The random ramblings of a perpetual procrastinator. These are the life & times of a nursing home CNA navigating the ups & downs of living with someone who's living with a disability. A sometimes amusing, sometimes bittersweet look at my journey into real adulthood.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Meet me on Monday

Meet me on Monday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Java at Never Growing Old.  Just answer the questions & link up.  It's a great way to meet new bloggers, or in my case, find something to blog about. 

1. What do you put on your hot dog?

I'm pretty standard about my hot dog eating.  I go for ketchup, mustard & sauerkraut.  Does everyone eat sauerkraut, or is that one of those Pennsylvania-Dutchy things?

2. Do you play Sudoku?

Nope.  I wouldn't even know where to begin.
3. What is your favorite vegetable?

That's a tough one.  Despite my poor eating habits, I do really love veggies.  I'm going to have to say asparagus.  I love it roasted.  I drizzle it with olive oil & then season with salt, pepper & garlic.  Just pop that in the oven at 350 for about 10-12 minutes.  Delicious!

4. Do you color your hair?

I did for a while, up until a few months ago.  Then I cut it all off & let is get back to it's natural color - a boring, mousy dirty blonde.  Someday I'll color it again.

5. What is your favorite brand of clothing?

I like fashion, but not in my own life.  I like watching awards show dresses & high fashion pictures in magazines, but I can't tell you what my own favorite brand of clothing is.  I will say that my favorite thing about winter is living in jeans & big sweaters!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

But it's hard!

And resigning myself to mediocrity would just be so much easier.

None of this adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing fractions.

None of these ratios & percentages.

None of this converting to & from Roman Numerals.

I could just sit here on the couch with the dog blogging or playing Oregon Trail.

But, I'd spend my life being less than I know I can be, & that would make me miserable.  Even Oregon Trail can't cure that feeling.

So, I'll just have to deal with the numbers & all the awful things I have to do with them.

I wish I had more time to study!  Only having a week is making me really, really nervous!

I am going to be my own worst enemy at taking this placement test...

It was my pleasure.

One of my residents passed away tonight.

When her family was leaving they thanked me & gave me hugs.

With tears in my eyes I told them I loved her too.

Her grandaughter said that was obvious.

Best compliment I've ever gotten at work.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The next step.

Some of you may remember how much of a loser I am from my recent post.

Although I would like to just sit around eating ice cream & feeling sorry for myself, there is a Plan B.

Plan B is another nursing school I applied to, this one for an LPN instead of RN.

And while it's not what I really want to do, it's the option in front of me (& actually may be better in the long run).

The LPN program takes a year & a half, compared to the 3 years the RN program would have taken.  So in a year & a half I'll be able to get a much better paying job, & money won't be so tight when I ultimately decide to go back for my RN later on.  Plus, I'm hoping I can transition to working part time so I can spend more time at home with DJ, as he'll be needing more help as time goes on.

At the end of the day, as my MIL put it, "a nurse is a nurse is a nurse."  And she would know, because she is one.

So, instead of sulking & eating ice cream, onward I go.  Well, I'm sure there will still be lots of ice cream, but that's besides the point.

The point of this seemingly pointless post is to say that I'm scheduled for a placement test for the LPN program on February 2nd.

The test starts at 8:00 AM.  I'll pause why you shudder.

Seriously?  8:00 AM?  Don't they realize that some of us work until 11:00  the night before?

Guess not.

In any event, it starts at 8:00 & is scheduled to take 3 1/2 hours.  This just keeps getting better, doesn't it?

So, at 8:00 AM after a long night of work I have to go take my first real test in almost a decade - a test that my future is actually depending on.

Can you tell how confident I'm feeling?

The school suggested a picking up a GED book to use as a study guide, so my co-worker/fellow applicant & I are headed to the bookstore tomorrow to pick it up.

I've never taken a GED test before, but I did graduate from high school.  And, contrary to how I'm probably making myself sound right now, I am pretty smart. 

I can do this, right?

I don't have a choice.  I need to do this.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My lazy Saturday comes at a cost...crap.

I didn't do the laundry & clean like I planned to today.

Instead, the dog & I watched all six episodes of The Walking Dead (freaking love that show!) & various other things I needed to get off the DVR.

And while my Saturday on the sofa was pretty glorious, it means one thing:  I have to clean tomorrow...on Sunday.  And we all know how I feel about Sundays.

I really need a maid.


In case you haven't noticed, I've been totally uninspired lately.  I'm hoping to get back on the train to Bloggy-land ASAP.

Friday, January 21, 2011

She was looking kind of dumb with her finger & her thumb in the shape of an "L" on her forehead.

I applied to nursing school this year, which was a concept that terrified me for several reasons:

  • I've been out of high school for almost 10 years, & I've never taken any college courses.
  • It's a big life/career change.
  • The program I desperately wanted to attend is very competitive, & my math grades weren't always the best.

Although I'm confident that I can do the math requred to be a nurse, my poor math history is preventing me from getting that  chance.  I got a letter from that school today, & they can't even allow me to take the pre-admission testing because of my math grades in high school.

It doesn't necessarily mean I'll never get into that school, but it does mean I'll have to delay it for at least another year - probably more.

I knew this was a very distinct possibility all along, but I still held out hope because I'm a non-traditional student & virtually no one applies to the part-time program.  But, no exception was to be made.


Here's where I get all "after school special" on everyone:  this whole situation was avoidable.  I'll be honest, when I was in high school nursing wasn't my plan.  I wanted desperately to go to a four year college & major in art history.  That being said, I didn't take math & science classes as seriously as I should have.  But, life sometimes happens, & art history was not meant to be...& here I am, held back by my former self - who I would like to kick right now.

And so it's time for plan B - in theory, but truth be told, I can't assume I'll get accepted to plan B.  So while Plan B is the plan, plans C-E are currently also in development.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ok, I'm ready to play now.

I've had a Twitter account forever, but I've never used it on a consisten basis.

Until recently, that is...

( BTW, sentence fragment much?)

In any event, I'm on Twitter @ClosedSunday.

If I'm following your blog & you have a Twitter I could find, I'm now one of your Twerps too.  Is that the right word for Twitter Friend?  I really don't know.

So if you would please, follow me back & let's get to Tweetin'!

Monday, January 17, 2011

No turning back!

It's here!!

We went into the wee hours of the morning, but it's finally done - the tattoo, that is.

I love, love, LOVE it!

For those of you who may not have known, I wanted the tattoo as a memorial for my grandmother & aunt.  Both of them loved cats & Egyptian mythology.  The Egyptians worshiped cats.  Siamese cats in particular were thought to be protectors of the pharaohs.

And now I have a physical reminder of my protectors - who always have my back, even if I can't see them.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

No good deed goes unpunished.

The situation with our home has taught me exactly how true that is.

Let's start at the beginning.  DJ used to live in Florida, where he went to school.  When he moved back to the area a few years ago there was a house for sale in between his sister & grandmother.  Having just been in school he wasn't in a position to buy a house.  An angel of a family friend wanted to help because he thought the size of the house & location were perfect for DJ.  So this angel bought the property & made some modifications with the intention of doing a lease to own agreement with DJ.

As time went on it became apparent that this house really wasn't in the best shape, & not much could be done about it.  It wasn't the kind of place DJ could live in forever given that his mobility would be decreasing over time because of the MD.  And then to put the cherry on top, I'm in the picture now - so there's two of us, a dog & 2 devil cats living in this very tiny house.

So, the angel does his angel-y (I just make up words sometimes.  You like?) thing once again, & tells us that he's talked to another business owner/angel in the area, & they're going to build us a brand new house.  Not only are they building the house for us, but they're donating the labor - so our cost would be materials & the initial cost of the property - a big ass lot that was cheap because of the house that was on it.

The house was built.  We've been living here for almost a year now.  Trying to get a mortgage has been the biggest headache ever.  Our credit is great, & we have the income to make the payments - but our unusual situation has been a hinderance time & time again.  We were actually supposed to settle 4 different time since April of last year, but on the day of our settlement our contact at the bank found some problem...all 4 times.  The mortgage lady at the bank is totally disorganized, which added to the issues.  The only reason we stayed with that bank is because our initial agreement with them was done in time that allowed us to get the first time homebuyer tax credit.  But in the end, we didn't get a mortgage.

After all that we needed a break for a while, but now it's time to get back into the swing of things.  So the angel was discussing our situation with the local bank, & we're going to get together as a group to discuss it.

I have all my fingers & toes crossed in hopes that it works out this time, because honestly...I feel like a freaking bum.  The angel hasn't asked us to pay rent, because the bank will pay him for the entire cost of the property & new house.  And although it doesn't phase him, I feel like a squatter.

Wish us luck!

Friday, January 14, 2011

What's going on?

I've been absent lately.

I haven't had anything very interesting to write about.  Things are pretty much the same around here.  Although I have finally been spending much more time at home.  The holiday season was a killer, & I felt like I was always either working or shopping.  So being able to just play  Wii & watch movies with DJ has been so awesome!

Like I said, not much to talk about.  Just a few updates.

I submitted my applications to 2 different nursing schools in the area, one for an RN program & one for an LPN program.  I have mixed feelings about the subject. 

I really, really want to get my RN  & be done with it, but that's a very intensive 3 year program.  I'm a little worried about being away from DJ so much because he does depend on me for certain things - & that list will just keep on growing as time goes on.

On the other hand, the LPN program only takes a year & a half.  The schedule is 3 days a week, so I could technically continue to work 2nd shift instead of make the switch to 3rd.  However, being an LPN is not really what I want.  LPN jobs are few & far between these days, so it will likely be difficult for me to find a job when I get out of school being that I'll have no experience - unless of course there's one available where I work now, but who knows if there will be.

I also have this nagging feeling that because I'm naturally bad in math (& didn't plan on a nursing career when I was in high school) that my math grades will hinder my acceptance to the RN school.  That would seriously suck ass, because I know I can do the nursing job.  It's not astrophysics or anything.

So now it's the waiting game.  Great...

Onto the good news now:

  • My very good friend/co-worker asked me to host her bridal shower!  I'm so excited to do it.  We're thinking a beach themed shower because she's having a beach themed summer wedding.  If anyone has ideas for beachy decorations & party games, please send them my way.
  • DJ & I have a meeting with our local bank in the next few weeks to try to finally get a mortgage.  Have I ever told you the unorthodox circumstances to building our house?  I don't think so.  I'll have to do that, because it'll make our personal mortgage crisis make a lot more sense.  Anyway, I think we're on the right track now!
  • And finally - the tattoo is scheduled for Sunday night with I get home from work!!  I'm excited & nervous - really, really nervous.  I'm not sure why though.  I'm not nervous about living with the tattoo, & I think it just may be the idea of it.  But anyway, I'm mostly excited & I can't wait to get it done!
I'll be sure to keep you updated on all the goings on, & I'll be posting pictures of the tattoo as soon as I can!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow day!

Today was my regularly scheduled day off from work, & thankfully it coincided with the snow storm.  I personally think all snow storms should occur on my days off.  I wonder who I need to speak with about that?

Anyway, in the spirit of being snowed in, I rescheduled the vet appointment for the kittens & only made one quick trip out to pick up taco salad supplies.

The rest of the day was spent doing some very minimal shoveling, napping, cleaning a little bit & playing video games with the boyfriend.

And to add to the awesomeness of the day, I woke up to find that I very kind person from the business up the street cleared our driveway for us with the snowblower.  Yay!!!!

Please understand, I have a very long driveway & I'm the only one in this house who can shovel it - so this was like a late Christmas gift for me this morning.

If only I could get someone to do that all the time...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow delay

The tattoo was supposed to happen tomorrow night.

Of course, we're expecting 4-6" of snow.

And the tattoo guy coming all the way to BFE at 11:30 at night in a snowstorm is a little ridiculous.

I've waiting this long, so I'll just have to be patient.


I really just want to kick & scream & throw a tantrum though.


I have no idea what to write about lately.  Just so you know, I do miss all of you!  xoxo

Sunday, January 9, 2011


The plan for yesterday was for DJ & I to spend the day together doing whatever to celebrate our anniversary.

We ended up spending a bug chunk of time watching the coverage of the Arizona shootings.

It's amazing just how quickly someone's whole life can change.

A public appearance by a congresswoman at a grocery store ended in the deaths of too many innocent people, including a child.

All those people woke up with a plan for the day, & now their lives will never be the same.

The effects of the shooting ripple far beyond those people involved too.  There a friends & family members all over who are either thankful their loved ones survived or are mourning the loss of someting irreplacable. 

And so, our lazy Saturday together was a bittersweet reminder of just how lucky we are & just how fleeting moments like these really are.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I love photo montages...and my boyfriend.

Today is the anniversary of the infamous first date.  DJ & I have been together for two years, & we're celebrating by spending the day alone at home - which is going to be awesome after the hustle & bustle of the holiday season.

So please enjoy my pre-scheduled post, & I'll enjoy my quiet day at home with the love of my life.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Because I have nothing else to write about.

Is Jimmy Fallon not the most adorable thing you've ever seen?  I think he might be.

Image from Google.

I think his late night show is so underrated.  If you haven't seen it, set your DVR - it's very funny stuff.

I've adored Jimmy since the SNL days, & I was always sad that he didn't become the next Adam Sandler after he left.  But now I'm glad he's found his niche.

And as his star rises I'll always remember the good old days when he sang parody jingles for troll dolls (Google it!  So funny...) & it only cost me $8 to see him at West Chester University.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I want the cheese curls.

It was a hard day at work.

One of the faves took a major turn for the worse last night, & it kept on going downhill today.  He will not be there when I get to work tomorrow, & my heart is breaking.

He's kind of a nuissance at times, & he's totally unaware of his surroundings when he comes wheeling down the hallway.  But he's also one of the sweetest people you could ever meet in your life.

He loves every kind of candy under the sun, & he has a cheese curl addiction like no other.

When other residents have passed away, I've always made time to spend a few quiet minutes with them so I could say goodbye.  It's a bittersweet experience because it's so sad, & yet I know that I am blessed to share those moments with people who sometimes have no one else.

But tonight was different.  Tonight I heard the other girls talking about how bad he looked & how things were only getting worse.  And I found every reason not to walk back that hallway.

Maybe it's selfish of me not to spend those moments with him, knowing his family wasn't there, but I couldn't bear to see him that way.  I don't want the image of him at the end in my mind.

I want the moments when he tried to sneak out of bed late at night because he just couldn't sleep if he didn't have some cookies.

I want the memories of him calling me "such a kind soul" just because I would help him change & get ready for bed.

I want the laughter that came along with all the quirky things he said & did.

I want the cheese curls, & I'm going to keep them always.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What's the difference?

I recently found out there's a blog dedicated to complaining about the care provided at the nursing home where I work.  It's written naturally, everyone knows who's writing it.  Although it's not about me, or anyone I really know directly, the whole thing bothered me.

And while I'd love to just come to the defense of all my coworkers, I know I can't.  Some of the things that were written are totally true & equally unacceptable.  Maybe that's  the part that bothers me so much.

The headline of the blog says something about the blog's author being "suprised by the vast difference in bringing a new life into this world & ushering an old life out."

That's actually where I have the issue.

Most people adore babies.  The idea of a newborn baby sends women into a happy frenzy, & as such one of the most coveted jobs in nursing is working in the OBGYN ward with all the newbies.

Now, imagine for me what fraction of that number makes up the people who want to work with eldery people as they come to the end of their lives.  BIG difference, huh?

And let's take it one step further & talk about my position, a CNA.  I didn't go to nursing school, & I'm only able to do basic care.  The biggest part of my job is to assist with activities of daily living:  dressing, feeding, toileting, etc.  It's an incredibly demanding job - physically, mentally & emotionally.

How much money do you suppose such a demanding job pays?

I'll save you the ain't that much.

So let's get back to the vast difference between a birth & death.

Ushering in that new life is a lot more appealing, & like I said positions in that field of nursing are the proverbial holy grail.  I think that alone suggests that better people are going to work in those positions.

I'm not knocking the home I work for because they do the best they can, but let's face it - a warm body is better than nothing.  And there are those emnployees who are not particularly dedicated to their profession.

Is that right?  Absolutely not.  Is it the hard truth.]?  Absolutely.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, you can't unilaterally decide the nursing home is bad because of a few bad people.  Most of us are dedicated & do the best job we can every day.  And most of us truly care of the residents we're responsible to take care of.  I'm not suggesting we love them more than their families do, but it takes a certain level of affection to change someone's diaper while they're trying to punch you.

We don't have enough help for the reasons I mentioned before, which puts more of a burden on the people who are there.  Whether you're a good egg or a bad egg, you're only one egg - with 12-15 residents to take care of in a shift.  Non-essentials sometimes have to be skipped.  And with 60 people on a unit, family members need to realize that their loved one cannot always be the number one priority.

I learned very soon after starting this job that the only way I'll ever be all to handle on the emotion that goes along with it is to focus on one fact:  I do my best everyday, & I give the kind of care I would want my own family to have.  That's the only thing I can control.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I need your help!

I don't know if anyone remembers, but I've decided to get a tattoo.

I wamt two Siamese cats, in memory of my grandmother & aunt who are  no longer with me.

A co-worker's boyfriend is going to do the tattoo for me.  And bless is heart, he listed to my random ramblings about what I wanted to come up with this:

I know it's kind of hard to see, but it's perfect & I love it...& the actual tattoo will be colored in.

Here's what I need help with:  I was originally picturing the cats with wings and/or halos.  But now that I've seen this, I'm torn.  Do wings and/or halos make it lame?  Will they mess up the image?

Please, please, please give me your honest opinion.  I'm having trouble making the decision myself, & no one I've asked is giving me a serious answer...except for DJ. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Shut your pie hole, dork face.

Happy New Year!

Ok, so I know I'm a day behind schedule, but the sentiment is what's important.

Now back to the blog title, which I'm sure you're all wondering about.

My family was here yesterday for pork & sauerkraut.  As is normal for them, there was lots of noise & inappropriate jokes at eachother's expense.

My MomMom drank a whole bottle of wine before dinner was over.

My uncle got lost, even though he's been here before, & my aunt was losing her shit in the car.

Everyone always labels their plastic cups so none of the little ones end up accidentially drinking a cocktail instead of fruit punch.  Writing ridiculous things on eachother's cups is sort of a loving tradition.

A few years ago on our annual family vacation my mom was on the phone with my aunt, who was driving with me.  Suddenly, & for no apparent reason, my aunt screamed, "Shut your pie hole!" & hung up on my mother.  It was hilarious, & it stuck with her all this time.  She even got a "Shut your pie hole" t-shirt for Christmas.

In any event, when she wasn't looking someone wrote "Shut your pie hole, dork face," on her cup.

She used it all night too.  She's a champ.