Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another Journey, Another Challenge, and Another Opportunity to See What I am Made Of!!

Since I last wrote a blog, my journey I had planned (obviously my plan is NOT God’s plan, you would think I would have learned that by now) out meticulously has been once again derailed!! I graduated in August from the NP program all of you have read about during my last 3 ½ years in Nashville. No small feat in itself since I began this adventure with a MS in Fashion Design/Merchandising and not the least bit of science background the majority of my classmates had. A challenge to say the least, but one that I loved! In the last 3 years I went from having no experience (except a wide variety of LIFE EXPERIENCE, and 50+ deliveries as a doula) in the medical field. The journey began in Paducah at the community college taking A &P, microbiology (from a teacher that wrote every single note in long hand on the board… chemistry, statistics and nutrition with one of my best friends in the world. (Thanks Trish for being my study partner and cat-dissecting partner). During my RN clinical I learned to put in Foley Catheter’s, NG Tubes, bathe patients, run IV’s, put in IV’s (on my classmates/instructors and real patients), learning the pharmacokinetics of medications, the classes of medications, the path physiology of diseases, taught an impromptu childbirth class in the middle of the project’s to one of my community health patient’s (baby, fake pelvis and all), much to the horror of my very young and brilliant nursing school partner, helped orchestrate the first wedding on 4E at Vandy for a woman dying of gyn cancer, and felt the horror as my clinical group and I went to lunch only to return to find out one of our patients had died while we were gone (5 students, bathing, and preparing a patient who had died alone with only a plastic bag of belongings to her name. No one said a word as we realized the reality of our job), to passing my RN exam (after 75 questions, yes I am proud of that!!), to immediately be thrown into the MSN portion of the program and learning to suture a vagina in a million different ways (not easy for a left handed gal), delivered 43 babies, learned what to do in most any OB emergency, had my arm up to my elbow in a woman’s vagina attempting to remove a retained placenta from her uterus, got a tsunami of amniotic fluid in may face, mouth, down my scrubs etc. from my first standing delivery (the patient, not me), learned the true art of pitocin management, cut my very first episiotomy in order to assist a baby make that final journey into this amazing world, became an excellent stripper (membrane stripper that is…), can put Cervidil in with the best of the them, learned how to put in IUD’s (thanks Lisa) many times over, met my Somalian sister during her journey of breast cancer and childbirth (Read the Listen to Women blog for that story), learned that even if I don’t speak Somalian, Kurdish, Swahili, French, Spanish or any of the other languages my patients spoke, I could still offer good healthcare simply by “being present” and attempting to make the effort to communicate, I was blessed to be a part of a Centering Pregnancy group that had a treasure trove of different women from different backgrounds and nationalities in it. And was saddened beyond belief when one of my patients from the group was suddenly killed along with her 6 week old infant daughter during a tornado. I sat in sadness with the group back at the clinic as they gathered to honor her life, share stories, pictures and their feelings of one of their friends that they had experienced their pregnancy journey with was so suddenly taken away. I treated patient’s who were transgendered, gay/lesbian, unemployed, famous, students, immigrants, black, white, Hispanic and learned that we all just want the same thing in life, to support our family, and be treated with dignity. I froze off plantar’s warts, warts on the hands, anal warts, as well as injected steroids into a tennis elbow (thank you Dr Bullock for allowing me to do that), I stapled wounds, found an enlarged liver on a patient (seems simple, but I was proud), had to tell (the MD did the talking actually, as I listened in horror) that he is HIV positive and most likely had AIDS, I missed a case of facial shingles (one time only), but nailed it the next two times! I took I waited with a patient while we got her transportation to be immediately transported to a psych. Unit from the office, I spent 5 weeks in a psychiatric hospital (behind double locked doors, as a student, not a patient) learning the difference between being a functional human being one day and snapping the next and wondering everyday, just how close any of us are to the mental state I witnessed PhD graduates, former executives’, housewives, entrepreneurs’, students, etc. attempt to regain their mental abilities while living in an institution. I realized that pscyh is not my calling because I was drawn into everyone’s stories (some true, some completely fabricated, yet real to the patient). I realized that each and every one of us just might be one step away from crossing that line from sanity to insanity! I spent 14 weeks at Ft. Campbell serving the men and women who are serving this great country we live in, I cried as a pregnant patient told me her story of watching her husband killed in the car in front of her as they were driving home one night. He had just arrived back from Iraq the week before and heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time right before he was killed. I felt my first cervix with Ms. Lindsey beside me as I examined a pregnant patient. I will never forget the light bulb that went off, as I knew exactly what I was feeling for the first time after many missed attempts on other patients. I practiced suturing and tying knots on placentas as Major Brown so patiently worked me on her own time day after day! I went to Tullahoma once a week to a health department and gave prenatal care to mainly Hispanic women with no other means of healthcare. I learned how to draw blood with my eyes closed, give injections (thanks Lisa for letting me give you my first flu injection)! My experiences the past 4 years have been too many to mention. Peppered with comedy, tragedy, tears, laughter and a treasure trove of emotions!

I say all of this as I passed my FNP boards yesterday and have been preparing to move back to Paducah, KY to begin a career in the ER. A move I am absolutely scared to death about! I invite you to join me on the journey I am embarking on!

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