Monthly Archives: March 2013

Acceptance

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“He’ll be coming and going” he had said. “One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down–and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”

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The time I ordered salad and water on a date

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Today is such a beautiful day. I woke up late (around 8:45, which isn’t that late, but I felt like Rip Van Winkle), and the sun was streaming through my windows as a sign of good things to come. I was with a Birth Companions mom yesterday, and had popped home to get some rest with the expectation that she would call me in the wee hours of the morning, but that call didn’t come (this baby isn’t in any hurry, and still hasn’t made their debut), so I got a solid nine hours of desperately needed sleep
My friend Maria and I went to the Farmer’s Market this morning, and I stocked up. I feel like I’m waking up from hibernating- I hadn’t been to the market in forever, and it was great to be back in my normal routine. I bought eggs, and onions, and garlic, and sweet and red potatoes, and the first kale that I’ve had in ages. The mom texted me while I was still out shopping, so I cut things short and went home to drop off my groceries and then went to the hospital.
(Because things are moving so slowly I’m at school, kind of studying, but mostly blogging. Things have been happening, and I haven’t been writing about them, but I’m trying to catch up.)
So. There’s a boy. That sounds a little more serious than it is, but we’ve been out several times, and I’m warming to him. He’s very sweet, and I’m really trying to give this a reasonable chance. It’s hard though! I carry a lot of neuroses around, and sometimes they bleed out a little, like the other night that inspired this post’s title. It wasn’t meant to be a thing- I don’t do that bit where I refuse to eat like my normal self in front of boys, but we had plans to go to a concert, and I didn’t realize that we were also getting dinner, so I had a snack beforehand, and my friends keep eating delicious-looking salads in front of me, so that’s what I wanted. The water thing was because I was on call for a birth- I had a mom who was being induced that night, and I didn’t think it was likely that I’d be called in, but it was a possibility, so I didn’t want to drink. It sounds so innocent, but then our meals came, and I looked at his plate and beer, and my plate and water and felt silly and self-conscious. Most of the time things are comfortable and nice though, and I’m pleased that this is happening.
I’m also moving to Alaska. That should probably get higher billing, but instead I’m slipping it in at the end of a post about dating and births because it’s so big. My family is having Feelings about it, and I’m sure as it gets closer I will too, but right now I just feel certain that it’s the best thing I can do for myself. I’m not even questioning it- I just know that I should go live in Alaska for a little while. I have reasons- there are lots of nursing jobs (and lots of L&D nursing jobs at that), and the pay is good, and it’s an adventure. I want to go places, and be out of my element, and totally uproot my life while I’m still unattached and can do that kind of thing. Plus there are the Northern Lights, and salmon, and summer days when the sun never goes down (and winter days when it never comes up, but that’s beside the point). I think it’ll be a really great thing, and I’m excited.

Flora

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This weekend I went to a live performance of Peter Pan, and ran a Jungle Cup race, and had dinner at Scott and Emily’s. It should have been great, but this weekend I also lost a good friend, and so nothing could make this weekend anything other than sad.

010Flora and I had been together since the summer before my sophomore year of college- she lived with me in three states, and catalyzed my escape from my horrible roommates. She was shy, and odd, but I really loved her, and I believe that while she probably didn’t know her name, she knew who I was, and felt at least 85% sure that I wouldn’t try to eat her. She would still sometimes drag her blanket over her food bowl so she could eat unobserved, but she liked coming out of her crate to play or even just sit with me, and we were friends.

She hadn’t been well all week, but things got really bad late Friday night. My friend Sarah was incredible, and took us to the emergency vet in the wee hours of the morning, but even before she was seen I knew Flora wouldn’t be coming home with me again. The vet wasn’t sure what was wrong- she said it might’ve been cancer, or a serious infection, and that a lot of the time hedgehogs don’t show that something’s wrong until it’s too late. She said we could try to figure out the root of the problem, but it likely wouldn’t help. I knew she was in pain, and I just wanted to help her not suffer, so it was an easy decision, but it was still very sad.

Pets are hard. I’ve lost two this year, and it broke my heart both times. They’re so worth it though- they brought me so much happiness, and I loved them very much.

 

In which I use an idea I found on Pintrest

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Spaghetti squashes last a long time. I once kept a spaghetti squash for months, (months!) before using it, and to my surprise and delight, when I cut it open it wasn’t a black, rotted mess. This is useful, because while I love spaghetti squash, I never want to cook it, especially because cutting into gourds always feels like a game of chance, and one day I’ll wind up cutting my hand right off. They’re good to have around though, especially for nights like last, when I forgot to take chicken out of the freezer before leaving for school, and then got held up, so didn’t have time to wait around for things to thaw before needing to eat. More often than I would care to admit, this would be cause for the dinner of ramen noodles, but yesterday I did myself one better, and broke into my trusty squash (this one was less than months old, but it had been sitting for a pretty long time, making me feel guilty).

I’ve been watching a lot of Doctor Who lately, and then going onto Pintrest and looking at fan art of David Tennent being adorable (Pintrest is so full of Doctor Who stuff- it’s a little overwhelming, and I want to pin it all (except Matt Smith stuff, because I’m not there yet)).

Last night however, I was looking at food, and I came across this:

and thought it looked delicious. I had the squash, I had lots of cheese (thanks to my parents, and Costco), and I had the inclination to try something a little different. It was very easy to make- I roasted the squash, and melted the cheese with some milk and flour, mixed them together with some frozen peas, and then baked the whole thing for twenty minutes. It didn’t even take me that long, but I had a (kind of) healthy dinner, and enough left over for today’s lunch. So yay.

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004(I topped it with bacon, because…why not?)

I had two patients today at clinical, and now I’m overwhelmed at the idea of ever having more than that. How do nurses juggle four patients? I thought I was doing a total kickass job, and giving awesome patient-centered care, but it’s hard keeping all those plates spinning, and so I ended the day feeling stressed about my performance. It’s hard enough doing everything that needs to be done, but documenting it (twice, since my personal notes don’t count) makes it nearly impossible. I don’t think my patients saw me sweat though, which is what matters, but the thought of doing that with twice the patient load for a twelve-hour shift is intimidating.

Ick

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I managed to make and ruin two breakfasts today. It was bad. I try to make nice breakfasts on Saturdays, but these were both terrible.

My first plan was a Dutch pancake. I tried to make one last week, but didn’t realize that you aren’t supposed to mix in the butter, so it didn’t rise. It was still ok, but not quite what I was picturing. I knew better this week though, and so it should have been a success, but I was stingy (which is often a recipe for disaster), and didn’t want to use all my eggs. You can substitute chia seeds for eggs in baking though, so I decided to give that a try. The batter was an unappealing gray color, but I tried to remain optimistic, and grabbed a grapefruit to eat while I waited for it to bake. Within a few minutes my smoke alarm was going off though (it didn’t look smoky to me, but it must’ve been monstrous-pancake related, because I don’t know why else it would have gone off), which was deeply annoying. My smoke alarm is approximately fifty feet up the wall, so I grabbed a broom and tried to beat it into silent submission to no avail. I ended up calling the emergency after-hours number for the leasing office, but as soon as I was connected the beeping stopped. The pancake had baked for long enough, and so I opened the oven door and gazed at the horror within.

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Because looks can be deceiving, and because I hate wasting food I decided to try it. BAD IDEA. Fortunately, living alone allows for some suspension of table manners, and so I was allowed to spit out the disgusting bite, and dump the whole mess in the garbage. Lesson learned.

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My second breakfast should’ve worked. Having been burned by my attempts to be fancy and innovative I decided to make a nice bowl of oatmeal, something I’ve done a million times before. I added some strawberries, and mixed in some crunchy peanut butter, but when I took a bite it was like wallpaper paste. I really tried to eat it, but gave up after a few spoonfuls. Some things just aren’t meant to be.

I’ve decided to make today really productive, and do several of the things I’ve been ignoring all break (clean, resume, read for class). This week has flown by, and while I’ve had a lot of fun, I don’t feel prepared for school on Monday. I’ve passed into the part of break when I start to get snappish and stressed (also known as Too Much Christmas Syndrome), and I need to settle back into a routine.

More Love

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I had my first rugby practice in years last night, and it was great. I’m entirely out of shape, but I  had a ton of fun, and got super muddy. Practice goes until 9:00, and at the end of the night I tumbled into bed, feeling grateful for hot showers and soft sheets. This feeling lasted until 5:24 in the morning, when my phone rang, summoning me to a birth. Because I suck I didn’t have any cash, so I had to go to two different ATMs to get cab fare, but I arrived at the hospital at 6:00, just in time to see my client get her epidural. I have mixed feelings about epidurals, partly because I’ve seen them really help moms who didn’t feel like being in pain. Most of the time I think it’s possible to have a good labor without one, but not everyone feels that way, and it isn’t my call. It makes me feel like a bad doula when my moms get epidurals, but I think that’s more about peer pressure and my own baggage than anything else, and so I always support my moms to do whatever feels right. This mom eventually wound up having a C-section (so much doula guilt!), but the end result was a stunningly beautiful baby, so alls well that ends well, and I feel great about things. I stuck with this family for 12 hours (which is going to be my life after graduation. I can’t even deal with how long 12 hours is), and it was wonderful. There are times when I question whether I’m actually helping anyone with my doula-ing, but I think it makes a real difference, even if I’m just keeping people company. The dad today told me I have a very peaceful, calming presence, which is sort of what I’m going for, so I was pleased. I love what I do, and I’m glad when I’m able to help people.

My friend Maria came contra dancing tonight for the first time. It was a smaller crowd this week, and more normal, and less supermegaawesomefun, but I had a good time. Peter Parker was there again, and he was endearing and kind of cheesy (in a sweet way). I’d like to spend more time with him- he doesn’t make me feel floaty and enamored the way other people do, but I’m not sure those feelings are the basis for a real relationship anyway. I haven’t decided whether I’ll go dancing tomorrow or not- there’s rugby practice, which is free, and important (although I can honest-to-goodness barely walk. I always forget how punishing it is at the beginning of the season), but I loved the band when I saw them last week, and I love dancing. I have all of tomorrow to think about it though, so I don’t need to decide anything just yet. Either way, I’m entirely exhausted, and praying no one goes into labor tonight.

So much better

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I wish I could eat like this all the time.

Breakfast was an egg with Manchego cheese (I have an intimidating Costco-sized block to get through), and spinach, with a grapefruit.

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Snack was another pear, and lunch was a shredded roasted chicken breast on a sandwich thin with goat cheese and spinach (and a clementine).

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It has been raining all day, which means that tonight’s rugby practice is going to be muddy. I’m pretty psyched- I can’t remember the last time I got really dirty, and it makes showering way more fun (plus you get to play Bruise or Mud while you wash off).

Today is a lazy day. I’m doing my best to be productive this break (by which I mean not lumping in my pjs all day, and actually spending time with friends, and working out, and doing some school stuff), but there’s still room for lounging around.

If only

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Spring Break is a cruel tease- if only life were always like this! My parents came to visit, I went to a parade (and got my first sunburn of the season- I have tan lines on my chest from my necklace), and had a game night with my friends with Chinese food and natty boh (it turns out that Outburst is super fun. I bought it at a garage sale over the summer, but last night was the first time I ever played. The best part? My game is from 1986, so all the answers are super dated). Today I slept in, and then spent the better part of the day with a laboring mom. It isn’t even about the leisure (though I love the leisure)- I’d be happy if I had a job that I went to, and just had my weekends off, with the freedom to do fun things and not worry about tests and homework. Things could be so good if we were all already nurses, and weren’t going to scatter soon.

All this free time gave me the opportunity to take pictures of my food! I love Costco so much- I’m going to need to get my own membership at some point, because it’s just incredible.

004Breakfast consisted of a pear (from Costco- I was a little ambitious with the produce, so now I’m averaging two pears a day to stay on top of them), strawberry oatmeal, and a cup of lemon tea.

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Lunch started with two clementines (not pictured, since I was at the hospital), a spinach a goat cheese sandwich, and roasted seaweed snacks.

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I was still hungry afterwards, so I had another clementine, and some peanut butter pretzel nuggets.

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Those are dangerous. The seaweed is my new favorite thing though.

I’m going out for a movie night with some friends soon, so I ate a quick dinner of stir-fry broccoli (my chicken is still defrosting, but I might have something more later).

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I did the broccoli with my a hoisin-esque sauce (sesame oil, soy sauce, peanut butter, rice vinegar, sriracha, maple syrup, and minced garlic), but it was way too salty. I’ll tweak the proportions next time.

Like a Pearl

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I saw a uterus today. I don’t think I had ever seen one in real life (I don’t know when I would have), and it was beautiful, and not just because it contained a baby (even though that is just short of miraculous- I could see into a woman’s body, and there was a baby inside, just growing, and living, and doing it’s baby thing). Pictures don’t do it justice, and illustrations certainly don’t, because it really does look like a huge pink pearl. C-sections are a tricky business, and seeing one for the first time reenforced how serious they are, and how they shouldn’t be done willy-nilly. All births are special, and this one was fascinating- I was especially interested in the way that the room seemed to forget about the mother the moment the baby was out. The surgeons kept working of course, but the focus had shifted, and it made me feel sorry. There she was, open on the table, with her baby across the room- it made me sad, and I was frustrated that my instructor tried to pull me away to fuss over the newborn. Babies are great, I’ll never knock getting to poke at a newborn, but the mom was still a patient too, and she still needed support. This mom had a family member in with her, so at least there was someone to hold her hand, but it made me worry about mothers who go in by themselves, and wish that doulas were allowed in more ORs.

I don’t do a great job of distancing myself. Today during post-conference we had a guest lecturer talk to us about families whose babies die, and I was a mess. It was ok at first, but then she brought out a bunch of donated handmade baby clothes, and I started to cry because they were so tiny. They were much too tiny for human babies- no person could be that small and live, which I suppose is the point. I just want to seal all of my patients up in bubble wrap, and I can’t, and it’s frustrating. My sister and I were talking the other night and I told her that I want to make sure everyone has what they need- it sounds so simple. If someone is in pain help them deal with it (giving pain medication is insanely gratifying- it can almost immediately vastly improve the quality of someone’s life. There are other ways to help manage pain though- my friend Kimberly is always giving her patients massages, which I think is lovely). If they’re lonely spend time with them, if they’re hungry give them food. It isn’t that easy all of the time, but sometimes it is, and yet people don’t always take those steps. I compared it to throwing a ball for a dog- you do something tiny, but it makes a huge difference to whoever you’re helping, and even if you weren’t that into it at first, seeing how good it made them feel makes you feel good too. I really hope this makes me a good nurse, and doesn’t cause me to burn out from not being able to save everyone, or completely break down when I eventually lose a patient.

On a lighter note: I’m on Spring Break!

Best Dance

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I had really high hopes for the dance last night- all the contra people hyped the band weeks in advance, and several of my friends swore they’d come along. I was convinced that it was going to be the best dance night ever…and it was! My friends actually bailed, which was a shame, because they totally missed out (I understand it, since it costs dollars and was raining, but I might give up on inviting them. They know I go every week, and if they want to come they’ll say so). I was kind of glum walking over, but as soon as I walked through the doors my mood lifted, because the band was incredible! It was a huge crowd- there were at least twice as many people as we would normally get, and several of them were young! Everyone was already dancing, and it looked like a pretty experienced crowd- I was actually pretty intimidated, and turned down several men who asked me if I wanted to join in the dance. These crushing rejections caught the attention of a Peter Parker-y looking young man, and he asked me if I’d like to be his partner for the next dance, to which I happily agreed (I’m ok once the caller explains things, but jumping in mid-dance is hard). Once I got going things felt terrific, and by the end of the dance I was booked for the next four songs (dance cards would’ve been helpful- there were so many people!), and feeling great about life. The whole night was a big happy blur- time passed unfairly quickly, and at the end I walked away with my  first partner’s phone number, and tentative plans to meet up at next week’s dance.

I’ve been thinking today about a quote from the movie Amelie “A woman without love wilts like a flower without the sun, it rots”. I don’t know if that’s true, but I know that the opposite is- when I like someone I blossom. I think that’s what my partner noticed last night, and why I had so many requests for dances, and it’s made me feel pretty all day. I have a crush, and it’s big, and magnetic, and utterly pointless, because it won’t, and really can’t go anywhere, but it’s right at the beginning when it just feels wonderful, so I’m trying to avoid thinking about later when it will be terrible. I’ve given it a lot of thought, and it’s much more important for me to preserve my friendship with this person than to pursue them and ruin everything, so instead I’m going to channel all of this positive energy into being sunshine-y, crush-having Caroline in my day-to-day life. I’m also going to give this other guy a chance- he seems really nice, and he likes to dance, and I don’t need anything more complicated than that for the time being. It’s a little tricky, since my friend also contra dances, and I’m utterly unsubtle in how much I admire him (as we were leaving the dance one of my favorite old man partners told him that he needs to come more often because I stay the whole night when he’s there, which was a little embarrassing, but also true), but I’m going to try. It’s well worth the effort.