Author Archives: Liane Lau

About Liane Lau

Aspiring writer, world traveler, outdoor enthusiast. Loves climbing mountains. Hails from NYC, has a strong affinity for bagels and pizza. Superhero skill - finding parking spaces on demand. Friends describe me as: adventurous, organized, competitive and adaptable. Passions are adventure, challenge and change.

North Carolina State Fair

Parking ($10), free admission with the donation of 5 cans of food for the food drive.

I wanted fried pickles but was told it was in the fried vegetable platter ($9).. alas it was not, but I did really like the fried broccoli and fried sweet potato.  I could have done without the onion rings or peppers.  My friend had a TURKEY LEG ($10?), which was the largest turkey leg I have ever seen.  We finished the food fest with a fried pumpkin pie ($8) which wasn’t very good.  My friend said it reminder her of a wonton.  I was debating between trying the fried pumpkin pie and the fried cheesecake.  Neither I think was a good choice of calories.

We didn’t ride any “rides” but we did take the round trip ($8) ski lift around the park.  I also would have liked to win a giant stuffed animal but I wasn’t ready to give away all my money just yet.

Fall changes

I read this funny joke: the weather changed from 90 to 50, like it saw a state trooper.

I love the change in the weather. The mornings are cool and crisp. I can wear boots and jackets soon. I can bundle under a thick blanket.

We are in the 7th of 12th week of school. I am very much still taking each day at a time but have started to really consider where I will live post graduation. My friends who are graduating in December, a few accepted offers back home in August and the majority have announced acceptance of local positions this week. Which means, in the 4th semester, they interviewed, applied, and accepted jobs by October for a Feb start with the condition they past Boards in Dec/Jan. If I translate that timeline to my graduation date, I may be like the lucky few to accept a position in December or start the job search in January and done by March for a July start.

I am considering moving north for colder weather and within a 4 hour driving distance to NYC so I can spend more formative years with my favorite toddler. I am looking for a hospital rated as high need for loan forgiveness programs and with a first year residency nurse mentor program.

Adult-ing

I am losing at adult-ing… at the gym there are locker like cubbies to put your stuff.  I put my stuff in a cubby and an hour later after class, I couldn’t remember which cubby had my stuff.  I had to open and close 10+ cubbies before I found my stuff.  I’m barely getting by with doing laundry.  I have a complete disregard for fabric and color.  I’m starting to see the effects of Hurricane Flo on my eating since my CSA has significantly decreased and I hate going to the grocery store.  I dislike eating processed packaged foods and things that have traveled from far away.  I accepted a part time job which will feed me a in the evenings.  It’s a very basic job at the business school, I check people in for company presentations.  Then, I sit in the back of the room and study while they have their presentation and as bonus I get to eat the catered meal.  I’m in a sad state of affairs – but I made it to fall break.  I have a few days to rest, recover and catch up on homework.

Medical administration

I am most afraid of medical administration. This weekend I was told about a situation in which a patient was administered a drug too quickly, which resulted in hearing loss. I don’t know if the patient has temporary or permanent hearing loss but the reality of harming someone, possibly causing death is very real. It frightens me.

Clinical, this past week, I worked with two patients, slowly building up my skills and confidence to care for more than one patient at a time. At the hospital where I have clinical, sometimes due to under staffing, the nurse to patient workload is 1:6, which is crazy. In the ICU, high acuity patients, the work load is typically 1:2. I worked in the ED last week, and it was interesting, patients who are in a critical medical emergency are seen first. Those who are less sick wait.

In other news, my friend posted the pay-scale at a nearby hospital which I wanted to share.

Base pay $24.33/hr

+ $5.50/nights

++$9.00/weekends

+++$14.50/weekend nights

Typically, most people work 12 hour shifts x3 a week = 36-40 hours

Assumptions: 40 hrs/week, 52 weeks/yr

$52,000/$62,400/$70,720/$72,800/yr

If I decide to work all nights weekends shifts, I can make $20k more than the nurse who works during the daytime week. $20k quicker to pay back school loans by giving up the light.

Post Hurricane Flo

It’s been a tough week.  I was not personally impacted by the hurricane but it left a lot of devastation to many people in the Carolinas, specifically the farmers.  My farmers from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) had most of the fall crop destroyed by the heavy rains and the saturated land.  The fall plants died, which means I won’t have many vegetables from the farm each week.  The CSA means we share in the burden.  If they have a good season, I benefit from their crops, and if it’s a bad season, I also share in their loss.  It’s true, I have the privilege of buying other vegetables at the grocery store but it’s sad for them and all their hard work.

Clinical has also been challenging.  I am tested and question my ethics, values and bias weekly.  Recently, I worked with a patient who had stage 4 pressure ulcers.  Imagine your health declining, and you have a decreased mobility, eventually staying in bed most of the time until you are bed bound.  While you are bed bound, no one turns you enough, you just lie there in bed.  Eventually, the bony parts of your body (like your heels, elbows, or hips, etc.) develop sores and they burrow away like a hole until they are irreversible.  The open wound starts at your skin level, but deepens all the way to the bone.  The worst part about pressure ulcers is that they are preventable.  I am told nursing homes don’t have a lot of support, and there might be one nurse to 20+ patients.  That nurse doesn’t have enough time to support to each patient.  I can’t imagine leaving someone in the same position for weeks and weeks until their body decays.

Another classmate worked with a patient who was nonverbal, which means, you might communicate by saying, blink twice if you are in pain.  Another patient was an inmate, and I wondered if I had known the reason for the incarceration would I have been able to provide the same level of care to this patient as all my patients?  Would I have bias and treat a patient differently if I knew their history for incarceration?  We are not told this information intentionally but I was wondering.  Someone pointed out if I am concerned, perhaps thinking about – not everyone grew up with the same resources, and some acted on crimes to escape their life.

Another patient was a quadriplegic, another with schizophrenia or dementia, advanced Parkinson’s or medically induced Parkinson’s, seizures, etc.  Adult and gero health are equally as challenging as maternity and pediatrics.  I also had a mental health observation experience at an inpatient mental health unit.  I was nervous most of my shift because there were patients who were physically aggressive.  I read the report about how a few nurses were seriously assaulted by the patient over the weekend.  Another patient tried to bite my hand.  Others were screaming with delusions and hallucinations.  I wondered how to care for these patients when I felt a physical fear and wanted to distance myself from them.  Mental health and mental illnesses are physical problems in the same way as someone has cancer.  There is something wrong with the neurology and it needs to be treated.

We are in week 5 of school, almost half way through the semester.  I dropped guitar classes because it wasn’t as much fun as I had anticipated.  It was not a true beginner class, other students had a musical background, singers, piano players, etc. and I felt I couldn’t devote the time to memorizing chords each week.

The only fun thing of note, I went to a Stand up Paddle Board (SUP) yoga class on a lake and it was so much fun.  I loved laying on the board and floating around the water.  Surprisingly, standing on the board was very challenging.  I would love to say I found a new hobby.  I think I might investigate living closer to a calm lake in my next relocation.

Guitar lesson 2

I’ve never ever seen someone look at me with such disappointment. I walked in guitar class and told the instructor I didn’t practice last week because I was sick. He asked, not at all? Me: feeling his disappointment, said, sorry I was really sick all weekend.

To be fair, I did think about practicing and I did look at my text but felt I would rather spend the time lying on my couch or go to sleep or watch netflix. In retrospect, I should have practiced 30 minutes a day.

Sad to say, but my beginner class is way more advanced than expected. Some people are singers, two have previously played the piano, one person already took basic guitar last summer, and there’s me with no base knowledge. I don’t know what a chord is and I don’t have it memorized like the others. It’s not that the class is unfair or fast paced but I have to work twice as hard to catch up. The instructor noticed too and kindly suggested some private lessons. It’s sometimes how I feel about nursing school. It’s not that anyone is smarter but when everyone else in the room has more knowledge than me, I need to study more to catch up. My fun class doesn’t seem so fun anymore. My goal is to play enough so I can play songs around a camp fire. Maybe it’ll go better next week after I practice.

Minimalist only at heart

I try really hard to be a minimalist but really I’m not built that way. I do want to own a big house with extra guest rooms for friends and I need a garage for all my hobbies – current, past, and future.

I love snow and snow related things – so that’ll have to stay in the closet until I live near mountains again. I can’t seem to part with that ice axe because it reminds me I need to go climb some mountains.

I have decided I am never ever going to run again so I can definitely give away my race bib belt, water bottles with belt, etc. I’m not sure about biking. I don’t really want to ride road anymore – which are all my kits and gear… I just don’t take to the look anymore. I can do without ever wearing spandex again. But I can’t seem to part with this stuff yet. Then, there’s my archery equipment which I do really love but it’s been a while and who knows when I will find another outdoor range in cool temperatures. Now, I just started the guitar and there’s this giant black case in my living room.

I’m trying to downsize in my mind… because once again I will pack up and move. It’s not until July but I have to start thinking about where to apply for jobs. I don’t even know where I should live. My friends in the other cohort (it’s September) and they are interviewing or have accepted jobs for post graduation/January start.