Author: knitwitmama

ER trauma nurse and yarn junkie

Lazy Sunday

I’ve been working the day shift all week and volunteered yesterday giving H1N1 vaccines all day in San Francisco. 7AM is way tooooo early for me, it is a good thing I only have a 10 minute walk to work. Today I tried to sleep in, which is usually no problem for me, but I tossed and turned and finally just got out of bed. Brian had been baking and this is the aroma I awoke to

Cinnamon buns. Mmmmm. So, still in our jammies, we are enjoying some tea with our buns and lounging on the couch.

I’ve been knitting a bit. But mostly mindless projects. This week one of the MDs was asking about my stethescope cover, and said her mother knits and asked if there is a pattern. He he he. It is just a tube, long enough to cover the straight section of the scope. I’ve been making a few more so that I have extras to be able to wash them more often.

I’m making them out of cotton chennile so I can just throw them in the wash with my scrubs.
Well, wishing you all a lovely lazy Sunday.

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Finished Rose’s pillows

We picked a whole bunch of fabrics in pink and brown and had fun mixing and matching them. We used pink ball fringe as well as piping for trim. We even made our own fabric buttons for a couple of them.

Piping and polka dot button

Now her room is cozy and PINK!

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Fall bounty

Brian’s garden is still yielding lots of peppers and a few more tomatoes.

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FO and WIP

Dad’s socks
finished one and started the second.  Yarn Harlot’s pattern and pretty boring yarn.

Mom’s shawl that I started while I was at her house last month.  She had bought the yarn and pattern but decided the pattern required too much focusing to be enjoyable.  I picked it up and got into it.  This is the way to start lace knitting, on big needles with fat yarn!  It is a Lion Brand pattern and yarn. 

Then here is the curtain I made for Rose’s newly painted room.  Her colors are two incredibly intense pinks and a milk chocolate brown.  We bought a bunch of fabrics in those colors so I am also working on some pillows to mix and match. More on these to follow.


Healthcare reform, the more I read about it the more complicated it seems. I came across this little video that gives a basic explanation. Simple enough, are the facts he includes true? Medicare uses 2-3%, private insurance uses 20%? Notice that he didn’t include education in the examples of essential government run socialized services. Why not? It has a government option for all, paid for by taxes, and a private option for those who choose to pay for it. Some question about how well it works, clearly many are educated well enough, some manage to get excellent educations and some end up falling through the cracks. It is not perfect, but it functions. Health insurance for all is not going to be perfect either, but hopefully it will function. And function well enough that not too many fall through the cracks and more people get what they need. I am about to become part of the public healthcare system as I begin my new job in the county ER, and I hope to provide care for everyone that walks through that door.

New grad ER nurse

I don’t know if I can call myself an ER nurse yet, but today at the end of my interview for an ER position the nurse manager said to me, “I am very impressed with everything you’ve done and what we talked about today. The August group of new hires is full, but we have room in the September group if you would like the position.” My ears did a double take, what! really?! You are willing to take a chance on me? wow, yes! It is a job in the ER in the hospital 6 blocks away from me. What could be better, my dream job! I am definitely doing the happy dance.


It has been over a month since graduation and I am no closer to landing a job. The current economy has not been good for us new grad nurses this year. Sure, there is a shortage of nurses, and people still need medical care, even in a bad economy. But, what is happening is the nurses that were expected to retire have not, and not only that, they have increased their hours since they need money too. The hospitals don’t want to spend the money to train new nurses when there are plenty of experienced nurses around so they are postponing their new grad training programs, and they don’t hire new grads without these programs. I keep hearing people talk about the baby boomer nurses hanging on to their jobs and I have to stop myself from getting irritated because after all I AM a baby boomer too, and I have no intention of retiring any time soon. Hey, I am just getting started!

I keep applying to jobs, first all over the Bay area and now all over California. I could wallpaper my room with all the rejections letters I have gotten. That is the hard part, I am having a difficult time not getting discouraged by all the rejection letters. I know there is a spot for me out there in a hospital somewhere, I just wish it would show itself soon, ’cause I am restless.

I keep trying to pass the time knitting or reading or doing some other thing that I used to enjoy, but I can’t seem to focus these days. I keep flitting from this project to that project and can hardly pull myself away from the computer waiting for a job posting to come in or a response from one of my applications to show up in my inbox.

I do have a few FO to show you though.
First, here is Olive’s sweater (the red one with the fake cables) I started it in the beginning of May see here. I gave it to my classmate, Trisha on the night of our pinning.

Then I started a sweater for one of Brian’s coworkers baby boy. This one is the same pattern as Erin’s sweater except that I had to adjust the guage because this yarn (Blue Sky Organic Cotton) is much thicker. I love knitting with this yarn, it is so incredible soft. I don’t care for the color much though. I had to rip out this sweater a few times because I failed to adjust the pattern for the thicker yarn, and then I got carried away and knit too many inches before I started the decreases for the raglan sleeves.
I finally finished it the morning I left for Tahoe to study for the NCLEX.

Since then, however I have not been able to concentrate on knitting, or anything else for that matter. So I have been making washcloths and stethoscope covers for my friends, just to keep my hands busy.

Last week, the day I found out that I passed the boards, I decided to uncover my loom and see if I could remember what to do. I had put a blanket over the loom for the entire year so it wouldn’t entice me away from my studying. I knew if I looked at it all the time, I would want to sit down and weave a few rows and knowing me, I wouldn’t tear myself away from it to get back to studying. So I covered it with a blanket and didn’t look at it. Well, when I looked at what I had done I couldn’t believe how beautiful and amazing it is! I had started making some kitchen towels, I think the warp is long enough for 4 towels, but to tell you the truth, I am not sure anymore. I looked at my notes and tried to remember enough to read the treadling pattern. After a good twenty minutes of staring at my notes and staring at the weaving, I figured out what I had been doing and started weaving again. Wow! I finished up the last few inches of the first towel, put in a divider and started the next towel. It will be more yellow than blue. I haven’t sat down to weave again. I am too restless, can’t sit still, can’t knit or weave. I sure hope this is temporary, I need these activities to keep me sane.

It’s official

I tell you, I have checked this site so many times since last Friday that when my name came up I thought it was someone else. But there it is in big bold official letters. I am a registered nurse. Sweet!


For the last year ( two, if you count the prereqs) this has been my life, day and night. Some days I was sure someone glued me to the chair. Rose still asked everyday, “do you have studying, mom?” always hoping the answer might be no! I loved it though, I love school, (I know, I’m a nerd; the science was always my favorite part). I even liked taking tests, I like the feeling when I read a question and absolutely know the answer and can explain why, it is a powerful feeling. Then we got to work in the hospital with actual patients, and I was sure I was doing the right thing. I was scared out of my shoes that I wouldn’t know what to do, and often, I didn’t, but the patients always looked to me for help and comfort, and somehow I provided. I went from feeling like and impostor in white scrubs, grateful to be able to empty the bedpan; to gradually being able to manage 3 patients care by myself and having the sense that they are “my” patients by the end of my preceptorship.

Then we graduated a week before classes were over. We still had tests, and shifts, but we walked with our robes and hats and all. It felt great! That’s me in the middle of my new friends. Twenty nine years since my last graduation, this one meant so much, and I appreciated the opportunity so much more this time.

We did a few more presentations, and papers and exams, and then school really was over. We had our pinning ceremony, where we get pinned by another RN as a way of welcoming us into the profession. It was very touching, and we celebrated being done, finally!

Here is my pin, the initials are for Samuel Merritt University, we are the first class to graduate from the University, after 100 years of being a College. That is a lot of nurses! It is inspiring to come from such a long tradition, too bad we didn’t get the little white caps too!

BUT…. the studying wasn’t really over yet. I still had to take the board exam, the NCLEX. So my friend Marti and I kept meeting everyday to study for a couple of hours. We practiced thousands of questions, and quizzed each other, and looked up obscure drugs and diseases. We even spent a couple of days in Tahoe with two other classmates to study away from the distractions of house and family. We really did study, though nobody believes us. Then I spent a day in Yosemite, by myself, hiking and enjoying the scenery before I drove to Fresno to take my test.
I couldn’t have been more ready for this test, we studied all year, reviewed for several weeks, I relaxed for a whole day, got a good night’s sleep the night before, ate a healthy salmon (brain food) lunch and had a latte, and walked into the test center ready to conquer it.
It was the wierdest test I have ever taken. First, they take you one at a time, after you have been photographed, fingerprinted and pockets emptied into the test room. They don’t even let you take a tissue in there, I had to leave my bottle of water and my dark chocolates in a locker outside ( those of you who know me, I always have a couple of dark chocolates on my desk with me when I take a test, for that little boost when my brain wears out!). They sit you down in front of the computer and log you in and let you know that you are being video and audio taped during the test and if you need a break, raise your hand and the proctor will escort you to the bathroom. So, I sit down, a little unnerved by all the security, but ready to get this done. I speed through the little tutorial that takes you through some sample questions and push the button to start the real test. Now I should tell you that we have six hours to answer from 75-265 questions with breaks scheduled at 2 and 3.5 hours. The test is constantly evaluating how you answer each question to determine what the next question will be. It keeps asking questions until it determines that you clearly pass or clearly fail. I was determined to go slowly and carefully read each question a few times, since you can’t go back and change your answers. The first few questions were pretty reasonable and I felt pretty sure I was getting them right, then boom, they got hard, drugs I had never heard of, questions about priorities that I couldn’t rank, and then phwew, a few math questions. I love the math questions, because I know how to do them, they are concrete. It is the question about which patient you would see first that always gets me. Well, I am tooling along, I don’t really keep track of how many questions I am answering, (the last time I looked at the counter, I was on 55). The questions are hard, and I feel like I am guessing on many. I am sure I am not getting most of them right, so I am shocked when the whole computer screen goes black. Oh NO!, there is a power outage! right in the middle of my test! will I have to start over? But no the proctor comes in to escort me out and I realize that the screen went black because I was done! I quickly tell her this can’t be, I am not finished yet, I haven’t answered enough questions! there is no way I am up to 75 yet. Can she check? She smiles and shakes her head, no, there has not been a malfunction and there is no way for her to check the number of questions I answered. In a daze I walk out, put my finger on the fingerprint checker (what, was I going to somehow sneak someone else in to take my place while being videotaped? it is really me walking out now!) I collect my stuff, and see that only and hour and ten minutes have passed since my test started. Well maybe I started a little bit early, since I arrived at the center early, let’s say and hour and 15 minutes. Still that is 75 questions in 75 minutes, there is no way, I was going to go slowly! what happened? Oh no! what if I went so fast that I answered most of the questions wrong and I actually failed! I get in the car to drive the 3 hours home and try to think of who I can call that will make me feel better. Marti; she took the test the day before me and we hadn’t talked yet. Aachhh, I hear the sinking silence on the other end of the phone when I tell her that it took me 75 minutes, she took 2 and a half hours with 2 breaks. I didn’t even get a break. That is bad news, Marti is the speedy smart one. When we studied together she usually had the answer before me. I made some more phone calls looking for reassurance, which was given but I didn’t feel it. Nothing was going to make me feel relieved.

It has been 3 days now and I check the BRN website way to often to be considered sane, and still haven’t seen my name on the list of licensed RNs yet. I did the trick that someone said to try to register to retake the test and if the website won’t let you, then you passed. It wouldn’t let me, but I still don’t feel relieved. SO I AM STILL WAITING! I spent today listing all the hospitals that are within a one day drive of me and checking the job openings on their websites. The job hunt is another story that I will save for another post. In the meantime I am trying to keep busy and WAIT.

a good sign or a bad sign

Well, I took the NCLEX today and walked out of the test feeling pretty nervous. I think the computer shut down after 75 questions (the minimum), I am not sure because the last time I looked at the counter it said 55 and then all of a sudden it shut down. The questions were hard, so either I answered well enough that it moved me to the harder questions and I passed or….. I don’t even want to go there. Now I will keep checking the BRN site to see if my name pops up under RN verification. Next, renewed efforts to land a job in this economy.