25 December 2010

Things to Ponder

But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often... (Luke 2:19, NLT)


This is one of my favorite Christmas story verses. 


Last night, at our Christmas Eve service, God gave me something to ponder, something to keep in my heart and think about often. It was all because of one phrase that hit me like it’s never hit me before as we sang Silent Night – all is calm.

The Savior of the Universe had just been born. God could have caused a bazillion fireworks to go off to announce the birth of his Son, but no. Jesus was born in a quiet little stable with nothing more than a couple sheep and a donkey around. Mary didn’t demand state-of-the-art medical care – she quietly wrapped her baby in a piece of blanket and laid him in a trough full of hay.

The only thing that announced His birth was a twinkling star in the sky. Sure, the shepherds got a pretty massive wake-up call from an army of angels, but as for the scene of the birth, it reads like it was pretty low-key.

How would I have reacted in that same situation? Demanding? Complaining because it was dirty and smelly and I was all alone with no family around? Sure, Joseph was there, but what do guys really know about birthing a child in a stable without the option of an epidural and hand sanitizer?

I keep reflecting back on this past year, thinking about choices I've made and my attitude about situations. They haven't always been good. People annoy me, situations frustrate me and sometimes I just want to give up. I will admit (for accountability purposes) that my actions towards people who annoy me or frustration situations at times have embarrassed me - when will I ever learn just to keep my mouth shut and mind my own business?  


I was reading a couple online devotionals today, and came across a post that focused on this exact same verse that I love, and puts into words exactly what I’m trying to say here:

Our verse for today reminds us of a young woman at peace with her circumstances, trusting God no matter how things would work out. Fast forward 13 years later and she is still that kind, gentle woman — no yelling at Jesus, no threats, no yanking Him by the ear when they finally find Him. Instead, the Scriptures tell us that she treasured "all these things." Would I have been able to treasure that dirty stable? Would I have been able to treasure that seemingly errant teen?

As I pondered these two times where Mary is seen treasuring her circumstances, I began to wonder how often things go wrong in my life and I react instead of reflect. So I'm allowing these Scriptures to seep into my heart. Is my attitude, "May it be to me as You have said," or is it, "Okay, God, this is not the way it's supposed to be and I want You to fix it right away."

As we go through this season of celebrating Jesus' coming, I plan to work on my attitude when things don't go right. I plan to practice accepting God's plan when it doesn't match mine. I plan to learn to treasure and ponder instead of whine and complain. I plan to grow in my love and appreciation of Jesus, just as Mary did. I plan to marvel at His coming and revel in His glory. And most of all, this Christmas, I plan to search for Him everywhere, just as she did — and never lose sight of Him again.

From “Pondering and Peaceful” at Crosswalk.com

Reflect instead of react. Focus on God’s plan, not my own agenda. Treasure and ponder instead of whine and complain.

Sounds like great things to keep in my heart.

23 December 2010

The One at 4 AM

So, I've been up since 4:00am because the dogs needed to go out and M decided to start snoring. He's never snored...why he would start in the wee morning of the day we have an eight hour drive to Alabama ahead of us, I'll never know.


So here I am, watching the early morning news and keeping an eye on the weather forecast that's promising a white Christmas (that we won't be home for, but I think they're calling for flurries in Alabama - I'll take it!) and keeping an ear out for UConn since she ran out the door before I could secure her in the backyard. Knowing her, she's sniffing her way all over town, trying to find the most rank, disgusting thing to roll in/eat/bring home, and then she'll try to slip past me to get to the sofa where she'll roll and burrow until we want to toss the furniture to the curb - or better yet, light it on fire and just start all over.
I dream of wipe-clean leather.
So for now, it's just me, the news, a cup of coffee - always a bad idea before a massive road trip, but I don't care - and my laptop. I'm currently toggling between the Kindle books I want to download and an email I got from Clinique saying something about free overnight shipping. This could be dangerous.
A lot has happened over the past month - let me break it down for you. School (I'm sick to death of talking about school!). Finals. A five week break. I actually have time this year to decorate the entire house for Christmas. Last year we were so busy, therefore lazy, to put up a tree. We put presents around our fake fireplace heater. This year we have the tree, the wreaths, the icicle lights and the pine needles all over the living room floor.
I love this one from under the porch:
I also made homemade apple butter and canned it (as in mason jars and pots of boiling water on the stove - nothing exploded, so it was considered a success), and I've slipped into a habit of early morning yoga that doesn't flair up my right shin splint. Along with a Cardioblast class every Monday night until I go back to school, I might still be able to fit into my scrubs after the holidays are over.
I've also watched the entire first season of Glee, which M got me for Christmas, in the span of two days. I'm singing Journey in my sleep.
I'm also planning my little sister's baby shower - I love slipping the "little" in there because it sounds like a 12 year old got pregnant, but she's happily married and 15 years old. Just kidding...but that's how old she will always be in my mind. What happened to the little sister that used to pester me to death? She's having a baby, that's what. I'm a delirious Auntie-to-Be with the great honor of planning her shower and designing the invitations. Erin and Cole are major academicaholics, with about a million college/masters/soon-to-be-doctorate degrees between them, so of course their nursery is going to completely revolve around children's literature and the written word. If that baby doesn't come out quoting Kierkegaard and have a full understanding of exegesis theology, something will be terribly wrong.
It was only fitting to design invites that look like old-school library cards and handmade pouches from all different types of baby scrapbook paper: 
If my sister doesn't do it first, I can't wait to introduce my new niece to the wonderfully imaginative books of Rohl Dahl, Madeline L'Engle and Lois Lowry. And E.B. White. And Beverly Cleary. No child should grow up without books like that. For a further list of my favorite childhood books, see this post from last February. And see my sister's comment underneath it. Love it.
So back to books...I've recently read my way through two of Terri Blackstock's series, Newpointe 911 and the Restoration series. Both are fantastic series - not wimpy, namby-pamby Christian fiction - these books actually have page-turner plots and believable characters. Full of action and mystery, with a little romance thrown in. I got so caught up in them, well, let's just say I read the entire Restoration series during Finals week. I know, I know...I'm a nerdy nerd bookworm. I've also been scouring Amazon for my favorite Billie Letts (author of Where the Heart Is and Made in the USA) book since my copy of The Honk and Holler Opening Soon disappeared when I moved out of the SBU dorms 10 years ago. I happily found the Kindle version, and (Amazon makes this way too easy) clicked to send it to my iPhone, along with Indivisible by my other favorite author, Kristen Heitzmann. Happy reading on the way to Alabama.
Oh, and M bought me the entire boxed set of the Twilight books for Christmas, which I do not mind re-reading. At all. Seventeen times. 
Happy almost Christmas! 

11 November 2010

Almost 3-0

So, it's apparently been a gazillion years since I've updated this blog.

Not really. Just four weeks. But when you're in nursing school, it feels like a gazillion years.

Full-time school will do that to you. That, and the fact I turn the big 3-0 in two weeks.

Spousal texts, dated 11-1-10:
Me: Happy birthday month to meeeeeee!!! (I like to celebrate all month long. It's tradition.)
M: Happy 30TH birthday month to uuuuuuuuu!!! hahahahahahahahahaha.
Me: Oh snap, JERK!!!
M: Muhahahahahahaha

I guess I deserve it. I made a huge deal over him turning 30 (a-hem, a couple years ago), and I was super-sweet, reminding him that he was married to a 20-something. And that I was still in my twenties. And the twenties are awesome.


Anyway, a lot has happened in the past month. I'm sure you all know by now (if you follow me on Facebook) that I'm going to be an Auntie in April! Or March. Or whenever my sister decides to push that kiddo out. She and Cole came to visit during my fall break in October, and we had a great time catching up on everything. And buying nursing tank-tops. And stretchy maternity pants that look like they would be really comfortable for the days I have 8 hours of lecture.

This is us at Eckert's, a really fun pumpkin farm/apple orchard place.

And yes. We like to wear plaid and be farmy once in awhile.

The happy parents-to-be.

This is the picture that made me do several things:
1. Wonder who in their right mind made plaid popular again.
2. Wish I wouldn't have given away my entire plaid 8th grade wardrobe.
3. Color my hair back to it's original shade. Maybe it's just the pumpkin, but my hair has an orangish tint. Ew.
4. Go back on Weight Watchers. Maybe it's just the pumpkin, but man, my cheeks are just as round as it is.

While Erin was home, we had a fun girl's shopping day with mom. And guess what? Remember my post about a month ago about new running shoes? Mom surprised me with them as an early birthday present! See, blogging really does make a difference in the world. :) And due to those shoes, I came in 3rd in my age group in the Sullivan 5K last weekend.

And yes. There were more than three people in my age group.

I have another 5K tomorrow night, and I'm a little nervous over a sudden shin splint that developed seemingly overnight. It hurts. I keep telling myself that I'll just walk this 5K, but I know me. When I get to the starting line I get all competitive on myself. I can't stop running. I know that if I do, I'll feel really guilty and weak at the finish line. Thoughts will go through my head like, "It's only 3 miles! Why did you stop and walk? It's ONLY 3 MILES!! You're weak! Keep running!"

And now you've just experienced a psychotic episode by Addie.

In other news, I started my pediatric clinicals at the end of October, and have discovered that I have the incredible ability to make a child cry just by walking in the room. What is it with me and kids? We just don't seem to mesh very well.

But I know that it's not fun for a kid to be in the hospital, and just being in that bed surrounded by beeping machines and anxiety-filled parents would make anyone cranky. I try to get them to smile during a procedure. During vital signs. When the Wiggles are on TV (they freak me out too. I can't blame the kid for crying at that one.). This rotation has definitely gotten me out of my comfort zone - I'm not the best at holding babies anyway, and add what seems like a hundred tubes and wires coming out of them and you get an Addie that's about ready to hyperventilate.

I think the thing that is my biggest challenge is the fact that they are babies. With adults, you can explain the procedure and why you're doing what you're doing. With babies and little kids, all they see is you coming at them with a weird thing around your neck and a cold disk you place on their chest. And then you stare at them for a full minute while you try to count their heart rate - not easy on babies who's hearts beat like butterfly wings.

And another confession: I LOVE, absolutely LOVE, my psych rotation. I love all of my unpredictable, absolutely fascinating schizophrenic patients. I want to put them all in my pocket and bring them home with me. I never in a million years would have thought that I would have become attached to psychiatric nursing, but I love it. Maybe it's because I can relate (see psychotic episode above for reference). Is it bad that I can totally follow a schizophrenic's train of thought? I can honestly see how they can make their connections from one random thought to another very easily. They are so sincere about it, and it makes me want to be their advocate, to protect them from people who laugh. Who don't understand. Who think they can't be helped. Who think they are a waste and a drain on society. 

The people who point and laugh and have no compassion are the people with the real problem, if you want my honest opinion. These patients are amazing. They have so much to share and give, if only the world would give them a chance.

Career choice? Possibly.

Speaking of choices, I put my request in for my comprehensive clinicals in the spring. My name is in for the VA hospital (working with veterans who deserve the best care possible, with a little mix of geriatrics and psych thrown in), and for Med/Surg which will give me the chance to work with geriatrics/oncology. 

I want to be EVERYTHING! 

What I don't want to be is 30. Yet. Give me a couple more years, and then maybe I'll be ready. Maybe.

Today I love: An entire day off from class.
Today I don't love: Spending an entire day off from class studying for Monday's test.

13 October 2010

Rescue Stories

Those of you who are even just a little bit remotely familiar with me know the number one cause I support.
Rescue dogs.
So imagine how excited I was to find this message in my inbox this morning:

Hi there Addie!

Just wanted to let you know that Knuke is our Rescue of the Week this week! You can see the story and pictures here:


Thank you so much for sharing his story. He looks like such a great boy. :)

Nikki Jeske
Co-Founder, I Love Rescue Animals
So in celebration of Knukie-pie being the center of attention this week, let's all help out the shelter animals everywhere. Volunteer at your local shelter for a day (or week. Or month. Or the rest of your life.), donate bags of food, cleaning supplies and/or leashes and collars. Write a check.
Or, most importantly, save a life and ADOPT A PET!!
Coming up in November I'm working with BFAS (remember the puppy mill rescue?) and their "First Home Forever Home" campaign - two whole weekends of campaigning for animal rescue and collecting food to go to local shelters and families in need who want to keep the pets they love. It's a national food drive - so even if you're not in my area, you can still help out!
Interested in volunteering? You can contact bfvolcoord@bestfriends.org. They'll put you in touch with their First Home Forever Home campaign specialist, and you're good to go! If you can't volunteer, I encourage you to stop by your local PETCO the first two weekends in November and make a donation.
The benefit?
Helping animals and local families, which in return gives you this incredible feeling I like to call "the warm fuzzies."
It's so worth it.
Do you have a great rescue story to share? Email me, post it in the comments section or send it to me on Facebook. I'll pick one (or all!) and post it on this blog!

09 October 2010



It's fall.

That means that at the beginning of your early morning run you have your sleeves on, and by the last mile you’re ready to de-vest yourself of your coldtech gear and streak down the trail because you’re sweating bullets.

And then we all get pneumonia.

Hey. Some things are worth it.

This morning was a fairly decent run. 4.5 miles in 45:45…I really wanted to do sub-10’s, but there’s this small incline steep hill-of-death  (ok, ok…flat-as-a-pancake stretch) at the end that slows me down every time. But I’ll take it. 4.5 miles in almost 46 minutes is way better than what I was doing this summer.

You know, sitting on my rear, wishing it wasn’t a million degrees outside, stressing about school and generally eating everything in sight. I was such the motivational girl, wasn’t I?

Speaking of school, I get done at 10am every Thursday. That means that I have almost an entire day to do whatever I want. I should probably use that time wisely to study, but, well, more important things usually come up instead.

Like finally making it a priority to find Fleet Feet.

A couple months ago I lost my precious little can of jogger’s mace, and, using that as an excuse went to buy another one at FF. I walked in the door and there they were right in front of me.

I grabbed one and headed to the cash register…where I met one of FF’s finest customer service reps.

They are good. A little too good.

An hour and a half later, I’m out the door with custom shoe inserts, the jogger’s mace and Todd the Sales Guy’s (actually, he’s a FIT Professional) business card with my brand-new custom-fitted shoe information on it.


Yes. Yes I am.

I'm usually an Asics girl, but the Fleet Feet guy said that Asics are "soft" shoes and that my form is better in Mizuno's. Apparently I have saggy arches (not really the body part I was highly worried about sagging) and he was particularly in awe of the mechanics of my right knee.

That’s the beauty of going to a place like Fleet Feet. They measure your feet, use some sort of software to tell you all about your arches and pronation, and then they have you try on a bazillion different shoes and take you outside to the parking lot so they can scrutinize your footfalls.

When I turned around to run back towards Todd, I saw his mouth hanging open. I was all ready for him to say something like, “Wow! You have great form!” or “Wow! Have you ever thought about quitting whatever you’re doing to become a professional marathoner??”

Instead, what I got was, “Um, wow! You’re entire right knee turns inward when you run! Did you know that? I’ve never seen anything like that!!!” Then he yells to his sales partner inside the store to come check out the freak of nature who at that particular moment wanted to rip out her knee and throw it at his face.  

In all honesty, it was actually a good thing to find out. Five years of running, six pairs of Asics, four cortisone shots and countless bottles of Aleve later, I find I’ve been running in a shoe that’s perfectly awful for me.

He put me in some Mizunos, which up until that point I had only assumed were baseball shoes since that’s M’s footwear of choice. However, the Nirvana 6’s fit me like a glove.  And they were pretty. And they help my saggy arches and will cushion my freaky knee.

And I want them.

And they cost more than my nursing school tuition.

I felt really, really bad – this guy had spent an hour and a half fitting me for shoes, and here I was just not going to buy anything. Seriously, I’m a sucker. I feel bad for taking up people’s time, so then I end up buying something from them so that they feel like their time wasn’t wasted.

M gets a little frustrated at me for that.

Maybe because that’s the justification I used for bringing home a new car several years ago.

But anyway. I listened to M’s threats words of wisdom bouncing around in my head, and I told the guy to write down the info and that I would put the shoes on my birthday list and send my parents in after the shoes.

So mom and dad, there it is. Don’t let Todd the Sales Guy down.  The ball’s in your court. I wash my hands of his commission. It’s up to you to help him make a sale. No pressure.
Wow. Is that sad and pathetic? An almost-30-year-old still begging her parents for shoes?

All I wanted was some jogger’s mace.


30 September 2010


Pharmacology test. Multiple clinicals. Fall festival in downtown Washington. Cupcakes down on the Central West End.
Just a few of the reasons I haven't blogged lately. Here's a rundown of my life the past two weeks...
I know you're super-excited.
Clinicals. My patient last week was under mandatory 72 hour sedation, so I got to see the wonders of propofol in person. The best part was getting to meet him this week...I shook his hand and said, "You don't know me, but I took care of you two days last week. You were a model patient. Very compliant." He laughed as best as he could around his trach and feeding tube. His wife was like, "Yes honey, don't you remember? You promised me a trip to Jamaica!" I really liked these people. My patient this week had MRSA, which means I sweated through my scrubs in about five minutes due to the requisite gown-and-gloves routine all day. You do what you need to do to get the job done, right?
I FINALLY got to go to the most fantastic falafal place in the city. You have no idea how much I've wanted to check this place out. Al-Tarboush Deli on the Loop - you have to try it sometime. It's Lebanese and absolutely falafaltastic. I just had it last week with my friend Teri, and I'm already craving it again. Note: unless you're into tight, crowded spaces filled with old church-basement folding tables, don't go for the atmosphere. But one bite into your chickpea-garlic yumminess, you won't even care that the walls are lined with hookahs and flavored tobaccos. Whatever. It's the Loop.  
Our plate of hummus (covered in tomato, onion and cilantro and drizzled with olive oil) and my falafal:
See? Doesn't it look like a classy place?
After our Lebanese dinner, I asked Teri if she was up for some dessert. You know, something to wash away the insane amount of garlic we had just consumed. She looks at me and says one word: "Cupcakes?" And in that very moment, Teri earned seventeen crowns in heaven. She introduced me to The Cupcakery, located in the Central West End. She got the Gold Rush (yellow cake with chocolate frosting), but I'm a vanilla girl all the way. My choice was the Celebration, mainly because of the pretty sprinkles.
This thing would feed enough people for breakfast, lunch AND dinner, but of course I finished the entire thing while watching my friend Mel on The Biggest Loser.
You know. For support. Then I immediately collapsed into a sugar coma and woke up just in time to get to pharmacology.

I hope Mel doesn't mind I borrowed this from her facebook site - I think she and Bob make a wonderful addition to this blog post. I was so excited to see her on national TV!!! And kudos on the cute sunglasses, my friend!
Today was my Pharmacology of Death Test #1. After half a bottle of TUMS and semi-serious thoughts of jumping into the Missouri river, I'm proud to say that I passed the test! Passed. Passed. That's all that matters here, people.
I think this calls for another cupcake.
Speaking of reasons why I need to be burning calories, I'm starting up my workouts and running again. I'm following the Body for Life workout plan (again), and then running 3-4 miles (again) every other day. I was so excited about my run today that I just had to text M about it.
Me: Just ran 3.11 miles in 29.47 minutes!!!! Yay me!!!
M: Just drove 3.1 miles in 2 minutes 57 seconds. Yay me.
See what I'm up against? Thank goodness I love him so much.
However, he totally gets the Amazing and Thoughtful and Totally Hot Husband of the Year Award for this text earlier today:
I'm gonna clean as much as I can tonight.
Those words are music to a wife's ears. Especially this wife who won't get home from a week of classes and clinicals 140 miles away until 7pm Friday night, and only have a small window of time to clean and organize the house before his parents arrive for the weekend. We are very much looking forward to seeing Mom and Dad W., but I really don't think they want to sit on a couch covered in Suka. And Knuke.
UConn prefers sleeping on Matt's pillow. Which he appreciates.
But who can resist this face?
Can you tell I miss my dogs?
I can't wait to see this face either this weekend.
Brace yourself for the hotness.
He matches our red kitchen well. I think I'll keep him.
Except for the whole "Braves" thing. That will continue to be a source of contention in our marriage.
I choose my battles well.

18 September 2010

Of the Devil

Eggs are of the devil.
They smell bad, they taste gross and don't get me started on how the chickens are treated at the egg farms.
You've heard it all a million times:
I. Hate. Eggs.
In honor of all the nastiness that is little aborted baby chickens, I've done some research on egg alternatives. I'm not talking about the nasty, over-processed "egg substitute" you can get at the store - Egg Beaters still has eggs in it. It even says it on the carton:
See? Real Eggs. Ew.
Did you know it is completely possible to cook and bake without eggs and STILL have everything taste fantastic? I know! It's amazing!
(Plus, you can save the life of a baby chicken!)
So how do you do it? Here are some tips you can use to eliminate eggs from your cooking and baking:
  • Flax. Grind some flaxseed into a fine powder (my coffee grinder works perfectly for this) and substitute a tablespoon of flax whisked with 2-3 tablespoons of water per egg. This is a great way to get your Omega-3's and some fiber in too. Sneaky.
  • Bananas. Pumpkin. Pureed apples. Bananas and applesauce have long been used as substitutes for oil to make your baking less fattening. However, bananas also work well as a binder in place of eggs. The ratio is usually 1/4 - 1/2 a banana per egg, and I only recommend this if you are baking and like the flavor of bananas. One of those little individual cups of unsweetened applesauce (about 1/2 cup) works for just about any kind of baking (especially cake and muffins)...just be sure to refridgerate whatever you bake if you're not going to eat it in a day or two.
  • Plain old water. If your recipe only calls for one or two eggs, just skip the eggs altogether and add an extra tablespoon or two of water. It's magic!
  • For savory dishes, you can use great binders such as tomato paste, dried or mashed potatoes, or oatmeal (think meatloaf. Or in my case, TVP loaf).
  • I've discovered Ener-G egg replacer, and it's available at most health food stores. In all honesty, I've yet to try it, mostly because I'm cheap and water is free. If anyone does decide to try it out, please let me know if you like it!
  • Tofu! It's cheap, it's full of protein and it takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. The rule of thumb is about 1/4 cup of whipped tofu per egg. I've actually used tofu in place of eggs in a vegan lasagna, and you cannot tell the difference. I promise. You can also scramble tofu like you would eggs - mix with some chopped veggies and it's a great breakfast.
Try these tips out, see what you think and let me know how you like it. Trust me, you won't even know the difference. Happy eggless cooking!

16 September 2010

The one with the Code

I don’t like it when the patient in the next bed codes.

I love it when my patient sleeps through the entire code and the millions of people who came running in, then wakes up and tells me he thinks he heard the guy in the next bed coughing and asks if he’s ok.

Know what happens during a code in a teaching hospital? Everyone and their second cousin comes running in the room to see what’s going on. 40 people crammed in a teeny little space with about 20 of those people shouting orders and grabbing meds was pretty much the equivalent of pure chaos. After about two minutes someone finally stepped up to call the orders, but until then it was madness.

Two minutes might not seem like a long time, but trust me. When you’re watching someone flatline, it seems like hours.

On one hand, it was kind of interesting to see what happens in a real code…not something scripted on House or Grey’s.

“I need more Propofol!” shouted one doctor.

I know what that is! I thought to myself. God bless Michael Jackson.

Anything to help you remember your meds, people.

On the other hand, it was slightly horrifying to watch this guy’s stats drop so incredibly fast. Incredibly fast. I had no idea you’re heart rate could go from 112 to 0 in the span of about 30 seconds. I was standing there, wanting to grab someone, shake them and say, “Forget the teaching part!! Someone just step up and save this guy’s life!!”

My friend Kayla and I did what any good nursing student should do: we grabbed each other’s arms for dear life and tried to stay out of the way. And shook like leaves. And got goosebumps. And pretty much freaked out…all while trying to not let it show on our faces (nursing student lesson #472).

In any case, watching doctors perform chest compressions on a guy who was sitting up and talking 15 minutes earlier really made an impression on me:

I have no desire whatsoever to work in the ER. My anxiety levels are too insane as it is. I’m the kind of girl that falls apart in disaster situations. Just ask my husband - the tornado sirens go off and I turn into a quivering puddle of uselessness.

I did enjoy the patient I was assigned to – a 60y/o guy with an incredible sense of humor who was in for phase II of a jaw reconstruction with a titanium plate and pec flap – and who’s eyes lit up at the sight of his Colace.

Or maybe it was the Percocet.


The Licking Wildcats won their games on Monday and Tuesday! They have more games tonight and tomorrow, so we’ll see if they can keep this up. For such a young team – if you remember, we graduated five seniors – they’re playing pretty well together. Go ‘cats!
And it's been awhile since I've mentioned this, and I think it deserves some saying: my husband looks amazing in a baseball uniform. I love the coach. :)

08 September 2010

The One with the Smells

Clinicals, Day One: It's called Med Surg/ENT, and it is my Everest.
Scenario: Pt. who has smoked 1PPD (pack-per-day) for 25 years and has admitted that he's an alcoholic. 12 beers a day for who knows how many years kinda points to that, right? In any case, he's been diagnosed for throat cancer (two major risk factors for this particular type are excessive tobacco use and alcohol...so kids, take this to heart and stay away from ciggies and the bottle!) and had a trach put in a couple days ago. He can't speak, so everything is communicated by head nods, hand gestures (he was nice - no flippy flippies) and the old-school pen and paper. NPO (nothing by mouth) since midnight last night because of a surgical procedure later today, so the only fluids were via IV.
I get grumpy if I miss my mid-morning snack time, so I can only imagine how this guy was feeling.
I really, really tried to do my best. I wanted to make this guy's day a little brighter. And I honestly feel good about how I performed today - I helped get supplies ready for a blood draw, helped with two separate trach suctionings, hooked him up to his 02, measuring I&O (intake and output - it's exactly like it sounds)...little things like that. Nothing major since we're getting oriented to the floor, but it still helps you be a part of the process. This afternoon, the patient's RN was nowhere to be found, so me, the little Student Nurse, got to give report to the attending physician. Yeah, I felt like big stuff. And I made the patient smile...and that made me feel like even bigger stuff.
I only had one problem. I hate to even talk about it, because I want to be tough and there's no way that this could have even been controlled. It's not the patient's fault...it's just the way it is.
The trach secretions. The sight didn't bother me at all. I have dogs and grew up in a funeral home. Seeing yuckies doesn't phase me.
It was the smell that got me. 
I won't even try to describe it, at the risk of making my dear, sweet husband throw up from 120 miles away if he reads this. While he's a fan of hearing about my day, he's not thrilled when I go into detail. I've learned to stick to the basics with him.
Anyway, first of all let me just say that I just feel so, so awful that I even let the smell bother me. At least I don't have to sit there all day and have it follow me around like this guy does. I need to man up - trach secretions are just a fact of life. It happens. You deal with it. You go in and clean it up and try to not make the patient feel self-conscious. At least this guy is alive and can (kind of) breathe. (Pray for him if you wouldn't mind another addition to your prayer lists. He's really a sweet man, just stuck in a horrible, lonely situation.) Everything in perspective.
But it's just the kind of smell that sticks in your nose...and mouth...for the rest of the day. (PS: Orbit, your Sweet Mint gum does NOT help at all.) Neither did my lemon hand sanitizer. I have never experienced anything like this in my life - funeral home smells are like rose bushes compared to the Med Surg/ENT unit.
I dealt with the best way I could - by not eating much of a lunch (The Med Surg Diet Plan??) and coming home to take an hour-long shower with anti-bacterials and a deep conditioner that smells like pears. I didn't particularly need a deep-conditioning, but pears smell so much the opposite of trach secretions.
But right now, sitting at my laptop, I can still smell it. And you know what? Rather than let it ick me out, I'm just going to deal with it. It will be my reminder that I have so much to be thankful for. I'm very blessed, and I don't even realize it half the time. I'm going to choose to let this smell be a reminder to thank my Savior for my life and good health.  I'm going to let it be a reminder that, at any given moment, there is a disheartened, lonely person sitting in a hospital room that just got some of the worst news of their life. I'm going to let it be a reminder that there are people out there that need our compassion and care.
This is why I'm going to be a nurse. 
Bring on the smells.

21 August 2010

The One with the Two Left Feet

Well, my summer break has come to an end.
It's been great. I've accomplished awesome and life-changing things such as sitting on my couch in my pajamas until 2:00 in the afternoon while downloading old Debbie Gibson (Electric Youth, baby!!) and Bangles songs.
Yesterday, I summoned enough energy to start packing to move back to the city. Although, I don't know if it's considered packing if I never really unpacked in the first place.
Yes. I was so smitten with the you're-on-vacation-so-you-can-be-a-complete-sloth concept that I didn't see the point of unloading everything just to turn around and reload it all up two weeks later. I had a nice rotation going with my Nike and Under Armour shorts and various baseball t-shirts I've collected from M's teams over the years.
Speaking of teams, we had church softball again last night. I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun it is.

And how horribly awful I am.
I don't know if you remember my confessional about how unathletic I am. For real. I couldn't hit a beach ball if it was rolled straight to me.
I was the girl who cried and screamed and begged and threatened to kill myself if my mother wouldn't let me quit softball when I was in middle school.
I wanted piano lessons. And painting class. And the freedom to read my precious Babysitters Club and Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume and Madeleine L'Engle and E.B. White books.
You could totally tell that last night.
Granted, I hit the ball each time I was up to bat. And I tried to get the first baseman to drop the ball instead of tagging me out - I guess bribes of $50 don't go as far as they used to. I did make it on base once, and due to the excellent hitting by the rest of the team I got to actually step on home plate.
However, the team has me catching. It's apparently the only spot on the field where I can do the least amount of damage, except to myself.
Yes. I fell. I wasn't even doing anything that spectacular. I was chasing a ball that someone threw in the general vicinity of home plate, and as I went to get it I tripped over my own two feet and found myself flat on my back.
The first thing that went through my mind?

I was wearing a clean white shirt, and the ground was a dirty dirt color. That means laundry.
I was so incredibly focused on the game, wasn't I? They should be proud to have me on the team.
I think I started laughing hysterically so everyone would think I did it on purpose. I delusionally like to distort reality like that sometimes.
As our team was running off the field, I heard some other people laughing and I looked over towards third base. There was someone rolling in the dirt shouting, "Who am I?? Who am I??"
It was my husband. The man who pledged his undying love and support to me in front of a church full of people 6.75 years ago.
He says he did it to get people's attention off of me because he knew I was embarrassed, but seriously.
Now we have two white shirts to wash.
Our team won both games, no thanks to me. My husband, the spider monkey, is much more suited with quick reflexes catch anything that comes his way (the man can jump straight up in the air and catch a ball a gazillion feet over his head!!!) and the power to hit balls further than the pitching mound. Me, not so much.
But it was all in the name of Jesus - aside from the two brothers that almost got in a fight and the team that argued against our one-run win.
Ahhh...church league ball. Such good, clean fellowship.

Coming soon - a secret mission that's not going to be secret because I need the accountability. My 30th birthday is coming up soon (EEKKKK!!!) and I'm on a quest. It's something that The Husband said I will not be able to accomplish, so that makes this even more of a I-have-to-do-this-for-real-and-forever-amen thing. I'm calling it 30x30, and it starts Monday. Details soon!

06 August 2010

The One with the Vacation

My first semester of nursing school is over (crazy!!), and now I'm embarking upon the most wonderful 2.5 weeks of my life.
It's so liberating to actually have multiple days off that are free. This is the first time since the summer of 2002 that I haven't had to fill out a form for vacation days or personal days or call in sick just to sleep in.
Not that I ever did that or anything.
I finished my last final at 8:45am on Wednesday, jumped into the car and headed straight for the Lake.
The most strenuous thing I've done so far involved having to get up from the deck chair to change into my swimsuit to head down to the pool. 
Uggghhh. So stressful.  
I'm almost feeling too lazy to blog.
I have a couple vacation goals: get a tan, read books that don't require post-it tabs and a highlighter, and run EVERY day (4 miles this morning!). This girl is WAY not in shape anymore. Sitting through six hours of lecture every day do not do pretty things for your butt. I owe it to my thighs to pay some attention to them before I find myself back in class for another four months.
Speaking of getting in shape, M and I are currently doing the exact opposite right now. After a nutritious dinner of a frozen-custard Kit-Kat concrete, we're now sacked out on the couch watching reruns of Bones.
I wish mom and dad could be here with us. They were planning on being here tonight through the rest of the weekend since it's dad's weekend off, but due to a tragedy that happened yesterday, they didn't think it would be a good idea to head off for a weekend of boating and BBQ.
If you've watched the news in the past 24 hours, you've probably heard about the horrific accident on 1-44 involving a semi-truck, pickup and two school buses. Here's a link- the story is so sad. It's awful. I drive that stretch of road every day to get to school, and I can totally see how easy it would be to wreck there. Lots of construction, lots of curves in the road, and the traffic will move fast one minute and slam on the brakes the next. It's ridiculous and very dangerous, and you constantly have to stay alert. The driver of the pickup truck - 19-year-old Daniel Schatz - was from my hometown. He's a good 10 years younger than me and I don't really remember him, but his parents go to church with my parents. Mom told me today that the entire church is just devastated. Daniel was a good kid and apparently a great football player. I told M today that Daniel was a walk-on quarterback for Mizzou, and he said that he remembers hearing about an incredible Sullivan football player a couple years ago - M's pretty sure that Daniel was talked about pretty favorably in sports circles. There's a candlelight vigil going on right now on the SHS football field in memory of Daniel. Please just keep this family and town in your prayers, as well as everyone else who was involved.
As a Baseball Wife, it scares me to death to see accidents like this that involve school buses. I have a recurring nightmare that M won't return home from away baseball games - he has to ride the bus with the team, and of course they play all the schools that are gazillion miles away on the most curvy roads in the entire nation. The Night of the Tornadoes a couple years ago did nothing to alleviate my fears - the bus was headed straight towards the storm and I couldn't get a hold of M. Later, of course, he acted like it was no big deal. No big deal to him, maybe, but I paced a hole in the living room carpet and made all sorts of incoherent bargains with God.
I think the only reason he returned home safe was because God didn't want to deal with my ramblings anymore. For real, Child. Hush up. You're driving me crazy. He's on his way home. For the love. Shut it already.
Speaking of baseball, it starts all over again on Monday. The following week, M has teacher meetings and -gasp- school starts again for him. I don't know why that's so traumatic - he's a PE teacher. It's like vacation never ended, right? Oh wait. Except for the not sleeping in till noon thing. I guess I'll have to do that for him. Hee hee!
Today I love: napping in the sun and actually having time to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee.

27 July 2010

The One with the Hypochondria

Cami-girl and I went for a little jog/walk tonight.
The jog turned into a walk solely because of the disgusting humidity that made me sweat through my shirt.
Not because I can't move my rear up the gigantic hills in the subdivision. That's not the reason at all.
Not because I've spent the past three months sitting on my butt in class and not exercising and have completely lost all endurance and muscle tone.
Nope. That's not the reason at all. It was completely the humidity. Yeah.
So as Cami and I trudged up the last hill towards home gasping and panting (me, not her) I saw a little girl pushing a stroller.
How cute, I thought. She must be pushing her baby doll.
As I got closer, I saw that, in fact, it wasn't.
It was even better.
This cute little girl was pushing her teeny little white fluffy dog down the street!
As I passed her, I told her that I liked her puppy and thought it was cute.
"She's my baby," the little girl replied. So. Cute.
It reminded me of when my sister and I were little, and we would dress up our kitty cats in doll clothes and push them up and down the sidewalk in front of the house.
Sure, our house was also the funeral home and people going in for a service would look at us like we were from another planet, but hey. Like I said, we grew up in a funeral home. We were used to weird looks.
Speaking of weird, I've self-diagnosed myself with about 29 bazillion different pathologies in class this week.
I just know that I have:
  • GERD (From all the caffeine I've been downing between classes. And in the morning. And before bed. And while I brush my teeth.)
  • Anxiety-related ulcers (Because I don't know if M is feeding the dogs properly while I'm gone during the week.)
  • Orthostatic hypotention (How else do you explain the dizziness and wanting to pass out after riding The Batman seven times in a row at Six Flags?)
  • Hypoglycemia (M just says I'm crabby because I'm tired or hungry or both.)
  • Schizophrenia (Which gives me nightmarish hallucinations of not answering entire pages of pathophysiology test questions)
  • Bipolar disorder (Why else would I have thought it was a good idea to quit a perfectly good job and go back to school full-time??)
See? I'm melting.
Mmmmm....melting. Ice cream. Preferably vanilla with those little chocolate sprinkles.
Today I love: Good friends who let me vent about classes and the tomato-pesto pasta with pine nuts (say that 10 times fast) that Gretchen made for dinner. That deserves another "mmmmm!!"

24 July 2010

The One with the Last Day

Yesterday was my last day of OB/Maternity clinicals, and man, what a way to wrap it up.
6:00 am - we get to the hospital and wait for our assignment, which includes finding out what nurse we'll be with and who our patient for the day is.
6:30 am - I'm in the Level II nursery! I asked - since it was my last day - if I could be in there. Level II is one step down from NICU, and I wanted to experience what it would be like to care for the sicker babies. It was a little intimidating - some of those kiddos are itty bitty and have wires coming out everywhere.
I was assigned to a baby with a mild case of pneumonia who was just about the cutest thing ever. I got to feed him, change him and rock with him for a little bit. He fell asleep in my arms, perfectly content and peaceful. Then a little later in the day, his world came crashing down into a million pieces.
Yes. The doctor came in for the inevitable "C" word.
My job was to provide a pacifier dipped in sweet-ease and whisper promises to him like, "Hang in there little guy! This will be over soon! You're doing great!"
The doctor was quick and efficient, and explained the entire process to me as she worked. She even asked me if I had any questions, and didn't seem to think that I was dumb for asking things like, "So, what happens if parents elect not to have this done until the kid is 12 or something?"
Seriously. I've heard stories about that happening. Ouch.  
M. didn't want to hear the details.
In any case, it was an interesting procedure to watch - completely the opposite of what I thought it would look like. My little guy only seemed to be upset about being held down for the process - afterwards, he fell back asleep, completely exhausted from his rough morning. 
At 1:00, we left the floor to get our lunches and sit down for post-conference. I'm getting ready to take a bite of my lunch when my clinical instructor came in the room and said that there was going to be a c-section at 2:00, and would I be interested in watching? 
Um...do I even need to stop and think about it?
So instead of eating lunch, I found myself in the nurses' locker room scrubbing in and helping move the patient from triage into the OR. The patient and her husband were an AMAZING couple - very generous and more than happy to have students along. And the nurse I was with was also fantastic - she let me do more than I thought I would be able to do.
Aside from the basics like putting a blood pressure cuff and compression cuffs on the patient and making sure the fetal heart rate monitor was attached and working properly, I also got to hang an IV bag - which is NOT easy when you're barely 5' and the IV pole is a gazillion feet above your head. The patient started laughing and said, "Come on, Shortie!" Haha. Very funny. So glad I could take her mind off of her impending surgery with my congenital abnormalities.
Once in the OR, the nurse had me and my classmate Natalie do things like help count instruments and write them down, help make sure that everything was where it needed to be - and the most important part - helping calm the patient as she got her spinal. Natalie wanted to watch the spinal go in, which was fine with me. I got to do what I'm really interested in - standing in front of the patient, my hands on her shoulders helping her stay as relaxed as possible, talking to her and trying to keep her from freaking out about the needle going into her back. We had a great time talking about her little baby that was on it's way, her son that was waiting to meet his new little brother, and what her husband was probably thinking as he waited for us to call him back to the OR. What made me really feel like a real nurse was when the patient felt comfortable enough to lay her head on my shoulder while she was trying to relax. I absolutely loved being able to be a comfort to her. At least I hope she felt that way. :)  
Once the c-section was underway, Natalie and I took orders from the scrub nurse and got to actually be a part of the entire procedure. I thought, after talking to some of my classmates about their c-section clinical experience, that we'd only be able to stand back out of the way and watch. Holy cow, not in this case! When they told us to put on gloves and stand in closer, I was like, "Whoa. Seriously??" I mean, we didn't do anything major like stitch up the momma or pull out the baby, but we were handed instruments and sponges to either soak in sterile saline or put in the sponge counter (you don't want to leave any in the patient!). I made ice packs, helped with the erythromycin on the baby, calculated the Apgar score and charted the baby's vitals, put away instruments and helped wheel the patient's bed from the OR to her room on the Maternity floor. Once in the room, we re-hooked up her IV, hung more bags of LR (insert more short jokes here) and made sure the catheter wasn't twisted and hanging from the bed. So seriously, nothing major, but it still made me feel like an integral part of the process.
Oh, and at the request of the dad, I was handed his camera and asked to take pictures. It. Was. Awesome. Such a happy, healthy family! And such a great experience to cap off my last day of clinicals.
What made Natalie and I really giddy was that after everything was over, our clinical instructor came up to us and told us that the scrub nurse was really happy and complimentary about how we did during the whole thing. Yay! A for-real nurse thought we did great! That made me just about float down the hospital hallway. 
To summarize my entire OB clinical experience, I'm happy to say that I got to do a little of everything this past month:
1. Watch/assist with a vaginal birth
2. Watch/assist with a c-section
3. Take care of a post-partum vag mom
4. Take care of a post-partum c-sect mom
5. Watch a circumcision
6. Take care of Level II babies
7. Gave my FIRST INJECTION on Thursday!
First kisses, first day of school, first steps down the aisle and first injections. Highlights of any girl's life. :)
If only studying for my next Patho test could be as interesting...
Today I love: Diet Coke that allows me to stay halfway awake to study and the beauty that is indoor air conditioning.

PS: I'm back to renaming my posts via Friends episode titles. I just can't help it. I'm an addict.

18 July 2010

Variations on a Summer Salad

I've studied for Pathophysiology Test #2 for three days straight (with a small detour to the St. Louis Zoo when family was in town yesterday) and now I need a break.
So what do I do when I need a break? Play with food!
Several of you have emailed/facebooked me asking if I'm "still vegetarian" while going to school and how it's going. The answer is yes, and it's going well. The thought of eating animal flesh still makes me gag. Nothing's changed there just because I'm in school...just so you know. The only thing that's really changed is my intake of Sunchips and chocolate. Let's just say that after a full day of patho and maternity/lifespan lecture along with clinicals, it's necessary for survival.
And for anyone who cares, Pita King at Union Station in STL makes a wicked falafel.
Going veggie is fun and yummy, especially with recipes like this one. It's awesome for summer and is packed full of protein and healthy fats. The original recipe is from my friend Stephanie...I hope she doesn't mind my variation on her version. I just had to see what would happen if I added an avocado. :)
Summer Bean Salad
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 avocado
green onions
2 T olive oil
2 pkts Splenda
Drain the cans of beans and corn, dump into a large bowl. Cut up your peppers and onion and mix everything gently so you don't squish the beans.
LOOK!! This is the first time I have ever attempted to cut an avocado! And good night, those things are weird.
My sister's advice was to watch a youtube video on how to cut one, but by then the damage was done. I don't know how in the world you're supposed to cut nice, even slices - all of my  avocado "cubes" look more like "geometrical shapes from another dimension."
Once everything is mixed together, drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle the Splenda over the whole thing. Gently mix and put in the fridge. It's awesome as a side dish or - as I'm going to use it - for a light lunch between classes. I thought the avocado would make it a little heartier so I don't get hungry right away 30 minutes later.
The best thing to do is to make this the day before you need it - the Splenda/oil dressing really helps mellow the onion and bring all the flavors together. 
I also picked up some cranberry applesauce and some watermelon at the store. This is gonna be a goooood week!
Now I feel guilty for taking a break from studying...back to the books. Fantastic. 
Today I love: learning new things like how to cut an avocado and the fact that Mosby's Pathophysiology Memory Cards is the best purchase I've ever made in my entire life.

10 July 2010


You all know how I am with babies.
They freak me out. I don't know what to do with them. They're needy, hungry and slobbery, they have absolutely no muscle control so I'm constantly afraid their head will fall off and they look at me with a face that says "I know I scare you to death, so therefore I will pee on your arm. Deal with that, lady." 
So it's no wonder that my very first clinical experience ever just happens to be in OB/Maternity. God has a wonderful sense of humor. 
I'm at St. Clare hospital in Fenton, which is stinking awesome. The hospital is just over a year old, state-of-the-art and just plain fancy. All of the rooms in the Family Birthplace are private, and you could fit about four of my bedrooms inside each one. Each room has a giant flat-screen TV, DVD player, walk-in shower, pull-out couches so the husband/significant other can spend the night the ENTIRE TIME that mom is in there, floor-to-ceiling picture windows and hospital beds that have actual oak headboards. Oh, and round-the-clock room service with a full menu. The hospitality area on the floor has a place where families (and nurses!) can get free coffee, tea and...wait for it...slushes! Since pregnant women are usually put on a liquids-only diet before delivery (in case they have to have an unexpected C-section...you don't want to go into surgery with a full tummy!) it's an understatement that they are thrilled with the prospect of a yummy slush vs. the usual ice chips.
The nursery is really cute. The floor and ceiling are decorated to match the walls, and all of the bassinets look like little oak dressers that roll up and down the hallways. It was fun to walk in and see about ten babies just lying there all rolled up in their blankets like little baby burritos.
So anyway, our first day was Thursday. I will admit it was a little boring (ok, a LOT boring)...paperwork, meetings, more paperwork, tours of the hospital, lunch, then more meetings. We didn't really get to do anything, so it was kind of blah. One great part of the day was when some people I know from my hometown of Sullivan walked into the cafeteria while I was there eating lunch. It was pretty sweet to see some familiar faces on my first day to help calm me down. :)  
Friday was a different story.
Let me start out by saying that we're doing 10-hour rotations. We have to be at the hospital by 6am (which means I get up at 4:30 and am on the road by 5:15) and in the nursery scrubbed out by 6:15 to get our assignments from our clinical instructor. Once we find the nurse we'll be shadowing for the day, we get hear the night shift give report to the morning shift around 6:30. After that, we're on the floor.
For real.
I was thinking that since Friday was our first "real" day on the floor, it would be more like a stay-out-of-the-way-and-observe-and-try-not-to-knock-anything-over sort of experience.
So, so not what happened.
The patient I was assigned to just happened to be dilated to a 4 by 6:30am. The nurse I was following was pretty cool and pretty much told me everything that was going on...and showed me everything that was going on. And told me things I could do while everything was going on. She had me take vitals on the mom every hour, get pillows, sheets, ice, and everything else that a mom-to-be would happen to need. We checked the fundus during and after contractions, set up IV meds and met with anesthesia about the mom-to-be's epidural. At 10am the doctor showed up to check the patient, and said she was complete, which I quickly figured out meant that she was now dilated to a 10. Then the doctor left and told us to call him when it was time.
HOLY COW. The baby was on it's way! The nurse showed me how to read the monitor that shows contractions, and I was told that every time a contraction came to grab a leg (the husband had the other one) and to help the mom breathe and count while she pushed. It was AMAZING to help this woman through the birth! The nurse pretty much did everything, which surprised me...I thought the doctor had to be in the room for all of the things like checking the position of the baby, help the mom push, etc. - but the nurse did it all until the baby's head was crowning. Then the doctor came in and took over. He looked at me and asked me to raise the bed a little...and I froze. I mean seriously - how hard is it? You push a button. But this is REAL. It's not playing "little nurse" in the simulation lab - this is a REAL doctor asking me to do something REAL in a REAL situation.
But I did it and came through with flying colors.
Yes. I raised a bed. Tomorrow I will conquer world peace.
But seriously, it was a fabulous experience. When the baby came out, I teared up a little. I mean, really. Let's put this into perspective. I'm just a little student nurse who was graciously allowed in the room during this incredible experience that someone I didn't even know was going through. Little old me who knows how to do little more than put in an IV and change a bedpan got to help a little LIFE come into the world.
My first thought: how could anyone not believe in God after seeing that? Such a cool little miracle.
Afterwards, we got the baby cleaned up and the nurse let me do the newborn assessment.
Fact: babies do NOT like getting their temperature taken. 
Another fact: babies love the blankets that come out of the warmer. And so do I. A blanket warmer is now on my Christmas list of absolute necessities.
To date: best day ever.
Today I love: unforgettable experiences and lots of coffee (with Splenda...I'm officially - and unapologetically - back off the wagon with that one.)

04 July 2010

Fast & Furious Update

Last week we had finals and started our next round of summer classes. Exact. Same. Week. That was fun.
Actually, it is fun. Seriously. Why haven't I done this before? I always told myself that I was more into the arts than the sciences, but now when I hear things like "molecular genetics" it makes me want to do that. And forensics. And oncology. And neurology. And anything else that might require a Ph.D.
Neurology is near and dear to me, for obvious reasons. Maybe now my sister will let me give her her shots.
Probably not.
Have I ever mentioned how gorgeous the SLU medical campus is? I particularly like the fountain with the rubber duckies in it. It helps put things in perspective.
My cousins surprised me with a giant cookie-cake the week of finals. Icing. Giant cookie. Giant cookie with chocolate in it. Do they know me or what? And I especially love the band-aid. Very cute.
I have lost all concept of time. For instance, if it's Thursday and I have to think about something that happened the day before, it feels like it happened three weeks ago. SLU crams a LOT into each day.
So pretty much, if I forget your birthday or plans we made or how to spell my own name, that's the reason why.
Clinicals start this week. I happily found out that I'm at the hospital I really wanted - St. Clare in Fenton. It's a gorgeous new hospital in the suburbs, which means I won't have to drive into the inner-city on Thursdays and Fridays. I'm just a little nervous about the five-page clinical document that outlines everything we'll be doing (or aren't allowed to do)...I still feel like I'm dressing up for Halloween every time I put my scrubs on.
M and I are at the Lake this weekend for a much-needed break. Me from studying and him from his nuts-o baseball/basketball schedule. So far we've slept, gone down to the pool and slept, watched a movie, slept, went out to dinner and slept some more. Today is overcast and rainy - which means it's the perfect napping day. Rock on.
Yes. We're that boring. And we're perfectly ok with that.
Goal #2 for this weekend was accomplished. I got my tan in before the clouds came.
Goal #1 was my three mile Lake run. Goal #3 involves some sort of frozen dairy concoction with M&Ms and/or Snickers. I'm not choosy.
In a dream world, we wouldn't have to work and we could sit out on the back deck with coffee and watch the sun rise over the lake very morning.
"We" being "me." M doesn't wake up until the sun is very high in the sky. Very.
Speaking of running, I still want to do the Lewis & Clark half again this fall. I have some friends coming out to run it, and if anything the L&C has the BEST long-sleeve tech race shirts and medals.
My longest run this summer has been only 3.55 miles. I need to get a move on.
Running has been my sanity. I can easily be a stress-eater or stress runner, and running is definitely the better option. Plus it doesn't make you feel guilty the next morning.
There is an awesome running/cycling trail in Washington, as long as the river doesn't flood. It came close last week.
I need to finish my portion of our pathophysiology study guide today. I feel absolutely no motivation to do so right now. I'm very much the procrastinator.
It's time for more coffee.

19 June 2010

Lemon Chicken with Morphine, Please.

I probably shouldn't blog about this, especially on the eve of Father's Day, but I'm going to. It's just too hilarious not to share.
Friday night. I'm on my way home from school - stuck in rush hour traffic since I left school later than usual because I wanted to stick around the lab and make sure I could start an IV (kinda an important RN skill to know, you think?) - and I get a call from my mother.
"I just wanted to let you know that I just brought your father to the ER because he can't walk and is in so much pain that he's almost in tears. Can you call your sister and let her know?"
That sentence was followed by a rush of "thedoctorshereIgottagetbackinsidetohisroomrightnow" and then mom hung up on me.
First, let me tell you something about my family. We live for drama. A couple snowflakes quickly erupt into a massive blizzard in a matter of milliseconds in our world.
I guess that's why when I called M to tell him about the situation, he got less than worked up about the news. "He'll be fine. Chill." he told me.
My man knows how to bring me back to earth. Rapidly.
In any case, I decided I should probably stop by the hospital in my parent's town since I would pass right by it on my way back home anyway. 
Here's the basics: 
1. Dad is a funeral director
2. Funeral directors lift people
3. People are getting heavier
4. Dad's already had three back surgeries because of #1, 2 and 3. 
So we're kind of thinking he threw his back out again. Is it a slipped disk like before and he needs surgery again? Is it purely muscular and he just needs to rest? I'm not a doctor, and I'm not an MRI machine. But what I do know is that they gave him three shots of Morphine and nothing worked. Sure, his pupils were like little pinpoints, but he still couldn't sit OR stand...an interesting combination and rather entertaining to watch.
The PA came back in the room and said that they had one more option. They had one more narcotic they could try, but then that's it. Either the drug works, or dad's out of luck.
One time. One shot. One thigh.
Why not? Load'm up. I was happy to be in the presence of these potent drugs since my Pharm lecture just six hours earlier covered the major pain meds. And now I was about to see them in action.
Oh. My. Gosh. What happened next made me very, very glad I stayed in the ER with him for two hours.
Just like I learned this past week in class, an IM (intramuscular) drug takes approximately 7-12 minutes to kick in. And oh boy, did it. I could just kick myself for not having a video camera. This would be viral on YouTube right now.
The sequence of events is as follows:
1. Dad gets a shot of Demerol in his left thigh.
2. Dad sits in his wheelchair, waiting for it to kick in.
3. 10 minutes later, his pupils all but disappear.
4. He starts humming.
5. His feet start tapping.
6. Dad looks at mom, then me, then up at the ceiling. He proceeds to have the following conversation with himself:
Dad: "I want Chineeeeessssseeeee for dinnnnneeerrrrr. Yessssss. I doooooooo. I like orange chicken. Do YOOOUUUU like orange chicken?" (major emphasis on the orange.)
He then looks at me in all seriousness and wants an answer.
Me: "Um, well, no, I like lemon chicken."
Dad: "Lemon chicken. Lemon chicken. Lemon chicken. Lemon chicken. Lemon chicken."
Silence. Mom and I look at each other, completely aware that dad is officially out of it. We immediately crack up - and dad is completely oblivious to our laughter, which makes us laugh even harder.
Dad: "Leee-mohn, cheeee-kohn. Leee-mohn, cheeee-kohn. Leee-mohn, cheee-kohn." Imagine a really, really bad French accent here.
And, if you're wondering, dad does not know how to speak a lick of French.
He says "Leee-mohn, cheeee-kohn" over and over and over. About 16 times.
Then dad decides to mix it up with a really bad southern-accent version of "Peee-caaaan, cheee-caaaan." At this point, mom and I are laughing so hard we're afraid we're going to pee our pants. Nurses are walking by and peeking in the room, shaking their head and laughing with us when they see it's dad. (They know him pretty well out there...seeing what his profession is and all.)
Dad: "Leee-mohn, cheeee-kohn. Minty Beef. Hmmmm. Is Minty Beef a chicken dish?"
Then, without skipping a beat, he launches straight into the first verse of "A Hundred Million Miracles" from Rodger & Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song.  
I can't make this stuff up.
And this is my family.
Note: I left before dad was discharged from the ER, but it turns out they're going to try to get him into his primary care doc on Monday. He'll probably have to go see his back specialist in St. Louis - I think we have the guy's cell on speed-dial and put his kids through undergrad and graduate school. And just as an FYI: When people use narcotics exclusively to control pain, it is unlikely that they become addicted or dependent on them. A patient in the ER for measurable pain is given a dosage of opioids strong enough to reduce their awareness of pain but not normally potent enough to produce a dependant state. Narcotics used for short-term medical conditions rarely require weaning since stopping the medication after a brief period rarely produces adverse effects. (from a combo of my pharmacology notes and WebMD.)

17 June 2010

Smiling About...

Pancakes and coffee for dinner with Grandpa.
Cami, my cousin's dog. The word "snausage" immediately comes to mind.
The second shelf under "Diseases" at Barnes and Noble.
Katie's awesome job of motivating me during midterms last week.
Making sure my mom had red lips in the drawing of my perception of "family" during Communication Lab.
Wearing scrubs for practicums even though we didn't have to. I feel like I'm playing dress-up.
Today I love: Umbrellas and passing what was an easier-than-I-thought-it-would-be Basic Skills Practicum.

06 June 2010

Running Amok

I used to be a 9:30-to-bed-girl.
I remember the good ol' days of putting on my PJ's around 9:00, while listening to the taunts and teasings of my Beloved, who's internal clock is definitely the complete opposite of mine. I would snuggle up in bed by 9:15 with a couple dogs and a couple books, a mug of hot tea and my alarm clock set for 5am. 
I don't think M even knows what 5am looks like. Seriously. Complete opposites. Night Owl marries Hyper Happy Morning Girl.
However, now with Week Two of school completed, 9:30 bedtimes are a thing of distant memory. In order to make time to study, do homework, organize lecture notes and, oh, let's say, eat dinner once in awhile, I'm finding out that 9:30pm is actually early. Too early to go to bed. I'm lucky if I even start thinking about bedtime by 11:30.
And I still get up at 5am.
I think back to when I was in school for my first degree. Living on campus. Studying...but not this much. Is it because I'm older? Have I turned into one of those obsessive non-traditional students that keep three different planners and try to have homework completed days in advance and actually read the textbooks?
Yes. Yes I have. 
Granted, I'm getting ready to go into what's only the third week of classes. But guess what Week Three is?
Accelerated, remember? Holy snot, this is going so, so fast. I think one of the reasons I'm so OCD about everything is that somewhere, in the back of my mind, I keep reminding myself that hey - I better learn this, and learn it good. Someone's health and life will depend on it in less than a year.
My BA in English? I really don't think anyone would die if I forgot how to diagram sentences or misinterpret the symbolism in Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn."
Just this past week alone we've had our vital sign check-offs (passed! First attempt!), learned how to suction a tracheotomy and how to place catheters (male and female). That's on top of our four lecture classes, of which I've realized that Wednesdays are not my favorite day. Straight lecture, same seat from 8am - 4pm with an hour for lunch. Oy vay.
This weekend, I didn't go home (gasp!!). M had away basketball Friday night until really late, then away baseball all day Saturday and today. I would have seen him for a total of four minutes, of which we didn't really think was worth a tank and a half of gas. I miss him, and I miss the pups (didn't know that two of them went missing the other day until he told me LAST NIGHT!!!!!), but I got about 12 hours of solid midterm studying in. The only break I took was to take my grandpa out to dinner, which was more selfish on my part because I desperately needed coffee in order to continue studying into the wee hours of the night.
Anywhere grandpa eats has to have coffee, so it worked out well for the both of us.
About the dogs. Apparently someone accidentally left the back door open and two fuzzies escaped. M has no idea how long they were gone...he just noticed that the house was really, really quiet - the number one indicator that something is terribly wrong. He went to the back door and lo and behold it was wide open, just flapping in the breeze. He grabbed the treat jar and shook it out in the driveway, which of course brought Fatty-Mcfat-Fat dog (aka UConn) running back to the house for all she's worth.
Treats are her lifeline.
My baby, my precious, precious baby, was still missing. M said the only thing running through his head was "Crap!!!! I just lost my wife's favorite dog!!!" He drove around town looking for him, but seriously. Knuke is terrified of car rides. Like he's really going to come running up to the truck and jump right on in. Usually if M finds him with the truck, M has to park the truck, pick up the dog by his middle and shove all 100lbs of him into the passenger side.
It's quite the spectacle.
Luckily, M saw my sweet Knukie-pie standing in the field behind our house, and as soon as Knuke saw the truck, he bolted for the back door. Scary truck ride with livid master or treats on a pillow in the living room? He knew where to go.
But why on EARTH did I find out about this three days after the fact??
This is why we don't have kids, folks. I can see it now...
Officer: "Um, ma'am, did your kids get home alright the other night?"
Me: "WHAT?? I didn't even know they were out!!"
Officer: "Well, I saw them running all over tarnation and your husband was trying to mow them down with his truck."
Definitely going home next weekend. Between the Peanut Butter Cap't Crunch on the counter, corn dogs and chicken nuggets in the freezer and dogs running amok all over town, I'm feeling the need to go home see what's been going on.
And bring home some fruit and vegetables.