Where have I been? While I’d like to say I spent a long weekend frolicking on a beach or wrapped up in heavy blankets by the fireplace sipping hot chocolate and reading magazines, the truth is less glamorous. I’ve been devoting a lot of my time to studying pharmacology, postpartum assessment, and oh my god someone actually gave me the go-ahead to perform subcutaneous injections! On people, even! What were they thinking?
Oh, and if anyone ever tells you nursing school is a breeze, I give you full permission to slap them across the face and call them a no good, lying-liarly-fibbity-fib. I didn’t work half this hard to get my bachelors degree. (OK, it was in history, not exactly engineering, I know.) And I don’t remember grad school being this hard, either. I think I even had less to read in grad school.
So naturally I’m being torn apart by the conflicting pulls of full-time wife and mommy, mostly-full-time blogger, and full-time student. Please don’t interpret that as whining, though – I fully knew what I was getting myself into. I’m one of those compulsive busy people – if I’m not overbooked, I must find more projects to fill my time.
Sure, I get stressed out and miserable from trying to keep up, but if I were to drop something, you can bet I’d find something else to fill that void without even thinking about it. Which is why my Irish dance shoes are dusty, my knitting keeps getting put aside, the half-bath is still half-wallpapered, and Aaron will continue to nag me about sewing him a Jedi outfit. Like I said, it’s an addiction.
You think there’s a pill to fix that?
Oh wait – I’m the one studying pharmacology, aren’t I?
Anyway, back to what I intended to write about: they say that any day you learn something new is a good day. (Who are they? Um, I have no idea. Maybe I’m the only one who says that.) My first day on the postpartum unit for my clinical was Friday, and I did pick up one very important lesson along with the standard stuff we had to learn.
The hospital I was assigned to is inner-city, or as inner-city as you can get in this city. Many students were assigned to the cushy suburban hospitals, where they focus on providing swanky maternity wards with big screen TVs, hardwood floors and aromatherapy. This hospital is more concerned with all of the traumas that are being brought in the front doors and by helicopter. Maternity isn’t their chief concern. So you can imagine that many people who have a choice decide to not have their babies at this hospital.
Doing a health history for my patient, I look over all of the normal stuff: young, third child, no steady partner, drinks, smokes, little prenatal care, etc. We start talking about her support network, and I ask if she has any family she can depend on.
“Yeah, my dad helps me out, and my grandma drives me where I need to go. I don’t see my mom much anymore because she smokes.”
I keep going, finishing out the history and thanking her for letting students ask her a thousand questions. Later, reviewing the data with my clinical partner, I see that information again.
“Wait a second. She said she smokes a few cigarettes everyday, right?”
“So why did she say she no longer sees her mom because she smokes? That doesn’t make sense.”
While he didn’t show it on the outside, I’m sure he was rolling his eyes at me inwardly. “She meant crack. Her mom smokes crack.”
It was like the light of not-so-divine revelation shined down on me. “Ooooooooo, OK. I get it now,” I replied.
Somehow I feel a little less innocent now.
Clinical Day 1 Lesson: Always ask for clarification when using the term “smokes”.