If you had the choice of spending an all expenses paid weekend on a deserted island with a cabana boy named Pierre, who may or may not come with a gold g-string or fighting the urge to eat your entire house out of food, which one would you choose?
In my case, I don’t have the opportunity for an all expenses paid weekend that features me living off freshly caught seafood, eating fresh pulp from a coconut on some beautiful remote island with my gorgeously gay friend, Pierre and his equally gorgeous gold g-string. As for eating myself out of cupboard and fridge, I’ve been hanging around too many diabetic patients with foot ulcers and the thought of sugar right now, has me wanting to run away.
Instead my ideal weekend is spent in comfortable pajamas that are housebroken and faded, smeared red lipstick from one too many cocktails and unlimited access to WIFI. Speaking of ideal weekends and the glorious thought of warm pajamas and no judgment for it being close to midday while writing this, where can I be found this fabulous weekend?
Where else would I be located for writing, editing and blogging but than my little wooden table. Which just so happens to be located centrally in my sun room and as I lay surrounded by bits and bobs from assignments, an empty cup that once housed tea and an empty tissue box that is slowly being refilled with used tissues; I’m in the midst of having an ‘A-ha!’ moment.
As classical music floods the air as it twirls and dances, which reminds me of visiting my Grandparents when I was a little girl, my final week of placement and rotation has arrived. Something I cannot believe has arrived so quickly and yet, it has arrived suddenly and with it, has brought an overwhelming sense of disbelief.
Who’d have thought that nearly four weeks ago, Lois and I were packing our school bags with textbooks, papers, a stethoscope and our lunch bags. As I took in that last breath of freedom because my holidays had well and truly come to a dramatic end, Lois raced around the house like a nervous chicken as she got ready for her first day at “Big School”. Seriously, who’d have thought that Lois was about to conquer her fear of stepping out of the family household roof and do something amazing for her well-being and self worth while I went into the big kiddy pool of medicine and got the shock of my life.
I can say Dearest Reader that this journey has neither been easy nor difficult. Instead it has been a life altering movement for both Lois and I and just may be for the greater good. I know in Lois’ case, she grew to understand why her eldest daughter ended up a psychotic nutcase after a few weeks of college when discovering she wasn’t up to date but instead of three weeks behind in a subject’s case study.
As Lois found herself strapped to a computer and the incredibly wide world of music that lead to her family shuddering, I was off gallivanting around the country side. In the last four weeks, I have added another dot to my ‘Where’s Scarlett?’ destinations on my ever growing map of Australia but I also walked into a hospital and ward that had a completely different mindset from other wards/hospitals I’ve previously been apart of.
Even now as I sit here in the early hours of a Tuesday morning rewriting and rereading some parts, I am still somewhat in shock at how welcoming and lovely these people I’ve enjoyed working alongside are. Not to mention, the doctors are a bit alright to look at until I discovered today, there’s a whole new rotation of doctors.
Much to my disappointment.
Four weeks ago to date, I wasn’t expecting to be greeted and paired with a gorgeous redhead who has a vibrant, bubbly and downright awesome personality. Not to mention, housed the knockout skills of un-complicating a patient’s life as it lay in smithereens around their feet or in some jumbled mess, thanks to dementia. It was only after having realised that my facilitator had snuck off and I was left well and truly on my own, I realised I had taken the initial gulp of warm hospital filtrated air and jumped head first into the deep end without thinking.
Having made my own mind up to jump and not think of anything else, I have experienced so many moments. I’ve learnt how to navigate the trembling dark seas whilst swimming alongside a shark or two as I watched them swim closer and closer with each encounter. There has been plenty of times where I got to play with a playful pod of dolphins, who not only made those long arse eight hour hauls that little bit brighter and quicker but affectionately call each other “sister”. To top it off, I was referred to as “sister” many times during those shifts and it made me feel like I was actually (for once) part of the team and not someone peering in through the window.
When not playing with the dolphins or watching out for sharks, there has been moments where I have witnessed the incredible strength the human mind has when coming out of the affects of a life altering stroke. I have been there when a patient’s big toe twitches for the first time after having been paralyzed or hearing the slurred word of “hello” coming from between their lips as the family gathers around, just so they can hear them say it again.
But like many things when dealing with the good, there is the bad and ugly side of strokes and that is coming into contact with a patient becoming aggressive or violent. Seeing the frustration, despair and anger portrayed non-verbally, it has made me sit there and think ‘can I handle this and what is expected?’ before looking at the partner and seeing them wonder the same thing.
Over the last four weeks, I have been blown away by the ward’s doctors’ who apologise profusely for interrupting as you (a nurse) whilst reading a patient’s medical history. When addressing you, they look for your ID badge and always start a sentence with, “Please” instead of the typical “I need…” or my ultimate and all time favourite, “Hey You!”
I’ve even experienced the embarrassing moments with Lady Blacksnot III and Lois of me sneaking into paper or stock room, and admitting through a message that after two years of being single, I’ve not only lost my mojo of male/female contact and I need advice on’How do I know he was flirting with me?’
Hell, even now I’m not 100% he was flirting with me but felt obligated to make conversation.
As I grieve my ability of being able to decipher when the opposite sex is flirting and gearing myself up for Spinsterhood as LBS continues on with her dating adventures, that brief thought would be forgotten as I locked eyes with a Doctor Brown Eyes. Before glancing down as he walked away to check out the arse merchandise and the thought of brown shoes and Mr Darcy would came flooding back.
Least to say, Doctor Brown Eyes should be filed under the category of sinfully arselicious and has been raised with beautiful manners and handwriting. Speaking of handwriting, I am tired of trying to decipher illegible chicken scrawl and abbreviations that both my textbook, medical abbreviation knowledge and Google can’t decipher. Having admitted that, I’ve become a pro at writing progress notes and dodging them as well.
Whilst becoming a professional at writing that my patient is/was alert and compliant at time of reporting, I found myself becoming a professional at managing to get my bitching sessions down to 10 seconds or less and becoming a morning person without IV caffeine last week. Considering what I was like in my first year of college and clinical placement, I wouldn’t have dreamt nor thought of going anywhere without a coffee already in my system and a mug permanently attached to my hand. But then I didn’t think I would find myself moving to Brisbane, attending another college and sticking to it while enjoying some incredible Life experiences both in and out of the sheets.
As I prepare myself to finish this week’s placement, come to terms of ‘normal living’ and assignments that seem to be piling on top of one another, it has been a rather interesting time within my life. Not only as a student nurse who didn’t even know where this particular destination was, but also as a writer and more importantly as a woman.
I’ve had the opportunity to experience some Cardiothoracic Gods with manners, plenty of ECG material that could wallpaper my bathroom and still have plenty left over for another room and as for my personal life, standing beside LBS as she comes to terms with the passing of her Grandfather. Finally, I am slowly coming to terms that patient’s like sharing their germs and are willing to offload their flu’s with you.
Although patients are willing to share germs, colds and other delightful bacteria, they are also quick on telling you when you should pull your head out of your arse or when you are doing your job. One of the many things that has stuck out in my mind was tonight and how I attended to a woman. Having introduced myself as “one of the nurses on the ward for the evening,” I glanced down at my shirt and mentioned, “by the way, I’m also a student nurse. Whoops, forgot to mention that!”
As I wrapped up taking her observations whilst filling out the paperwork that needs to be done with each, new and exciting admission that gets presented; she turned around and said, “I didn’t think you were a student nurse at all because you seem so confident and its like as if you’ve being doing this job for 10 years. Thanks for making me feel welcomed and safe”.
That right there Dearest Reader is the shining light to my epiphany that I had many years ago of me standing at the end of a patient’s bed and being told, I had done something right in their life. Like I have stated many times and no doubt will continue to do so, I wasn’t born to be a nurse who simply looks after sick people and deals with the dying. Instead, I was created to be a nurse who tenderly cares for the dying, respects the sick and embraces the fuckwits that rule the hospital playground.
So if this is not nearly everything I’ve experienced on a cardio and stroke unit in four weeks than I wonder what an operating theatre will present as my final rotation?
After four years of study, putting my arse on the line, countless nights of no sleep and increased amount of caffeine, mind boggling relationships and the introduction to the questionable world of BDSM; I finish my life as a student nurse in blue scrubs, in a theatre operating room with maybe a heart or two and/or a few babies. If I see one of the other or both, I will quite happily walk away from my time as a student nurse feeling like I’ve ticked everything off the bucket list.
As I raise my nearly empty jug of cranberry juice and tissue box, I think it’s an appropriate time to make a toast. So if you would care to, raise whatever is closer to you and:
“Here is to four incredible years alongside, underneath and on top of you, Dearest Reader and here’s to many more moments of Pierre’s gold G-string”.
Until next time,