Monthly Archives: July 2015

5 steps to survive taking an electric shower

…Or in some cases may help you meet God a little sooner.

It's a toss-up: You may get clean; you may die
The shower in my hostel in Bogota. It’s a toss-up: You may get clean; you may die

Either this was such a traumatic experience for me before that I’ve put it out of my memory or this is some Colombian designed torture device; this is what greeted me the morning after my arrival to Bogota.

It’s a large electrical time bomb hanging above my head; luckily all the ends of the electrical wires were covered in electrical tape. I have since found out that this is not always true nor is this device confined to Colombia.

5 steps to surviving an electric shower

  1. Is it high enough so that you will not hit your head?  I’ve had problems with showers before that were mounted for people no taller than 5 feet tall. Luckily, all the electrical showers I’ve encountered are way up there out of the way of an errant splash.
  2. Are there any bare wires that could come in contact with water?  Did you bring electrical tape?  If not, a washcloth and the sink might be the best option.
  3. Get naked. Do your thing, and get out.  If you have rubber soled sandals, wear them.  This is not the time to reminisce about the day.  Chances are the water won’t be at optimum temperature anyway.  The only way I’ve found to control the temperature of the water is to control the flow of the water.  There’s a science-y explanation for this but essentially the water needs time to roll through the metal plumbing to heat it up before it before comes out.  So you can have warm water flowing like maple syrup in winter or cold water flowing like a fire hydrant.  But not both. Your choice.
  4. If the pop off valve does indeed pop off– DO. NOT. SCREAM. Like I did the first time this happened to me. Uninvited visitors will show up and cause some slight embarrassment.  It is supposed to keep water from spraying up into the wires which could save your life,. However, I have found that they just pop off whenever they feel like it.
  5.  Yay! You are clean, but also soaking wet.  How to turn off the faucet?  You will only reach for the metal knobs once before muscle memory kicks in and you will remember why you never want to do in again. Nobody in these parts have ever heard of grounding wires.  My suggestion is to have a small towel–hand towel sizes–that you use for turning off the knobs.

No need to fear the electrical, non-grounded shower.  I, like several before me have survived; you can survive it too.

 

My 2006 Olympic Experience

I was lucky enough to attend the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta, Georgia.  Don’t get me wrong; it was awesome, but it wasn’t the true experience.  I only live a couple of hours from Atlanta so I just drove down the day of.  I was able to get tickets for 4 events–baseball, soccer, rhythmic gymnastics, and volleyball.  Not swimming–which I would have loved, but still… it’s the Olympics.

Winter 2006 was a lot different… winter sports vs summer sports.  Torino, Itlay vs Atlanta, USA.  Olympic village vs my own house.  4 days + opening ceremony vs random days spread out over the two weeks.

2006-winter-olympics

Opening Ceremony:  There’s nothing quite like seeing the opening ceremony in person…The pomp and circumstance, the parade of athletes, the cool costumes, and the lighting of the Olympic flame—it’s all pretty amazing.  There’s such a feeling of hope and opportunity in the air.  It’s the only time–especially at the Winter Games when a lot of events are some distance from the host city–when everyone is together.  All [or nearly all] of the athletes, the spectators, the media–everyone is in one space for the opening.  After the opening ceremony, people scatter, and they don’t always meet back up at the closing.

Seeing the flame be lit  and watching the parade of athletes was awesome.  I always wanted to be an Olympian, but when it comes right down to it, I don’t have the competitive nature to push myself day in and day out.  Sure I always played sports… even went to college on athletic scholarship, but at the end of the day, I played sports because they were fun… and I enjoyed the camaraderie with my teammates.

Bardonecchia:  I stayed in Turin for the day prior to and the day of the Opening Ceremony and then next morning high tailed it up to the mountains courtesy of the free Olympic shuttle.  I based myself in Bardonecchia because 1).  Mountains…skiing…the cool winter sports 2) closer proximity to the other winter villages than Torino 3) free shuttles to and from the games and 4) It’s where I could find a place to stay that didn’t use up the entire monthly budget at one time.

The games:  I grew up in the south eastern part of the USA.  Skiing, ice hockey, ice skating, ect are not things that I could have participated in easily.  I mean we were always taught to never walk on frozen ice because it never gets cold enough to freeze solid and then we’d drown and/or get hypothermia.  SO that being said, winter sports have always fascinated me and I thought that had I grown up in the appropriate environment I’d would excel in biathlon.  I mean I can shoot like a champ and though I’ve never been on skis, cross country skiing doesn’t terrify me like down hill skiing does.

Biathlon does not get any love in the USA.  Its not fast or glamourous or shiny.  I mean they don’t even use real bullets when shooting, but for whatever reason, it fascinates me.  I was beyond thrilled to stand in the freezing cold and watch the biathletes ski and shoot their way to Olympic Gold.

torino biathlon

I also got to see some snowboarding…which terrifies the snot out of me…as well as bobsled and luge. No pictures from those events as they were whizzing past much too past for me to get a decent shot.

But bilathalon, though…it was beyond cool to see it.

My favorite mistake*

*My favorite mistake, a song by Sheryl Crowe–one of my all-time favorite songs*

A few weeks ago, I drove down to Wilmington to check out the city to see if it is somewhere I might like to live one day, while trying to decide if I should visit my favorite mistake who was in Myrtle Beach for a work conference.  There is just something about the coast in late fall when the beaches are deserted. Restaurants are closed. Prices are much cheaper.  It’s still warm enough that a walk on the beach seems like a good idea.  Until that breeze blows in off the ocean.  Then you know that it is definitely NOT SUMMER any more.

myrtle-beach-november-2005
It’s *a little* less crowded in November than say July.

I didn’t go back to South Carolina for Thanksgiving. I don’t really regret that decision, but it certainly did not make me the popular kid. Being the new kid in town means I work all the holidays people really want off work for. Being an only child means having no siblings to celebrate or commensurate with…also no siblings means there’s no one to give me nieces or nephews to play with.  With my father having recently departed this world, it would not have been the most joyous occasion anyway.

Anyway… and perhaps against my better judgement, I decided to soldier on to Myrtle Beach, where I did in fact meet my favorite mistake.  It’s been a hell of a three months. Loneliness + being overwhelmed both on a personal level and tragedy level, sometimes my head hurts from all the knowledge and skills being crammed in it on a seemingly daily basis.  Sometimes it’s nice to be with people who really know you, people willing to hold you when you need to be held, and kiss you when you need to be kissed.  I miss my life in South Carolina; I miss the people in that life.  I needed to leave, no doubt. I needed to not be around my family. I needed to not be around those two lying bastards I dated this year (one dated back to 2003). I needed to not be working at Hillcrest or GMH or the Children’s hospital.  Too many recent bad memories. I needed a fresh start, but by God, it’s hard.  It’s so hard to move as  a 20-something year old introvert who would rather hibernate than go out and meet people. It’s so hard to meet people in a city when you are trying to avoid the bars.  It’s so hard to meet people when you work the night shift. I don’t want to date my favorite mistake again, especially since we now live in different states, but my God, it was so good to be with him again.

myrtle-beach-november-2005-3
The incredible blue-ness of the water that you just don’t see during the summer

We did beach-y things like walk hand in hand on the beach with me stopping every 5 minutes to snap artsy photos. We had dinner at a local Italian restaurant. While he was in conferences I managed to leave the hotel and visit the state park. It’s so much more peaceful here than in the busy season.

myrtle-beach-november-2005-1

And we had long meaningful talks where I implored the universe to ‘show me a sign’. Give me some sort of direction of what I should be doing. Should I forget South Carolina and all the people there and make a new start in Durham, or should I learn as much as possible in Durham, but still make my life in SC. In with the new, and out with the old, or keep the old and make new? Please universe, show me a sign.

myrtle-beach-november-2005-2
And then this happened…

Clearly it was the universe talking…

Now if I only knew what the hell it means…

Advice from an [almost] nurse

Nursing school is done, and I for one am grateful. Yes, there are things I wish I would have known prior to starting.  If I would have known all these things, would I have still gone to nursing school?  Yes, I would have.  I may not have chosen this path or this time to do it, but I absolutely would have gone to nursing school.  It is still my #1 desire to become a nurse practitioner, and there are no schools around me that have a Direct Entry Nurse Practitioner program.

My nursing school journey looks like this: [yours may be different].

pre-nursing… I worked for 10 years in an allied health career. 8 of the 10 years were spent primarily in pediatrics with some dabbling in adult and emergency care.

phase 1:  I’ll finish up this part in a few weeks.  I’ll get my ADN.  I’ll be able to take the licensing exam and [in theory] I can begin working as a nurse.

phase 2:  I’ll be working on my BSN.  It’s 99% on line, and the classes are relevant with no extras thrown in.

phase 3:  the NP phase…of which I am undecided as of yet.

I was accepted to an accelerated BSN program, but I chose not to attend it for financial reasons. 4 semesters of full time school at $6500 = $30,000… not including books/supplies/ect… the way I am doing it will take me 27 calendar months [instead of 16].   The ADN will cost me <$2000 total, and my BSN program is ~$500/class so 10 classes x $500=~$5000… so maybe $7500 for the two programs  together.  So while I will be in school an extra 10-12 months [and some of that is time not is school due to calendars no meshing well], I’ll save at least $+20,000 AND I will be able to work and make $$$ and continue to gain experience.

My nursing school journey started in Summer 2014 and if all goes according to plans should end in July 2017.  I didn’t count on breaking my wrist and ankle and graduating a semester late, and while I was accepted into my BSN program in January 2016, I didn’t start until May 2016.  But that’s life for ya.

Helpful [or not] advice for getting in, and through nursing school

  1. Although it was a royal pain in the ass, getting into the program really was the easy part.
  2. You will spend a small fortune on textbooks, coffee, and gas driving back and forth to clinical sites.
  3. Before you even start your program, friends and family will be asking you to make medical diagnoses of their problems. [I’m lucky.  I already work in health care, most of my friends are in medical school, physician assistant school, or health care professionals, and my boyfriend is a MD, but I STILL have some people ask about drugs…  It’s always the drugs.]
  4. You are going to see a lot of naked people. Most of them you would never want to see naked.  The naked human body quickly loses its appeal.
  5. You will meet some of the most amazing people you have ever met. You will also meet some complete assholes.  Some of those are surgeons.
  6. You are going to talk about poop. A lot. Yeah. It’s gross but get used to it now.
  7. You’ll ask complete strangers about their poop. And have them describe it to you. In detail.
  8.  Several people from your class [or school… we have really small classes] will sleep with each other. If you are of the male and attending nursing school, your chances of getting laid go up by about 1000%.
  9. If by some miracle no one hooks up in your class, SOMEONE will hook up with someone they met at a clinical site [full disclosure:  in my previous program, I dated one of the someone from one of those clinical sites while I was in school. Yes, I was that person.  We dated for a year or so of the two year program.  I still had to see him after we broke up.  I still had to LEARN from him.]  Hell, I occasionally STILL have to see him now.  Hooking up with classmates and clinical instructors = your life just becomes much more difficult.
  10. For all the reasons listed above it is a fucking HORRIBLE idea to hook up with one of your classmates or someone from your clinical site.  Just trust me on this one.
  11. It is next to impossible to concentrate in class, perform a physical exam, or do your job in a CODE when you know what the person next to you looks like when they have an orgasm. And if you are at all paranoid, they know what you look like when you come too.  This does not make for the basis of professional relationships.
  12.  Rumors [about you, your classmates, your professors] are like a snowball rolling down a mountain … as it rolls it picks up speed and more and more snow. Soon it creates an avalanche destroying people or places and then there is no going back.
  13. Do not wear scrubs to lecture… It makes you look like a tool. If you must wear scrubs to class, go for the khaki or navy blue pants…those can at least pass for regular pants.  And ALWAYS take off the scrub top… t-shirt and scrub bottoms are much more passable than straight scrubs.
  14. Pick your coping method very, VERY carefully.  Alcohol is a bad idea…Once again, trust me on this one.
  15. Nurses are notorious partiers.  It’s OK to have one drink (unless, of course you are like me) with coworkers after work.  But limit it to one.  And if you can’t, zero is your number.  (Zero is MY number) No one wants hungover nurses.  Not patients, not your coworkers, and take it from me, being hungover at work, is a terrible, terrible  idea.  Once again, trust me on this one.
  16. Nurses are notoriously hard partiers. Keep that in mind at the “End of Semester” bash. And if someone suggests calling the evil med-surg instructor that made everyone miserable all semester to tell her what ya’ll really think of her while you are all drunk, for the love of God, don’t do it. [also, don’t take a group photo of you all flipping off the camera and text it to her]
  17. Everyone in your program will start out with a plan to go on and become a nurse practitioner or a nurse anesthetist. By the end of the second class, those same people will just be glad to just finish the program.
  18. You will most likely fail an exam. I didn’t, but I came mighty close a time lot two.  (I also have a lot to prove since I graduated from college the first time with a whopping 2.13 GPA, and have spent most of  my adult life trying  overcome that) If/when it does, cry about it (if that’s your thing…my thing is much more destructive than crying) and then move on. You really DON’T have time to dwell on it.  Get over it, move on, and just know one failing grade (even if it’s on a final) does not mean you have flunked out of nursing school.
  19. All the guys will want to do surgery, cardiac care, or ER. All the girls will want to do L&D or pediatric nursing. I’m crazy one…I want to psych/ER/forensic nursing.
  20. Hospitals smell bad.  I think the stuff they use to clean them smells just as bad.  If you’ve ever been in  a biology lab, especially a dissection, you know how even after you leave for the day, it feels like that smell is clinging to you. Plan to shower frequently.  I like to use the swimming pool as a giant disinfecting tank.
  21. A lot of your time during clinical rotation will be wasted. Thrown away. Down the drain. You will feel useless. [You are] It’s sucks especially if you have an instructor who will not let you work on care plans or other other nursing stuff.  Mostly likely the instructor is busy checking and rechecking all your work so that you don’t kill anyone.
  22. Most likely, you won’t kill anyone.  [Although I did have a classmate who did an assessment on dead person and this person charted breath sounds, heart sounds, heart rate, ect.  *This person had already been pronounced dead, but wasn’t covered up or bagged up.]
  23. Patients can be grumpy, mean, or uncooperative. They have earned that right because they are in the hospital. It does not give them the right to abuse the people who are trying to help them get better.
  24. NEVER ask a professor “Is this going to be on the test?” Most likely is wasn’t going to be, but now everything is going to be on the test… no multiple choice…. all essay questions with diagrams that have to be answered in either Latin or Sanskrit.
  25. Haggling over points on an exam rarely works. As a matter of fact, it usually just pisses the instructor off. [And often times your classmates too]
  26. If you piss off your instructor, he or she can make your life hell [and not just for the length of that class]
  27. Some nursing instructors are bullies.
  28. Some nursing instructors who seem like bullies aren’t. They just want you to be the best nurse you possibly can be…because you could be taking care of one of their family members one day. [Jones, I’m talking about you]
  29. Be able to talk about something other than nursing school because “normal people” don’t always want to hear about it. [But be able to have something interesting–not just complaints about the workload–to say in case someone does ask.]
  30. You’ll work with at least one nurse who hates you just because you are a student.
  31. You’ll work with at least one nurse who you wouldn’t trust to watch your cat much less an actual human you care about. [Nicole, I’m talking about you]
  32. You’ll work with at least one nurse who reminds you of the kind of nurse you want to be when you graduate. Tell him or her that. Because people need to hear it.
  33. There will be days when you wake up and ask yourself is this really what you want out of life.
  34. There will be days when you wake up and want nothing more than to quit school and become a barista at Starbucks.
  35. Always offer to help a fellow student with a difficult patient. What goes around comes around and people *do* [eventually] notice.
  36. As per pain scale protocol, you’ll start measuring everything on a scale from 1-10.
  37.  You’ll probably change your desired specialty at least 4 times, depending on your current rotation.
  38. Sleep when you can, where you can.  Don’t feel bad about making your car into a makeshift camping trailer and nap between classes. Don’t feel bad about 4 hour naps on Tuesday afternoons when you don’t have class.
  39. All sounds sound the same when you are learning them.  I still have a hard time with S1 and S2 heart sounds.  They still sound the same to me.
  40. A lot of things that seems scary in the beginning really aren’t.  It’s the things that seem easy that you need to worry about.
  41. Psych patients aren’t the ones you have to worry about. Generally, they are medicated and usually stable. It is the family members of the patient on the med-surg floor that need restrains and a heavy dose of Valium.
  42. Learn anatomy & physiology the first time around because it sucks to have to relearn it.
  43. There will be one person in your class who’s most laid back guy or chick you’ve ever met. They will sit in the back row of the class, listen to their ipod during lecture, never seem to study and then get a 99.99% on the cumulative exam at the end of the semester. You would hate this person except for they are the coolest person you have ever met.
  44. In the beginning, everyone is going to talk about how cool it’s going to be to help patients. At the end, everybody will talk about how cool it’s going to be to actually be making real money. Finally.
  45. You’ll study more than you ever have in your life and it still won’t feel like enough.
  46. You will learn the joys of being questioned according to the Socratic method. It is like the nursing school version of “pimping” that medical students go through. [I had this the other day when I had to be an anatomical dummy and point parts out on myself.  It sucks if you don’t know the answer]
  47. By the end of nursing school, you will most likely hate most of your classmates.  There are several reasons you may dislike them…from the real–they are scary in clinic, you had a group project with them and they slacked off to the petty–their voice is annoying.

There you go just some of the things I’ve learned in journey to and through the hell that is nursing school.

graduation

 

The birth of Adventure Adikt

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all…

Hi, my name is Michelle.  Welcome to my blog.

Adventure Adikt*, is my blog 2.0.  I wasn’t really sure what to do with this re-incarnation of the blog. I started blogging way back in 2005 as a way to process my feelings about life and death, love and loss, endings and beginnings, and whatever else life was throwing at me.  Back then, I’d just graduated college, moved to a new city, started my first job in healthcare working with teeny tiny babies and really sick children. I processed all those changes by writing. And traveling.

But I wasn’t ready to release those thoughts into the blog-o-sphere. So I blogged for me.  It was essentially an on-line [but private] journal.

So here it is 10 years later. I still work in healthcare–although in a completely different field than when I started back in 2005. I have moved back to South Carolina. I’ve bought a fixer-upper. Grad school is in my future although who knows exactly when that’ll happen. I still travel. A lot. I still write to process my feelings.

In order to to avert my impending mid (?)-life crisis, I’ve decided to go public for the first time ever. I love my job. I love learning languages.  I love history, the history of places, and the history of things. I love science–what it is now and what it used to be. I love fixing up my house, and I love traveling. So why not combine all these things I love?

In a nutshell, my ‘new’, reformatted blog is a [very] vaguely chronological timeline of life events, travel, and mishaps along with some life lessons and musings thrown in for fun.  Life is life. Adventure is still adventure, and wanderlust is still wanderlust; I’m trying to find new ways of having a bit of each in my every day.

bulls island - Copy
Edisto Island, SC

*Why Adventure Adikt?  I went through a lot of names before I decided on this one.  Somehow, it just fit.  And I like the word adikt better than the word junkie. I seek out adventure–in all ways, traveling to foreign countries to explore history and culture, hiking in my back yard and across the country, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, and life in general. My goal is to never stop learning and never stop adventuring… just never stop.