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SRNA BTW

A blog devoted to describing a personal journey to my dream and the trials faced along the way.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Do I really have anything good to say? 

I head this post into the tumultuous sea that is anesthesia school with much trepidation and angst. Classes began this year with a token bang, and I think most of us are still in shock of the load and expectations. Our class load has increased and we have lab and 1.5 days of OR time to fit in. It seems silly to be ruminating on the overwhelming nature of school when I am on the computer, typing this wispy blog, and completely avoiding the work mounting on my desk: pharm. test on Mon., 3 chapters to read for Mon. am, numerous research and technical articles, careplans, and medicinal chem. problems to solve. How can I do this and still fight for justice and the American Way? In addition to my superhero responsibilities, I am now in a dichotomous position as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Dept. of Anesth., which boils down to a fair amount of gophering for the faculty, and a smattering of techie help in the computer sim. lab. A classmate and I got seduced into the position by the lure of assisting the newly hired IT administrator with "technolofying" the program...sounds like fun, plus we have lots of sweet tools to play around with that I really don't know how to use.....hehehehehehe....In the words of the Governator, I'll be back.
posted by Samuel  # 2/08/2004 12:03:00 AM

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Whew... 

...has it been a long road.
The semester is over, I am on my ass at home doing leisurely things, and it ROCKS! Let's see, I think it has been ages since I have been able to get caught up with this site, so let me begin where I left off, status post cardiac exam. Not much changed in school, I continued to wax and wane resembling a disturbing character from Ken Kesey's prose. I did read a few books BTW (Kafka's Metamorphoses, Life of Pi, and Lullaby and Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk), but spent most of my time trying to keep up with the barrage of tests that was shrouding even the most resistant of smiles that may have broken on my face. I came to a stark realization concerning the concept of "self-directed learning", an interesting term I had heard many times in reference to grad school. The realization came whilst teaching myself the respiratory system one week in the semester, quite serendipitously. I had never in a million years expected to educate myself to the finer points of an innately complex system such as the respiratory system but I accomplished it nonetheless.
2.7.04 I am finishing this draft about one month later on request from a classmate, and will continue the blog because I know there is one reader out there. I hated to see nilepocs blog disappear and will attempt to fill the void with my rubrics.
I left off with being on break trying to catch up on the events of the first semester of CRNA school at VCU, but I have decided to forego that account secondary to the counseling and psychiatric management I may need post-regurgitation. I can sum up last semester very succinctly...it blew, I wouldn't go through it again, and I am glad it is now February...that much closer to the prize. I will close this entry for now and move along to a ultra-modern entry. Much appreciation to those of you that returned to read...adieu
posted by Samuel  # 12/20/2003 12:02:00 AM

Thursday, October 30, 2003

See you later, October... 

I decided not to start this post off with “Well,”, and we shall see how that changes the nature of the musings.
It is truly mind-blowing that it is closing in on November! Where in the hell has the time gone? I feel as though life has completely passed me by for the past two months. Just to update, the infamous cardiac exam went well---actually it was my highest grade in Physiology so far, but man was it difficult! Renal is up next, closely followed by Respiratory, GI, and finally, Endocrine to finish the semester. I figured out the remaining test schedule, and it seems we have approximately 9 tests in the next 6 weeks. I was under the impression it was supposed to get a little better after Cardiac but I was delusional.
My days during school feel quite manic-depressive (figuratively speaking, of course) in nature. To provide salience to this idea, let me offer this example:
I have the weekend off school, spend time with Leah, get caught up in selected topics, and generally feel good about life. Monday 8 AM rolls around, and the smack down officially begins via Physiology, with a rapid addition of Pharmacology, and then onto Anesthesia, and who the hell knows what’s going on in there. Then it is onto the library or home, depending on the mood. Then it starts all over again. But one has stayed constant, I am relearning this material in the manner it was intended to be taught.
Superchunk rocked the party! I really enjoyed the show, and the opening band was pretty good too. I think everyone enjoyed it as well, the PBR was flowing. With 2 more exams next week, we are planning another night of stapes-rupturing melodies---Hotwater Music, Lawrence Arms, and various others---on Thursday evening. After reading the earlier rantings, you may be thinking to yourself, “How do you have the time for partying, Sam?” Well, the simple answer is, it keeps me sane. Going to a show or anywhere with loud music for that matter allows for escape from thoughts or talk of school, and with it capturing so much of my time, that is essentially to maintaining the electrochemical gradient in my body. Peace.

posted by Samuel  # 10/30/2003 02:19:00 PM

Sunday, October 12, 2003

You came back? 

Can you believe I have made it back within essentially 2 weeks. You must think I am having an easier time at school, but au contraire. School is wicked this week, a Pharm test on Monday covering Autonomics, a Anesthesia test on Wednesday covering a medley of material including journal articles and a healthy mound of text, and to wrap it up this week, a killer cardiac and vascular test in Physiology on Friday. Whew! Makes me want to take a nap just thinking about it. Nonetheless, I have been preparing for these exams since the earth was created, or at least it feels like it, and I will be oh so happy when 9:05am rolls around on Friday with hopefully, a trip to see Superchunk on Friday night to forget all about the past week.
Leah, fortunately for her, is out of town for most of this, helping her Mom recover from spinal surgery in Flagstaff---one of my most favorite places in the world.
I should also mention that this blog is being written and published while I am on the back patio. I chunked down for the wireless access at the beginning of school, and so far it has worked out great. I think I could get more out of it if we had a desktop, but I want to hold out as long as possible so that I can switch to Mac.
Continuing on my verbal dump, I took my Anesthesia Machine Final on Thursday, which ended up being very laid back and actually kind of informative. This machine has been likened to the instruments in an aircraft (as anesthesia has been likened to flying) more times than I care to remember. Basically the set up was an oral format, with the students charged with memorizing the steps to check the machine before use. Memorizing the sheet proved to be less demanding than I had previously thought, and it went fine.
I suppose that I should sign off for now, so that I can take my a## to the library and prep for the week. Adios and wish me luck.
posted by Samuel  # 10/12/2003 10:42:00 AM

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Where have you been?! 

It has been quite awhile since I have come this with way during my brief travels into the internet world. I will attempt to purge what has been keeping me away.

Starting with the largest influence on my absence, School. Let me say it has been schooling me. I capitalize because of the reverence I must pay to the beast that has overtaken my every waking moment. Since I last wrote, School heat has been turned up exponentially (I could draw you a graph of the log of work vs time spent under my desk lamps--but I will spare you). This is nothing like I expected, but it is a great experience! I share others' feelings that I could not have prepared for this experience. Sure, maybe additional classes might help, but everything now is tailored to me. Physics, biochem, molecular bio, etc. I don't think I could have sat through those classes without the application of the concepts being self-evident as they are now.
Reading over my words, I sound somewhat melancholy, but I am very happy with the things that I am learning. I had no idea I could be this knowledgeable about the internal workings of a vaporizer, or to be able to break down 2nd messenger pathways based on the receptor stimuli. It has had it's downs, though. I bombed my first test in Physiology with lots of stupid mistakes and I am still here. I made an appt. today with a testing counselor to cover my bases. I had such huge anxiety before that first test, my sympathetic system was blowing at an extreme rate. I figured it can't hurt to get some advice at this point---better to do it early than too late! Need help with organizing study time between classes, because I feel too much like a ping-pong ball now. Otherwise, my other tests have been fine, but with the same sort of silly mistakes.
I have been through a hurricane without power for 10 days, and took 3 tests immediately after Isabel blew through. My class has seen the work load double and we are all still here.
Currently getting ready for 3 large exams in the 2nd week of Oct.---hard to believe I am saying that considering my undergrad experiences of cramming the nite before an exam. I now listen to lectures again at home, read BEFORE class, and stay awake in the classes (for the most part)! I have turned into a regular student.
Did manage to go camping this past weekend with a fellow classmate and her s/o and Leah. We both brought our dogs (both APBT's) and we had a great time aside from the doggie porn that happened every so often. It was good to get out in the woods, sit by a fire, and not think or talk about school (did happen a few times though).
I was thinking to myself today about the rest of the semester and how I am going to manage to make it until Dec. at this pace. It seems so far off, like reaching for a light switch in the dark, I hope that I find the end.
posted by Samuel  # 10/02/2003 06:19:00 PM

Thursday, August 28, 2003

I am finally in it!!!! 

It has been awhile since the last post, but I wanted to wait until I had a full week of CRNA school to really give the flavor of the beginning of this journey.
I will spare the minute by minute recount--I learned from the media frenzy surrounding the Gulf Fiasco; however, I will share some of the highlights of the last 8 days of classes.
It started off with a bang, showing up excited as the prospect of a new career started. After as brisk hike up a hill that rivals SF streets, we took an elevator to the 11th floor of a building that could pass for the Ghostbusters Building---minus the gargolyes. The building is known as West Hospital, and has been around since 1940. It is my favorite piece of achitecture in the area, very retro feel to it.
When I say we, I mean me and a guy that I met in Baltimore, Kevin, who lives close to me. We decided we would car pool together to save on cost.
It seems I am rambling, so I will try to attempt the brevity I spoke of before. As I was saying, we showed up for 3 days of LONG orientation. I felt if I heard another ounce of verbage related to VCU's honor code, I was going to go postal. After the O was over, we started classes, with only one that week to speak of, Mammalian Physiology, a 5 credit hour grad course. The real deal began on Monday with Phys, Pharm and Anesth. courses, and after the faces in Pharm, the realization of what we had done was coming to fruition. The study time I have divided between these courses this week has been impressive (to myself at least). Considering the little amount I read while in nursing school, a chapter a week would be impressive. I knew a change was in order, but I had no idea I would really be able to make it work this week. It helps to have friends that provide motivation when another trip to the library seems like a trip to a sewage recycling plant, but I showed up and made the mojst of the experience. The mounting pile of material that we are responsible for is daunting, but after a week, I have learned so much, made good friends, and cleared the dust out of my once stale academic cranial vault. The mood this week is positive fear, which is the exact driving force that is necessary to keep me rolling through the anesthesia discourse. When either of these elements leave, the attitude changes, and I have learned already that this kills productivity.
After the complaint about orientation, I feel compelled to say that this program really has it's sh*t together. The have everything so well laid out for us for the next 28 months, the structure is scary. It reminds me of being in the military, but without the pissed-off commanding officer. Our moves are planned, we always know where we stand, and the pressure to perform well is rising. I am really happy I chose this program, I don't know how happy I would have been at other places I applied. We have a nice house in suburbia, but close enough to the "city" to enjoy the culture. We have a friend who is in the program with me, Kristin, who lives in the younger area of Richmond known as the fan, and we can always use her proximity until she disowns us.
I would love to keep up with this blog, but the reality of time has surfaced, so I will set my goal low, and hopefully suprise myself--I will set the bar at 2 weeks and hope to keep to that schedule. Peace----
posted by Samuel  # 8/28/2003 09:39:00 AM

Thursday, August 07, 2003

We are in VA!!!!!! What can I say, after a week of hell-moving, the budget truck rolled into the drop-off center unscathed but man was my ass sore!! We moved our stuff from Balt. to Richmond then drove to Fla. and moved from Gainesville to Richmond, then drove the pets home from Balto. to Richmond. I think they were about as confused as we were. At least the cat had his drugs...I wish it were that easy for me. I can just see it...."Hold on Dad," Leah says, "...I have to medicate Sam before we get on the road". Man, that would be the way to go! Chillin in the back with some brew and tunes!
As I am sitting here this evening reliving the events of the past how many days, I am anxiously awaiting the start of CRNA school. Only 2 weeks from today that classes begin....aaaaahhhhhhhh!!!! I have everything I can possibly think of (minus the crayon box and paste--Leah is going to take me shopping for that stuff). I have my desk and electronics ready to go. I bought a sweet digital recorder to transcribe my notes into Dragonspeak. My books are all gathering dust, awaiting the start whistle to sound off. I even got the chance to hang out with another classmate and her boyfriend this past weekend. We all had sushi and drinks, and as usual, with 3 out of 4 being ICU nurses, the conversation continually circled around work…but it was occasionally interspersed with anesthesia talk. I am very glad I know a couple of folks now before the hell starts, and they seem like very level-headed people that won’t let the craziness drive them mad. Leah was happy too, because she met potential friends, and after a year of traveling every three months, some permanence in relations is great. We made great friends in Phoenix, but there in lies the problem—they are in PHX. So, we are in a new town and we know some cool people.
I also signed up with a temp. staffing agency to get some cash in wallet before school. Man, what a load of paperwork, but it is done, and I hope to be working next week in some quaint 8 bed ICU reading my Rolling Stone while charting.
Talk to you later….

posted by Samuel  # 8/07/2003 01:02:00 AM

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Yahooooooo.......the money is gonna be alright!!!!!!!!!!!!! Found out this morning that my alt. school loans were approved with a little help from a creditworthy cosigner--my mom. Thanks to my idiot days back in the Navy, my credit is crap, but on the road to recovery thanks to a diligent letter campaign to the credit bureaus and paying off soem old and new debts. The pressure is now lifted and I can finally get excited about school.
Five more shifts here at Sinai and we are packing up for the last time for awhile. I kind of wish that I was saying goodbye to my old staff buddies in Gainesville, but being a traveller has helped me see many new ways to run heart patients and helped to thicken my skin. I will treasure this experience but with reserved feelings. Later....
posted by Samuel  # 7/10/2003 06:33:00 PM

Thursday, July 03, 2003

It is truly amazing what a day can make in a person's life. Today, Leah got a travel position at MCV with the stipend, and I got approved (preliminary) for all the loans I will need to make the first semester as success. The stress of wondering if your going to have enough money to make it is incredible. This education is very improtant to me, if you haven't guessed that already, and to see it fade away because of dollar signs is very disheartening. I was preparing myself to let this year go, and possibly retry for next year's program. It would end up saving us quite a bit, but I need to go now.
My Mom and her friend are in town for the holiday, and Leah's brother and his family come in tomorrow, so one nite left to go at work and we are off for five days!!!
Catch ya later
posted by Samuel  # 7/03/2003 11:39:00 PM

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Finally, the gods and monsters at VCU came thru with my fin aid package!!!!! It was only a month late, but at least it is here and I can go ahead with the other phase of money-grubbing---the private loans....
Very weird thing is, the way my fin aid counselor referred to me in the email she sent. She addressed it to Sammy. Got a laugh from that. Considering I was getting close to beating down her door to find out what the hold up was.
Going to Richmond on Monday to inteview for agency work with Leah...sounds like decent money. Plan to work 2-4 shifts a month to help with costs. I haven't budgeted this money in just in case it becomes too much, I won't have to rely on it.
Bought my school bag on Ebay this week---I managed to avoid the rolling luggage. Got a very cool Timbuk2 for about $40 off, also got a new cable modem for 1/2 price---gotta love Ebay on a budget!! Now I just need to get my crayons, paste, and pencil box--then I should be all set.
Got family in town this week and next, then some friends I met off of allnurses.com coming for a week, then we are outta here!!
Saw Dave Matthews Band last week...awesome concert. They played so well and we had sweet seats. I got reduced price VIP tickets, so we ended up in box seats with our own waitress, AC bathroom, and killer view. The only bad note to the whole thing was Leah got us lost in Pittsburgh with map reading mistake. Plus we were lost in rush hour. But by the time we made it into the concert and Dave came on, all was forgotten and forgiven.
posted by Samuel  # 7/02/2003 08:03:00 AM

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Well, what can I say...it was a day that gave me the fuel to get thru the final month of being an ICU travel nurse. I shadowed a CRNA today for about 4 hours and it was the shiznit. I started out about halfway thru a total hysterectomy, got to see the emergence, stabilize, pull the tube and drop off in PACU. The second case was shorter but got to be there for induction and intubation, emergence, and extubation. It was such a relief and breath of fresh air to be there today. It makes the huge debt and sacrifice I am about to go into that much more worth it. I had somewhat of a rough evening last nite witht the thoughts of the previous stressors, so it seems the medicine today was just what I needed.
I can now return to my pre-studying with a renewed vigilance.
I thought of an idea I may try. I may start a clinical pearls section on my earthlink site...something with all the bits of info I glean from all the clinicals I will be a part of.
posted by Samuel  # 6/24/2003 09:53:00 PM

Monday, June 23, 2003

It was a good week with some interesting developments. I ran into a CRNA at Sinai again, and set up a shadow day. He seems like an interesting guy. Amazingly, he has been a CRNA for 30 years!! Several things happened this week that really shows me how small the CRNA world is. Number one, I ran into this guy again, and he knew the director of my program and his wife. Number two, I ran into a Georgetown student who knew an acquaintance from allnurses.com that helped me with my GU interviews (worked well, J). Crazy sh*t! Someone remarked the other day in speaking about West coast NA schools that because of the limited number, if you sneezed in LA, someone in San Diego said gezundheit (sp?). Well, I kind of get the feeling the same might be true out here.
Been trying to find a bag that will be big enough to carry my daily library to and fro. Like a cohort said, I will do everything short of swallowing the books to avoid one of those damn rolling suitcases that have become prevalent in the grad student population. They annoy me to no end. So, I am looking at some large messenger bags from Timbuk2. Cool thing is, on their website you can customize your own with options like PDA and cell phone holsters and colors. And the customization is in Flash, so it makes a boring subject like choosing a school bag somewhat less mundane.
Loaded my fall schedule into Outlook yesterday for the hell of it. Damn, I sound lame. You see, Leah has been in NYC with her college girlfriends, and I have been playing the desperate and pathetic excuse for a man role---watching movies and MASH DVD’s all day and nite, drinking beer, and eating leftovers. My football coach used to affectionately call such behavior “lummox or oafish”. I have to agree. Back to the schedule. The fall doesn’t look to bad, I get out pretty early on Fri., so I hopefully can maintain some semblance of a personal life on the weekends. Cut and paste the link below to see my schedule for the fall '03 semester. Be patient, it is a large file.

http://home.earthlink.net/~n2bate/_uimages/scan.jpg

As you can see, it should be alright. I will probably end up eating these words, but, hey, free meal!!
Later.....

posted by Samuel  # 6/23/2003 08:14:00 AM

Saturday, June 14, 2003

It is hard to believe it has been a month since my last entry, but it has been unbelievably busy---with no rest in sight. I am really starting to feel the crunch for school, and I am fueling that anxiety with reviews of anatomy and chemistry. Trying not to go overboard, but it is amazing how that information has disappeared into the nameless recesses of my brain---they truly aren't nameless, I just forgot what they are called. Note to self: need to review neuroanatomy.
I have been a busy freak since the last time I wrote, so I will try to rehash the 4 weeks of adventure with toned brevity. I met a future classmate who is living in Baltimore. We had some quality beer at this cool bar/restaurant in B-more called the Brewer’s Art. He is a very cool guy, and I am glad I will know more than one person on that first day. As you may remember, I met him as a result of allnurses.com, a site that has also lost my participation as of late. It is my homepage, and I do scan the topics everyday, but getting involved in the discourse has been difficult. Despite my absence, I will ALWAYS do my best to promote the site to fellow nurses seeking enlightenment through others, etc., etc. Also went to Florida to participate in goddaughter's christening. Got to spend some quality time with friends, just kickin' it.
Found a house in Richmond, which is the most recent development. Actually signed the lease yesterday. It has a huge fenced yard for the dog--who will be very happy considering he has spent the last year living the metro lifestyle (short walks on concrete, apt. cramped living, no place to run and be happy). The house is close to school, but far away enough to feel like I am getting away. Considering I drove over an hour for undergrad, 15-minutes will be a pop tart. The rent is a bit more than we had hoped for, but considering the area we will be in, it is comparable. With the impending jobless nature of my existence, I have been tearing around like a stressed out zoo animal because I still don’t have my final financial aid package from VCU---nothing is wrong apparently, they are just slow as molasses in the winter. Money is a huge concern and I hate playing this waiting game to see how it all works out. It is like a never-ending miniseries where the final episode takes 2 months to get to. So, all the family that may be reading my blog, low-interest loans are appreciated!!
Bought my books for school, but didn't save as much as I had hoped, but saved money buying online nonetheless. I have been previewing a bit, but mainly out of curiosity, not because I really care to indulge in the contents. There will be much time for books, Grasshopper. This latter statement comes as a result of speaking with my “Senior Sponsor”, Heather. VCU pairs us up with a student in the class ahead of us, and I am the fool that she got to help. The amazing thing is…she was/is the only member from VCU online at allnurses, and I got paired with her. Anyways, back to what I was saying, she basically said chill fro the summer, review some anatomy, skip the chem., and don’t sweat the upcoming semester. It is doable with the right amount of effort. Amazingly, she worked every weekend her first semester, fulfilling a final commitment to the Air Force and made it through with good grades. That boosts my confidence quite a bit.
Oh, BTW, did I mention that Leah and I almost got married in the middle of all this? We had decided that we would do the eloping thing, making things easier financially while I was in school, and then do the wedding when I graduated. We pretty much had it set and were doing the rings, dates, etc., and then reality set in for Leah and we went back to the original plan of summer 2005. When I say reality, I don’t mean in a patronizing way, but she realized that family and friends were going to miss out on this day, and that was way too important to let go just for the sake of financial advantages. I agree to an extent, but we have hashed it out and settled for a “true” wedding.
Well, folks, that is all for now. It has slowed here a bit so I don’t foresee any reason why I won’t be able to keep up with this in the future. It has finally stopped raining in B-more, after 2 months straight, so my spirits are up. School is just around the corner, so stay tuned.

posted by Samuel  # 6/14/2003 04:04:00 PM

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

The events of the previous month definitely overshadow the events since my last blog entry; however, I did get to go to my school a week ago and get some answers r/t funding this education. It seems that the $18,500 limit imposed on federally sponsored graduate student loans is a limit that was imposed when I was a toddler. You can see the inherent frustration I feel with this restriction. How can college costs continue to escalate and govt. subsidy remain static for over 25 years? This is a frustration because the school I have chosen is not quite a bargain for out of state students. But they do something very interesting to get around this federal mandate: Instead of the loans being based on a 12 month period, they are based on 2 semesters—fall and spring, and summer is figured separately. So, basically, the $18,5K restriction is for 9 months. This helps me tremendously. Although, I think I will need additional funding from one of the many alternate loan companies that have proliferated because of the federal restriction.
I also went to see one of my program’s administrators and ran into some seniors who had just finished some sort of final. The wave of envy came over me like a good Florida rainstorm. They looked quite relieved, and to them I must’ve looked like a kid in a toy store window. Anyhow, I got some leads for housing and I think Leah and I will be heading to Richmond next week some time to find an acceptable domicile.
The job is going good here in Baltimore. I am enjoying working at a Jewish hospital, as it is quite a learning experience. It is also a very different class of patients and unit. The CICU is an 8-bed place, with approx. 2-4 cases a day. So, it does move pretty fast, even at nite. They are pretty good at covering all the bases so you rarely have to speak with MD/ARNP/PA to get what is needed. Generally speaking, it is a neat place to work to be able to see people get better and get out.
I think I will have to do a summary before school starts of my traveling experiences over the last year. It has been such a mixture of feelings that I never really know what to say when people ask me if they should be a traveler.
Might be hooking up with a potential classmate in the next few weeks to go have a beer or something. It will be nice to go to school with a couple of people I have already gotten to know before school. Thanks to allnurses.com for the chance to meet some really cool people.
Got signed up yesterday to start receiving the AANA journal. Did it mainly because I want to keep abreast of the issues without having to get online. The whole AA vs. CRNA debate on allnurses has spurned me into becoming more aware of the issues facing the profession today. I hate to sound like an idiot when those topics come up because of laziness. I hope that I can become involved at the various levels, and being so close to the capitol during school, I hope, will only foster that involvement.

posted by Samuel  # 5/14/2003 09:17:00 AM

Sunday, April 27, 2003

To those of you who are still checking this pitiful page, thx for returning. We are back from Europe and have settled into Baltimore---but not without events.
Europe was a blast and we were saddened to be leaving. We made many memories there.

Readers Digest version:
1. Proposed to Leah on the Eiffel Tower—she accepted—to wed in 2005 in the Fla. Keys. I think I really suprised her too, which is definitely the effect I was gunning for.
2. Blew through Louvre, savored Picasso museum.
3. Saw Jim Morrison’s grave.
4. Whirlwind of Paris in 4 days.
5. Stayed in some cool hostels—mostly with really steep staircases and on the top floor. One in Paris had a bar. Got trashed with some Americans, Aussies, Dutch, French, German, and Canadians and had great political discussions until ~530am with an 800am train to catch.
6. Belgian Beer and cigarettes are unlike any other I have ever experienced!! Wonderful stuff. The food, canals, waiters, scenery and people in Bruges were amazing, plus they speak English!
7. Cold time in AmsterDAMN---but sampled the many things it has to offer. Anne Frank house rocked, as did VanGogh Museum.
8. Stayed in SoHo, 2 blocks from Piccadilly Circus. Also blew through London, culminating with Pub Crawl on last nite.
9. Stayed with Family and caught up with the dysfunction. So, now we are well acquainted.

We had a great last few days in Flagstaff with Leah’s Mom just hanging and savoring the swift and crisp mountain air. Tearful goodbye between the humans and the dogs. My dog, Kawliga (Like Elijah with a K), had become good buddies with Stella (Joyce’s dog) while we were traipsing around the EU. We put the wheels to the road once more with the PIA Uhaul and set the compass for Arkansas to visit with my Dad and his wife. We arrived there road weary but unscathed to open arms and homecookin’ that was phenomenal. We nurtured our bodies and souls—I reconciled with my Dad somewhat and we all felt better. I think it is going to be all right for the future and our kids. I made it known to him that I want my future kids to have Grandparents, not just 2 people who contribute money at holidays and birthdays. Life is too short to miss out on those connections.
Once again, we reset the compass for Baltimore and let the horses run free. After being on the road for 4 days, we were ready for the pavement to end its monotonous drone and fall into a soft slumber in a non-hotel zone. We arrived in B-more at Leah’s Dad’s rental row house on Friday afternoon and began another 3-month life in the town famous for Poe, The Babe, crab and Old Bay, Baltimore Shock Trauma, Johns Hopkins, Ripken, and many other things. I know that we will enjoy our time here, but the last week has been a challenge. B-more issued a comforting welcome on the 4th day, 3am car alarm blaring because some asshole decided to break in my Blazer. Snatched my palm pilot (which I didn’t even know was in there) along with ALL my nursing licenses, including the temporary Maryland license I had just received the day before. Pissed me off to no end, but taught me a valuable lesson of giving the vehicle a good once over before exiting.
We have spent the last week in hospital and clinical orientation. I think we are going to enjoy this assignment. The unit is very low key and all the heart patients are pretty healthy. More like a heart machine: get ‘em in and get ‘em out!
Heading to school next week to see how much money I can get. Leah gets to see VCU and Richmond for the 1st time, which I know she is excited about because this will be our home for the next 3 years or more. I am excited to get there too, because it means my dream is right around the corner and I will be able to live it soon. I was very excited to see my school got numero uno for the US News rankings. It made the fact I got turned down by the institution that ranked 10th or so that much easier to swallow. I knew I belonged to VCU the day I walked into my interviews and I have felt strongly about it ever since. I can’t wait to be in the thick of it, but right now I am just going to take it easy for the next few months and really enjoy my freedom and money.
BTW I think I have caught the electronics bug that Craig on allnurses has because all my electronics are crapping out now as well. Thanks Craig. Fortunately, right now I can’t afford to ride the bleeding edge, but plans are in the works for the next few toys!!!!
Catch up with you all again real soon. Peace.

posted by Samuel  # 4/27/2003 01:45:00 AM

Monday, March 24, 2003

What's happening you ask...well, we are heading out finally in 2 days. Pretty much ready, currently hanging out in Flagstaff, AZ at Leah's Mom's mountain house. She just got a G4 Powerbook 12" with Airport and it rocks!!! This laptop weighs something like 4 pounds and I am typing on the net in front of the TV. Very nice.

Found out about another classmate over at allnurses.com, so that's 2 I know of. When we return from Europe, I will be focusing more on school. All I really have to do is talk to VCU fin. aid and Veterans Affairs. Oh yeah, we have to lie to the state of VA and set up DL's and registration so I can qualify for resident rates at VCU next year :)_, It could potentially save me 18K and I plan on staying in VA after school, so whats the big deal?!

Next blog will probably be when we get back, but all of our hostels have net access, so I will try to update. BTW Our hostel in Bruges, Belgium has like 35 beers on tap and only costs $12 a nite, and need I mention Amsterdam.

Peace and lets hurry up and get our boys home!
posted by Samuel  # 3/24/2003 07:36:00 PM

Friday, March 21, 2003

Just a quick note to let everyone know that we will heading to Baltimore Sinai Hospital for our next assignment. We got the word today, and we are happy to be heading back east. We can now travel sans cell phones. We will be renting a row house from Leah's Dad that is right around the corner from Camden Yard. Later..
posted by Samuel  # 3/21/2003 07:06:00 AM

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Just to start off, this is my 3rd attempt at this post, so now I am going to type in Word first then cut and paste into blogger. Just a bit annoyed at the blog elves that run this site---I think it really has something to do with Google's acquisition :)

It has been awhile since my last post, and I welcome those of you who decoded to check it out. I have been absent for several reasons: 1) Trying to work a little overtime OT to have some money in the bank because we won’t be getting a paycheck for about a month.
2) The new iPod has been stealing some of my time---the thing is amazing and I recommend it to anyone. For the money it is well worth it. I have downloaded about 300 songs and still have over 8gb memory. The other thing I love about it is the mobility. I bought a wireless attachment or it that allows me to play my tunes through anything that has FM stations. A friend and I rolled out to Tucson this weekend and we were listening to all those tunes the whole day, but the best things was we didn’t have to worry about changing CD’s!!
3) Getting ready for the trip to Europe and the move back east. We still don’t have jobs in Richmond but our company is working on it. We will be renting an international phone to take with us so that we can be interviewed while overseas. Definitely a pain in the ass but if we want a job, it is what we will have to do. They said they would reimburse the cost so I am not too mad.

Nothing new on the school front, which is fine because I really don’t want to think about it yet. I will too soon be knee deep in anesthesia, so I want to enjoy every last free minute I can. We are heading out of Phoenix area this week, spend some time in Flagstaff, then outta here to Europe. Hopefully we won’t have to kick any French asses while we are over there. It would be so much easier if the French would admit their real reasons of opposition to the war---like the fact that they will be up shit creek if they don’t have Iraqi oil---but I digress. We have the addresses of all the embassies nonetheless.

That’s about it for now…stay tuned because I will have some good news when we return from our trip ;)

posted by Samuel  # 3/16/2003 10:41:00 PM

Saturday, March 01, 2003

Well, it is official, I have made my first venture into the land of Apple products with the recent purchase of a 10GB iPod for Windows users. I soon will be jamming to almost all of my Cd's (~200) + mp3's etc.on one device---pretty amazing. I soon may be making the switch to Apple products, but considering we just bought a laptop 6 mos. ago, it won't be for awhile.
Sitting at work tonite, very mundane, which is ok. It is hard to believe it is now 1 March, only 170 days unil my first day at VCU. We are gearing up for a trip to Europe (Paris, Bruges/Brussels, Amsterdam :), and London--where we will spend my B-day with my family), and then we are starting the drive to Va. around 14 April, with a brief stop in Arkansas to visit my Dad and stepmom. Looking forward to the drive for several reasons: 1) New iPod, 2) Guide to Universe on CD by Doug Adams, 3) Seeing more of America, and 4) spending time with Leah on the road.
We will be in No. Va. just in time for the cherry blossoms in DC and to see the 4th of July show over the Potomac. We have been in contact with our travel company, and things are looking promising, I just hope we can end up working at a decent hospital!! It sounds as if the pay in Va. for RN's sucks, but then again I won't be doing it for much longer, and Leah is looking for an escape route too.
posted by Samuel  # 3/01/2003 05:20:00 AM

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Kind of in a melancholy, reflective mood this morning. I took care of a woman the other night that was only 52 y/o that had a hysterectomy 4 days prior and now had been admitted with signs and symptoms of sepsis after being discharged to home. I poured the fluid into her all night long to keep her b/p up only to have her go back to surgery in the am to have a saline window placed in her abdomen because of compartment syndrome.
Two things from this situation really affected me: 1) The age of the lady--very close to my Mom's age and my girlfriends Mom's age. 2) The anesthesiologist that came in the am to take her back to surgery. This struck me because in 3 years time, that could potentially be me going to pick up this extremely sick woman and transport back to the OR. I am ecstatic at this thought, but I know when that day becomes more of a reality, I will be quite the nervous freak. I think what really helps me though, is belonging to a BB that involves all sorts of folks along the CRNA spectrum--those who will pursue this goal in several years, those who are about to begin school, those in school, and CRNA's in practice. By participating in this site, http://allnurses.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=16, I get to hear not only the horror stories and thus prepare mentally for what is to come, but also hear about some of the things that people love about this profession.
posted by Samuel  # 2/23/2003 11:56:00 AM

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Spent the last 2 days in PALS, I really enjoyed it and it brought together quite a few concepts for me that I had learned in my brief exposure to taking care of kids in our old unit. But the real reason I bring this up is the feeling I got when I listened to some of the paramedic/flight RN's stories. I would love to do some of the things they get to do in the field--chest tubes, cvl's, weird intubations, running their own codes, first responders, etc...but I think deep down what I really want is that sense of autonomy, which leads me to my next thought, which I am sure I will ramble about for some time in the future--my perfect job as a CRNA. I keep up pretty regular with gaswork.com, a site that posts jobs for gas-passers (MDA & CRNA). I have yet to really put my finger on what I want out of the location I choose because there are so many variables to consider: location, autonomy, clinical complexity of cases, money, benefits package(vacation, education, retirement contributions, medical bennies, and so on). I figure that once I really start school and really learn what I like and dislike in anesthesia care is when the real qualifiers for my decision will be evident. ANd of course, it isn't just me that the decision will affect, my girlfriend will have a say in the final process--but that is years away.
I finished my FAFSA today-at work--online. So much different than when I was in school 3 short years ago. I was able to sign it on line and send it off immediately. So easy it is hard for me to believe that people actually pay for others to do it for them. So I should know in a week or so how I am going to pay for this education, or at least have a bit more clarity.
I am making good use of the PDA, actually using it at work to check drug compatibilities. I am using the free version of epocrates, and it is wonderful. Also downloaded Datebook5, and I am finding myself wanting to schedule in stupid things like driving home from work and making coffee. Going overboard is an understatement. Hopefully, I can find some good software related to maps before we go to Europe in March. Ideally, I would like to find something with train schedules and routes. If work continues the way it has been, I am sure to find something on the net.
Adios for now.
posted by Samuel  # 2/13/2003 07:20:00 AM

Friday, February 07, 2003

Just got back from a trip back home to Florida. Two words sum up the trip---elation and melancholy. You might ask how 2 feelings can exist together that are such opposites. The reason for the visit was to hang with friends and see the newest edition to Gainesville--Dagny Marie. Our friends are the proud parents and we are the elated godparents. She was born on the 30th, tipping the scales at 8 lbs. 14.5 oz, and 20 inches in length. She is quite a wonder to behold, with eyes much like her father's and lips that are a mini version of her mother's. She was born healthy and I am so happy for her parents. While in Gainesville, we got to catch up with some of our acquaintances and tip a few robust pints at the local pub--Durty Nellys is a wonderful place if you ever need a dark, dank pub to swill away at.
As for the source of melancholy, the changes that our old unit has and is undergoing was enough to make me ache. I loved my job at that unit, and the potential there is really being wasted because of staffing and management problems--very depressing. All of my friends who work there have confirmed that feeling. I don't what the remedy is for that place, but it doesn't matter because I am not going back.
Today, I purchased a PDA in an attempt to become more tech savvy and efficient...we shall see. I spent the afternoon browsing the various software bundles available for my platform--Palm OS. I think I will enjoy building my database and turning this into a wise purchase. I bought it early enough before school that I will have plenty of time to work out what I do and don't like and to try various software for different applications. I think my girlfriend thinks I am full of shit and just wanted another toy, but will try my hardest to make her eat those words by filling my memory with useless crap. And I think she thinks she is safe from Best Buy for awhile, little does she know...hahahahaha
posted by Samuel  # 2/07/2003 06:32:00 AM

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Well, welcome to my blog that will chronicle my experiences on the way to becoming a CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist) Click here to get a brief overview what it is that I want to be when I grow up http://www.aana.com/crna/ataglance.asp. I hope to use this forum to share my experiences with whomever decides it is worthy of reading. Alongside this paperless medium, I will rant and add anything that can fall under the classification of crap. I am not a wordy person by any means, but I learned journaling is a great way to really help file thoughts and solve issues, personal and professional.
posted by Samuel  # 1/30/2003 02:57:00 AM

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