Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 28, 2010

Last year on this day, Sweetie and I were shopping at a popular variety store in my old hometown when I got a call from the director of my Nurse Refresher program.   I had sent her an email just before Christmas, abandoning pride and throwing myself on her mercy.   

Find me a unit--anywhere--willing to take me for clinical experience, I begged.   My husband's company has been idle more than half this year and there are no projects on schedule for 2010.   I need to work!

She was not the person in charge of nurse placement, but she read my email and went to work trying to place me.   Now she was calling to tell me she had found a place for me at Li'l Old County General, 12 minutes from home; I should report the second week of January.   That phone call made my Christmas.  

A few of you may understand the chagrin I felt on visiting relatives, most of whom were healthy, happy, and well-paid while we were unemployed, broke, and putting on a good front.   I was glad for my family's success, but for me the hometown visit was too cruel a reminder of the years when we all had new clothes at Christmas, an obscene overabundance of gifts, and I was the Perfect Christmas Fairy.

2010 proved to be a year of adjustments and (Thanks be to God!) easing of financial worries.   We are in process of closing husband's company, a business into which we both put many hours of time and creative energy.   His client base has been demolished by the economy and work is so sporadic now that it doesn't make good sense to keep going.   Still, it is difficult to agree to label it DNR while there is any life left in the company.   I think at last we've agreed that "quality of life" for our company in this economy is impossible.   Pull the plug.  (sigh.)

Nursing work has made it possible for us to survive and prosper.   I didn't get a paying position until June, but Li'l Old County General has turned out to be a golden employer.  Along with decent working conditions, decent pay, and shift differential I got health insurance, sick leave, and chance for advancement.   These things are not (like husband's business) dependent on the whims of the wealthy.   Being a nurse makes it possible for me to stand on my own and provide for us while doing some earthly good.

Nobody is more surprised than I that nursing finally worked out.   Since I began in 1973, nursing seemed  an albatross of a job to me; I never felt fast enough or smart enough, and the shift work was a constant trial.   I left nursing three times, but fortunately I never lost my hard-won nurse sensibility.   The RN refresher course gave me a chance to demonstrate that my skills were not too rusted for use; forty years of varied life experience had made me a better nurse, too.

In the upcoming year I will grapple with my future in nursing; what direction will I take?  Informatics?  Chemotherapy certification?  RN to BSN to MSN?  Watch this space.

Gone to La-La Land

Apologies for months of no blog entries; Nurse Philosopher has been working a second job with Sweetie Husband which took a whole lot longer than anyone anticipated. 

We were elated when the project at La-La Land Care Center came through, failing to appreciate how it was strategically timed to fall athwart of every other plan we had for the next 60 days.  A few lessons learned: first, I'm not too old to burn the candle at both ends, but the flame meets in the middle a lot faster than it used to.  Second, I don't ever want to work in an Alzheimer's unit!  Just shoot me and send me to a place where patients don't pull on your leg while you're 4 feet up on a scaffold.  Third, when a worker doesn't show, you can call him and yell, but when you get the flu yourself, you're just SOL.  Last, I can personally attest to the reason-destroying properties of Christmas Muzak.  Work beneath a speaker pouring out Christmas drivel should be regulated by OSHA..  Heavily. 

Anyway, we send best wishes of the season to all the folks at La-La Land Care Center.  We're certain you can figure out where the gift deodorizers go.  Those small Christmas bags for the nurses contain earplugs; we hope they'll save the sanity of a nurse or two and help them cope with the continual din at La-La.  

Peace on Earth at last!