My second year at DPJH was wonderful. I had the best friends a person could want, my students were kind, smart, and sometimes challenging, I loved living with my Pawpaw, but there was something nagging at me. I longed to be a nurse, I longed to help people when they were scared, in pain, or lonely. It was time to get serious about this, so I looked up the BACC2 Accelerated Nursing Program at UTMB/UTHouston. At the time, it was a shared program and we had teachers at both campuses. The majority of the classes were online, and I didn't even own a computer at the time. I have never been a person that thrives on computers, I use them as a necessity. This program was available to people who already had a bachelor's degree and a career, but I still needed all the prerequisites for the nursing program. I needed 26 hours! Ouch, I was about to go back to school full-time and work full-time. I signed up for classes in the summer of 2005 and in one year, 3 semesters, I finished all 26 hours. I applied in November and had my interview in December 2005. Boy, was I a nervous wreck, I wanted this more than I could even describe. You see, I had to complete this program in a year because I would have to pay for COBRA insurance, which is super expensive and only good for one year. I found out in Feb 2006 that I had been accepted and would start classes in May 2006!! I was on my way to accomplishing my dream. Thank you Lord for allowing them to choose me!
Sadly, I had to resign from my teaching job a couple of weeks before the school year ended, but I felt like I was teaching the students around me that it is never too late to follow your dreams, and I knew I still wanted to work with kids. My boss was super understanding, his daughter was a nurse and he valued the profession and was again, very supportive. I feel so lucky that I had such a great boss that never made me feel bad about following my dream. After letting everyone know that I would be leaving, one of the girl's coaches came up to me and told me something I will never forget. Coach Kramer does not just throw compliments out and she found me one day and said, "Katrinia, I think it is great that you are becoming a nurse, if I was sick, I would want a person like you taking care of me, someone upbeat and positive." She will never know how much that meant to me and I valued her encouragement. I often see her around town and I always make a point to go and talk to her, she is also an avid dog-lover like me, so you know she is "good people."
The first day of orientation was overwhelming, I just knew I would end up failing because of my poor computer skills. Soon, I found I wasn't the worst computer person in the class. I quickly found a group of girls that became my "car-poolers/study group" friends. We quickly bonded together and figured out this program as a team. Every morning, we would meet up at the Kroger's in Dickinson and drive to Galveston. Tara, Moey, Katie, Heather, Sarah, and I shared many tears, laughs, gripes, announcements, frustrations, drama, and anything else you can imagine. The car ride was more like a roller coaster of emotions. We were the only people who understood what the heck we were going through. Our class started with 20 students and quickly dwindled down to 12. We were a close-nit group. I loved the entire year of nursing school, it was hard, it challenged every aspect of my life, but it was totally worth it.
I mentioned Heather earlier, but I need to elaborate more on this special girl. First off, she is BEAUTIFUL, not just on the outside, but on the inside. When I first met her, I got this really good feeling in my heart, she just oozed goodness from her soul. In her first career, she was a flight attendant, so she would perform all kinds of nursing skills like a flight attendant would. Just use your imagination....suppositories, colonoscopies, bed baths, she would give instructions directing people to the exits etc.. I soon got to know Heather and her family very well. Her dad was the athletic director at a local Christian school, her mother taught at the same school as her dad (how cute), her brother went to Texas A&M and was really cute, and her sister had a beautiful family and lived in Dallas. I kept waiting for Heather to drop her sweet as pie act, but after a few years, I realize that she really is full of kindness. It is strange to me that on that first day of class, when she introduced herself for the first of fifty times that year, I instantly knew we would be good friends. She is one of my best friends. She loves me when I'm mad, sad, happy, grouchy, corny, serious, silly, the list goes on. I knew how much she cared for me when my twin boys died. She made me feel better and that was hard to do during those dark times. She is a Labor and Delivery nurse, so she knew how serious my entire pregnancy was and she would still be so positive, but she would still be a nurse. She would make sure I really followed my doctor's directions, and she even made me several meals. She told me something after the boys died that gave me a little sense of peace that no one else was able to give me. She told me that going through this tragedy with me had made her a better nurse to her patients that experience loss like mine. She even took over the grief group that deals with patient's that lose their babies. She turned my boys life into something positive, thank you so much Heather. I never told you how much that helped me.
I have so many fond memories of nursing school and all my clinicals that I could go on forever. That was one of the happiest times of my entire life. I was still living with my Pawpaw and he kept me rolling too. I would not have been able to become a nurse if my Pawpaw had not let me live with him. Not only was he helping me, but I was able to grow close to my grandfather. When he was married, we were only allowed to spend the night with him once a year and we didn't get to go over there very much. I was getting to know this piece of history. He had done so much in his life, and he was still living it to the fullest. I remember the first time I thought I was doing him a favor and I mowed the grass. He told me that he may be in his late seventies, but he was totally capable of mowing the grass himself and I had cut it too short. Well, excuse me is what I thought in my head, typical man can't just say, "thank you." If you know my Pawpaw, this next sentence will totally hit home with his personality. About two weeks went by and he knocked on my door and said, "When are you going to mow the grass?" I give up!!! So, I started mowing the grass, but I kept telling him that I knew he could do it, but it made me feel good to mow. I really do enjoy mowing. One more thing, I kept "assessing," my Pawpaw all the time and I swear that I diagnosed him with all kinds of things I learned about in school. I think he just enjoyed the extra attention and put up with all my silly diagnosis' to keep me happy. I was already doing things out of my scope of practice and I hadn't even graduated yet!
Gotta go take care of my baby, I will pick-up where I left off later! Thanks for reading.