Wow...what a day; I don’t even know where to begin! Insane does not even begin to do justice the crazy reality of today; never in my life have I experienced or even anticipated experiencing such a day as this! So now that I’ve increased your curiosity or I at least hope to have done so, here is an overview of a day I never hope to repeat.
Well, ever since I first laid eyes on the syllabus for my first fundamental nursing class, anxiety gripped my heart at the sight of a complete head to toe assessment requirement; I expected it to be intense but despite my worst nightmare, intense is not the word to define this experience. In order to pass, every pulse, lymph node and valve in the body must be memorized as well as each of the twelve cranial nerves and how to assess the multitude of nerves’ solitary intactness and countless other techniques. When my partner and I originally signed up, we were scheduled for 9:30 AM but today, despite the fact I arrived early to lab, waited nearly two hours merely to be let in; the assessments were running ridiculously behind due to the extensive three page list of requirements merely to pass. According to various sources, this was the first time a head to toe assessment included such complicatedly numerous aspects; in fact, half of the things we were required to do/assess they’d never even heard of—just my luck! Once my trembling feet entered the nursing lab, the atmosphere of chaos impressed itself upon me; nothing was going as planned and frustration radiated throughout the room. After being assessed by my partner and discovering I am in perfect health (despite the consuming stress), the moment I’d been dreading for months arrived: alone in a room with an instructor and forced to single-handedly perform a complete head to toe assessment in an orderly fashion while being prepared to answer any questions thrown to divert my path. Despite the fact my mind was relentlessly racing and gripped with anxiety, I climbed the mountain once thought to be insurmountable, solely by the power and grace of God; endless days spent studying could not prepare me for such a chaotic if not traumatic experience. My assessment may not have flowed but I didn’t forget anything, which would have been my worst nightmare, requiring a second chance. To be honest, I am still shaking from the oppressing anxiety; words cannot even begin to describe the chaos of today!
As soon as I’d finished documenting my partner/patient’s objective as well as subjective data and coming up with a nursing diagnosis for her condition, I literally ran over to the library and up the stairs to the AIDS/HIV booth I’d promised to run; originally, I’d signed up for 11 AM to 12 PM but a severely delayed assessment prohibited this from being feasible. Once I settled down, surrounded by condoms and AIDS literature which was a definite first as well as stretch for my sheltered mind, students seemed to come out of the woodwork for testing. Once the rush died down, with not a single person in line, the nurse persuaded me to be tested, even though I knew my chances of having AIDS were slim-to-none—it’s difficult to be infected with AIDS if you’ve never had sex, to put it bluntly. I realized here that it wasn’t the testing necessarily that God wanted me to have done but merely to encourage and bond with a fellow nurse, no matter what her age; as a nurse, you never stop learning and the advice of elders is essential to improvement and overcoming barriers. Despite the fact she took my blood, I consider her my friend as well as role model; this vivacious elder was undoubtedly an inspiration to my skeptic heart, convincing me once again that nursing is my calling—no matter how many times I relentlessly try to run away. Once the results of my test were processed, I was informed to be HIV negative—shocker!
Oh, and I must add that it was also a first to sit and have a “normal” conversation with a professor and one with a Doctorate in Biology I might add—I felt quite honored; a great reason I chose the Stark campus was due to its small population and close-knit interactions due to my relational core. In the middle of a discussion with my professor as we ran the booth, an older man stormed up to us, raging with hatred and fire in his eyes, yelling “This is a fraud” as well as threatening our safety. In all honesty, as he screamed accusations our way, I sat in my seat and laughed, overtaken by the naivety as well as total insanity; never in my life have I witnessed such a confrontation as this! The professor let the man, who I am convinced to be insane or at least mentally unstable, “know whose boss” as well as called security to hopefully rid us of his disturbing presence which had created quite a scene! The man stormed to the other side of the room, only to appear moments later, convinced we’d killed his friend by medication administered to treat his immune system suppressed by AIDS; although I never said anything, I am still convinced that the medication is not what killed him but AIDS itself, so I had to laugh once again at the irony of the whole situation! Once the disturbed man started to “get up in my face”, a man who I am sure to be an angel sent from God to protect me physically stepped in to push the psychopath away, only to be reinforced by the much anticipated security guard, armed and ready to protect—finally my traumatized heart could find rest, if only for a brief moment. One thing is for sure—today is one I will never forget, no matter how hard I may try!