Saturday, January 21, 2006


Well. Even for a blog called Funny Pathetic, it's sort of starting to seem, um, implausible. Again.

I was kind of fired today. I'd call it about 92% fired. The nurse manager, Maureen, said something about my going home to "think about it" and calling her Monday with my "decision," but from everything else she said, I think that was essentially just cowardice on her part. My "decision" was to be whether I really think that Wright 10 is the best place for me right now. But she made it quite clear that my answer was supposed to be no.

Yesterday I had what seemed to me to be an incredibly busy and full (and somewhat discouraging) day, which included one of my 3 patients steadily dropping his O2 sats and ending up on BiPAP. I was at a running pace most of the day. I neglected a couple of things, including one patient's 5pm NPH insulin (he didn't require any sliding scale regular insulin, which I knew). At least as bad, I had left a Fentanyl patch at my crashing patient's bedside instead of returning it to the Omnicell. She said that when it was found, they had to fill out a "narcotics incident report." (This issue had never come up during my orientation, and I was entirely oblivious to it.) Maureen's stance was that this was pretty much the lightest assignment I could hope to get, and there was nothing more that the unit could do to support me. I just wasn't pulling it together. She said maybe I could continue patient care in a less acute setting, like maybe an inpatient hospice (the embarrassingly clear implication being I belonged somewhere where it wouldn't be so bad if I killed somebody, though I'm pretty sure she didn't mean her remark to be quite so pointed). And maybe later I would be up to a setting like Wright 10.

Some pro forma genuflections were made in the direction of my vaunted interpersonal skills. She also acknowledged that I'd been putting in "herculean effort," which in a way might be insulting, but the truth is, I have, and it actually feels better to me to have that acknowledged. I'm not a slacker. I'm just... lame. Fundamentally not cut out for the task-task-task-task rhythm of inpatient nursing work. I mean, I knew that. I've always known that. But I thought I could do it anyway. For some reason, I thought that I'd soldier through, and apply intellect to override my lack of other kinds of aptitudes, and it would be okay. I'd just make it work.

But it looks like not.

Maureen sent me home at 3, despite my putatively being on 7 to 7, saying she'd pay me for the remaining 4 hours. Um. Thanks.

At least now I know why my old preceptor Julie has been so distant and chilly the last two days I've seen her. I thought somehow she was mad at me for something. But it must be that Maureen was consulting with her about whether I could make the grade, and she knew what was up.

It's very strange to realize I might never go back to Wright 10. At all. Ever. The only things I have there are my stethoscope, which I left somewhere on the unit and couldn't find today, and a nice dark blue mug. (Maureen would feel she was getting off cheap if she paid 10 times the postage to mail them back to me rather than having me come back for them, I'd wager.) I wonder what they'll say about me, after I just disappear. For some reason, I want my fellow nurses to know the truth. It really bugs me to think of Maureen giving some evasive, bland, manager-y, fraudulent answer about my whereabouts. We agreed it was best, this just wasn't the time, blah blah blah. I don't know why I care, but I do.

The biggest question, of course, is what the hell do I do now? My mind kind of goes blank when I even try to think about it. There are the short- and medium-term financial questions, which are daunting enough. And there are the longer-term questions about what can I possibly do with my life? Losing two jobs in two years has not really been so great for my employment-related confidence. Is there actually anything I can do for more than a handful of months at a time? Can I find a place I won't get kicked out of? If so, what are the odds it's actually somewhere I'm willing to be?

And then, of course, I'll miss the patients. These patients. That's a loss I just don't know where to put right now. I might never find out whether Mohammed survived the weekend until his brother and wife got here from Saudi Arabia. Or how Owen (the 21-year-old who'd had seizures in-house, sent home to die--we thought it would be within days) made out on his Make-a-Wish-Foundation trip to go snowboarding in Colorado. Or whether Anna the sweet 28-year-old with the arm tattoos actually got her leukemia cured this time around. Or whatever finally happens with poor, long-suffering Mr. B, who was my patient for a long time, and who's been on our unit since mid-November with both graft-versus-host disease and cryptosporidium in his gut.

I alternate between tearful and blank. I don't feel tired, or at least not sleepy. I just feel like sitting and staring into space for about three weeks. Curled up in a ball would be good, too, except with the belly I've got on me right now, any attempt at fetal position would be both acutely uncomfortable and ultimately doomed to failure.

Man oh man. 33 weeks pregnant is really not a great time for this all to be happening. You know, the whole not-killing-us-making-us-stronger thing better fucking be true. It just better be.


Blogger Jo said...

Oh man, that's rough. What a lot to be dealing with all at once.

11:35 AM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Oh, Rosie, dear smart thoughtful person. That SUCKS. I will call you tomorrow if I can; it's probably already too late today on your time.

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear that. Comforting words from others who care can feel somewhat supportive but it doesn't make all of that inner aching go away. I remember that once (yes, there was more than one time) when I got 75% fired (it was partially done but the handwriting was on the wall in bold and clear letters)one friend told me to give myself time to "lick my wounds" before I try to make any other plan. With time and the perspective that came with it, I was ultimately able to wind up in a very good place. I don't know if that is helpful to you now but I hope that it is.

7:47 AM  
Blogger That Girl said...

Im so sorry!

Speaking as the job queen I have always felt that a job ends for a reason. Stepping stones are always slippery and disheartening when you can't see the shore.

I have every confidence that you will find your way - you clearly have so much to offer.

Big hugs!

6:56 AM  
Blogger Big-ideas said...

Egad, Rosie, what a way to start the year. Been thinking about you for years and years and now that I know you have a three-year-old daughter, we should introduce her to my three-year-old son. Nudge nudge. Email Charlotte at and I will write you back immediately.

9:37 AM  
Blogger bihari said...

Oh dear girl, that is hard. I'm so sorry. Take some time to lick your wounds and be pregnant.

Many, many good wishes your way from Iowa

9:13 PM  

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