Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Learning Nursing

One of my first days at work in NH I had a patient with kidney problems.
She was pretty basic. I was comfortable.
Her BP was 55/30.
Being from the Bronx ER, I thought this was fine.
That is, until I told the surgeon and my preceptor, and they freaked out.
My exact response to their BP concerns was, “What’s wrong? She’s got some.”
“What did they teach you in NY?” my preceptor said shocked and started to take over.
Ooopps. I was still in “wait until she codes” mode. Apparently, that’s not how NH functions. I wasn’t told this in orientation.
The surgeon, one of my favorites, came out and started asking me how to treat her metabolic acidosis. I’m happy I was smart enough to know how to say “Bicarb” and read the labs and ABG.
I thought I’d be dubbed an idiot forever. I was only twenty-one, so I think I got a little pass.
Except, fortunately or unfortunately, the boys saw it as WHOA, she needs immediate cultural retraining.
The surgeon, after we fixed the patient, asked me “What is a double blind study?”
“Great (sarcasm), he thinks I’m a complete idiot who doesn’t know anything.” I thought.
“It’s two surgeons looking at an EKG.” HAHAHA.
Thank goodness I got one with a sense of humor.
After that day, my preceptor and the surgeon thought it was funny to play games with me. I was getting a “special” training.
I was told med-surg needed a patient IMMEDIATELY and to MOVE, MOVE, MOVE.
I did, one minute and that patient was on their way to their new room. Until the supervisor caught me and informed me that I’d have to give REPORT to the nurse before I stuck the patient in the room.
What?! The patient is fine. She’s in a coma.
Not so nice boys.
Then, my preceptor started telling all the doctors I got my license with a fake ID and that I was really sixteen.
Funny concept, and I can appreciate the jokes and where they’re coming from, I grew up with men like this, but when a doctor stopped me during my recommendations and asked, “How old are you? HOW OLD ARE YOU?! I need to know before I can take you seriously.” I decided his games were too much.
I was twenty-two and really considered lying about my age to make myself older.
He would encourage me to sneak around and steal supplies. I thought this was normal. I could do my “stealth Hill” thing. I thought I was small and inconspicuous enough to get what we wanted.
Not in NH, especially since I did look about 16 years old and was breaking into the goods, one nurse thought I was “one of those” a young drug seekers that is OKAY trying to break into places like the code cart.
“Really, I work in the ICU. I just wanted the box and cable to monitor a patient’s temperature” did not really go over. I thought I was going to be dragged back to my unit by the ear.
It only took me a couple weeks to smarten up.
My preceptor is still where I left him. Unfortunately, the humorous surgeon was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and died in 2002 or 2003. I think a wing at VRH is now dedicated to him. I’m glad I remember him how I do.

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