Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Survivor Day

Five years ago to the date, I had brain surgery. It was the scariest experience/trial/moment of my life. In the end, I came out stronger, and better because of it. I survived.
I am so grateful for today.
I've taken a lot of time today to think on these past five years,
and they have been, without a doubt, the most incredible years of my life.

This was me, 5 years and one day ago, the day before I went into the hospital. 

I had just finished my Junior year.
I had so many plans for my future, but I was worried if I'd ever make it there.

I remember every second of the week I spent in the hospital.
The tear-inducing moment when my surgeon shaved off my hair

The really horrendous pictures my mom insisted on taking with everyone.

The not so horrendous pictures where I actually felt like a human again.

Having the hardest time falling asleep, and then finally finding the perfect angle to rest my head, and immediately falling asleep. 

And I'll never forget the Medusa look I had going for an entire week.
I was one good looking patient.

And of course, I'll always have my scar to remind me.

And here it is in full color. If you're squeamish, don't scroll.
Or at least scroll real fast.

I feel like I was living one life pre-surgery,
and I'm living a completely different life post-surgery.

Pre-surgery I was a perfectly normal person,
but I feel I took life for granted.
I didn't realize just how good my life was.

But now I'm a different, more grateful person.
I am so grateful for the vision that I do have.
I'm grateful that I function normally, and that people don't realize my medical history.
Every day has meaning now, because I'm lucky to be alive.

Today is my Survivor Day.
I am strong.
I am special.
I am loved.
I am completely happy.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

I'm Just So Grateful

I am so grateful for the mindfulness of my Heavenly Father. I know, with all my heart, that He knows me and has a plan for me. He lays the foundation for His future plans without us really noticing, and this week I have watched the pieces fall into place.

I have gone 4 years since high school graduation without taking out a student loan. Between my gracious parents my first year of school, scholarships up at USU, and working full time for a year in 2011, I had enough money to not need financial aid. This past year, I have watched my nest egg dwindle because of tuition, a huge trip across the world, and the day to day bills. I was starting to look at government student loans, because I'm always so conscious of my future, and I didn't want to graduate nursing school with $1,000 in my savings account.

I applied for scholarships at the end of spring semester, and never heard back on them. A suggestion from a very kind lady in the financial aid office last week sent me applying for scholarships again, hoping to get any leftover money the school might have. Tuesday night, I pulled two scholarship offers from the school, totaling $2,500 from the mailbox. I ripped through the letters, thrilled to see this glorious number that would cover almost all of my last two semesters of nursing school.

As I read the requirements of the scholarships, I was discouraged to find I was required to have 15 credit hours each semester to maintain the money, yet the nursing program only came to 9 credit hours each semester. I am incredibly busy outside of the 5 hours I allot to the nursing schedule every morning, and I figured there was no way I could fit 6 extra credits into my day. I walked into the nursing program director's office with my scholarships offers clutched in my hand. I explained to her my predicament, and she pulled out a huge manual to help me out. She pulled out one 3 credit hour class that would only require about 1 hour of my attention every week. With 3 credits down and 3 to go, she asked me if I was working as a nurse.

I excitedly answered that yes, I was working night clinic at a family practice office in town. She smiled and told me I could get college credit for working as a nurse, with no required class time. The requirement was 150 hours over 16 weeks of the semester, and I pulled out my calculator to figure if I worked enough to meet that requirement. I was about 5 hours short each week, and she could see I was stressed out. I started mumbling about how I could possibly attempt to pick up more hours each week, and she cut in with a better option. She changed the class requirements around, added a paper to the curriculum and said I would be just fine.

Because of a job that I felt very compelled to apply for back in April and was hired for in May, I am getting 3 more credits this semester without adding any class time to my schedule. I am keeping my scholarship because of this job that was such a miracle a few months ago. Heavenly Father, without a doubt, guided me to apply, helped me during the interview, and put me in the best position to be hired at that clinic. It's amazing to me, when I really think about it. He put the foundation in place for me, without me really realizing the work He was accomplishing for me.

I am so grateful to have this scholarship, because it guarantees a bit of financial stability after graduation, and I will only have to pay a small amount every semester on my own. I can continue to be debt free (besides my car) and not pester my parents for money. I am so grateful to be in nursing school at a place where living is affordable, and the program is excellent quality.

I'm just so grateful for where I am in life, I know Heavenly Father is guiding my steps.

Monday, July 8, 2013

my last summer semester

Last Tuesday was the first day of Summer 2013 semester, and even though class is 4 hours, it was really nice to be back with the class and to finally have a purpose again. Class is going to be a good pace, and homework seems to be manageable. I'm so happy to see some of the for-sure changes and some of the in-the-works changes that are coming with the new program director.

First and foremost, NANDAs (a large, intensive, very specific paper on one patient every week) may be receding in our program. It's not a definite change, but even knocking down the number of them we have to write would be so, so wonderful! We have a new guy in our program that got his LPN at a technical college in the Provo area, and when the program director mentioned NANDAs, he asked what they were! Oh we were all so jealous that he had never written one!! Hopefully NANDAs become nonexistent. I would be very thrilled with that.

One change that I am very excited about is our clinical name badges. Our LPN year, it was a simple paper tag with our name and picture, that had been laminated and hole punched. This year, our badge will be plastic, similar to our student IDs around campus. It will help us look more polished and professional while at the hospital, and they won't bend near as easily.

We were going to change our scrubs from these awful barber looking tops into something more... realistic, but due to a signed contract with the maker of the below atrocities, we are stuck with them for one more year.

Seriously, buttons? Who puts buttons on a scrub top? Come on.

The most important change is that my name badge will read Courtney Brown, LPN, and that kinda makes me want to happy dance around the house. I'm a nurse!!!

I like good changes.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Licensed Practical Nurse

I woke up this morning and almost immediately hopped online to see if my name was posted on the Department of Professional Licensing website. If I had passed the NCLEX, the company that runs the test would have contacted Utah to tell them I am certified to be a licensed nurse. Then DOPL would have assigned me a license number, and posted my information online.
This is kinda the cheater's way of finding out if you passed.

So I rolled out of bed, changed into my gym clothes, and hesitantly typed my name into the DOPL search bar.
To find this.

The most beautiful thing I've ever read in my entire life.
Courtney Alisa Brown, Nurse.

Which means I can technically start signing my name
Courtney Brown, LPN.

I passed the NCLEX!
I'm finally a NURSE!

Monday, July 1, 2013


Well, I took the NCLEX today. A part of me is very happy to be done with the test, but now I am in the 'sit around and wait' portion. I expect to know if I passed by Wednesday morning, and boy, Wednesday feels months away.

The NCLEX has a minimum of 85 questions and a max of 205, and can take up to 5 hours to complete. I was in there for 1.5 hours and had 85 questions. This means that I A) passed, or B) failed miserably.

Obviously I'm hoping for option A.

Oh my gosh, I'm so nervous for my results!