Wednesday, September 28, 2011

55 and loving it

As I put fingers to the keyboard just let me open by saying that you're reading the post of a newly turned 55 year old woman. And if that doesn't impress you let me share some info from a radio program I was listening to this morning on my drive home from the clinical shifts I did this week. Gloria Steinham was being interviewed on being a 'game changer' and you can check out the interview with the link below:

For those without the time or interest to invest in clicking the url let me just summarize by the overview she gave of 'women of a certain age' which is certainly relative this birthday girl. She explained the traditional feminine role as being from age 12 - 50 but when women reach the age of 50 they return to thinking like 10 year old girls (except they have their own apartment, can reach the light switch etc) and they dream of doing all the things they imagined when they were younger. In fact the older you get the more important it is to do things as you have less time remaining. Her thoughts were that men are younger they are more powerful and loose that power when they age. Women are conservative when younger and get radical and gain power as they get older. Ah what a feminist!

I have had a very nice birthday actually. Birthday wishes from all the daughters and "oops I forgot" from the males of the house. I made my way home from the city this morning and it was a beautiful day so I took advantage of the sunshine on the deck while catching up on the news. Made my way over to visit the remaining summer neighbour and her nurse friend who is visiting. They were out on the deck enjoying Templetons rye (it had been a favorite of her spouse) in the sunshine. I joined them for a visit and we polished off some wine, green onion hummus, pita chips and wonderful cheese while we compared healthcare in the US and Canada. I floated home, got the laundry in and took the dog for a walk. All in day a great day.

I've made several trips recently to the city to do the clinical shifts for the emergency nursing program and the extra mileage has likely contributed to the palliative condition of the car. It started making noises as I headed down on Sunday and they increased in volume. By the time I made it back to the local garage the mechanic diagnosed something major with the air conditioner, apparently the 'burny smell' wasn't a good sign and he spoke of it costing $1500 for a new one to be installed. This is more than the vehicle is worth so if this turns out to be the problem....decisions will have to be made. At least this trip home I wasn't stalled for almost 40 minutes on the approach to one of the city bridges as a motorcyclist lay in the middle of the road getting attention from the paramedics while traffic was diverted. He was scraped up but at least was conscious.

My clinical shifts went well but it is a bit grating to have to contribute four 12 hr. shifts to another facility on my days off. I had hoped to be able to escape with only three shifts and get prior learning credit for the other two but the instructor 'allowed me' to drop one 12 hr.shift as the new grads have to do five. So, let's see I have 35 yrs of RN experience, a good deal of it in Emerg and I manage to get one shift for credit - oh yeah, that sounds fair - NOT! I did manage to find my way around the department and get a few items of my skills checklist ticked off. I also learned (from a classmate who works there) that there had been several dropouts who fell too far behind to catch up so we are down to a group of eight of us now. The only equipment in the clinical which was the same from my facility was the IV pumps and the catheter tray so most of it was a huge learning curve of new processes and equipment. This is helpful if you're going to be working in the new spot at some point but a lot of that info just has to be deleted from the short term memory if not. This Monday was frantic in the way that I'm used to in my workplace as we are chronically short staffed and I have to say we handle it much better than those bigger hospital RNs - just sayin.

I was glad to have escaped the accreditation review of last week in my facility though - I still have flashbacks to my interrogation when I was the Infection Control Practitioner the last round. One of my coworkers emailed to say that just when it seemed safe to go back in the water one of the accreditors was wandering in the ER and she had approached him (as we do all wandering persons there) and he attempted to extract information from her. I almost felt sorry for him as I've seen her in action and divulging such info freely is not something she's known for. It does call for the statement about not speaking to strangers though.

The first set of clinical shifts I met up with a nursing colleague and we headed to the Garrison Grounds for an educational display by Medicin sans Frontier (Doctors without Borders) which was excellent. They were most interested in two old-nurses who are mission groupies and so we left smiling.

We headed down the street and around the corner to grab some supper at Turkish Delight which is highly recommended:

Great food, reasonably priced and lots of Turkish diners so you know it's authentic. I had a Groupon which was about to expire so it was put to good use as well.

Well, time to hit the hay as tomorrow is a girl's day as we head to see the gardens in Annapolis Royal. Got to charge my camera batteries as well as my own.

Pictures to follow.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Not a bad mark for an older student

To ease the suspense I shall just start by saying that I DID make the required 75% on my second exam. I had it figured down to being able to have 18 questions wrong as they were worth 1.3 marks each. When I dropped an email with my grade to the shore captain (in Portland on business) his cryptic reply was - Not a bad mark for an older student with lots off spare time on her hands.......and yes that is how he spelled of - just wanted you to see where three of the four offspring got their spelling genes from. Needless to say I was thrilled to score such a mark and relieved to not have to undergo such torture again until December. 

In the week leading up to the exam there was a frantic set of shifts, a brief visit from the daughter and her husband, supper with neighbours, a quick stop at a yard sale (great Cuba suitcase and a lovely small crock) and a delicious meal at Lothars Cafe making it a trio of ladies who lunch. Hard to believe that our brief summer is slipping away as we head towards fall. 

I received a phone call from neighbours across the harbour as he shared that there was a "gannet show at 3 p.m. off the nubble buoy and over to the point". They are avid birdwatchers (read leftover hippies) and have donated some of their property to the NS Conservancy Trust so he was telling me that the birds were filling up on their way to over winter in the Gulf of Mexico, that they were earlier than usual and had been taking turns for hours diving into the ocean for bait fish. Apparently they usually visit only in twos or threes so this was quite a show. These across the harbour neighbours have been employed in the film industry for several decades (since one of the original movies was filmed in our area) and have traveled extensively doing props (he) and location work (she) although now they are choosing their projects carefully. He told me that he'd replied via fax to a director in Philadelphia stating that 'he couldn't work now as the peas are ready for harvest'. Ah! Their philosophy fits with the quote of the day:

The best advice I ever came across on the subject of concentration is: Wherever you are, be there - Jim Rohn

As the shore captain had industry talks and meetings with seafood buyers he supplies in Maine and I had to stay home to write my exam I was left to enjoy having rappie pie for supper (an Acadien delicacy) while watching the remnants of hurricane Katia where the seabirds rode out the storm surge. Although the dog looked at them with much interest - in her senior years (she will be 12 in the spring) she has developed a phobia of shooting. The neighbours suddenly began an impromptu skeet shooting session so a gunning dog who is gun shy and hid behind my chair isn't a good thing. Quite a change from her youth. 

During a particularly frantic night shift last week I told my coworker "I'm going to run away" to which she replies "where?" and I say "to join the circus". She matter of factly states "this is the circus" and there is no arguing with that! Reminded me of a quote in the business section of the newspaper today where an entrepreneur is quoted as saying "if you can't ride two horses and juggle plates at the same time, then you shouldn't be in the circus" Hard to argue with that either. So, should you be thinking of running away here is some 'how to' information from Lonely Planet:

Or perhaps you're just looking to relax for a shorter period. The advice does seem geared towards someone a tad bit younger than myself however the Words to Watch out for are worth checking out the link:

Speaking of younger folks we were visited by the baby daughter and her main squeeze on the weekend so got caught up on the news as it's been four months since that happened. I took advantage of her fearless self to groom Klyde and that isn't a job for the faint of heart. Whew.  Had my shifts switched around to accommodate a course others were taking and so really only had today to be productive - managed all my domestic chores in style and I'm heading in to an all day union meeting tomorrow so must hit the hay. Later.