Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Great Start

School started up again yesterday! This semester I have six courses, three of them with clinicals attached. Let me predict right now that it's going to be one giant ball of fun. Or else a huge disaster. Or possibly a middle ground of some kind.

Yeah, definitely one of those three options.

I would have posted about it last night, but as soon as I got home I fell straight into bed. That's partly because it was a long day, but mostly because I let myself become dehydrated and overheated, thus demonstrating my own special talent for idiocy.

The schedule for day one was a little funky, and our normal afternoon class ended early. Most people were done for the day at that point. However on Monday nights I have an elective evening course, and the slack time in between was too short to bother going back home. So, a few classmates and I wandered around campus to take care of various administrivia. (For one example, I needed to buy a new parking pass. Necessary but boring.)

Now I, being an idiot, had decided not to eat anything since lunchtime. And, having failed to pay attention, I did not consider that I the only fluid I had consumed all day was a can of soda. The weather was ninety-ass degrees and sunny.

I felt fine until after we got back, when we were killing time in the lobby. After some time I realized I was having a little trouble tracking the conversations people were having around me, but I thought I was just tired from the long lectures and all the walking.

Then I stood up... and found myself sitting straight back down again, because I was suddenly dizzy and my vision had gone a little gray around the edges. It took a few seconds to recover.

My nearby classmates, noticing my precipitous return to the chair, pointed out that I was looking really pale. And when I started paying attention to how I felt physically, I became aware that my pulse rate was up, I was having more heart palpitations than usual, and despite the heat I had entirely stopped sweating.

I was a walking poster for of all the symptoms of mild dehydration. You'd think I would have noticed. Fortunately I wasn't in bad shape, only uncomfortable. After some drinks and a salty snack, and fifteen minutes, I had started sweating again (a good sign) and felt much better.

This was just in time for the start of that evening elective course: NRS 448 - Fluid & Electrolytes.

I'd call that a humorous irony if the whole thing hadn't given me such a big headache.

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Band

I'm going to start a nursing student band. We'll call ourselves "Peripheral Paresthesia" and play trancepop electrocore.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One Down

Summer semester is done!

Since the end of May I have completed six classes. This works out to seventeen credits, twenty-one exams and labs, eighty hours of clinicals, a large pile of homework, and some seriously heavy amounts of studying.

(Hence the lag in blog posts.)

While decluttering my desk just now, I gathered up all the flashcards that I made for studying over the course of the semester. The stack is too tall to balance by itself. Judging by the empty packages I left lying around, I've got more than one thousand cards piled up here.

That's at least one thousand distinct facts and rationales I have learned, that I didn't know ten weeks ago. Wild! Want to know the difference between hypovolemic shock and septic shock? How to assess and respond to a morphine overdose? What to worry about when a patient is in atrial fibrillation? The appropriate way to deal with an angry family member? All of that and much, much more has found its way into my bony little cranium.

I'm not even close to being the kind of expert a nurse needs to be, but I'm starting to understand how I will get there.