Friday, June 29, 2012

one foot in, one foot back

It's been a while since I posted anything, though I've been around Twitter and Facebook pretty regularly. Let's see: last time we met, I was in my second week of work and feeling happy with my choices, fulfillment, and hope for my future.

Good news: still feeling that way.

Since then, I've been yelled at, cursed at, hit, pinched, grabbed, pooped on, treated a junkie, treated someone who is bona fide cray-cray, and seen more naked people than you'll ever hope to see in your lifetime. I cut stitches out of someone's throat--that was cool. My hands didn't even shake--aren't you glad?

I've also been told that I'm beautiful multiple times (mostly by little old ladies), told that I look like Marie Osmond (wha??), and told that I have the most beautiful smile that person had ever seen. Even if the speaker is half-blind and half-crazy, it's still a nice compliment, right?

Yesterday in class we spent 2 hours discussing the genetic code of E. coli and how mutations occur in bacteria.

Hubby and I have been watching Rescue Me for the last few weeks. It's free to Amazon Prime members right now, so we've been taking our liberties. Right now we're halfway through season 5. Great show.

As for my novel, things on that front are very good. I'm hoping beyond hope that I'll be finished with revision by Monday, July 2. I've learned so much during this third revision, especially about killing your darlings--although, I have to admit it's not that hard for me to cut entire chapters. I wish I'd kept exact track of how many words I cut and how many new words I wrote. I think it has to be somewhere around 15k cut, at least, and even with that I've still netted 6k over the second draft's final word count, and I have 4 more chapters to go. But the final product is something I'm going to be proud of. I pushed the story, pushed the characters, and ultimately (think) I've put the story right where it needs to be.

My garden is lush and productive. We have a watermelon the size of a big softball, but it seems to double in size every day. I can't wait to eat it.

I'm still training for the half-marathon, though it's not going so well right now. Since I have to get up at 5am four days a week, it's hard to find time to run--especially after working 13 hours on two of those days. And now that it's 106 degrees, even 6am is pretty sweaty. But, soon enough my externship will be over (July 25!), my summer class will be over (July 31!), and I can run as much as I want for a few weeks.


Stay cool, stay hydrated, and eat your vegetables.

Friday, June 8, 2012


So it's been a week since I started working at the hospital, though technically I've worked 2 weeks' worth of shifts.

It started almost immediately: the shifting of priorities.

If you don't know my long, sordid (not really) history of how I decided to go back to school after getting hurt on the job, it's all in the archives somewhere. In the past 3 years, since the day I got hurt, there's been a constant presence in my life: loneliness.

Going from working full-time to suddenly being home alone, all day, every day is a smack in the face. No pets, husband gone for 10 hours a day, no friends in the new town where you live...

For someone like me, who was very social and extraverted, it was torturous. But I changed, gradually. Little by little I came to enjoy my quiet time. I still had long bouts of depression and aching loneliness, but I threw it into my writing. After I got hurt, I finally finished my first novel and have since finished 5 total.

I started blogging out of loneliness. It helped. A lot. I made online friends, socially networked, built followings and contributed to others'. It was pretty much my social life, because we were still living in a town with no friends, husband working full time.

Did it really make me happy, though? Not really. And when I started nursing school, I started gradually filling the void. Sure, 90% of the time I'm studying, but that's okay. Books were my first friends, even dry textbooks. Then hubby started a new job, where there are people our age. We play trivia at a bar once a week. We go to occasional parties with our friends in the town we live in now.

And now I'm working again. I think I've always been the kind of person who needs to work. Everyone always said how jealous they were when I was at home all the time, but I hated it. I hate not contributing financially, not feeling productive except over laundry and cooking dinner. Housewife, I am not. Even when I was writing constantly, it wasn't enough.

But now I'm working, and I'm working hard. Twelve hour shifts are no joke, especially working two back-to-back. At the end of the second day, all you can think about is going home, spending some time with your hubby and your cats, and then going to bed.

I'm working part time, going to school part time, and I'm finally happy again. The cloud of depression started lifting almost right away. I feel light inside. It's been a long time since I could say that. I'm getting a solid grasp on what my future will look like. I'm finally making forward progress, instead of digging deeper into my rut.

Happiness, man. It's been a long time coming, and it sure feels good.

I'm not around online as much anymore. Twitter is basically one huge advertisement these days, which annoys me. I don't have time to read blogs. Facebook is and always has been for my real-life friends. And even if I wanted to tweet about my day, that cheeky little thing called HIPAA keeps all the good stories inside me anyway.

I'm almost done revising my novel, making it shiny-shiny to send to my critique partners, and then finally start thinking about querying. I start my last year of school in mid-August, and then it's going to be a race to the finish. I'll cram for boards, and then I'll be an RN. After that, who knows?

Who knows.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The First Time

Today's my first shift for the nurse extern program. I'm writing this post the night before, contemplating what tomorrow means.

Up until this point, nursing school has seemed like just another thing. I mean, I did four years of an undergrad degree that turned out nothing. In a way, I have the same mindset about nursing school. Yes, I'm studying hard. Yes, it's one of the most difficult things I've done. Yes, it encompasses pretty much every waking moment of my life (and even some sleeping moments).

But it's not felt real. Even when I've gone to clinical, had patients, made care plans and diagnoses, it felt like I was playing pretend. "Ooh, look at my shiny stethoscope toy! Sure, it cost almost a hundred bucks, but it's a toy!"

Sure, I know more about prescription drugs than I ever thought I would. I know about every system in the body, what signs and symptoms might mean, and I'm even starting to get names for the various bacteria that grow in my fridge and bathtub (the red stuff around the faucet? Serratia marcescens. It won't hurt you. But I wouldn't lick it or anything.)

I know all of that, but I still hadn't quite made the connection of "nurse knowledge" with "self."

It's weird, you know? I'd lived my whole life self-identifying as someone who did stuff in the Humanities. Writing, reading, talking about literature, some sprinkling of theatre and music. Yeah, I always liked science. Yeah, I started college thinking I'd major in Biology and become a hotshot primatologist (true story).

But I didn't.

And yet, here I am, eight years later, eight years wiser, back in science. Halfway through my nursing degree. About to start an externship that was extremely competitive--yet I got in. How does that work? Don't these people know I'm just playing? Shouldn't they have given it to someone who really feels like a nurse on the inside? Someone who's wanted to be a nurse their whole life? I'm just playing.

Until I'm not.