Current tunes: MisterWives, “Reflections”
Living in San Diego is definitely a struggle…said no one EVER.
A little over two weeks down and I could definitely get used to this. I spent the first 10 days in an AirBnB in Pacific Beach since our apartment lease didn’t actually begin until August 17th. We stayed with a charming British dude named David (and his not so charming roommate) in a little flat that was one block from the ocean. Location was prime. Every day that Kait and I didn’t work was spent at the beach working on perfecting that Beyonce brown that everyone seems to have down here. On our last night with David, we went to Cafe Bar Europa, a tapas bar that has live jazz music, a Casanova owner, and mouthwatering cheesy mushroom risotto (totally knocked my socks off). Now Kaitlin and I live in Little Italy, an adorable European neighborhood just a short Uber ride from the bumping nightlife of the famous Gaslamp District and about 10-15 minutes from the beach. As awesome as living on the beach was in PB, we love this neighborhood because the location gives a little everything. I get Europe, America, urban life, and the beach in my backyard. Basically perfection. Oh I guess I should say something about work. After all that is the reason I am able to live here. Travel nursing is…crazy, difficult, stretching, exhausting, and totally worth it.
Scripps Memorial Hospital is in La Jolla. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a ritzy beach town in northern San Diego and this hospital is also a private non-teaching facility. So it’s basically the opposite of my old job. Don’t get me wrong it’s kind of a nice change getting to leave behind some of the 200-300 hundred pound patients or the frequent flyer drug seeking meth heads that don’t give a stink about their health. Okay that sounds really harsh. I did have some lovely families and patients that I will never forget at my old job. But let’s just say La Jolla patients are a little less rough around the edges with less enthusing toxicology/drug screen results. And man I am going to miss those tattoos. Of course there is a lot I already do miss about my old hospital. But the most drastic change…? PAPER-FREAKING-CHARTING. I decided to try not to go on a rant about this because anyone in the non-medical world will not understand the significant difference this makes in being efficient in your job. I mean they should really make you take a class in nursing school on how to read physician chicken scratch.
Sometimes I feel like I am reading Chinese or something and am torn between constantly bugging the doctor to clarify orders and trying not to kill the patient with orders that I may have misread. I had heard that as a traveler you get two-three days of orientation and then you just hit the ground running. And that’s basically what happens. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t overwhelmed and kind of wanted to cry at the end of each orientation day. In fact I started thinking, what if travel nursing ruins nursing for me? Fifty percent of my time is spent purely on figuring out how to do what I want to do for my patient. And then there was my second day off orientation that I had my first admission. Oh what a day. The patient was pretty sick, in renal failure with a sky high potassium (basically a heart stopping level for you non-medical folk) and needed dialysis STAT. They also don’t call and give you a report with background info on the patient beforehand which I found not only odd but kind of unsafe. So the patient comes rolling in and the nurse is spewing out random information as I am scrambling around and his blood pressure starts to plummet. Next thing I know I’m on top of a step stool doing chest compressions and starting a Code Blue. At the end of the day I turned to one of the nurses that had been helping me, my eyes dry, scrubs a little sweaty, and body exhausted and she said, “Welcome to Scripps Memorial.”
While there has been a zillion times when I wanted to blurt, “Well at my old hospital..” or “At home we do it this way…” I realized a few things… First off, I am not home. I don’t have a “my hospital” anymore. And it’s actually kind of freeing. And while hospitals may run entirely differently one thing I do know is that people are still sick, people still need to be held, and people still die. Like my admission. Unfortunately the patient was being called home to Jesus and while it was complete madness, I got to stand next to the patient’s spouse and just be there while the family grieved and rambled about memories. Overall, nursing is still nursing.
In other news, I ended up doing an unexpected flight home for a hot second on my tiny two day stretch off. I know I just moved so going back to my hometown so soon felt weird. In fact, at first I was kind of annoyed at the timing since I had yet to explore my new neighborhood. But after going home I am so HAPPY I did. So why did I go home so soon?
I shouldn’t be so dramatic about this but ladies and gents, this is basically the end of an era. For over 20 years my sisters and I have been known as the Mahfoud girls. But now…there’s a little adorable half brother in the picture. I present to you: Daniel Elias.
Over the last five years or so my family has been going through a lot of changes. Parents split, both older sisters got married, dad got remarried, overseas family finally were granted American citizenship and moved in with my dad, little sister is no longer a baby, and now dad has a new baby. Thankfully, through the changes God’s faithfulness remained constant and He got us through. And while we have more people and a new framework, we are still family. We are still weird. We are still blessed. We are still the crazy Mahfouds. But seriously, now that I am no longer weirded out by the whole situation, I want to pitch to you an idea that I think would make for some great television. Modern Family: Middle Eastern Edition. Move over Kardashians! Ever see Father of the Bride II with Steve Martin? Basically happened this past month as my oldest sister and stepmom both gave birth to beautifully hairy baby boys. My brother’s niece is older than him. Why did we not capitalize on all this? If Caitlyn Jenner gets a show can’t we get one? Okay so I’m kidding (..sort of). In addition to meeting little bro, my Theta (means grandma in Arabic) was in town. I haven’t seen her in seven years since she lives in Kuwait. So a lot of Middle Eastern madness and festivities packed into that 30 hour trip. So much food. So much good.
Anyways, I’m back in SD and excited to eat my way through Little Italy. I had the most mind blowing bruschetta the other day one block from my apartment. Yes, I can actually walk to a restaurant? What is this life? But because I’ve been doing extra eating, I’ve been also trying to do extra running. I even forced myself to go to a running Meetup. If you’ve never heard of Meetup, it’s a pretty cool online social networking site that brings people together based on their interests. Anything from food, to religion, music, fitness, or just people looking for new friends. Today I ran 7 miles in Balboa Park with total strangers. And it was awesome. And now I stink, especially since before the run I spent the day splashing around Mission Beach and my hair is hot mess of sand, sunscreen, and sweat. Real attractive. Shower time.
Hope everyone’s Monday is going swimmingly!
Cheers and keep wishin’!