Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Year in Review Meme: 2008

While I'm usually not that into memes there is a meme out there right now that I find interesting. It's a "Year in Review" meme for bloggers and I think it's an interesting way to sum up the year. So I'm getting in line with the lemmings and hopping aboard the meme train. :-)

Here's how it works: Jot down the first line of a definitive or memorable post from each month in 2008. I don't think my first-liners are all that great and probably don't really reflect my entire post since I tend to ramble and wander from subject to subject. So, to give things more context, sometimes I broke the rules and included more than just the first sentence. There were some months were a bunch of big stuff happened but I just picked the post with the best first-liner. There were other months where the most significant post didn't have the greatest first line but since the post was particularly meaningful to me, I included it anyway. It was pretty amazing to read over everything that has happened over the last year. I knew that there had been a lot of changes in my life and that I had gone through some intense stuff but there's just something about reading my thoughts in those moments. It's almost like reliving a piece of the past.


January: Big Changes, Big Week
"Alright so last week I thought I had everything together. . ."

February: Moving Day
"I absolutely cannot believe that we are actually moving [to Orlando]!!"

March: I'm Official
"To all who care: it's official!!! I'm an ARNP!!!"

April: Week Of Goodbyes
"Well, I did it! I've made it to my last week at Shands. Tomorrow I'll be driving up to Gainesville for work for the last time!!"

May: Cruisin
"Well, it's about that time. Tomorrow we leave for the port in Miami and by dinnertime we'll be setting sail on our first cruise!!"

June: Back to the grind
"Well, I've been back at it for a little over a week now. The cruise was fun but mostly just nice to get away from everything for a little while."

July: N/A
Cuz' I'm a dork and didn't post in July. ;-)

August: Truly. Wretched. Night.
"Well, last Tuesday (August 5th) started out like any other day. But by the end of my shift on Wednesday morning, it would go down in history as 'Hell Day.'"

September: We got a house!!
"So, yeah, after my truly wretched night, I haven't really been in a blogging kinda mood. But actually it's been an eventful month."

October: Life and Death (a very personal, profound post for me and hard to re-read)
"Yeah, so as much as this particular job stinks, my job in general is pretty cool. I mean, I save babies. How much more noble can you get than that really?"

November: What a GREAT day!
"So we are officially home-owners! I can't believe today is closing day! This past week has been (yet another) week of big changes. And all of them wonderful!"

World Diabetes Day
(I just couldn't leave this one out.)
"Well, today, November 14th, is World Diabetes Day. For whatever reason, I was inspired to Google some new blogs and I was curious if I could find a few from people like me living with Type 1 diabetes. Well, I found more than a few!! I found hundreds."

December: Merry Christmas!!
"I know I'm late (what's new, right?) but I did want to hop on the world wide web and be sure to wish every one out there a very Merry Christmas."

Here's to a happy, healthy, wonderful (and hopefully less eventful) 2009!!
Happy New Year!
~Layne

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

I know I'm late (what's new, right?) but I did want to hop on the world wide web and be sure to wish every one out there a very Merry Christmas.

I was exhausted after working an unexpectedly crazy shift on Christmas Eve and we did our normal house-hopping routine for the holidays, but despite all the commuting and lack of sleep, Brad and I had a wonderful Christmas.

We got to see so many of the people we love that we, unfortunately, don't see often enough. We ate delicious food and gave and received some festive gifts and had an all-around wonderful time. I wish nothing less for you and yours this Christmas!!

~Layne

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Madness

No, I have not fallen off the face of the Earth! I have been incredibly busy lately both with work and trying to get ready for Christmas. I don' know what is wrong with me this year but I have no clue what to get anyone and try as I might, I can't seem to get my act together. Well, to cut myself a little slack, driving to and from work 2.5 hours roundtrip and working nights doesn't much put one in the mood to do anything other than sleep. I certainly never feel like leaving the house. Which really is a shame, since I love my new car and wish I could enjoy driving it more but I hate being in the damn thing! I bought the car on August 30th of this year and it was brand new with only 6 miles on it. Now it has over 8600 miles in less than 4 months!! It's a love/hate relationship, really.

I could go on and on but the truth is the crazy commute will be over soon. I'm going down to part-time and I will only be working one shift per week starting the first of February. Since we are moving farther away I knew that I just couldn't commit to working more than that when it will be an hour and a half away from home. Speaking of home. . . .

Brad and I are 23 days out from moving into our new house!! Yaaayyeeeeee!!! And for those of you math-inclined people who will notice a discrepancy since the last countdown reminder: we moved our move date up by a week. We will be painting and putting down flooring the first week of January and then voila! We're in! And I'm so completely stoked. As much as I love the house (and I do) the main reason I'm so happy is that I can't stand where we live now. Lake Nona is beautiful but it's painfully far away from everything. My family, my friends and even stuff to do (movies, malls, restaurants, etc.). This may not be so bad but considering I'm so sick of the inside of that car I could scream (see above) the idea of driving 30-45 minutes to visit with people, shop or go to the movies on my time off is the opposite of appealing. So I'm a hermit.

But we are moving to Winter Park which is infinitely more central and so much closer to everything!! I even have a Moe's less than 2 miles away . . . and if you've ever met me, you know that I love me some Moe's. I've even perfected the burrito:insulin ratio so that my bloodsugars even love Moe's. And I must say, it's been a difficult 8 months without my Moo Moo Mr. Cow every week. (And if you don't know what I'm talking about, I must say I'm truly sorry.)

In other exciting news, I interviewed for pretty much my dream job 2 weeks ago. It's in a Level 3 NICU 15 minutes away from where we will live. I've heard nothing but good things about this hospital system and really hope I get this position. Supposedly they are making their decision this week but I'm not going to hold my breath. I've been in contact with the higher ups from this NICU for almost a year and as nice as they are, timely they are not. If they say I will know something this week or next week, I'm expecting to hear back mid-January. :-) I was up against 4 other practitioners, 3 brand new, no experience (but they are all working there as nurses now) and one with 10 years of NNP experience who will be moving from out of state. Funnily enough, 2 of the candidates were my classmates in the Master's program. And then there's me, 9 months of experience in a Level 2. They have 2 positions to fill and I seriously have no clue which candidates they will choose. Please pray for me. Maybe I'll get an early (or late) Christmas present in the form of a shiny new job! Eeek!! :-)

Cautiously hopeful,
~Layne

PS: Earlier in the week my mom and grandmother and I got together to make cookies which we probably haven't done since the 80's or at least since high school. I got to choose the cookies and we ended up making powdered sandies, peanut butter kiss cookies and crack cookies. And I (begrudgingly) took half of each batch home with me. My waistline is not thanking me but they were oh so delicious.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, as much as I'm not in a blogging kind of mood, I somehow feel bad letting this day pass without honoring it with a few words. Normally I'm a very festive holiday person. But this year has dealt me some rough blows and considering that and the fact that I worked from 6pm last night to 8:30am this morning, I'm not feeling particularly thankful for anything. In fact, I'm actually feeling pretty grumpy.

But in truth I am so grateful for so many things in my life. Here are just a few:

  • I have wonderful opportunities coming just around the bend.
  • My husband and I will be moving into our very first home together in just two months.
  • Even though I'm working at a job that isn't always my favorite I have met some wonderful people there who have been nothing but wonderful to me.
  • Even though working the entire night before a holiday isn't what I'd call fun, last night I got to do what I love which is help a baby get better and help her family heal in a different way.
  • My friends and family are wonderful and soon I won't live so damn far away from them!!
  • 64 days and counting until I'm finally free from this job and this horrible commute!!
  • Last and the most important, I have the best husband I could ever imigine. He's the most patient, kind and interesting person I know and I love spending my life with him. He takes care of me in ways I never thought I'd need and I think (I hope) I do the same for him. He's also my best friend. Sure he's directionally challenged and has holes in his memory like Swiss cheese, we can't all be perfect can we? Even still, I love him more than anything.
  • Oh! Yeah, I have this rotten, spoiled little rat living with me. She's stinky and bossy but I love her like crazy. (See the family pic with this little rat here.)
So even though I'm exhausted and not at all hungry and have a day of house-hopping in front of me, I can't really be a grouch. So without further ado, this is the best way I could think of (in light of what I do for a living) to wish you all a happy holiday:

I hope it's wonderful for everyone. Have a great time and don't make yourselves sick! (No worries, I have plenty of insulin in tow for this occasion!)

Gratefully Yours,
~Layne

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sometimes people suck

Those of you how know me "in real life" know that I test my blood sugar and take my insulin wherever and whenever is convenient. At the table, in the car, at work, wherever. And I've always assumed that every diabetic does this. I remember in elementary school I had to go up to the nurses station to do everything. I even had to keep my supplies there. It was really frustrating and inconvenient. Finally my mom got feisty with the principal and the school board and I was allowed to carry my supplies with me and do whatever I needed to do, wherever I needed to do it.

I'm still pretty free about it. If I'm around someone new, I'll ask if they mind if I take a shot in front of them since some people are squeamish, I do try to be sensitive but truthfully, I don't much care. Most people, even if they are squeamish. just offer to look away rather than ask me to leave their presence. I appreciate that. I mean, really, it's my life. I'm the one taking the shot and it's what I have to do to eat. So why can't I do it at the table? I'm not sitting there wiping blood all over the place. It's quick, it's subtle, it's clean.

In the last few years, I've had people tell me I was gross. Sometimes to my face, sometimes through a mediator, I've been asked to change to make others around me comfortable. I've even had people talk about me behind my back. Saying that I was being rude and disgusting and that I should go someplace private so no one has to see it.
Ouch. That hurt. I always assumed people were understanding. That they saw someone with a disease who had to take care of themselves. I mean, why would anyone begrudge me that. Now I wonder how many people have said things like this about me that I never knew about.

That crap pisses me off. It's part of my life. It's not fun. I don't get a kick out of grossing people out. This is what I do to
live. Why should I have to hide it to make someone else feel better? And if I'm the one sitting here living with this sucky disease, don't I at least deserve the convenience of treating it where, when and how I want? Besides, sterile syringes in a public restroom? Yuck.

So I will continue to be blatant with my diabetes. I will wave my syringes proudly. :-) Also, I must say, it's a great way to get ahold of a waitress in a restaurant. I've waited forever for a refill or made eyes at every server in the place and been completely ignored. But the second I pull out my needles and insulin and get ready to shoot up and sure enough, that's when a server walks over. Figures.

Speaking of rude insensitive people, I found a hysterical post about "diabetes etiquette." Apparently someone has gone out of their way to create a wallet-size card that outlines the appropriate behavior when interacting with someone who has diabetes. Now (as evidenced by the above rant) I have definitely run into my fair share of rude, hurtful, and/or downright ignorant comments from people who are completely and utterly unfamiliar with diabetes. That being said I would never pass these little babies around but they do give me great amusement. :-) For everyone's edification I will go ahead and lay out the rules of diabetes etiquette below. Everyone out there feel free to take a cue from these and be aware that yes, people do say/do those things.

Enjoy:

1) DON’T offer unsolicited advice about my eating or other aspects of diabetes.

2) DO realize and appreciate that diabetes is hard work.

3) DON’T tell me horror stories about your grandmother or other people with diabetes you have heard about.

4) DO offer to join me in making healthy lifestyle changes.

5) DON’T look so horrified when I check my blood sugars or give myself and injection.

6) DO ask how you might be helpful.

7) DON’T offer thoughtless reassurances {i.e. “it could be worse, you could have cancer!}

8) DO be supportive of my efforts for self-care.

9) DON’T peek at or comment on my blood glucose numbers without asking me first.

10) DO offer your love and encouragement.

They missed the one about "If your loved one has diabetes and is in a foul mood, DON'T ask them to check their blood sugar. It is their right to be cranky, dammit."

Sarcastically yours,
~Layne

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Am I weird? Wait, don't answer that. . .

The more dBloggers I encounter the more I get to thinking about all the little things I do as a diabetic. I don't know anyone with diabetes. A few of the nurses I have worked with had Type 2, but that's a totally different animal. I met friends at camp with Type 1 when I was little, but of course we've all lost touch. Plus, I never knew them in their day-to-day life. I've never seen anyone but me go through the day-to-day antics of diabetes management. I've managed to solve small problems in my own way. I vent about stuff to my husband. But lately I've been forced to wonder, is all this normal? Do any other diabetics out there do stuff the way I do it? Do they think the same thoughts? I started wondering about my habits, my musings, my rantings and ramblings. And I was curious if I was alone these crazy thoughts, habits and notions or if other diabetics out there shared them. Here goes nuthin':

1. From almost the time I was diagnosed, I lick my fingers after testing my sugar. I never bothered scrambling for napkins, gauze, alcohol wipes or whatever. I test too often for that nonsense and my purse is full enough without adding more supplies to it. So I just lick and go. Some people I run into who don't know me have commented that this is gross but I do it anyway. I also hate using alcohol. So I don't. I don't swab my insulin bottles or my sites before I inject. And I've never once had an issue.

2. I carry around my supplies in a baggie. I know they have fancy-schmancy, handy-dandy kits that hold meters, strips, insulin vials, alcohol wipes, etc. But they are huge and I've never found them that handy or dandy. So I found the smallest meter imaginable and I stick my syringes and insulin in a snack baggy (those half-sized ones) and throw it all in my purse. I'm always curious how other diabetics haul their supplies around. But baggies have always worked best for me.

3. I also store my syringes at home in a cup on my desk next to my office supplies. It amuses me to have them out like that. And I like that when I put them in my Florida cup the orange caps coordinate with the blue cup to make Gator colors!

4. I have always used the butter compartment to store my insulin in the fridge. Throughout childhood and college and with every new roommate, I stake out the butter compartment in every fridge I've ever used. They know it's mine and that's where my insulin goes. It makes the most sense! It's enclosed and easy to access with no chance of spillage from other food stuffs. Although, I have on occasion opened the compartment door with a vial poised right against it, sending the vial crashing to the kitchen floor. Sheesh. There go shards of glass, insulin and money down the tubes. Not to mention stinky-insulin-smelling-floor. But for the most part the the butter compartment has served me well. I use the butter in the tubs anyway.

5. Sometimes, when I'm super low my mouth, chin and tongue gets all numb and tingly. This weirds me out because I've been diabetic for years but this symptom didn't emerge until college. The first time it happened my roommate (Ashlee) and I were in the grocery store and I got low. I grabbed a drink for a quick fix but as I was drinking I noticed this numb, tingling sensation in my lower lip and tongue. It was super weird. I mentioned it to Ashlee offhand but she didn't seem too terribly interested. ("Uh, okay?") But as we were walking around I kept biting my lip, sticking my tongue out, rolling it around, dragging my lips and tongue across my teeth, poking my chin with my finger, making all-around funny faces. Can you tell I was very distracted by this sensation?!? Finally, Ashlee started looking at me like I was nuts. She grabbed my arm and clamped her hand over my mouth. She told me I looked like a mental patient and proceeded to mime back my actions to me. We both broke out in fits of laughter in the middle of Publix. Eventually the tingling went away. But I still get this symptom every so often with my lows. I've always thought it was strange.

6. I think I'm the only diabetic who was on the pump and kinda hated it. I'm seriously met with shock and awe when I tell people I hated the pump. It didn't start out that way. I was on the pump for over 5 years and, sure, my blood sugars improved initially but now I can do the same thing with injections without the tubing, the tangling, the stupid alarms and the itchy sites that get yanked out by clumsy me and stupid door handles. It felt so freeing to be able to wear clothing without pockets. To shower and swim without worrying that the adhesive on my site will peel off. And sleeping or doing other ::ahem:: activities in bed without getting tangled in tubing!! Plus, those catheter needles were friggin' huge back in the day. Ouch! I love me my 31G short, ultra-fine needles. :-) Not to mention having to carry around all those supplies. I like that I have my meter, my strips, syringes and insulin and I'm in business. If I were still on the pump, I'd have to add extra tubing, batteries, Tegaderm, new site equipment, extra cartridges and needles/plungers to go with it. Not cool. Oh! And can I just tell you how many times I dropped that damn thing on my toe!?!?

7. Okay, this is the one I probably feel worst about. Because I'm worried it will sound like I'm being judge-y towards other diabetics. But as a kid, when I told people I was diabetic I never really had to think about what people thought of me, it was obvious I was Type 1 . But as I've grown older, I've started to get paranoid when people find out I'm diabetic. Most people think that adults who have diabetes are either super old or have it because they are overweight. So I always wonder, what do people think when they find out I'm diabetic? Do they think I'm Type 2? I usually try to squeeze into the conversation that I've had it since I was 8 and I'm a juvenile diabetic. (Good one, Layne. Very subtle.) And I'm usually thinking the whole time in my head, don't judge me!! I didn't do this to myself!! I couldn't help it! Sure I'd love to lose 10 pounds but those 10 pounds didn't make me diabetic. I'm Type 1, dangit!! Of course there are some Type 2-ers that can't help it either. Just sayin' I'm not a fan of being labeled and I get weird if I think someone my be labeling me "Type 2" becuase there are all sorts of connotations to being Type 2 that just aren't good.

So those are a few of my crazy thoughts and deeds as a diabetic. And if anyone out there finds them not so crazy after all, feel free to leave some comment-love to reassure me of my sanity! And for those of you out there who are my friends and know me in "real life:" Sorry if I grossed you out with my finger-pricks and shots at the dinner table but I know you love me anyway. :-)

In the end, it really doesn't matter if anyone thinks like me or does things like me. Those without diabetes really don't have any room to criticize how someone with diabetes chooses to live their life. Those of us with diabetes probably all understand how important our little habits are because they make us sane. They help us get through the day and are the ways we've found to make this disease a tiny bit easier to live with.

~Layne

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I did good.

Saturday night sucked. It took a while, but gradually I woke up. When I opened my eyes I saw that it was 3:35am. Who knows how long I had spent floating on the edge of consciousness, trying to wake up. But at 3:35am, I woke up. And I felt like crap. My heart was pounding, I could feel it in my ears. It was like I had just run a marathon but I wasn't even out of breath. I was also sweating and clammy. And my knees had that familiar wobbly, weak feeling to them. That's right folks, I was low.

I haven't woken up low in forever. (Well, at home anyway. I wake up low all the time in the hospital when I'm on call but that's another story.) And it's not fun, but I am lucky in the respect that some diabetics don't wake up at all when they are low. I have always been able to feel it it my sleep and it gradually sucks me out of my rest. Which is a good thing really because bad things happen when you get too low. There was only one time in all my 18 years as a diabetic where I was low and I didn't wake up. Thank God my husband was there. There was no seizure, nothing too nuts, but I was crazy out-of-it. My husband has been with me so long (he even went with me one summer to be a counselor at a diabetes camp). So he did great, got me to sit up and slowly sip some orange juice. I don't remember most of this but let me tell you, when I came to, I was completely freaked out. ::shudder::

Anyway, I was shaky but I could tell I had this one under control. I decided to let Brad sleep and go out into the living room to take care of myself. I tested and my blood sugar was 42. Awesome. I had a Barnies Coffee Cooler with friends earlier that night and those things do a number on my blood sugar. So I gave myself plenty of insulin. Well, obviously I overdid it because 5 hours later, I was sitting on my couch shaky and clammy downing a glass of milk. That's my go-to low fixer. Milk. I know it's weird. And sometimes I use OJ when I'm on the go and just need a quick fix. But milk works great. About 8 to 10 ounces is perfect, has just the right number of carbs for me (15gms or so) and protein so that I my blood sugar doesn't crash again in a hour when my body has burned all that sugar. It takes a little longer than OJ to kick in since it doesn't have anywhere close to the crazy sugar power of OJ. But if I have the luxury of time it's great and doesn't bounce my sugars all over the place.

Here's where the devil on my shoulder comes into play. I really should have stopped at the milk. But I had just made some chocolate-peanut butter fudge and it seemed like the perfect time to indulge. But I promise it was just one piece!! And since I knew I'd rebound, I stayed up for a while to check my sugar and take some insulin before I went back to bed. I was hoping that I wouldn't wake up with a narly high. And when I rolled over the next morning and realized I had to pee like a mo-fo, I was worried. But my blood sugar was 122. Perfect!! I was pretty pleased with myself.

While I was up I was remembering all the dBlogs I had found recently. And I was thinking, cool, I can blog about this and maybe other diabetics out there will see it and totally relate like I was relating to their stories. But mostly I'm just proud of myself for treating my low, not overdoing it and not ending up sky-high the next morning. Sometimes it can be so hard to deal with the ravenous hunger that comes with lows. I feel like a never-ending vessel, running out of fuel, needing the sustanence so badly that I will just eat and eat and eat. And sometimes it takes so long to come out of those lows. Of course I know from experience that once the low does subside, that I will feel like crap for eating like it was going out of style. My blood sugar will also suffer the consequences later on. More often than not I try to take it slow. It does help to have a go-to staple for lows. Like I said, I like milk or sometimes OJ. That way I don't have to think or scramble for a solution, I have on on-hand and my low-brain won't get the opportunity to steer me wrong.

~Layne

Friday, November 14, 2008

World Diabetes Day

Well, today, November 14th, is World Diabetes Day. For whatever reason, I was inspired to Google some new blogs and I was curious if I could find a few from people like me living with Type 1 diabetes. Well, I found more than a few!! I found hundreds. And I also happened to stumble upon the fact that today, November 14th, is World Diabetes Day.

Seeing all these people's blogs humbled me. I feel like I try damn hard to take care of my diabetes and be an example of compliance and control. Well, these people put me to shame. Some had A1C's higher than mine, some lower. But they put me to shame because they have a voice. They are speaking out to other diabetics. Shit! I feel downright lazy in comparison.

For those who know me well, I'm sure you've seen me get frustrated with my diabetes. But it's more than that. It's something I live with every moment of everyday. I can't even get hungry without thinking a thousand thoughts of "am I hungry enough for it to be worth eating?" or "is this snack worth taking a shot for" or "why am I hungry? what's my blood sugar?" This stupid disease is a mind-game, it totally gets in your head and messes with you. For example, my dilemma right now is I'm about to run out of syringes. I'm "not allowed" to get anymore for another week because my insurance won't let me refill more than once every 3 months. So with every shot I think, do I have enough needles? Should I throw this one away or save it and use it again? So this week, I'm resorting to using syringes multiple times before throwing them away in order to stretch my supply. Ever been given a shot with a dull needle? Not fun, my friends.

But it's not about the shots. Everyone thinks it's the shots. The number 2 question I get is "how many shots do you take a day?" (The number 1 question I'm asked as a diabetic is "are you allowed to eat that?" That's about the most obnoxious thing and I hear it over and over and over again.) When I tell people the answer (which is 4 or 5 usually) they gasp, act pained and say they could never do that. Damn right they could. I hate when people say that, like I'm better or braver than them. I don't have a choice. And if they had diabetes, they wouldn't have a choice either and you better effing believe they would take shots, prick their fingers, get their blood drawn and do whatever they had to to stay healthy.

Anyway, my point is, the shots don't bother me. They bother everyone else but me (the one who actually takes them). What bothers me is the mind game this disease plays with my head. The symptoms of the highs and lows and never knowing when they will strike (at work is the worst, by the way). If I gave myself the shots and tested by blood sugar and did everything I do now and my health was always kosher (great blood sugars between 80 and 110, wonderful A1C under 6, no symptoms, no highs, no lows, no complications later in life) this disease would be a walk in the park.

But, no. Unlike other chronic diseases, the patient can do exactly what they are supposed to do and never know what their blood sugar will be, never be able to get their diabetes under control and never be able to predict what the future will bring. That's what sucks. I'm testing my blood sugar all the time and I feel like I'm constantly on top of my diabetes. My best A1C ever was 6.1. Usually I run mid-6's. But I want more. I'm sick of the giant swings in blood sugar and the headaches and jitters. But what else can I do other than just keep on keepin' on?

I'm so happy that today is World Diabetes Day. I hope people other than the diabetics in this world actually know about it and care about it. I'm also happy that this day has been recognized by the United Nations. But for me, November 14th doesn't go away. Every day is diabetes day. It follows me everywhere. For me, this isn't a cause. It's my life.

~Layne

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Job News

Well, we all knew it was coming. Me especially and I couldn't be happier. So I can finally say it OUT LOUD!! That's right folks, last week I officially resigned from my job. YIIIPPPPPPIEE!!!!!! For anyone who's been reading this blog for longer than a minute, this shouldn't be too much of a shock. I've been pretty outspoken about how miserable I've been. First of all, the job is just inherently not what I want. Let's start with a list:
  1. The job is an hour away from our apartment. Which sucks because our apartment is super far from everything else: friends, family, Target, Moe's. Yes, Target and Moe's are of vital importance and must be close, 10 minutes away, max! The only reason we live way out here is so I can be "close" to my job . . . . which is an hour away!! And when we move to our new house it will be even farther away, more like an hour and a half. And I know that we could have picked a house closer to my job but, again, I hate where we live right now. And I love where our new house is located. (Side note: If you haven't tried a Moe's burrito, you should. Seriously. They are wonderful. Everything is wonderful there. It's cheap, Mexican, cheesy, steak-y goodness. Oh! And definitely get the queso for your chips. Yummmmm.)
  2. The unit is a Level 2 NICU. The babies there aren't as sick. Not that we don't ever get sick babies but we have to ship them off ASAP after we stabilize them. We will occasionally get a vented patient and when we do, I love it. Maybe that makes me a horrible person, but these are the kids that I like to take care of. My passion is Level 3, the sickest, smallest babies. It's complicated and interesting and I really feel like I'm helping them and making a difference. That's what I was trained to do and that's what I love.
  3. Okay, so I don't mind just the Level 2 thing. It's not optimal but it's not awful. What is awful is that I cover the newborn nursery. For me, the newborn nursery is hell on Earth. Besides the fact that it's halfway across the hospital from the NICU, it's boring as all getout. And frustrating. Mind-numbingly awful. Basically, I spend the vast majority of time at work doing one of two things. I'm either 1) taking perfectly healthy infants away from their parents to do a stupid physical exam once a day where I once again verify, yep, this kid is fine, which the babies hate and the parents find disruptive at best. 2) I'm trying to convince a newborn nursery RN that the baby she has paged me about 5,000 times in the last hour is, in fact, healthy and does NOT need to be admitted to the NICU. That's my favorite. Really.
  4. The hours suck. The practitioners only work nights in this unit. Meaning I never get to see Brad, because I leave for work in the afternoon before he gets home from work and come home after he leaves in the morning. Anyone out there who is married or even in a serious relationship, I'm sure, can appreciate how much this blows.
  5. Going back to how far away this job is . . I spend a crap-load of money on gas and tolls. Like $400 a month. Ugh, it hurts to say it out loud. I have also put about 5400 miles on a car that I bought 2.5 months ago!!!! For those of you out there you aren't math majors, that means I will put 30,000 miles on my car in a year!! Just driving back and for to work. Um, no thanks.
So these are all things about the job that just can't be changed. They have all gotten to me but that's not the only reason I've had it up to here with this job. I haven't been treated all that well. The practice I work for has gone through some rough times while I've been there. And for that I sympathize. But I have been expected to shoulder about half of the burden and that's just not right. First off, I'm a brand new practitioner, just graduated a year ago and I personally don't think it's right or smart to expect that of me. Second, I've only worked there for about 7 months and all of a sudden I feel like I'm carrying the whole freakin' unit by myself with one other person to help. Not fun.

Once we found our house, it became clear to me that I couldn't continue this. Especially after we move. So I gave my notice on October 30th. I was super nervous, but it went better than expected. My contract says I have to give 3 months notice so my last day will be late January. Until then, a HUGE weight has been lifted off of me. I have been so unhappy the last few months and it is a big relief to see a light at the end of the tunnel. And the best news . . . . I have an interview at an Orlando NICU for a job I really want. There are at least 4 others interviewing so who knows what will happen but please pray for me!!

~Layne

Now if you're feelin' kinda low
About the dues you've been paying
Future's coming much too slow
And you wanna run but somehow you just keep on stayin'
Can't decide on which way to go
Yeah, yeah, yeah
I understand about indecision
But I don't care if I get behind
People livin' in competition
All I want is to have my peace of mind.
- Boston, "Peace Of Mind"

Monday, November 3, 2008

What a GREAT day!

So we are officially home-owners! I can't believe today is closing day! This past week has been (yet another) week of big changes. And all of them wonderful! Our biggest news is that today we became home-owners! Again! Well, again for me. This is Brad's first time and I think he's thrilled. The only buzzkill is that we won't actually move into our new digs until January sometime. So this whole thing is a little surreal. But we are still stoked!

So I've already posted a link to pictures of the house. But since it's officially sold I'm sure it's only a matter of time before that link is dead. So to commemorate this day, here's a slideshow of pics of our new house:



To be honest, there is so much else going on right now. Lots of new changes on the job front. ALL GOOD, for once. But today all I can think about is our new house. But I'll be sure to post more updates soon!

YAY!
~Layne

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat?

Well, I guess that's the question lately. Everyday. Is my life a big effing trick or full of sweet treats. I think it's mostly good, except for this one big black spot on it.

::cough::
my job ::cough::

'Scuse me. Little something in my throat there. Anyway, this was my long week. The week I work 4 night shifts instead of three. I think the worst part (besides the 60 hours at work, 8 hours of commuting and 500 miles on my car) is the fact that on weeks like this I don't get to see my husband hardly at all. I don't get to see anyone really but it's not seeing Brad that really stings. For example, this week we saw each other Sunday night and then not again until Thursday night. Yep! Four days. It's like one of us went out of freaking town. And on regular weeks that interval only shortens to three days! But somehow I guess we've learned to handle this. Mind you, there are lots of phone calls but it's just not the same. Can anyone out there imagine not seeing their spouse for
3 days straight every week? And then missing them for 4 days straight once a month?!? It's rough.

On the bright side, if I had to pull 4 shifts, this was a pretty great week to do it. For several reasons:
  1. Really light census. For those of you who don't work in a medical setting, the census (or number of patients) is a big part of how busy you are at work. It was really light this week, which I'm super grateful for!
  2. Plus, not a lot of scheduled C-sections. Backstory: The first C-section of the day is at 7:30am and I am supposed to get off at 8am. In theory, the 7:30 C-section should be the last thing I do before I duck out. Problem is, no one there can seem to get their act together and the 7:30 C-section rarely (read: never) goes at 7:30. I'm usually not paged until 8am, which means the baby won't be born until 8:15 and I'm lucky to be out of there at 8:30 or so. 30 minutes late. So I hate the AM sections. So the fact that I only had one this week was heaven!! I'm thinking since it's Halloween week, moms are choosing not to be have their babies born so close to the holiday. Since it's scheduled, obviously they have the luxury of picking the day. That's my guess anyway.
  3. They are re-doing the call room this week. Sucks a little because I've been shuffled around between call rooms and the phone hasn't worked and everything has been a war-zone with all the construction. But they pretty much started and ended all the work within a couple of days which was great. AND the new call room looks amazing!! The best part is the mattress, which now actually passes for a mattress and not a boulder covered in noisy plastic! And it's clean with new carpet and wallpaper! Can I just tell you that there were sticky stains all over than room that I think are older than I am!! It was gross. Oh, oh, oh!! And I saw them bring in a fridge and microwave!!! That's right, I can actually store my food and eat in my breakroom rather than walking across the hospital to store my lunch box!! Woo hoo!! I'll hafta post pics because that room is freakin' sweet!!
  4. Brad was sick this week. And as much as I would have loved to be home to take care of him, it's probably best that we were apart so I didn't get sick as well. Not only would we probably end up just passing it back and forth for weeks (yes, it's happened before and, yes, it sucks) but I'm also apparently not allowed to call out of work. (long story but basically I've been told that "of course you can take time off, just make sure to give enough notice that they can find someone to cover your shift, at least a month would be great." Uh, okay. So what about being sick or emergencies? Can't exactly plan those! Remember my car accident? Yeah, bite me.) So anyway, getting sick isn't an option.
I'm a little bummed that I have to work on Halloween. I knew going into this job that I'd have to work some portion of the weekend. And really thought only having to work Fridays was about the best it could get. But every frickin' holiday this year has been on an effing Friday! WTF? July 4th was the other big one. Not that I have plans but I'm excited that we may get trick-or-treaters this year and I'm a little bummed that I won't get to be there to see them and hand out candy. In fact, I've already told Brad that he must open the door for trick-or-treaters and he must give them candy and he must be nice to them and try to remember their costumes so he can give me a full description when I come home the next day.

Well, that's it for now. Lotsa other stuff going down but I'll save it for another post. Plus, we close on our new house in 3 days!!! Woo hoo!!

~Layne

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Life and death . . .

Yeah, so as much as this particular job stinks, my job in general is pretty cool. I mean, I save babies. How much more noble can you get than that really? Not to toot my own horn or anything. . . Anyway, in the past I have definitely had some humbling experiences and, don't get me wrong, I do comprehend the weight of my authority and position in the NICU and in the delivery room. And I do have a healthy dose of "scared" in me. But lately I've gotten quite used to (and jaded by) the boring, mind-numbing monotony that is a tiny Level 2 NICU, not to mention the newborn nursery. :: insert dramatic groan here :: Then last week happened. I'm not going to go into too many details, well, because legally I can't. But let's just say I had a wake-up call. The night started out with a baby that was having a few minor problems . . . and by the end of my shift 14 hours later, those problems had turned life-altering. For the baby, for its family and for me. This baby had suffered a stroke.

Let me first say that there was nothing I did that caused this and there was nothing I could have done to prevent it, nor did I do anything that made it worse in any way. I suppose the most I could have done was recognize it sooner, but again that would not have improved this child's outcome. That said . . . it took me hours of research and crying and speaking with my attending physician to be absolutely certain of all this. You see, it doesn't really matter that there was technically nothing I could have done, the weight of my guilt was staggering. By the end of the night when I realized what was happening, all I could think is "Ohmigod, what did I do?"

Because I'm so new to this, I was absolutely convinced that I had done something wrong, somewhere along the line. I felt stupid and incompetent and it was completely unnerving to think that I could have missed something while caring for this baby. And I was absolutely I was convinced I had. I was devastated and I couldn't stop thinking about this child. Replaying the night over and over in my head. I thought of a million little things that I could have done differently, only to realize that hindsight was 20/20. There was no way I could have known. Again, it didn't matter. I cried all the way home. I cried all day long. I didn't sleep and I researched his condition all afternoon. It was an extraordinary feeling to feel absolutely responsible for another human's life. It was awful. It made me never want to be in that position ever again.

I get a huge rush from "saving" babies. From resuscitating them at a delivery, from seeing the things I do make a baby better, from reassuring and encouraging timid parents. It's a huge thrill and an absolute honor to be a part of it all. But on that day I wanted absolutely no part of it. Ever. Again. Because, for the first time, I was forced to wonder if instead of helping, I hurt someone. Not hurt as in may be in the NICU a couple more days or in some other way where the baby will ultimately be fine. But hurt as in may never walk, never talk, never play like normal a child. Hurt as in a mother and father grieving over the loss of their perfect child. The weight of that was unbearable.

It took several days for me to come to grips with this. To process it and let go of my guilt. It took seeing the baby slowly get better and hearing from someone with 30 years of experience that this particular case had him "scratching his head too." But for about 24 hours there, I wanted no part of my job. The weight of it felt like it was crushing me. The idea of ever making a "mistake" that could hurt a baby like that was too daunting to face. But slowly I realized that, just like the good things, that is what comes with the territory. You can't help people without risking hurting them. You can't always save every patient. And you can't always be perfect. I don't want to be human at my job, it's too scary. But, unfortunately, that's something about myself I can't change. The best I can do is learn from the scary times and the mistakes and never make the same ones twice. And pray that God is with me in everything I do, especially at that place. At was so scary to go back to work, but in the end I had to believe that I have it in me to do so much more good in my career. I want to learn and to be better and to save more lives, God willing. I want to believe that I can.

Introspectively,
~Layne

I'm only pretty sure that I can't take anymore
Before you take a swing
I wonder what are we fighting for
When I say out loud
I want to get out of this
I wonder is there anything
I'm going to miss
I wonder how it's going to be
- Third Eye Blind, "How's It Going To Be"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

We got a house!!

So, yeah, after my truly wretched night, I haven't really been in a blogging kinda mood. But actually it's been an eventful month. So here's a quick summary of what's been going on the last month and a half:

The week after my wretched night was my "long week". This is the one week a month that I have to work 4 night shifts instead of three (or 56 hours instead of 42). In a word, it bites. Well, this is also the week where Tropical Storm Fay decided to stall out over Melbourne, the city I work in. Since my commute is 125 miles round-trip and all the roads were flooded, windy and dangerous, I was pretty nervous about the drive. At a couple points, I had to pull over and wait it out because the driving conditions were just that bad. I even had to rearrange a couple of my days around so that I wouldn't be driving to my shifts during the worst of it. Could I call out of work, or get someone else to cover me? Not a chance. No way. Does it matter that I live an hour away? Or that the other two people who work there live within 10-15 minutes of the place? Or that they are men with family nearby if anything happened and I'm a woman whose husband would be 60 miles away? Apparently not, because nobody offers to help me out and when I suggest it, I'm basically told that I'll be expected to make it up at a later date. The moral of the story here, folks, is that the people who work there are simply not interested in coming into work for a millisecond more than absolutely necessary and will do whatever it takes to avoid it at all costs. Gotta love it. It left me wondering what I will do when I'm sick and need to call out or, God forbid, want to take a vacation. But one problem at a time. So that week I endured 56 hours of work, 8 hours of commute, 500 miles of scary driving to and from work, through terrible flooding and tropical storm force winds. To be perfectly blunt, by the end of the week, I was pissed. . . . and wet.

That horrible week culminated on Friday when, in between shifts, I decided I missed my husband and decided to meet him for lunch. That night was the last shift I had left to work that week and I felt energized by the near-freedom and felt like getting out of the house. As I'm sitting at a stoplight, the driver behind me slammed into me. I was spun around (yep, again) and sent into the median. After hitting me, the other driver still had enough momentum to keep going, ramp herself into the median, mow down a palm tree and finally come to a stop in some bushes. I think it's a safe bet to safe she never bothered to brake.

Luckily neither of us were flung past the median into oncoming traffic. Between the hurricane and my long week, my nerves were pretty raw and I didn't handle this so well. I was pretty shaken. I will say I feel terribly lucky to not have been hurt. But I had only had my car for 4 months and I got it about a month after being in another bad accident in March which was a terrible ordeal. Wanna know the best part, though? When I called the boss to tell him about the accident and that I didn't have a car, he ended the conversation with, "Alright, just let me know what you are going to do about tonight!" That's right, folks. He totally expected me to leave for work 3 hours after I was in a car accident which totalled my car. Awesome. I truly felt like I was being shat on by the universe. In the end, though, it wasn't as bad as the first accident. It took several phone calls on my part but in about a week the lady was determined at fault for the accident and my car was deemed officially totaled. I got the money for the car and my previous loan paid off and ended up getting a brand new version of my old car. Not fun, but again, it all worked out in the end.

So, yeah, August wasn't a great month for me. But it ended on a decent note, since Aug 30th was the day I got my new car, which was fun. September has been significantly better. Since then I've had 4 weeks of working my normal 3-shift schedule, which has been nice. And while there have been a few annoyances at work, it hasn't been anything awful. Also, for whatever reason, we got the house bug about a week into September and decided to drive around and scout the area of town we were interested in living in to see which neighborhoods we liked. We had fun and even went into a few open houses. We met Meg, our realtor, at one of them. She was very sweet and open. And she offered to dive right into a search for us if we would tell us what we were looking for in a house.

Brad and I were trying not to take it too seriously considering we were in our apartment lease until February 21st and had no interest in paying double rent. But despite our best efforts we (read: me) got excited and dove into house hunting. Over the next 3 weeks we compiled a few lists of houses and looked at about 20 houses in total. We liked a few but there was one that we were interested in from the start and no matter what our mood, never got cut from "the list." We decided to make an offer on it last weekend with the provision that we get a long closing, so as not to pay double rent for more than a couple months. The owners countered and it turns out they want a couple months to stay in the house so they can work on finding their next house in Tampa. We will close November 3rd and they will lease the house back to us until December 31st. We will move in sometime mid-late January (after we make a few improvements) and we'll only pay one month of double rent! How perfect. In short, we got our first house!! YIPPEE!!!

For those interested, here's a link to pictures of our new house!

Talk about semi-charmed life,
~Layne :-D

Monday, August 11, 2008

Truly. Wretched. Night.

Well, last Tuesday (August 5th) started out like any other day. But by the end of my shift on Wednesday morning, it would go down in history as "Hell Day." Yes, everyone at my hospital was calling it that, not just me. But unfortunately I think I bore the brunt of it. Ugh. . . here's my tale.

I started out the day feeling not so great. If you are a guy, skip these next few sentences. If you are a girl, I'm pretty sure you'll sympathize. To put it plainly, I was feeling fat and disgusting. I saw some pretty revolting pictures of myself and the numbers on the scale were not helping matters. So, on my way into work, I was already in a mood.

Alright, back to business. For those of you who are used to working in shifts, where your assignment is handed off to you by person who was working before you, you'll probably understand the frustration and dismay I felt walking in to find my attending in a particularly foul mood. Because it means that the assignment I was being handed was going down the shitter. . . . fast. There were 12 babies in the NICU, which is a lot for us, since we are used to more like 5-7 babies at a time. And one of them got particularly sick that day. The MD only had 2-3 notes done (meaning I had about 10 babies to examine, charts to review and notes to write, aka about 3-4 extra hours of work). And to top it all off, the baby that was sick needed arterial access which the attending was having difficulty getting. The umbilical cord was shot (the kid was 12 days old, so no surprise there) and he was dehydrated, meaning that getting a peripheral art line would be difficult at best. So he was stuck staying late. (Lucky me.)

Also, because he had been so busy all day he hadn't seen any of the normal newborn babies. So I have about 10 babies to examine and chart on upstairs. Since he had the fort held down in NICU I decided to get started on that. Well, no sooner was I upstairs, than I was called for a delivery. I don't normally go to vaginal deliveries but this baby was suspected to have a heart defect (which he didn't) and they were concerned how he would do. So I stand there for a good 30 minutes before a normal screaming baby pops out and I resuscitate him and leave. But while I'm there the respiratory therapist (RT) is able to shed a little light on the impending doom that will be the rest of my shift. First she tells me that 34 week twins (translation: they will be coming to NICU - ugh, shoot me) will be coming that night. Since they are premature and are twins, I will be going to that delivery too. Also, there are 2 C-sections in the wings. (I have to attend all C-section deliveries). In case you haven't noticed yet. . . . all these deliveries that I have to go to take away the time I have to actually do my work. FUN!

So basically the night plays out like this: I go to 5 deliveries in 6 hours which produce 6 babies (since there was a set of twins), 2 of which were admitted to the NICU. The last of my deliveries for the night was around 12:30am and I don't finish the daily notes for the babies in NICU until about 2 am. So now I can finally see the babies in newborn. Since there are 20 of them (WAY more than the normal, which is around 12 or so) I don't finish with their exams until about 5am. I get about 2 hours of sleep before I wake up to a page from the NICU. There is a baby in trouble they want me to look at. So while I'm ordering a chest xray for this baby in the NICU, I get a page for the scheduled 7:30 C-section. I end up getting there late, the baby is already out and not doing well. This isn't the norm. Most of the 7:30 sections are term repeats and go off without a hitch. NOT THIS MORNING!! :-)

Well, I'm cranky because my night has been absolute shit and the RT is cranky because I'm late. So needless to say, we exchanged some not-so-sweet words and ended up admitting the kid to the NICU. . . . 30 minutes after my shift was supposed to be over. I'm pissed. I settle the kid in, give report and haul ass.

So this next part is the best part. Not because everything else didn't suck that night, it most certainly, without a doubt did. But what happened at work couldn't really be avoided and was what it was. What happened afterward didn't have to happen, but did because at that moment God hated me. So I'm driving home, hauling ass as usual and I notice a cop behind me. I had seen 2 people pulled over so far on my drive home so I was happy to realize that I was actually going the speed limit, mostly because the jackass in front of me was going the speed limit and I was trapped. Whew, right?

Not so much, after following me for about 2 miles the cop turns on his lights. I pull over, thinking surely this isn't for me. Um, yeah it is. I said "WTF? I wasn't speeding!" (Paraphrasing here.) He tells me he clocked me a few miles back going 16 mph over the limit but waited until after the construction zone to pull me over. The funny thing is I ended up pulling over in front of three other cars, each with a cop car behind them, lights flashing. I'm thinking "Geez, this is effing ridiculous! Is there a freakin' quota someone's trying to meet??" During the 5 minutes I sit there not one, but TWO other cars get pulled over by cops! TWO!!! One in front of me and the other across the street. So there are six cars and six cops all on side of the street all at the same time. I must have looked absolutely, freaking ridiculous to anyone driving by. Luckily, instead of giving me the $300+ ticket for going 16 over in a construction zone, the cop gives me a $100 ticket instead. Sweet guy, really. :: cough:: jackass ::cough ::

In short, thank God there wasn't an electrical storm that day, because the ways the stars were lined up that night, I'd be suffering from 3rd degree burns right about now. What the hell did I do to piss someone up there off so bad? Seriously.

Unluckily yours,
~Layne

And there's a demon in my head who starts to play
A nightmare tape loop of what went wrong yesterday
And I hold my breath till its more than I can take
And I close my eyes and dream that I'm awake
- Third Eye Blind, "Narcolepsy"

Monday, August 4, 2008

I suck . . .

Yes, folks. I officially suck at this blogging thing. I mean, take a look at the evidence:
  1. I haven't posted in 60 days. Exactly. I missed the entire month of July.
  2. I have a friend who is half a world away with a job and a wife who posts almost weekly, has the same number of posts as me but has been blogging two months less, AND when he does post it's freakin' epic-poem long. Seriously. Meanwhile I do my best to pump out a few paragraphs and lately have resorted to puffing up my posts with pics.
  3. No comments. I have had one comment on my blog and it was from another blogger that I think is really an advertisement. I know that I don't exactly shout this thing from the rooftops but seriously. And just goes to prove my life (and blog) are so boring that neither warrant remark.
  4. I think that's it but it seems weird to use this whole "list" feature if the list is only 3 things long. So there.
"So," you ask, "what have you had go on in your life in the last 60 days?" You think surely there must be some interesting stuff to report after 60 days of absence. Um. . . . . not so much.

Okay, in all seriousness, I felt like all I did was come on this thing to vent. Which I also do a lot IRL to my friends, my mom and to Brad (poor guy). I feel like I'm annoying myself with all the complaining so surely I'm annoying those in cyberspace as well. Also, because I'm not in love with my current employment situation, I worry about saying too much in case somehow word gets back to my boss. No need to start shit until absolutely unnecessary. Right? Damn right. So every time I would think to post, all I could think to post was more irate banter about how frustrated, annoyed and sometimes downright PISSED I am with my current, commute, job, boss, situation, etc. All those things are still true but I can't think of anything else to say that everyone around me hasn't already heard about and that won't otherwise risk getting me in trouble if it finds it's way back to my employer. So I guess that's that.

I'm off to eat lunch and to consider what else there has occurred in the last 60 days that was post-worthy.
~Layne

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Back to the grind. . .

Well, I've been back at it for a little over a week now. The cruise was fun but mostly just nice to get away from everything for a little while. Plus it's the most I've seen my husband in a long while. You know, I kinda like the guy (go figure) and it makes me kinda sad when I don't get to see him (EVER) which is kinda how I've felt since starting this new job. The only time I get to spend with him during the week is Tuesday and Thursday nights. Other than that it's just Saturday and Sunday. I guess that's what I get for working 16 hour night shifts an hour away from where I live. Call me stupid. No seriously, do it. I feel pretty stupid. ::sigh::

Back to fun stuff. The cruise was great. And Dawn and Dave's wedding was beautiful. HOT! But beautiful. It was a blast seeing the girls from Shands. Makes me realize how much I miss it. And the best part was, since I was on the boat over my birthday, I won 25 bucks in the casino gambling on my bday!! I was so excited and it's even better than it sounds when you realize Brad and I both put in $10, he lost his and I was down to $2 when I won. Woo hoo! And my hubby was super sweet and took me to an amazing private dinner on the ship and gave me a purty for my birthday. Here are some pics:

First view of our ship and goofing around. . .
Dawn and Dave's wedding. Great time.



We really enjoyed the towel critters. What can I say?? It doesn't take much to amuse us.

Fun at the beach! But ouch! with the chafing!

Formal night. Aren't we purty?? Well, that's about it. Hope you enjoyed the pics!

~Layne

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cruisin'

Well, it's about that time. Tomorrow we leave for the port in Miami and by dinnertime we'll be setting sail on our first cruise!! We are both happy for some vacation time. It will be a nice long week, May 18th-25th. It will be great to spend so much time with Brad alone, trying new things, exploring and eating! Yummmmm. :-) And I can't wait for Dawn's wedding! We dropped her and Dave off at the airport this morning and I am so excited for them.

Also I will have my birthday on the cruise! It's a week from today. It's kinda exciting and weird all at the same time. It doesn't feel like my birthday is so close but it is and it will be weird to not celebrate it with everyone like I'm used to. But Brad is making special dinner plans and I'm sure it will still be a great day! And what a memorable birthday, at sea! And the next week we'll have a "rockin" party where we can really do it up right. Woo hoo!

As far as work goes, there have been some crazy shake-ups and I'm not sure what's going to happen with it. I can't really say too much about it, but I will say I'm not nearly as sure about this job as I was before . . . . (and I wasn't all that impressed before!) I do like being a nurse practitioner, though. It's a great job and I feel suited to it. I'm happy to finally being doing this job, even if I'm not completely sure about the environment I'm doing it in.

Anyway, I'm going to try and take LOADS of pics while we are away. Hopefully there will be some of me I don't hate that I can post for everyone's viewing pleasure. We'll miss everyone! See you next week!

~Layne

Friday, May 9, 2008

Working 9 to 5 . . .

Well, not really. But I have finally started my new job! And just as I predicted, when it finally came time to start I got a whooping 2 days notice. Called on a Tuesday to come in on a Thursday. Oh well.

So far so good. The unit is very small and that's hard to get used to. Also I feel like I've been doing WAY more newborn nursery stuff and not a whole lot of NICU stuff. I'm kinda hoping for more of a role with the kids in the NICU but I guess we'll see. Most of my orientation has been on days so far and I'll be working nights. So I'm not sure if I'm really getting a good feel for what it will really be like. Tonight is my first night shift there and I'll be shadowing Don, the other NNP. He's a nice guy and pretty funny to talk to so hopefully the 16 hours will go by quick.

In other news, Dawn's bachelorette party was last weekend and we had a blast!! And Brad and I will be leaving for our cruise in about a week! I can't believe it's already here! It came so fast. I can't wait, though! And then my birthday is here! May has been a big month for us!!

~Layne

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ever get the feeling. . .

. . . that you are being completely jerked around?? Well, I am definitely getting that vibe. This whole job business has probably been one of the most trying and frustrating things I've ever had to deal with. I mean this thing has definitely tested the last shred of patience and tolerance that I didn't even know I possessed.

I won't go into the details but needless to say I'm frustrated. And at this point I'm SUPER nervous about starting. I'm hoping all the crazy will calm down once I just start. I know I love this job. I really do. I'm also trying to remember the butterflies and the excitement that I felt as I was finishing my clinicals and passed my boards. I've just been away from it so long and the bureaucratic side of this business has not been treating me well lately. I'm just looking forward to getting back to where I started, the medicine and the babies.

::breathe:: ::breathe::

~Layne

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Week of goodbyes. . .

Well, I did it! I've made it to my last week at Shands. Tomorrow I'll be driving up to Gainesville for work for the last time!! (Well, probably not, but it will be the last time for a little while at least!!) And I will have a small goodbye dinner at La Fiesta (yummmm) with my girlies at Shands on Tuesday before I head back to Orlando. I really loved working in the NICU at Shands. I learned so much there and made really great friends who I will miss so much! :'-(

Also tonight is the goodbye party for Alan, a really good friend I met in high school, and Jenn, his wife. They have taken (crazy) jobs in South Korea to teach elementary school kids english. FOR A YEAR!! Yes, they know everyone thinks they are crazy. And, yes, they are going to do it anyway!! I will really miss them and I hate that they are leaving. [BTW, I think it's funny that I just moved back to Orlando and a month later one of our best friends here leaves the country!! What does that say about us!?!] So, lots of goodbyes this week.

The one thing that isn't sad this week is that I'm starting a new job in the interim, while I wait to start working as a practitioner. For those of you who don't know, I have a cousin who just gave birth to 33 week twin boys!! (That's about 2 months early for you obstetrics- challenged folks.) Anyway, they stayed in the NICU for about 2 weeks and then were released home on apnea monitors that have to be attached to them constantly to monitor their breathing and heartrate.

Since I've been so very bored and this job doesn't seem to be starting any sooner, I was looking for something to do with myself. Maybe a job at my mom's office or a friend's work. Part-time. Nothin' big. Well, my mom heard that my cousin was looking for some help with the twins. I called her and we talked and ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom . . . I'm their nanny. She liked that I knew preemies and work with them all the time and understood their issues and could handle whatever came up. I'll be taking care of them at night so she can get some rest. I started last Thursday and it went great. The twins (Aiden and Avery) are adorable!! It's so nice to be working with babies and will be a great way to spend my time waiting to start this new job!

That's it for now! Take care, peeps!
~Layne

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm official!!!!

To all who care: it's official!!! I'm an ARNP!!! Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, for those of you who are non-medical. I just checked Florida's Department of Health website and they posted my new license number!! Big step for me, people! I'm a dork and very excited and thought I'd share. :-)

Layne out!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bummed and tired

Okay, so all my posts are depressing. And, really, life's just not that bad but it has been pretty frustrating lately. Anyway, I found out Thursday that I was NOT going to get my car back on Friday. So I could NOT go to work this week either. And, you guessed it, I was NOT happy about this!! I hate missing work. It makes me feel so guilty and lazy, even though I really couldn't help it. . . we only have one frickin' car!! I really hope that it's done this week but, at this point, I'm not holding my breath.

We moved the rest of our stuff out of the condo yesterday. It's completely empty now and that is officially our last trip to Gainesville. It was kinda sad to leave it. It was our first place, we got married there, I got Raina while I lived there. Lots of memories. So we took a moment to say good bye. Yes, we really did . . . don't laugh! And of course we had a bunch of crap to do while we were there (turn in our cable box, pick up my framed diplomas, etc) and we forgot a bunch of stuff that we needed and it rained off and on the whole day . . . In other words, what we expected to be about 2 hours in Gainesville turned into almost 5 hours. It was a mess and we were a mess and it was a very long, exhausting day. But I'm glad it's done. Just two more weeks of traveling to Gainesville to work and then I'm done!! :-)

Alright, I'm done whining. I promise. We have a bunch of stuff that we brought back this trip so I have projects now to keep me busy. Believe it or not, I'm very grateful for that. And it was Easter today and it was very nice! We had lunch with my mom and grandma and ran some errands and set up the house a little. We even went to dinner to this (great) sushi place that just opened across the street from us!!

Overall, it was a good week and a very productive weekend. Anyone who knows me, knows that being productive makes me very happy!! :-)

~Layne
Anal-retentive and proud!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Zzzzzz. . . . bored . . .

Alright, so I've been in Orlando almost 3 weeks and I've done very little of what I really wanted to do after moving here!! Meeting Brad and my mom and friends for lunch, exploring the area, shopping for stuff for the new place. Instead, I'm sitting on my bum staring at walls. Egh! You know, I really underestimated how much I love having my car. I knew that not having a car would be a pain in the butt . . . I guess I just wasn't thinking about how bored and lonely I would be!! ::sniff sniff:: :-(

Anyway, I've tried to get out a little by driving Brad to work and then I get his car for the day. But that's kind of a pain in the butt. I'd love to hang out with friends and go shopping and go out to lunch. Unfortunately, most of them have stupid jobs that they do during the day and they can't come play with me. I've been able to convince a few people to play hookie with me, though, even if it's just for a couple of hours. ;-)

I think I'm done whining now. . . I don't really have much to report because, honestly, I haven't really been doing anything. I'm still waiting to get my ARNP license number. I sent everything off last week but my license number still hasn't been generated. Until that happens, my NP job is on hold. Other than that I've really just been unpacking but I've done about as much as I can do without the rest of the furniture. What did I tell you?? Really, really bored!! I get my car back this Friday, though, which is awesome!! And my mom is taking a half day to come play with me and then we do Easter dinner with Brad's family. YAY for PLANS!!!!

Alright chickies, nothing left to talk about . . .
~Layne

Friday, March 7, 2008

Welcome to Orlando . .

Well, to start off, let me say I absolutely love our new place. It's HUGE and pretty and I love it. We are a little far from some things but can walk to others, like the grocery store, bank, pizza, etc. And they are putting a bunch more stuff in the plaza in front of our apartment complex so it will just keep getting better!

Here's the bad part . . . On Monday (3/3/08), my mom and I went shopping for a couple of things for the new place and we were on our way back to my apartment when we got into a horrible accident on the 528. I was in the middle lane and a semi who was in the fast lane merged over into my lane, right on top of me. All of a sudden I felt a huge thud on my driver's side back quarter panel and since he hit the back corner of my car so hard, he spun my car around and before I knew it we were going backwards in the fast lane. We slammed into the concrete divider between the east and westbound sides and slid along it for several feet before the car finally stopped.

Once we stopped, we were sitting facing the wrong direction, half on the left-hand shoulder and half poking into the fast lane. So I looked behind me to see if the semi pulled over and he hadn't. The guy completely took off and no one who saw the accident stopped to see if we were okay. My mom called 911 and it took 45 minutes for the cop to get there. The ambulance got there right away but they couldn't do anything to help us get out of the middle of the road. They were just there to make sure we were okay, which we were. But that whole time we were sitting backwards in the road praying that nobody hit us.

Once the cop got there, he stopped traffic so that we could move off to the right side of the road out of the way of traffic. About 5 minutes later, some guy rode past us rubber-necking and caused 3-car fender-bender right next to me. At that point, the cop walked over to those cars and started helping them. Now, I'm sorry if this sounds completely horrible but I had been waiting for an hour totally shaken up and really wanted to go home. Couldn't he have radioed some more cops to come and finished my paperwork and let me go first?

I have never been in an accident before and I was completely scared out of my mind. My mom and I are okay, except that we are a little sore from tensing up during the accident. Honestly, it's an absolute miracle that no one hit us while we were spinning out of control. My car has
over $5,000 worth of damage. And I'm more than a little peeved that I'm stuck paying my deductible to have it fixed while that a**hole semi-truck driver gets off with nothing!! We could have been really hurt and he didn't even slow down!! Thank God we have good insurance and my deductible is only $500, which really isn't bad.

Anyway, that all happened 2 days after we moved into town. Welcome back, right? :-) Oh well, it's just a car and I am so grateful that my mom and I were able to walk away without a scratch. Again, I know Someone up there is looking out for us.

~Layne

Friday, February 29, 2008

Moving Day

I absolutely cannot believe that we are actually moving! I have been missing home ever since I left for college and now that I'm about to move back tomorrow it seems so unreal! I packed as much as I could this week and, as we "speak," Brad is on his way up from Orlando to help me finish things up before the movers come tomorrow morning! Again, I can't believe it's really happening. I'm going to really miss this house. I've made so many memories here and it's going to be sad to leave. :-(

But I'm trying to look forward and I'm so excited about our new apartment and it's been so long since I've been able to decorate someplace new that I can't wait to get started on this place. I already have some great ideas that I think are going to look amazing!! After we move in and get settled I'll make sure to post pics of the new place! Stay tuned!!

~Layne

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Long time, no blog. . .

So I've been a lazy blogger lately but I've been studying my little butt off! And the good news is on Friday I passed my nurse practitioner boards!! I'm official. It's just one more step to starting my new job which I can't WAIT to do!!

So now I'm moving on to, well, the big move. We should have spent this entire weekend packing but we ended up getting a late start. Brad is currently whining because I'm taking a minute to blog my life-changing experience (passing my boards) while he cleans out the office. Oh well. He'll get over it. I'm not looking forward to the move or the packing but I'm really excited to be in Orlando with Brad, even though he can be a royal PITA! ;-)

In other awesome news, WE HAVE A CONTRACT ON THE HOUSE!! I actually found out that we had an offer Friday after passing my boards, talk about a great day!! Anyway, we were thinking of counter-offering but the offer was pretty decent and we just wanted to be done with the stress and worry. The best news is that we close in late March!! I can't believe that we are closing so early that we only have to pay double rent for 1 month!!

Everything is really working out so well for Brad and I, I really feel blessed. Some may call it luck, but we have both gone through a lot, paid our dues and worked really hard to get were we are right now. I do have to say, though, that sometimes I feel like Someone is really looking over us. :-)

~Layne

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Studying sucks

Well, we officially have a move-in date. We are moving to Orlando on March 1. I'm very excited and have tried everything to move the date up but it's just not going to happen. I just keep telling myself, "Patience is a virtue." I guess it's just one that I don't possess!!

I'll be taking my NCC exam (the certification exam that I take to get my nurse practitioner license) on February 22nd. That's really all I can see right now in the future. It's just looming ahead of me. Honestly, it's weird to think that I'll be moving to Orlando in only 3 1/2 weeks because that means that I'll be taking my exam even sooner than that! Ugh. No pressure. I'm really trying to be good about studying but it's so daunting and so much material. I will be so happy when it's over . . . well, I should really say that I'll be happy if I pass! Wish me luck!

~Layne

Friday, January 25, 2008

$$ Cha-ching!! $$

Okay, so the studying and the application and the drive, yah, they all suck . . . but two days ago, I finally got a call with the offer from my new job, salary and all. OMG!! I mean, O. M. freaking G.!!! It was more than I EVER in a million years expected and more than makes up for the hours and the travel. Now I really can't wait to get started!!

Seriously, I am so happy and excited to be working as a practitioner and this money is just icing on the cake. YAY!!! Looks like school paid off, huh?? :-)

~Layne

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Soo Slloowwww. . . .

I have started to suck at updating this thing but I'm trying to do better. The good news is that I got that job in Melbourne! YAY!! I actually get to be a nurse practitioner! The interview went well, and everyone seemed to like me and I like them too! The commute is a bummer (about an hour away). But it won't be 5 days a week, so that's good.

I'm just frustrated because it seems like my life is moving in slow motion. I was so pumped last week at the idea of my first job at a practitioner and moving to Orlando. But the bad news is I still have to take my certification exam and get credentialed, which takes forever. And you should see this application they are having me fill out. It's like 20 pages long and wants me to sumbit everything but my first born. I thought the application would be the easy part. Umm, no. At this rate, who knows when my start date will be?? It just feels kinda anti-climactic.

And I feel so unmotivated to study for this stupid exam. Exhibit A: I'm sitting here typing this as opposed to being off somewhere with my nose in a book. Oh well. My test date is February 22nd, so I have a little while now. Wish me luck!

~Layne

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Big changes, big week. . .

Alright so last week I thought I had everything together. I had convinced myself that it would just take a while to sell the house (how perceptive of me, especially since it had been listed since October with NO inquiries!!) and that there were just no NNP jobs in the Central Florida area and I would just have to be an RN in Orlando until something opened up. I had convinced myself of all these things and forced myself to be at peace with them. And I was so on the ball that I had an interview in Orlando last Friday and while I was there I was planning on signing a lease for an apartment so I could finally join Brad there.

Then Thursday happened. That's Thursday January 10th. From before I had even woken up that day I got a phone call from Pediatrix. They wanted to remind me of a position in Melbourne at a Level 2 NICU. I had heard about this position before but completely dismissed it because I didn't want to live or commute that far away (60-90 minutes) and I thought I had plenty of viable opportunities in Orlando. I was about to dismiss it again when the recruiter started talking about the unit and how much they need someone and what harm can it do to check it out? I told her I would like more info before I committed to anything.

After I hung up, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I mean, here is a practitioner position that they are offering up and I really didn't want to be interested. I mean where would we live? Could I deal with that commute? Did I want a Level 2 position? I had always told myself, NO, I would not take a position in a Level 2 right out of school, I had too much to learn and I wanted to be in a higher acuity environment. But I also said I wanted an NNP job, sooner rather than later. And wasn't it more valuable to be a practitioner somewhere, anywhere, rather than an RN?? All of these questions were swirling around in my head and I wanted to scream because 20 minutes before my life had been planned. I knew what I was doing and I wanted to stay the course, damn it! And everything was supposed to be set in place the very next day!! I considered it, got some advice and, in the end, decided that this opportunity was just too valuable to ignore.

I decided to go ahead with the interview on Friday for the RN position. I also decided to look at a few of the original apartments we'd had in mind and a few on the side of town we would live on if I got the job in Melbourne. That day was crazy, from dusk 'til dawn, I ran. Here's a timeline for how the events played out:

7:30am - Wake up, shower, dress.

9:00am - As I'm on my way out the door, I get a call from the medical director of Pediatrix who wants to talk with me about the NNP position. I get a few questions answered and he says that the attending for that unit (the one who will be considering for the position) will give me a call within the next 24-28 hours.

11:00am - I sit down with Wanda, the nurse manager for the NICU at Florida Hospital. She says she's spoken with some people who know me and who have spoken to me and doesn't really have any questions for me. She then procedes to pick up the phone and call HR in order to get paperwork ready for me to start work there. WHOA!! So basically I'm hired?, I ask. Yes. I told her thank you but could I have some time to think about it since, of course, I wanted to keep myself available for the NNP position.

12:00pm - My mom and I meet up for lunch at PF Changs. YUM.

1:00pm - We head out to look at apartments on the Lake Nona side of town, closest to Melbourne. On our way a realtor calls and says her clients want to see our place!! The very next day!! And they are very interested!! I was so glad that finally we were getting some interest.

4:00pm - We saw two places in Lake Nona but were running out of time so we decided to head back to the north side of town. On our way, Dr. Vellette (the attending for the Melbourne NICU) calls me and we talk for over an hour. He tells me a lot about the position and all of it is good news. They take vented patients, as an NNP I would go to admissions, etc. All good news. Basically, they aren't just a glorified nursery, I will get some actual experience there. And he wants to meet me!! So I scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, January 16th. I was so excited!

6pm - Brad had met up with us and we saw only 2 more apartments before all the offices had to close. We stopped and got coffee, dropped in to Brad's parents to say hi to them and Megan and Micheal (cousins who were visiting) and hit the road by 7:30pm.

9:30pm - Brad and I finally get home. We still haven't eaten dinner. It had been such a long day. I can't believe how much had changed in just over 24 hours. I felt like my head was spinning. But I did leave Orlando with an interview for an NNP position, not to mention an RN position waiting for me in a great unit if that doesn't work out. We also have our first bites on the house for sale. Unfortunately we did leave Orlando without an apartment. We can't very well decide were we'll live until I know what city I'll be working in.

So tomorrow, hopefully, is the day I'll know where I'm working. I'm so excited and I just want it to be here. At first I just wanted to cry that all this stuff was messing up plans I had worked so hard to make and be at peace with but now I believe it was a blessing in disguise. We can always go back to Plan A if this doesn't work out but I just can't be sorry for pursuing the job I want as an NNP. Even if it isn't the perfect job, I'll still be a practitioner and that's exciting! And the apartments on that side of town are beautiful even if they aren't close to loved ones, they are much closer than we are now! I think this would be okay for us in Orlando, and not the misery that I was envisioning, if it works out. I should know one way or another soon. Until then, pray for me and wish me luck!

~Layne

Fall on real life
Is anybody left there sane?
If we slide on over and accept fate
Then it's bound to be a powerful thing
- Matchbox Twenty, "Black and White People"