My first patient passed away

CW: death and cancer

Two personal posts in a day. Wow. Y’all are really putting up with me and my non-bookish thoughts, aren’t you?? (I kid, I kid.)

But, I haven’t talked much about my practicum and the things that I’m exposed to. I’m seeing patients on my own, or mostly on my own, these days. I had five in mind, but one of them began actively dying last Wednesday. For those who don’t know, there is a difference between dying and actively dying. As he was on hospice, he is in the dying process, but actively dying means that a person is going to die, perhaps, in a few hours or a week. There are certain signs that crop up so you know it’s happening.

Late last night, he passed away after being actively dying since last Wednesday. He lived through his daughter’s birthday and his own. And died on his birthday.

I have to say, I’m sad about it. I had a bit of a cry because he was a nice man and his family are good people. Yes, he’s in a better place where his cancer is no longer bothering him and he’s able to do the things that he hasn’t been able to.

But, I’m still sad.

It’s hard because I had a relationship with him. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to go to his memorial service or funeral to have a bit more closure, but I’m just processing at the moment.

I’m all good, just so y’all know. It’s just one of those things that happens.

One! Month! Left!

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And also stressed. Also very stressed. Never forget that.

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I have one month left in my first semester. Literally. I feel like I just started. And I did! I started on August 25th of this year and my last day (kind of, because my classes are confusing at times — more on that later) is December 1st.

My practicum ends on December 6th — I’ll be back there bright and early January 7th, though, so my lovely hospice patients will have to deal with me more.

But, holy crap, I have a whole lot more to do.

One class, I have two papers left. Not too long, but, you know.
Another class, I have one “big” paper left. It’s written but I found out I may (or may not) have done it wrong so I really need to rework it.
One last class, I have two papers due. Two-pager (aka easy) and then a behemoth that has to be over ten pages (cover and references not included) with a million citations.

Plus, I’m getting out there and seeing patients on my own!! Crazy. They’re letting me out there to hang out with patients. In some ways, it’s scary. And in others, it’s completely normal and natural because I like them. Yes, I like all of them. Right now, I’m seeing four on my own, plus some other people I still go with for my preceptor.

Basically, while I’m super stressed and tired, I’m also really enjoying it.

Talk to me!
How has your year/month/week/whatever been going?
If you’re in school nearing the end, you got this!

My Safety Plan

This is going to be different than a usual personal post. I don’t quite feel like writing about what’s going on with school, so I want to talk about something my program brought in as something important for us.

That is, a safety plan.

What is a safety plan? It’s something that you create to help yourself in the face of triggers that can threaten your mental health. Basically, these are things you can fall back on to help yourself out when you’re stressed or triggered.

There are usually five of them. Or more if you have more things.

For example, mine are:

1. Read a book of my choice for an hour.

Funny enough, Iย have to read books for my mental health. If I don’t read books, my mental health deteriorates. I can’t not read, basically. I have to read or I literally fall apart. Believe me, I tried it.

2. Pet my dogs.

My dogs are adorable and so sweet. They love being petted and held. No matter how bad of a day I’m having, they can cheer me up.

3. Talk to my mom or Chantel.

While I’m not the most extroverted person, I love talking to people I trust. On my first day of classes, Chantel and I talked on the phone for nearly three hours until she went outside and I couldn’t hear her talk anymore. My mom and I also have a close relationship, although she doesn’t listen quite as well as Chantel does.

4. Watch a show that I love.

Basically, just watch TV. Doctor Who, Supernatural, American Horror Story, American Crime Story, Ghost Adventures, Expedition Unknown, Destination Truth. Literally, the list could go on and on.

5. Call a crisis number.

This is something that’s supposed to be your last ditch effort if nothing else on your safety plan works. The plan is to keep you safe. And, calling a number like that, can help keep you safe.

So, that’s my safety plan. If you want the document my professor provided, let me know and I’ll find a way to make it available!

Talk to me!
Do you have a safety plan?
Are you thinking about making one for yourself?