Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Adult Card.

As I mentioned earlier, my mother’s privilege to drive has been revoked. She went and tried the driving test (written) twice, and still has yet to pass it. Obviously she won’t.

This is so hard on so many levels. There are many activities she still does and she needs to keep attending them. My siblings and I are trying to work it out so we can get her to some of her events. But, it looks impossible to do everything.

The revocation of driving privilege is a huge adjustment, not only for Mom but for me too. Ever had to take the keys from your mom? Trust me, it is not something you want to have to do. It will work out, but it is depressing and awful. It is like turning in your adult card. Sad…

Decompensation in Real Time

My mother’s progression through Alzheimer’s has accelerated at an alarming rate. For all the heart ache and tears it causes me emotionally, I have to admit that it interests me on a scientific level.

My mom’s nouns are gone. Apparently, when you begin to decompensate neurologically certain sets of neurons hold up their little axons and dendrites and say, “Oh, we are nouns, we will just blink off now.”

And that’s it, all the nouns go away.

Ever try to communicate without nouns? Or, have you ever tried to understand someone who is trying to tell you a story without nouns?


My mom stopped recently and asked point blank, “Where have all my words gone?”

I wish to hell I knew. I’d go get the little devils and put them back in her brain. The emotional pain of watching this happen in real time is a fate I would not wish on my worst enemy. And yet, it is amazing, really, how and in what order the brain falls apart. How is it that the nouns are affected? Why not random words? Or words from all parts of grammar? How did the brain know all these were nouns?

The cognition is starting to go as well. That’s why I know she won’t pass her driving test…

At first, I wanted to believe it was attention seeking behavior. But no, her inability to understand and integrate new processes is real.

It kills me, inside and out.

And yet, there is still something interesting going on.

Such conflict…

Latest on the Nomadic Life…

I have officially taken residence in Wylie.

My goodness I live almost in Louisiana….

I had forgotten how far away from everything you are when you are out that way.

It’s only till August, but still.

Next, a search for my own residence…..


What's on for this Summer!

Back at UT

One of the summer jobs I have is working part time for the lab I worked for at UTSW. I have returned to the pathology lab to do brain genotyping and synaptophysin protein assays on post mortem samples. Basically, it consists of finding out what genetic makeup a person had for the genes involved in neural degeneration that we associate with dementia and Alzheimer’s. The protein assay is just that; looking at the quantity of synaptophysin in different regions of the brain. Synaptophysin is associated with synaptic health. As the synapses in the brain breakdown, so declines the quantity of synaptophysin. I am getting my science fix this summer!

Two Down, Two to GO!!!!

Well my second semester is down for the count! Great grades and I am so happy summer is here! I have decided to take no classes this summer and just work…work on that being broke thing! But, man I am happy I am doing what I am doing.

Next semester is OBGYN and Peds as in Pediatrics. I would love to just skip the OBGYN section, but I am very much looking forward to the Peds rotation. I adore kids even though I don’t want any of my own. They are great! I'll see if I take to the sick kid / stressed parent thing or not. Who knows? The possibilities abound.

This is the most convincing reason I decided to take the plunge and get my RN: choices.

With an RN I can do anything. I am already thinking about an advanced degree after I work for a bit. First of all, where I work with pay for it. Bonus! Maybe a nurse practitioner or OR first assistant, I just have to see.

I can also foresee doing something else I truly love once I am at a later date of my career; teach. I think teaching nursing and nursing related classes when I am tired of everything else would be “just what the Dr ordered!” I already love to teach and nursing is so hands on and quite mechanical in a lot of ways. I could teach it, I’m sure.

Another facet of nursing that calls to me is being the organizer of academic research and its application to patient care or medical uses. I can speak the different languages necessary to communicate with the doctors, the scientist (I do speak geek!), and organize the data. The down side with this avenue is that it leads out of Dallas. The cutting edge science that is being applied to medicine is not in the southern part of the US. Lots to think about….

I have time. Why hurry? Life is too short.
Life is too short to be miserable, to hurry or to be in the wrong place.
I know my path is right.
It’s a great place.

The Best Line So Far…

So, um…..Can I waste drugs with you??

This STILL cracks me up! All narcotic medications have to be disposed of with supervision for obvious reasons. The above line is the usual line I heard while doing my OR rotation. It always made me giggle!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Two Down Two to Go!!

Yes, the final tests are over and we have had the happy hours celebration! WooHoo! Two down, two to go.

Finals were not so bad. I did well in th skills and clinicals. I did passable in lecture as did the vast majority of the class. The bottom line, is, I am still in the program. Sadly, not everyone can say that.
At happy hour, we all discussed how well our class has meshed. We have a great class of a wonderful mix of people. We all work together, party together and generally have great time. A rare thing I believe.

Nursing school is just a blast for me. I love the people, the patients, the learning and the unknown. Fear is really such a hindrance. I don't look at things as fearful, just the next adventure.
What does the next semester hold??
I will let you know.

Just a Body Part…

My last rotation this semester in nursing school was OR, that is, the Operating Room. I loved it. I did find some things quite interesting about it.

Namely, once you are anesthetized, you are, in fact, just a body part. You are draped and covered so that nothing appears except the offending region of your person that needs to be operated on. This made me both comfortable and slightly uneasy. Of course, this allows the surgeons to do what they need to do, operate without any distractions. However, if does remove the fact that there is a whole person under all those drapes. So, it is good and bad in numerous ways. The anesthesiologist keeps tract of the whole person, i.e., is that person under all that still breathing and is the person still asleep! Out cold is very important!

I did really love OR. I liked the teamwork: everyone has a job and everyone does it. I liked knowing that all the instruments had to be arranged and accounted for. Yes, I am an organizational nerd. I liked the music too, surgery is a great place for good tunes. I was able to get past the cold. The room is 60 degrees F. So, yes, you freeze your ass off if you are not careful.

But I did really enjoy my OR rotation. OR ranks high on the list of possible avenues of nursing once I graduate.

Yeah, gotta graduate fist!!

Two semesters down, 2 to go!!