Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Friday, May 8, 2009

National Nurses Week May 6 - 13th

Yesterday, after work, I was beat. Dead tired. I got out of bed at 4:00 in the morning, grabbed some coffee, tormented the cats, showered and was out the door by 4:45. I stopped for more coffee at Dunkin's, and then on to Boston for a twelve hour shift. I rolled back home at 8:30 that evening.

This is unusual for me. I usually work the off shift, but for a few weeks I am working while the sun shines in order to get some experience with things that we never do in the moonlight. It has been a very good experience thus far. I've learned a great deal, but although I have always known that the the work during the day was a lot more frantic, busy, and discombobulated, I never realized just how much until now.

I worked my tail off.

Now, I am not complaining. I am acknowledging.

The environment I work in is kept purposely hot, greater than 85 degrees, and the humidity percentage is high as well, usually about 5 points below whatever temperature it is. If is 85 degrees, then it is about 80% humidity. In addition, I wear a plastic gown, or a long sleeve heavy paper gown, a paper hat, and gloves. Same as at night, but during the day, the ability to pace oneself is a survival tactic learned early on. At night, pacing comes somewhat easier, but since there are so many hands in the mix during the day, one has to allow, and account for everyone of them.

Intensive Care Nursing is like that. Pacing, planning for the unexpected, anticipating the patients, and the physicians needs, and in my particular case, learning, and then rolling it all together to make one smooth, 12 hour package of good and effective nursing is something that comes with time. At night, I am quite good at what I do, during the day, well, let's say, I will be better.

Working in an environment that is a bit warmer than usual guarantees that one will dry up in a very short time. One will loose liters of fluid over twelve hours. Fluid replacement is a must. Yesterday, I drank many cups of OJ, and ice water. Many, but it wasn't enough apparently. When I came home, I greeted Mary as I walked through the door, felt kinda weak, and a bit dizzy, and then laid out on the couch to watch some TV with her before showering. That was about 8:40 PM. The next time I looked at the clock it was 12:30 AM, and I was still on the couch, Mary had covered me with a fleece blanket, and gone off to bed.

I am not sure if I fell asleep because I was beat, or I just passed out. I do know that when I woke up at 12:30 I felt like heck, and promptly sucked down two huge glasses of cranberry juice. After a short time, I felt much better, and this morning I flooded myself with juice and water.

Today, I feel restored.

I should know better. I have always gone overboard with the fluid intake while working outside, and have felt the effects if I didn't. This time I thought I was on top of it, and I wasn't. It was no hotter at work than usual, but a whole lot busier.

All in a "days" work.

I am constantly learning something new, about my work, and about me, and this week has been no different. Makes going to work worthwhile. I am far from being stuck in a rut, and one can do that fairly easy in any career, including nursing.

I am glad I chose nursing as my career. Every job has ups, and downs, little issues to overcome, and this one is no different. Satisfaction is built in. And, as far as those little bumps in the road along the way, such as yesterday, well, they were nothing that a six-pack of Poland Springs couldn't fix.

Next week, I'll bring some Gatorade along. See, after thirty-one years, I'm still learning.

Nurses are like that.

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