The next big thing. 

I’ve recently found myself nestled anxiously in the in-between. You know, that peculiar midway stop-over between your life as you know it, and the next big thing. That moment in time where your holding your breath just to peak at what’s around the corner, not knowing whether the path looks the same, or pressed in a different pattern. 

I can’t help but feel nervous, as I try so desperately to anticipate how last weeks events are possibly going to shape my small world from here on out.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let me start right back at the beginning – back at the third Sunday of August…

It was warm, and disbelieving in the proclaimation of being a Winter’s day.  I had started that week expecting nothing more than four long night shifts, hours chasing confused old men down hospital corridors back into bed at 2am, and an additional 5kg weight gain from the copious amount of sugar necessary to get me through it all. 

And each of these things happened. In fact, they were very realistic expectations, and none more so than the little old man I spent hours with trying to convince him that the heat pack was not a chip packet and most definitely could not be eaten. Most days, these conversations are the only thing that actually makes me, as a nurse, feel sane. 

But what I didn’t account for last week was the addition of a family member, and a job interview that could make all my career dreams come true. 

On Tuesday I was out to breakfast with my Mr. at our favorite cafe. We have been there so often lately, that we now have a “usual” and our Caramel Lattes are made before we’ve even arrived. I’ve never felt more important in my life. 

Half-way through my hollandaise smothered (no judgement) breakfast Turkish, my phone started ringing, brightly displaying a ‘No Caller ID’ identity. 

This isn’t unusual, because this usually means that the hospital is calling me and nine times out of ten is either to offer a shift for that night, or ask whether Mr. Smith was experiencing a new or old confusion about the aforementioned heat-pack. But when I answered, the voice that spoke was unfamiliar and what followed had me shrieking between mouthfuls of bacon. 

Her name was Jeanine and she offered me an interview for a clinical nurse position at the new hospital next year. If you’ve been following, this is the job I’ve been acting in for the last year or so. So the opportunity to make this permanent was exciting. 

She pencilled in a meeting with the interview panel on Thursday afternoon, and I was very happy until I realised this meant a life-changing interview …in the middle of my night shifts. 

Never mind being nervous about the interview itself, just try structure words together in a sentence to start off with on 3 hours sleep. 

Never-the-less, Thursday morning arrived and I climbed into bed ready to take advantage of as much sleep as I could muster before the afternoon interview. 

Often as I’m trying to fall asleep, I’ll quickly scroll through Facebook until my eyes can’t concentrate on the screen anymore and my eyelids become heavy with sleep. 

On this morning I had the type of Facebook notification which I usually dismissed without even looking. You know, one of those things Facebook thinks is important to you because you looked at the page this one time, and now it thought you really needed to know that Sharon Noble posted 8 new items to the page Dresses For Sale. 

Except this one was for a ‘Pets For Sale‘ page notification, and I have been looking (unsuccessfully) for a puppy for the last three months – so it wasn’t totally irrelevant. But still, I never usually clicked on these notifications either. Until I did on this sleepy Thursday morning. 

It was a bit of a whim, and because I wasn’t quite droopy-eyed yet, I thought I would spoil myself and look to see what cute puppies were up for new homes this week. 

What loaded was a post for five little golden retriever puppies about the size of my forearm, looking for a forever home. And BAM, suddenly sleep wasn’t on the cards anymore. 

You see, I’ve been looking for a golden retriever puppy for what seems like forever. I even took three weeks off work with the intent for them to be a ‘puppy holiday’, and honestly thought golden retriever puppies would be easy to find last minute. 

I’ve now been informed that golden retrievers are not all so common, and are quite fussy at what times of year they in fact breed. Making it very difficult to line up a puppy with my puppy holidays. Until I saw this post. 

I was up and on the phone before I knew it. And by 12pm, I’d chosen a puppy from the photos sent and was well on my way to buying out the contents of Petbarn altogether. 

I achieved 3 hours of sleep, but the excitement made fatigue feel non-existent which was a gift as I headed into the interview. 

I managed to answer every question, speak logically (or at least, I’m 90% sure I made sense) and I even drew out a concept map to the panel to explain my point. The interview was over before I knew it and I had spent so much time thinking about the puppy that I barely had time to even develop a case of the nervous shakes. 

My week went from zero to one-hundred in a matter of three days. With these two events alone bound to have a ripple effect in my life. 

In all honesty, I’m not sure whether I’ll actually secure that all-too-important CN position. In comparison to the nurses I went up against, I’m very young and not nearly as experienced. I started acting in the role three months out of my Grad Year, and realistically, I can’t see them giving the position to me even if they do see potential in my ability, based on the fact that I haven’t even been a nurse for a total of 3 years yet. 

But I hold a little pride in that fact that they gave me an interview in the first place. So whatever happens, I know I’ll be okay. Because this is only the first opportunity. And I know there will be plenty more if this ripple effect doesn’t let me keep my pretty acting CN shoes. 

But what I do know for certain, is that this puppy is going to change my life even if the interview doesn’t. And I couldn’t be more excited. 

I ended my week with a road trip north with my Mr. to meet the newest addition to our lives. I knew from the moment I held him and he snuggled his tiny head underneath my scarf and nestled so closely to my heart, that I would love him forever, more than I’ve loved anything before. 

He’s mine in four days time, and I’m counting!

I’ve spent two days puppy proofing the yard and nailing down almost everything. I’m expecting things to get chewed and holes to be dug, but I am so ready to love the tiny paws off this dog!

His name is Igloo, and I’ll let you know how he settles in. 

As for the CN position, well I’ll let you know how that goes too. But if the puppy is just the consolation prize, then that’s okay by me. There’s always next year for becoming important and bossy at work 😉

Last week just goes to show, that you simply just don’t know what life is going to throw at you. Be ready for it all, and love the journey. Because these the are moments to live for, to appreciate and truely experience. 

These in-between moments are defining, and important. Don’t forget to be present in the moments where it all was about to change…

d x 

Graduate of 2016 🎓

I did it. I graduated. And I was even given a free t-shirt to mark the occasion, which I was a little more awkwardly excited about than the degree itself. 

The thirteen weeks of the semester somehow went by very quickly. I barely had the chance to memorise my student ID and poof, it was all over. I honestly feel like it was only yesterday that I was blogging about being my usual crazy self, and enrolling myself back at University. 

And yet here I am, graduate for the second time in my life, and perhaps admittedly a little proud that I somehow miracously survived full time Uni and full time work simultaneously. Not something I would recommend however, unless you enjoy the no sleep and no sunshine kind of life. 

But if you put aside the 44 page assignment for Nursing Assesment 7206 that did almost see a perfectly good laptop thrown out the media room window, I actually really enjoyed the course. 

It was different from my Bachelor Degree in that it was so much more specific to my job, and there was more relevance in it than you could poke a stick at. 

I was surprised with what I picked up by the end of it and threw into practice without realising it. It was like a whole new wealth of knowledge that wouldn’t grow dust in the far corners of my busy mind, because it’s like a building block on top of what I already know. And I love that. 

The reality of it is, that I did this degree mostly for the consideration of a CN position and the added bonus of a pay rise. But I have gotten from it so much more than that. And in my books (all hundred of them now), that makes those late nights surving solely on Drizzles Cookies and regrettably missed episodes of Greys Anatomy 100% worth it. 

So where to from here? Well it’s under my skin now this whole study thing, and I’m not the kind of girl to settle just for two graduations. That would just be too easy and we all know I’m a giant nerd at heart.

I’m thinking about kicking off next year with Bucket List item #2. But I’ll keep you posted on that one. 

For now, I’m going to throw my trencher up in the air and toast a well-earnt champagne! 

d x 

Housewarming. 

This month marks 5 months since a shiny new set of keys were placed in my hands, and I was officially made a home owner.

It has, so far, been quite the adventure.

I moved in over the Easter Weekend back in March, which was equal parts wonderful and horrible all wrapped into one. You see, there was plenty of helping hands since it happened to be a holiday weekend – but try convincing furniture companies that delivering your new bed and couch is a much better alternative than an Easter egg hunt and you might find yourself out of luck.

Suffice to say, I spent my first night camped out on the media room floor on a blow up mattress with a couch cushion for a pillow utterly smitten with my new little home.

In April, I was out to breakfast with my Mr when a couple of familiar faces in the form of my own best friend and her man surprised us with an early return home from Canada. The fact that we were in the middle of a restaurant didn’t stop me from chucking the knife and fork in hand dangerously to the seat beside me, and practically jumping onto my best friend in a river of happy tears. I had missed her immensely, and we spent the next 48 hours catching each other up on the 180 days we lived on separate sides of the world.

Naturally, having had the intent to live in Canada for forever more and having sold many of their belongings, these two had come home to no home at all. They had moved in by the end of April, and I scored two unexpected roommates.

So now there’s the four of us, and ‘family night’ has taken on a whole new meaning. But it’s one I’ve come to look forward to most.

May, June and July went past quickly from that point. And I had to do more ‘adulting’ through those months than I bargained for.

My list of skills now acquired include, but are not limited to:
– using a hammer to nail picture hooks to the wall, and high-fiving self for getting (most of) them centred on the wall.
– changing lightbulbs independently without a landlord to do so for me.
– figuring out how to change the spark plug on my mower (Thankyou YouTube).
– owning and using said mower in the first place.
– gardening. And I have the blisters to show for it.
– building ikea shelving without instructions, which is a whole lot of pieces of wood labeled ‘C’ and never quite enough ‘H’ screws.
– digging up the water meter that the builders not only concreted over, but additionally covered in turf ….with a plastic rake (creative genius if you ask me, even I was impressed with my own problem solving skills with that one).
– and; paying rates (ugh.)

By the end of July, I was even cooking roast lamb in the oven – which is a big step up from my former specialties, Macaroni Cheese and Porridge. And most excitedly, the inside of the house was finally finished and furnished.

With inside sorted, August has begun the month of outside jobs. Unfortunately, this is so far proving to be very difficult and even more costly. I have since decided the first point of landscaping business should have been to build a money tree.

But it’s all been a good learning curve, and I’ve loved every crooked screw I’ve drilled and every paint drop that’s ended up on my face instead of the timber fence.

I’ve even finally started to feel like this is home. It’s taken a while, but that new house smell is wearing off, and it’s finally starting to smell a little more vanilla-caramel instead – which honestly makes me equal parts happy and hungry. But I’m not complaining.

This is home. And it’s already filled with so much love, the warmest of hearts I know and a few too many marks on the wall that will always remind me that we lived well here.

d x

The C Word.

I’ve always found it interesting how much heartache one word can hold. I’ve struggled to comprehend how just one word can have so much power. How one insignificant word amongst many in the largest of dictionaries could transform into the most significant. How just one word uttered as a whisper could deafen a crowd.

I’m talking about Cancer.

With it’s composition of six measly letters, I’ve witnessed it inflict more fear and pain than any other word I know. I’ve watched it take loved ones from me, and I’ve watched it take loved ones from others. And even as a nurse where cancer envelopes my day-to-day routine, I still don’t think it will ever be something I grow immune to.

If you’ve ever read into cancer you’ll know that it’s a disease we haven’t been able to cure because of it’s complexity and it’s ever-changing appearance. It’s chameleon ability adapts and transforms to hide from not only us as medical professionals, but from the body itself.

As an ultimate surprise attack, often we don’t know it’s riddled us until its far to late. It’s secret identity invades our systems seamlessly with one mutated cell, and cleverly nestles itself in the confines of a good blood supply. From there it can travel as it pleases, and we are powerless against it as it spreads from one organ to another effortlessly.The body doesn’t recognise the bad cell because cancer has learnt to look like all the others. And we haven’t yet found a way to unmask these cells without causing devastation to the whole system.

It is a perfect disease. A scientifically beautiful disarster.

Last night looked after a elderly man diagnosed with extensive metastatic cancer. In our handovers we call it Ca just to avoid the ugliness of the word itself I suppose. For my patient, it started in his bowel, and now it blankets his whole body in a white matter than illuminates under CT. The newest lesion was recently found in his lungs, threatening to invade the boarders of his arterial vessels, cementing  a fate all-too-horrible to contemplate.

Yesterday, I watched the doctors sit down with his family and tell them the devastating news. They have given him days to live, and the words have become earth shattering for a family facing a future without him. The red eyes, and the tear stained cheeks are the telltale signs to a lost that they have already begun to anticipate, but have yet to fully experience. And my heart already aches knowing what they are about to live through. But it breaks for what he is about to experience.

A bleed from an arterial vessel is one which the doctors openly described as being catastrophic. They say it will only be a matter of minutes before it’s over. 

But in those final moments I know he will be so frightened to feel like there is no room for air in his lungs anymore, and I know his body will automatically fight to survive it making it worse. All we will be able to do is provide the pain relief to numb the sensation and let him slowly fall asleep.

I spent last night witnessing this invasive cancer make it so difficult for him to breathe that he woke every few hours gasping for air, struggling to push oxygen into the depths of his compromised lungs. His frightened eyes continually searched mine for reassurance that it was going to be okay, as if he wasn’t ready to comprehend the inevitable. His hand searched for mine to hold, and for confirmation that he was not alone. 

And so I just sat with him for the longest time until he could fall asleep for another hour more. His hand clasped firmly over mine, unable to let go for even a minute. I tried so desperately to dismiss the lump in my throat, and fought vividly not to let him see the tears that blurred my vision. Only a nurse could understand how you come to care so much about a perfect stranger in a matter of eight long midnight hours. 

Through closed eyes and heavy with exhaustion, he whispered repeatedly, “I am so scared“. And all I could do was squeeze his hand tightly in a promise that I would be there, for as long as it took.

As I walked out of the hospital this morning, I felt different somehow. Perhaps a little more broken. Or maybe a little more defeated. I had just hoped so deeply for more life for him. 

I understand that this is just how it goes. And there are things I can’t change no matter how hard I wish it. But I’ll never think it’s fair, and I’ll never forget the ugliness of cancer or the heartache it leaves in its wake. 

These are my hardest days as a nurse and yet simultaneously, my most privileged. I’m not exactly sure how to explain that as well as I would like to, but for me it is so special to spend those last few moments with a patient. To be the one to whisper that it’s okay, and offer the comfort so desperately needed. To hold their hand as life ends and be present in the loss. To miss them for that brief moment in time, and the life that no longer shares the same air as you.

I am hopeful that one day we will find a cure to cancer. That one day, deaths like these won’t have to be so commonplace. Because it has claimed far too many beautiful souls that never deserved to have to say goodbye so soon.

So as I do each year, I’ll be buying Daffodils on August 26th to support the fight against cancer. And if you ask me, they make for a beautiful table topper if you just so happen to feel like joining the fight too. 

All my love to the hearts of those affected by Cancer. You have more strength left in you than you know. 

d x