Thursday, June 30, 2005

Waiting for a ride

Here I am in the hospital library, waiting for a ride home.

Last night after work I went to the blood bank. (They asked all the plasma donors to give whole blood, so they must be really short.) I'm up to number 73, now, and it took 5:52 (beat that, Matt!). After the blood bank I went to Mum and Dad's for tea (yes, I was invited...) because they are leaving (in fact, they would have left by now) to go to Darwin in the caravan for 3 months.

Needless to say, it was late when I was driving home.

My car has been misbehaving lately. The battery light would occasionally flick on and off as though the alternater connection was a bit dodgy. But last night the headlights got dimmer and dimmer and dimmer.... Finally, I pulled over, barely able to see the road in front of me. I turned off the headlights; they wouldn't go back on. Then I turned off the car. The engine wouldn't start or even turn over. There I was in the dark (no moonlight), far out of town, no mobile, cold and alone!!!

Well, it wasn't that bad. As it happens God was nearby ;-)

It takes me 20 minutes to drive from my parents' house to my house, which is 10-15 minutes out of town. Guess where I ran out of power?

In front of my neighbor's house!

So I just walked up the road and brought Nathan back with me. Our neighbor, Graham, helped, and we pushed my car home.

Today at work I rang the auto electrician bloke Nate recommended, and he's going out to fix it tomorrow afternoon. Nathan drove me to work this morning, and is picking me up when he's finished, and we'll have to organize something for tomorrow, too. Then I'll be back on the road.

We're thinking of replacing my car! Woo hoo!

Told the girls at work today I'm thinking of having a break from work before having kids; kind of like the Long Service Leave I won't get to have. They reckon it's a good idea. I also told them that Nathan wants me to get Christmas off, and I should quit if I don't (I think he was joking!). They said I should roster myself on, then show Nathan the roster so he would tell me to quit. ;-)

I have been playing on the internet, trying to find out if "The Sims 2" is coming to the x-box at all. I still don't know! If I remembered this morning, I would have brought "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", which I'm reading. Finished the Wheel of Time books up to number 10. There are more to go, but I have to wait!!! Now I'm reading the HP series again (6th time) in preparation for the next book "Half Blood Prince" due out in a few weeks.

Well, I'd better get down to the front entrance to wait for Nathan. Told him I'd be there.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Sad tales from the South

"The South", as well as referring to the hemisphere, also refers to my ward - a medical oncology ward. There are two types of wards: medical and surgical; We don't have much to do with surgery, but we take care of everything else, from earaches to dementia! And we specialize in cancer.

Lots of people think working on a cancer ward would be terribly depressing, but it's not. You make friends with people and their families over the months or years, and most of them think your fantastic for finding ways to solve their many little challenges.

But I failed miserably on Sunday. To start with, I only had 2 hours sleep (damn insomnia!). I had 4 patients, but I spent my whole morning with a young lady who found out this past month that she has cancer everywhere. She had lots of pain, and she had lots of morphine, but the pain wouldn't ease up. She would fluctuate from being just about unconcious to rolling around on the bed saying, "Please... there must be something you can do!!?"

Do you know what it feels like to stand there helpless while someone begs you for help?

The boss and I gave her so much morphine that her breathing slowed down, and I had to stop it for a while; nothing was helping. I pestered the doctor all morning, bless him! And after 8 long hours, right at the end of my shift, we sent her to another hospital where they can treat spinal cord compression. (That's where tumors, or cancer-related broken spine bits, press on your spinal cord, causing horrible back pain and eventual permanent spinal injury).

Years ago we did "Primary Nursing", which means one particular nurse will look after particular patients whenever they are in hospital. Familiarity is good for patients when they come in regularly. But I ended up the primary nurse of a very sick woman, who was on our ward for many weeks with excruciating, uncontrollable pain. It was the worst time in my whole nursing life... She would writhe and scream and all of us nurses just wanted to cry, but I had to look after her every day. We actually paralyzed the woman on purpose in a semi-successful attempt to numb her a bit!

Sunday's patient just reminded me of that time all over again! By the end of the day I was sad and sick and miserable and exhausted. I drove home, hugged my hubby, hopped into the shower, and sat on the tiles crying my head off.

Today the boss rang to see how she's going in the new hospital, and it seems they are making some progress. She doesn't have spinal cord compression after all, which is good! I had a much better day after a good sleep, so I could go back to work smiling again.


Monday, June 06, 2005

Time off

I am lucky enough to be on a 5 day break! Of course, I am still full-time, so that means 2 weekends and an RDO all put together. What that also means is that I'll pay for it with long weeks! (Two 7-day weeks are imminent) I have been using my time off very productively... reading, mostly! I have been doing constructive things, too: today I spent a few hours on the internet and did some calligraphy (a poem by an Aussie bloke called Leon Gellert!)

Saturday we caught up with Adam and Ruth and Simon and Esther. We went Ten Pin Bowling! Hopefully we'll catch up with them more often, because I don't seem to know many people outside of work!

Ruth tells me that she had 6 months off work, and I'm thinking that is a great idea. I could pretend to be a housewife (cook and clean and all that bizarre stuff I don't have much time for!). I suppose I'll work until I go off on Maternity Leave in the distant future... Nice to dream, though.

Anyway, nurses get 6 weeks a year, so in November I'm having 4 weeks off! Woo hoo!

And I am taking 3 "Professional Development Days" and days off together in July, and because it's the end of a night-shift stint, I ended up with 9 days off! Well, I have to sleep the first day through, of course, but the rest will be used to read!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hmm, best get off the internet, I think. I've been on for a few dollars now, and Nathan just poked his head in and said, "Are you still on the internet?"