Still Alive and Happy About It

It has been forever since my last update... I know. And for those of you who care, I apologize. But I'm here now, right?

Life is good. A lot of new developments and issue resolutions. A few not so good spots where I hit a bit of a slump. Details below.


I survived the semester. Passed all my finals with decent grades and managed to get on the Dean's list. Hopefully I can keep it up. This semester I learned that papers are my GPA's friends. I also learned that you cannot really study for the HESI test that is 25% of your grade. This proved endlessly frustrating but I'm hoping to improve my test taking abilities to be able t prove my knowledge/understanding on these tests.

Pharmacology/Pathology: A great but challenging class. The professor was fair, had a good sense of humor and was really looking out for our best interests. But as I mentioned before, this was no walk in the park... so much to memorize in such a short span of time. But I did... though I'll have to go back and brush on some things before clinical I think.

Nursing Skills: Good class. Lab was frustrating at times. There was a lack of supervision, so I might be practicing a skill that would never been seen by an instructor until I was taking my practicum. Oh and I passed both my med and skills practicums, obviously or they wouldn't let me continue in the program.

Nursing History: My strongest class. Good stuff. It'll be fascinating to see how the theory fits into real world practice.

Nursing Essentials: Didn't get on with this class at all really. Very vague topics and material but very specific questions on exams. Example: You see a patient crying after learning she has a fatal disease, you ...? a) give her time alone b) sit by her side silently holding her hand c) tell her that everything will be alright. Vague right? Depends on the context your relationship with the person, etc... But they want a cookie cutter answer and apparently I read into the questions. *sigh* By the time the final came around I was a bit better at spotting what they wanted but still.. not useful.

Health & Wellness

So, my back surgery was a huge success. I had only one bad muscle spasm after and that resolved within days. Other than that its like night and day. I am back to my old self. I've even gone back to the gym. I've missed working out so much. I'm currently doing some PT to try and get this huge knot in my back to release and let my hips stay where they ought to. Its not a big deal and it doesn't typically impact me on a daily basis.

Diet. Yeah... so the last post about venturing into raw again. That lasted a bit, but I just can't keep up with my protein needs. That raw journey was brought on by a really nasty bout of overeating due to the stress of finals. Food is my coping mechanism when I can't exercise (and sometimes when I can). This is pretty common with most folks... but my brain takes it to the next level sometimes, where I'll eat to the point where I'm "Thanksgiving-full" and then start to feel ill and I'll keep eating till I am... driven by guilt or some other unhealthy thought process. I'm aware of how negative this behavior is and typically, it doesn't happen but once it does it takes me months to recover from that compulsive need to harm myself with food. Old habits die hard.

This is all the more reason to have a good system in place. I took my vacation after finals before the term started on May 17th to do just that. I went to a mostly raw diet and juiced for a few days. I tried to get my body craving healthful natural foods and less processed sugars. And it worked, when I want something sweet now, I'm often happier with an apple than something like an Oreo. But all this will require maintenance and patience.

Employment & Finance

Working on getting a per diem, 1 shift on the weekend CNA/Nursing Assistant job in an ICU/ER/Med-Surg Floor. No luck so far due to a hiring freeze at UMass. But I'll keep trying.

I am now an official Disaster Action Team response volunteer for Red Cross of Central MA. I'm trained to respond to local (and eventually national) disasters to assist to aid, disaster assessment, paperwork, and psychological first aid. At my chapter, we average 3 calls a week for house fires. Then of course events like flooding and ice storms. I'm really privileged to be able to help others in this way and I'm looking forward to the opportunity.

Working as a hospice volunteer locally is in the works. I have some paperwork to do yet, but I should be volunteering an afternoon a week. I think it is really crucial to experience all aspects of life fully and this includes dying. It is an important part of my work and I feel strongly that everyone should have the all the resources and support they need to have every opportunity for a meaningful death.

Finally, I was elected as the community outreach chair for the MA Student Nurse Association. This position will allows me to develop and organize community outreach programs wit the student nurse all around MA. I'm really hoping to do some big stuff with this. If anyone has any ideas about community work/volunteering opportunities for groups, let me know!

Personal Practice

Jackpot! I found a Zen sitting group in Worcester... literally less than 2 miles from my house. They have session every Sunday evening and through out the week. The members are diverse in age and very active. My first sitting was last Sunday but I am greatly looking forward to my future with the group.

Social Life

I've done pretty well for myself in this regard. A few parties, a hike on Mt. Wachusett and amazing trip over break to Northampton. I haven't been able to see everyone I would I love to see, but that comes with the territory. The summer semesters seem a little more open and I may have some more time on the weekends to visit folks.

Bits & Bobs

Nothing I can think of.

Namaste all.