And Then It Was Monday…

The weekend had felt like it just flew by. Those two days off always feel too short. Like there are less hours in a Saturday plus Sunday than a Monday plus a Tuesday. Although this past Monday and Tuesday went pretty fast. It was a busy time of anaphylaxis, epinephrine, respiratory distress, oxygen and calling 911. Those things don’t occur everyday but enough that we are kept on our toes.

The rest of the week has been more of our normal speed with little bumps in the road here and there. Our typical days are busy as it is when all our students that need nursing services are in attendance. We had a fire drill today which is always interesting as we have many students in wheelchairs. You’re not permitted to use the elevator in the event of a fire; so those students who cannot navigate the stairs go to specialized holding rooms on the second and third floors. I’m the nurse who goes to the third floor holding room to stay with students and staff who are unable to leave students unattended. I don’t mind my role, it’s just odd to be walking up the stairs while everyone else is walking down the stairs and then out the building.

My first year at my school we did have a small fire. I was up in my spot in the third floor with students and teachers. We smelled the smoke but I wasn’t afraid I figured if it became really bad they would take us out through the window that’s specially made for evacuations. Thankfully it didn’t come to that. Everything was kept under control and we were led out by the firemen and then went down the street to a neighboring public grammar school as per our evacuation plan. The school was very accommodating to us. And after an hour or so we were allowed back into our building to gather the students’ belongings and get everyone in their busses, the next day it was business as usual.

One more day and it’s Friday! Another weekend to fly by really fast. And it will then be the beginning of another week, but this week is a short one due to Thanksgiving. It’s so great to have the day after Thanksgiving off and a 4 day weekend. Maybe I’ll do Black Friday shopping if some things catch my eye, otherwise I’ll probably put the tree up.

Adventures on a Thursday

Thursday, the 14 of November started out as any other day. Three of the students I usually take care of were absent so that meant less running around for the day, or so I thought. In retrospect it was good that they were absent because I was able to take care of other unexpected incidents that popped that day. As soon as my students were off the bus and in the classroom I set them up for gastrostomy tube feedings and medicine administration. Our students who receive gastrostomy tube feedings receive their feedings in the classroom with their peers. We keep all the students’ supplies appropriately labeled in their own drawer and on a specifically labeled cart.

After feedings are started, I’m on to another student who requires morning medication, Later on in the morning I have to go to another floor to start a gastrostomy tube feeding for another student. At 11:30 all was right with the world…then things hit the fan. As I was finishing setting up my 11am g-tube feeding a call for a student needing nurse went out over the portable radio we are required to carry. I finished as quickly as I could and ran down to the first floor where the urgent situation was. One of my co workers was already there and was handling the situation well. My radio then goes off again, “Menay, report to room 3xx”. Crap! I ran back up to the third floor, panting trying to catch my breath. My other co worker had a situation with a student that she needed help with. We couldn’t do much to fix what went wrong since we did not have a doctor’s order to proceed further. The student’s mother was coming to the school to handle the situation. Whew! But that doesn’t mean it was over. The mom needed medical supplies located in our office in the 2nd floor. So another co worker was the go-getter of needed supplies making at least 2 trips back and forth between floors.

After helping out in the 3rd floor I still had to go back down to the 2nd floor for the 12:00 g-tube feedings and scheduled medications for other students. By the time I made it back to the nursing office it was standing room only. My students and their paras were waiting for me, other students and their paras were waiting for my co workers.

I managed to give out scheduled meds and then realized it was time to give water flushes to the students who received their 12 pm g tube feedings. There was also a previously scheduled meeting with the building response team that either my co worker or I or both of us were supposed to attend. Needless to say we both missed the meeting.

More About Nursing.

I was at Barnes and Nobles last week and I wandered over to the “nursing/medical” section hoping to find a book or 2 written by nurses about their lives and various experiences. I found nothing of interest. Nothing. There were self help books written by doctors, books written by doctors about how they changed as people when they became a doctor, and more self help books. Then there were text books of which I have no interest. I already took the classes they had textbooks about when I was in nursing school. Various drug information books and of course anatomy and physiology books. Just a sample of what I saw. I was disappointed. I am going to google and see what results I come up with.

I would love to read about other nurses’ experiences, especially a book about a nurse who swore she would never work as a nurse again, applied for a job she wasn’t sure she wanted, was hired for said job and as a result fell in love with her job and the profession of nursing. A feeling she never had towards nursing to begin with. And lest we not forget the whole handbag issue the main character would have.

My mom is a nurse and I always felt nursing was a calling, in your blood if that makes sense. My mom is an amazing nurse who had that calling and she’s so smart and talented I would absolutely say nursing is in her blood. Even when I graduated college I never felt that way about myself. When I worked my first job on the neuro unit in hospital there were many nights I wondered why was I doing this?? Was this really what I signed up for? I did not like working in the hospital. So much work both mentally and physically, so little time to use the freaking bathroom, so many personalities, so much drama, so not me. You had to work every other weekend and don’t get me started on working holidays. If you were me you weren’t a favorite of the manager and received the crappiest holiday schedule ever. But I’m not bitter… I digress…working in hospital was never for me I know that now. But I did get a great nursing foundation and experience so that’s the other side of the coin.

Today I tell people I love my job when asked “so how is work,” and I do love my job. It’s not the great schedule of Monday to Friday, off when the schools are off. I swear it’s not, a wonderful perk yes. I’m not ignorant. I love taking care of the students I’ve been entrusted to take care of. I love that parents trust me to take care of their special needs, medically fragile child. I don’t take that trust lightly. I never took it lightly when I had to put my trust in nurses I met that very day, to depend on them to give my son medications only I had given him as that was my department when Thomas lived at home. To trust those nurses to give him correct dosages, to remember to remind the doctor his blood levels and blood cell count had to be monitored. One of the hardest things I ever had to do secondary to handing over my son was to hand over his medications. It meant I had to step down a notch in his life and put my trust in someone else. I get it.

I sometimes wish I discovered school nursing when I was younger. But…when I was younger I was busy with Thomas, and also busy with Alyssa and Lelly, then came Samantha. So I don’t know how I would have held down a full time job when I had more than full time responsibilities for my family. The timing would have been off. My working now is nothing short of God’s timing.

For The Love of Handbags

I adore handbags, it’s no secret. Especially to friends and family. And I change my bag every week, every 2 weeks sometimes every month. Depending on my mood and what bag I haven’t used in a while or if there’s a new one waiting to be taken out. I love a big bag since I like to carry a lot of “stuff.” We all have our necessary things in our bag that we must have on us when we leave the house.

I carry my wallet which is a long continental style. I don’t like to fold my paper money. And I also carry 2 smallish pouches that are filled with things I don’t want flying around my bag like a change purse, lip balm, work keys, etc… That’s my secret to changing bags so often, almost everything is within the 2 pouches so all I have to do is transfer the pouches and my wallet to the new bag and voila! Bag change made easy.

It’s also no secret that I love designer bags. I have a soft spot for Coach which was my gateway to collecting handbags. I also score designer bags when thrifting. I thrifted a Chanel last year. I almost ran out of the store when I realized it was authentic. It did need a cleaning so I sent it out to a company in New Jersey that specializes in restoring handbags. I’ve also thrifted Mulberry, a Burberry wallet, Coach bags, Balenciaga, Christian Dior pouch, and most recently a great black leather Frye bag.

I do buy retail. I’ve yet to thrift a Louis Vuitton so with the exception of my first Louis; a Speedy 25 which was a gift from my soul sister Jackie, I have purchased from the boutique. Thomas has accompanied me to all my trips to Louis Vuitton. He’s a great co-shopper and will be blatantly honest with you. I find the sales people in the stand alone boutique in New Jersey to be extremely rude. The nicest sales people I encountered work in the boutique within a department store such as Neiman Marcus Or Saks Fifth Ave. There they were very polite to Thomas and me and treated us both like regular people. The one time I went to the stand alone store the saleswoman was very rude and almost ignored my son. But Thomas wouldn’t have it, he kept saying hello to her until she answered him back appropriately. I was so proud of him. I would have left but I was only there to pick up a bag I ordered over the phone and it was already paid for.

Last summer I purchased a Louis Vuitton bag to celebrate that I worked the summer at my school. This past summer I worked and celebrated with Hermès and my motorcycle. I don’t think I would buy another Hermès. I’m not that lux. In a way it’s cool though because it has no branding or name anywhere except the interior where it says “Hermès made in France.” No one knows what I’m carrying and I’m ok with that. Some days I like to be inconspicuous. In fact the more I think about it, with the exception of my Louis Vuitton and Coach bags none of them have obvious branding or the name of the designer.

I don’t see myself slowing down in the handbag department. It doesn’t matter what size you are, bags always fit. And when I get really tired of one I can always sell it, or gift it. I’ve gifted a few of my bags and it always makes me smile to know someone else is enjoying what I enjoyed.

Small Group

I am the leader of a small group at my church for Moms of Special Needs Children. The group is held at my church and is based on one’s relationship with Jesus Christ. We’ve been meeting for about 2 years now, but my number of members attending have dropped. At one point the number of attendees reached 5-6 women and that was awesome. But people move, work hours changed or they decided they don’t want a Christian based group. As a result my member group number dropped sharply. It’s ok, I do love and enjoy the members who are still attending.

My issue is how to attract new members to my small group. I’ve met two co workers who have special needs children. And I’ve invited them to the group. It’s difficult I know to show up somewhere at a church you don’t belong to and sit with people you don’t know from Adam. But…when someone does start to attend they find they want to talk even cautiously at first; in fear of judgement. It took me a long time to share; even with my own small group the not often talked about details of my life with my son.

When you have a special needs child it changes you to your soul, your core the very definition of who you are. And you accept certain situations or behavior in your life that the old you thought you could never tolerate. But guess what…God has His hands in everything! Even the bad times and especially the seemingly unbearable times. When I was going through a bad storm in my life my dear friend Louse whispered in my ear, “I see God’s fingerprints all over you.” I practically burst into tears at the thought of God being that close to me when I thought he was so far away.

I talk to parents of special needs children every day at my job. I understand a lot of their challenges and I can relate on a personal level. But I am hesitant to tell them about my group for fear that I will somehow find myself in “trouble” being that I work for the city. One of the teachers I’m friendly with who is also a Christian offered to tell the parents of her students about my group. I‘m grateful for her offer. And I wonder if she will. Nonetheless my group is meeting tomorrow evening and I’m so happy that we do have a new member who is planning to attend. I’m looking forward to hearing her story and connecting her with other members of the group. I guess my group will grow one member at a time, when God sees fit for my group to grow.

The Last Kid and High School

Samantha is in 8th grade and will be starting high school next September. She’s our last one. The last one to graduate junior high and the last one to go to high school. You would think after our older 2 girls this would be easy. Nope. Samantha is nothing like our older 2 girls. She definitely marches to her own, unique drum. And her choice of high school, down to activities will be very different than her sisters’ .

Last night we went to an open house of the high school I attended and graduated from. It had totally changed in the past 31 years in an absolute good way. I remember the halls were pretty drab, like nothing to write home about and it was clean and all but again…whatever…it was just school… Last night the school was shining like a superstar, no kidding. It was immaculately clean; the halls and bulletin boards were decorated in fun ways some teachers posted signs saying what college they graduated from and to ask them about that college. I thought that was pretty cool. Samantha made plans to “shadow” another student for one day later on in the month, she’s looking forward to that and I think it will be a good experience.

We are going to visit at least 2 other high school open houses. I’m looking forward to seeing what the other schools have to offer. One school I’m not too keen on because he the public transportation options aren’t the greatest. Plus I’m not sure if there’s a lottery to get in since it’s a charter school.

I guess I should be feeling sad or melancholy about this whole thing, she’s the baby, blah, blah… But I don’t. The older my kids get the more I enjoy their independence and I enjoy their company. We can be together and just hang out or go out somewhere and there’s no crying or fits. People always used to say that I would miss my kids being young/small. I don’t. Don’t get me wrong we had plenty of good times when everyone was younger but now to have them be young adults or in Samantha’s case a young teen and to not be nervous because the house suddenly got quiet is really, really nice. I look forward to Samantha’s choice of high school, and I look forward to all the milestones that come with those 4 years.