Tuesday, March 13, 2007

At Peace with it All

Hey everyone!  Amazingly I'm doing ok over here.  I went to work Saturday night and they had me as a unit secretary for a few hours & patient care tech if I wanted.  It was nice to come back to simple work like that.  It was also nice back to be in some kind of routine.  I wasn't distracted from my thoughts....I was able to share with some of my co-workers what happened & they were very supportive.  I didn't cry at all or even feel like it.  In fact, I went home Sunday morning feeling at peace with all that has happened this past week.  I didn't cry at all...I just wanted to lay in my bed & get some sleep.

Sunday night I was at work again & I had patients this time.  Luckily they were all pretty simple to care for & I was able to have actual conversations with all of them as opposed to being short on time & not getting to know them very well. 

My first patient was a woman in her 80's that came in with a suspected GI bleed.  Her H&H on admit were something like 3.8 & 10.  That is extremelyyyyyyyyyyyyyy critical & she was in ICU receiving blood.  By the time she got to PCU, she was much better although now tests revealed she had a blood clot in her right thigh from a femoral line.  The doctors had the day nurse pull the line, which we both thought was odd.  She was afraid it was going to send the clot right up to the heart or lungs.  And on top of that...we had orders from the cardiologist to ambulate the patient...with the blood clot.  That made no sense to me, so I didn't ambulate her.  She was on a Heparin drip, but still...this was a new found clot. 

My second patient was a gentleman in his 50's in with chest pain.  He had a high alcohol level & tested positive for amphetamines & marijuana on admission.  24 hours later the alcohol was still high, but lower than earlier.  He was a very nervous man.  Wanted to know exactly what had caused that chest pain.  My guess would be anxiety.  His family seemed very high-strung also.  I was beginning to feel anxious just talking to them.  The doctors advised him to quit drinking, smoking & taking illegal drugs.  What are the chances that he'll actually listen?

My third patient was in with possible GI bleed and a very high INR result.  Normal is 2 to 3, hers was 6.4 when admitted.  She also had 2 prior falls within the last few weeks, but it didn't seem like the doctors were focused on that. 

My last patient was in with pulmonary embolisms...blood clots in her lungs.  She had hip replacement surgery 2 weeks earlier & it seems like when someone is in a hospital bed for more than a day or two straight...the clots start forming.  She was a sweetheart.  We talked for quite awhile about life.  She was so appreciative of me that she gave me a kiss.  I like patients like that.  I was reading the progress notes from what the pulmonologist had written...the patient said "I kicked ASS ambulating up & down the hall."  It was cute.  She is afraid that if they think she can't take care of herself, she'll end up in a nursing home & she doesn't want that.  She wants to be independent & remain in the skilled nursing facility she's in.  Hopefully she will be able to return there soon. 

I came home, got some sleep & have just been taking it easy since then.  I didn't cry at all in the last 2 days...except for a little while ago.  The vet's office sent me a condolence card & inside was the story about The Rainbow Bridge.  I found a pet loss grief message board on Friday & posted there with all I was feeling on Friday...a lot of sadness.  It was nice to be among people that knew exactly how I was feeling.  I thought it would be helpful, but in the last couple of days, when I go back there...I find it sad & depressing.  There are people with whom their pets have died long ago & they still cry every day.  I don't think that's healthy for the mind or the body.  I also read posts in which they replaced the pet right away & were disappointed with the new pet.  Every time I go back to read any messages, it makes me sad to see how much grief & sadness there is.  I don't want to be like that. 

I want to remember the good stuff.  I want to cherish what he meant to me & I know he would not be happy seeing me cry day after day.  He never wanted to disappoint me.  I feel like the lucky one...I was the person who got to take care of him for so long.  And I was allowed far more years than usual with a dog of his size.  So as much as I wish I had more time with him, I feel greedy.....in people years he was practically 95 yrs old.  That's a long time for a dog.  I'm at peace, I feel no guilt about putting him to sleep.  He gave me the look that I knew in my heart it was time...he was letting me know it was time & I wasn't going to let him continue to suffer.  He's in a better place & I'll see him again one day.

It's funny - when I first started planning this long trip I'll be taking in May, I had worried that it meant Jagger & I didn't have much more time together.  As it turns out, this trip is going to be helpful in getting over the loss of my sweet dog.  Before his health went bad, I had been looking for books about soul-searching to take on my trip.  Now it seems like it's all falling into place (as life usually does) & this trip won't just be for enjoyment, but also for reflection & for having time to figure out where I go from here.

Travel nursing is looking more & more promising.  It's a huge step out of my comfort zone, but I figure life as I know it right now....my comfort zone has been damaged.  So I'm going to have to do some adjusting regardless of whether I do venture out & try something new or if I stay at the same hospital I'm at.  Right now I'm all for trying something new.  The hard part will be deciding where to go.  I have plenty of time to think it over & gather some information.  There is a job fair at the end of April where I can make some contacts with job recruiters. 

2007 is definitely going to be a year of change for me & as challenging as it may be, I know I'm going to be ok. 



molly146012 said...

Hey there!   glad you're doing better....I still got tears in my eye when I read about Jagger...:(     guess us dog lovers are just that way!     I'm sure it will take some time....
Sounds like you had a busy week a work.
Travel nursing sounds like fun...exciting....
Bet you can't wait for your vacation.
Take care....Have a nice week. :)

tendernoggle said...

I am so glad that you are feeling better...You did what was right Jen...I hope 2007 has noting left but blessings for you.
love ya,