I can't believe I let the blog go for so long. I can't believe that all of my ideas I have written down on a piece of paper are too involved for me to think about right now. My brain is sort of numb. I went back to work on the 24th of January and spent, I think, a week and a half in classroom orientation; it felt a lot like nursing school all over again. I will spare you the details but I seriously felt a lot like I was back in school; only this time I was a lot more anxious for some reason. I reviewed a lot of things I had forgotten about. I met some really great people that have been very helpful. One good thing though about all of this was that spirituality and believing in God and using yourself as a vehicle to spread his teachings were mentioned every single day. I also felt a lot of anxiety because we kept talking about all sorts of medical conditions I really didn't know a whole lot about and all of it makes me nervous. I am a psychiatric nurse, I went to school for nursing knowing I would only work in psychiatry, it is the only place I feel safe. (yeah, i know, most of you would not feel safe being locked up in a psychiatric unit but for me it's HOME). I also realized throughout my classroom orientation that it was the first time I had been in a hospital since Jon had ruptured his spleen and had the long recovery this past summer. I felt all of it coming back on me. I think I cried almost every day after work. I cried when one of the chaplains came and talked for 2 hours about death and the reactions that people have and their understanding of it. He shared numerous stories about people that aren't even sick getting involved in something during the course of their day and then die suddenly and tragically. My eyes were watered the entire 2 hours, my hands were also busy moving from anxiety the entire time. I have been shown where the morgue is 3 times in the new hospital I am working in. I saw the "dead body carts" twice the other day. I saw a patient from my unit get transferred to hospice and I watched her family being told she had 6 months or less to live. I was walking down the hall and saw a doctor talking with a wife and I saw her fall into the wall and almost collapse from the bad news she was given. I had to watch a very long video on organ donation and it was about a young student who had been the mascot at a university and was hit by a driver as he was walking along a road and his parents talked about how they had to decide whether or not donate his organs and then they interviewed the people who received the organs....not a dry eye in the room! I even cried during the bed demonstration where they were showing us how to use these fancy high-tech beds we have. When they put the bed into this chair/sitting position I suddenly remembered and saw Jon sitting up in one of those bed in ICU.
Tuesday and Wednesday were my first two days working on my unit. There were a few patients who made me smile and some who made me laugh. There was one who made me cry; a lady who had tried to commit suicide a couple of days before and when she finally opened up and talked to me about all of the things going on in her life at current I broke down and cried too. I am working on a small psychiatric unit at a faith-based hospital; mostly geriatrics but some middle aged adults. On my first day the husband of one of the patients was asking me a question that I didn't know the answer too and no one was around I could ask so I confessed that it was my first day and I would have to seek out someone who knew what we should do. He asked me if I was Catholic and after I said yes he asked me if he could give me one of the small rosaries he keeps in his pocket and passes out to people. I was so impressed and suddenly calm. Several of the patients have given me hugs and they need hugs too :) Some of the more "with it" patients helped me out and would tell me where the ones who couldn't speak for themselves like to sit and where things were located, very helpful. One of the older patients with dementia and I were talking and I hadn't seen something and I jokingly said to him, "do you think I need to get my eyes checked?" He exclaimed, "no, you need to have your brain checked." I could not stop laughing!!
Despite all of the anxiety and tears and frustration with trying to know who everyone is and what role they have and where everything is I would say it's going better than it was when I first started. It's frustrating going from the person with all the answers to not having a clue. A couple of my co workers have been very supportive and one was baffled and said, "i just don't get it, it's like you've always been here or something, you've just settled right in and look like you're at home." I don't necessarily FEEL at home yet but they say, "fake it til' you make it"! So that's what I'm trying to do. I only had one drug addict patient this week, that was awesome and so different from the experiences I have had in the past, very excited about that. And, and, and.....not one patient called me a nasty name!! So I would say things are on the up and up. It's just going to take some getting used to. I hope to return to my previously scheduled bloggings soon but for now I'm just trying to hang in there; being away from home for 14 hours every day that I work is tiresome!