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I have to review and reorganize my life goals and priorities again. I think I may need to do this more often. Like, every month, if necessary. I feel like I’m making very little progress with my life in general. It’s been the same for a few years now. I’m currently 26 years old with no plans of settling down. I don’t even have any plans of getting into a relationship.

The only change I’ve made is a career change. Many people questioned whether it was the right thing for me to do. For me, it was a necessary choice.

Should I go back to being a nurse and pursue a life abroad? That’s usually the goal of people who have studied nursing here in the Philippines, and I’m not sure I really want that.

My biggest problem? Uncertainty.

I’ve clearly been avoiding this topic for awhile now. I don’t even feel like blogging about it, but I just had a talk with my aunt and it’s been eating away at me. She wants me to get my immigration papers processed as soon as possible.

I said I would start. I said I’d take all the necessary exams next month. I say a lot of things.

Damn my big mouth.

There’s a lot to be done, and I’m not sure I want to do it. I’m a little scared.

I need to figure things out fast. But if I do do it (migrate, I mean), I’m not going back to being a full time nurse.  It was a rewarding experience that I’ll always be thankful for, but honestly speaking, I’m done.

I may not know what I want, but I know what I don’t want.

I just finished watching Downfall (Der Untergang).  As expected of anything that depicts Nazi Germany, the iron cross was shown repetitively all throughout, worn as a military decoration by German officers.  Below is a scene from the movie where General Weidling shows the other officers his iron cross.

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The Nazi iron cross is based on the cross pattée design, which is often mistakenly referred to as a Maltese cross.

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Above: the standard form of the cross pattee (image from Wikipedia, hah).

Why am I writing about this?

Seeing the iron cross reminded me of the nursing pin that I received during my capping and pinning ceremony for nursing school.  Below is a photo of the said pin.  It looks very similar to Weidling’s iron cross.

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We call it a Maltese cross, although in reality, it is a rounded variation of the cross pattée.

I wore that pin proudly every day that I was on duty without knowing what it meant or how similar it looked to the iron cross.

Why would my nursing school continue to use the symbol despite the similarities between the Nazi iron cross?  Is it simply because of tradition?  Or because of ignorance?  Why was the Maltese cross a significant symbol in nursing, anyway?

Aside from a history involving the Knights Hospitaller and the Order of Saint Lazarus, it seems like the great Florence Nightingale had a hand in it.

Thanks to Google Books, I can now quote the book “Nursing in Today’s World: Trends, Issues & Management.”  Hooray.

The actual symbolism of the pin relates to customs established in the 16th century, when the privilege of wearing a coat of arms was limited to noblemen who served their king with distinction.  As centuries passed, the privilege was extended to schools and to craft guilds, and the symbols of wisdom, strength, courage, and faith appeared on buttons, badges, and shields.  It was probably this spirit that Florence Nightingale   attempted to capture when she chose the Maltese cross as a symbol for the badge worn by the graduates of her first nursing school.”

“As nursing developed as a profession, each school chose a unique pin, awarded on completion of the program, as a public symbol of work well done.  Many of the nursing schools, particularly those associated with hospitals supported by religious groups, incorporated the cross into their pins.”


And there you have it.

Kids are wonderful.  I’m not very good with them, but they are fun to be around as long as they’re in a happy mood.  I had the pleasure of meeting one of my patient’s 1-year old daughter, who was really sweet and possibly too friendly for her own good.  Several times, she took my hand and followed me out the room so she could come do my rounds with me.  You, child, are the easiest thing to kidnap.

The crazy kid also talks gibberish a lot, but I know she’s really telling me something because she says the same things whenever I tell her “I’ll be back.”  We’re having a conversation, I just can’t understand her.  Kind of like the baby twins who have their own language.

Anyway, she watched as I was removing my patient’s IV line.  It was a little painful, and she knew it, and got mad at me for “hurting” her mom.  I let her slap my wrist for that.  Omg.  She’s the cutest.  

All was well and forgiven in the end.  We were low on staff, so I was the one who escorted them to the lobby upon their discharge.  I got a kiss on the cheek and several flying kisses.

If I actually get married and have kids, I hope my kids will be like her.

This reminds me of my old uniform.  Can’t believe I’m saying this, but I kind of miss it, aprons and big pockets and all.

This week was just…  I have no words for it.

Right now there’s this little fantasy in my head about the day I quit my job.  I’d saunter into the manager’s office, go “I QUIT” and throw my endorsement sheets and chart papers into the air like Blaine from Glee.

Then I’d probably re-enact a scene from Jesus Christ Superstar where Pontius Pilate argues with a mob about Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.  I’ll turn to the other nurses left (making sure a bunch of onlookers/patients are present), point at them and say, “don’t let me *stop* your great self-destruction! Die if you want to, you misguided martyr! I wash my hands of your demolition! Die if you want to, you innocent… puppet!”

If security hasn’t thrown me out by then, I’d go through the corridors with a big smile on my face, giving everyone high fives and whooping about what a great day it was.

Oh yeah.  They should make a musical.

I’ve been thinking long and hard.

Here I am, 20-something years old and burnt out. 

You see, I have this job and it’s killing me.  I’m a practicing nurse and the work itself, it’s nature is demanding and very stressful.  Coming from a hospital with a good rep, part of company policy is this: what customer wants, customer gets.  Literally.  Patient wants a lazy boy in his room?  Make.  It.  Happen.  Or get mauled by the customer service representatives (okay, I’m exaggerating a bit.  Peace, CS people). 

What I realized is that nursing is just like being the big overall manager and the staff at the same time.  Aside from the usual “care” like giving medications, assisting in procedures, wound care, IV care, turning, etc. there’s also coordinating and overseeing and scheduling procedures with different departments, informing doctors, phlebotomists, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, calling engineering for room repairs, calling billing department for insurance problems, even finding someone to give a patient a haircut/manicure and wash his laundry (oh yes, that happens).  Sometimes I feel like I manage every aspect of my patients’ lives. 

We’re also understaffed and we go with 2-hour, 4-hour overtime with no pay.  It doesn’t happen regularly, but I go 8-12 hours straight without sitting down and sadly, going to the bathroom, not once.  I can’t take it.  Even if I’ve worked with the best people in the world (doctors, co-nurses, nursing aids, housekeepers, ward clerks, etc), had the nicest, sweetest (and sometimes, most um, disagreeble) patients, I can’t take it.  People-wise, I couldn’t have asked for a better crowd to be in.  Everyone works hard, everyone helps everyone out- it’s teamwork, but I can’t take it.  I’m tired.  My quality of life is suffering.

Once I come up with better plans, I’m going.  Going and gone.

By the way, pictures are from Stuff No One Told Me.  Go check it out.

moving out using the best box in the world

We’ve recently transferred to our new, insanely huge, insanely equipped, and insanely expensive hospital.  I like that it’s insane, but whoa, I am not kidding when I say “huge”.  It’s like one gigantic complex made up of three buildings.  The hallways go on forever.  And I mean FOREVER.  I’ve only been inside one of the three buildings, and I haven’t even seen all the floors yet.  I should’ve expected that though, since the whole place is located in GC, about 3 cities away from where I live.  The way I see it, a block in GC would be equal to 2 or 3 “normal” blocks.

Anyway, I’ve been taking the MRT to GC for the past week.  Commuting to GC isn’t much of a problem (even if I lose sleep waking up veeery early to beat the morning crowd), it’s getting home that drives me crazy!  You can’t help but want to kill.  Riding the train from Ayala/Guadalupe to Cubao during the rush hour is like going to war.  The MRT’s a battlefield.  Or a trash compactor.  You’d feel way more comfortable in a sardines can.

I don’t think I can take commuting to GC once we start on shifting schedules, so I spent about two months looking for a nearer place to rent.  I was lucky enough to find a room (at one of my friends’ house, oh yeah).  I love that her unit’s number is 133, same as the number of my house.  I’m moving out next weekend so I guess I have to start packing as early as now.

Bye bye family.  I’ll be home on weekends maybe.  I hope I don’t get separation anxiety.

I’ve been awake for almost 24 hours.  I was on night duty and I got home around 3:00pm- a full 8 hours after the time I should have gone home which is supposed to be at around 7:00 or 8:00AM.  I am so tired.  My shift during that night was hell.  Toxic, hectic, one big headache.  And then on the very last hour of my duty, something happens.  Something incredibly, massively stupid, unnecessary and unexpected.

I couldn’t concentrate on the work I had left to do.  I was actually crying in the nurses’ station because everything was going horribly horribly wrong.  All the little things just kept adding up, from non-answering doctors, non-infusing IV lines, blood transfusion problems, less than 40cc of urine output from a kidney patient (that’s roughly 2 tablespoons), freaking needles, and angry co-workers.  If I mentioned them all I’m sure it’ll take up several paragraphs.  No wonder a lot of the other nurses I knew wanted to quit. I got dumped with a garbage bag full of things-that-can-possibly-go-wrong-during-your-shift.  I tried really hard to keep myself from crying but I couldn’t help it.  It was so embarrassing having to cry like that.  Thank God I didn’t do it in front of my patients.

It took me until 10AM to finish everything for the unit, then I had to go down to the ER which took up so much time processing because I literally had to go around the hospital wards looking for forms, which my own and about half of all the units didn’t have.  Freaking forms!  I finished all that, along with filing an incident report.  That had me going back and forth from 1st to 2nd to 5th floor.  So much paperwork.  I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch anymore (who the hell could eat in a condition like that anyway).  It took so long that I actually saw the nurses for the afternoon shift.  Shit.  I never want to have to go through another incident report again, or work on another night shift.

That’s it.  That’s pretty much the latest thing in my life.

Alright.  Lung Center application, a disappointment.  Just like the shoes I was wearing when I went there- they were a half size too big and had heels, and it it was so difficult to walk that I had to change into flip flops (thank God I had enough foresight to bring a pair with me).  There were more than four hundred people when we arrived, all waiting to be accepted as nurses-in-training.  They only accepted three hundred.  I wasn’t included, of course.

I have, however, heard from the others that they they were divided into three batches.  The third one will start their training in June 2009.  Yes, next year.  Yes, it seems that you must register 7 months beforehand so you can train in the Lung Center, after which you must pay for more training and more miscellaneous fees.  Many are willing to wait it out, and pay everything just to be able to train there- because it’s a specialty hospital that specializes in diseases related to the lungs- because it’s that special- because if you train and work there then you will be special too.  Seriously though, it is a very prestigious hospital, a good tertiary teaching one, and it is the entire nation’s center for pulmonary diseases.  I would love to work there.

I missed the review class.  My parents weren’t very happy about it.  I don’t see why they are though, with me prioritizing job and training applications over the review.  I haven’t passed my application for the exam yet, and the review class is unlimited, meaning I can choose to attend (or miss) the classes any day I want.  I can keep reviewing for as long as I want, whenever I want.

Feels like finding a job is impossible right now.

I am not giving up though.  I am looking forward to more opportunities next year.  I am going to take some risks, and every chance that comes my way.

This is my lucky star:

my inspiration

my inspiration

Saw this one at the Converse shop in Trinoma, taken with Gelo’s pretty camera phone after we came from the Lung Center and Red Cross.  I don’t own a pair yet, but I will when I get my first paycheck.

Met up with Bayan too.  There’s nothing like friends and Christmas (window) shopping to make up for a wasted morning.

white here, gray at the end of the day

white here, gray at the end of the day. bored in my seat.

It’s People’s Day today.  People’s Day is a medical mission that they hold every month at the Heart Center.  I wish I could be a nurse there.  I spent half the day as one of the volunteers.  There weren’t a lot of patients, probably because no one wants to go to the hospital during Christmas season.  Who would want to find out that he might have diabetes just 15 days before Christmas?  You’d want to postpone it until after you’ve finished all the holiday food.  My task is to record their cholesterol results (in which you have to wait three minutes for the machine to read the data from their blood samples), and it gets so tedious that a few times every three minutes, I  keep looking down at everyone’s shoes.

My friend Mia was wearing this beautiful pair of white nursing shoes that don’t make your feet like Ronald Mcdonald’s (which most of the nursing shoes we own do).  Oh and I’ve learned never to wear a pair of shoes full of holes when in a very cold room.

I’ve been walking all day again.  After volunteer work I went to the mall with my friend Bayan.  My feet hurt like hell.  I still love walking though.  I’d walk around forever if I didn’t feel like I would injure myself.  I’d walk all around town and from town to town..