Healthy Living Mommy Life Personal Musings Wellness Womanhood

Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates… But Pick Which One You Want

Two parts to this blog. I don’t even know where to begin with part one really, as it has taken me so long to distribute an update. Let’s just wing it, because apparently, I am good at that.

Life has been… wow, well, over the last 5 years, quite a journey. I mean, for real, a real journey as if I was on the biggest rollercoaster ride of my life. No, I’m lying. Not truly a rollercoaster. For one, you’d likely never catch me on one, because heights, speed, and the nausea. But in reality, some okay rides, great rides, and some decent rides that spun around and around; flew up and down. Overall, pretty good rides, y’all.

The last time I wrote a transparent blog was sharing my pregnancy/labor experience. If you’ve been following me since the beginning, you know all about that experience, previous experiences and the beautiful aftermaths. Since then, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to update my blog like I used to. I haven’t even updated my social media accounts as I would like to. Life took a course when I decided to go to nursing school; and after finishing, spent some time relocating back to the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) as of October 2021. Lots has happened, and what is better than one of your favorite transparent bloggers sharing a little bit of tea of what has unfolded? I’ll wait.

Hi, hey, hello! My name is Charli, aka Lollie, aka Char for close friends and family. I’m back! Not sure for how long, but right now, I’m here and in the moment; excited to be writing, sharing and communicating with you all again. How’s life been? I wouldn’t know as I have not been really posting or viewing on social media. I post here and there, but it’s really just to keep my accounts active. Even during the rise of a global pandemic, I was hardly active and accounted for. I tried and was posting daily, but it gradually depleted as the pandemic situation went along. You want to know why? Well let’s start here.

Wynter (whom most of you know to be my only child; a beautiful 4-year old son) was about 3 months old when I decided to pursue nursing school back in 2018. It was a special kept secret, because me?? Nursing school?? Yes. That’s right — a completely new adventure, a total career change. You all know me to have had a career in public relations, communications, social media, and entertainment. I mean, I am an artist. That will never change by the way. I’m going to always have my pen with the paper, editing smooth transitions for video clips, perhaps a mic interviewing a celebrity, the crochet needle with a mean right hook, and a color swatch for the perfect wall decor. However, after living in Miami, FL for such a time and realizing that my career field(s) didn’t live up to the hype in FL, I discovered that healthcare was where it was at. Turns out that healthcare was a calling, and an eventual confirmation. If you know me, then you know that I am 100%, a full blown nerd. Always ready for an educational adventure — a challenge, if you will. However, I was not sure how nursing school would unfold quite frankly. I wasn’t even sure if I would get accepted into the private school that I was applying to. But hey, I went for it; enough to get my socks wet. I had to take a couple of preliminary exams to even see if I was qualified. Passed those with flying colors. Submitted all documents required to enroll. Learned that I could waive some courses because I had already taken them in college (score, score). So, I get to the moment of learning just how much it would cost me. Not too bad to pay out of pocket; because after getting my BS and MFA, I was definitely NOT taking out a loan. So cool, they accept me into the school and I am ready to begin my first set of courses in April 2018 to obtain my RN license.

For someone with absolutely no background in the medical field, nursing school was HARD. And that’s putting it lightly because it’s also hard for students that do have medical backgrounds. To be honest, my school’s administration really should not have even waived chemistry, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, and the math courses that I had already taken because chile… I wanted to throw in the towel during the first semester. But, I pushed on through. Let me also say, I was working a full time job during the day, and then going to my classes in the evenings. It wasn’t “hard” during my first two semesters of nursing school, it was more like a recap/refresher of what I already knew. I was bored and really felt like my time spent on assignments and studying could have been used elsewhere. After all, I do have a 6-8 month old baby boy at the time.

Anyway, I kept it moving… passing exams like nothing at first. And then that’s when nursing school truly started testing me — it pulled out a brand new red carpet, and introduced itself like, “Hola, como estas, chica! So glad you decided to drop by!”

Chile. Do you even want to know? It started with Fundamentals (your first set of lab check offs/clinicals and when you learn the basics of how to be a nurse). Cool, I found that one to be fairly easy, although difficult (because you know, the lack of medical background). With that course, I also had to learn the lab values and Acid & Base, electrolyte/fluid imbalances. Won’t get into all of that, but if you know what I’m talking about, then you’ll find it very strange that Acid/Base and fluid electrolyte imbalances were actually two of my favorite topics in nursing school. Mastering those two will literally give you a solid idea of what’s going on with the human body and how to treat it.

Then there was Dosage Calculations (where obviously you have to learn how to calculate just how much medication [pills/injections] or IV drips to administer). But again, cool. I was not great in math previously, but once I learned the formulas required for the calculations, I was good to proceed accordingly. Let me address that this course may or may not be a waste of time and money because in today’s world, nurses do not technically have to calculate dosages because the computer systems do it for you and/or the physician will literally just tell you the dose. But, I get why this course is still offered today. I have found myself calculating in my head on the spot countless times since starting the job that I have now. And also if you ever judge or question that the physician’s dose is maybe inaccurate, then knowing the calculation is awesome so that you cover your a-s-s.

THEN, the heavy hitter hit. And I mean HIT, HIT. Pharmacology. Nope, never will miss that class. Intriguing, but didn’t enjoy it. Nope. You mean to tell me that I need to learn when, why, where, and how to give a medication?? And, AND on top of that, learn how to know if it’s in a therapeutic range? A THERAPEUTIC RANGE??? “What in thee entire hell is a therapeutic RANGE??” Oh, when the medication is doing the job it was intended for, which may or may not apply to lab numbers. Okay, cool. But then, there are classes of medications that you REALLY have to watch for like Digoxin, Potassium, Phenytoin, Lithium, and a host of others like opioids, narcotics and benzos because if you give too much, you’re literally, going to perhaps, maybe like kill your patient — and I mean, fast.

At minimum (all prayers on deck), put them in respiratory distress.

Jesus be an IV drip because baby, the numbers were numbering! Too many to learn, too many medications/routes/why/syringe sizes/how/when to give/when not to give.

I was pretty much over nursing school by now as you can imagine. BUT, somehow, somehow… I managed to pass the courses so far with no issues. Then I get to Maternity & Newborn and Pediatrics Yayyy! Something I thought I’d have a solid foundation about because at this time, I also have a 1 year old; and well, I mean the experience of having a kid is still like “fresh”, you know? Going into this class, I just knew I would ace it all across the board. I’m going to stop you right now and just say, nah. I mean, some things were familiar, but learning all of the stages of labor, the immunizations and when they are due, pediatric heart defects/congenital heart failure, what to do with your pregnant patient when the fetus isn’t getting enough oxygen in utero, the stages of child development, etc. I had a clue, like a “ding, ding”, but those were not the questions asked on exams. If you could see my face while currently reminiscing, you’ll discover that I am looking straight side-eyed. But guess what? Passed.

Med-Surgical. This one is split into two semesters because it’s entirely too damn long of a course. So in my nursing program, we called it Med-Surg I, and Med-Surg II. This course breaks down all of the body systems (Nervous/Neuro, Musculoskeletal, Integumentary, Endocrine, Cardiovascular, Immune, Respiratory, Urinary, Digestive, and Reproductive). We learned the major disease processes for each body system and how to identify/treat it; but the major point in this paragraph is that this course came right when COVID-19 arrived. Which means that there was no more “on campus” learning. We went strictly virtual mode. Plus, we had to attend clinicals for this course at the hospitals that we were assigned to “practice” what we were so called learning, virtually. This was THEE WORST course to start taking during a freaking global pandemic. Are you kidding me?? I got lazy, immediately. Reading the syllabus alone had me like, “whaaat???” Foreign.

Continuing on because I just got mad all over again. After finishing Med-Surgical, I could relax maybe a little bit because what came next was Nursing Ethics, Community and Leadership. I was good there, but completely over the fact that my classes were now 100% virtual which meant I had to do the whole online thing — which also meant that I had to post on the discussion boards and “interact” with my classmates on a specific day, by a specific time. I’m sorry if you ever have to do that. It’s fake. Like really, the people are basically forcing you to communicate with classmates that you have never met in real life and discuss your opinion on a topic, and if you don’t comply, you get 0 points regardless and could fail even if you actually submit the additional required assignments and take/pass the exams. Like, really? I mean, I get it — because of the lack of physical class discussion; but again, fake.

My last course was what we called, Capstone. This course was a complete, comprehensive class on everything that was taught during my time in nursing school. All of the subjects/topics/disease processes were mixed in together. In order to graduate, you obviously would have to succeed in passing this course. You start off by taking mini comprehensive exams, but by the end of the course, you take the bigger exams and final (the exit exam). If you fail the exit exam (no matter if you are passing the actual class), then you fail the course, period. You must score at least 900 points on the exam. So in short, in order to complete the program that I was in, you would have to pass the exit exam by 900 points. I eventually passed, but it wasn’t an easy one. I had to take it twice. I had gotten all the way to the exit exam the first time, during a damn pandemic, faced with 165 questions and failed it by a few points (although I was passing the class). Took it again, and passed at 1100 points. Would I take it again? Absolutely not. But nevertheless, I passed. A regular, degular, SOUTHern black woman with absolutely no background in healthcare/science/medical finished nursing school in 2.5 years. Winged it. During a freaking global pandemic.

I will say this though, what makes nursing school so hard are the questions presented on the exams and the NCLEX (the exam you must pass in order to obtain your license). Nursing school/NCLEX exams are like no other. All of the answer choices can be right, but you have to choose the BEST one. Then you have these questions called Select All That Apply, which means you are presented with a question and you will have 5 or 6 answer choices and you have to literally select all that applies to that question. It can be one or all of the answer choices. Must know your medical content to get these correct.

Shortly after that, I graduated, and kept it moving. And this is where part two of my transparency comes into fruition. So far, I have not mentioned my son’s father as we had been together for several years; and also whom my followers are familiar with. I don’t have to really get into it because it’s not the point of this blog… however, as our connection had long exhausted towards the end of nursing school, it fits right in with the blog’s title.

I think what society deems as being normal can also be abnormal. Not everyone wants to fight for relationships that they no longer want to be in. Not everyone has time for, nor wants the baby mama/baby daddy drama. Not everyone wants to get married. Sometimes, life wakes you up and you have to make a decision based on your wants/needs/happiness; no matter how comfortable and happy you are in the moment. For me, I didn’t want to be in a relationship anymore because I knew that my son’s father was not the man that I am supposed to be with long term; yet alone, supposed to marry. I knew that for a long while prior to my departure. So, what did I do? I left, and that’s okay. I ended it just as quick as I chose nursing school; meaning, no hesitations. We came to the understanding that we would co-parent, and co-parenting is what it has been. Simple.

I said all of that to say, just because things don’t quite work out (whether career, relationship, or any journey), I promise you that it’s fine. Your happiness, lifestyle, what you want out in YOUR life, and mental/emotional health is what matters the most. Mediate on YOUR calling. It doesn’t have to be any hard feelings, nor does drama have to be attached. Maybe it’s just a simple matter of fact, that the growing isn’t growing — and that’s also okay.

Make the decision, move on and start a new thing. With jobs, toxic family and friends, situations… That’s all there is to it. I didn’t realize that my new thing had begun prior to ending the relationship with my son’s father. But once I decided to finally end it, I was already set to begin a new life which was my nursing career. Don’t wait around.

I left Miami. I left what was once considered for me to be a place of settling for the sake of my child, but in the end, it was not. I have stated on my social media several times that Washington, DC is a place that is dear to my heart and where I have always longed to return. I fit in much better, and living within the different international cultures is absolutely phenomenal. I love it here, where Wynter and I are currently based in the DMV (about 10 minutes from Capitol Hill); also where I have a stable career as an RN Intern at the prestigious George Washington University Hospital. I love my job, and I love our new journey with plenty of friends and family rooting for me.

Now you have reached the part when it’s time to re-visit the title of this blog. Sometimes you have to pick and choose what life presents to you. I was back and forth for a while, but eventually made a lot of decisions that I knew would benefit me and my son in the long run. If you have made it this far in reading and you’re currently battling with some decisions, then this is your sign to let go and be happy. Do a NEW you — and like I always say, keep it moving! It’s been around 6 months since starting my new life and I haven’t looked back since. Love it here.

In fact, I received my first award from the GWU Hospital last week. Only 4 months in, and a long way to go! Life IS like a box of chocolates… you can pick it though ;-) Blessings and salutations to each and everyone of you!

Forrest Gump is one of my favorite movies, by the way. Lots of messages there.

L-O-V-E you, much, xo.

Pictured from left to right, my Nursing Director, my Charge Nurse/Educator, myself, and Chief Nursing Officer