Horizons and infections

I have been on a stretch of working and sleeping and being on call at intervals where I can pretty much do only those things. I have a stack of unread nursing journals, a need to declare RSS feed bankruptcy, and a lot of unread Instapaper articles that may remain thus. Stuck into the days I did have off, I chose to attend a LifeStar CEU for work that was totally worth going to but ate up an afternoon and made me short-sleep, and with a characteristic lack of good judgment I got my tongue and belly pierced with only 48 hours until my next stretch of three shifts in a row. Everyone says tongues heal in just a few microseconds so I figured that would be fine. My tongue does not heal in even a few days, possibly because I'm unable to refrain from talking long enough to let it. On top of that, I finally got strep throat (an inevitable outcome; we have an epidemic right now, and peds have been wetly coughing it right into my face for weeks), so between my sore throat and sore/swollen tongue I had an unhappy few shifts. But it was bearable, our docs took care of me antibiotic-wise for the strep, and our ER remains extremely busy so the shifts were done before I knew it; as an added bonus, I had the opportunity to do strange and unusual things that rarely come up and gave a med so weird that it took me, the doc, and our pharmacist plus the patient an hour to figure out how much to give. Which is a case in point about why I love the ER (I get to say, "I have no idea what this condition is; educate me," and I get to learn a lot).

I am finally about to move to a midshift (11a-11p), at the beginning of April. They seem to mean business because the scheduling people are not putting me on the overnight schedule. Major life change coming right up! I'm nervous and excited. I've worked nights for a long time. Returning to a more or less normal schedule is a Big Deal. I'll be precepting one of the new overnight nurses, and I'm dubious about my ability to do a good job of it, but I'm also looking forward to doing something else new. Evidently I'm a "new things" junkie.


Piercings...I got the tongue and navel done together because I decided caring for piercings is a big pain and I'd rather do it all at once. I have all I want now. The navel didn't hurt and hasn't given me a second of trouble so far. The bottom hole has migrated a little to the side, but I plan to swap out the ring for a spiral when it heals anyway, so I'm over it. The tongue didn't hurt but has been a big pain in the ass. I had it placed far back to minimize the probability of dental complications and speech issues and to maximize concealment. (Visible tongue piercings cannot be justified as professional, and clicky ones irritate me.) The piercer placed it exactly where I wanted, but she warned me the farther back it goes, the more it swells. She was not kidding. I guess that's why most tongue piercings are right by the tongue tip. I'm on day 6 and my second bar (the bottom ball on the barbell was making me nuts, so my piercer swapped out my barbell for a 3/4" labret with the same size top ball, and the flatness of it under my tongue returned color and sound to my world!), and the swelling and pain are basically gone. I had trouble talking for only an hour or so after I got it: no lithping. Eating sucked, but I'm back on carefully chewed solids. Another week and I should be ready for a shorter bar. I freaking love this piercing. It sounds insane, but I have wanted a tongue piercing forever. They have a trashy reputation and all kinds of bad associations, but I love that I know it's there and no one else does unless I choose to show them. (I choose to show most people [GAAAAAHHHHHH look at my new piercing!], but, eg, patients don't have to gape at it and think their nurse is a deviant!) I'm also forming good habits from the start and training myself to just let my tongue float still in my mouth despite the temptation to poke around with the jewelry, and I'm not an annoying tongue piercee who runs the jewelry against the backs of my teeth. I hate it when people do that. And I'm not going to get a glow-in-the-dark beachball barbell for it or anything.

I guess if you're going to have a scorching case of strep throat, you might as well have new piercings to cheer yourself up through it? And yes, I am glad I didn't get strep septicemia through the open piercing in my mouth. Had I known strep was around the corner, I obviously wouldn't have done it!