Wednesday, February 8, 2017

77 degrees vs. 25cm

So what do those have in common you wonder? Obviously me, but besides that little. The 77 degrees refers to the temperature in the state in which I reside. OMG the weather is awesome! Once we arrived, we come to find out that 25cm of snow hit our city back home!!! Boy did we leave in time! I guess that's a blessing in disguise.

But thing quickly started falling apart. When we got to the border the customs guy took my paper work and asked "what would you do if you don't get approved?" - my response was that I would be "fucking screwed" - I was honest. In hindsight, too honest. I didn't have my filter on. I was nervous and forgot who I was talking to! Ooops. Either way, he let me through and told me to go through to the side and park and go into the building and wait to be called by an agent in the building. Okay then!

Not fun considering I had little tyke with us who is almost eight and has a patience level of about 5 seconds. Plus in the building it states that you are not permitted to utilize ANY electronic devices, and so she couldn't even use her nintendo DS to keep her occupied or anything, or a cell phone. And remember that these ppl can find any reason to deny me entry. If they find my child irritating or me or my husband unappealing in any fashion, I could be denied my visa! So I had to some how keep her calm. Easier said than done! I managed it long enough for me to be called.

I had everything they could want and some extra. BUT and it's a  really big BUT the offer letter that the company supplied, I knew was going to be the issue. We had asked the company to revise it because it was missing information - specifically the contract information required for the visa. Because for TN visas in particular, I can only stay in the US for a maximum of three years at a time. As such, my letter must indicate that there is a definate end date because the expectation is that I will return back to my country and share the information I have learned, with my fellow colleagues/nurses. The problem was was that they were unwilling to stipulate that and so we tried to bypass this by indicating it in a personal letter addressed to US customs and border protection. The agent appeared as though he was just going to flat out refuse me entry but then gave me the chance to try to contact my recruiter. I tried. I really tried. But no one would return my damn call. WTH!!!! Then he took my stuff into the back room and talked to his supervisor/manager who then came out while I was on the phone and got upset with me because I was on the phone in the area that was clearly marked EVERYWHERE that you cannot be on any electronic device and I was silently shitting my pants because I didn't want to say anything perceived to be negative to this boss! Thankfully the other agent who was working on my case spoke up indicating that he had given me permission to use my cell phone! So once I was off the phone (I was trying to get a hold of the recruiter again), I was called back up to the desk by the both of them....

And told that although the terms weren't indicated, that they were going to give me a year visa and that that would give me the chance to fix the discrepancy or that I would have to return home... or find a new employer.

I guess I'll have to put it in those terms to my new employer. We'll see whether they'll be more willing to change their tune once I start the residency and all.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The time has come

For things to change.... a LOT

We FINALLY got word that my visa stuff got approved and so things have started to move quickly!

We told the family yesterday that I would be moving on monday - four days from now! And why should I not be surprised but they were not happy for me. To be honest, I think that they were shocked. They were upset that I was going by myself and that I would be leaving little tyke and hubby here in Canada and going and living by myself in the southern US.

Now I'm in a bit of a panic to get everything done - my medical records to take with me (done today!), I also have to pack (still have to start that - heck I still have to get boxes!), get my prescription meds done for the next 6 months (at least then I won't have to feel pressured to find doctors where I will be working/living. This turned into a nightmare and maybe I'll write a whole post on it, we'll see! Man, my life is never boring!

Tomorrow I have to go to the DMV to go get my driver's abstract because when I return to Canada then there will be a history of my driving record, otherwise I will have to start ALL OVER AGAIN and I have a pretty darn good driving record if I do say so myself! Because as soon as I go to the DMV in the state where I settle (which is required in the first 6 weeks) I have to surrender my Canadian license to the DMV.

Tomorrow (which is now today because I had to continue writing the post on the next day) I went and got money exchanged and paid child support of Big boy who lives in home town, that should be interesting experience once I move and have to pay it - maybe it'll be hubby paying it on my behalf - we'll see. Right now I have to pay it once a month by a certain date and pay it directly into their account and so I just go to the bank and get it done. At least that's one thing checked off my list of things to get done before I leave!

Then I had to go procur some boxes! Of course for free! Who doesn't like something for free?! I do, I do!!! Well my mom works in a grocery store and she taught me a long time ago that they have the best boxes for moving - for free!!! If you go and see the produce ppl, ask them for apple boxes in particular - they are built stronger and have really nice lids. Then my next choice would be banana boxes - as long as they have lids - if not, I leave them. The thing about banana boxes though is that on the bottom there is an area in the middle where there is no bottom - so you kinda have to do a bit of arts and crafts if you're willing to take these boxes - simply take other boxes, rip them apart and run a section down the middle of the box to help support the bottom of the box from the inside. Plus for larger boxes all you have to do is look to the grocery area and talk to the ppl there and ask for the bigger boxes and normally all they'll ask you for is your name and ask you to come back for them at a certain time because they'll save them for you. Either way - this is the stage that I'm at... I have to go get my boxes tomorrow morning.

Then I had to talk to my recruiter (who is the senior recruiting manager thankfully) about drafting another offer letter as there were items missing or things that I needed added to it for when I need to go across US/Canadian border monday morning. But of course, in my life, things never go according to plan and so I had to track them down again later down in the day because the letter had to be changed yet again but in the end was able to get to a satisfactory point. Hubby was able to help me with finding the rest of the information on the CBP website in order to write my own letter that supplements my offer letter because my recruiter couldn't couldn't put certain information in it. Point is is that my work wants me but won't sponsor me to stay around forever and so I must go with a NAFTA (I'm sure you've heard about this in the news lately) related visa in which it runs out at the end of three years and must be renewed if I want to stay at this hospital in this position.

So pretty much Saturday will be spent trying to get the med situation figured out - seriously, it's a shit show! And I also have to pack - EVERYTHING - I seriously haven't packed a thing yet. I also have some organizing that needs to be done. Because once I leave, hubby needs to still be a dad - I don't want him to come back here and check out of being a dad - letting his mom take over all the responsibilities of being the parent of little tyke. So these next few days are going to be very very busy! So I suppose I should go to bed and get some sleep. Those boxes aren't going to fill themselves!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Oh to have little tyke home

And everyone else that is. Hubby was the first to come home. I would like to say that it was nice to spend some time together but from the moment he stepped back into the same country as me he proceeded to argue with me incessently and usually  needlessly - like PICK YOUR BATTLES!!!! I don't think he's ever grasped that concept. Either way, we did spend a bit of time together and that was nice. We did get to celebrate the fact that I passed the NCLEX - WOOO FRIGGIN HOOOOO!!!!

Just last week little tyke came home. I am so unbelievably happy to see her again. But OMG ppl, she has lost an unbelievable amount of weight while she was there. So much so that I'm taking her to the physician on Friday. It's from serveral different things (I think...) - from the moment she got to Pakistan she was really sick with a respiratory bug that I think she caught on the plane or in the airport(s) (big surprise considering what kids touch!) and then with the water and food being different over there she developed diarrhea and didn't want to eat or would hardly eat anything and then when she looks like she's getting over the resp bug and is on the mend she all over the place and wouldn't be kept down - always wanting to play with the millions of kids that were visiting - all the cousins that were visiting and such. Then just as she's about to come back here she's struck again with some resp and intestinal thing and it's coming out both ends. They are able to get her to stop vomitting so she's not dehydrated and she's still willing to drink and such so they weren't too worried.

So to have her home and in my safe and capable hands again is more than I can say! I've nursed her back to even keel almost. She's no longer having diarrhea. She's eating properly and indicating proper hunger responses. She has a nasty cough but I don't think pneumonia - I do think that perhaps she may have caught influenza while she was there. Actual influenza, not the thing that ppl just say - Oh I have the flu, when in fact they have a crappy cold or an older kid has caught RSV. Who knows. Either way, it's taken a nasty hit to my child in terms of weight as well. I was told that she had caught head lice (big surprise! - yuck!) and so her first thing was to have a bath and so I stripped her and I was SHOCKED at how much weight and muscle and adipose my little tyke had lost. She just doesn't look healthy. She looks very unwell. So we'll be having a well/un-well/check-up with our doctor on Friday and we'll see just how much weight she's lost and I'll be asking for some blood work to see if there's something more sinister at play at work as well.

But since she's coming home she hasn't really left my side other than to go to school. She has been suffering from some wicked jet lag poor girl. Hopefully all this will blow over soon. Til then I'm here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

How I went about passing the NCLEX-RN boards

I know that a lot of people wonder how other students go about studying for the boards. These things create unimaginable amounts of stress, so I understand why one would seek out information from ones who have done what they can to pass.

So I was fortunate enough that my uni bought this prep program that went along with our prep book - Elsevier adaptive quizzing program and HESI/Saunders questions - on general we had ~120 questions per week. I think that was helpful to get me ready for information I'm not familiar with. From this I learned where my areas of weakness were. And then most way through my semester the school paid for us to take the Kaplan weekend seminar. I found that quite helpful in how to approach a question - that it's always about assessment first and if there's the option of calling a Dr or assessment, choose the assessment - it almost always gives you more information that's needed.

Then once I graduated hubby and I figured that learning info then doing questions may work and so we bought NCSBN program and I was doing that for a bit - but it was dry and very boring. I was having a lot of difficulty getting through it and feeling like I was actually working positively so I took it upon myself to buy UWorld. Then I did my weak areas first and after going through the 75 questions, I remediated and I took my time with that - making sure that I understood why I got a question right as well as why I got things wrong - or why certain choices were right and why others were wrong. When I started that, I generally got through 150 questions but I would flag questions that I either got wrong or I felt were really important for me to remember & look at before the NCLEX.

I also had the Kaplan trainer tests that I reserved for when I was prepping for the exam. I did two more but when I was remediating, I found that I didn't like their information that was provided - UWorld absolutely beat Kaplan out in this area, hands down!!!

Overall, I feel like the Elsevier adaptive quizzing program and HESI/Saunders questions program as well as UWorld are what helped give me the best chance at being successful on the NCLEX. For those who come to it after me - remember prioritization and safety - that's primarily what my exam was about (at least what I can remember - stress and high anxiety will do that to you!). I wish you luck and every chance at success at beating the beast that is the NCLEX.

Monday, January 16, 2017

In the meantime

I was expecting to have to wait until monday to have my name show up on the board of nursing and show my registration number. It was awesome. Absolutely filled me with such pride.

Because it was finally official though, I could apply for license verification in the state that I intend to practice in - holy expensive though.... $150 later! Still the problem is the SSN so I need the visa ppl to hurry the hell up now and complete their shit so that I can get my license stuff in order. But that needed to get done so at least it's active and when I have the other stuff done I can easily provide the SSN and the completed fingerprint/background stuff and be on my merry little way.

So I'm trying not to worry about it overly so.

For now I am completing my shadowbox. I'm using my clinical nurse top with my student ID tag with my name on it to symbolize me while I was in school. Then the program for the pinning ceremony as well as my pin (for obvious reason). Below it I added the nurse's prayer - I think it turned out beautifully - except that I ran out of the letter 'e' and so I placed all th other letters and left spaces for the 'e' when I buy more (hopefully tomorrow or the next day). And finally the grad cap and gown as well as the grad commencement program. I decorated my cap and added a saying and a few decorations. That side turned out perfectly as well. There's an area above the clinical top that is open that I'm trying to find a quote or saying to put in the spot to even things out. Obviously it has to be nursing related. Will have to do some research - any ideas?

I'm also trying to get doctor and dentist visits done - I have a dentist visit tomorrow - two hours long because I know that I have fillings that need to get done and then again on Tuesday. Then I have appointments in the next two weeks with the immunologist and the immuno dermatologist (the one who diagnosed me with the hidradenitis suppurativa (AKA acne inversa) - those two are on the same day which is kind of funny and happened by chance! Then I have an appointment with the neuro opthamologist for testing on the friday and then I see him for the results on monday. Then up is little tyke's dentist appointment - I should have made her appointment extra long because she has a bunch of cavities that need fillings but didn't think of it at the time. The one that we're dealing with at this appointment is one that is so badly off that it has to be pulled. I'm not sure how she'll handle it but she was pretty good with getting her cavity done before so I'm hoping that this will go just fine as well. Then lastly I see the surgeon who operated on my bottom as it still hasn't fully healed up (we think that's actually related to the hidradenitis suppurativa condition which I can talk to her about when I see her. Then lastly I see a physician that's supposed to take a biopsy to see if I have this weird respiratory condition (knowing my luck it'll come back positive -lol). So it's set to make for a busy month what with little tyke coming back from Pakistan this week as well and wanting to spend as much time with her as possible. I'm going to miss her so so so much. Thank goodness for skype, text, whatsap (think facetime) and plane rides!

Now I just have to make time to keep things open to get everything done so that I can go to the US to my waiting job. I can't wait to start it, I couldn't have developed a better program for myself if I do say so myself!!!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Knowing my future

I was so impatient counting down the time to 3pm when my results would become available. We paid extra and was on the phone with my bestie while hubby was constantly checking the site to see if things were updated.

Finally we see....


OMG one ginormous hurdle is passed to getting me to my destination job that starts in 37 days!!!

Then I called my mom and told her the amazing news - because it is amazing news!

So now I need to get my license verified in the state I acually intend on getting it in. And I have to get my visa - but I have to get my papers from my hometown college sent to the visa ppl and I have to get my NCLEX results sent to the visa ppl as well.

I got my degree in the mail when I arrived home and I sent that to my work as well as my transcript that shows that I graduated (they required both). Then I sent them my CPR stuff because they demand that I have AHA not Red Cross. Stupid but whatever. Their other thing is all about my SSN but that's all wrapped in my visa and getting that all done.

I talked to my old nursing program dean who said that she would have the visa paperwork done today or by monday. Man she needs to get this done ASAP! I know that this all takes time and so it needs to be taken care of now.

Monday I'll call my work and talk to the main person to find out what else they need at this point, other than my SSN of course. But at least for now I get to bask in the glory of passing this vastly important exam and being able to juust carry on with my life. Though I must say that it feels a bit weird to not have to study for anything right now.

Waiting expectently

I took the dreaded NCLEX-RN - it was as ever scary and nerve wracking as I expected it to be. As I arrived at the building and was sitting in my car talking to my best friend on the phone and having a minor freak out, a lady was coming down the walkway who seriously looked every bit how I felt internally. Her hair was FRAZZLED!!! And the expression on her face told the story about how terrorizing the NCLEX is, whether it be the PN or the RN.

I had no idea whether I was going to get the 75 questions or the dreaded 265 and potential 6 hrs of testing. As such I opened a ton of these little candies that I like to suck on because I have dry mouth due to my meds and I knew that I wouldn't be able to have water in the exam. So I stuffed a bunch of them in my mouth before going in the room. Ha!

Because I've gone to that location previously, it made the process quicker - it's not like my vein pattern had changed since my NCLEX-PN exam from several years ago. Off I went - to my computer in the corner. Perfect for the ADHD-er in me! OMG If I had ppl on either side of me, it would have been so difficult to focus... it felt like it was meant to be for me to have this spot an be given the best opportunity at success from the get go.

Now.... with these exams, it's kinda how you start out, how the middle goes and how you end! To be honest I can't quite remember which questions (except one), which I knew I got wrong so I was really nervous for the next question. But thankfully I got the next one right and so I got a select all that apply (SATA), which is supposed to be the highest kind of question and gives you an idea of how you're doing. So on and on the test went. Then I approached 60 and I began watching the clock and so I turned it off (thank you Kaplan instructor for teaching me that!) by clicking on the clock icon and the clock disappears. Because I knew that I needed to pay more attention to answering well instead of answering quickly.

Then when I approached 70 I got really nervous and had to take a moment to calm down. I answered to the best of my ability of course and when I got to question 74 I said a little prayer when I submitted. Then when the blue screen showed me another question, I was devastated! I had to collect myself and hope and pray that perhaps the program shut off when you submitted question 75, not when you got to it. Boy did I say a giant prayer that this program shut off when I submitted this question. And it did!!!! According to hubby, 87% of the ppl who get 75 questions pass (where he got this stat from I have NO idea) - but I'm sure hoping that I'm one of that lovely majority. We paid to get results in 48 hours, so we should know shortly, but I'm so so so nervous to know.

Now to just wait the required time.... impatiently of course!