It’s been a crazy whirlwind of the first half of 2021. I honestly cannot believe it is already April! It’s been nice to finally have some nice warm weather and to finally see the sun for a larger portion of the day.
It’s also refreshing to think school will be done in a couple weeks. I decided to take up courses on Emergency Management in addition to working my full-time and part-times jobs, because why not? While it’s been stressful at times balancing everything and trying to complete assignments on time, I have definitely had the opportunity to learn some cool things and identify new career opportunities to seek later on.
I’m happy to say the closing on my house went went and I am officially a homeowner as of early February. All that hardwork that went into saving and paying things off to close on the mortgage went well. It’s been an interesting ride being a homeowner and having a new set of responsibility and bills to pay but the pain of waiting is over and I can finally enjoy putting my house together. The market has been insanely hot and I was so lucky to get in when I did and with how everything fell into place at the right time. Happy to be able to celebrate my pupper’s Teddy’s 5th birthday in my new house 🙂
Conversely, one thing that has been on my mind is that I am almost one year into nursing. How crazy is that?! In literally 4 weeks from tomorrow I will officially have been a nurse for ONE YEAR! It’s also insane to think about how I am almost at my one year mark for being a NICU nurse. It’s been a emotional and stressful ride with good shifts and some really awful ones but I think to some extent I am feeling somewhat comfortable with the unit and adapting to each and every tiny patient assigned to me. I’m not sure where my nursing journey is going to take me quite yet, I have enjoyed the different experiences in correctional and NICU nursing, but i’m not sure where my heart lies. I think I still want to step away from bedside nursing at some point and explore opportunities that have a little less stress and have more predictability. I also kind of miss having a normal social life and being able to participate in big events or holidays. Bedside nursing has been an amazing experience in helping me grow as a person and learn and see so many cool and interesting things, but emotionally it’s also hard especially when patients take a turn for the worse or inevitably pass. I love seeing family and baby updates, but I know a 30 year career would not come without consequences on my mental wellbeing so trying to navigate the conflict of loving my tiny patients and valuing my long-term mental well-being had been hard. I can’t imagine stepping away from the babies on a permanent capacity, let alone working in adult nursing, but who knows where the journey will take me!
Other exiting things that have happened was my ability to be vaccinated! I am now 2/2 and feeling fortunate to be part of the first wave of healthcare workers to get the opportunity. I am thankful for science and the ability to keep my patients and community safe. Hoping to see others, including my family and friends, also receive the same opportunity in due time. For the time being, we’re back to being in a provincial lockdown for the next month so unfortunately enjoying our summer is not off to a great start. Just the impact of seeing COIVD impacting my tiny patients and their families has been defeating at times, hoping to see brighter days ahead and tweaks to our policies and vaccine rollout to make them actually effective.
On the mental health front, it’s been a roller coaster. I can definitely see how COVID has been so isolating for many people including myself. I miss being able to travel and do fun things like go out to eat, workout, having get togethers at my house, or even just go to a patio/bar and relax. It’s been hard to adjust to this new sense of normalcy and I can see the impact its had on friends in cancelling special events (ex. weddings, parties) or not being there for their loved ones who are vulnerable especially those who are passing and those giving birth. The toll its taken on those living on their own, including myself when I was living downtown and working from home. I admit I have been lucky being able to go into work and being surrounded by friends and colleagues but its a new weirdness in adapting to new policies or being forced to wear masks when interacting with people and not seeing their full facial reactions. I miss just interacting with people I guess and it makes me sad to think that it’s going to be years before we can even consider not wearing a mask. I think about this even when I am cuddling some of the babies after feeding and the lack of stimuli they must have in not being able to see the faces of their nurses, let alone those of their parents who are also expected to wear masks on the unit.
Speaking of kids, I was invited to participate in a Human Library for a middle school down in the US with other guest speakers sharing their experiences being transgender, an immigrant, homeless, incarcerated and including my own experience with depression and the cultural barriers I faced. It was awesome being able to interact with the kids virtually and hearing their questions, whether about what its like to take medication, the signs and symptoms, validating their own experiences, and of course touching upon the topic of suicide and the lifelines they have access to in seeking support through resources targeted to adolescents and their own teachers. Its been a hard adjustment for kids and I have to give them kudos (along with their families) for pushing through because I can’t imagine how they must been feeling. To heard about their own experiences with depression and anxiety was insightful, considering I can imagine there are a number of adolescents out there struggling with adapting to new normals with COVID protocols, lockdowns, missing big milestones (ex. graduation, prom) and homeschooling.