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later on 6/30/03
Ow, feet hurt. I want to come home to a waiting massage. Today was my first day on 3-11, and I love it. The hours are great, I'm not giving 10 bed baths, and the time seems to fly by. But my feet are killing me.

6/30/03
The kittens have been named - appropriately - Merry and Pippin. They're adorable, photos to come. They're so little, and so far, they really like playing in the litterbox.

6/29/03
In the best birthday news ever, John came by today with his super-powered jumper cables and got the Tank started!! He's going to come by this week with his battery charger and hook the battery up overnight to get it charged, and then we can start looking at what else isn't running right. Whew.

I'm going to meet my classmate Lisa tonight to pick up the kittens I'm adopting from her. I can't wait.

And I've finished reading Harry Potter and the Death of Trees. Overall, quite enjoyable - but long!

Oh dear, and Katharine Hepburn passed away today. That's sad news indeed. Her autobiography, Me - Stories From My Life is one of my favorite reads.

later on 6/28/03
Instead of going to the lake, I blew up the inflatable pool we bought and sat outside with Harry Potter - nearly done, another 100 pages to go.

Aunt Paula and Uncle Joern came by, they're staying over tonight and taking Tosca home with them tomorrow.

6/28/03
Happy birthday Ngoc! And happy birthday me!

I wanted to get to the city early enough to get my brows done and a pedicure, too, so I left the house at 5.30pm. And things were tootling along nicely until I got to the Holland Tunnel. I waited for an hour to get into the tunnel, and didn't get to the city until 7.30pm. Erg. So no pedicure for me (they close at 7pm). Dad and I went to the Park Grill in Battery Park for dinner. Really great sandwiches and daquiris (virgin for me), plus they're right on the water, so the view of the statue of liberty and Governor's Island and the sunset is stunning. It had cooled off a bit by then so it wasn't so humid.

I went uptown and stayed at Marie's until about 1.30am. Jim and Dexter both played "Happy Birthday" for me, which was a hoot. And Michael and Tesse bought me the greatest birthday present ever (for this year, anyway) - a vinyl nurse's porno dress! They made me try it on, and damn! It's short! I mean, it's supposed to be, but I could hardly get up the stairs from the bathroom. Heh. It's great, I will probably never wear it, but it's something I joked about back when I started nursing school. Love it!

I did indeed sleep in this morning, which was wonderful - this past week was torture on getting up so early. I opted out of going to Aunt Barbara's, so I'll probably read some more of Harry Potter and maybe go over to Cheesequake and go in the lake.

6/27/03
Have I mentioned yet how happy I am that today was my last day on the day shift? Mom brought in this huge cake for my birthday, which I shared with the day shift (what, I need all that sugar?) since I'm not working tomorrow. Delicious. I'm so looking forward to sleeping late tomorrow, and then heading to Aunt Barbara's for fun in the pool. Tonight I'm celebrating my birthday with Dad - dinner in the city, and then going out to Marie's. I haven't been all week, what with the getting up early thing.

Tosca goes home on Sunday - I'll miss her.

6/26/03
Happy Birthday, Derek Jeter!

Hot hot hot!

Too hot to go to the lake! Too hot to do anything but sit in my room with Mimi, the AC, and the new Harry Potter. And that is how I am planning to spend my afternoon.

Work is going well, and I'll be so happy tomorrow when my last shift on days is over and I can go back to getting up at a reasonable hour. That is to say, not 5.30am.

later on 6/24/03
And there you have it - as if I needed another reason to love the Yankees, tonight's game was it. They were up 6-4 in the 7th, and then Tampa Bay came up and got a grand slam home run, plus another run, to take the lead 9-6. Another reason to dislike Tampa Bay (aside from their being the first team to beat the Yankees this year). And then - bottom of the 9th, Juan Rivera got a 3-run home run to tie the game - and in an incredibly good-looking play, Todd Zeile hit a double that let Derek Jeter score the 10th run. And Mariano Rivera knocked out the Devil Rays in the bottom of the 9th and the Yankees won. Love them!!

6/24/03
Survived day two, but I'm very achy. I stopped off at CVS and bought a big tube of Vick-esque muscle pain cream, which I am happy to report is working quite well, as my knees and ankles have that tingly, warm feeling.

I'm headed to the city now to meet Steve for dinner and then my friend Peter (late of NY, now of LA) for a quick drink, and then heading home to sleep - tomorrow is another 5.30am day.

6/23/03
Oh goody, I can finally complain about the heat. It's 90 and humid. All I want in this world is a car with air conditioning. Or a convertible. Or both, do they make cars that're both? That come with stick shift? (they do, I want it.)

I survived my first day of work as a PCA. After popping a sleeping pill at 10pm last night, I had no problem getting up this morning. My classmate Dawn, who's also a PCA on the day shift, was with me today for my orientation. She and I and the other PCA did the rounds and the time just flew by. Vital signs, chem strips (for monitoring diabetics' glucose), breakfast, baths, break, chem strips, lunch, cleaning patients, answering call lights, documenting... whew. So this week I'm on days, and then I start on 3-11 with Bill and Roseann, who are also students with me. I'm glad I know people. And I do love spending time with the patients and just talking to them, especially the ones who are a bit confused.

But boy do my knees hurt. I'll have to find my knee-shaped ACE bandage things to wear tomorrow.

And tonight I did some work on the NJNS, Inc. website, which I now control, as PR director for the state. Too fun.

6/22/03
We set a new record for the amount of rainfall in June - more than 10 inches so far. They said it's not supposed to rain again until Thursday. I'll believe that when I (don't) see it. We took advantage of the momentary lapse in precipitation (and lack of humidity) to put in the air conditioners, as tomorrow is supposed to be sunny, humid and hot.

Tomorrow I have to get up at - ack - 5.30am to be at the hospital for my 7am first day of work. This week I'm working the day shift to get oriented, and then next week I start on 3-11.

6/21/03
Rain. How... refreshing.

In fun yet tiring news, I went to the NJNS meeting down in Trenton this morning (at the crack of 10am), and successfully ran for the PR Director position. It comes with business cards, a laptop, and a year's supply of schmoozing. I can't wait. My car is full of computer stuff and paperwork from Rob, the outgoing director, so I need to sort through all of that.

I got stuck in traffic on the way home, and fell into a deep nap when I did get here. My body was telling me that 10am is way too early - I hope it can deal with next week, when I need to be at the hospital at 7am for orientation.

6/20/03
OK, more details... so, Williamsburg seems to have a pancake (or waffle!) house on every corner. We ate breakfast at a different one each day. I had to call Steve to tell him we were eating at Mama Steve's House of Pancakes, which just made me laugh.

Apart from the pancakes, we ate at three of the colonial restaurants in the historic area - The King's Arms, Christiana Campbell's and Shield's Tavern. Delicious food, and I am now in love with peanut soup. We brought home some in cans, and the recipe as well. So good. I walked my feet to the bone, looking at all of the stores and restored buildings. I bought a dress (so many layers) and a hat (of course). On the day it rained we went shopping in the outlet stores, and on a day that it didn't rain, we went to a local spa for massages. After all of the walking, that felt great.

So we drove home yesterday. The plan was to go to Jamestown in the morning, but it was pouring rain, so we decided to just come north instead. It kept pouring until we were nearly in NJ - I'm telling you, we took the rain with us and back again.

Today's cool and rainy, too. I think it's going to clear up on Sunday.

In domestic news, with one week left in our company, Tosca has finally started to jump up on my bed and sit in my window. Mimi and Sheeba are more cordial towards her, there's still a little hissing going on tho. Aunt Paula is coming next weekend to pick up Tosca, and then we're down to two cats again. Altho my classmate Lisa's cat had two calico kittens, and they're now old enough to find a new home, so I told her I would call after Tosca departs...

And yay, my copy of the new Harry Potter book - which, contrary to popular belief, is NOT called Harry Potter and the Death of Trees - shipped from amazon.com today. As if I'll have time to look at it before August.

I can't find the charger for my cellfone. So the phone is off - if you're trying to find me, it might be a while.

6/19/03
Home! It appears that we took the rain with us to Williamsburg, since it was sunny for what... one day? Nevertheless, I had a super time. And a lot of walking-time, too - I fell asleep every night around 8pm, and I never do that.

Anyway, home, must unpack and snuggle the kitties.

6/14/03
Saturday - the day of rest, as we're leaving at 6am (!) tomorrow for VA. The only thing on my agenda for today is to pack for the trip and to go and visit Eric and Masha to celebrate Isabella's first birthday.

Proving that great minds think alike... I bought Dad a book-on-tape for Father's Day, thinking that he'd really enjoy it. Well he did - he'd already bought and read it. Heh. Good thing I have the receipt! He said that what he'd really like is a cordless screwdriver, so it's back to the store to buy one. Tools for Father's Day - how... traditional!

6/13/03
Last night we had the most amazing ever thunderstorm, with lightning and pounding rain coming in all the windows and the cats hiding under the beds all night. Loved it. I sat on the porch for a while to watch it, and just thought about how much I want that house in the mountains where my view of the lightning would be unimpeded by houses and streetlights.

My legs still hurt. I ran my hands over my calf muscles yesterday to see if anything felt out of whack, and my left gastrocnemius (calf muscle), near my scar from heel surgery, has an indentation in it, which is weird. My right one doesn't. Maybe I just pulled something. So I'm trying to take it easy and rest with it elevated. Next week in Williamsburg we're doing a lot of walking, and I don't want to hurt anything.

6/12/03
Last day of school - bummer. It really flew by. It ended on a good note tho - I, who never win anything, won the raffle we had for the "All About Me" gift basket, which was filled with bath and skin goodies, chocolate, pasta, and a gift certificate to Blockbuster and some popcorn. I'm in heaven. I want to go soak in the tub for a week.

I should soak. My feet are killing me. They wouldn't need to amputate, my feet will just fall off. I've got them up on a pillow now to get the swelling in my ankles down. Ow ow ow.

6/11/03
OK, this is my last day of rhapsodizing about surgical. It was our last clinical day (and tomorrow is our last test, and then we're done!). Today rocked. Prisco and I watched an exploratory laparotomy (incision into the abdomen), which turned into an oophorectomy (removal of the ovary and it's attached cyst). After it was removed (about the size of a tangerine), the nurse said that if we put on gloves, we could pick it up out of the specimen container. Of course we did - felt like a more-tender chicken breast, very squishy. After that, we took the patient to the recovery room, where we monitored her vital signs. I got to give my first IM (intramuscular) injection today, for pain meds. It went much more smoothly than my first subcutaneous one did. I think it's because the patient was still somewhat sedated and not watching my every move.

When we were in recovery, another patient was brought in, pre-op, to wait for her surgeon to arrive. Well, I don't think she knew she was waiting - the patient had had a CVA (cerebrovascular accident, aka a stroke) and was non-responsive, ventilator and all. They were going to put in a trach, so Prisco and I got to watch that as well. And then we got to see an emergency endoscopy for an upper GI bleed, which was great in that when I was in endo yesterday, there wasn't much out of the ordinary to see on the screen, but this time, the esophagus was so ulcerated that everyone in the room did a collective "whoaaaa" when the scope went down.

Then lunch. Lasagna, which was maybe not the best thing to have, considering what we watched after lunch - an AKA, or above-the-knee amputation. It was the grand finale of our surgical rotation, the entire group of us got to observe the surgery. And man, was that cool! It made me more sure than ever that orthopedic surgery is what I want to go into. The surgeon was the same one from yesterday's external fixation removal, and once again he was really cool about teaching us what he was doing, and having us ask questions etc. All of our surgeons, actually, have been really super to the students, it's very much appreciated.

And yes, I asked what they do with the leg. After it's sent to pathology (to be checked for cancer, gangrene etc), the patient and/or the family decide what to do with it. Mostly, the family just lets the hospital dispose of it with medical waste (which is eventually incinerated), but sometimes that family wants to hold a funeral or burial for the limb, in which case, well, I guess they come in and pick it up!

So, thus endeth the surgical rotation. I absolutely loved every minute of it.

CPR class was after clinical, from 3-9pm. So-so, but we had fun, and now we're all certified.

6/10/03
Happy birthday, Matthew! I know I thought it was Sunday, but you set me straight.

Another fun day in the OR, this time at Perth. Debbie and I spent the morning in Endo, watching an endoscopy (down the throat) and a few colonoscopies (up the other end). The scope is a long tube with a light source and a camera, and you watch the procedure on a TV screen. Pretty cool to watch, but it's not for me. I'd get bored. The nurses are a riot tho, they really make the patient comfortable and joke around. Barbara, the main nurse, showed us their photo album of things they've found that illustrate diseases - cancer, diverticulitis, lesions, polyps etc. It was like vacation photos, but without the people and with a lot more necrotic tissue.

After Endo, we watched a hernia operation and the removal of pins from a compound fractured radius, along with the subsequent debridement of the pin sites. That's where they clear away all of the dead tissue to make it all clean before bandaging it. Both surgeons on these surgeries were great, explaining what they were doing, answering all of our questions and urging us to "come here a little closer" to see the insides of the patients. Very cool.

Tonight is graduation for the class of 2003. And the very last time we have to wear our caps, they're optional from now on.

In non-nursing news, I had a very nice dinner-and-a-movie date last night.

6/9/03
Yay for Take Me Out and Denis O'Hare - I hope ticket sales pick up for the show now, but not enough that I can't get one.

Making the rounds online:

You know the world is going crazy when
the best rapper is a white guy,
the best golfer is a black guy,
the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese,
the Swiss hold the America's Cup,
France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance,
Germany doesn't want to go to war,
and the three most powerful men in America are named
'Bush', 'Dick', and 'Colon'

I love the OR! This morning was slow, we did a lot of "hurry up and wait." Lori and I were then assigned to the 10.30am laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) - very cool. When we went to the OR, Scott - the nurse - told us that it had been delayed until 11.30am. Instead of sitting around doing nothing, we asked him to give us a tour. So Scott showed us around the surgical suites and the OR itself, describing everything. It definitely made us a lot more comfortable.

So, the nurses got everything set up for the surgery, and the surgeon came in with the patient. The patient was incredibly agitated and shivering. The anesthesiologist tried three times to intubate him after the first round of sedation (intubating is where the tube goes down your airway to provide oxygen and anesthesia). Couldn't happen. He tried for twenty minutes, and Lori and I just stood there watching his oxygenation level fall on the monitor. It was dangerously low, and after the third attempt, the surgeon said, "Stop, we're cancelling the surgery." The patient was too stressed and unable to be tubed.

So, that was cancelled. Scott said that the next surgery (the one we really wanted to see!) was also a bit delayed, so we ran to the cafeteria to find Mrs. F. and ask if we could stay to see the next one, since we missed out on the lap choley. She said sure, but we had to leave at 3pm no matter what. So we got to watch an abdominal surgery - what I consider to be "real" surgery. They were doing a pancreatectomy/splenectomy (removal of the pancreas and spleen), and wow was it cool. We got to stand on stepstools right near the patient's head (no problem intubating this time!) and were about two feet away from the incision. Being very careful not to get near the sterile field, we got to see everything. It really makes me wish we'd get to see an autopsy or something, because the internal organs look NOTHING like the pictures in Anatomy lab. All mushy and all over each other. Lori said it reminded her of pizza, I was thinking more like lasagna. All those layers of fat and tissue to go through.

Anyway, the patient had a cyst on her pancreas, when they got down to it, the cyst was the size of a softball. No kidding. We didn't want to leave - it was like watching a movie that just keeps getting better and better. I wanted to find out the ending. Unfortunately, we did have to leave at 3pm, and there were another 2 hours or so to go on the operation.

The OR staff was terrific, incredibly accomodating to us - the anesthesiologist even let us look down his scope to see the epiglottis and vocal cords when he was intubating the second patient. Amazing stuff.

6/8/03
Tony day! The awards are on tonight at 8 - can't wait. I slept all evening yesterday (after that miserable Yankees game, what were they thinking, taking Clemens out?) and woke up around 8pm. Went to Marie's to hang out with the usual suspects, and then I crashed at Tesse's in Jersey City. This morning, we drove back to the city to meet up with the rec.arts.theatre.musicals crew for our annual Tony brunch at Joe Allen, which was a lot of fun, as always. They really do make superb eggs benedict.

And after 45 minutes of traffic into the tunnel (which the news obviously didn't see, because the traffic report kept saying "outbound Lincoln Tunnel looks clear"), I'm back home, in time to read for a bit and get geared up for the Tony's. As someone joked last night, it's the gay superbowl. Heh.

6/7/03
Yesterday was our last real day of class. We just have three more days of clinical (all of which my group is in the OR for) and then the second test on Thursday. And then we're done. And yesterday wasn't really a class day, I suppose. The IV therapist from Perth Amboy came in to talk to us in the morning, and then in the afternoon we had an assessment test that covered everything we'd done in Nursing I and II.

I came home and spent some time on the swing in the backyard reading, since it was sunny (how rare!). Don't worry, I didn't get used to it - today's rainy again. I don't mind so much tho, since I have no plans other than heading to the city later tonight, and I'm in the middle of several books that I want to make some headway on.

6/5/03
Today was our group's turn to observe in the OR at Old Bridge. Lori and I watched two ESI's (epidural steroid injections) for pain management, and then a hernia repair surgery. It was really interesting to watch, and the pain mgmnt doctor and the OR nurses were all really great about explaining procedures and their roles. I'm wiped out tho, we were on our feet all day. When we had a 15 minute break, Lori and I just sat down in the dressing room and closed our eyes.

I was supposed to go to the city to see Seth's Chatterbox after school, but I was so tired and my feet were really hurting, so I took a nap. I meant to get up at 4.30pm to go, but somehow I turned off the alarm clock and woke up at 8pm instead.

Oh, and I joined Friendster - an incredibly addictive site that's like a cross between match.com and the old sixdegrees.com. Come find me there.

6/4/03
Whaddya know, it's raining.

6/3/03
I learned two things today:

See? You learn something new every day.

$1000 and a new axle later on 6/2/03
The car is back, all fixed. The tire doesn't look like it blew out, which is odd, but it is all squishy and the rim is really bent. The rear hubcap on the right side is also all scratched up, but the body of the car is alright. The mechanic showed me the parts that he had to replace - axle, rotor (?), bearings, belts and something in the brakes. He said that the rotor (I think that's what he said it was) was really worn out and and that one of the belts was so cracked that he's surprised the joint didn't break earlier! That freaked me out, because the last thing I need is to have had this happen in the middle of nowhere.

But it's all fixed, and tomorrow after school I'm going to the Chevy place to get a new tire and return the spare to its place in the (still broken) trunk.

I wish I had something deep and meaningful to talk about, but unless I want to get into the specifics of catheterization or nasal suctioning, I just don't. I'm actually in the middle of a bunch of books, as usual. Not just nursing ones - although I am trying to get a head start on the reading for next semester by starting now. Bill Bryson has a new book out. Not a travel book this time - this one is called A Short History of Nearly Everything, and it's terrific. You know me - science, humor, random facts. Heaven. And I'm in the middle of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series; I'm in the last book. And since I went nuts on amazon.com last week with finding used books that're on my wishlist, I have a two-foot tall stack (no kidding) of things to read. I will not be bored - at least not this week.

6/2/03
It's hard to type with Mimi sitting on my chest, but I'll try.

The car is being worked on, I have to call the mechanic back at 4pm (in about an hour) to see what time it'll be ready to go. Then I can go pick it up. I think I'll take my rollerblades to the city with me and skate up to get it from the train station. It's going to cost more than the estimate - about $850 total, which doesn't thrill me at all.

In the skills lab today, we practiced putting tubes into various bodily orifices. And in more palatable news, I got my schedule for PCA orientation. I start on Monday the 23rd - working days for a week to get oriented, and then going to the 3-11pm shift.

later on 6/1/03
But in good news, ER is FINALLY coming out on DVD in August. The first season, to start with.

6/1/03
What an icky weekend.

So I had tickets for Frog and Toad for Friday night. Got to the theatre at 7.30pm - only to discover that the show started at 7pm. So, after kicking myself (and rejoicing that my tickets were free), I went and got a student rush ticket to Take Me Out. It just keeps getting better and better.

When I went to get my car out of the lot downtown, it was pouring rain. Turned off of Fulton Street onto Water Street, and about two blocks past Dad's apartment, I had an accident. I swerved to avoid a steam pipe/construction thing in the MIDDLE OF THE ROAD, and I was probably driving a bit too fast. I hit the curb on the right side of the road and my tire blew out. Lost control of the car and it swerved into the oncoming traffic lane. Luckily there was nothing oncoming. The rim scraped along the ground and the car came to a halt. I was able to get it to the left side of the road, and put the hazard lights on. After looking at the mangled rim, I sat for a few minutes wondering what to do. A cop came by and took a look with me. We tried to get the lugnuts unscrewed but couldn't. A few minutes later, another car came up and the driver said he was a mechanic and had a better tire iron. He and I were able to get the tire off and put on my spare. However, when I started the car up again, it wouldn't go forwards or backwards. The mechanic said it looked like the axle was bent.

So I called 911 and then information, and got the number of a 24-hour garage. They sent a tow truck (40 minutes later, by this time nearly 3am). Since I was right by Dad's, I asked the tow truck guy if I needed to come uptown to the garage with him, and he said no. Gave me their card and told me to call on Saturday.

I walked to Dad's, got there around 3.30am, left a note on the table and fell asleep on the couch. I called the garage yesterday, and they said that yes, the axle and ball joint were cracked, they could fix it on Monday, and it would run me about $600. Erg. What can I do. Since I was seeing a show today (Sunday), I just stayed at Dad's overnight. I'm glad I wore a dress that doesn't collect dirt easily, and that I had sweats at Dad's. So last night we stayed in and watched The Pianist and The Recruit, and today I went to see Enchanted April with my friend Skyler.

And now I'm home. And tomorrow I have to take the train back to the city, go up to 116th Street to get the car, and pay a lot of money that I don't have. Mom's making me a short term loan so I can pay for it, because while I have the money in my AP credit union account, I'd have to leave school early to get there in time, and I'd rather not do that (considering tomorrow is the skills lab, where I get to learn how to put tubes down the mannequin's nose).

Anyway, not amused, it rained all weekend, I'm broke and I'm tired.

-catherine

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