Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A New Milestone

Several years ago, I would not have been caught dead doing this. I still would not be caught doing this on a Friday or Saturday night. Yet, for the first time tonight, after a trip to J. Crew to exchange some things, I --- get this ---- went to see a movie . . . BY MYSELF!!! Considering my weird work schedule and the abundance of time I have off during weekdays, I have been thinking about this often, but have been to lazy to follow through on it. This couldn't have come at a better time, though, because there was a movie theater at the mall, and this movie was starting just a minute or two after I browsed up to the marquee to see what was playing.

What did I see, you ask? Confessions of a Shopaholic, of course! Lame, I know, but I love Isla Fisher, and I have read almost all of the books, despite the fact that they became increasingly annoying with each new one. Besides, I don't know of too many other people in my vicinity who would like to go see this movie anyway. Furthermore, I pretty much AM a shopaholic, and the subject of this movie is something I can relate to!

Overall, I thought it was really cute and really funny. Better than expected. And lots of eye candy in terms of great costumes, scenery, and the cute leading man! Plus, there was an appearance by a J. Crew item; the Campo de' Fiori sweater dress from last year. It was worn by the main character's roommate and styled with hot pink tights to make it look completely atrocious. But I was happy by the sighting, nonetheless. Seriously, I am a COMPLETE dork!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Random Thoughts

For some reason, I can't sleep. Actually, I think the reason is that it is one of my days off, and I'm trying to adjust to a "normal" day schedule, when I work nights. I went to bed at two a.m. last night (or, I guess, morning) and woke up at four. Luckily, Mauri was wide awake in D.C. and was there to keep me company via text message. Ugh, it was seriously a boring weekend since two of my best friends were out of town!

So, onto the randomness:

-Today I went to the dermatologist to get some suspicious moles looked at and to see what the heck is up with my face. Normally I have clear, porcelain-like skin and rarely break out, but the past few months I have been getting cystic acne and an increasing number of blackheads on my chin, as well as tiny little bumps all over my face. To most people it's not noticeable (seeing as I still get complimented quite often on my complexion), but to me, it is quite troubling. Well, first of all, the good news is that none of my moles look cancerous, according the the doctor. Second, I got a prescription for a topical gel for my face called Epiduo. I had never heard of it before, and on researching it when I got home, I found out that it just hit the market in January. According to the press releases, it's supposed to be the next big thing in acne treatment. It combines a benzoyl peroxide and a retinoid, and is supposed to be more effective than putting on each one separately. To those who know me, it's no surprise that I love having and trying the newest products, so I am very excited to be among the first to try this out. My local CVS pharmacy didn't even have it in stock, so i will have to wait to get it until tomorrow, but in the future, I will be sure to report on its effectiveness.

-I've known about the outcome of the Bachelor finale for several weeks now, but that didn't stop me from watching it. I'm gullible, so I truly want to believe that Molly didn't know this ending was coming. It's like a twisted fairy-tale ending for her. For every girl that has lost her true love, it is something that you always hoped that would happen, but of course, it never did. But don't get me wrong, I have much more sympathy for Melissa and know that it would SUCK to be in her shoes! I feel like I have been in her shoes before, in a sort of similar, but sort of different way, if that makes any sense! Before me and my most recent ex started dating exclusively, he dated me and this other girl at the same time before deciding to commit to me. I remember at that time actually feeling like I was on the Bachelor, waiting to get that rose, because I was aware that there was another girl that was vying for his affection as well! Long story short, he ended up "choosing" me, we were together for three years, broke up, and then less than a month later, he was already sleeping with that other girl from years ago. C'est la vie, I suppose. But I am much better off now, and Melissa will be, too, I can guarantee it!

-I feel one hundred percent better now that my roots are no longer a light reddish color. Ladies, let me tell you, your hair is too precious to trust to an acquaintance that does not have years of coloring experience under her belt! I made this mistake about a month and a half ago. Under pressure from mother to lighten up my almost black-brown hair (she said I looked like, and I quote, an "indian," whatever the heck that is supposed to mean), I went to a former coworker of mine from my cocktail waitressing days to get some *subtle* highlights to break up the color a bit. My normal hair stylist moved to Arizona about a year and a half ago and only comes into town about once every six weeks, so I decided to take a chance and let my former coworker do my color, as she is apprenticing at a hair salon and needs more practice and more clientele. Needless to say, it did not turn out at all like I wanted. Those "subtle" highlights lightened my hair several shades, the virgin hair at my roots lifted several shades lighter than the rest of my hair, and my whole head took on a reddish tone, when I should be a cool brunette, due to my coloring.

It was a disaster. I went back to her a week later to get it toned down, and while that made *some* improvement, it still wasn't what I wanted. When my regular stylist came in town the other week, I had her try to tone it down, and it *still* wasn't fully corrected. The roots were still much lighter and just drove me up the walls. I couldn't take it any longer and decided to just dye over all of it myself, so now I'm pretty much back to square one. Sorry, mom. But I am back to looking like Snow White, just like I like it! It's just been very difficult for my mom to accept me as a dark brunette, seeing as I was born a blonde, and kept my hair highlighted to a bright Southern blonde all the way up to a few years ago...

-So now the only thing I need to make all of my hair problems go away is to get a weave! Sorry, did I say, "weave,"? I meant very classy hair extensions! Another mistake I made the other month was to chop off my long hair into a bob. While my hair stylist is excellent at cute angled bobs, I knew that there was a reason why I have not had my hair shorter than shoulder length for nearly 7 years. It just does not suit me. I feel and look like a soccer mom. I have been looking longingly at pictures of me from a year ago when my hair was well past my shoulders and looking dark and lovely. Sigh. I will be so happy when 2010 is here and all of 2009's hair mistakes will be behind me!

- Drawing inspiration from other bloggers I have become familiar with through J. Crew Aficionada, one of the things I have decided to give up for Lent is buying new clothes. Let me tell you, it is already becoming difficult. After a little over a month of pretty much ignoring J. Crew, I have already discovered many new items that I want! I do have some stuff that I need to take back there. I wonder if I exchange those items for new things instead of just crediting the funds back to my credit card, if I will still be keeping my vow? I suppose only the good Lord will know!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Since I'm Doing Absolutely Nothing Today . . .

. . .I thought it'd be the perfect time for a good ole' post about a recent J. Crew purchase! Yesterday the UPS man brought me the Dressy Grecian V-Neck Long Dress in Oasis Green. Although I typically don't purchase items meant for spring/summer wear in winter months (and vice-versa), I had just received my Spring Rewards card, and had a feeling that this dress wouldn't be around for very long. Well, I was right, because I noticed only a few days later that the dress was sold out in my size in the green color!

The color is very pretty and similar to how it looks on the website. The jersey is of a nice weight and not as unforgiving as those side-tie jersey dresses from last year. The size also runs true to what J. Crew jersey dresses usually run. Since I'm small-chested, I wear an XS, which fits perfect. Even though I'm pear-shaped, the dress is flowy enough that the XS is still a good fit. At 5'5", I'm a bit too short for the dress, but that can be easily fixed, as the dress is un-hemmed. I don't trust myself enough to cut it evenly, so I'd probably still take it to a tailor to have it done. Although I am small-chested enough where I wouldn't need to wear a bra with this dress, I like how it is not too low-cut in neither the front nor the back where I can still have the option to wear a strapless bra with it.

Overall, I am very pleased with this dress and glad I made the purchase. It will be perfect for summer brunching on the patio or for a Mexican beach vacay which I plan on taking with the girls later this year! It will look just fabulous with some gold accessories or some chunky wooden bangles or necklace.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Adventures in Consumerism (or How I Became a Crazy Cat Lady)

One of my half-assed, non-specific resolutions for the new year was to spend less money. Or buy less stuff. Something like that. And if we are talking about buying less stuff for moi, I guess you could say I’ve been somewhat successful at that thus far. However, I have a new addition to my household, which has sparked a spending frenzy. Meet Stephen Patrick Morrissey, or Stephen for short:

He is my $1000 ball of fluff. A handsome little Siberian kitten. Hypo-allergenic, sweet, and very smart. And since I always have to have the very best, why shouldn’t my cat? Here are some of the products I have purchased to make Stephen the coolest, most spoiled kitty on the block:

Every cat needs a carrier, and this is definitely the best-looking, most functional one that I found. The Sleepypod doubles as a bed, with the mesh top that zips right off. Of course, Stephen doesn’t sleep in this. But he looks pretty cool when I take him to the vet.

I bought the Cat Livin’ Climber in hopes that Stephen would use it to satisfy his climbing and scratching needs, and leave my couches and countertops alone. It certainly looks a thousand times more attractive than a traditional carpeted cat tree. He does scratch on its sisal surface, but hasn’t gotten brave enough to climb on its shelves.

The Hepper Pod bed was my first purchase; I bought it even before I put the deposit down on Stephen, because it was on sale, and it just looked soooo cool. The green color matches the d├ęcor in my apartment, and reminds me of a UFO. This is another thing that Stephen doesn’t use, but I’m hoping to bribe him by putting treats in it.

One of Stephen’s favorite toys was also one of the cheapest things I bought for him. It’s the Turbo Scratcher. He never seems to get tired of chasing the plastic ball in the track.

The Peek-and-Play toy box is fun for hiding treats and toys in. It’s also entertaining to watch Stephen try to get them out.

I got these cute bowls from Petco.

Probably the most important thing I got for Stephen is the Litter Kwitter system. I cannot stand the litter box, and getting a kitten of my own did not change that hatred. The Litter Kwitter allows you to train your cat to use a human toilet. We are now on to the “amber” stage. I hope that within the next two months Stephen will be fully trained. He is doing an awesome job so far! It’s a pretty messy process, though, with litter being thrown everywhere every time he hops down from the throne.

Which led me to purchase the Dirt Devil Kurv. Quite possibly the most attractive hand-held vacuum ever! Has been a necessity in keeping the bathroom floor free of litter.

Speaking of litter, until Stephen has been completely toilet-trained, I have been using an all-natural, wheat-based, flushable litter called Swheat Scoop. Ha ha. Get it? Not that I have ever had any prior experience with litter, but I have been pleased so far, and the fact that it doesn’t have any chemicals in it is nice. The flushable part is a must, too, because Stephen likes to push the litter into the toilet.

A lot of the stuff I got for Stephen I found through a blog called Modern Cat. A must-read if you have a cat or are interested in getting one, if you want to find cool, non-frumpy cat stuff that fits into your lifestyle.

A final note before I conclude this blog post: While I am first and foremost a dog person, I also believe in being a responsible pet owner. As a nurse who works twelve-hour shifts, I thought it would not be right to get a dog, as it would be unfair to leave one inside for that long without a potty break, in addition to the fact that they thrive on human attention and would get lonely. I also feel badly that with the millions of homeless pets out there, I made the decision not to adopt a cat from a shelter. However, I am allergic to cats, and upon doing research, I discovered the Siberian cat, which is a hypoallergenic breed. The downside is that there is no way you are going to find one in a shelter or from a rescue group (believe me, I looked on Petfinder!). Which is why I had to shell out the cash to purchase Stephen from a breeder. It has been a worthwhile investment though. The breeder is wonderful and it shows in how intelligent and well-socialized my cat is. She also calls me every so often to check in on him and see if I have any questions or concerns. Disclaimer complete!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I have a strange job.

Happy 2009, everyone! First off, I would like to apologize to my thousands of loyal followers for my lack of posting in the last several weeks. I am very sorry to let you down. With the holidays and finishing up my critical care nursing residency program, I have been very busy. But now I am DONE! With the residency, that is. Beginning tomorrow evening, I will have my first shift without having someone hovering over me, watching my every move. I am excited, but very nervous at the same time. Now if I make a mistake, there is no one to catch it. It's all on me. Needless to say, I will only be taking care of the most stable of patients in the ICU, if I can help it!

My last shift in residency was on Sunday, and it seemed only fitting that I had my first patient death. That may sound kind of grim to some people, but it was like a natural transgression. I started off taking care of very stable patients and gradually transitioned onto sicker and sicker patients, to finally one that was so sick that there was nothing left that could be done.

He already looked like a dead man from the moment I started that shift. His skin was mottled, extremities were cold. You couldn't feel any of his pulses. Pulse oximetry monitoring wouldn't work on him since his peripheral blood circulation was non-existent.He was on three different vasoactive drips to keep his blood pressure up. He was maxed out on two of the medications, and so our only option was to gradually go up on the third until that one was maxed out. And from there, we just waited for him to go.

It was a bit tense, standing in the room with the family members, all staring at the monitor, watching his heart go into arrythmias. Brief runs of ventricular tachycardia. Blood pressure kept dropping. I had to just turn off all the alarms on the monitor because the constant blaring was just a reminder of how quickly this man was going down.

Onces the blood pressure dropped into the 30s and 40s, my preceptor and I attempted to find either a carotid or femoral pulse. Nothing. Decided to page the on-call doc to examine the patient, because at this point, he probably really was dead. On-call doc was just an intern. Idiot intern. He didn't show up for nearly 20 minutes. He couldn't feel any pulses either and decided to call it. "So, is there like a form or something I need to sign?" he asked me. "I don't know. You're the doctor," I replied.

The respiratory therapist came in and disconnected him from the ventilator, while me and my preceptor turned off the numerous IV pumps, turned off the monitor. I'm not sure why I expected the man to move or breathe or anything like that, but of course he didn't. Everything was still, quiet. He was dead.

After all the necessary paperwork was completed, I went to get the keys to the morgue and a gurney on which to put the body. By the time we zipped him into the body bag, it had been almost three hours since he was officially declared dead. I was surprised that his body was stiff. Weird.

But it got even weirder. After unlocking the door to the morgue, there was yet another door to unlock, which was the door to the cooler. Yes, it was about the size of a walk-in refrigerator at a restaurant. Not nearly as big as you would expect for a hospital as large as the one at which I work. Four or five other gurneys with adult-sized bodies were in there. To the right, there were shelves with plastic storage containers that had tiny, baby-sized body bags. And there was a big red barrel that said "Placentas Only."

The third key was to open up the box where my dead patient's chart would go. And then I had to sign him into the morgue; much like you would sign someone into a doctor's office or a meeting.

So there you have it. My job, my work as a nurse. Well, only a small part of it. A small, strange part of it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Best Part of Holiday Shopping . . .

. . . is that you will hear "Last Christmas" by Wham! at least three times during each trip to the mall. Word.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Observations from the E.R.

As part of my orientation, I got paid to spend the day (a.k.a. sort of work and observe) in my hospital’s E.R. I had a really good time when I rotated through there during nursing school, and this time was no exception. There were several things that I noticed during that day:

1. As much as I enjoy working with the unconscious or intubated patients who cannot talk to me up in the ICU, I also really enjoy working with the “crazies.” At the county hospital, there is definitely no shortage of those. Take, for example, the old prostitute (so insist the ER nurses) with a walker who demanded to speak with the head of the hospital because we would not prescribe her narcotics. Or, the older African American gentleman who suffered a minor burn to his face after lighting a cigarette while on his oxygen tank. He was there so we could “get this black stuff off of his face.”

He couldn’t even tell us why he needed to be on oxygen in the first place. I must be a bit of a risk taker, because as agitated as he was getting, I still dared to put a catheter in him since he wasn’t able to “go” and we needed to get a urine sample to do a drug screen. He had initially flat out refused to get a catheter put in, but I was able to sweet-talk him into it. For that, I earned the nickname of “Angelina Jolie.”

2. I am getting better at putting in IVs. I was batting 1000 that day. Three for three, baby! I’ll be honest though; every person I stuck had veins fat enough that you’d have to be blind not to get one in. But whatever.

3. The ER nurses are a lot nicer than the SICU nurses. Don’t get me wrong, I do like (most) of the people I work with. However, as talented as they are, there is some serious attitude that gets thrown around, and it’s something I didn’t quite fully realize until I went to the ER. As much as I love my coworkers’ sick sense of humor and can relate to them on many levels, I just hope I don’t get fully sucked into their cult of superiority. I’m telling you, the nurses in my unit have a reputation around the hospital, and now I can see why!

4. Docs are around constantly. I thought we saw them a lot in the ICU, but they are literally there all the time in the ER. That is where they live. And all the hot ones are married.

5. If you are a trauma patient (car accident, fall, shooting, stabbing, etc.), expect a doctor to put his finger in your rear. The trauma hall was very busy that day, and on every admit that I saw, the same doctor was always sticking his finger up the patient’s butt. Yes, yes, there is a totally valid reason for it (to check for bleeding and rectal tone; no tone can mean a spinal cord injury), but the juvenile side of me smiled. I secretly wondered exactly how many butts had this doctor stuck his finger inside of during his tenure in the world of medicine? I was also amused by the male patient who screamed expletives while getting his special exam, as if the doctor was taking his manhood away from him . . .

6. There is nothing like getting to meet a patient up on the helipad. Okay, so I’m sure by the hundredth or even tenth time you get to do it, it would get old, but I was absolutely giddy inside when I learned that I would get to watch the CareFlite helicopter land and help wheel the patient on a gurney all the way back to the trauma hall. The warm wind, the setting sun, and the Dallas skyline in the background made for a perfectly surreal experience. You couldn’t pay me enough to be a flight nurse, but I’d love to take over once the copter lands! In a word: awesome.