The First Week

So I’ve survived my first week of being a school nurse for special needs students. I had a good week I think. I quickly became a pro at hanging gastric tube feedings, emptying an ostomy bag and giving medications by mouth to challenging students who are able to walk on their own but unable to communicate verbally. I’ve also become proficient in figuring out insulin doses for diabetic students. Time management quickly became my priority this week as well as helping out my co workers since they waste no time in offering to help me out.

I am learning from these students. Such as those that upon first impression, you think they aren’t cognizant of your presence or that they might know you. After calling their name and speaking to them they get used to your voice and you start to see a glimmer of recognition and its sweet and nice and humbling. When a student you’ve just met this week refused to talk to you then answers on Friday when you ask what she had for lunch you can’t help but grin.

For the most part I see the medically fragile students but here and there are “walk in” cases and you never really know who’s going to walk through the door with what ailment.This past week I was quickly put to the test, using my nursing assessment and judgement as a guide to treating a few walk ins. I don’t always feel confident in my judgement but that is what will come with time I’m sure.

I feel fortunate to be there.


The Job

When it’s your first week on the job you want to do everything right and/or in time. I have a set assignment of students who are “mine” and I’m quickly getting to know them as well as the students assigned to the other nurses I work with. It’s a great environment where we help each other, no one says “ well he’s/she’s not mine!” And goes about their business. I’m glad I am where I am and I do believe God has placed me there for a reason. I really like the job and my co workers. It’s also nice to be at a local school and be home by 3:30 ish. Depending on when I leave because there’s always something more to do to keep you there.

I was chatting with one of the staff this morning and this woman happens to also be a mother of 2 special needs sons. They are both blind and are in wheelchairs. We spoke about group homes and how she is not ready to go there with her sons. She’s worried that they won’t receive the same care at a group home compared to how she as their mother cares for them. My heart broke a little at that point. I told her maybe she should pray about the situation and ask for guidance and direction. She confided how she was angry at God for some time after her sons were born but she isn’t angry anymore. I can understand that and appreciate those feelings. We ended the conversation with us both having to get back to work. I hope she does pray about her situation for the God I know will answer her in His time.

Speaking of group homes we are still waiting for Thomas to move into his. My son is so ready, oh man. And he’s been so patient, it’s inspiring. Not once has he complained about how long this process has taken. I’m hopeful that maybe he’ll be in by Christmas?  One can hope.

Getting Ready

This may sound silly but I almost can’t wait to go to work tomorrow. I have my own desk that I’ve already printed out pictures of my family to put on;  I bought 2 small non breakable pumpkins to place on there and I get to organize my medication and treatment binder; where all my orders for the students I’ll be caring for are kept. I’m looking forward to organizing the medication binder the way I want it. Right now it’s all together just not the way I want it.

I guess I’m the quintessential “new girl” at the office. I’m looking to organize the huge bulletin board that is currently unorganized. We have a decent sized room thank goodness. I’m not looking to change the world or change the school even.  I want to serve God and care for my students as a child of The Lord.

I’m glad I trained at this school this past week because I was able to become a little familiar with the students assigned to me and also get to know some of the staff. I’m looking forward to getting to really know “my students”.

I’m excited for this new chapter in my life. And I’m reminded that God never wastes hurt or a trial. My history with Thomas and all we’ve been through have prepared me for a job I had no idea was waiting for me. My background experience as a nurse in hospital so many years ago has been useful in ways I never thought it would be.

God is so good.

New Assignment!

Wow, I’m so excited!  Today I found out that the school I’ve been training at requested me to be their new nurse!  I won’t be traveling to Manhattan every day (although I was totally ok with it). I’ll be working at the special needs school that Thomas used to attend before he went to residential school. It’s here where I live; my commute is about 20 minutes with traffic!

I’m so blown away by the whole thing. God is so good! I was not expecting this at all. The two other nurses I work with are so great they have no issue with me being new (and neurotic). They have been wonderful in teaching me what I don’t know. Th whole staff have been great. I was chatting with one of the para professionals while caring for a student within the classroom and she asked me if I were staying. I told her no that I would be working in Manhattan starting Monday. She was disappointed that I wasn’t staying; it made me feel so good to be liked.

How I got the job? I mentioned that my son used to attend the school. The nurse I was training with with mentioned that to the new principal. The new principal loved that I was a parent of a former student and requested me to work there permanently. Amazing.

The Last Week

My orientation for the new job is almost over. As far as I know this will be my last week working with more experienced nurses before starting at my assigned school in Manhattan. This week in addition to classroom training I’ll be precepted by nurses here at a local special needs school. Coincidentally it’s the school Thomas used to attend before he went to the residential school.

The nurses there are great. There are  only 2 full time permanent nurses, the other nurse position is being held by an agency nurse. She was great as well. Being so close to home made me wonder if I should or could ask for a position at that school. My commute is 25 minutes including driving around looking for parking. And it was nice to be home so early after work. By then again I do love Manhattan. I don’t love the commute but it’s really not a deal breaker. I’m trusting The Lord will lead me to where I’m supposed to be.

I don’t know if I feel “ready” to be finished with training. Does anybody ever feel ready to be on their own in a new job? I’m definitely ready to report to the same place every day and get a solid routine going. In the past 5+ weeks I’ve been to the East and West sides of Harlem, the lower east side, the upper west side and let’s not forget Long Island City thrown in for good measure with a jaunt to downtown Brooklyn here and there to clear up human resource issues. I’ve become well versed in the NYC subway system with the exception of the lettered trains. I’ve learned which of my shoes to NOT wear because they are certainly not “walking shoes”.  I’ve come to enjoy the ferry ride both to and from Manhattan and I don’t mind the subways. People for the most part leave you alone you just don’t make eye contact that often.

But working so close to home this week makes me wonder if I would accept a position here if offered. I think there are some union issues attached to the job posting; other wise I can’t understand why they wouldn’t offer the job to me or the other woman in my training class who is from my borough. She lives on the “South Shore ” of our little Island. I live on the North Shore which means I’m closer to the ferry and my commute costs less money than hers does.  I believe she takes the Express bus which costs (I think) 7.50 each way.

Anyway…I’m writing this on the ferry and the boat is preparing to dock. I look out the window and the sun is almost up. It was dark as night when I left my house. Good morning to all!

Going to Church

It’s Sunday morning and I’m up early (big surprise), I’ve already had my coffee peacefully and noiselessly except for letting the dogs out and feeding the younger one. Today is church day for me. I really enjoy going to church. I enjoy our Pastor and his passion for Jesus and the Gospel. Every Sunday without fail Pastor John incorporates the Gospel in his messages and I love that. Although it would be strange to go to church and not hear the Gospel. I mean that’s what it’s all about. While we were still sinners Jesus died for our sins and the Father loves us so much that he gave his only son to die on that cross. Simple yet can be complicated.

Complicated because many people refuse the gift of God’s mercy. They refuse for so many reasons, they won’t humble themselves and submit to The Lord, they are insecure and don’t believe they deserve such mercy, the list can go on and on. I used to be one that refused to humble myself to The Lord. I thought I could do everything on my own in my own power. Little did I know God was orchestrating my life. Placing each person in my path for my good while trying to raise my children, especially Thomas.

Today and everyday I submit to God. I know His son died for me so I can have a relationship with The Father and I am so grateful. Knowing He goes before me in every aspect of my life is so comforting, even through the storms.

I remember last year when my father in law passed. My own Dad was diagnosed with liver and colon cancer and my mom diagnosed with bladder cancer. It was a terrible time, but God did something only He could do; He wrapped me in His love. I seriously never felt so loved in all my life, that was The Lord guiding me through the storm.

The Gospel is so powerful. It can change your life. If you let go and accept the free gift called mercy. If you submit your life to The Lord and know without Him in your life you’re lost.

I’m going to get ready for church now so I can hear a wonderful uplifting message from Pastor John and leave knowing I worship a God who loves me.





Fragile the definition is: “adjective
(of an object) easily broken or damaged.
synonyms: breakable, easily broken; delicate, dainty, fine, flimsy; eggshell; formal frangible
“fragile porcelain”
flimsy or insubstantial; easily destroyed.
“you have a fragile grip on reality”
synonyms: tenuous, shaky, insecure, unreliable, vulnerable, flimsy
“the fragile ceasefire”
(of a person) not strong or sturdy; delicate and vulnerable.
synonyms: weak, delicate, frail, debilitated”.  Makes you want to step back a little and make sure you treat that object or person with the utmost care. Medically fragile sounds even more intimidating. That is the population of students I’ll be caring for this next week and then there after at my assigned school. It’s a whole new ball game for me.

My Thomas is special needs but was never in the “fragile” population. He takes daily meds but those meds are to control his behavior so he can be a functioning member of society and not a danger to others.  “Medically fragile” can cover a wide range of issues with a person. It could be a serious uncontrolled asthmatic or someone with a trach and a feeding tube. I’m curious what range of medically fragile students I will see on Monday and also at my assigned school. In both situations I won’t be the only nurse thank God. I will be the “second” nurse at my assigned school.

In the teaching/preceptor scene on Monday I’m told I will see a lot of “interesting” things. This intrigues me of course. What constitutes interesting? I’d be lying if I said taking care of fragile humans doesn’t intimidated me a bit. But I have confidence in my supervisor’s judgement to place me where she has.

I will enjoy my weekend spending much needed time with my kids and husband. And I’ll be pondering the fragility of us all in the meantime.

Commuting and more training

My commute is in full swing, I’m up at o’dark thirty every morning to catch the 6:40 am ferry. That part I don’t mind too much. It’s nice to be out and about that early. Usually everyone is still tired so no one is very chatty which is a good thing, I’m not in a chatty mood that early in the morning. However the boat at that time is also the ferry most teens take, that attend high school in Manhattan. And they are quite chatty and loud. Annoyingly so. I’m showing my grumpy old age here.

Training had been going well.  I’m at my third school training with a more experienced nurse. Next week I won’t have to commute, the last school I’m training at is one in the borough where I live. Actually it’s the school my son Thomas used to attend when he lived at home, but I’ll be with the more medically fragile students. I’m open to going there since my assigned school is one also with medically fragile students. For whatever reason I know I will miss commuting. There’s something about that ferry ride that can be soothing and you’re leaving behind the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. It makes you appreciate the quiet of your own house.

I’ve been praying that God will give me wisdom during the time I’m giving care to the students. I’m finding some aspects of nursing are just like riding a bicycle; you don’t forget. Medications and equipment may change but your nursing assessment does not, neither does your judgement. And I’m counting on that to get me through this season where I’m brand new and just out of training. Until I build up my confidence and find my way.

I keep reminding myself that God had His hand in me being where I am today. He didn’t lift me up only to drop me on my face. I am His child and He knows what He is doing. The Lord has confidence in me when I don’t have it in myself. I am a child of the King!


A Year

Today is a year since my father in law, “Chick” passed away. I can remember that day as if it were yesterday and it’s hard to believe a whole year has passed since he was alive and with us. Chick was great and sweet and loving and thoughtful. And as a father in law I couldn’t have asked for better. He treated me not as an “in law” but as a daughter. It was an honor to be called “Babe” by him.

My mother in law resides in a near by nursing home, Chick had been living there as well at the time of his passing. They would both sit in the hallway passing time being together and having meals with each other. It was nice to visit them together, Chick was always interested in what was going on with you. “How’s the job going? Are you working overtime? Have you been busy?” I remember the last couple conversation I had with him was about my new job last year when I was hired to do chart abstraction. It was my first time working full time in about 20 years. Chick was so encouraging and happy for me. It was nice. I know he would’ve been equally if  not more happy if I could tell him about my new employment.

And he would never fail to entertain my children no matter what their ages. All my children adored their Poppy. As they grew older he treated them as older:  never forgetting milestones or birthdays.

Raised in the Catholic faith I have no doubt that Chick accepted Christ as his Savior so I know that he is with the Lord and that someday we will meet again. Where he is now,  there is no sickness or limitations of the body. His soul is free.

I really miss him. I miss him sitting with my mother in law and his stories about the other residents and the staff. I miss his encouraging voice and his laugh. I know my mother in law misses him so much more than I ever could. At first I was angry with Chick for leaving my mother in law. I know that was irrational but to visit her in the nursing home after the funeral and see her all alone was so incredibly sad. She still mourns him and after knowing Chick for as long as I did and witnessing them as a couple I don’t blame her for mourning him still and she probably will for some time to come.

So we’re here; a year later. Things change, somethings are the same. My kids are all a year older and different milestones have come and gone.  We are still missing him, still loving his memory.