Today, I had my clinical orientation for my Psych rotation, at a major public mental health facitlity, finishing a really good week, very welcome in a week that held some bad family news.
On Monday, the entire sophomore class met in a huge auditorium. It was truly joyous to see people I'd become close to over the last year. The class met the new Nursing Department head-- we'd gone our whole freshman year without a department head-- and met some of our instructors for the year.
I noticed some people who were gone-- Eric, Nancy and Joe. I remembered the picture I took in my first nursing clinical, and was once again reminded of the picture in the movie "The Untouchables," when Kevin Costner's Elliot Ness looks mourningly at the picture, having lost two of the friends in the picture.
Later, Monday night, I ran out to get some things-- I still needed a notebook and also needed a new watch for clinical (we have to have a watch with a second hand so we can take heart rates), and ran out to a couple of stores. At Target, I ran into Eric, who had dropped out at the end of the year last year. I told him that we missed him, and then got the happy news: he had re-entered the program, as a freshman. I was very happy about this.
The next day I heard that Nancy and Joe had done the same thing. More happiness.
More good news was that since we were all now officially full-time, with 12 semester hours, we were all now eligible for a "U-Pass," a free public transit pass that we can use any time. I picked mine up after class Tuesday.
Tuesday was the longest, coldest day of my life. My class met in the same big lecture hall, and the air conditioning was set unbelievably low-- it had to be under 60 degrees. It had been pretty cool the day before, so most of us wore long pants, despite it being a nice Chicago day. Some had even worn sweat jackets. And we still froze our asses off. Fortunately, our instructor, Mrs. Corbett, made a call down to physical services and was able to get them to fix the temperature. By the end of the six hour class (we had a long class, rather than a clinical that day), they managed to get the temperature up to a tolerable one.
My initial impressions of Mrs. Corbett were good. She's got a good balance of rigor and humor. In our regular class yesterday, she mentioned having been a Peace Corps volunteer when she was younger. She's taught at the school for nearly 40 years, and seems to have a wealth of good stories.
As I mentioned, we had our first clinical today. We're at a state run mental health facility. I got a good vibe from our instructor, Dr. Donarad, who had come out of retirement to teach the class when the original instructor broke her hip in a fall. She seems calm and fair-- far different from my clinical instructor last semester, who was unclear with directions and hostile. Talking to another member of my group, I discovered that I wasn't the only one who had these issues with last semester's instructor. I'm looking forward to a better experience. My great school week was in contrast to the bad news we got at home. In addition to the unexpected death of my son's 28-year-old cousin, who, we discovered, died of a massive coronary on Saturday, my wife's four-year-old second cousin Peyton passed away yesterday evening of cancer, which was first diagnosed when she was only six months old. It was remarkable to see this little girl fight her illness with incredible spirit and humor, and I'm relieved that she's found some peace.
Last night at work, I was talking to a friend about it all. It was hard to believe that I started this journey three years ago, when I took a prerequisite Biology class. It's hard to believe that I'm only nine months from the end of this journey, and the start of a new one as a nurse. I can't wait.