Pensieve

I need to vent. Not the whining kind of vent, it’s not. It’s just that, everything is happening all at once, I need to clear my thoughts.

With the whole church wedding preparations, my US application which is finally taking place, my stressful work situation, down to my pending transfer to another hospital, all of this makes my thinking brain chaotic.

1. I finally managed to submit all of the updated documents to my agency for this US application. I’m just waiting to be shortlisted for the interview.

Things running on my mind: this is not the time to be thinking about having a baby. If I need to go, I need to go right away. I’ve waited almost 7 years for this.

2. Stressful work situation.

If I can’t change the situation, I need to find a way not to stress myself. This is my struggle: keeping myself from being stressed. Stress from work affects everything else. This is also not a good time for having a baby. Well, even if I don’t think about it, stress seems to prevent me from having it. So I guess it’s not a problem. I just need to work things out and learn to deal with stress in a good way.

3. Change of work environment.

Things are getting a little out of hand. My stressful work situation stems from understaffing, more overtime work with less pay, clash with a doctor, and too much politics when it comes to positions. This is where I decide whether to go or not. It took me a long time and finally, I have accepted the offer to another hospital. They were kind enough to wait for me until after my church wedding. It scares me to leave and start in a new environment but this is for my own good.

4. Church wedding

We’ve waited 2 years to get married in church. Now that we have the means, it’s finally taking place. It’s very taxing to choose a venue, a caterer, a photographer and videographer, wedding gown, flowers, name it, I’ve spent like, most of my idle time browsing on the internet. After a month or two, I have finally chosen the venue, the hotel and the official wedding photographer/videographer. Now my sister is pressuring me to make up my mind and send her the final photo of which wedding gown I choose to wear. I’m going crazy spending so much time on this thing alone that I finally decided to clean our room.

Yes. I will definitely feel much better after I clean our room. So, my sister needs to wait. Just hearing her talk on Skype about the things I need to do and the deadlines I need to meet makes me crazy that I just want to run away from it all.

Writing it all down and having a clean room clears my mind.

And oh, I cannot get pregnant, or even think about getting pregnant at all. It’ll have to wait until after the church wedding. Or wait until I settle down in the US. I don’t care about what other people say. I’ve had enough of this pregnancy issue. It’ll come at the right time. But for now, I need to live on the present and enjoy all the blessings that are coming me way.

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2013

I started the year 2013 working, three nights from 31st of December 2012 to 2nd of January 2013. Does this mean I will be working all year round? Well, I’ve been working every New Year’s eve for the past 6 years since I started working in a hospital.

2013 passed by unnoticed. It was a very busy night. I just saw the clock at 12:25 am and shouted, “HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!” with my arms waving in the air. I received a response from a couple of people inside the ER then afterwards it was like nothing happened. Back to work. At 3 am I was able to have my break and ate alone in our pantry. I was the only Filipino on duty that night.

In the morning after my shift, I went straight to church where I met up with my husband, and gave thanks for all the blessings we received. We went home and fell asleep almost instantly. I still have to work night shift.

Today is my first day off of this year. I know it doesn’t make any difference. I just feel happy, that’s all. I’m thankful for each day of rest after work. I’m happy and contented on the way things are going. I’m not asking for more. I’m just hoping that I’ll be strong enough to face all the challenges that would come my way. I’m trying my best not to complain too much. Instead, I want to see the best in everything.

I may not have celebrated new year with my loved ones, but I’m happy that I have spent the new year taking care of the sick. Looking at Nursing as a job that pays makes a Nurse grumpy and unhappy. But looking at Nursing as a noble profession changes everything.

Looking forward for more positive vibes this year and all the years to come.

Cheers! 🍸

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. 🙂

 

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.

 

The X-Crush

I have this crush on a guy in the radiology department. He has a very nice sense of humor and I’m a sucker for that. Whenever I have a patient for x-ray, he always jokes around.

Then one time, while I was busy running around from one patient room to another, I saw a glimpse of him, pushing a portable x-ray machine towards a patient’s room. I pretended not to see him. I lingered on purpose in one of my patient’s room so that he wouldn’t be there when I come out. I don’t have time for a chat and I don’t want to be disturbed.

Just when I came out of my patient’s room, I was surprised to see him. I almost bumped into the portable x-ray machine. Then he said, “There you are!”

Um, was he just looking for me?

“Oh, hi!” I said. “So you’re here!”

Then he said something I wasn’t able to hear because my mind was in the other patient I was about to see. So I hurried past him, waved goodbye then smiled as soon as he was out of my sight.

Did I just feel butterflies in my stomach?

Haha!

The In-Charge

When I started in my ward, I thought the in-charge must’ve  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 Nursing  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. 😉