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super important top-of-the-page thing.
It looks like I owe nearly 14K on my totalled car. Help.

4/30/04
I can't believe tomorrow is May. It's beautiful outside - last night, Tesse and I went to see The Normal Heart (again, love Raul), and this time I actually paid attention to the play instead of staring at Raul for the entire time. After the show, we put the top down on the car and sat in traffic singing loudly along with Tick Tick Boom - because we can't get enough Raul. Did I mention how wonderfully talented and attractive he is? Right.

4/29/04
A day of good news! Marie and Jimmy are coming over from Dublin for Jen's wedding. We haven't seen them since our Ireland/Scotland trip. I can't wait to tease Marie about driving on the "wrong" side of the road. More good news - going to see The Normal Heart again tonight with Tesse. This time I will pay more attention to the play and less to how attractive and talented Raul Esparza is. Right. And more good news - no wait, that was it.

4/26/04
Oh, the babies are so cute. I just want to snuggle them all day. I got to use a lot of my Spanish today, since many of our patients have very little English. Luckily, our teaching guides come in both languages, so I could refresh my Spanish while looking at a translation in my other hand.

I have just pre-ordered Return of the King from amazon.com. I can't wait. One more month.

4/26/04
What a long day! I cared for an adorable 12-hour-old baby today, and got to see an emergency Cesarean section before lunch. One minute there was a rounded belly, and before I could say, "So then he cuts into the uterus?" to the nurse next to me, there was an Alien-esque creature being pulled from this poor woman's abdomen. Quite a sight, I must say. I really enjoyed the day tho, except for the "getting up at 6am" part. Tomorrow and Thurs I'm on the evening rotation, which is fine with me.

Work tonight sucked. I think there's something in the water at the hospital. All of my patients were certifiable nuts - and I say that with no medical authority whatsoever. We had two IV's pulled out (by the same woman!), two screaming patients, one who kept taking her gown off and trying to climb out of bed, a man who somehow - despite the chest posey restraint - managed to get turned around 90 degrees and have both legs out through the side rails, and piles and piles of shit. Literally.

Erin and I must go to the World of Wings Pigeon Center in Oklahoma City on our roadtrip. Dunno why, but we do. Reminds me of the "World of Pigeons" that Tesse and I saw painted on a barn when we drove to Pittsburgh. Not really sure what it is, but it's tacky, I'm sure.

4/25/04
I'm home from the city, it's Sunday night, and I'm just dashing off a few notes before I dive into the stack of books I bought. Honestly, it's a sin for me to go into Barnes and Noble. I should be barred - with violence, if needed - from entering. I bought many many books today, to add to the to-read stack, which grows larger every day.

I saw The Normal Heart today. It's a play by Larry Kramer about the early days of AIDS and the GMHC/Act Up organizations. I'd never seen a production of it, and since the Public is doing it (with Raul Esparza, natch), I had to go. It was so raw, so touching - I haven't wept like that in a theatre in so long. And I don't think I could ever go into hospice nursing for young people. That's something that would tear me apart.

After the play, I went to dinner with David, and asked a million and one questions about Judaism. It's nice to have a friend who's comfortable and knowledgable with his faith to help me out.

4/23/04
What's going on...

I enjoyed tonight's Shabbat service - Rabbi Stanway makes it enjoyable, funny, educational and inspiring to be there.

Jay is in the running to be on Queer Eye for the Queer Guy or whatever they're calling it. He's in the final round of interviews, and if he gets picked, he wants me to be one of his "testimonial" people and come to the housewarming party that will be the culmination of the taping.

Tesse and I saw Assassins on Wednesday night. While I'm thrilled that it's on Broadway, and I mostly enjoyed it, there were some things (mainly in the casting and the theme) that didn't work for me. But I really am glad to have finally seen a production.

Tomorrow I'm (finally) getting a haircut, and then going to the city to hang out with my friend Peter, who's in from LA. Sunday I'm seeing The Normal Heart at the Public Theatre, and Monday is my first real day of L&D at Perth Amboy. I was supposed to be on the evening shift for clinical - our group is split in two because it's too large - but I have to work Monday, so I'm on the morning shift for clinical. And we all know how much I love mornings. I'll probably drop a baby.

4/20/04
I was only voter #10 at the school board election this afternoon. That's kind of distressing.

Today was our first day of LDRP (labor/delivery/recovery/postpartum) clinical, which was really just an orientation. Tour the unit, talk about goals for the experience etc. So I think I have five weeks total on LDRP - my other clinicals for the rest of the semester are makeup ER days, pediatrician's office, and KinderCare daycare. Two more months until summer vacation.

Erin (the swanky one) and I are thinking about roadtripping this summer. We've pared down our plans from, "Hey! Let's drive to the Grand Canyon" to, "Hey! Let's drive to Omaha" - not a totally thrilling place, but it's in the middle of the midwest places that we want to go. I'd pick her up in Nashville, and we'd do the touristy stuff - Memphis/Graceland, Branson (where she used to work), Gatlinville/Dollywood, with a reality check in Chicago in the middle - the Seurat exhibit will be on this summer.

4/19/04
Oh, today is gorgeous. Biked three miles. Did errands with the convertible top down. Got pink shoulders. I wish every day could be this beautiful outside.

The kitchen is now all de-wallpapered and ready to be spackled. We have to go pick out paint colors, too.

4/18/04
I really enjoyed the Shabbat service on Friday night. The rabbi really made me feel welcome, and introduced me to a lot of the other congregants. I'll have to go back again.

Tomorrow I'm going to coworker Sharon's girl scout meeting, to talk about nursing. It's part of my community health project for Family/Child Nursing at school. It should be a lot of fun.

The patients at work are driving me nuts. At least the two biggest pains in the ass are in the same room, so I'm not racing from one end of the hallway to the other to answer call bells - they're all in the same place.

And finally! It's spring! The windows are open, the top is down on the car, the breeze is warm, and the kitties are happy lounging in the sun. So am I.

And ah yes - Duncan recapped Friday night at Marie's, much better than I could have.

And oh, we are not going to talk about the Yankees/Red Sox series so far.

A letter that I wrote to the NY Times in response to today's magazine section about heathcare:

Dear Editors,

While I was happy to see an issue of the Magazine devoted to health care, I was dismayed to see nursing omitted from the articles. While it's true that doctors treat the diseases, nurses treat the people. Some thoughts and facts:

- The nursing staff (RN's, LPN's, and Aides) provides care to patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We are always available.
- We help your mother walk to the bathroom, make sure Grandpa's skin isn't breaking down from lying in one position all day, help Dad dial the phone when he can't see the numbers, walk your brother down the hallway after his surgery, and cut up Grandma's dinner into smaller pieces so she can eat it.
- We are the ones there at 3am when Mrs. Smith is sobbing hysterically because she doesn't know where she is.
- We watch over the patient in alcohol withdrawl, in four-point leather restraints, who is physically and verbally abusive to the staff.
- We explain to the patient what's happening with his treatment, because he was afraid to ask his doctor.
- We answer call bells when a patient just needs to talk, get more comfortable, or needs his pain relieved.
- We are the liason between the patient, the doctor, the pharmacist, the respiratory technician, the laboratory tech, the physical therapist, the nutritionist, the kitchen staff, the volunteers, the housekeeping staff, the engineering staff, the radiologist, and the family.
- We are asked to fix televisions, get another container of juice, have test results available immediately, and know when Dr. Jones is making her rounds. We know how Mom is doing, what time Dad went down for his CT scan, and if Grandma ate all of her breakfast yesterday.
- In the ER, we decide who gets to be treated next, based on a set of vital signs and a quick rundown of what brought you in.
- In the ICU, we can walk into a room and sense a change in the patient's condition from the sound of her breathing.
- We know the side effects of every medication that we administer; we know the expected lab results and test outcomes; we know what to do when a patient goes into respiratory distress or hypoglycemic shock.
- Nurses need to know everything that doctors know - and more. We check doctors' orders for errors, and are blamed if a medication is ordered incorrectly.
- And yes, we also empty bedpans. With a smile on our face.
- We share in your hopes and joys, meet your grandchildren when they come to visit, bring you magazines from home, help your body heal, and hold your hand when you need us. In short, we care.
- A survey reported in the December 12, 2002 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine found that 53% of physicians and 65% of the public cited the shortage of nurses as a leading cause of medical errors.
- According to a study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association in October 2002, nurses reported greater job dissatisfaction and emotional exhaustion when they were responsible for more patients than they can safely care for. Lead researcher Dr. Linda Aiken concluded that "failure to retain nurses contributes to avoidable patient deaths."

As a nursing student and nurses' aide, I have tremendous respect for the medical staff that I work with, but I know that without nurses, the healthcare situation in this country would deteriorate. Nurses are among the hardest-working, most trustworthy, highest skilled populations in the US. Please don't overlook the hard work that we do every day, caring for your families.

Catherine S.
Student Nurse, Matawan, NJ

4/16/04
Oh it is so lovely out - after four days of rain, we finally have sun and warmth and it feels like spring. It's supposed to get warmer and sunnier as the weekend goes on; I can't wait. Time to put the top down on the car and put air in the bike tires.

Speaking of cars, I went to the car dealer to get a copy of all of my Cabrio paperwork, and now I just have to set up a time to talk with my lawyer about the insurance issue. I left a message on his answering machine, but if he's smart, he's outside enjoying this weather, too.

4/14/04
I met with the Rabbi at Temple Beth Miriam this afternoon, and we had a really enjoyable talk about Judaism and converting. He recommended a pile of books ("Read!" he said, and I have no problem with that), and I'm browsing amazon.com right now. I'm going to attend the Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance) service on Friday night.

4/13/04
A gift! Not only was today a half-day at school, we have tomorrow off as a "study day." They put too much time in the schedule for today's lecture, so we covered all of today's material and tomorrow's as well. How cool is that.

The kitchen is looking very... rustic. We're taking down the wallpaper, which unfortunately is stuck on with this industrial glue, so the walls are really looking rather distressed, with several layers of old paper and paint underneath. I kind of like it, in a sick way. We still haven't decided what color to paint the room yet.

Cholesterol? Still through the roof. I'm starting on Crestor, a lower-that-cholesterol med, tomorrow (CVS had to order it, didn't have it in stock). Dr. C. said that one of the possible side effects is muscle cramping and pain that doesn't go away. In that case, I have to call and get changed to a new med. I hope it doesn't - I don't need pain.

4/11/04
Sunday night and home again. We did so much shopping that there wasn't any room left in the car for another package. I found lots of adorable countrified cat things and a new display shelf for tchotchkes and (of course) books that are going to sit on the "read me" pile until I have time to read the things that are already there.

4/7/04
Things that make me happy:

It's still high, so I need to talk to Dr. C. next week.

Oh, and I made an appt to meet with a Rabbi in the area about converting to Judaism - that's next Wednesday afternoon.

At work tonight, someone had left out the NCLEX review disk from a study guide, so I spent some time going through the practice tests. I tended to score about 75% of the questions correctly, which is good, since I'm not even 75% of the way done with school yet. I like the disk in that it lets you review all of the questions and correct answers, along with the rationales, so it's a learning process all along.

4/6/04
It's beautiful out, too bad we have foreshadowings of rain and snow. Anyway, two more days until I am off to VT for the long weekend, where it is partly cloudy and in the 40's. Doesn't matter, the convertible is still going.

Today's funny, from Sue:

1) Go to http://www.Google.com
2) Type in -- weapons of mass destruction-- (DON'T hit return)
3) Hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button, NOT the "Google search"
4) Read the "error message" carefully - the WHOLE page. Someone at Google really has a sense of humor.

4/3/04
I need to get my bloodwork done, but in order to do that, I need to not-eat breakfast and go to the lab at Old Bridge. I can't not-eat breakfast. So I haven't had the bloodwork done. It'll probably say that I'm overly anemic, and that's why I'm sleeping all the time.

I meant to go into the city last night to see Jen and do the Wicked lottery, but I fell asleep after school and woke up too late. I just can't seem to stay awake. And what does it say when I'd rather be sleeping because my dreams are so fascinating? They're often better than real life these days. That probably isn't an encouraging statement.

Well, tonight will be one less hour of sleep - daylight savings kicks in at 2am.

Anyway, off to work.

4/2/04
Big congrats to Ngoc, who - although she's lived here since she was six months old - became an American citizen today!

later on 4/1/04
I love The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Judaism - I'm only in Chapter 2, and already the author has referenced My Fair Lady, West Side Story, YAGMCB, Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I and Six Degrees of Separation. I have found the perfect book.

4/1/04
Happy birthday, Merry and Pippin!

And boy, I can't wait for the concert of Bounce now!

And let me tell you what a pleasure it was to hear, "Your balance is $78" instead of, "Your balance is $4900" when I checked my Visa statement over the phone. They got my check and I am thrilled.

Children's Specialized is right by Eve's, so I stopped by on the way home to see TheCutestBabyInTheWorld(tm), who is sitting up by himself and starting to crawl all over the place. Absolutely adorable. I told Eve that if he ever disappeared, she should come over and she'd find him playing in the living room, he's just so terrific.

Ha! Chosen Couture has a "Jews for Jeter" baseball tee. I think I must have it.

-catherine

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