I submitted my grad school application– yes!

I finally finished my essay after several drafts so I submitted my grad school application online. It really makes you think about why you want to go into a career and forces you to be certain about what you’re going to do in the next few years.

I did share my blog in the personal statement essay. In this 21st century, I hoped that was ok. After looking at Twitter, I found that the school also had a WordPress blog. Perhaps they will see what blogging can do for someone… And help many people!

It’s been somewhat of a relief to finally be done with applying for grad school. I went to two information sessions, studied and took the GRE, took the PALS classes, studied and passed the CCRN, made sure recommendation letters are completed and in (and thanked those who’ve helped me), got my Michigan license… It’s been quite a few things to coordinate. Having a timeline helped but it’s mostly been studying, studying, studying. While I welcome the break, I know that I’m going to be itching to do something again.


My (I mean, my boyfriend’s) First Computer Built From Scratch

So building this computer from scratch was super exciting for me because I had never seen the inside of a computer. Ok, maybe I did see it once but none of it really made sense to me. In fact I thought it was terrifying because I was afraid I was going to break something.

For someone who mostly consumes technology rather than produces it, I thought it was a great learning opportunity. Plus it was a Build-It-Yourself Computer birthday gift for Dan, my boyfriend. ūüôā

If you have a Microcenter close to where you live, I highly recommend going there if you’re interested in making a computer. The tech support was¬†really helpful in making decisions and they price match with all major retailers (such as Amazon and NewEgg). One opened up in Queens, NY, driving distance from my residence.

img_0471_FotorAs you see in this photo above, there are several boxes with labels. In the green text, you will see:

These are the things that you see outside of a computer. I remember when I was younger I thought that was the computer. But alas I was wrong.

The computer is really the stuff marked in blue text.

  • CPU or the Computer Processing Unit. This is the ‘brains’ of the computer. In this case, it is the Intel i5. While it includes a fan to cool, we also bought a separate CPU Cooler.
  • Motherboard. This is literally the body of the computer and where everything attaches to make things work. It’s the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 here.
  • Graphics card or the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). This determines how pretty and how fast the pictures are on the screen. It’s the EVGA¬†Geforce GTX 970.
  • Power Supply. You need something to power up the computer! It’s the Corsair RM 750 here.
  • CD and DVD drive. Because a desktop computer should have at least one. It’s $15.

Now onto memory (because what’s a computer without a storage area like the human brain?):

  • RAM or Memory. We initially forgot to buy it so it is not pictured here. This is the ‘short term’ memory for the computer to run everything once the computer is turned on.
  • Solid State Drive (SSD). This is a fast access ‘long term’ memory. With no moving parts, the storage is written directly on the SSD and will less likely fail, also generating less heat and using less electricity. Many small portable laptops such as the MacBook Air uses a SSD. It’s recommended to put the Operating System (OS) such as Windows on here for faster boot up time. Here we’re using the PNY SSD 240 GB.
  • Hard Disk Drive (HDD). This is a¬†slower than SSD access ‘long term’ memory. It involves a spinning disk where information is magnetically written on and read by an arm in the drive. It takes time to spin up the drive and access the information. This is perfect for storing movies and pictures! And we got 1TB to spare (that’s 1024 GB!!).

One of the great things about building your own computer is that it is very easy to add more memory (SSD and HDD). So let’s say in a year I run out of 1 TB. Then it’ll only cost $80 for a 2TB HDD. That’s much cheaper than having to buy another computer all together.

In the above picture you will also see the computer case: the Fractal Define 5. It’s the latest case and it has sound dampening in the case. It is super important to keep the computer cool so some fans in the computer is recommended. This case will keep the computer running whisper quiet. Also I’m a fan of Finding Nemo so he’s on top. The panda is from San Diego Zoo and the Despicable Me Minion was a winning prize from the Las Vegas Circus Circus Hotel.


First things first. Prevent static shock otherwise you’ll fry the motherboard. We took off our socks and shoes and touched the metal inside of the case to ground ourselves before touching any parts. And grab a bowl to place the screws. And a screwdriver.

Notice the white slots on the side. That’s for the memory (SSD and HDD).

Take out the case and the motherboard.


Take out the CPU and put it inside the hole.


Attach the included CPU cooler or the optional one bought separately.

Also attach the RAM memory (usually 2 places).


Now it’s time to place it (as in the motherboard, CPU, cooler and RAM stick combo) inside of the case.


Screw it in (8 to 9 little screws).


Place the power supply inside (the Corsair RM 750 shown here).


Attach the power supply cords to the motherboard. This particular one is called ‘modular’ meaning that you can pick and choose which cords you need. In some more simple power supply have a ‘non-modular’ cord, which means you’ll have additional cords that you probably won’t need. Having extra wires in a computer is not good for circulation since you want to have as much airflow through the computer as possible to keep it cool.

Screw on the SSD and HDD each separately onto a white slot.  Connect it to the motherboard and power supply.

Connect the Graphics card inside.

Majority of the wires are threaded into the back. Tie up all the wires so it’s not a mess.

Close up the computer. Connect it to the monitor, keyboard, mouse and power. Turn it on for the first time. Congratulations!!

I have to thank Linus Tech Tips on YouTube. We watched his video during our installation process and it made it easy. So thanks!



NYC Marathon Volunteer


The 2014 NYC Marathon
Medical volunteer
For the first time
At mile 15
In Queens

Keep those cramps and aches at bay…
PT to the rescue!
Massage, massage
Ice, ice
In 3, 2, 1
Off you go

Don’t drink too much water otherwise
You’ll get hyponatremia
Eat some salt!
Drink Gatorade to replace electrolytes!

Vaseline for chaffed thighs

Tylenol 650, not Advil
And only once
red dot
drink it down
Off you go again

Too cold
Warm up
Sit in the warm ambulance
Keep going!

New bandaid

Ankle hurts
Wrap, wrap

And of course,
Scan in, scan out,
The fastest documenting ever

Inspirations abound
Spirits high

Let’s go!!


Talking to intubated patients make a difference

I’ve taken care of my fair share of intubated patients. But over the last 2 nights, I encountered something different. They¬†went¬†from calm to wild in just a few minutes. If the sedation was down, then I increased that. Normally it works pretty fast.

But it wasn’t so in this case. Both patients were ‘bucking the vent.’ One didn’t have a PRN order ready so for one I had my coworker help me get an order and prepare ativan. But in the meantime, I remember reading critical care nursing journals about the experiences of previously intubated patients. They said to always assume that the patient can hear you. They said that when the nurse talked to them about where they were, what’s going on, and what to do, in a strong confident voice, that the patients felt comforted by that. So that’s exactly what I did.

This patient kept biting down on the tube (which is a big no no because we don’t want a punctured tube!!). “You’re in the hospital and you’re very sick. I’m Jessica, your nurse. Right now you’re having trouble breathing so you have a breathing tube. I know it’s uncomfortable but you need this. Try to calm down and take slow breaths. Open your mouth. Your face is very red but calming down will allow you to breathe better.”

Once I said this, the patient did calm down and opened her mouth.

“Good, your face is looking better and you’re oxygenating better. We are going to turn you to the side to clean you because you had a little accident, ok?”

She was able to cooperate much more at this point. And this happened before giving the ativan. My coworker then came in, administered it (“we’re going to give you something to help you relax now”), and she was at peace again.

Even though she couldn’t focus her eyes and couldn’t follow simple commands, it seems as though what I said did make a difference.


Where’s my ID?!

So they say that a vacation is most enjoyed prior to the actual trip — mostly because you get to fantasize about all the fun you’re going to have. But once¬†you’re there, some things don’t go according to plan — but you’ll still remember that feeling before the trip.

Currently, I’m stuck at the JFK airport waiting for my flight. I’ll back up.

Last week was my boyfriend’s brother’s high school graduation in San Diego so I went for a few days. On the way back, his mom let me use one of her bags to carry back stuff. I first put my ID in a orange backpack. After going through security, I put my ID in that green duffel bag. And left it there.

I worked 4 days. I packed this morning, thinking my ID was in my wallet. I checked my wallet on the way to the airport… a little too late. And no ID.

I thought I left it in the orange bag. My boyfriend, Dan, goes back to see if he can find it. I waited in line for 1/2 hour only to be told that they don’t need a ID to check in but it’d take 1/2 hour to go through the process. Except my flight by then was in 1/2 hour. I rebooked my flight for $50.

Dan¬†gets home. He doesn’t find the ID. I had to go outside to call him. So then I finally recall that the ID was in the duffel bag. And I was carrying that duffel bag in my carryon. I opened up my carry on and there it was — in the front pocket.

I changed up my routine and didn’t put the ID in my usual spot.

Never again… at least I’ll arrive in Vegas at midnight for our biannual vacation with the family.

So moral of the story —

  1. Always return your ID in that special spot ASAP.
  2. Check the ID before leaving for the airport.

In bed by 8:07am

Wow, I’ve never driven home from work, shower and be in bed by 8:07am. Yay!!! And I’m getting report from the same nurse tonight. I love that– back to back report to and from the same nurse.

Caring from the heart is nursing

Yesterday I wrote about a frustrating moment I had. A reader said that nursing is caring from the heart. I agree with that.

Since going to the ICU,
most of my patients can’t talk to me.
But one was A/O x3, could speak, though didn’t seem normal quite yet.

He was what I called “call-bell happy.”
Too hot, too cold, not comfortable–
it can all happen in a matter of 10 minutes.

1st night- “can I have a sleeping pill?” “Ice, ice, ice” “blankets on, blankets off”

2nd night- slept throughout the night but I’d catch him when he woke up and waved at me to come over. “hurts, hurts, hurts” “your bum?” He nods. I turned him to the other side and boom! He was fast asleep again.

3rd night- he looked like a new man!! Ahh the wonders of a good night rest.

He waved me over to fix him up at change of shift. He proceeded, “thank you. I knew that the moment I looked at you that you’re caring from the heart. You have made a big difference for me.”

I was a little bit shocked that he spoke so normally. We continued to talk and he spoke about another hospital. I asked him about his experience there. His eyes lit up and said, “You should be working there! There’s where you belong. You see that everyone collaborates and works so seamlessly as teams.”

I was taken back a little bit because I felt my unit had members who worked well as teams too. Does that mean he implied that here was worse than there?

He continued, “Leave your information. I’m friends with the head doctor there. I’ll get you a job there. I will. Include your specialty.” And he repeated this several times before he went to sleep.

Unfortunately, he was a step down patient and a critical care patient needed to get transferred into his room. So he left. And a new patient went into his place.

I never did leave my information because I felt that it was a little unprofessional but also, would he really remember? He still has to go to rehab to recover and it would be odd to have my information amongst his personal belongings. I’m not sure if I would’ve gone- I kinda like where I am now. Plus I’m just starting here!!

Another patient- I also had her for 2 nights with a couple days off in between. On the 3rd night she just came back from a procedure. She saw me and reached out for me. The PACU nurse said, “aww she really likes you!” I squeezed the patient’s hand and she squeezed back.

I think that says everything.