Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Job

Okay all. I'm done my first week of work. I know it's Wednesday night...that's the beauty of working 32 hours a week and having shifts that last 12 hours...your work week can end on a Wednesday.

So, the job. It's actually pretty good.

The unit I'm on does day procedures. Many of the kids are repeat customers (ie: kids with life long and or serious diseases that require on-going hospital visits), but they are currently well enough to be at home. They do, however, require on going treatment at the hospital. Many of these treatments consist of IV medications or blood products that require pre/post bloodwork and monitoring. Some of these kids come EVERY week for an infusion. For example, kids who have metabolic diseases and need an enzyme will be an infusion, once a week, every week, for the rest of their lives. This means a 6 to 8 hour hospital visit every week.


No shit.

Other kids, we recover after having things done like endoscopies and colonoscopies (yes, kids get them times).

It is a MAJOR step down in terms of acuity. I'm used to having to literally JUMP out of my seat because the baby I'm looking after suddenly stops breathing and needs some encouragement to start back up (with anything ranging from a gentle pat on the bum to an all out code including resuscitation drugs, intubation and chest compressions). These kids I'm looking after are not likely to stop breathing, in fact most of them race on out of the unit as soon as they are finished their treatment, yelling "Hey mom, can we stop at McDonald's on the way home??!"

I could go into the other differences about the unit, from the staffing, to the charting, to the team nursing approach...but really it would probably be gibberish to you. Suffice it to say, it's different. Way different.

One difference that I'm surprised I'm enjoying so much is the kids themselves. These kids talk. They walk. They ask questions. They are nervous. They joke. They whine. They play. It's kind of fun actually. As much as I LOVE babies, I'm remembering how much I love kids too. I like hearing their stories, the way they describe things, the way they see life. I like trying to make life better for them.

But, I have not yet found a way to work my own child into the conversation with the other staff. A dead baby being such a buzz kill.

It's something I think I want these nurses to know about's hard not to feel like I'm hiding something HUGE unless I confess to one or two people and let word spread from there. But on the other hand, I'm thinking it's been good that they are getting to know me without the 'dead baby baggage' yet. Because I want to be more than just that in their eyes. I want them to trust me and count on me and see me as an equal...not someone to be pitied or avoided. I know I can do a good job there, and I want them to know it too, before I bring up Aidan.

But he's never far from my mind. I'm not into 'signs' but these were a few odd things that happened my first day.

First of all, I woke up from a dream Monday morning where I had a premature baby. One that was quite tiny, although bigger than Aidan...maybe 2 to 3 lbs. In it, this baby had started off small but 'well'. I had brought him home from the hospital...but he started to go down hill...he started to sleep a lot and not wake up for feeds, so me being the awesome mom, FORGOT TO FEED HIM!!!! I just kept letting more and more time elapse between feeds, which made him weaker, which spaced his feeds out even more. My dream ended with me resolving to feed him more and more frequently to hopefully get him stronger.

I know what you're thinking: Paging Dr. Freud!

Second, I arrive at my new job and within an hour, find out that one of the nurses has not arrived for her shift. The reason: she gave birth to her baby hours before via C-section. Two months early. She wasn't due until early October. Everyone was all shocked and concerned. The little guy was 3 lbs and had to be intubated for a short period of time after birth. (Dead baby mother me agrees with former NICU nurse me. Verdict: no biggie). But it made me I ever LUCKY that there wasn't a 7 month pregnant woman walking around here today. And, of course, felt guilty (yes, terrible that her son was early, yada, yada, yada)...but not that guilty. Because that would have SUCKED big time on my first day. Hello hugely pregnant woman! Nice to meet you! Why am I crying every time I look at you? No reason!

Third, my preceptor (the nurse that I follow around for the next few weeks to get used to the job) was telling me about her family. She has two daughters and a son. Can you guess what her son's name is? I'll give you one guess.


He's 7.

Then the woman in the NICU who I used to work closely with on a committee delivered her baby Monday. I didn't know she was pregnant until after I was off work on bed rest, so I never actually commiserated with her on 'our' pregnancies. She was due August 21st, six days after me. I was dreading hearing the news as I knew it was a boy, but it honestly wasn't that bad. I might have, however, had to delete her from Facebook if she had delivered on August 15th. At least that birth is out of the way.

Just weird little things that kept popping up. Nothing too horrible, but mini reminders everywhere. Good news was I slept the night before. I worked hard (VERY legs, feet and back were killing me afterwards) and I actually enjoyed it. I think I'll like my 10 month 'break' away from the NICU. This will be good for me. I'm happy.

But I still miss him.

Every. Day.


  1. I've been thinking about you all week and wondering how it was going. We don't work too far from each other (I work at Yonge & Bloor) and I've been thinking about you over at the hospital.

    I'm glad your new unit is so much less stressful than the NICU. I've never known how NICU nurses do it. The stress and the amaze me.

    I'd love to hear all about the unit, if you ever want to write about it. It is so interesting to hear about it from a nurse's perspective instead of a patient's perspective.

    You have had so many baby dreams! I've hardly had any...just 2 dreams that I was still pregnant and then I woke up. I'm sure you can imagine how that felt.

    I hope that you continue to enjoy this job and that you continue to sleep well.

    I think of you and Aidan often.

  2. I've been thinking of you Emily. I am glad your first week went well.

  3. I'm glad that things went well for you this week but I'm sorry about the reminders that kept popping up. I'm proud of you for holding it together.

  4. I've had you on my mind the last several days, wondering how the new job was going. I'm glad you hear that things are going well and you enjoy it!

    Things popping up... I don't know how we can ever escape that. I'm really proud of how you managed to handle them; I know it's not easy.

    I had to chuckle a bit at your dream. It's funny how you do things in dreams you would NEVER do or for some reason think is OK.

    I just wanted to say thanks for your advice on my blog... I really, really admire your strength. And you're right - our babies should not be some big secret. Thank you for the encouragement!

  5. i'm SO glad you're finding things to enjoy in your new unit, but i can certainly understand how those certain things would make it difficult. i also totally get why you'd want your new co-workers to know about aidan. i hope it continues to get easier to work there, and that you genuinely enjoy your work.