The Week That Was..

So, what with the week from hell I’ve had (and this seems to be a recurring problem for me), I thought I’d rather take a lighter, happier reflection on the things I’ve enjoyed this past week..

What I’ve Listened To..

I made a mix CD recently with a range of awesomely chilled out songs.. Some artists featuring on it: John Mayer, Maroon 5, A Perfect Circle, Mayday Parade, Muse and the ever awesome How to Destroy Angels.  Checkout one of my fave songs of theirs here..  Nothing quite beats driving alone, belting out some of your favourite songs.

What I’ve Watched..

I’ve started watching ‘Arrested Development’ again to try abate my excitement from reading this.  I love how quick the humour is.  Do yourself a favour and check it out.

What I’ve Done..

I’ve been really busy with work and trying to balance some semblance of a social life, but the highlight of my week was a catch-up with my two best friends.  I guarantee that without them in my life I would likely be a very sad person, and certified insane.

What I’ve Read..

In case you didn’t see my tweets/facebook, I recently acquired a Kindle.  After downloading as many free books as I could find, the poor girl in me decided to splurge on the classic ‘The Notebook’ at $7.99.  I’m loving my Kindle and have requested a cover for it (with built-in light, of course) from the parents as a birthday present.

Where I’ve Gone..

As part of the whole ‘single life’, I’ve managed to try out a couple new restaurants/bars/stripclubs, etc – you know, as one does.  I must say, a place that stuck out for me was Tony’s Spaghetti Grill in Randpark Ridge.  It has a really chilled and laidback feel to it, delicious cocktails and amazing food.  You have *got* to try out their Mozarella Frittas – they are incredible.

What I’ve Realized..

I’ve had a couple requests for advice/help regarding medical issues, personal issues, relationship issues, daddy issues, etc.  I love giving advice and helping people when asked.  I’ve realized I could one day combine my love of helping people with my love of writing.  I haven’t quite figured out what format that would be – most likely an advice column – but I’m loving the idea.

What I’ve Concluded..

Sure, I’ve been having a rough time lately and still feel totally in limbo with regard to many things.  However, I have decided that I still have time, I need to stop living life before it happens and rushing through everything, so for now, this is my new motto (and this picture is plastered over anything and everything I look at as a reminder)..

What did you all get up to this week?

A Man in Women’s Clothing

One of my duties in a Surgical Ward is to prepare patients for surgery. There was a woman dressed in a green, flowery dress that I was instructed to go help.

I grabbed a theatre gown, went into the cubicle and closed the curtains. “Amanda, I’m just going to help prepare you for theatre, let’s get you dressed into your theatre gown first.” So, la da dee dee da, I’m busy daydreaming about what job has the best pay, when I notice her covering herself awkawrdly. Suddenly, everything started adding up.. The deep voice. The lilting gait. The 5 o’ clock shadow. The inability to walk in heels. And then I saw it. Major penis. (She, umm, I mean he, would have had a rough time at an all-girl boarding school with that penis.)

A-man-duh!

A Bit of a Predicament

I had my plans set for how/when/where/why/what I was going to study.  I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to this sort of thing.  I was going to start next year with my Advanced Midwifery through Wits.  Seeing as I’m already placed in Obstetrics and Gynaecology where I work, it is the perfect place to start my rotations and get the necessary experience to become an Advanced Midwife.  The plan was perfect.  However, I decided the best thing would be to speak to the Matron in charge first and let her know that I’m planning on studying next year.

Bad idea.  It’s difficult to catch her on a ‘good day’, and this was not one of those days.  She told me straight away that I can’t study next year and need to “prove” myself to be a good midwife first.  She doesn’t ever watch me deliver – how would she know whether I’m good or not? And hot damn, I am good, I know I am.  She also informed me that there were 20 people wanting to study and adding any extra people makes a lot of admin, and it’s difficult to work out the hours and paperwork.  In other words, she’s not willing to do her part in this.  She then told me I also couldn’t decide whether I wanted to work full time or part time – I had no choice but to do it full time.  She informed me that I could maybe study in 2013 or 2014.

Now, the way I see it, if I am paying out of my own pocket, who is she to say what I can or cannot do – and how I must do it?  So, needless to say, I left work feeling very demotivated.  The fact that I’m willing to stay in a government institution should mean more to them – plus that I will pay to further myself for their benefit!  Right now, I’m not seeing the point of what I’m doing.  Why struggle for the rest of my life for nothing?  So I sat and thought of my options.

  • I could wait til 2013/2014 to study, but that’s a lot later than I’m really willing to wait.  I would like myself to be way more settled in life at that stage – not still studying and on a crappy salary.
  • I could get a private hospital to buy me out and study through them – however, a midwife is not allowed to deliver babies in a private hospital (only a doctor can) so that is definitely not stimulating for me.
  • I could change to a different hospital (most probably out of Gauteng as apparently all the Gauteng hospitals are full for applications).
  • I could choose not to study at all, and just keep gaining experience, but I love studying and know I will regret not furthering my education.  Plus, my goal has always been to work as an Independent Midwife, which I cannot do without studying further.
  • I have always wanted to work in the UAE – specifically Dubai – where nurses are paid extremely well (but once again, aren’t allowed to deliver babies).  However, this would be good experience and I could save up enough money to buy myself a house on return to South Africa.
  • I could apply for a position available at the Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton, England.  They have an incredible midwife-run maternity unit.
  • Lastly, I could have a complete change of career – something like engineering – and start off with a salary that is three times what I’m earning now with four years’ experience.

In other words, I have a lot of thinking to do and I don’t even know where to start.  It’s sad that someone who has so much passion for her job can be pushed away from it by negative attitudes and experiences.  Sure, we hear that there aren’t enough caring nurses out there but it’s because the passionate, caring nurses aren’t fundamentally important to their employers.  Such a sad panda.

Colostomy Sex

A colostomy is basically an opening through your stomach straight into your intestines, rather than you using your bum to go to the toilet. It happens after bowel surgery, cancers, etc.

There was a patient with a persistent infection of his colostomy which is quite unusual. I had never before seen an infected colostomy. Doctors couldn’t understand what was going on – the nurses couldn’t understand, even if they tried. The doctors started running tests, such as pus swabs, to see what bacterium was causing the infection..

What did they find, you ask? Semen. That’s right. Semen.

The man was offering his freaking colostomy for sex, in exchange for money.

Sex with intestines. WHO DOES THAT!?

Patience is a Virtue

Over the course of the last week of night shift, I discovered something that I didn’t notice before. I have become a patient person! If you had come to me 3 years ago and asked me whether I was a patient person or not, I definitely would have said “No” and “Do not ask me stupid questions”.

Over the course of the 7 nights I was faced with a variety of ‘tests’. The first of these was an uncooperative patient who (despite having severe fetal distress) decided she didn’t want to push – but would rather breathe through every contraction instead. She proceeded to walk around the delivery room. Once I got her back in bed, she kept rolling around. She then ripped her drip out. Ultimately, we decided it was best to take her to Caesar as we were worried the baby wouldn’t survive. The dear patient was kind enough to give me a goodbye present in the form of a kick to the crotch.

The night after that, I received another patient – this time, a young-ish girl in her first pregnancy. I kept trying to calm her down, but she pushed all the time (despite not being fully dilated) and screamed her lungs out every time she had a contraction. All the staff asked “Who has the crazy patient in Room 1?”.. That would be me.

On my 3rd night, I admitted a patient who stared at me constantly, while I dripped and catheterised her, while I did her vaginal exam. It started getting awkward. I then went through all of her thick file and discovered she is a known Psychiatric patient. Seriously?!

On night 3 (a bad night overall), I had an argument with a Sister I work with. She literally followed me through the ward trying to start a fight with me over something completely stupid and unimportant.. The cow then *stole* my CTG machine (which we use to monitor fetal heart rate and contractions) after I specifically told her I was busy with it.

One of my biggest pet peeves is someone who interrupts me while I am speaking. I encountered this throughout the week. While handing over a patient to theatre staff, while talking to a friend, while taking a phone call, while having a conversation with my split personality..

I don’t know how I didn’t have a nervous breakdown this week. A couple people told me they would have screamed or hit something had they been me. Apparently I have more patience than I ever realized.. I sure did a lot of knuckle cracking, though.

Whew. So, how did your week go?

Billy the Psycho

A certain ward that is not an official Psychiatric Ward has the reputation of keeping all the crazy patients in it. I had to work there for a month. On my first day, I was warned by a night duty nurse to ‘avoid the last cubicle’. Being the dumb blonde (and sucker for punishment) that I am, I decided to go straight to the last cubicle. In I walk and I find a patient standing on his bed (let’s call him Billy), ripping his neighbour’s file apart. The neighbour just sat there with a very slight but very noticeable pout.

So, I shout at Billy to sit down. He sits, looks at me and with a sly wink says, “Would you like to go out with me sometime?” I reversed out of that room so quick, you would think I was the one who invented the moon walk and taught it to Michael Jackson.

I then saw that I was delegated to do Medicine Round. Great, I would have to confront Billy and force pills down his throat. Hesitantly, I walk into the last cubicle and find him pissing on the walls, on his bed, on the drip stands – basically anything he could find. I stood with my jaw dropped open in absolute shock, but then I realized I had better shut my mouth before he saw it as a target. Luckily, because Billy has this ‘attraction’ to me, he obeys all my commands: stops peeing, gets into bed, swallows all his tablets.

Thereafter, the day moved along quite smoothly until I was standing at the Nursing Station (making a list of why I shouldn’t stay in nursing) when something caught my eye down at the end of the corridor..

It was Billy. Taking a shit.

Religious Songs by an Atheist

In one of the wards, the rule is “You come on duty, then you pray”. So, in I go to the Tea Room to get my prayer on, but considering the fact that I’m an atheist, I wasn’t all that comfortable doing so. I stood there respectfully with my head bowed. I couldn’t sing along either way considering they were singing in Zulu.

The Sister-in-Charge then asks me why I’m not singing. “I don’t know the words”, I reply. Then, she asked me to sing a song from my church. “I don’t attend church.” I could swear I heard a couple of shocked and horrified gasps.. There was silence for about five minutes until the Sister said, “We’re waiting.” I had to sing. I don’t know any church songs. The only songs I could think of that are remotely religious were Christmas Carols.

I broke out into Silent Night.

101 Random Facts about Me

Thanks to inspiration from JessicaMcD, I’ve decided to go ahead with my first blog meme – 101 Random Facts about Me..

1. I have an obsession with chocolate, especially Lindt.

2.  I studied a BCur (Hons.) degree in Nursing at the University of Johannesburg.

3.  I’ve always disliked my name – Andrea – and wanted to change it to Caroline when I was a kid.

4.  I play the Piano quite well (if I do say so myself), but can only play by sight.

5.  I have an annoying habit of ‘cracking’ my knuckles.

6.  I can’t eat spicy food.  Even pepper is too much for my tastebuds.

7.  My cooking skills leave a fair amount to be desired – but I love baking.

8.  I hate my toes – it’s very seldom you’ll see me wearing peep-toe shoes.

9.  I used to be a dancer – ballet, modern, tap, jazz and eventually hip hop.

10.  I feel I may have missed my calling and should have gone into more of a creative industry – writing, music, etc.

11.  I have issues with chicken – I very seldom eat it unless I know the person who made it.  Way too many food poisoning incidences..

12.  I can’t decide whether I’m a cat person or a dog person (I love animals) – but I’m leaning towards cats.

13.  I love drinking a glass of milk – but it has to be skimmed milk.

14.  I get called a variety of names at work: Andrea, Andy, Ayanda, Klinks, Klinky, Stinky..

15.  I require constant physical affection in a relationship.  Forcing a loved one to stroke my wrist for hours on end is commonplace.

16.  I have a healthy obsession with body art – piercings and tattoos, if done right, can be absolutely beautiful.

17.  I’ve never broken a bone.

18.  I’m extremely indecisive – to the point that it drives other people crazy.

19.  I’m a total voyeur – I adore The Sims and E! Entertainment Channel on levels not considered sane.

20.  I went to the same school for primary and high school, and ’til this day, am still friends with people I’ve known since I was 4.

21.  I have a red Blackberry – I always wanted a black one but they didn’t have any in stock.

22.  My dad is German, my mom is British.

23.  I’m a very fast typist and average about 168wpm.

24.  My favourite flower is the sunflower.

25.  I am a total night owl, and really struggle in the mornings.

26.  I’m allergic to Penicillin.

27.  Friends naturally confide in me all the time.  Apparently I’m a good listener.

28.  Music is my passion.  No matter what I’m doing, music is playing in the background (or in my head).

29.  I tend to be quite stubborn – not something I’m proud of.

30.  I have one sibling, a brother who is 2 years older than me.

31.  I have a shockingly bad short-term memory.

32.  I have the entire Friends boxset and am close to knowing each episode off by heart.

33.  After matric, I spent a gap year living in London and Scotland, trying to figure out what to do with my life.

34.  I lived in Pretoria for a year while studying Pharmacy but hated every moment of it and quit at my first chance.

35.  I lived in ‘Res’ for the first 3 years of studying Nursing and had to leave because the conditions were so bad.

36.  I drive a Midnight Blue Ford Fiesta, but it’s time to trade her in methinks.

37.  I am a total spelling and grammar Nazi.  One of my biggest pet peeves is poor spelling and/or grammar.

38.  If I’m eating something, I have to have a drink at the same time.  I’ve never understood how people can wait until after their meal to drink.

39.  I’m not embarrassed to admit that Lady Gaga is an incredible inspiration to me.

40.  I buy Cosmopolitan every single month, and read it from front to back.

41.  I’ve always wanted to volunteer at the SPCA but I am so worried I’d get too attached.

42.  I hate styling my hair.

43.  I’m a sucker for a man with a guitar.

44.  I have a high pain threshold.  I went for months requiring a root canal without even realizing it.

45.  I am a Twilight freak.

46.  I love painting my nails, and have quite the collection of different colours.

47.  My next investment will be a GHD.

48.  I recently went brunette from blonde and have yet to decide which I prefer.

49.  I have the most incredible friends – I couldn’t be luckier.

50.  I currently live 800m from work with a roommate – a friend I studied nursing with.

51.  I have an extremely low alcohol tolerance.  One glass of wine, and my knees go completely weak.

52.  Sushi is one of my favourite food types.  Salmon roses are the best.

53.  I feel that my career (in particular, my years of working while studying)  has jaded me in many ways.

54.  I have my future children’s names picked out already.

55.  I love singing, but have a less than desirable voice.

56.  I want to write a book – a Hospital Babylon of all my experiences, if you will.

57.  I love it when it rains.  My favourite weather by far.

58.  I feel ‘at home’ in Cape Town.

59.  I hate my nose and would get plastic surgery if I could afford it.

60.  There is nothing I hate more than being cold.  Winter and I do not mesh well.

61.  I’m expecting a quarter-life crisis this year as I am turning 25.  I always find my birthday depressing.

62.  I hate feeling that I might inconvenience someone and therefore tend to put other people’s needs ahead of my own.

63.  I am passionate about the rights of women and children.

64.  There is no feeling that can quite touch that of delivering someone’s baby.

65.  It saddens me to think of the salary I earn when I know how damn hard I work.

66.  I’m a total control freak and plan everything in advance – including my life.

67.  I tried to ‘run away’ if my parents disciplined me as a kid.  I even remember packing a bag, with one change of clothes and 3 Marie Biscuits and sitting at the gate for hours.

68.  I’ve always had the feeling that something bigger and better is out there waiting for me.

69.  I don’t have a birthmark, but I do have a Chlorine burn mark on my ankle.

70.  I used to suffer badly from hyperhidrosis.  It has improved a lot after I received treatment called Iontophoresis.

71.  I get lonely quite easily.

72.  I love my eyes.

73.  I cannot handle vomit/vomiting/other people vomiting.

74.  I was never very popular in school.

75.  I had a Chocolate-point Siamese Cat that lived to 20 years of age.  Her name was Suzy.

76.  I got my Driver’s licence on my first attempt and had the best score ever for that area.

77.  I grew up in Springs on the East Rand as my parents opened a restaurant there.

78.  I love teaching, and could easily see myself as a lecturer one day.

79.  I was a prefect in Standard 5 and Matric.

80.  I was on the debating team and public speaking team in school.

81.  In 2001, I took a roadtrip around Europe with my family.

82.  I have a brilliant sense of direction.

83.  My love language is quality time.

84.  I have a very strong (and at times, overpowering) personality.

85.  I love drinking coffee, and having it before bed doesn’t affect my ability to sleep.

86.  I can’t stand the saying “Same difference”.

87.  I don’t really listen to the radio when driving, I prefer CDs or my iPod.

88.  I have a severe dislike for showering – to the extent that I would not go on holiday somewhere if there was no bath.

89.  I get completely dumbstruck when meeting anyone remotely famous.

90.  I totally get why celebs only drink bottled water at room temperature.  It’s delicious.

91.  I have seen way too many dead people for my liking.

92.  I have an autographed Britney Spears CD.

93.  I grind my teeth at night and am supposed to wear a gum guard which I hate.

94.  I used to have a huge gap in my teeth like Madonna and got teased a lot, especially in school.

95.  My wisdom teeth then grew out straight, closing my gap, and not requiring removal.

96.  I have one ear that is bigger than the other and sticks out ever so slightly.

97.  I love shoes, high heels in particular.

98.  I cannot swim alone in a swimming pool – I am scared of sharks.  (Yes, I know that it’s not possible for them to be in there.)

99.  Related to the above, I cannot swim in open water – a dam, lake, the ocean – for fear of sharks there too.

100.  I have attempted fishing – I even bought a pink fishing rod – but I’m not very good at it.

101.  I suffer from severe arachnophobia.

Welcome to Andy’s World

I’ve had a blog on blogspot for the last two or so years.  However, it didn’t quite give me the freedom of WordPress – and I was growing tired of only telling stories of funny moments encountered during my training.  While I still want to include these stories (and I’ll post most of my old ones on this new blog as well), I also want to use this as a platform to share more about my life – from what I’m doing week to week, to things that bother me, things I love, my goals and dreams.

Therefore, I made the decision to start afresh with a new blog.  I have an adoration for writing, and always felt I had missed a ‘calling’ by not going into a more creative field.  So, I’ll just have to live out that calling right here.

I’m currently on a week off.  I’ve been working Night Shift in the hospital for the last two months. I work 7 nights on from 19:00-07:00 and then get 7 nights off.  So, as you can imagine, I’ve been getting as much rest as possible.  I’m definitely looking forward to going back onto Day Shift from August.  While I love nights (I’m not a morning person at all), it makes it too hard to keep in contact with friends and family.  I’m happy to say that I delivered my 83rd baby last week, and had to deliver my first breech presentation – a huge accomplishment for me as it’s a dangerous complication that usually goes straight to theatre.  The experience I’m gaining is incredible, and I’m loving every moment of work.

Now that I’m single, my social life is suddenly booming – I have plans for every day of the week when I’m off – this is something that has never happened to me before but I’m kind of loving it.  I’ve met so many incredible people lately, and can’t wait to meet some more.

My wonderful Blackberry is unfortunately in for repairs, so I’ll only be able to start blogging full-on once I have her back.  The only issue was my keyboard that was either hyper-sensitive or not working at all.  Vodacom said it would take 7-15 working days.  It has been 11 days so far and I’m struggling to understand what could be taking so long.  A small part of me is hoping they’ll just give me a new phone altogether – wishful thinking!

I’ll leave you with this cute cartoon from humorpix.com..

So, how have you been?