Sunday, September 7, 2014

Busy Busy Back to School

Its been a busy week; Asher started back at school, and I worked two night shifts on top of my regular day shifts.

So far Asher seems to be liking school, as much as  he will admit with his contrary attitude.  He seems like like his teacher, which is an educated guess based on the fact that he hasn't said anything bad about her, or the class yet.  Its a bit embarrassing to admit, but this is rare for him, last year he complained about everything for months.  He didn't like his teacher, his class, his school.... everything he said was negative, so the neutrality of this year is a relief.  His teacher last year was phenomenal, and by the end of the year he was actually liking school, the class, and her.  This years teacher seems very nice too.  I can't wait to see how the year goes.

The night shifts were a bit of a struggle, because of the staying up part.  The shifts themselves were quiet, and a really nice change of pace, though it is intimidating being the only nurse on duty. My pay cheque will thank me.  On that note, I received a very welcome phone call from the Manager of Day Surgery (a unit I was working on after graduating).  I thought that I had lost the casual position because I hadn't picked up in so long, but it turned out that they just haven't been busy.  She called to book me into some shifts, so naturally, I was absolutely thrilled!  It was however odd timing, when she phone I was working on updating my resume, and changing the wording from present to past tense regarding my position there. Coincidence?

Anyway, Life is good, as you can always tell when I neglect my blog.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Working Over Time

I have a part time position, and because of that I rarely work enough to get much overtime.  I always get a few hours here and there for staying over my shift to help out, but I have never worked enough hours to get a full 12 hour shift paid as OT.  Tomorrow I will get that shift, and to be honest I am exhausted.

Last week was super stressful because we were short a nurse for 2 shifts in a row, I had a client stroke, and I was working extra hours.  I did get two days off after that, but it really wasn't enough.  It sounds so funny to whine about over time, but I am finding the extra hours really make coping so much harder.  Probably does not help that Asher is away, so I am already a little off my game.

I am so not ready for tomorrow, but I will go, I will preform my duties, and I will rock it.  In the mean time, I am just gonna vegetate on my couch, dreading the coming day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Single Mom's Do It All!

But do they do it well?

In most cases my Answer would be "Hell YEAH!"

I mean take a look at what I have done this last week:

  1. Bought and put together a shed in my backyard for stuff like my Lawn mower and gardening tools
  2. Unloaded and installed my second hand portable dishwasher (by that I mean got it out of my car and in the house Solo and went to the hardware store and got the adapter for my faucet to link up to it)
  3. Bought a Washer and Dryer set no help from a spouse needed (always worried I'd never be able to make big purchases alone. 
And all that was done while working 80 hours for the week, including a night shift, taking care of my 7 year old, and unpacking my house (we just moved).  GO ME!

Unfortunately I learned this week there are some things that I would normally get my ex-husband or ex-fiance to do, that I would have never attempted on my own, and apparently that is for good reason.

So that washing machine I bought, was delivered today.  The delivery guys can't help with the install because of liability if your laundry room floods.  So I hooked it up myself.  Super easy because the last tenants left their hoses for me.    It took all of ten seconds to hook up.  Once the delivery guys were out of my hair, I grabbed my first load of Laundry and was off to the races.  I carefully checked the hoses once the washer started, made sure thy were not leaking.  Everything seemed good, so I decided to have a post work nap.  As I was resting something hit me... I hooked up the water hoses, hot and cold, but how was the water supposed to get out?  I hadn't thought of that....

Of course once I pulled out the box that was sitting inside my machine before I used it, and looked in, therer was my drain hose, which I had assumed was just a shitty water hose, and instructions about attaching it to the bottom of the washer.  I was surprised my laundry room had not yet flooded.  Thought I was gonna get off easy.  Yeah that was a funny thought looking back now.

It was clear by the limited space in my laundry room, that now that the dryer was in the room, there was no way for me to get behind the washer, so I assisted Asher over the dryer and behind the washer to solve our problem.  so he pulled off the cap plugging the back of the machine and the flood I had already anticipated, and thought I had avoided, took full revenge.  To make things even better, Asher was not strong enough to squeeze the hose clamp and attach it, even with pliers.  So fat old me had to climb on my dryer, and squish behind my washer and get it attached, as water continued to flow out.  I managed, and somehow got myself out of there (Even I was amazed at my agility) and in the end, I pulled it off.

Washer installed.  It may not have been a pretty process, and it may have been a learning curve, but I did it.  SOLO! Everyday there are new challenges, tasks I would have asked my boyfriend or man to do, but I am gaining confidence in myself.

I am a strong, independent, and capable woman.  My favorite hashtag today off of instagram has been #singlemomsdoitall

And they do.  It may not always be prefect, and the house may not always be clean but we do it, all of it.  The lawn mowing, the shed building, the appliance delivering and installing, the child care, supper cooking, and the laundry, all while paying the bills..... I can do anything I put my mind to, so can you!  Single Moms Rock!

Monday, August 11, 2014

New Staff

I'm always excited when I find out I am orientating our new staff.  Not only is is flattering that my bosses are comfortable with me training new staff, but it also is a great chance to get to know my new co-workers.  As you can guess I was orientating a new staff member today, and it was a great day!  This was my first chance since I first started my position to orientate a nurse that has been an LPN for a couple of years rather than a new grad.  It is so much different, and so much easier.  There is so much less teaching involved, and I feel so much less responsibility for their future actions, because they have worked as a nurse before, often in similar settings, and have the experience to make clinical judgement on their own, rather then relying on my experience and judgement.

I am so thankful that my work gives me the opportunity to orientate new staff, and preceptor students (well 1 student).  It makes me feel appreciated. It feels good to feel appreciated.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Parenting After Divorce

**Warning: this is likely going to be more of a rant then actually informational.

I left my son's Dad in 2010, almost 4 years ago.  If you've read my "Who Am I" page, you've probably already figured out we don't get along well.  Our house never felt like a home, it was too full of hostility and resentment.  He resented me for having a baby which semi-controlled how he spent his money, and I resented him for not being loving and wanting to spend time with me.  It was bad.  Bad enough that I left, Obviously.

Here we are almost 4 years later, you would think we would have mastered this co-parenting thing, but unfortunately we are so far from it.  I guess it makes sense if we couldn't get along in our marriage, how would we do it now.  I have to say that I am luck in a few ways compared to some, because my child support is always paid and on-time, and Asher's Dad does try to see him at times.

My biggest frustration is that there is no set time for when they will see each other.  The only thing that is set in stone is that we each get Easter and Christmas 1 year, then swap back the next, even that, he tried to get out of last Easter (not that I really minded).  I get so frustrated never being able to make plans kid free without booking a babysitter, because even when he says he is coming, something more important may come up, and often does.  Our agreement states that he is to give me 48 hours notice before picking Asher up or dropping him back off, but that is rarely the case.  After 4 years he still thinks saying maybe Thursday maybe Friday is clear enough notice and it's not.  I'm not just being a bag, but that kind of notice means if I want to work extra I still have to book a sitter, if I want to make kid free plans, again I have to be able to cancel them last minute when he doesn't show, or book a sitter.  FRUSTRATING!!

Sometimes it's exactly opposite.  For example a couple months ago, I think as far back as May, Asher's Dad told me that his Dad was coming over from Australia, and that he wanted Asher for all of August.  I was fine with that, because I had made a lot of plans for Asher and I for July, so it was only fair.  He kept reminding me off and on until Sher and I were on Holidays, and he called.  It was about July 22.  He told us that he was in hospital, sick with something they hadn't diagnosed (possibly demoniac).  It was something serious enough that they kept him a week.  He told us that even though he would be out of the hospital in a few days, he didn't think that he would be able to have Asher until the second week of August because he would be to "weak" as he put it.  I was pissed because that was a bullshit excuse, because how do you know you will be too weak 3 weeks ahead of time, and seriously I have to parent sick or not, why does he get to live in a different world??

I argued with him, called him names.  I was really mature about it.  I had applied for a second casual job, to pick up extra shifts.  Extra shifts I needed because I'd been overspending.  This was my once chance where for a couple weeks I could pick up all the shifts that I wanted to.  Now it was dwindling in the air.  Every time Asher has talked to him since, we have argued about him not coming to get him.  First it was 2nd week of August, then after the 17th, then around the 20th.  Seriously!  His excuse now was because he had to get caught up on work.

I get that he is starting a new company, but from my point of view, you don't pick up more work than you can handle, and if you planned to have your son during this time, again you should not have picked up more than you could handle while caring for your child.  I don't get that option, it makes me FUME that he does.  It makes me crazy that he can just postpone his parenting obligations, even when he promised our son.

I could go on and on about how mad I am.  Co-parenting after divorce is like a slow torture that you get to endure forever.  I look at my parents, and although my sister and I are fully grown, the torture of never being able to just forget your ex and all the hurt that existed, continues to have power.  I dread dealing with this for the next 20 and 30 years.  It makes me so much more paranoid about how hard it will be to trust another person enough to have another child.  I thought it would get easier, this co-parenting thing, here we are 4 years later, it hasn't.  There are times when it's better and I can just let the anger go, then there are times when it seems so unfair and I just feel so bitter.

Yes Asher's Dad pays child support, and his jobs working away are what help him pay it.  I get that. I can accept that he is gone a lot to make a living, and that he can't see Asher at those times.  I don't get when he takes a month off and doesn't make time for Asher.  I don't get why starting a new company that he doesn't need to make a living is more important that time with  our son. I don't get why he thinks that this is for Asher's benefit: not getting to see his Dad, so his Dad can pass off a company to him in the future that he may never have any interest in.  I kind of hope he doesn't.  There are so many jobs out there that are better and more stable than "contract swathing."  I get that Asher's Dad wishes that his Dad had owned a farm and had had a company to pass down to him, but why does he think a future company to pass down replaces quality time spent together?  My biggest beef though I guess is completely personal.  Why does he get to pick and choose when he wants to parent based on what is convenient for him, and I just have to accept it and deal whether it makes my life harder or not?

Co-parenting sucks.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Nursing a Back Injury

I missed a day of work today.  I didn't know what else to do, but call in.  The thought of hunching over the med cart, or walking laps through the halls was defeating.  Worse yet, what if someone fell, or if they needed extra help upstairs and I was needed to help with lifts or bed changes, Unbearable.  I don't miss work often, and definitely not if there is any way I can function in my roll. Today I am home because I knew that I could not be an effective nurse in this much pain.

I hurt my back 3 summer ago.  I worked with a special needs child, a quadriplegic.  A child who had been steadily growing and gaining more weight.  A child or rather teenager with no lift in her house, who needed to be transferred out of her wheelchair to be changed and back in each time after.  Our company only paid 1 worker to be with her, and so you were alone, with no help to transfer this 100 lbs girl.

I didn't know how badly I hurt me back until the school started.  It took me a long time to even pinpoint what had happened.My pain slowly increased over the next year.  I was being tested for rheumatoid arthritis, and put on strong anti-inflamatories that didn't really help.  I continues to work with that child, continued to strain my back for another six months before finally convincing them to get a lift in her house.

Over the next summer I switched jobs and began working as a health care aide.  Even with all my training with lifts and turns,the strain of bending over to put someones socks on, and the strain of such a physically intense job caused my back pain to get out of control.

My second year of nursing school was full of fear.  I would wake up, and barely be able to get out of bed.  Have you ever seen an obese 80 year old get out of bed?  That's what I looked like, rolling to my side, pushing myself from the side of the bed to a sitting position, then slowly getting myself to a standing position.  After classes I would wait for the room to empty before trying to stand up, because it was so embarrassing barely being able to stand, then walking with a limp for a minute or two before my back loosened up.  I was scared that I would finish school, have 2 years of student loans, and be too crippled to work. Who wants to hire a nurse that can't walk?

During the first couple months of second year, I started seeing a naturopath I had been introduced to during one of my classes.I received Prolotherapy which along with avoiding back straining work, has allowed my back to heal.  I have spent the last year almost pain free.  Only the odd day have I had mild back pain, form a slight over strain.  I stopped buying the Robax Platinum I once survived on.  The strongest pain killers in my house for months has been Tylenol.  Its been a good year.  I stopped fearing that my future was to be unemployable and riddled with pain.

I've been good for months until I lifted something a little too heavy without proper lifting technique.  I moved last week, and was just causally shifting things around my house.  I purposely hired movers to avoiding lifting anything too heavy.  Apparently that went out the window after I arrived at the new house.  I felt it when I did it, but for the last 5 days it has been getting worse and worse.  During the day, it hasn't been to painful, but nights the pain comes out.  I have woken up every night for 5 nights and stayed awake until my Tylenol took the edge off the pain.  Last night they Tylenol didn't cut it.  I ended up taking more than I was comfortable with just to get back to sleep so I could function at work.  When I woke up, I was still in a lot of pain, and I hadn't slept well.  I finally broke down and got some muscle relaxants to get through the day.  Unfortunately the pharmacy wasn't open until after 9, and my shift started at 7.  SO here I am home for the day, glad I stayed home because even with the muscle relaxant I'm still in a lot of pain.

Nursing is a career that is hard on your back.  There are positions that are less hard on your back, that's what I have thankfully. Nursing is a great way to get a back injury, be it doing a patient turn with a HCA that doesn't know what they are doing, a client grabbing onto you for support.  Its one of the careers most likely to cause you a back injury, and one of the careers you can't survive with a back injury.  Back Injuries are scary.  Missing work is scary.  Work safe, work smart, son;t let yourself get into this position.  Protect your back, the best you can.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Nurse Talk - One Year After Graduation

Its been a while since I have posted much about Nursing which is odd to me because my favorite blogs to read are by nurses about their experiences.  The trouble is, since I haven't been working acute care, my job really doesn't have a lot of variety each day.  Its actually kinda routine and a little boring at times.  Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but it definitely does not leave me with as much blogging material as when I picked up at the hospital.

But seeing as this is supposed to be partly a nursing blog, lets get into some "nurse talk".  I have officially had my license to practice as a Nurse for over 1 year.  I am actually orientating a new graduate this week, a reminder of where I was a year ago.  Scared out of my wits, that's where I was.  So nervous each shift because I felt completely inadequate, and completely unprepared.  I have learned a lot this year, and while I am comfortable and confident in my position, there are so many skills and competencies that I feel I have lost, or am not developing.

That I find is that hard part of nursing.  As much as you try to not specialize, to get a variety of skills, and keep them current, it just isn't always possible.  When I first graduated and worked casual, I was working acute care, long term care (SL4 technically), and mental health.  I was working on a variety of my skills because each area was so different from the next, and I was picking up whatever shift that came available because I never knew if next week I would have enough shifts to pa my bills.  Then I got my first temporary position that provided me with enough hours that i knew my bills would be paid.  At first I continued to pick up as much as possible at the other units, to keep building my skills and confidence, but slowly I got pickier and pickier about what I would take because that wasn't a huge motivator for me.  Picking up extra shifts, meant extra driving time, more days away from my son, waking up earlier or staying up later than my normal shifts, and it just became so hard to do.  Slowly over the last few months, I began only picking up work within the building I work it which means only working on skills required for Mental health nursing and long term care.

I am still in a temporary position, which means at any time, the person who is on maternity leave that I have relieved can come back, and I go back to casual.  It is because of this that I worry that I haven't continued to build my skills in other areas.  I regret decreasing my availability to basically nothing at the hospital.  I am regretting not picking up the last few shifts they called me for because it was inconvenient, and not I am no longer on their call list, or maybe they just got tired of me saying no.

I watch positions pop up here and there.  Some I take the plunge and apply for, others not.  Its so hard to apply for another position when the one I have works so perfectly for Asher and I, but it is also scary relying on a temp position that won't last forever.  Because I am alone and do not really have any regular family support, I can't work nights, evenings are hard because it means Asher staying up late then having to get up for school as well as me never seeing him on my workdays when he is in school.  How can I do that.  Most jobs that come up are 30 minutes away, so add an hour commute time to my 8 hour day.  More time lost with Asher.  Most hospital positions are days, evenings, nights and weekends.  How do I go from my current position of days and weekends to that?  Every job I look at means less time spent as a mom, more time spent driving or working.  What I have now is so good for us.  Its so hard to find something equivalent, or even close to what I have.  Its scary.

So looking back on this last year, although I have had a lot of experiences, and have grown as a nurse, my fears have not changed.  I am still afraid that I am not getting enough experiences, still afraid in a few months I may not have a regular job to pay my bills, still afraid that i am specializing in a way that may close doors for me on future positions.  So much has changed this past year but maybe not as much as I had thought.
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