Today was much, much better. My preceptor apologized for how crazy it got last week and I admitted that I was somewhat demoralized by the experience. She said I did okay and that run-of-the-mill cases were never like that. I offered that other nurses came up to me while I was finishing up paperwork to see if I was okay and had my preceptor left me and gone home?! It was just paperwork and the oncoming shift had already taken over, but it was nice to see that they cared. We laughed about her now getting a reputation for being a harsh, cruel bitch who tosses her preceptees into the deep end of the pool. And then releases the sharks with lasers on their frickin' heads.
We again took two empty beds, but my preceptor (I've got to think of a decent pseudonym for her so I can quit typing "my preceptor") promised that she'd get me something more entry-level. It was another pump case, what we call it when the patient has been on a heart-lung bypass machine during surgery, but a much more stable one. In addition to getting the workflow down that much better, I learned that shivering unrelieved by warming blankets is likely due to a reaction to anesthesia and that Demerol treats it. Cool. I also learned not to throw away IV tubing from surgery even though you're not presently using it because you might need it later to infuse fluids. Noted.
Much better day. I absolutely can do this. Yay.