Thursday, December 20, 2012

California License

It came down a little close to the wire, but I'm officially an RN in the state of California, whew. Santa Monica, here I come (after 3 more days in Seattle and a detour to the Hoosier state)!

FYI, for those of you who might be applying for a California RN license by endorsement: it took the Board almost exactly 5 weeks to process my application. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Year of Firsts

Well, now that it's December, I think it's an acceptable time to take stock of the year. I know it's arbitrary, but I've always been a big fan of year-end celebrations, new year's resolutions, etc. Sure, the end of the calendar year is a no more or less reasonable time to catalog the course of one's life than any other time of the year, but it makes sense to me to pick a spot and go with it. So, here are some of the things I did for the first time in 2012:

1. Took a contract as a travel nurse
2. Took care of a patient with an epidural catheter
3. Drove across the USA
4. Visited Mount Rushmore
5. Lived in Seattle
6. Tried Vietnamese food
7. Changed a dressing on the largest wound I've ever seen in my life
8. Applied for a California RN license
9. Locked myself out of my apartment
10. Attended hot yoga practice

It's been fun; it's been crazy. It's been lonely, but not nearly as often as I expected it to be. I'm looking forward to a week at home in Indiana to visit with friends and family, and then on to sunny LA to see what 2013 has to bring.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Even considering the kick I took to the chest last night, my shift was still one million times better than the night before it. And that's why my job is crazy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Move It!

Being something of a TV connoisseur ("junkie" sounds sad, you know?), I end up seeing my fair share of commercials. The residents of the Pacific Northwest are known for being active, and even the commercials reflect that attitude. When watching TV here in Seattle, compared to the Midwest, I sure see fewer commercials for fast food and more commercials for sportswear, hiking trails, etc. The culture of moving it is pretty pervasive here, and it's a nice fit for me.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Suburban Bust-Out

I've moved to an actual fun neighborhood within the city limits of Seattle. Taking the stipend and being able to choose my own housing has turned out so much better for me than the company housing did. Yesterday, I wandered into a coffee shop that also serves beer on tap. Tonight, I walked across the street from my apartment to a class at a yoga studio. I'm in spoiled yuppie heaven.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vanity, thy name is Traveling Hoosier. I just admitted to a friend the real reason I'm less than fond of night shift is the number it's doing on my skin. Blerg.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sick Day

It was bound to happen: working the the night shift has run down my immune system, and I've caught the cold that's going around. Luckily, I have the next three days off. It's kind of a pain to use my time off to nurture my body back into work condition, but, hey, that's how it goes sometimes. However, I'd really rather be working out at least once a day on every free day I have, because I just accepted my next assignment...in LA! That's right, I'm going to be among the beautiful people. So, I have about three months to become one of the beautiful people myself. Cold, begone: this nurse needs to go for a run.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Brrr!

Cool weather has finally come to the Pacific Northwest. Sure, the afternoons are still mid-60s and sunny, but the mornings are dark and cold.

When I was a day-shifter, being up at the crack of dawn was a normal occurrence. Since I've been in Seattle, I've been working the night shift, so I've rarely had a reason to be out and about at 6 a.m. This morning, however, I woke up around 4:30 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. After messing around, reading, and playing on my phone, I figured slumber wasn't coming back, and I better just start my day. I decided to head to the espresso shack (hut?) just a few blocks from my apartment to get a latte and get moving. The dark sky and cold temperature that greeted me outside reminded me how much I hated going out to my car to leave for my day shift on fall and winter mornings in Indiana. And it reinforced to me that no matter how much I really like Seattle (and I really do), I need to try to find a warm-weather contract for the winter. Just so this Hoosier can really see what a mild winter is all about.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Extension

Wow, I can't believe I've already been in Seattle for a little over two months. This contract has been tough but interesting so far, and I do feel like I'm learning every day. I was recently able to extend my contract until  the week before Christmas. In some ways, I've very excited about this extension: I'll have work until Christmas, and but I'll be able to take the holidays off. On the other hand, that means I'll be in this assignment for another three months. And it's been challenging. Did I bite off more than I can chew? Time will tell, I suppose.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Before taking this Seattle travel nurse assignment, I had always been a day-shifter. The night shift is turning me into someone basically unrecognizable. Right now, for example: it's a Sunday morning, and I'm awake. Under normal circumstances, I'd be drinking a Bloody Mary and maybe gearing up to watch the Colts game. However, I just got off shift, and I was too tired on the way home from the hospital to stop and get some tomato juice. So, I'm just going to shower and head to bed. A travesty, really.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cable Cave

I finally caved and had cable and internet installed at the apartment. I was kind of hoping that if I held out, the agency would have moved me, and installing cable and internet here would be moot. Oh well. I'm still stuck in suburban hell, but now I have Law & Order: SVU to keep me company.

If the hospital offers to extend my contract, I think I'll say yes. I have to get out of this shitty apartment and boring area, though.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Be Prepared

Apparently, that's not just a motto for Boy Scouts. Travel nurses need to be prepared, too...financially, that it. Before I hit the road, even before I began talking with travel company recruiters, I researched. I read travel RN message boards and one book that most people seemed to agree is the "definitive" traveling book. They all reiterated the same message: have some money saved before you leave for any assignment. You don't know what issues will crop up along the way.

So, I embarked on my journey with a cushion of cash. The trip out to Washington came in under budget. Everything was fine, right? Well...

Upon our arrival to my apartment, my three-year-old laptop crapped out. I took it to the local office-supply superstore, and they just took 3+ weeks repairing it. Having the money to fix the issues wasn't the problem; I just didn't anticipate the time it would take. Luckily, my smart phone stepped in for all of my internet needs. Writing short stories and blog posts on the iPhone leaves something to be desired, though. I'm glad to have a computer with a keyboard back again.

Is this post just an excuse/explanation for my lack of updates recently? Yes. But it's also a reminder that no matter how prepared you might feel, something is bound to come crashing into to your life to shake things up. It's how we stay flexible.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Well, Zooey is doing a bang up job of clawing the rented furniture in the less-than-savory suburban apartment my travel company has housed me in. Fantastic. I may need to revisit my "declawing cats is cruel" stance.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I finally made it to Seattle! Have you ever driven from Indianapolis to the Pacific Northwest in a compact car with a cat, your best friend, and all the possessions you think you'll need to live for four months? If you haven't, it's not an experience I think of as necessary for finding true joy or anything.

All in all, the trip wasn't bad, but it sure was long. And now I'm more or less moved into the new place.

Pros: All the
furniture and utilities were provided for by the company. I literally rolled up to the apartment office, showed my driver's license, picked up my set of keys, and walked into a totally-set-up apartment.

Cons: I'm living in a south suburb, rather than the city proper. The commute to work shouldn't be too long, and I appear to have many dining and activity options right around me. However, I would prefer to be living in the city. I was intimidated by the idea of finding my own housing in a city I had never seen, and unsure of my ability to stay within the stipend budget. If I do take another travel assignment after this one, though, I think I'll make every effort to find my own housing, so that I can get more what I actually want.

Well, orientation starts tomorrow. Here we go.

Friday, June 15, 2012

My Failure to Land Mr. Right: A Theory

I'm very lucky to be in the position to take a travel nursing job: I'm relatively young, have the requisite amount of RN experience under my belt, and am single, with no kids. Let's be honest, though: I'm not that young. Why, exactly, is a nice girl like me so totally unattached that she can move across the country without a second thought?

If we can assume, and I think we can, that my single-status isn’t because of my looks or personality, then some other factor must be at play. The way I figure it, my apartment may be the problem. It’s not that my apartment is messy. Although I am, in fact, not a naturally organized or neat person, like a not-naturally-thin person who is very strict about diet and exercise, I keep my apartment livable through discipline and a system.

It’s not that my apartment is frighteningly girly, either, at least as far as I can tell. The walls are painted in gender-neutral light greens, gray-blues, and yellows. No poster of a shirtless David Duchovny graces my living room wall (the Duchovny poster is tacked to the ceiling above my bed, of course, and you don’t see my bedroom on the first few dates). Still, the apartment might be scaring the gentlemen away. Because, alas, neither my forced neatness nor my subtly beached-themed d├ęcor can hide the evidence of what some men fear as much as snakes or babies: I have a cat.

Sure, the litter box is as out of sight as a litter box can be in a 900-square-foot two-bedroom apartment. Cat toys are not strewn about the living room. She has to eat somewhere, though, so the food and water bowls are sit neatly on a mat on the dining room floor. And I can dust, sweep, and lint roll every day, but I can never seem to get every bit of cat hair off of the couches. See, you’re turned off by this description, right? I’m turned off by it, too. Who wants to date a cat person? I love cats, and I don’t want to date a cat person.

The irony of the situation is that Zooey, the guy repellent, is only here because she belongs to a guy I used to date who can’t take care of her right now. Yes, I've been watching her for almost two years. Okay, I could see how that looks. It seems like she’s my cat at this point. She’s not, though. Zooey’s just a furry, non-rent-paying guest. A squatter who eats food I buy for her, doesn't clean up her own messes, and occasionally pukes in my living room. It’s kind of like I took in a truly irresponsible former sorority sister, except that seeing a cute girl lying on the couch when my date and I walk through the door together would probably be less of a deterrent than a feline draped across the back of the sofa is.
           
So, I can protest all I want. “She’s not mine, I’m just watching her for a friend, etc.” The mortifying stray clumps of fur that swirl, tumbleweed-like, under the dining room table, speak much louder than words. “Caution: crazy cat lady lives here,” they scream. So I think from now on, until I've really reeled the guy in, all of my dates should take place in public locations. No picking me up at my apartment, either. I’ll just have to meet the guy at the restaurant, at the bar, wherever. Better yet, how about a date at his place? If that freak is hiding a porcelain-doll collection or an affinity for the New England Patriots or something equally appalling, better to discover it and weed him out early.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

37 Hours

According to Google Maps, the drive from Indy to Seattle will take approximately 37 hours. Ouch. I'd already decided driving was the the way to go, as I'll need a car during my travel assignment. But man, the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest are really quite far from one another.

Luckily, my best friend has agreed to road trip out to Seattle with me, and then fly back home. We're going to take our time along the way and see the sights: Mount Rushmore! Mud Butte! The Mayo Clinic!

I'm hoping that travel nursing will be a great way to see more of the US. I didn't expect to see so much of it at once, or in such a compressed span of time, but I hear flexibility is key in this job, anyway.