Intense Times…

The title of this post was given to me by a dear friend, Heather when she described how we are living these days. The governor of my state had declared a state of emergency and has the authority to reassign NYC school nurses to work in city hospitals and nursing homes. Let me preface this to say I have no trouble working. I do have an issue with working in an environment that I’m not prepared to work in. There are many aspects of nursing that you learn in school and you do not forget. There are skills that require recent practice and there are many skills that stay with you for life. You adapt your practice to the responsibilities you face depending on where you work and hone those skills you use on a daily basis. I’ve learned how very different my work environment of caring for medically fragile special needs students is compared to the work of nurses who work in regional/typical population schools. The nurses who work in regional schools with typical students face different challenges and the skills they use are essential to their practice just as the skills I use in my practice are essential to the needs of the students I provide care for.

I began my nursing career working in a hospital. I did not like it. I gained invaluable experience there, but to say I did not like one thing about it is a fair observation. Many nurses love working in various units/areas of the hospital. They thrive in their environment and are skilled and wonderful in that practice. Same goes for those working in home care, nursing homes, office’s, corporate environment, working for an agency, and private duty. Most of us have a niche and we do best in that niche.

As of right now I have been “excessed” from the Enrichment center I was assigned to in Brooklyn. It’s been decided that they only need two nurses for the morning shift and two nurses for the afternoon shift. Right now I have no idea where I will be assigned next. That’s the part that’s freaking me out. The not knowing. I’ve called my malpractice insurance company to ensure that I’m covered no matter where I work. They assured me that the location change is not a problem. I hate that I have to think about these things. It’s funny because one nurse I recently met (she is a hospice nurse) remarked that I am putting my license on the line working at the school I work at. It’s funny because I don’t obsess about things like that when I’m working where I usually work; at my school. In this current climate of the unknown I have no doubt I will worry about putting my license “on the line.” It very unpleasant to not know where you’re going to be working. With which population? What will the nurse to patient ratio be? Those are just a few of my concerns, not to mention the lack of PPE in hospitals. I wait to see where I’m going next .

And I’m Back To Work

I’ve been home (using sick time that I didn’t want to use) because I’ve been waiting for my assignment to work in one of the enrichment centers the DOE have opened in all 5 boroughs. The centers are for children of essential workers. I was hoping to be assigned to work in the borough where I live but Brooklyn is fine, much better than the upper most West side of Manhattan they had me assigned to first. I’m a little nervous. There are supposed to be other nurses there, hopefully they’re nice and not too picky about my oddly colored hair.

So I made it there in one piece, sat in my car listening to worship music until it was time to go in. It’s calming to praise the Lord. I know He is with us and will see us through this storm. There is light and His name is Jesus.

Today my assignment has changed, I’m now going to a public school in Brighton Beach Brooklyn. I don’t mind going to Brooklyn. Due to Corona most people are home so there is no traffic. And parking wasn’t a nightmare. Yesterday I was home in 35 minutes, there were drivers on the BQE going so fast. Brooklyn drivers are amazing and something you really need to experience at least once in your life.

Today should be interesting, meeting new people. Yesterday one of the other nurses I worked with turned out to live only 10 minutes from me! We talked a while, I mentioned Thomas and me working District 75/special needs population. She began telling me about her nephew who is autistic, non verbal living with an older Aunt and they needed help. I quickly texted one of my moms from my bible study group and that mom was more than willing to share information she had with the other nurse. I love networking like that. It’s how we learn about others and how to help someone else. God knows what he’s doing.

Home With the Girls

My husband is considered an essential worker so he goes off to work everyday Monday through Friday. I’m here at home for now with my girls. They’re all students, two college and one, the youngest at 13; a junior high student. The 13 year old, Samantha is to complete school work online, she did well yesterday with only one hiccup. I’m hoping the rest of this online learning continues to go as well.

I’m waiting to take my statistics final. I was scheduled to take it this past Sunday morning but due to COVID 19, the college had to do some restructuring related to instructors proctoring exams and I am to reschedule my final. I want to just get it over with and move on. In the meantime I’m waiting on my employer to assign me to a program to work at.

One of Thomas’ housemates at the group home has tested positive and was hospitalized. As far as I know the man was sent back to the group home because his condition was stable, he was doing well and had no fever. I spoke to Thomas on Sunday and strongly instructed him to stay away from that particular housemate to avoid getting “sick”. Poor kid still wanted to know if we would pick him up for dinner. When I said no Thomas quickly said, “I don’t want to get you sick.” I’m thinking he gets it a bit. As for Thomas’ health he’s been fine, Thank God. No symptoms and no fever. God has blessed my son in many ways, Thomas is resilient, easy to do blood draws, adapts relatively easy to different life situations and he has a strong immune system.

My heart goes out to those parents who are home with younger children. I seriously thank God all this is happening during this time in my life. Everyone is older and the fighting between siblings is not there. Alyssa and Lelly get along as best friends (most of the time…) and Samantha as the youngest simply falls into place in her role. Tommy said the other day, “Imagine yourself home with a young Thomas and the girls”… I loudly said, “No! I can’t imagine”. I mean snow days were bad enough back in the day and you knew it was only for a day, two days max. This situation, it’s unclear as to when it will end.

Alyssa is great in that she loves to cook, we’ve decided on vegetable soup tonight, it’s going to be really good, I know it is. Yesterday was this chicken dish from Trader Joe’s, it’s a Kung Pao type meal that I added their vegetable fried rice to. It came out good and it’s something different.

I’m awaiting my employer to assign me a place to work now that the schools are closed. I had been assigned to a center way, way uptown around 154 St. in Manhattan. I requested a change since that is so far away but I believe I’m now on the pay no mind list; I haven’t heard anything. Very frustrating.

These days…

My husband has decided to complete some needed projects around the house that we’ve put off. We went to Lowe’s for him to buy supplies to remodel his shower in the basement. We practiced social distance and washed our hands appropriately after coming home. Lelly is redecorating her room beginning with a new paint color on the walls and new blinds. She bought a new full size bed last month to replace her twin size. The paint job came out awesome, she now needs the blinds up; privacy is nice.

I’m taking my statistics final this morning. I debated putting it off but decided to just go for it. Of course I’m really hoping to pass, I don’t even care so much about doing well. Statistics is no joke I did not anticipate it being easy at all. To be honest I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve never taken anything remotely like that class.

We took our crazy rescue hound dog to the vet this week for some kind of medication to calm her down. Anyone who’s been to our house and has met Lola can testify to her craziness and incessant barking. God forbid the UPS guy even drives down our street, Lola goes nuts; same with the mailman. If you bring in a delivered package she goes after the package and will attack the box, biting and trying to rip it apart. Weirdo. I won’t even go into what the moulding around our front door looks like. So Dr. V gave me a script for an anti anxiety med that is expensive; I have to pay out of pocket. I have to call them tomorrow to see if their supplier is less money. In the meantime Dr. V also gave us a sedative to use for her while we are waiting for the prescription to be filled.

Today I’m ordering over the phone, paint for Tommy and my bedroom. Our local Sherwin William’s is open but you need to pick out your things and call the order in, then they meet you at the door to take payment. Pretty cool, safe system IMO anyway. We haven’t redecorated our bedroom in about 10 years so it’s time. Plus when we removed the house chimney during the renovation 2ish years ago they had to open part of one of the walls in our room, it’s behind my bureau but the room still needs to be redone.

Here’s to continued social distancing and a passing grade in statistics!!

An Odd Goodbye

Schools are closed in hopes of slowing/preventing the spread of Corona virus. This past Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the teachers and staff had to report to their school. We all had our roles; as nurses we had to call parents who’s children receive medication or nursing services in school and ask if they wanted to pick up their child’s meds, supplies, etc… A few parents came, most did not. That was fine, I enjoyed their optimism that school would be open again come April. I’m not too sure what to think. I’m hoping we are able to return in April. I like my job and I enjoy my co workers.

It’s the uncertainty I don’t like. Today, classrooms were cleared out. Medical supplies that are usually kept in the classroom were returned to our office, secretaries cleared out their desks. We were told to take our personal belongings home, to not leave anything behind. I packed up my desk, cleared out office supplies I like to use such at post it notes and markers, my stethoscope, my plaque that the girls gave me for Christmas with “Registered Nurse after my name. I wasn’t ready to clear everything all out. It felt odd and unsettling. Normally when we have a school break everyone is leaving in a good mood, yelling goodbye! Have a good week off!! See you !! There are often hugs exchanged. Yesterday was nothing of the sort. One of my co workers and I bumped elbows, to others I waved goodbye from a “safe” distance,

We were told we are to work from home after having our attendance taken via email at 8am today. I’m curious as to what we will be doing from home. Paperwork? Nursing care plans? I have no idea. I wonder if we’ll be placed to work where they may need nurses. I don’t know how these things work, I’ve never worked for the city before in the midst of a pandemic illness. Rumor has it we may be placed to work in centers the city is opening for children of people who must go to work. It should be interesting.

Day 1…

I’m not one for journaling so I write here. Day 1 of treating today, a Monday as a “snow day” as instructed. The girls had a big breakfast because they’re all together. It was sweet. So far I am procrastinating getting to work on my statistics class, hanging out on Facebook, dropped packages off at the post office (not crowded), spoke to mom on the phone twice, texting my fellow nurses that I work with, and vacuumed my car and chatted with my next door neighbor.

I managed to get in a much needed visit with a dear friend who is in the hospital (not corona virus related). My friend is doing great and we laughed and I cried such happy tears to see him doing so well. Life was amazing for that hour or so.

Back home again and I was informed that school nurses are to report to their schools along with teachers, paras and other staff. They need us to call parents to pick up any needed medications or supplies that we have at the school. Makes me really wonder when/if we’ll be back this school year and what will they have nurses doing now that schools are closed. Will we be sent anywhere? Will the DOE *find* work for us to do? I’m so curious. Off to do school work!

So They Closed The Schools!

Wow, I’m truly surprised, I did not see this coming; they closed NYC schools until (tentatively) April 20. They rarely if ever close NYC schools. A snow day is a momentous occasion here. Although those occasions have been more frequent the past couple of years. I don’t know where I stand on NYC schools closing. I know many parents in my school alone are single parents and rely on the school system to be open. I know when Thomas was at his peak of horrendous behavior here at home I needed him to be in school. I’m not in that place anymore thank God but many other parents are. I’m not saying the schools should stay open during this time, I don’t know how I feel but I do know schools give parents a break and these kids thrive in their daily routine which is now disrupted. There is no easy answer.

As for me, I guess there will be a lot of cleaning out/rearranging cabinets now that Lelly is home. She’s already cleared and reorganized my kitchen food storage and has plans on starting in the dining room this week; before we knew I was going to be home. Yes there will be a lot of togetherness and bonding going on haha!

Tommy and I discussed re-doing our bedroom such as painting, new blinds and changing out our bedroom set for his parents bedroom set. Maybe that project will get started and finished earlier than we thought. Samantha thought she would just be off from school with no work to do. Ha! She wasn’t thrilled when we confirmed that she’ll have work and lessons to complete via the computer/internet. Silly girl. I still have to finish my beloved statistics class, now I have more time…Yayy…

Thomas is here for his weekly Sunday dinner and hang out time. He’s so pleasant, it’s nice to be with him. He’s thin. Not skinny and unhealthy but thin. You’d never know it that he eats like there’s no tomorrow. I never thought we’d ever get to this point of simply enjoying him. It’s nice, really nice. Last week we went to the mall and he was fun. We went to Macy’s because I had to browse the handbag department and he was egging me on to buy a bag. I did not purchase a bag (surprised?) it was nice to browse and see the new styles. Thomas however doesn’t believe in simply “looking.” He’s totally a riot like that and can be dangerous to shop with.

These Days…

It’s the days of the corona virus. The atmosphere is just plain weird. Everyone is just plain afraid of getting sick, stockpiling toilet paper (for whatever reason,) building a supply of groceries, people are afraid to go out of their houses. To be honest I just want to live my life. I went to the nail salon yesterday for my regular mani/pedi. The salon was eerily quiet for late afternoon/early evening hours. I’m glad I went. That is a “normal” event for me.

My school is open just as most of NYC public schools are. Given that so many parents work and don’t have a “plan b” for childcare *plus* many children depend on school food to eat, I doubt the mayor will close the public schools. I’m ok with working, I serve the medically fragile population. There are many students with weak/impaired immune systems, most of those parents are keeping their children home. However there are many students whose parents won’t keep them home and their school life is going on as usual. Those students don’t have a problem with their immunity.

I’m getting tired of the media frenzy, the fear that’s been instilled in most of us. The girls and I just returned from grocery shopping, not because of the virus but because Friday/Saturday is when I normally go food shopping. Shoprite was super crowded. The people weren’t rude or crazy thank God, just so many people. Kind of negates the proposal that people shouldn’t gather together in large groups.

Lelly is home from her dorm in the city. F.I.T. has gone to all online classes so she came home. I’m glad she’s home. Alyssa’s college has also gone to online classes beginning next week. I’m still taking my statistics class; hoping to be finished by next week. It’s a difficult class. I just want to finish, pass and then I can move on to my next class which is Health Assessment I believe. Doing school work seems so “normal” as does going to work. Here’s to “normal!”