Saturday, March 31, 2012

The end is near...

So, I decided to write an end-of-the-year post for everyone who wanted to follow my experience. In a nutshell: it has really stunk. REALLY. It has definitely been one of the worst years of my life.

That's basically why I stopped blogging, by the way. I wasn't just slacking. I was just sad, angry, or overwhelmed all the time and didn't want to sing the same sad song every blog, so I just stopped. I've been crazy busy, out of my mind. So much work to do all the time. Even as I write this, I have eight assignments in the back of my mind. And I'm already finished with the vast majority of them!

Nursing school has been a real challenge. I have seriously considered quitting three times. I'm not even 100% sure right now that I'll go back next year. I have had teachers treat me badly, lab instructors telling me that I should know everything "because it's in the required reading!" and no friends and definitely no teachers to lean on for most of the year. I've felt like I didn't have any friends for probably 85% of the year. Now, I do have some new friendships that I value. These really are a blessing and I am very thankful for them.

My one happy place has been working in the library. Sometimes I think that's the only thing that has kept me sane. It's quiet, the work is easy, and no one is ever upset at me there. No one pretends to be concerned about me. The people there that I see like me well enough, and that job doesn't really have to do with people anyway. Much better than working with teachers who pretend to like you but really don't.

Recently, I threw up in clinical. It was my last day. I have liked clinical and have some good stories from it. I can wipe butts like no other now. Lots of people think that's such a big deal... I thought so too at first, but it really isn't. I have learned that people need what they need, and if that's someone to wipe them after they go to the bathroom, well, that's that and its no big deal.

Anyway, I was sick. My shift was almost over anyway and I asked my clinical instructor if I could leave. Super sharp pain in my abdomen, I felt really hot and then cold. No. Can't leave. I had to present my project first. Then she tells us that no one will get a full score before we even start. She even says no one will even get a 9/10, but if we're EXCELLENT, maybe an 8. But we should expect something more like a 7, because we're first years.

Sound weird? Sounds weird to me, too. But I hear it a lot, especially from the one professor. I think she must give us all 70% just because we're first years. I'm waiting for my grade to come back on a research paper that I spent 18 hours on... I bet it will be an 80% at best. Takes the wind out of my sails a little.

So anyway, I was waiting to present my project. Lying on the couch at clinical, not well enough to be up and walking around. The girls on my floor come in when the shift is over, and it wasn't their fault, but they all started eating. Then my clinical instructor comes in and starts eating as well. Eating and talking, asking people about their lives... While I am laying on the couch in pain, just wanting to go back to my dorm. After their little chitchat, they finally turn to me and she asks me to present (after telling us that we won't get a good grade, mind you) and so I present the best I can. I'm afraid for my grade now. They always told us that that specific presentation was no big deal, but apparently it's so hard to get 100% that it was already decided we wouldn't be getting it before we even started.

So anyway, I presented and then she asked me if I would like to leave and I said yes. I think she must have dismissed me in her mind. Don't know why nurses always seem to think they know what you're going through, but all I know is that I had very severe abdominal pain and I threw up during clinical and she took her time getting ready to present so I could finally go home. I don't know. It seems like I don't get much grace here. That's just a small taste of what I've been going through since being here. Stuff like this has happened again and again this year.

It's like the nurses completely forgot what it's like being in nursing school. I must have permanent bags under my eyes from all the late nights I've pulled here. I try so hard, and they treat me like I can't do anything. They treat me like I don't want to be there, and it makes me not want to be there. I just recently talked to my nursing adviser, just a routine check for classes for next semester, and I broke down in her office because she asked me how I was doing. I hardly ever cry in front of people, and there I was, completely broken - and I mean the ugly cry - in front of a lady I had only seen probably four times in my entire life.

She was so good though. A very compassionate adult. She listened to me and asked about what was causing me all this distress. I told her many things about my experience here and she said, "It sounds like Trinity isn't a very safe place for you." That's so true. She said it perfectly. I'm always on my guard. I don't trust my teachers, and I'm a trusting person by nature. The music in the lower cafeteria is inappropriate. The movies they choose for movie nights are inappropriate. Are we in a Christian school or what? The only difference is the "If life gives you lemons, give it Jesus" poster on the inside of the study room door.

Except for the weird Christian lingo about it being a spiritual gift to be single. I've definitely heard enough of that. Single girls here are so insecure about being single they have to take it out on people who are not single, unfortunately for me. They like to talk about how great they are because of how they are "waiting" to date because they want to get right with God first. Very noble, but sometimes I just doubt it's true. Some people mean it, they do, and that's very nice, but sometimes I think some people just need to make themselves feel better.

Yeah, so I've been stressed. But I did like the residents that I worked with. Very funny, meeting all the different personalities. There's the drill Sgt lady, the lovely little English lady, the two German ladies, the feisty (and actually mean) Spanish lady, the little old men that flirt, so many characters. Many of them have dementia. I am no longer afraid of people with dementia, I love them. Most of the time they are still quite sweet, or at least harmless. One on my floor sings all the time, and another will tell you that you look "just lovely!" every time you talk to her. So sweet. She thinks she's drowning when you give her a bath, but then you can distract her by talking about her grandchildren and she might forget she's in the water. I even found a hardcore Christian lady, I connected with her the best. She told me today that I can't let the devil get to me by saying that I feel ill. Not sure what to think about that, but maybe it has some truth to it... :)

Community clinical has been fun, too. I sang with people in the choir. Half the time they were just wondering why in the world we were there, but when they realized it was for school they'd open up and talk to us. That place was really neat... People often find places like that after they lose a spouse, and it saves their lives. Community helps people from being a vegetable on the couch, a sure way to a fast death. That's what I saw in community care. Very noble, very good cause. I support it wholeheartedly. I wish we could have done a fundraiser for them.

Anyway, maybe I'll make a few posts about my favorite clinical stories. That would be fun. Sorry this post doesn't flow as well as usual, I just wanted to make a post for anyone who would like to read it. So, that's my year in a nutshell. I liked the people I served... Not so much the professors or the lab/clinical instructors. But, who knows? Maybe nursing is still the right thing for me.

I love all of you guys. Hope you had a less stressful year than I did. :)