What a day!

I am completely exhausted tonight, but I really wanted to keep up my “a post a day” goal, so I thought I’d write a quick post before getting a few hours sleep before Rose wakes up again.

Work today was a nightmare.  It was the worst afternoon shift I’ve had in my life (not just as an registered nurse, but in the years I was a student and the years I was an assistant nurse in aged care which is a pretty tough job).  I didn’t get my 20 minute afternoon tea break, and finished the shift 55 minutes late.  And that was with the help of the graduate facilitator team.

I’m not sure if I explained in previous posts, even though I’ve been a registered nurse for nearly two and a half years, I’ve gone into a graduate program because this is my first registered nursing position on a clinical ward, my previous job in mental health doesn’t count towards being “experienced” in a clinical position.  The benefits of doing a graduate program is extra education and the support of a team of facilitators if things are tough or if we have to do things we haven’t done before (that no one on the ward is available to help us with).

I didn’t have my performance review after all because the unit manager was too run off her feet in the two and a half hours our shifts overlapped by to do it. And I’m glad, not because of fear of it (my fear means I want it over and done with as soon as possible!), but because I’d have fallen even further behind to take the time out to have it.

I think the final frustration of the day was a patient saying she was going to be complaining to the unit manager in the morning.  I understand. I’ve been a patient many times, and it’s really frustrating when nurses have to postpone helping you to take care of someone else.  But I’d never complain about a nurse for doing it because, even before I became a nurse myself, I understood that there are other patients sicker than I was, or simply things that needed doing more urgently for other people.  The graduate facilitator who was helping me at the time reassured me not to take it personally and she said she’d stuck up for me by explaining to the patient that the problem is lack of staff leading to impossible workloads, but I’m still scared of how the NUM will take it and I’m also hurt because it is kind of personal.

But in some ways it has shown me how far I’ve come in the last month in healing from anxiety and depression.  A month ago, I honestly think if I’d had a day like this, I’d have ended up having a breakdown half way through the shift, or if by some miracle if I got through, I’d have genuinely probably come home and killed myself, my anxiety about going to work was so extreme.

It is only with a day like today, where I not only survived, but I didn’t have even one single panic attack, that I realise just how severely anxious and depressed I was a month ago.  I honestly didn’t realise how unwell I’d become in the six weeks between when I started this job and when the higher dose of my medication kicked in.  I’m used to depression and anxiety creeping up on me gradually, and I’m used episodes where I am so depressed that I wish I was dead and start thinking about suicide lasting much, much longer.  Honestly, it’s only in hindsight, with a clear head now, that I realise just how unwell I was for those six weeks.  And that scares me.  It is my third episode of depression in two years.

But at least now I am confident I have a supportive treatment team behind me and if I get depressed again, I have Dr A willing to act as soon as I tell her how I am, to do things like increase medications or change them or even hospital if things totally fall apart. I am grateful to Dr A for increasing my medications and I am just grateful to God, that it worked!

Changing the topic, at least being so busy I haven’t had a chance to really miss John yet.  Sitting here in bed though I am missing him.  Curling up in bed together is always something that means a lot to me.  Although him being away does have it’s advantages.  It means I can curl up in bed with my laptop and not have to worry about keeping him awake or anything like that.  I did miss him a lot last night though with Rose waking up all through the night.  He is such a good father to the girls and takes really good care of them.  Usually when Rose wakes up through the night, he’ll be the one to get her out of the cot and feed her. At first it was because the seroquel I was taking when she was born made me too drowsy to look after for the first 5 hours after I had taken it, and then by the time I’d stopped taking it, I was a mess emotionally. But even after I got better, it’s something he’s continued to do – helping feed and settle her throughout the night.

When I visited my family in July, I went without him so I did it all on my own, but Rose slept really well (or for 6 hours in a row anyway) overnight and I wasn’t juggling work, so it was ok.  This time, Tuesday night was ok, with Rose sleeping nearly 7 hours, so I got 5 hours sleep before she woke up, and then my kind MIL took over looking after her after I’d given Rose a bottle of milk, so I got some sleep, but last night was rough.  Poor Rose has a viral chest infection so spent all last night waking up every half hour or so, coughing terribly.  My lovely MIL took over again after Rose had her first bottle of milk, but Sammie decided today was the day to be really noisy, so I think last night and this morning I only had a total of two hours sleep and then had to go to work.   The GP who saw Rose tonight suggested changing her from panadol to nurofen and she’s been settled the last hour, so I’m hoping with a bit of luck she might just sleep through until morning.

Anyway, I guess I should try to sleep while she sleeps.  I wrote a lot more than I intended to – this was supposed to just a few words before curling up and going to sleep.  I’m hoping tomorrow will be a better day at work than today was.

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