Embracing Change

Okay, so I got booted out of Pediatric & Female Unit, where I started for over a year and where I made friends. My Nurse-in-Charge didn’t have much of a choice. If she will have me, she will have to give up one staff and so I decided to go instead.

I was thinking of requesting to transfer to a special area because that’s what I’ve always wanted ever since I started working as a Nurse. Wards suddenly bore me. It’s all routine. So my mind started choosing between NICU (because it’s near the Pediatric Unit), ICU or ER.

NICU – I don’t like changing baby’s nappies. I don’t like giving them milk every time they cry. Not that I don’t like babies. It’s just that, it’s not the kind of thing I wanted to do for work. I most specially don’t like to go to Maternity Unit just to catch babies from mothers giving birth. Although I’d love to become an expert in infant IV cannulation. Other than that, I don’t like NICU because I can’t bear to see critically ill babies.

ICU – WAS my first choice. I see ICU Nurses as smart and intelligent. But then I started thinking, I will care for the critically ill adult patients, those who look like a Christmas tree from all the contraptions attached to their bodies, and then everything will be just the same, a routine.

ER – I’m scared of ER Nurses. They all look like they’re always in a hurry or something. They look like they’re always on the go and if I just stand there thinking what to do next, I will just be getting in their way. You should be able to think and act fast or else a patient will die.

I chose ER.

Right. On my first day, the team leader oriented me on everything I need to know. I felt dizzy from too much information. I was always reprimanded to act fast and think fast. Whenever an ER Nurse comes rushing by, I just step out of the way. One time, the team leader told me to observe how they do the back-slabbing for a patient with multiple fracture, and the Ortho Doctor, who clearly didn’t know that it was my first day, told me, “Why are you just staring there? You are here and I don’t need anyone who just stares and does nothing. Open the crepe bandage!” So I quickly grabbed a crepe bandage and gave it to the Doctor.

I feel like I’m back to zero. I’m not that confident enough to compete with these expert ER Nurses. I need to study again.

But you know what, I love the adrenaline rush. Even if the Doctors or the patients are shouting at me, I feel that after some time, I will be able to bear it all and I will become as confident as the ER Nurses. The Nurses at the ER where I am now are all very nice to me and supportive of me, giving me tips on how to act fast and how to get used to different situations.

New friends, new colleagues, new environment. It’s a refreshing feeling.

I think I made some progress by stepping out of my comfort zone. ๐Ÿ™‚



I Left My Ears in my Pocket

I had another attack of deafness while endorsing a patient from ward to ICU and answering the Doctor’s questions. In between ambubagging while shifting the patient, my mind tried to focus on what the Doctor was asking.

ICU Doctor: Does he have any “EXCRETIONS?’

Me: Excretions doctor? Secretions? Yes doctor, too much secretions in the mouth.

The other nurses and healthcare team laughed.

Nurse 1: He said XRAY!

Me: Oh! Xray! Yes doctor, of course. It’s in the file.

ICU Doctor: Did he take any “ANTIEPILEPTIC” medication?

Me: EPIleptic? EPInephrine doctor! (Then I realized my mistake) No! Epinephrine is not for epilepsy doctor. We used it as stat epinephrine nebulizer doctor.

(I still haven’t answered the doctor’s question, have I?)

Then my colleague who went with me to ICU said, “No, Doctor! We didn’t give any ANAPHYLACTIC medication.”

Me: (whispered to colleague) Oh…ANAPHYLACTIC, is it? I really can’t understand his accent!

Oh, well.

Say What?

I have a terrible hearing. Well I’m not deaf. But most of the time, I hear wrong. And sometimes my ears just hear what it wants to hear. Hence, selective listening. But see, my hearing is so terrible, it puts me into trouble.

Indian Patient: My son is in the ER. How can I go home?

Me: Oh, really? Well, I’ll have to ask your Doctor about that.

So I went back to the Nurses’ Station and dialed the number of the admission office to ask for the approval of my patient’s insurance before calling the Doctor. I mentioned to my colleague about it and she said the Doctor will come by later.

So I went back to my patient and told her about her insurance approval and the time the Doctor will come see her.

Patient: How about my son in the ER?

Me: Well, isn’t there anyone else to see your son?

Patient: (Looking confused)

Me: I understand you have to see your son but you’re still admitted so there’s no reason for you to be discharged right away.

Patient: Yes I know. But how can I go home without my SANDALS? I left it at the ER before I was transferred here. Did you call the ER and asked about my SANDALS?

I just stood there realizing the miscommunication that transpired. I just smiled.

Me: I’ll be back.

When I went back to the Nurses’ Station I told my colleagues about the miscommunication.

I thought she said: “My son is in the ER. How can I go home?”

But what she really said was this: “My sandal’s in the ER. How can I go home?”

Everybody laughed.

Well, at least the patient didn’t realize I heard her wrong. Unlike my other colleague wherein a patient asked for 2 CHAI (tea) and she brought the patient 2 CHAIRS.


Inside My Head: Random Thoughts of a Restless Girl

Twelve-hour/day work is really exhausting, especially if it’s straight day or straight night. So I really maximize my time on my days off.

Yesterday, I finally worked on my IELTS application, submitted it together with the requirements at the UK embassy, and scheduled an exam. Then I went to the mall to reward myself.

When I went home, I organized my review materials, did some chores, and wrote down the list of things that I’m planning to do.

Before sunset, I decided to run some laps. My endurance and stamina aren’t that strong anymore as I don’t run everyday like before. Since I lost 5 kg at the start of the year, I decided to mellow down and run only during my days off. I don’t need to lose more weight. I just needed to be fit. After 2 laps, I was thinking if I should go home or continue to run 1 more lap. I’ve decided to run another lap. That’s when I saw my roommate M getting ready to run as well. I was so delighted to see her getting in shape. So we ran together towards the beach (well, she easily gets tired so we basically just walked and talked). After an hour, we decided to go home. But before that we ordered some juice at this fancy restaurant right in the middle of the park.

When we reached home, C and S were drinking Red Horse beer while munching on Calamares. I asked what’s the occasion. S just laughed and told me she just wanted her menstruation to come out and asked C to join her. Well, almost every (Filipino) girl I know have this belief that ifย  you want to have a heavier menstruation, you should drink beer. I don’t know where they got that crazy idea but frankly, I don’t care. They can believe whatever it is they wanted to believe. So I said, “Really? Well, I’ll put that to test. I know I’m going to have my period anytime this week. I want to see if it will come tomorrow (Haha!).” M and I shared one tall can and S turned on her videoke and we started singing. S will be leaving us this month so we make it a point to bond every chance we get.

The next morning (as expected), I still haven’t got my period (as I’m regularly irregular). I asked S if her period got heavier this time and she said yes. Well, I guess it’s a case to case basis (yeah, right!).

After tidying up our room, I went to the grocery store to buy some ingredients (as I’m going to cook my 3 day meal). I’m learning to cook (and becoming independent). ๐Ÿ˜‰ I know, there are certain things that I needed to learn in order to survive. Back home (Philippines), I don’t need to do anything. After work, I have food, my clothes have been washed and ironed, and all I have to do is rest. But now, all I can depend on is myself. I’m actually enjoying every moment (though at times I really miss being home). When I think about it, I feel so proud of myself.

I’m starting to save up. I send money to the Philippines straight to my savings account (aside from my savings account here in AD). I really don’t like buying all the latest gadgets and other stuff (although sometimes I have the urge to buy). My reason is, I have to find a way to get rid of the old (but still functioning) stuffs that I have before I decide to replace it with a new one. Otherwise, I’m just collecting junks I have no use of. But don’t get me wrong. I’m also a spendthrift. Sometimes I surprise myself from buying something so expensive that I wasn’t able to think about it. An impulsive buyer. After that Tsunami that hit Japan, I realized I don’t need a lot of things (I can get by with nothing.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have nothing more to say. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Slimy Noodles

After walking at Corniche beach with Ryan yesterday, he treated me to dinner at Subway. Then we met up with Noel (who also went jogging) and treated us to this Indian Restaurant to try out this veggie noodles. I guess I’m not the only one turning into a health buff. ๐Ÿ™‚

Noel said there’s this noodles that resembles and tastes like “Lomi,” a kind of noodles in the Philippines which is famous in Batangas. It’s a thick, flat noodles in a clear, kind of sticky, slimy white soup. He forgot the name of that noodles on the menu so he asked the Indian waiter which noodles it is as he described it.

Noel: Brother, which noodles here has thick noodles with white sauce? I can’t remember if it’s the Hakka or the Szechuan noodles.

Indian waiter: Hakka is blah, blah, blah, a little bit spicy, blah, blah. Szechuan noodles is red, a little bit spicy, blah, blah, blah.

Noel: No, that’s not it. (Thinking long and hard.) You know, in the Philippines it’s called Lomi.

Me: E di lalong di nya naintindihan...(The more he wouldn’t understand…)

Ryan: Brother, you know, it’s slimy.

Indian waiter: (Blank stare.)

Noel: Masyadong malalim ang English mo, simplehan mo lang. (You’re English is too deep, make it simple.)

I was trying to think of a much simpler term than slimy. Sticky? Gooey? Viscous? The more that the waiter wouldn’t understand me.

Me: Don’t you have pictures of the dishes in your menu so we can show you which one it is?

Indian waiter: No, we don’t have. No problem, order what you want and if you don’t like, you can return. No problem.

Noel: Okay, we’ll just try. We’ll have the Szechuan and instead of Hakka, make it Singaporean noodles.

He then turned to us and said, “Baka yung Singaporean noodles yun.” (It must be the Singaporean noodles.)

Alas, when our order came, nothing resembled our famous Lomi. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the noodles even if it’s not “slimy.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

The In-Charge

When I started in my ward, I thought the in-charge must’veย  hated me. It’s like I never did anything right. Everything that I do is wrong for her. I always hear something from her. It’s either I failed to do this or that, or I forgot to do this, where’s my head, what kind of memory do I have, etc. But when I do things right, she never say anything. So I do everything just to keep out of her sight. When she’s around, I pretended to be busy. I can only breathe normally when she leaves or when I’m on night duty. I hate her so much. But I never let her get into me. The more she criticizes me, the more I’m showing her that I’m better than she thought.

One time, I was so pissed off I told my Mom I want to resign. I told her how my in-charge treats me. My Mom said not to let things get into me. Maybe the reason why she’s doing that is because she knows that I’m really good. Yeah, right. Good for nothing is more like it.

So I stayed and endured her criticisms. I became stoic. I got used to her constant nagging. But I was always saying out loud that I want to resign. One time, I gave her a form for her to fill out. It’s a form that came from one licensing body in UAE allowing me to practice Nursing in the other Emirates. After 4 months, since I gave her the form, I (accidentally) found (the form) lying in her office when she asked me to find her lost keys. I felt so mad and betrayed that I confronted her. I showed her the form.

Me: “Ma’am, I thought you signed this and sent it to the Ministry of Health? Why is it still here?”

In-Charge:Oh, ah…about that one, yes. I’ve actually thought about it and I’ve decided not to show it to the Director of Nursing because if she sees that, she’ll know you’ll resign.”

Me: “Don’t I even have the right to decide?”

In-Charge: “Yes, I know but um, you see, we want you here.”

Me: “I want to go.”

She wasn’t able to say anything after that. I was really furious. I feel like a prisoner. I feel stucked and I can’t even do something about it.

After that incident, she mellowed down on me. I now hold her in the neck. She did the most terrible thing to me. I can take her constant criticism, but I can’t take her betrayal.

One friend of mine, a Lab Tech, knew what happened. She told me, “You know what, when someone criticizes you so much, it means that you’re so good that they constantly challenge how good you are. Don’t worry, I get criticized too by my in-charge frequently. But see, she’s more confident in me than in my other colleagues. The next time she criticizes you, just think, she criticizes you because you’re good.”

The number of nursing staff in our ward is enough and my in-charge is not asking our Director of Nursingย  for additional nurses. I’m about to be transferred to the other ward. But she told me, “I’m keeping you. I requested this staff to be promoted as Senior Nurse so you can be absorbed here.”

I don’t know if she’s just saying that because she did me wrong or she really thinks I’m good.

Frankly, I don’t want to be transferred because my friends are in that ward. But I’m thinking, it’s better that I be transferred than to stay with an in-charge that I don’t trust.

But then I thought about what my Mom and my Lab Tech friend told me. Could it really be that I’m good?

There are times that I can see right through her armor. Beneath that facade is a delicate human being that thrives (too much) for respect and authority that she creates an invisible protective shield that hides a certain degree of weakness and propels anyone who dare challenge her. But underneath that hard shell is a soft spot, a kind person, someone who believes in what a person is truly capable of.

She’s much nicer to me now than before. I learned a lot from her. She made me stronger, tougher. In this foreign country, one must learn how to survive. She just trained me on how to fight for myself, not to quit when I find myself in a difficult situation. And I know that she believes in my capabilities. I may not hear it from her, but I can see through her actions.

She may have been my TORMENTOR. But she’s a great MENTOR. ๐Ÿ˜‰


The Material Girls

In the hospital where I’m working, I’m friends with everybody: nurses, cleaners, pantry ladies, laundry boys, maintenance staff, lab techs, rad techs, etc. I learn a lot from them. They have a lot of stories to tell. (No, I’m not a gossip mongrel! Seriously!) It’s just nice to be friendly with everyone.

One time, I joined the cleaners while they were having lunch. I noticed the other cleaner’s cellphone and immediately fell in love with the Hello Kitty backside of the phone. I asked her where she bought it. The other cleaner said, “Her boyfriend gave it to her.” I began to think because I’m pretty sure she mentioned to me that she’s already married and that her husband is in the Philippines. I said, “Really?” But I wasn’t buying it. I thought maybe they were just pulling my leg.ย  Then the other cleaner said, “How can she afford to buy that kind of phone? Even if she use her salary, it’s not even enough.” The cleaner with the Hello Kitty cellphone said, “This is not even enough. I deserve more.” Then the other cleaner asked me, “Do you want a boyfriend? If you want a boyfriend, choose Seamen, or the Chemical Engineers who work offshore. They’re the ones with the money. My boyfriend is a Chemical Engineer who works offshore. He gives me 5,000 dirham allowance monthly not including my groceries and shopping allowance.” Then I started to think, “So maybe that’s why they have all the latest gadgets and wears expensive pieces of jewelry…” I am so dumb. And clueless. I thought they were the ones buying it like I’m doing for myself. (Well, I don’t buy the latest gadgets and expensive jewelry). Then they continued talking about their boyfriends and I just sat there listening.

I told my Ate in the ward about what the cleaners told me. Then she told me a lot of married women (Filipina and some other Asian) who works abroad have rich boyfriends who can give them what they want. The men choose married women because they wouldn’t have any responsibility after the relationship. It’s harder to keep a relationship with single, unattached women because they are harder to leave and it’s a burden for the men if they get them pregnant because most of the men who engage in such relationships are already married. So I said, “Married women having a relationship with married men…” absorbing the thought. Then I asked, “So when do they get money, before or after the sex?” My Ate stared at me in bewilderment, “Of course after sex! What kind ofย  man will give money to a woman without using her first?” Then I asked, “Why can’t they just ask for the money first then run away from them after?” My Ate said, “Do you think men will allow that? Besides, those married women will want to have something to happen (okay, enough of the S word) because they’ve been away from their husbands for too long. It’s not only the cleaners who do that you know? I know a lot of professionals who are in that kind of situation.” Then I said, “So they’re like prostitutes…?”

I couldn’t look at the cleaners they way I look at them before, after that talk. Well, I’m not judging them. I still consider them as my friends. It’s their life. It’s their choice. It’s just that, I feel a bit off about the idea of getting the comfort and luxury that you want in that kind of way. I guess when you’re working abroad, you’d do anything just to have something to send to your loved ones or buy everything that your heart desires, but to what extent?

I passed by the cleaners’ room and heard one cleaner say, “I wish my Auntie let me study Midwifery or Nursing. That way maybe I will earn more.” The other one said, “I studied 3 courses in College but I wasn’t able to finish anything. But I will do anything just to bring back that time so that I may have concentrated more in my studies.”

I suddenly respected them for that.

Working abroad has opened my eyes to the reality of what’s really going on behind those material things.ย  I only see what they want me to see. I only believed what they want me to believe. But now, it brought me to a whole new level and let me see (their) life in a different perspective.

I guess I’ve been staying way too long in my own protective shell, or that I’ve been raised in a protective environment, or I’m too naive to know the difference.

I don’t want any material things that comes easily. I don’t even need a boyfriend if material thing is the only thing I want. I’m not a material girl. I’m the girl with the material. ๐Ÿ˜‰