Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blog Award!

The lovely Britt over at xox, b has given me the "I dig your blog award" Fun!
As per the award rules here are three random facts about me :)

1. I love to sing. I grew up in choir all through junior high and high school. As a matter of fact before I went into nursing I almost tried out for American Idol. So glad I didn't pursue music because I love nursing but now my patients are stuck hearing me sing along to the radio all the time. haha bummer for them.

2. As much as I love watching tv... (seriously Im hooked on like 15 different shows) I am not much of a movie person. In fact I finally saw Star Wars for the first time two weeks ago. Sad I know...

3. I hate peas. Like really really hate them. I hate them so much that if I have fried rice I will pick out every. single. last. one. Bleh, yucky peas.

Happy Thursday Folks... soon I will do a post on a very fun bridal shower (somewhat vintage themed) that I had recently for one of my fave co-workers. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The thing that is so awesome about life-long, best friends is that they never change. Well…. they may change and life may change but the role they hold never seems to waver. A woven thread that makes it’s way through the timeline of things. 

My friend Ami and I are like that. I have known her since 2003 and we have been together through marriages, babies, school, graduations, hard times and good times. I have seen this girl through the mud and she surely has seen me through the thick of it too. Her girls are like children of my own and it has never been a question that we consider each other as family.

They recently just made a drastic life change… moving from Colorado to Texas so that Ami’s husband Andrew could start seminary in Dallas. It had been about a year since I had last seen them so it was good to finally get a chance to catch up and visit with my girls. We always have the best time sharing and laughing and filling in the blanks of what has happened since we saw each other last.
 I can tell Ami anything. Even the things I am not so proud of… even the things I don’t share with anyone else. Ami knows it all and it has always been that way. Even if I know she doesn’t agree with me… and even if I know it would pain her to hear it… I know she won’t judge and I know that whatever the case… she always has my best interest at heart.

I love that girl and her whole family a lot. They are my family and I have always been so thankful for the wonderful, steady existence they have had in my life. I can’t wait until I see them again and whether it is in Texas or California… I know it will undoubtedly be great because life is always just a little better when they are in it. 

Until then I will have these awesome pictures and memories that will brighten my day and remind me of just how incredibly loved I am. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Welcome Surprise

Right now there is a patient on our unit that I can safely say everyone... and I mean everyone dreads taking care of. He is one of those typical VA patients I speak of so often. He decided to get open heart surgery despite having active substance abuse problems. Can't quite remember if he actually told his surgeons about it before he went under the knife but all I can say is that as a result this man has been in the hosital for a long, long time. I'm talkin' months here. This man has been intubated and extubated and re-intubated multiple times. He has fought through multiple infections and bouts of sepsis. He has been so close to death and come through to the other side and is now on the verge of actually being transfered out of our unit. It's kind of a miracle, as a matter of fact.

He has also been one of the downright meanest people I have ever taken care of. He has called me and every other nurse who works with him pretty much every name in the book. He swears at you constantly and has even spit at people and tried to kick and hit them also. I'm tellin' you... this man is a real gem... and get this... his family members are even worse. These days people dread taking care of him more because of his family members than him and that's saying a lot! I even heard one of the nurses say today, "I would pay charge nurse $100.00  not to get that assignment!" I have to admit that I completely agreed with her.  

For the past two weeks I have had an assignment that was next door to his. I would walk by the room and politely smile and nod to him and his family... trying to have as little contact as possible while still remaining professional and courteous. Well, today as I passed by his room I saw him sitting up in bed, smiling and talking to his wife. Side note: he has not been able to talk the entire time I have taken care of him, he was either intubated or had a tracheotomy (which he still has). So I have never heard his voice. I have just read his lips this entire time because that was his only way of communicating.
When a patient has a trach they can't talk unless the tube that you see in this picture is able to be capped off and the patient can breathe on their own. It is a long process for someone who has been so critically ill to get to this point and it takes a lot of speech therapy and rehab too.
So back to today... As I pass by his room, I smile and wave at him and his wife. Then suddenly, just as I step out of his sight, I hear this deep, raspy, "Hello!" in response. I stopped dead in my tracks and backpedaled to his room, "Whoa!! Mr. X, I've never heard your voice before!!"

Something in me jumped at that moment and I knew he could see the genuine surprise on my face. Instantly, all the feelings of frustration and annoyance with this patient dissipated and I realized how much I actually cared about this man. He smiled at me like the Chesire Cat from Alice in Wonderland and we began to have an actual polite, civilized conversation about how much better he is doing and how exciting it is that he can actually talk now. Seriously, I just could not believe how different this man seemed. I have heard stories of recovered patients who come back to the unit as completely different people. People who were once horrible to their care givers are actually really wonderful when they aren't in the hospital. I know that people are often the worst version of themselves during times of sickness and severe stress but I just have never seen it in such a clear way.

I don't care if you are Mother Theresa... when someone calls you horrible names and swears at you and tries to physically assault you when all you are trying to do is take care of them... its hard not to build some apathy towards that person at the very least. I mean we're all human and even the best nurses have their limit. I definitely hit mine with Mr. X. Yet today none of that mattered. Today all I saw was a beautiful smile from a man that was finally able to use his voice.
It truly was a breath of fresh air and if I'm being really honest this guy totally made my day. It definitely was a welcomed surprise. :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. It has been a long week and it isn't over yet. My sleep schedule has been way off and it has really made this week exhausting. I have said it before and I will say it again... working night shift is tough. People often times are inconsiderate of your sleep schedule and you feel jet-lagged 24/7. Most people don't seem to understand that waking up in the middle of the day is the equivalent of you waking up at 2am and not being able to go back to sleep... and then having to go work a 12 hour shift in the ICU. Yeah... not fun. Luckily I have only one more 8 hour shift left and then I can hopefully catch up a bit on some Z's. :)

2. This past Tuesday it was my birthday and that unfortunately has contributed to my lack of sleep. I hate working on my birthday so I asked for that day off that way I could go to dinner with some close work friends instead of getting spit on like previous years. In order to get my full amount of work in though I had to work night shift the days before and after my birthday. Having one day off in between a stretch of work is horrible being a night shifter because if you mess your sleep patterns up you are basically screwed the whole week.... but that also means you spend your one day off being up all night while everyone else is sleeping. :/

3. I promise that I won't talk about sleep anymore during this post.

4. My birthday was incredibly fun and the celebrating isn't over yet. This weekend I will be heading to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk with some of my favorite people in this world. We will spend the day on fun rides and rollercoasters and will also enjoy the oh-so-yummy junk food the boardwalk has to share. It should be fun. Hopefully I'll have some pictures to post after. :)
California, United States: A view over the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in California, United States
5. This past weekend I ran my first half marathon since becoming a marathon maniac. It was held in San Francisco and was a charity race sponsored by The SF Giant's for Project Open Hand. The course was along the same road that the SF marathon began on, The Embarcadero. Best part of the race had to be meeting Brian Wilson and running it with some of my favorite running buddies. Actually I almost dropped down to the 10k distance but luckily my running buddies convinced me to stick with them and finish the full 13.1 mile distance. So glad I did too. Good times indeed.

6. I have been getting back into yoga lately. I bought a groupon for 25 yoga classes in my area and I'm excited to get back into practice. I have been fascinated with a form of yoga called Ashtanga Yoga. It's really cool and people who are really good at it can do things like this...

7. One of the reasons I decided to run multiple marathons this summer was because the more events you do with the Rock n' Roll Marathon Series, the more medals you get. This week I got my "Rock Encore" medal in the mail for running the RnR Seattle and San Diego marathon! This thing is heavy and large and super sparkly and I totally debated on wearing it to work that day. Don't worry... I didn't :)
Happy Friday Friends! Have a great weekend!