Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What I Did Monday Night

Do you know who this is?
Does this help any? Pretty dang close, huh? :)

Maybe you know this guy? I was close enough to read his tattoos if I could keep people's elbows out of my face.

Big hint here.
Posted by HypnoKitten at 10:04 PM
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Monday, September 19, 2005

NurseBlogger of the Month Award

Well, I really wanted to make a special trophy clipart and do this all with voting and neat graphics and fanfare and nominations BUT....

I'm going to just do it like this (watch as I change the rules before I even make them!). I'm sure once you read it, you'll agree with me.

Auren, from A Nurse With a Little Bit of Attitude, wins the September NurseBlogger of the Month Award. She was at Methodist in New Orleans as the hurricane hit, and stayed through some horrible and horrifying conditions. She took pictures and posted them along with a retrospective account of what happened there. I'm sorry I didn't find her stories until I tried to catch up with everyone else's blogs last week, because I certainly would have brought them to your attention sooner. Here's a piece of a recent post:
I wonder what all of my patients are feeling now. Where they are now. If they are alive or dead. If they are physically sick. If they are mentally sick. If they have found their families. If their families have found them. (I call them MY patients, even though all I did for some of them was give them information and pass out their "meals.") That hospital was MINE. It was my life. You don't understand...I ate, slept, breathed nursing. I worked 3 and 4 nights a week. Not only was it mine, it was OURS. It belonged to the doctors, to my coworkers.

We worked our asses off...and continue to. Some of them were displaced. Some of them lost EVERYTHING. Some lost family. One thing is that we ALL lost our "home." We lost what innocense we had. We lost humility. I'm not exactly sure what we will gain out of all of this. I hear people say that New Orleans will rise again. Methodist will rise again. There will always be patients, families, people who need. I don't know if I want to be a part of that renewal. That green growth out of a black vat of mud. I still feel like I want to run, start over in another part of the country. God put me here for a reason. Was this my only reason, and now it's time for me to move?

I hate what I see around me. I hate the dispair. I hate the theives. I hate the riff-raff, the people that can't even conduct themselves in a civil manner at a business. I know that there are people like this, but I don't want a part of it. The hurricane made me weak, but I think humanity is making me sick.
Posted by HypnoKitten at 10:52 PM
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Residency Update

Residency is going fine - I've got a nice preceptor who's got about the same sort of sense of humor I do, so it's a good match. She's making sure I do what I'm supposed to, but keeping back and letting me try and figure things out first, which I appreciate. I'm a hands-on learner, and if I can actually DO a thing, there's a much better chance that I'll remember it, especially if I had to figure out how to do it in the first place. I'm not talking about risky things, but more like how to get the history off of the PCA pump. If I fiddle with it, I'll remember how to do it the next time - if someone says "this is how you do it" and shows me, I'm bound to forget and have to ask for help a second time.

I told her during a shift the other day that I felt like I was always running behind and had this feeling I was forgetting something even though I had double and triple-checked my work. I wondered if it was me or if that was the way nursing on this particular floor feels. She laughed, and said that she still feels like that sometimes, and that it's pretty common. I had no idea this med/surg floor would be so busy! I never worked on a floor like this in clinicals. It's huge too! Some days I'll see a fellow resident at report and then never see them again until it's time to clock out. Now I understand why some people looked at me funny when I told them what unit I would be working on.

I had a patient today who had suffered a stroke a few days ago. He had expressive aphasia, and it was a really interesting experience to take care of him. I spent a lot of time talking with him because of the anger and frustration he expressed when he tried to speak when I first met him in the morning. I wanted to let him know that whatever he had to say, I would wait patiently. I guess I also wanted him to know that it was possible for him to still have a conversation with someone, even if it was very difficult. Maybe I'll have him as a patient tomorrow. He really did seem like he was more at ease by the end of the shift. I think tomorrow he will continue to struggle through finding the words rather than giving up in anger. I guess this was the best part of my day, but something seems very wrong when I have to try and bend the time/space continuum just to find an extra 20 minutes to spend with someone.

I've seen a lot of different and interesting things these past few weeks, but I've been so busy with the rest of my life there hasn't been much time to blog. I have gotten all of my paperwork done for the Red Cross, so it looks like I will be getting to go down to the disaster area in October. I'm still going to do a few more classes so I'll have all of the classes I can possibly do by then. I also worked on moving my daughter to a new school district and arranging after school care, which took up more time than I can imagine. I'm still sort of in that student/mom mindset where I did the laundry, shopping, dishes and cleaning when I wasn't working full time. I've got to let that one go, and make my daughter and husband take up more of the responsibility.

I also wanted to mention that posting stuff about volunteering for the Red Cross wasn't intended to make me look special or anything. I was sort of surprised when people said that they were proud of me. What I really intended was to show people there are ways they can help in their local areas. I think Red Cross is a really neat group of people to work with. I'll tell you who my hero is in the next post. :)
Posted by HypnoKitten at 9:07 PM
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Friday, September 02, 2005

I Got The Call

Some of you may have deduced that I am an American Red Cross volunteer by the small badge on my sidebar.

When I first started nursing school, I joined up. Fueled by the beautiful artwork and compelling words of vintage ARC nursing recruitment posters, I decided that if I was going to be a nurse, I wanted to be a part of that historical organization also. Just the idea of being able to proudly say "I'm a Red Cross Nurse" was a great goal for me. Maybe I wouldn't get a cape and white hat, but I still wanted in.

Not more than 24 hours after I learned I had passed the NCLEX, I was able to participate in a large disaster drill at our airport as an official member of the Health Care team. I had been attending team meetings as a nursing student and waiting until the day I could join them in supporting our community Disaster Response Team. I also took as many of the DRT classes as I could - Mass Care, Family Emergency Services, Damage Assesment - I knew that people from our chapter went to Sri Lanka and wished I could have been experienced enough to join them.

Yesterday I got an email asking for more volunteers to go to the gulf coast for 2-3 weeks. They say they'll be there until at least the end of November, so I'll finish up with my residency and see if I can get down there sometime at the end of October. Although most of the healthcare-related function that I may have had (helping out in a shelter) will be over by then, there will still be a need to check out every home that was damaged in any way and assist those people in getting their lives back together. I've spoken to my manager about it and she agrees that I should go.

Because I will be home for another month or so, I'm probably going to be spending some of my days off over at the ARC office helping with phone calls, donations, and people who are trying to get in touch with their loved ones. I'll also serve at local disasters in our (huge, well-populated) city filling in for the many disaster volunteers headed out.

If you are able to help out your local chapter of the American Red Cross, please do. Money is great, but a set of helping hands is priceless. I'm sure all of the chapters are running extra classes in whatever you'd like to volunteer at. Even if you can't leave your home to work in the disaster area, you could help fill in in your hometown for those who have.

I was told that they even need volunteers at my chapter to help sign up all of the new volunteers that are coming in! If you are a nurse you have a very special skill that can be used if shelters are set up in your area for any reason - a skill that these new volunteers are not going to have.
Posted by HypnoKitten at 9:54 PM
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Red Cross Response Facts

FACTS AT A GLANCE: American Red Cross Response to Hurricane Katrina

National Headquarters
2025 E Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006

WASHINGTON, Friday, September 02, 2005 — The American Red Cross has launched an immense emergency relief effort to meet unprecedented humanitarian needs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

In times of disaster, the American Red Cross immediately mobilizes workers and supplies to address the urgent, critical needs of disaster victims, which include providing emergency shelter, food, water, counseling and other assistance. The Red Cross response to Hurricane Katrina is the largest response to a single, natural disaster in the 125-year history of the organization.

Fast Facts (As of 11:00 a.m., Sept 2)

Red Cross Mass Care:

Shelters – 284 American Red Cross shelters are open in 9 states: Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri and Georgia, with many more on standby.

Evacuees – More than 94,100 evacuees are being sheltered.

Emergency Vehicles – Nearly 240 Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) are now in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, with additional ERVs en route to the affected area. The Red Cross is working to engage additional vehicles for food distribution to survivors.

Relief Workers – Thousands of Red Cross staff and volunteers across the country and from every part of the organization are working around the clock to serve the public need. More than 3,300 Red Crossers have left their families to serve in affected areas already, and the Red Cross is moving more than 600 additional workers into affected areas every day.

Feeding – The Red Cross is working closely with several partners, including the Southern Baptist Convention, the Adventists and Second Harvest to provide emergency food to survivors and responders. In coordination with the Southern Baptists, preparations are underway to serve nearly 500,000 hot meals each day.

More than 309,000 meals have been served in the last 24 hours.

Houston Astrodome Shelter – The Red Cross is supporting government officials in the relocation and sheltering of more than 25,000 hurricane survivors traveling over 300 miles from New Orleans to Houston.

Health & Preventative Care – The Red Cross is working with government and health services partners to develop health strategies and preventative measures to help the public and relief workers cope with the serious public health emergency.
Note: Media is encouraged to contact their local Red Cross chapter to learn how it is responding to the disaster.

How to Help:

Due to the generosity of the American people, the American Red Cross stands ready to meet the monumental challenge of helping to rebuild lives.

Funds Received to Date: The American Red Cross estimates that, as of September 1, 2005, it has received $196.9 million in gifts and pledges for the hurricane relief effort.

To Donate: Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting

To Volunteer: Individuals interested in volunteering for the American Red Cross should contact their local Red Cross chapter.

Watch and Donate – NBC, CNBC and MSNBC will be broadcasting a commercial-free telethon, “A Concert for Hurricane Relief,� to benefit the American Red Cross on Friday night between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. (EDT) from Rockefeller Center in New York City. The show, hosted by Brian Williams and Matt Lauer and including the talents of Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Harry Connick Jr. and Wynton Marsalis, will help raise money by encouraging viewers to donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW or making a secure online donation at

Get Prepared: It is now more important than ever that the public take steps to prepare themselves, their families, communities and workplaces for emergencies and disasters. The Red Cross responds to more than 70,000 disasters annually, including wildfires, tornadoes and single family house fires, with some type of disaster striking every 8 minutes in the United States. Make a plan, build a kit, and get trained in first aid and CPR.
Posted by HypnoKitten at 9:47 PM
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