Almost 2 weeks down

…and then 11 to go!

I’m almost done with my second week in Albuquerque for my very first travel nurse assignment. It’s been a freaking whirlwind. It came up way sooner then I was expecting. I kept telling myself, meh, whatever, I got all month… And then all of a sudden it was time to leave.

Luckily Aaron had off for the weekend and was able to drive with me to ABQ. But by drive with me, I mean passed out in the backseat/passenger seat while I drove the majority of the 11/12 hour drive. At night. Through a rainstorm. Using little-ass side roads in middle-of-NOWHERE West Texas and New Mexico. I will give him credit, however, for coming in clutch and driving the last hour directly to my new home. Thanks, boo-boo!

Last week was filled with random orientation that comes with every new job. Came in for a tour and to fill out paperwork. Had two days of computer training, and just reinforced that I’m not meant for a regular 9-5 job. Then last Friday night I worked at my main unit (ICU our in the ‘burbs), and Saturday I went to my “floater” unit (ICU downtown). I have it written in my contract that I will not work anywhere except ICU, so I got orientation at 2/3 units that I will be working on. Just one single night, and then come Monday, I was on my own!

Monday was hectic. I worked surgical/trauma back home, medicine/medical patients all went elsewhere. However, this ICU is definitely a catch-all, and I have had things come up that I have not really dealt with on a surgical floor. Diabetic ketoacidosis, for one. Insulin, D50, potassium, constant labs. The little old lady was sweet as can be, but I couldn’t help but being like, girrrrrrl why are your labs so fucked? And tonight, a cancer patient that is sick as shit and just wants to be turned/off his back/up in a chair, when I have ver ver importante meds to be giving him. So frustrating. So anxious and restless… until the morphine hit, that is.

So now, I wait. Just 6 more hours.

Coming from a teaching hospital where there was always a resident/intern on the unit, and my nurse practitioner a short text message away, working in a private non-teaching hospital is very different. I was talking with Aaron about it, and he said at my old hospital, if something was missed with a patient, it was usually because of the residents missing something. However, at the private hospital he was doing a rotation on, if something was missed, they tend to go to the nurses first. It’s definitely helped me be more independent and learn to think for myself. I DON’T have resources readily available, which is kind of scary, but at the same time, helleuuurrrr I’m smart. I know things. I just need to think things through. And the other nurses on the unit are always super helpful as well. It’s just that there are only 6 patients, so it’s me and 2 other nurses at a time, which isn’t too many hands on deck when you think about it.

Work is work, but Albuquerque as a city has been a blast. The first week, until this past Monday, was so crazy and busy that I hardly had any free time. What free time I did have, I pretty much spent with my dog, Sunny. However, after Monday, I was off for 3 days, and that’s when some loneliness started to hit. Don’t get me wrong, I went out to restaurants and bars this past week and spoke with the bartenders. I made friends with the girl who was dog-sitting Sunny, but she happened to go out of town almost right away. I talked to lots of people out at the parks with Sunny (trust me, get a dog, instant ice-breaker). But I hadn’t actually found someone to, like, be able to text and ask them to hang out. Enter: Facebook. I posted on a travel nurse group, someone responded, and voila! Friends! I went out with this girl to Green Jeans, which is a cool little area with a Santa Fe tap room, and then various other businesses. There’s a full bar/distillery, pizza, burgers, other foods you can get delivered to the brewery as well, since they don’t serve food. There were some military guys there celebrating the end of their TDY who were very friendly, and we ran into a group of Anh’s friends as well… and totally kicked ass at shuffleboard. All in all, really good night. Green Jeans is also right down the street from where I’m staying, which is super helpful in avoiding the all-too-common DWI that plagues most New Mexicans.

I feel so guilty leaving Sunny alone while I’m at work, which has been the hardest adjustment. She LOVES other dogs, though, and she tends to interact and play with them at least once a day since we’ve been here. Felicia checks on Sunny at night when I’m at work, and she often brings her chihuahua Zoe so the girls can play for a while and tire Sunny out for the night. She is also just soooo excited and whimpering whenever I get home in the mornings though, ugh, breaks my heart to think of leaving her alone for so long! But I know that it’s nighttime, and she ain’t doin’ shit but sleeping anyway.

What other big stuff coming up? I’ll be home in 3 weeks for a visit, which I anticipate will be much needed, then back to Albuquerque for the grind. So far, I’m liking this travel nurse lifestyle. I solo traveled before, and like to think I’m pretty independent, and this has forced me to embrace that side of me again. In San Antonio, I always have friends to hit up, people to hang out with, or even just spending the night at home with Aaron there. But here? If I wanna try out that Indian restaurant a block away from my apartment, I just have to get up, go outside, and do it. So I did. It’s lunchtime and I wanna go to a brewery nearby, but no friends? Who cares. I went, sat at the bar, drank, made friends with the bartender and got a map of all the other breweries in the process. I like being “forced” to be independent.

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