Saturday, July 28, 2012

NCLEX and Licensure: Oh the everloving joy!

I want to stab someone chuckle in a SO NOT funny way at the journey that became my NCLEX and licensure experience. To give you an idea let me start with the timeline of events.

End August 2012- Last theory exam done
Dec 1 2012- Applied CPNE
Mar 1 2013- CPNE first avail date and pass weekend
April 7- Sent app paperwork to Missouri BON*
April 19- Official graduation date, sent official transcript to BON
May 2- Got ATT from BON
May 4- Took NCLEX
May 13- Finally found out that I passed NCLEX
May 31- Started RN job under title of LPN until license # was conferred. Then found out I had to start over square 1 and reapply for RN licensure through Colorado BON arraghghhg.

 This is when more of the fun began...

June 3- Applied for RN with Colorado BON*
waiting some more on my inept licensing "specialist"
waiting and not so nice messages to the supervisor of the licensing "specialist"
June 24- RESUBMIT yet another transcript to Colorado BON
July 1- Phone call saying my license should be ready in 10 days
July 16- Nursys confirmation system shows an ACTIVE CO RN LICENSE woooooooooooopp!!!

It was a bit of a process folks...  lord! So when you break it down, I finished the theory exams (which is essentially the "school" part of the RN degree minus the joke of the FCCA which is it's own story) in August of 2012... My RN license was finally conferred and official at the Board of Nursing in July of 2013. Yah. Almost a year ::::palm face:::::

In the meantime of waiting for the dang license to be official I've been bumped again and again for enrollment into my BSN program and so finally I can say it is done. Put to bed. Over and out.

Let me explain a few of the crazies here: My Nclex experience was an absolute nightmare and a half. When I took the LPN nclex I got 79 questions before my computer shut off, I didn't feel confident at all and walked out in tears thinking I failed only to find out 2 days later that I actually was a rockstar and nailed it. I won't lie, I kind of expected the same thing this time around. I figured after going through ALLLLLL of this the damn nclex should be a piece of cake. Anyone who knows the NCLEX knows about the smart test system, the 75 questions versus 265 questions, and the Pearson Vue Trick "pop ups"...

I didn't study all that much for the nclex due to the aforementioned and the fact that I was only concerned with hammering through quickly because I actually had an interview for a job offer as an RN for 2 days after I was taking the nclex..... hah, so typical.... I thought well shit I better get this figured out stat. I used the free ATI tutor thing that Excelsior gives you and I thought it was worthless to be honest. My 'mentor' would never respond to me until it was too late (granted I was on a rocket freight train trying to hurry... she clearly was not). I took a handful of practice tests, not sure if I even ever accessed a real assessment? I ran through the free 3500 question review that I used for my LPN nclex. I read through some Hurst notes for a night in between promo jobs and went for it the next day.

I woke up at 5 am and drove an hour and a half to the only testing location that had a date available on a Saturday immediately. I made sure to follow all the applicable rules for identification, just one tiny detail... my drivers license was recently expired thanks to my birthday. Oops. It was Saturday, no DMV was open, had I gone the day prior it still wouldn't matter because they'd void my current license and give me the white paper to carry around until my new one came in the mail. So my license would be 'expired' which is a no-no. I thought that maybe it would be ok since you'd still have the white paper saying it was renewed and I had called a couple days prior to confirm with the Pearson Vue people that this would be acceptable and they said yes, after asking 3 people over 45 minutes..... so I didn't trust them... and didn't go void my license and chance it.

Not a problem though because I brought my passport!! Oh yea but my passport was still in my maiden name (even though we've been married for 5 years now, I know I know stupid).

BUT fear not. I also brought my marriage license. The original. And both maiden and married social security cards and a dozen other random pieces of info that I could also throw at them incase they asked.

I told you I followed ALL of the fine print to a "T". Shouldn't have been an issue. Except the check in people at Pearson Vue looked at me like I had 3 heads when I whipped it all out at them and they acted like I was violating a matter of national security or something. With about 3 hours of sleep the night prior I just wanted to whap them one and say READ your OWN fine print people ugh.

Alas, I got into the room, did the hokey pokey and sat down to test. Questions were just like the PN nclex although I noticed it was a lot less content based and much more delegation based, almost "easier" if I should dare say that?? I watched the numbers tick away, question 60, 65, 70, I squinted after 75 to see if it was going to shut off and nope. Ok maybe at 80. Nope. Hmm ok maybe 90 or worst case 100, I could handle 100.

Ok 120.
Are you EFFING kidding me.
I almost walked out at this point.
I'm not joking....

265 questions folks. EVERY SINGLE ONE. I was in disbelief. What in the hell??!!?!?! I wanted to punch myself, you moron why didn't you study more. Obviously you don't know your stuff but dang I really felt like I knew my stuff. How could I have gotten this far without knowing this. I mean 265 means you are a complete moron and missed.... well everything!

I tried to log in to check the infamous "pop up" situation, do I get the good one or the bad one?? OH that's right, I got neither, I got a mysterious THIRD pop up that I'd never even heard about!! How is it possible that this stuff happens to ME :::::shakes head::::::

This third pop, based on the interweb consensus, is either great or awful haah. No indication of which. It basically means that the BON and Pearson Vue are 'reviewing' your results, whatever that means. It also means that you can't pay the nice little quick results and find out in 48 hours either, you have to wait (generally a WEEK) to find out in writing from the BON!! I kid you not.

Apparently this is common if you had to take an unusual amount of bathroom breaks or you do anything weird during your test or your computer konks out or anything else unusual (NONE of which happened during my test) and that's all they could say. No answers from anyone. So I waited in misery for a full week before I got my letter from the BON saying I passed.

It wasn't until after that and some more bothering the board about getting my license done that I FINALLY found out what had happened during my test and it all made perfect sense in the end. Pearson Vue tells you that they don't randomly select students to "mess" with so to speak, the test is 100% smart adapted so they don't plug in the system that student A gets 100 questions and student B gets 75, it's all based on the algorithms from the cat test. They say they don't profile or screen student's to test harder basically it's all completely random and out of their control.

Well they lie. And the BON confirmed this for me point blank. She told me that because my identification was expired and I had to use a secondary ID, even though I followed all the "rules" above and beyond,  I was "flagged" and therefore put through the ringer on my exam.

This is why I got ALL 265 questions.
This is why I got the weird pop up.
This is why it took a week of review (they actually review video of your exam!)

Are you kidding ME?!! No. For realz. Which meant two things- A: those bastards lie and I plan to tell everyone I know about it (even though I'm probably not supposed to... meh too bad). And B: I'm not a moron. I wasn't failing the questions, I was just doomed to get every single one from the start. Yay for me. 3 1/2 hours later!!! ughhghgh.

*Next part of the crazies: The switcheroo of nursing boards. Started with MO, ended up with CO, both multi state. This is a very long complex explanation. Those of you who know me personally understand why and the details of all of this. I'll leave it at that. It's done people, finally done. Which is all that matters.

And now I'm working. As an RN. I really did it.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Potty Training: A 2 part endeavor!

Down to one kid in diapers, yeah buddy! So I've been meaning to do a potty training post because well everyone wants to know how it went, what you did, and mostly they really want to hear you tell horror stories about how awful and hard the experience was so they don't feel so bad that it hasn't been a piece of cake for themselves.

Am I right on that one folks?

If nothing else, I want to write this down so that I can refer back when the wee one is ready to do this so I can remember what to do and what not to do. So I offer the following, just a tad bit of horror and then a lot of piece-a-cake. We started the potty training endeavor when Dude turned 2. So out came the potty chair, the pull ups, and the potty treats!

Endeavor #1, little bro
being very supportive ;)
Things were smooth sailing on the first two days, we went totally diaper free during the day (be prepared for your family and relatives to completely NOT understand this method and side eye you when your kid is constantly running around naked) and we would do pull ups at nap time and night. One thing at a time, no need to go crazy right. He was great, peeed and poo'd his little heart out on the potty chair. I already knew what his typical bathroom habits were at this point (ie. poop once a day, etc.) so I just made sure to keep on track and remind him frequently to go to the potty.

There were accidents, it was like having a puppy in the house and I'd find pee puddles across the house all day. But he was still peeing in the potty, so this was progress in my eyes. This went on for about  5 days or so. Naked toddler during the day, pee puddles, potty treats, woohoo! I noticed that he was tapering off on the poo part at about day 3, I knew this was going to be the hardest part but I figured with enough positive encouragement we'd get past the hurdle.

Poo Problems: After about day 3 there was no more pooping in the potty. I knew he had to go but he wasn't going. He wasn't afraid of the potty, he just wasn't going, and he wasn't going anywhere else either. I had heard of kids holding their poop but this wasn't the issue. Something was up. Long story short after another day he appeared to be physically in pain, like he was having the urge to go but wasn't going and I just kept telling him "it's OK, just go, you get a treat!! you're doing soooo good!" But he wouldn't, he'd sit there and cry. Finally ended up taking him into the ER... wish I was joking about this part but for real, we went to the ER. He was screaming in pain, they ended up giving him an enema and about 15 minutes of ear piercing screams later ta-da, let's just say he was "relieved".

We went home from the ER just shaking our heads, what in the world had happened, he was so excited about potty training, things had gone so well... what did we do wrong. I figured we would stop and try again in a couple of months. Quite honestly I was a little freaked out thinking we had probably just traumatized the hell out of the kid and he was going to have a crazy poop complex for the rest of his life!

So potty training endeavor # 1.... well pretty much a FAIL.

After a couple of months I started to lean towards trying again but I went back and re-analyzed everything a hundred times over to figure out what we could do differently. This is what I think went wrong...

Potty treats.

The kid is really not allowed to have candy, like ever, unless it's a special occasion or a sneaky relative or grandparent brings it over. Therefore, what better potty treat than candy- m&m's etc. What happened, I think, is that he would get SOOO excited that he was going to get the coveted candy treat that he would literally jump off the toilet mid stream cheering himself on and run to the kitchen to get his treat. Not a huge issue I guess until it came to poo time. He was literally stopping himself in the middle to get his prize and ultimately ended up constipating himself so bad that we needed an enema in the end. Talk about random.... who in the world has this happened to other than me.... if it has please comment so I feel better about it ha!

So the first change for endeavor #2 was NO treats!! We went with a sticker board instead. He really loves getting stickers, we do this for his behavior board and I figured it would probably work for potty training too. We picked some cool stickers for pee and then extra special big stickers for poop. And sure enough, he responded like a champ to the stickers!! We didn't change a single thing other than that the second time around. Naked toddler, no more pee puddles (so obviously something worked the first time), and sticker rewards.

I paid extra close attention to the poo problems, making sure he was going and he did just fine. No weird potty complex, he was great. I guess I can attribute this all in part to just waiting a couple extra months for him to mature just a tiny bit more, who knows? We continued with the pull ups at night and naps and did so for about 3 weeks. Finally there were only a handful of accidents during the day if we were out and about.

Once he started to wake up from naps with a dry pull up, we pulled the plug on those. Now he was diaper free at nap time. Smooth sailing there. Of course there was an accident every rare once and a while but that was ok with me. And we applied the same concept to night time, we started cutting off drinks a little earlier in the evening. We'd make him go before he went to bed and then immediately after he woke up. Once he started to wake up dry (for the most part) a few days in a row, we pulled the nighttime pull ups. And that my dears is it.

That's the end of the story, Dude is/was potty trained 4 months after he turned 2. So what I took away from the experience was that he certainly WAS ready the first time around but we went about it the wrong way. The second time just made it a tad easier since he already knew the point. NO treats. And go with the cold turkey approach. No undies, no pants, no diapers at ALL. No giving in. Once you can see that they are dry at naps or night jump on it! Take them away and deal with extra laundry from accidents for a week or two, it IS worth it.

I will also add that we have had maybe 2 or 3 occasions that we ended up having to do another enema at home, which sounds scary but it actually super easy, they sell very gentle acting bulbs in pediatric form at the drug store that work like a charm. Clearly this problem is not from him just merely "holding" it in, it may be diet related, a little too much dairy one week- who knows. But this is a quick fix and I've come to terms that he may just have an issue here or there with it that he'll surely outgrow. Bottom line is we're done with diapers, only one more kid to go!!

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Bye Bye Mirena: The Update

Alrighty, so here's the update to the Mirena disaster.

I pulled that bad boy out about 4 months ago (disclaimer... you probably should leave that to the professionals... even though I'm a nurse I probably should've had someone take it out, there are some nasty potential complications with removal that are rare but nonetheless serious enough that you should leave it to the MD's. In my case, that visit would've been a whopping $200 so I went ahead and pulled it out in .4 nanoseconds and saved myself a few bills. Granted I could easily reach the strings and all it took was a tiny tug and voila d.o.n.e. If there was any resistance I would've stopped and immediately went in.)

So here we are about 4 months later. I will say it was about a week of bleeding afterward but that was certainly NOTHING new. And then it stopped. I immediately started taking birth control pills the day after I pulled it out so I'm sure that helped the bleeding, starting to get the hormones back in order. Other than that things have been smooth sailing, no obvious crazy side effects or changes to report.

Now what have I noticed since finally being rid of this?? Well getting back to normal has been amazing, not constantly worrying about bleeding, no more pantyliners (I think I will burn the boxes I have!), no more cramping or bloating Hallelujah! So the annoyance factors are gone and they were gone quickly.

As for the emotional/subtle side effects, I do seem to have more energy, not as tired all of the time but the wee one sleeps through the night finally so I'm sure that helps. I can't really comment on the depression because with my Dad's new cancer diagnosis that aspect isn't changing anytime soon. Life is still stress to the max between getting 2 degrees, re-starting our business, and my Dad's constant rollercoaster of care. I will say that if I was still dealing with the annoying draining side effects like the cramping et al while also dealing with this life crap I would've lost my mind entirely. No joke. So if nothing else I at least eliminated a huge source of stress and contention in my life by removing the Mirena.

Sex drive, that's a key one. It slowly started to come back and things are MUCH better now. Such a small detail can make a huge impact on a relationship. I am very happy that this has changed because I'll be honest I was starting to think that this was just how life ends up... you have a couple of kids, you have too much stress, and no more sex folks. I mean duh, that's why "old people" don't shag anymore (oh wait, that's not true either... eeek, I know, but I'd rather not have that visual in my head mmkay).

And for the question everyone wants to know.... weight gain/loss... I have to laugh, because as I got on the scale this morning it reads lower than it has been since I lost 12 lbs with morning sickness while pregnant. That's right LOWER, which essentially means that I have lost 8 or so lbs since removing this thing. My weight gain was a direct result of the Mirena, that's the short version. This is the longer explanation... the weight gain put me in quite a state of panic and then helplessness. No matter what I did the scale wouldn't move. This is something I've never had to deal with in my life, I have been lucky enough to not really ever have to worry about my weight. This was an entirely new experience for me. So after taking it out I continued to try and find ways to lose the weight. I did several things, I continued to work out periodically, I stopped drinking all together. When that didn't work I tried starving myself for a few weeks (despite the fact that I know this makes things worse...) I figured at some point my body would finally give in and eat itself, lord knows by that time I had plenty for it to eat away at ha! Again, the scale didn't budge. I finally said screw it and I went back to eating like I used to (like I was eating with the Mirena) which is a million times a day and surprise surprise now I'm down 8 lbs. So what I gather from this is that the Mirena ABSOLUTELY was to blame for the random extra pounds hanging around, all in all, I'm currently eating the same and have the same activity level as I did with the IUC and I weigh less than I have in 2 years. Without getting all nursing lingo technical on everyone, the Mirena clearly messed with my hormones which translates to your metabolism and it created a lot of water weight hence the bloating so by taking it away things finally have had the chance to level back out.

Given this info, my decision remains the same, I don't regret for a moment taking the thing out. I will NEVER opt to get it put in again and I will continue to caution any friends and family against it's negative effects. I'll make sure they do their homework before just jumping in and then the decision is theirs... which is what the FDA is supposed to do in the first place, provide the patient with ALL of the info, the good the bad the ugly, and let them  make an INFORMED decision. Not hide the info to rake in billions of dollars, which they clearly have done considering that the patient information hand out contains about 1/10th of the info that the doctor information hand out contains including side effects!! That's right, there are certain side effects that are ONLY listed on the doctors sheet.... sketchy to say the least.

And for those curious, what are we doing for birth control now? Well with my clotting problems no doctor will prescribe me a regular pill that contains estrogen (although if this weren't the case that is what I would do) so I'm left with a variety of less than reliable options.... condoms (joy), abstinence (yea right, tell hubbs that), pull & pray (we're not 16 and pregnant people), or mini-pill (progesterone only, no estrogen). With that wonderful array of options we've landed on the mini-pill AND condoms and the general idea of charting. We do NOT want any surprises right now, like at all, so this is less than ideal and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who has other options. But it's what we're stuck with, so we make it work. The mini pill isn't really my cup of tea, it has a lot of the annoying side effects as the Mirena when it comes to bleeding but I haven't had a problem with that anymore (I have in the past but that's another story). My main complaint is the lack of flexibility, you miss that damn pill by an hour and you're up the creek without a paddle.... hence the condoms. For now it works and we'll re-evaluate when we can. Bottom line is that ALL of this is a million times better than the Mirena, hands down.

Why all the crazy personal info, oversharing, tmi on the blog you may ask?? Well because if one woman may stumble here and benefit from this it's well worth it, because clearly the majority of medical individuals are NOT sharing this info with their patients.
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13 month milestones for D-Mack

Quick little update for Nugget before I forget or it ends up being 2013 and I haven't posted anything...

A list of baby D's words so far at 13 months...

Uh Oh (the first one)
Milky (this one is too cute he yells Mick-uh MICK-uh!!)
Night Night
Pretty (necklaces, shiny things)
Poop (this is a new one, he grabs his diaper when I ask him if he pooped)
Sorry (another new one... Mr. Attitude has to apologize frequently)
Go go go!
Bye Bye

He points to body parts. "Baby D where's your head??!" And he loves the nose, that is his favorite right now, he likes pointing to everyone else's nose. This stage is so fun because he is finally starting to jabber about everything. And he loves to folllow big brother around and get into trouble... what's new.
He blows kisses and waves, he shakes his booty to his favorite songs- especially Rio, he has an attitude... a BIG tude. I always thought that this was a learned behavior, makes sense, but I can say that he has been this way since he popped out... we're working on taming the tude these days because it is proving quite the hot button for older brother and leads to squabbles in the living room daily... aahhhh brothers :)

Bottle is gone, cold turkey'd that one. And we went from Nutramigen to Gentlease to plain milk over about a week with no problems. He drinks from a sippy or straw cup and I'm going through them rather quickly because he chomps all of the ends off with his new teeth coming in. Speaking of teeth they're finally here, 11 months to get a tooth?!! Both bottom teeth came in at the same time, now we've got a top tooth and a few more tops coming in.... an adorable little toofey smile :)

He's still hugantic, both dudes wear the same size clothes which is so much fun because now I can dress them the same. I'm sure I'll hear about this when they're grown and looking at the old pictures, but it's too cute not to ha! We did the first haircut when he turned one, scary how much he looked like his brother after his first hair cut. He's a big wee little man now, growing like a weed in all ways, just trying to find time to sloooooooow it down for a bit. Read more!
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