Apology accepted

(A continuation of this post.) 

The stool samples for my daughter were negative, so the next step was a blood draw. I was dreading it but figured we'd get it over with and then at least have some results. Instead, it ended up taking four trips to two different locations before someone successfully drew the blood we needed. I experienced a complete lack of empathy from the employees, as well as conflicting information on their policy on pediatric blood draws. Long story short, I channeled my anger about the entire experience into a letter to the laboratory company, a nationwide chain. Unfortunately, there wasn't a clear customer service email address available to send my complaint letter to, so I went a step beyond and hunted down the email address of the CEO. Others may not have leaped to the CEO so quickly, but...leave it to me to go straight to the top. 

Needless to say, I got a response and a profuse apology from both the CEO and the regional manager responsible for the employees I encountered. They can't fix what happened, but at least I feel better having tried to do something on behalf of my daughter's traumatizing visits to the labs. 

Moving on, after eliminating dairy as the cause of my daughter's GI distress, we tried eliminating gluten. She improved, her celiac panel was negative, and then we re-introduced gluten. Bad move. All bad. It was rather amazing what a single slice of bread could do to my daughter, actually. We removed gluten again, and she improved again, then she ate some gluten-containing dog food (oops), and a rough 4th of July ensued. 

Celiac or not, she is living the gluten free diet at least for now, and the reason I am posting this is I know some gluten free readers may stumble across this post. This has blindsided my carbohydrate-, gluten-aholic husband and I, so if you have any gluten-free tips, favorite websites, etc. please contact me. In the meantime, I'll be online reading everything there is to know about gluten, because that's how I do things. 


Part II

It's easy to think of the many problems of my district. A co-worker and I were just discussing today the number of people we know who have screwed up in their jobs but remain employed. Exhibit A: a nurse, an RN, who gave a student the wrong amount of insulin (too much), realized her error, fed the student extra food, did not contact the parents, and then used white-out to edit her logs. I am pretty sure she shouldn't even have her nursing license anymore, but she held onto that, and returned to work after a 4 month paid administrative leave...And returned bragging about her "paid" vacation that she got while the rest of us filled in for her assignment.

But this job has not all been for naught. I received something in my inbox yesterday that assured me of this: "Dear Nurse (----------) its me (-----------) [Spitfire] I miss you so much I read your letter it made me cry ok gtg eat be safe talk to soon
P.s.I can't Waite for the 2nd Frozen lol ��"

That simple note made every challenge (and there have been a lot) in this position worthwhile. 

There have been a lot of goodbyes in the last couple weeks for me, and while I will miss bits and pieces of this district, I'm looking forward to a fresh start somewhere else, new scenery on my commute, and new faces in my office. 

Now please excuse me while I treasure my time off with my baby-turning-toddler of a daughter. 


Part I

I'm working summer school this week, which means I get paid per diem to work in a ghost town. I was driving home yesterday and thought to myself, just 48 hours of this district left to go - hallelujah. As a work environment, it has headed in a quick downward spiral over the last two years. The lack of entries here are evidence of this; instead of being able to enjoy my job and the people in it, I've been driven increasingly crazy just trying to stay afloat in it.


OT: Something I did not expect from parenting

Warning, things get graphic here. You may just want to stop reading right now.

Of course I expected to be around poop, and lots of it. Diapers, diapers, and more diapers. But what I did not expect is that I would spend hours contemplating what might be causing intestinal distress in my daughter; or that I would talk to her pediatrician on such a regular basis that she can leave casual voice mails on my phone while we play phone tag. (I fear I have become that parent.) I'm currently waiting to catch an uncontaminated stool specimen - no small feat in a toddler - and then will have the glamorous task of separating it into appropriate containers that all have different directions for them.

Sometimes in my job I have thought that nursing school was pointless; that I didn't need to go to nursing school to learn how to do a hearing test. (I did have to take a class on it, but you don't need to be a nurse to do so.) However, in all the trouble my daughter's had over the last six weeks (or 14 months, actually), I am so glad I am a nurse. Because, in addition to the technical things I learned in nursing school, I learned how to work the system. I know how to navigate a medical team to get what I need, and that is a priceless skill that I don't how people live without. As my daughter's GI issues continued, and clearly weren't leaving, I tinkered with her diet and started a food diary before calling the pediatrician. Our pediatrician was impressed and ordered the stool speciment without delay, just as I wanted.

Once I collect the prized sample, we'll be waiting for a return call for the pediatrician who might tell us she has giardia, or she's lactose or gluten intolerant, or something else. I never thought I'd wish an infection upon my daughter, but I'm hoping she has something treatable rather than a permanent, diet-altering disease. These are the kinds of things they don't tell you about parenting.


The end of an era

On our last day together, I told her I would miss her, and almost fell out of my chair when she said she would miss me too. In true Spitfire fashion, she continued earnestly, "I met my new nurse. I don't like her at all, she's old and her hair is long and gray." It's the closest thing to a compliment that I'll get from her, and I'll take that, along with the big hug she gave me before she skipped out the door. Bye, Spitfire: the oldest soul trapped in the smallest body I know.


Ah, kids.

A student wandered into my office while waiting for her very late aunt to pick her up. She leaned over my shoulder and asked what I was eating. It was strawberries that I was dipping in leftover cake frosting, but I didn't particularly want to admit that the nurse was eating frosting by the spoonful. "It's dip," I explained. She was clearly skeptical, but she bought it. Kids...they are so innocent, it's lovely sometimes.


This is the thing.

This is the thing about school nursing: the kids do not care about the personnel drama of your organization. The secretaries, for the most part, don't know about the personnel drama of the nursing staff. And yet, that personnel drama is what will make or break the job. I love some of the school sites I've been at over the years; they are a joy to go to. Others...not so much. But in the case of school nursing, it's not just whether or not the school site is a pleasant place to be, it's the leadership and camaraderie, or lack thereof, of the nursing staff. Even if I don't see them, or maybe because I don't see them, the worst part of my job is the "team" I work with.

So, it's important I separate the kids and other staff I work with from the other...people...I work with, the ones that are the reason I am leaving. I will trudge to work tomorrow and put on a smile, leaving it out from my daily conversation that the LVN that was supposed to "support" me with my impossible caseload this year has been more work than she's been worth. Critical thinking isn't one of her high points - I will never understand the medication error she made early on* - but attendance hasn't been either. Perhaps I am the only one who grew up thinking you're supposed to go to work, school, whatever, unless there's an emergency, because she's been out approximately once a week for the last few months and seems to think that's the norm. But I am even less impressed when she sends me an email with a "P.S. Also I am taking a sick day tomorrow." Not a question to ask if she should find someone to cover her assigned diabetics or if I will, just, this is what is happening.

These situations create a cloud of frustration for me that I need to check at the door, because not one of my secretaries or students will understand, or should have to try to understand, this kind of thing. <Sigh.> I really do like what I do, just not who I do it with (or who I don't do it with). This is why I only have 16 work days left with this district.

*The infamous med error: This LVN administered an inhaler to the wrong student...and not just any incorrect student, but a student that didn't even use an inhaler. Apparently she was expecting another student - one in the special day class, that isn't easily mistaken for another general education student, mind you - and gave this other kid who wasn't having trouble breathing an inhaler. He was in there because he "didn't feel well" and when the school nurse gives you an inhaler, I guess you're going to take it, right? This one still boggles my mind.