounded, humble of my many beginnings and self discoveries and wishing to discuss all things Chet Faker, chocolate vodka cakes and Lady Blacksnot.

Because without that crazy bitch who wields Ferrari’s as her go to car, Loub’s gracing her delicately structured feet and men for breakfast; who would I find inspiration from?

The inspiration of new blogs and new skills come in abundance along with the motivation skills of an elderly lady on a motorized scooter.

The new sense of belonging, self drive and acceptance has not only allowed my OCD to take a much desired back seat.  But essentially, I’ve gained absolute freedom.  Freedom from the fear of being a complete and utter fuck up, or black sheep within my family.  To freedom from internal stress that causes me to experience so many OCD freak outs that I simply cannot leave the house for fear of germs and chaos.

Finally, freedom from the internal thought of ‘what if I am not good enough?’.

This new sense of self accomplishment has allowed my skills of nursing to evolve from what they were three and a half years ago.  The expectations I now upheld are advocate for not only my patient but also for myself (which is important!).  Deter from causing unwanted harm towards the patient, family members and colleagues.
I’ve also learnt that it is important to have a Ferrari driving, high heel wearing and man eating lawyer on speed dial at all times.  Along with a large serving of vodka and chocolate cake at any given moment when either of us get a message saying “chocolate vodka cake?”.  Mostly, I’ve learnt the most important expectation that I need to uphold dearly and that is to have complete and utter belief in myself and my abilities. 
Because when that lecturer told me to turn my head and look at the number of us, I didn’t know what would be expected of me.  For I had already put a large amount of pressure on myself and told myself on a daily basis until I believed in what I was saying and that I would fail everything. Just in case, it came true.
When I look back on that day and think of how far I’ve come, not to mention how stupid I was and still am in some cases; those there that day had made an individualistic decision.  All of us had made a decision that would impact upon our lives as it would be a decision of a lifetime.
Fast forward a few years later and the discovery of vodka chocolate cake, it was in the moment of pouring myself a cup of coffee and getting ready to kick arse, I realised I had ultimately made a decision.
The decision I had made those many years ago would see the ceasing and ending of my life as Scarlett.  In return, it would allow for the life I had dreamt of for many years to rise from the ashes like a phoenix.  Where till this day, it continues to flourish as I take each step into the future and I discover so many things I’d never thought I would see or participate in.
It has allowed for the last three and a half years to be an interesting and entertaining journey both you and I have taken together.  For that, here is to another three and a half years and many code blues!
Until next time,
Cheers xx

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