March 29, 2012


Once again, my habit of walking into a dermatologist's office and walking out with something removed continues. This one was on my face: mole near the hairline. The really sad part is that I DO wear sunscreen on my face every single day, rain or shine. SPF 50 minimum; usually SPF 70. It's like, if this is going to happen to me every year, why bother?

Yes, I know why to bother.

I will say this...this doc was good: it was 15 minutes from "Hello" to my walking to the elevator sporting a bandage. No discomfort during the procedure. The xylocaine has worn off now, but the ache isn't too bad. The bandage can come off tomorrow, which is nice as it will save me having to explain to my patients what happened.

I feel a lot better...all that sleep yesterday helped. I feel ready to tackle a stretch of work starting tomorrow, but today, I need to tie up the last few assignments of this class. But I am ready to hit work. It's been a while.

March 28, 2012

I slept some more today and feel better. I think I may have staved off the cold before it got any worse...I'll know for certain tomorrow.

Anyhow, I went to apply for that med-psych job I mentioned...and found that I had already applied for the position several months ago. Same idea why the posting showed up in the job hunting websites, but it did.So I called the nurse recruiter back, who said that she'd re-forward my updated application and resume. We also talked a bit about what that manager there may be looking for...and after hearing that, I'm not too optimistic about my chances. Still, nothing to lose, right?
The nurse recruiter I spoke to (yes, they really do call you back if you are in their system!) said I should apply for the position. I decided to leap for it.

Sick day

I felt the tickle in the throat coming on since Monday. Today, I decided to forgo working out, stay in bed and nurse myself. So after getting the little one off to school, I went back to sleep until noon. I now sit here, sipping Theraflu and debating about when to take that hot bath. This is really the only day I can spend in bed imitating a vegetable, as tomorrow I have appointments, and on Friday I start the first shift of a six-shift stretch in eating disorders.

I had a great time with my sister's family. I especially loved having my nephew around. Little one was happy to have him around too, but had small bouts of jealousy...which is understandable since it's always just been him around. When my new nephew-to-be arrives, I guess my current nephew will be having bouts of jealously too, and they can commiserate together.

They did find a house and make an offer...but whatever happens with it, they still have to be out here in July.

A psych/medical per diem spot opened up in the hospital chain. I'm taking the day to decide whether to apply.

March 26, 2012

On registering for classes and mental illness

Yesterday, I tried to register for the next two classes in the RN-BSN program...and was unable to. So I wrote my advisor for help. Of course, my advisor being my advisor...she doesn't write back.

Today, I tried to register for the next two classes and find I could only register for the nursing one; I can't register for any of the history classes until the next semester registration session opens up. But I could register for two nursing classes at the same time...except I'm not sure if I want to take two nursing classes at the same time. Then again, being that I'm a per-diem, this would be the best time to be doubling up on classes.


So I registered for one nursing class, and depending on how the finances go--and how many hours I can pick up next month--I'll register for the second and give it a go.

My sister and I were driving around town. With the weather being nicer (read: the rain stopped), the homeless are out in full force. We see one young girl--I've seen her out a few times before--standing on the traffic island with her "please help" sign.

"Sometimes it just gets to me, seeing the really young people out begging," she said. "It's like, why can't you get a fucking job?"

"I used to think that too," I reply. "And then I started working in psych."

She was silent for a few seconds, and then said, "You're right, I didn't even think about that."

"I mean, there's definitely the lazy, those who just want to sponge off society and not look for work," I conceded. "And there's the addicts that just want the money to get high, which was about every other homeless person in New York," (we knew this because they'd flat out tell you why they were panhandling). "Then there are those who aren't working because the squirrels tell them not to," I say in all seriousness. And she must really be thinking about it because she didn't laugh at the squirrel remark.

I suspect that she--like a lot of people--think of mental illness in terms of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" or "A Clockwork Orange." So I told her about my patient populations and the outpatient programs (she was curious as to why some were offered at night..."because some patients do work," I told her). I told her what it was really like to work inpatient ("I feel the ER is far more dangerous, even though some of my patients do try to kill me"). And I tell her that sometimes mental illness is detected early in life but a lot of time it's discovered later: it's not always clear in childhood.

That led to talking about child psych and how difficult that is to work in, because in addition to having psych illnesses, these patients are also having growing pains...and that these patients REALLY like to act out. She was fascinated a bit unnerved...she has a two year old and will have another son in two months, and I know she was thinking, "what if my son..."

So I left her a little more enlightened than I found her.

And I sometimes wonder "what if my son..." too.

March 24, 2012

Apparently I am tan

Or I at least have some color. I have always been on the pale side--I get this from my father. I also wear SPF on my face and neck every day (for anti-aging and anti-skin cancer reasons). I should be more religious about the rest of my body and I am when I'm on the beach, but daily use on the arms and hands don't always happen.

So when I was out east, everyone said I looked so tan. I chalked this up to my makeup being too dark--it's been a while since I checked the foundation shade--and resolved to go to Sephora.

My sister and her family arrived. My sister looks at me and tells me, "you've got color."

"I wear sunblock daily," says I. "I don't know how this happened."

"Imagine if you didn't wear it," says she. "I mean, you used to look like this." She held up a white paper towel.

Which is true: I tended to glow at the beach. I stand out in family photos, especially with the preponderance of blue-eyed darker-skinned blondes in the family, and I'm there, brown and brown (albeit a bottled darker brown) but pale. Funny thing, genetics...pale blue-eyed blonde father marries brown-eyed brunette olive-skinned mother. I end up dark haired and pale; she's the olive blue-eyed blonde.


My first nursing class will be wrapping up this week, so I figure in April, I'll start up the per-diem search again. I was called off for a few shifts due to low census and/or changing staff plans, and while it's not the end of the world, I think I really would like some more hours than I am getting now...either in inpatient or outpatient.

I haven't heard anything back from that per-diem pool application...then again, it did state that they were collecting applications and that they would only call if they had a match between job and applicant. I also figure that as much as I like working at my facility and would really prefer to work there for all my jobs, it may really be time for me to look outside the box. I think I may not limit myself to just inpatient, but see what else is out there and diversify a bit.

I thought about pursing part-time, even. But I really do like the per-diem flexibility.

March 22, 2012

Physical woes

No jet lag because I collapsed as soon as I got home and slept through to the next morning. I'm back at the Y because I gained weight over this trip...I've been pushing myself hard. I'm also learning how to place my feet on the elliptical so the Reynaud's doesn't kick in as fast. I can now do about 50 minutes before it starts.

A very light work week awaits me: only a four hour shift. Which is nice since I only have a few days to relax before we're hit with company again. My sister is moving out to the area--her husband was transferred to his company's main office which is in the area--and they're coming out on Friday to house-hunt for a few days. They're bringing my nephew with them, so I'll get plenty of Aunt Meriwhen time with the little troublemaker.

It'll be good to have my sister and her family out here. It's still a sensitive topic with our mother though, who feels as though we are taking all of her grandsons away from her.

The latest physical woe in the tale of Meriwhen is next. You may stop reading here if you wish, especially if you get squeamish at the discussion of female anatomy. Otherwise, you were warned.



The advantage of being a nurse and a patient is that my medical providers and their staff will talk to me on a different level, almost peer-to-peer. This is nice because I don't feel like I'm being talked down to, or information is being withheld or made more palatable when I'd prefer it be brutally honest. Of course, since they're speaking non-psych and I'm speaking psych, we do have to translate a few things for each other. I had to explain to this doctor what my new antidepressant is, its pharmacological class and how it works. In return, I got a primer on menstrual cycle irregularity.

I had my annual tune-up exam. Of course, it's the world's most ill-fitting gown, and they never warm the equipment up before they use it on me, but the doctor and his nurse couldn't be nicer. Yes, I go to male gynecologists. It never bothers me, even before I was a nurse, and I can get an appointment a hell of a lot faster than if I were to request a female one.

So I got a detailed blow-by-blow of what's going on during and after the exam. The lovely uterine fibroid that has been the bane of my existence for many years may be back. My uterus is apparently measuring 8-10 weeks pregnant...except that I'm not pregnant. Based on the timing of my trip east, the word "immaculate" would have to be involved if I was pregnant. I've had no pain or complications from it so I wouldn't have even thought it was back.

Otherwise, everything is normal so far. I was hypertensive but in my defense, I did have a decadent bowl of ramen for lunch before the appointment. Plus I had to find parking on a military installation.

The doctor thinks its normal; however, he wants to get an ultrasound to confirm. Fair enough. But military healthcare being military healthcare, they want to keep it in the military. So I have to wait nearly a month for an ultrasound at the local military facility. Whee.

I told my better half, he who is not good with medical issues of any sort even if they're benign. He's handling it OK. I figured I'd tell him lest they leave messages on the phone reminding me about my ultrasound appointment and he really gets scared. As for myself, I'm not worried...much. I'm always going to be a little worried given that cancer gallops in the family tree on my mother's side.

Off to continue cleaning the house.

March 19, 2012

Almost over

My trip ends tomorrow with a long flight back to the Pacific Time Zone. At least with the time difference, I'll still have a good portion of the day when I get there.

The half-marathon went well. Going to the Y for the last two months paid off as it was the easiest half--to date--that I walked. I bested my last time by more than 5 minutes, which was nice. And for a change, I was listed as the winner (i.e., finished ahead) instead of my friend. We post identical times but usually they list her first.

Got to see a lot of friends and former coworkers. Got a lot of exercise to make up because of this, as most of the get-togethers involved a meal. Today will be a full day: had breakfast with one coworker (before dawn!), will have lunch with another, and am trying to see if coffee is possible with a third.

Had one night to myself...I decided that my hosts really needed a date night--their kids were with the sitter when we were all at the half-marathon--so I made myself scarce and stayed on the oceanfront. The time away was pleasant until it was marred by two events.

Event 1: I called my mother and was passively-aggressively raked over the coals for not calling enough. I ignored the attempt, which was not the desired result my mother wanted to hear. Of course, after hanging up I sighed in frustration. As much as it'd be nice to have a close relationship with my mother like all my friends have with theirs, it is just not going to happen. And I've accepted it for the most part, but sometimes it stings.

Event 2: I learned that a friend lost their spouse. Found dead, details not public at this time, nor am I going to ask. They had been going through some trouble and what I initially thought was ranting about the spouse not coming home turned into worry about why no one could contact them, which eventually ended the wrong way.

It made me think about my own better-half and how much I do--and should--appreciate him. Death can happen at any time. It doesn't care who, when, where, why, what, and on what horse you road in on. Surprisingly, it didn't make me think about my relationship with my mother...I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.

I stopped by the old workplace one evening to say hi. People were happy to see me...I was surprised so many recognized me and wanted to catch-up. Short-staffed, as usual. Morale worse. Staff leaving left and right. My soon-to-no-longer-be-a new grad filled me in on the nitty gritty over breakfast. Overall, conditions haven't really improved. I decided that if I do return to work there, I'll only do it PRN, unless some magical change happens to the place in the next few years. I also promised my old evening tech that I'd go work wherever she is.

I also did some introspection about my life and career. I figured out--with help--that I really have two options: I can find happiness with the decisions I make, or I can make new decisions. I decided to try being happy with the decisions I've made, or at least give it a darn good try before I attempt new decisions, since happiness may not be immediate. Nor should I expect it to me.

I didn't do very well in class this week...again, I didn't expect to. But I didn't expect to fail an assignment. It was kind of questionable, IMO, and I think my answers have really good validity. But ultimately I didn't pick the right decision which means all my work on that part of the assignment went for nought (it was all or nothing on that part), hence the failure. I could resubmit it for a slightly higher grade. Even with the failure, I'm holding at a 95, but I'll resubmit anyway. I'm not as upset as I thought I'd be about it though, which is some progress--usually anything that wasn't an A would make me sick to my stomach.

Going to do laundry, pack and relax before I head out to my lunch date with my former night tech.

March 15, 2012

Eastern daylight time Meriwhen

Here on the East Coast. No jet lag except that I did sleep in until 9am. Usually sleeping in for me is 7am. Then again, I didn't go to bed until 2am.

The flight was good. I learned that 1mg of alprazolam will make the most violent turbulence seem enjoyable. Especially when I take alprazolam so rarely--as in only when I fly because I'm a hysterical flyer, and not the good hysterical. So I got to the airport early, got early-check in, got a seat in the first row, took the alprazolam, prayed, took out my knitting and hoped for the best. It worked. I have errors in my sock though, but I survived the flight without incident.

My friend is still dealing with her health issues. I want to help around the house much as I can and I don't want her to feel bad for feeling bad because I'm here. We have a pretty straightforward relationship so she told me what the deal is with her health and I told her what the deal is for the care and feeding of Meriwhen...i.e., I can entertain myself as needed, she doesn't have to rearrange her schedule for me or feel guilty about anything.

I'm cooking tonight. It'll be fun. Pasta with crushed tomatoes, bacon and kidney beans. Bacon makes everything better.

I'm also trying to balance seeing all of my friends and former coworkers here while not neglecting her, like the proverbial college student who comes home for the weekend but isn't home because they're spending all their time with everyone but their family. So I'm doing some creative scheduling. I may not get much sleep this week. Oh well.

March 13, 2012

I have a load of homework and packing to do today, so I really ought to get cleaned up (I came from a workout at the Y) and get going on it. I leave tomorrow morning. I plan to take the laptop with me so I can keep up with school, and I don't expect this week to be my highest-scoring week as far as coursework goes, but that will be OK. Besides, this week should be more about me having fun with my friends than stressing over homework.

March 11, 2012

Spring forward

Moving ahead one hour today. I don't really feel like I lost any sleep...surprisingly, I don't even feel "off." I usually handle falling back one hour worse than I do springing forward one hour. Just wait though: in a few days I'll be springing ahead 3 hours. I hope THAT change doesn't affect me too much.

I personally don't understand the benefit of changing the clock around. I'm not even sure that the supposed energy savings/benefits makes the inconvenience worth it.

My time in the dual program may be drawing to a close soon, as rumor has it that the nurse who I'm filling in for is getting ready to come back to work. I'm going to miss working there--it was a lot of fun and I loved the hours. And I know that I'll be working there again one day, just not as frequently as I was the last couple of months. Such is the life of per-diems. Not that I'm lacking for work: when I get back I've got stints in eating disorders and adult already lined up.

Plus in April I'll start resuming the inpatient per-diem search. I've been good about not actively looking though one day I did succumb to some curiosity while I was looking something else up for someone. The unit that I had interviewed for a while ago--the job that was erroneously posted as days when it was evenings--posted a new PRN job for day shift. I didn't pursue it, as I'm afraid it's another error....especially since the manager told me that her day per-diem needs were already taken care of. Oh well.

March 8, 2012

I have often said that if I wasn't wearing scrubs and had my hair pulled back, no one would recognize me. I was proven correct yesterday.

I had to attend an all-day training session. Since it was not nursing-specific, I wore business casual. My program director--who is literally around the corner from me and has talked to me countless times--was talking to me for twenty minutes before she realized who I was. And yes, I was wearing my ID.

It took her administrative assistant only 10 minutes. The intake guy still isn't sure and probably won't be until the next time he sees me.

I also learned that there is no shame in signing things as RN-BC or even wearing my ANCC pin, since i saw several nurses there showing theirs off on their ID badges. At this facility they encourage people to pursue certifications and be proud of them--in fact, they're starting a program to reimburse nurses for part of the registration cost as well as offering prep courses. Wish I had known about it earlier so they could have paid for I don't because I also heard ANCC is seriously revamping the PMH exam and they're not letting anyone test until the new exam rolls out in April. Better I passed it when I did, right?

March 4, 2012


I finally am caught up with my RN-BSN school work. I started shortly after the better half's parents left yesterday and finished a short while ago. Lesson learned: even if I have to be rude and antisocial by disappearing into my office to study for an hour or two--just like I did the first time around in nursing school--I will NOT let myself get behind again.

I am already prepping for the end of the month. I am going back east for a week, and then I have my sister and her family visiting when I return. So I'm planning to work on what schoolwork I can before I leave, and I'll take the laptop so I can stay on top of things. As far as my sister is concerned, she's pretty easy-going and, as a survivor of graduate school, knows how much work it can be and wouldn't be offended if I dipped out to do homework.

Now that the major source of this weekend's stress is done with, I'm sitting outside with my knitting. I'm watching the sun go down as I listen to Radio Cook Islands. Life is kind of nice. So are phones that can track down obscure radio stations from tiny countries in the South Pacific.


The better half's parents are gone. It was a nice visit but I was definitely at the saturation point by the time they left: another day and things may have started turning sour. I do love my in-laws, I really do, and they love me. Our relationship is a good one...I'm pretty blessed in that department. But after a while I can take only so much of them, let alone anyone actually.

I am "on call" four days this week, and scheduled for one and a few partials. Actually, the one is a mandatory training day. For the rest of the week, I'll know the night before (for Monday, the morning of) if I'm needed to go in.

The last time I was at work, it was pretty entertaining: I encountered a textbook case of antisocial personality disorder. Patient repeatedly tried to scam us and finally got called on it. They were dismissed from treatment. No remorse whatsoever, just a "yeah, you got me." I don't hold out a lot of hope for their recovery...or knowing what I do about them, their future.

Antisocial personality disorder is a real bitch to treat because the success rate is so low...and a lot of the coping skills and behavioral changes that you use in other personality disorders backfire on antisocials: either they don't work or the patients use what they've learned as their latest tools to continue their agenda. And antisocials will take a lot of repercussions before they finally hit their bottom. So you just set the boundaries, do what you can for the patient and hope for the best.

I spent the weekend thinking about my career. Again. Same old so feel free to skip.

The better half is pleased I withdrew my application from the evening inpatient job...he would have let me do it if I had really wanted to, but he told me that I seem much happier and less stressed at this job than I did at my last job, and he really doesn't want to see me get like that again if I don't have to. Plus the little on is happy I'm around more and stressed less. He is aware that I had to work so hard those first two years because I was a new grad and I was building the foundation of my career, and didn't really have the luxury of working less than I did.

I still feel somewhat insecure, and feel like I should be working full-time and then some in order to keep myself competitive for when we move again. I learned from the new grad job hunt not to expect anything or take things for granted, so I keep thinking to myself I need to push, push, push. Yes, I did talk with my therapist about my anxiety and insecurity. She gave me some homework to do on them, which after I catch back up with the BSN coursework I will tackle.

But at the same time...I realize that I will be here for three years. I have no intention of leaving my facility while I'm here since they're great to work for, and I'd rather stay with them for all my work. Plus, I've realized that it really is OK if I don't get inpatient right away: I have a good foundation of inpatient care under my belt. And I have to accept that because I work for a great facility, there's not a lot of turnover so it will take time for something to open up. So let me take my time and wait, and try not to stress about it. Meanwhile, I'll keep building my reputation at work, get the BSN knocked off and start working on some other projects I've been meaning to work my Spanish. Lord knows when I will again have such a wonderful opportunity to use the language, than I do living where I am living right now.

I sometimes feel like I'm going in circles. Oh well.

I did revamp the resume considerably though, but for the rest of this month, I vow to take a vacation from inpatient job hunting. Just as I took that week's holiday off from new grad job hunting so long ago because I was so burned out from it. The only way I'm going to learn to relax and enjoy the status quo is if I quit searching cold turkey. So unless the perfect opportunity presents itself to me (without my looking for it), I'm not searching.

The plantar fasciaitis (sp) is finally gone. It moved out yesterday. I'm giving my foot one more day of ice and rest before I hit the Y again. I'm not weighing myself this week since with the inlaws here as well as not being able to exercise, I'm sure some damage was done. I'll just get back on the horse.

March 1, 2012


The interview went well despite my nerves...except for the part where I found out that the great Internet has crossed me again. It turns out there was a typo in the original job posting: they weren't looking for day shift, but evening shift. Unfortunately they made the correction after I had applied for the job, so I had no idea.

If I am willing to put in two evenings a week (not counting weekends), I could have it. But at this point in my life, I can't. I'm going to call the manager today to decline. It's a shame: it's a great unit and I think I would have flourished there, but I have too much going on right now: school, the little one, outpatient...I also don't want to give up my outpatient work and it'd be impossible to coordinate the two schedules. If they wanted someone for the weekends, no problem. During the week...tough.

Oh well.

I admit that I feel a bit at peace having decided to say No. Let me finish the RN-BSN program before I contemplate working 15-23 again. I'll just keep looking--something will show up one day. Until then I'm going to keep getting all that I can out of the outpatient experience and learning to (try to) relax and enjoy the famines between the feasts.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...I have developed a case of plantar fasciiatis (sp). Problem is that I have my half-marathon in 17 days. So it's ibuprofen 800 q4-6, ice and enforced rest for a while, even after the better half's parents go.