How to be like water

How to be like water

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

– Bruce Lee

The first seven weeks of the semester have come and gone and the next seven have me a little strained. I feel like it’s been a particularly difficult past week trying to adapt. Classes are definitely getting harder, building on the subject material already learned, but that’s expected. I’ve been through the pileup of new info before, and as difficult as it is, you learn to just spend a little more time hunkering down for the next round of tests. The tough part is switching from doing something I found out I love to go back to doing something I disfavor (and that is one big euphemism by the way).

In my psych rotation, I felt like I found my niche. Every Wednesday night, getting ready (preparing my things, setting out my clothes, packing my food for the day) was done with careful consideration and eagerness. No to the v neck shirt, too provocative. No to the fruit cup, not easy to hide in a lab coat pocket and eat on-the-go. Being on a psych floor meant you had to think and prep a little differently, and at first, it was a bit of a hassle; I almost fainted from not eating enough on the first day. But wow, I loved every minute I was there. My instructor was very encouraging as well, always letting my clinical group seek out new opportunities to delve into the psychiatric nursing world further. There were many opportunities to jump into a “round” to hear the doctors, nurses, and patients talk about treatment plans. The patients were unlike any other – again, to be expected for a newbie on a psych floor. These patients were a challenge I never faced on a med-surg floor. Redirecting, confrontation, and sometimes a little “tough love” were needed to help treat patients. I felt myself grow on that unit. On my first day, I was a little shy and weary to do an interview. On my last day, I was dodging racial comments from my bipolar patient while still educating her about her meds. Crazy I know, but I finally felt like I fit.

Cue one week later being yanked to Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) on another med-surg floor. Sure, hanging IVs and wound care were tons of fun back in the summer Principles and Applications of Nursing course, but I felt like the novelty of it all wore off after the first couple times I did these things in clinical. Last Friday, after changing a diaper on an incontinent fragile patient with c-diff, I would have sacrificed almost anything in order to be back on the psych unit. I care about my patients’ well-being enough that I will do the dirty work, no problem. But do I eagerly prepare my things Wednesday night now? No.

This is a good experience, a necessary one, to be a nurse. You have to be able to take care of patients young and old, psychotic or physically wounded, and everything in between. After my first day at HCGH, I ranted in the car to my friend but then tried to look at the upsides:

  1. I found out my niche in psych
  2. I’m learning invaluable information on this med-surg unit.
  3. Plus, the view outside the windows in HCGH ain’t too shabby:
Outside HCGH
I’ve never seen the leaves change colors, this was beautiful
Outside HCGH 2
This place is leaps and bounds prettier than the gritty downtown Baltimore I’m used to

As you can see, fall has definitely arrived here in Baltimore. This is my second gripe – the weather. Some people are loving it, I hear the women squeal about getting to wear fall clothes. Me on the other hand, I’m shivering next to my space heater in a puffy jacket. I feel trapped, it’s far too cold for me to enjoy being outside anymore. I love being outdoors, but the wind, annoying mist-like rain, and temperature below 70F (what can I say, Miami spoiled me) are all contributing to me now being a homebody. I’m trying to adapt by going out at the warmest time of the day for a walk and finding new study spots in my building – but a 30 minute walk around Baltimore in the freezing cold helps minimally. I ordered vitamin D supplements and an extra lamp on Amazon to help with my cabin fever. Hopefully I’ll get use to these new concepts called fall and winter.

As a nurse on a psych unit would say: “What would you like to accomplish during your time here?”
My response would be:  “Learn to enjoy the weather and give a bed bath with a smile – a fake one at least.”

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