A Day in the Life: Registered Nurse

Nursing

 

A Day in the Life: Registered Nurse in a Pediatric Hospital

6 a.m.   Alarm goes off.  Firecracker out of bed, wash face, brush teeth, put on scrubs, put on oh so sexy compression stockings using special rubber gloves (waste of time*), cram breakfast, lunch, and dinner in bag, jump in car, and on the road by 6:13 a.m.

*Compression socks are basically knee high socks made of spandex, measured specifically to fit your leg and apply a certain amount of pressure.  Nurses wear them to prevent sore legs and nasty looking varicose and spider veins when we’re older.  They are really tight and I have to put them on with special gloves that have grippy things on them because you can’t just pull them on or it’ll ruin the tightness if you keep stretching them, so I kind of have to roll/massage them on with the grippy gloves.. That’s why it’s a waste of time, takes like an extra 5 mins to put socks on!!

6:30 a.m.   No free parking available on the street – ugh – I loathe construction and early birds! Begrudgingly park in the pay lot underground.

6:40 a.m.   Switch into sexy nursing clogs (I complain but they’re the best back saving purchase I’ve ever made).

6:45 a.m.   Check the list to find out which unit I’m working on 10 minutes before starting my shift (ah the life of a float nurse!*).  Please not oncology, please not oncology**… oh thank goodness, general medical floor!!

*Float nurses don’t work in the same unit every day.  I’m trained in a variety of places and basically fill in when there is a sick call or vacation coverage (unlike a ward nurse would be on the same unit all the time and have a permanent position in that one unit).

**My dislike of oncology is just a personal preference.  It is really hard/sad working with on this ward – the kids are so incredibly sick, they’re in there for such a long, and they don’t always go home any better, they often get sicker and sicker and lots of times they end up dying.

7:30 a.m.   Finish report which seems to go on unnecessarily for 30 minutes, call bell rings… already? kill me… this is going to be a long day!  It’s parents ringing me to weigh their baby’s poopy diaper… really? really? leave it on the scale… I’ll be in soon.  Ugh… new parents…

8 a.m.   Find myself a 6″ space in the tiny med room, amongst 10 other nurses, to crush 17 tablets using ancient pestle and mortar, mix with water annnnd someone bumps me! Meds on the floor!  Start again.  But wait, we don’t have any extra meds in the unit, call the pharmacy… and wait..

10 a.m.   Finish morning assessments, attempt to chart, but alas! med student has stolen my clipboard.  Hunt down med student, who then proceeds to ask me 1001 questions that could be answered by looking at the paperwork on my clipboard (that he stole), answer his questions… trying to walk away… im in a rush… steal clipboard, find somewhere quite to chart… and call bell… ugh

10:15 a.m.   Morning break (at last!).  Get me out of this mad house! Take my food and get OFF the unit… outside I go… 30 minutes to eat and do personal errands, pay VISA online, book massage, talk with friends, etc… and back to the unit.

10:45 a.m.   Back to work.  Bells ringing, parents complaining, med students taking up my precious time.

12 noon   Next round of vital signs… quick, easy, done, relax

12:45 p.m.   LUNCH!  I need to microwave my food, wait 6 minutes while the powerless microwave attempts to reheat my leftovers.  I give up, I’ll eat them cold.  Weakness setting in, too lazy to leave unit and get some vitamin D, laze on couch for 45 minutes staring at a TV that seems only to ever play TLC or food network…

2 p.m.   Parents needs a break.  Yay!!  I will gladly cuddle your baby while you go for a walk…Yay! baby time baby time baby time!!  This is the highlight of my day!!

3 p.m.   6 year old’s IV “falls out” (ugh uncontrollable orangutan).  Call IV team to restart IV, 3 nurses and 2 parents hold down 6 year old while hearing damage worsens with every second longer this takes and blood curdling screams ensue.  Failed 1st attempt, I don’t blame them, this kid is squirming like crazy!  2nd attempt, oh great, now he knows what’s coming for him.  More squirming, more force applied, deaf in one ear, success!!  Give him a popsicle and prize from the prize box, and now we’re best friends again.

4 p.m.   Check more vital signs.  Parents don’t want blood pressure or temperature done on their napping child because it will wake them (if we can’t monitor your child who is sick enough to be in the hospital, then you should probably go home and nurse them back to health yourself!).  Educate parents on monitoring, don’t give me those sad puppy eyes, I’ll come back in 30 minutes and try again.

4:30 p.m.   Child still sleeping – Sorry I need to do my job and monitor your child.  Parents hate that I’m their child’s nurse today.  Vital signs done, child still asleep!  Yes, praise me, you want me back now don’t you…Super stealth nurse…the stealthiest!

6 p.m.   Shift ending soon, watching the clock hardcore.  Charge nurse phones and wants me to take an admission?  with only an hour left on my shift?  Obligingly say yes.

6:30 p.m.   Where is my admission?!  Call Emerg…on their way up…finally!

6:40 p.m.   Start admission.  Get report, do vital signs, tour parents around, chicken scratch some charting down… the entire time I’m thinking I refuse to stay late, I refuse to stay late, I deserve to have a life, I refuse to stay late, I m leaving on time dammit!

7 p.m.   Where is the nurse I need to give handover to?  Not here yet?  Great.  Wait.  Wait.  Wait.  Watching clock, pacing floor.  Ah there she is, still has her bag on and hasn’t settled in yet, too bad… I’m outta here… give report, and twelve hours after starting my shift, I clock out…

7:12 p.m.   Forgot I parked underground.  Wait in line to pay along with the 100 other nurses who parked in the parkade and all get off at the same time.

7:40 p.m.   Get home.  Consider spending the next two hours daydreaming…but there just isn’t enough time in the day.  Instead – eat, shower, pack lunch for tomorrow, crawl into bed

10 p.m.   Must go to sleep… alarm will go off to do it all again in 8 hours

11 p.m.   Shit!  Still awake.  Can’t stop watching Glee.

Midnight   Come on mind, turn off… go to sleep… alarm will go off in 6 hours now!

A Day in the Life: Female Comic

Female Comic

 

A Day in the Life:  Female Comic 

9:00AM  I flutter my eyes open briefly as my boyfriend (Aristotle, also a stand up comedian) gets up and starts getting ready for work. The minute he leaves the bed I roll over and spread out, face down, head under the pillow as I cling to a few more minutes of precious sleep.

9:15AM  Aristotle comes in and hands me my breakfast sandwich and then starts the coffee maker. If I’m in a loving mood I will start the coffee maker, but this is a rarity. I eat while I watch him putter around, packing his bag. He kisses me good-bye, and I get my phone out and tweet for half an hour to an hour and check my Instagram comments to make sure no one called me fat.

10:15AM  I get up and get ready which usually involves throwing on jeans and a t-shirt, curling my hair a little bit and flinging on some mascara. I throw my notebook in my bag, check twitter again, toss some Trader Joe’s snacks in my bag, lock up and say bye to my gay Asian roommate who is coming home from the night shift. I head to work.

11:15-ish  I park in a garage down the street and walk to Flappers Comedy Club where I am the “Guest Appreciation Manager” which means I manage the people who call you about tickets and I run the Barkers (street promotions team). I am also the liaison between the office staff and the programmer for the website (since I used to project manage website redesigns) and I help out with social media tactics since I was the social media manager at the Improvs in south Florida and the chick who does it at Flappers is my bestie so I advise her on comedy-related tactics.

12:30PM  I text or DM with other comics (mostly males) asking where they’ll be getting up and if we reach a consensus someone will usually put my name down on a list somewhere so I can make it after work or I’ll just show up and hope to have my name pulled in a lottery. We all check The Comedy Bureau (run by Jake Kroeger) for mics and if it’s a slow night I’ll just go see a show with some awesome headliners. Carpooling is the best; when that works out the whole night is better. Even if I have a booked show later I like to try to hit a mic first as a warm-up. I’m a glutton for punishment, you see.

2:0oPM  I go try to bond with my employees and drink another cup of coffee. I sync up a podcast episode (usually one that a fellow comic is on, which I saw on a Facebook post) and zone out while I do boring stuff for hours.

4:00PM  I eat whatever healthy, low-calorie crap I packed so I don’t eat again after that unless something bad happens. It’s L.A. and I was a ballerina for 20 years, so I feel the pressure to be skinny (as well as hear my mother’s voice in my head).

5-6PM  I am completely focused, barking orders at my employees while trying to boost morale, discussing comedy with my co-workers and constantly thinking of ways to get butts in seats for the club. I have some major projects too, so I have like eight running to-do lists. I don’t have much time to tweet or write, but I squeeze it in every hour or so. I close up my computer and bail unless I’m on a show at the club. Flappers has open mics around this time during the week but I don’t go up on them often.

7:00PM  I leave the club and go to an open mic within a 20-minute drive. My usual haunts are Amsterdam Café in North Hollywood, Sardo’s in Burbank, Echoes Under Sunset in Echo Park or Jake’s in Pasadena. During this drive is when I make a phone call to one of my non-comic friends (mostly dancers) just to try to maintain a semblance of a normal life. Usually before 8pm it’s a dead room with mostly male comics staring at their phones, but at least I can verbalize some of the garbage that’s been spewing in my head all day. I bring my notebook on stage and record my set with my iPhone so I can listen to it later while I’m banging my head against the steering wheel and wondering what I’m doing with my life.

7:30PM  I’m at the mic, either head-down in the back with my notebook or chatting with my homies. There are a couple of female comics sometimes, which is always exciting for me. True story, the ratio of male to female comics is like 100 to 1! I try to make friends with everyone. Often times at mics I’ve never been to before the male comics ignore me because they think I’m a groupie or a bimbo (even though I dress down) but then once they’ve heard my set I usually get a few interesting conversations out of it and maybe even a friendship or booking. I mostly discuss horrible, awful, dark things that get groans more than laughs and male comics seem to appreciate that.

8:00PM  I head to my show, sometimes needing an escort to my car. Going to mics alone can be intimidating, especially for a woman. A couple of weeks ago a crazy guy was following me down the street in Pasadena and I got lucky a cop came around and walked me to my car. Not that I can’t handle myself I mean I carry a knife and I dress down but still, it’s a little scary and shit happens. A lot of these mics are in dive bars where the clientele are less than stellar in terms of sobriety and ability to act like humans. I should buddy-up, as they taught us in Girl Scouts. Easier said than done, what with the crazy erratic schedules of comics.

8:30PM  I’m en route to my booked show. Recently I was booked in Manhattan Beach, sometimes I’m in Los Feliz or Claremont, next month I’m in Covina, etc. The host or whoever runs the show usually knows who I am and recognizes me, sets me up in the green room or at the bar, and gets me water (I don’t drink).

9:00-ish  The other comics show up and once they know I’m a comic too they either say hi quickly or walk away and get out their phone, notebook or recording device and do their own thing. I really don’t actually get hit on that much so more than likely they’re going to go away and write. I’ve made a lot of good friends from doing booked shows where I was alone because I’m basically a male comic in a female comic’s body. After my set I chat with audience members who are usually men who say things like “I don’t like female comics but you were funny” or women who say stuff like “Get it, girl.” So I leave motivated either way. Nights that I’m booked at my home club of Flappers I get home later because I hang out a lot longer since I have many friends there.

Midnight or later  I make the decision to either call a female comic like Lauren O’brien or Delanie Fischer and try to meet up and hang out at the Improv on Melrose or with my best buddy Erik Myers at the Laugh Factory or just go home. Hanging out is the best way to meet people and get booked but it can be very taxing when you have a day job. I’d also never do it alone. Sometimes comics come over to our apartment because we have an awesome patio, which makes for great smoking/writing sessions.

1AM I return home to North Hollywood to find Aristotle either already home or en route after shows of his own (or he’s about to scare the shit out of me and Vine it à la his “Scaring @craydrienne” series). We put on gym clothes, smoke some weed, and go work out for about an hour, catching each other up on our days as we do. His hustle is similar to mine, and he learns more about what it’s like to be a female comic during every chat. After cardio and weights I do ballet stretches at the bar because if I go too long without dance in my life I get stir crazy and this is my time to think about my jokes and what I would’ve done differently and how I want to take a joke to another level.

1:30AM I’m in the zone. I look at my hand where I’ve written a one-word prompt for each of my newest jokes so I won’t forget to do them onstage and the sweat starts to seep through my hands and the ink smears as I absorb the material and decide in that moment whether I want to continue working on that joke, table it, or scrap it for good. Sometimes I’ll just tweet it and see what kind of reaction it gets, but it can be difficult to fit an entire bit in 140 characters.

2AM We get home from the gym, shower, tweet, smoke again, put on Buffy, make love and pass out. We’ve been together 2 years but with the slight amount of male attention I get being one of very few women in the field I have to keep reminding Aristotle that he’s the one I want and that I will always come home to him. Again, not a lot of people hit on me, but enough to make him puff his chest a little so I have to keep him happy…if you know what I mean.

3AM We’re about to get up in 6 hours and start everything all over again and I can feel my jaw clench as I think about what’s next for my jokes and my career and whether I’m starting to look old and if I should be thinking about having a regular life and then I pop up and write down a tag for a joke really quickly before laying back down. Aristotle tickles or rubs my back and I feel myself drift off to sleep. This is my life, at least for now.

A Day in the Life: Grad Student

 

A Day in the Life:  Grad Student 

10am  Alarm goes off.  Snooze.

11am  Alarm goes off.  Snooze.

12pm  Alarm goes off.  Snooze.

12:30pm  Alarm goes off.  Snooze.

1pm  Wake up.  Boil water for instant coffee before anything else as coffee is the lifeblood of my day.

1:15  Make coffee.  Drink coffee.  Make second cup of coffee.  Consider eating breakfast.  Eat a protein bar.  Get ready for school.

2pm  Go to class feeling self-congratulatory for finishing the book that was required for this week’s class.  Feel elated.  Start to think maybe I really do belong in Grad School.

2:30  Spend the first hour of class trying to look smart and engaged.  Spend the second hour of class working up the courage to say the smart thing I thought of.  Never actually say it.  Change mind about the certainty of belonging in Grad School.

5pm  After class is over say the smart thing to a few other students.  Say it loud enough for the Professor to overhear thus maybe witness I’m smart even though I was too shy to speak up during class.  Promise myself that I’ll do better next time.  Promise to start acting like a grad student.  Promise to start feeling like I belong here.

5:30  Think about going to Starbucks to get coffee.  Remember that I can’t afford Starbucks (as my parents just had to lend me money for rent, my student loan having already run out).  Make instant coffee instead.  Use the instant coffee that I keep in my office (my office being really just a cubicle in a room of 6 other cubicles with no window but I fucking love my cubicle).  I NEED MY CUBICLE.  My cubicle makes me feel like a grown up with a purpose and an office.  No man is a cubicle but this cubicle is me, man.

5:45  Realize I don’t have any milk for my coffee.  Sit at my desk in my cubicle and drink it anyway, stare at the stacks of library books and berate myself for not doing more research, for not being further along in your final research paper (thesis).  Wonder if my desk serves more as a place to put books than a place to do work.  Decide it does.  Decide I don’t care.  Realize that it doesn’t matter that my desk is small and my cubicle is in a shared space because I know the combination to this locked dungeon of cubicles that is specifically marked for grad students.  Feel proud.  I am a fucking grad student.  I earned this grad student space.  Realize it’s all I have.  Without this space I am nothing.  Go to the class I TA for.

6:00  Early British Literature.

6:01  Try to stay awake during this 1st year English class, which is most certainly on material I already know.  Listen as the Professor dissects Beowulf (which I haven’t studied in a decade, since I was busy not paying attention in 1st year English).  Realize it all seems like brand new information.  Feel like a sham.  Feel like a failure.  Doubt everything I’ve ever accomplished.  Wonder how the fuck I got into grad school.  Jump to the assumption that I’m an idiot and what the fuck am I going to do with my life.  Take a deep breath.  Realize that this just isn’t my area of expertise and that there is too much literature for me to know everything.  Tell myself it’s okay.

6:50  MUST.  NOT.  FALL.  ASLEEP.

8:00  Try to run the discussion group for the class.  Get more uncomfortable with each deafening silence to my prodding questions.  Feel like there isn’t enough time to accomplish anything meaningful.  Remember the comments of a student from last term on my evaluation who said “she seems rushed and kind of nervous”.  Hate that kid.  Hate the fact that he/she was right.  I am rushed, I am nervous.  Wish I could tell that kid that there is absolutely no training for being a TA except your undergrad and intelligence, none of which prepare you to teach.  Feel like a sham.  Feel like a failure.  Ask more questions.  Hear more silence.  Wonder if the students even read the text.  Wonder if the students are even awake.  Wonder what the fuck is the point of any of this.  Use my backup material and turn this into a tutorial on essay writing, which they desperately need.  Watch as their eyes glaze over.  Sweat.  Get frustrated.  Get exasperated.  Sweat.  Hate life.

8:50  Hand back the mid-term essays.  Watch them read their grades in confusion.  Most of them think they deserve A’s and B’s.  Most of them deserve F’s.  Give most of them C+s because I’m part of a continent wide broken educational system.  Try to remember what my work was like when I was a first year student.  Pretty sure I was drunk for most of first year.  Remind them about my office hours tomorrow.  Encourage them to come see me, to come talk about their grades, to come talk about their work, so that I can help them.  Know that no one will show up and I’ll sit for an hour by myself, in an office I share with all the other grad students.  Try not to become disillusioned with the whole system of education.

9:00  Walk home.  Realize I haven’t eaten since breakfast.  Stop at the grocery store on the way home and make impulse purchases that go well beyond my means, calorically and financially.  Use my credit card to pay.

9:30  Eat.  Worry.  Eat.  Worry.  Watch old episodes of Newsroom on my computer (I can’t afford cable, or a TV, or even to get my own wifi so I have to use the free wifi that comes with my apartment but blocks all the good websites like torrent downloading, youtube, and porn.  Eat.  Worry.  Eat.  Worry.  Make some coffee (I have a ton of work to do).

12:00am  Remember I have to read a 347 page book and a 44 page article for my class on thursday.  Start reading.

12:15  Calculate how many hours I have before my next class.  Figure out how many pages I can read in 20 minutes.  Multiply 20 by 3 to get how many pages I can read in an hour.  Calculate how many hours it will take to read 347 pages of a novel and 44 pages of an article.  Worry.  Fidget.  Worry.  Wonder if I should’ve gone into mathematics.

12:30  (stress) Masturbate.  Drink more coffee.

1:00am  Read more

2:00  I’m reading 18th century literature.  My eyelids are no longer my friends.  Drink more coffee, I  still have so much work to do.  Keep reading.

4:00am  Take a break to eat.  Watch another episode of Newsroom.  Eat.  Worry.  Eat.  Worry.  Eat.  Worry.  Coffee.

5:00  Read.  Read.  Read.

7:00am  Realize I see the sunrise too often.  Hate it.  Consider taking up yoga.  Consider becoming one of those breezy people who don’t worry and don’t get stressed.  Promise I’ll start fresh tomorrow.  Tomorrow, I will finish all my readings on time.  Tomorrow, I won’t go to class unprepared, I won’t skate by.  Tomorrow, I will wake up at a decent time and I will exercise and be at one with myself and the world.  Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

7:30  Try to sleep (hate myself for having to drink so much coffee to get through the day)

8:00  Try to sleep (hate myself for being a student when my friends have $$$ jobs)

8:30  Try to sleep (wish I exercised more, studied more, was a better person)

9:00  Try to sleep (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHY CAN’T I FUCKING SLEEP!!!!)

9:30am  Smoke some weed and fall asleep.