Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Life Lately

I think I am allergic to my Christmas tree. Either that or I have a yucky on the verge of becoming a horrible cold that just refuses to go away. Seriously... my nose is raw from blowing it so much. It's 1:30am right now and my husband is happily talking in his sleep while I've been desperately hoping my benadryl will kick in so I can go back to bed. On a happy note my tree is real for the first time in years and it smells wonderful and looks so happy! I even got to decorate my very own Starbucks ornament this year! My whole tree is covered with the many Starbucks ornaments I have collected over the years. Literally, I have enough to cover almost my whole tree.

This month has been interesting. Right now I am in my 15th week of pregnancy (yay for the second trimester!) and I am starting to feel huge already. It hasn't helped that people have literally told me that very thing, "You're huge! You aren't that far along. By the end you're gonna be huge!" No joke someone said that to me on Thanksgiving.     >__<     I don't know what it is about being pregnant but seriously everyone seems to think that you are like an open door to being touched or commented on... appropriate or not people will give you their opinion freely and most of the time it is with very little tact... if any at all.

This was me on Thanksgiving. Baby is definitely popping out and I guess considering that I'm barely 5'1" I don't really have anywhere to grow but out. Last week we got to do our nuchal translucency ultrasound which was so fun. Baby was probably sleeping because he/she wouldn't stretch out for us or move... except for one time when the tech was really pressing on my belly so baby got annoyed and turned his/her back to us. The fun thing was that we got a great wave during that moment. 

How cute is that?! Seriously I'm obsessed with my little June bug already. Sometimes when I stop and think about it I am in awe. I have a HUMAN growing inside of me. I'm a real life babushka doll!

The past two weeks or so have been nice because the morning sickness and throwing up has subsided. At this point I'm only puking a few times a week.... I'll take it... as compared to throwing up literally multiple times a day, every day. Also for a while I had to be on a liquid diet because all I could tolerate were foods like soup, yogurt, jello, pudding.... seriously if I never have to eat another pudding snack in my lifetime I'll be fine. 

What else? Work... oh yeah, work. Hmm a lot to say on that front but also not the energy to say it. I also feel like work needs its own post... or many. Either way I'm on vacation until Monday so I'm trying to not think about it and just enjoy the time off I have. Getting ready for Christmas is always an endeavor in this family. I spent the entire day wrapping presents yesterday!

Happy Holidays friends! I hope you are all well and joyful this season. :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

Last week I had a patient who was in the air force and was deployed to Vietnam during the war. He couldn't sleep that night in the hospital so we sat and talked for hours about life and the military and his experience overseas. He told me a story of a day when he wasn't feeling well and had to skip on a mission with the six guys he had been with the entire time he was in Vietnam. He was older when he went into the war and so he kind of took these guys under his wings over there. He loved 'em like family he said and when he woke up the next morning he discovered that the plane had crashed and every single one of them had been killed. To this day he wakes up with nightmares or dreams about them and he told me that every day he lives with guilt for not being with them on that plane. 

Today, I met up with a girl I happened to meet on a "what to expect" forum where expectant moms meet up online to share due dates and pregnancy joys and woes along this crazy journey. She happened to mention that she lived in my town and had just moved here cause her husband was stationed here with the navy for the next few years. We exchanged info and we had coffee today and walked around downtown. Her husband is currently gone for six weeks and she told me about all the moves they've had to make and the times he was gone for six months twice. How she is away from family and the support system she had built in their last base. I can't imagine. Sometimes we forget that the families of our soldiers have sacrificed so much too.

Life at the VA has been hard for me these past few years and I've actually been on the hunt for another job. Deciding whether I should leave or not has kept me up at night and has been the source of so much stress for me lately. I'm under appreciated and under paid where I work... my job is always exhausting and hard. The moments where I feel like I actually get to connect with these guys is rare and if I am really honest I feel like a lot of the work I do in the ICU is futile... often times these guys wait so long to get help that the chances of getting better are truly bleak. It's disheartening to say the least. 

Still, there is this place deep in me that continues to tug at my heart strings. I was telling my FIL yesterday about a new job opportunity and asking for advice on what to do. When I was explaining to him why I had always loved the VA I felt that familiar lump in my throat start to well up. What our soldiers do is incredibly difficult and what we offer is so very special. A place to be understood. A place where you can share about your time in Vietnam... and an ear to listen from someone who really knows just how PTSD impacts the lives of our service men and women. Some of these guys (and gals) haven't shared some of these stories with their own family even... and yet here I am at 2am hearing the heart of a man so burdened with guilt and sorrow over the loss he experienced decades ago. It is special indeed and I feel so very honored to be the recipient of that kind of trust... and a vessel for healing not only physically but emotionally too. 

I don't know where I will end up in the future but for now I want to thank you. Those of you who have given so much of yourself and the families who have sacrificed just the same. Thank you for being brave for us. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you. If you know a veteran please thank them today... or tomorrow... or the day after that. Their sacrifice never really ends and I hope that our thanks never does as well. 

Happy Veteran's Day

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


When I was a little girl I very distinctly remember that I loved playing with baby dolls. Up until maybe even 11 or 12 years old I have those memories of cradling and feeding and changing the little dolls that would creepily close their eyes when you laid them flat. What is even more amusing is knowing that the thought of actually being a mother or actually having children of my own someday never even occurred to me.  I never wanted to be a mother. I never had that picture in my mind of what my children might look like or be like. I never longed for the day I would be able to hold my child for the first time. Witness the first breath, first words, first step. I also never really knew why. The sacrifice just seemed so great and the desire so small.

It wasn't until recently when I was hovering over a pregnancy test desperately praying for it to be negative that I even began to think of the real possibility of having children. It was such a fearful feeling... that sense that a train is headed at you while your car is stuck on the tracks. Knowing that if I were to have a child... things really would be okay... but they would not be at all what I expected. Not at all what I had wanted or even hoped for.

And then... only one blue line appeared... and suddenly I felt this overwhelming sorrow... a sense of loss so great it brought me to tears. Indeed the train had hit, but the impact was much different than I expected. Motherhood was now something I very much wanted and the desire terrified and confused me. I didn't know what to do with it all. This strong sense that I was not ready to be a mom... that the timing was not right.... but the overwhelming wish that I could be.

Over time there was this deep searching that took place. Discovering the root of those intense fears I had about one day raising a little person. Everyone I spoke with would tell me, "Oh don't worry you won't be like your mom"  and I got it... I understood why they would say that.

But it didn't help... the fears only grew and began filling every space left unattended in my thoughts. It wasn't until I spent the day with my mom that it dawned on me just what it was.  We were talking about something as mundane as personality tests. I mentioned myers briggs and how much I loved that one... how it had helped me figure myself out. When instantly I was met with such strong resistance. Proclamations about how worthless that one was compared to my mom's favorite numerology system. And it only continued from there... bikram yoga is better than ashtanga... running isn't good for me... etc.

Every single thing I did had a flaw... something that needed to be corrected or trumped and when I made it home that evening I felt completely deflated... emotionally exhausted from the battle it was to just simply exist with my mother. It dawned on me that day that my fears about becoming a mother had nothing to do with being afraid of being like my mother... I was afraid of becoming the person that she always made me feel that I was.

A failure.... stupid... worthless... not good enough... a burden...

These are the words that have spun in my mind for so long and despite the nice birthday cards and the backhanded compliments I never really got over it. I never really believed that what my mother said... how she made me feel was completely invalid. That maybe her words and her actions were more about her and where she is in life than about me and my value. Maybe... just maybe... my fears about being a mother were rooted in completely unfounded proclamations... and not in the ability I have to love and raise another human being. That maybe the deep, deep desire I had for my mother to tell me, "YES, you can do this!" wasn't going to come but that it would still be okay.

And maybe... just maybe... someday I can have the ability... the chance to raise a little person. To love them and protect them in the ways that I wasn't... and in the ways that I was. To give this longing in my heart a voice. To believe in my worth and teach my children their worth too. And at the very least... to know that I am not living out of fear but out of hope instead.

The road so far has been incredibly bumpy and the sacrifices are much greater than I expected. Even at this stage of the journey there has been so much emotional, physical, and mental tenacity required. I have had to be more brave now than I think I ever have and I feel this shift inside of my being. This raw fierceness of protection and love and fear.... and yes, most definitely hope. Knowing that from here on out my life will never be the same... but that it will most definitely be richer and fuller because of it. And despite being terrified still every day that I might not be able to protect enough or love enough, I at least know that I am brave enough to take that first step. And soon... it will all be worth it.

I love you my little munchkin. I'm so excited to be your mama :)


Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Letter

The other day I was cleaning out the boxes in my office closet that had been with me since I was 15 years old. Years of moving, transferred from house to house and box to box. I had over a decade worth of letters and cards that had chronicled my life through the eyes of those around me. As I sifted through and tossed the generic "Happy Birthday! Love, Aunt Sue" cards into the trash I came across an open envelope. 

It had unfamiliar writing all over it and it wasn't a letter I had remembered even owning let alone reading. It was from my dad and it was addressed from jail, dated in 1991... I was 6 years old.  There was this moment as I opened the letter where everything else went blank. Almost as if I forgot what I had been doing up until that second. The wind had left my lungs and I felt that clenching in my chest. I slowly sat down on the floor and began reading the words on the pages. The apologies and the desperate pleas to not be afraid. The six places he told me I love you and the three where he said not be afraid. I counted each one... soaking it in just as desperately as he had written the words.  The few memories I had were all there... even the swans he had taught me to draw as a little girl. 
 There I was.... just a few days before my 29th birthday as I sat on the floor of my office, sobbing over the words. Tear drops staining the page, blurring the ink into incomprehensible puddles. The questions that had always been in the deepest parts of my being were right there in a box, on a shelf... in my office... all along. Did my dad love me... or more poignantly 

Am I lovable?

Most of my life has been lived with the desperate desire to be captivating, pursued and longed for. A hope that one day the void of not having my father's love would be filled. The wound of being abandoned somehow healed over. It never ceases to amaze me just how much that father wound has managed to impact every part of my identity. Just when I think I have overcome the breath of it... there it is. I know I have come so far and I know I am not alone in this struggle. It doesn't take a broken home to struggle with issues of worth but a broken home and an abusive father only magnifies the hurt. 

“We desire to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing, worth fighting for, a beauty that is core to who we truly are. We want beauty that can be seen; beauty that can be felt; beauty that affects others; a beauty all our own to unveil.” 
― Stasi EldredgeCaptivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul

So today, I am reflecting on that desire, that hurt, that loss, that wound. I am praying that somehow it will heal enough to not sting so much. I am praying for the strength to believe in my own worth... and I mourn the ways in which I have not loved myself enough. 

And maybe along the way... in sharing the journey... others can be healed too. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Life Lately in Photos

yummy smoothies :)

First time my hand was free from the cast after surgery!

Crocheted blanket for the little bundle of love below

Trip to a cabin in the Sierra's with my favorite people and husband

My favorite beach with my awesome sister in law

 A trip down memory lane... I was a funny kid
 Best Birthday Breakfast ever
Best Birthday Cupcakes ever 

Saturday, September 14, 2013


The other day my friend sent me a link to one of the best nursing related posts I have read in a while... "Just a Nurse" written by Kateri. It is a concept I know all too well. I am often compared to physicians and nursing is ranked below the practice of medicine too often. The tasks I do on a daily basis are drastically misunderstood by the average person. I think if any one of my friends or family were to shadow me on a typical day in the ICU they would be shocked and amazed to see just what my job entailed.

I don't just pass out medicine and give bed baths... I help maintain the hemodynamic status of my patients. I take care of patients who are on multiple vasoactive drips, ventilators and highly complex machines to keep their heart, kidneys, and lungs functioning properly. I collaborate with the physicians and surgeons of all services and I have a valued opinion in the healthcare team and knowledgeable input into the lives of my patients. There are even times when I am the one teaching residents about the management of ICU patients. It's a shame that the few nursing roles people identify with are the ones on shows like Grey's Anatomy and such... and more importantly the roles for physicians on those shows are grossly exaggerated. Not saying that physicians aren't obviously vital members of the health care field but lets get real... most doctors I know aren't in the room long enough to learn how to operate the IV pump. (In my unit they aren't even allowed to touch our IV pumps!) Nurses are the ones at the bedside minute by minute.

I have been the last comforting voice to numerous patients... the last person they see as they transition out of this life. I have held so many hands through panic attacks and given CPR to coding patients who were on the brink of death. I have come home with blood and vomit and urine on my clothes. I have been kicked, hit, spit on, pinched and cussed at too many times to count. I have been apologized to for those same things but not often enough. I have had some wonderful conversations about life in the military and life on the war front. History through the eyes of a veteran is an interesting, inspiring, and heartbreaking thing to see.

I have sat through slow shifts and had the opportunity to connect with my patients on a much deeper level than just their health. I have connected with the daughter of an alcoholic who had to grow up way too fast. A man who lost his entire family to freak accidents and murders. I have had insane shifts where I was so over it at the end that I went home and had wine for breakfast.  I have been angry, frustrated, and am always exhausted at the end of the day.

I have had more than one friend and family member ask me why I stay. Why do I stay in such a difficult profession? Why do I stay in a hospital that pays the lowest salary in the area? Why do I stay in a hospital that has patients who suffer from PTSD and are combative and sometimes ungrateful.

Before I became a nurse I was planning on being a missionary in the middle east... specifically Afghanistan. Other than my family... everyone I knew thought it was incredibly noble and special. A calling so particular that despite the dangers and the difficulties of the task... it was a risk that was worth the sacrifice. A sacrifice that could have cost me my life.

But because I get paid to be a nurse I guess there is this sense that the sacrifice should not be so great? I consider this job my calling and in particular right now I consider veteran's to be the people I need to serve. I just wish people understood that just because my job is incredibly hard... doesn't mean I shouldn't be doing it. Cause seriously... if not me than who? If every singe nurse left because it was too hard or the sacrifice was too great we wouldn't have any left. Well... we might have the ones who only care about the paycheck left but what good does that do? No one really wins. This is why I chose to be a nurse and not a doctor or a missionary.

As a nurse I have this unique window into the lives of people who are incredibly vulnerable. I not only get to help save their lives by doing my job but I also get to be their comforter, healer, teacher, cheerleader, helper, advocate and voice. I love my job despite its constant sacrifice. The rewards are not always obvious but they are always great. And honestly... if you had a loved one in the hospital wouldn't you be glad to have a nurse who felt the same?

That is why I stay.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Gluten Free Skinny Cookies

Skinny Cookie Recipe

Last week I was desperately craving cookies or some form of dessert that was easy and healthy to make. It's been three weeks now that I have been off of work and while I have been thoroughly enjoying the time off... my scale has not. When I'm working I bring really healthy meals and snacks and because that is all I have with me for a 12 hour period that is all I eat. Plus I am usually super busy and running around and then on my break I go run or walk for 30-40 minutes. I'm just much more disciplined when I have a set schedule.

Being home 24-7 I have access to my fridge and pantry whenever my whim for munching comes on... which is all. the. time. Seriously I am the worst food addict ever... I love food... I enjoy cooking it and reading about it (so many good food blogs!) and coming from an Italian family, food is a huge social thing.

All that to say that I have been trying to find some healthy alternatives to fun foods and I found a great cookie option that I wanted to share with you all! They have a more chewy consistency than cookies but they are still super delicious.

15 minute Gluten Free Skinny Cookies

2 ripe bananas
1 cup gluten free oats (you can use non-GF oats too)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Slice your bananas up into a bowl and mash them up well enough that you are able to stir them with a fork.
Stir in your oats, coconut and cinnamon. Add in your chocolate and mix it into the batter.
(I used this fancy dark chocolate from World Market called Brix and chopped it into little chunks) 
Spoon about 1-2 tbsp size cookies onto your nonstick cookies sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. 
You want the cookies to stick together well enough that they can be removed from the sheet easily with a spatula. Cool on a rack and enjoy your healthy cookies!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Shower for Baby A

This little one we were celebrating has already made her debut into the world. She is so incredibly precious and it is so funny to look back at these photos, which were taken recently and imagining the world without her in it. It was so fun to have a get together and celebrate this new life. :)

Congratulations Kelly!! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Random Thoughts of an Insomniac

Night shift nursing can be brutal sometimes. I have not had a normal night sleep in months. Right now, it is 5:00 am, I slept yesterday from 6:00 pm until 11:00 pm and now I am trying to pass the time by finishing up research for my last project in school. In August I will finish my BSN program and I will never have to attend school again if I don't want! I will probably end up in a Master's program at some point but for now a girl can dream...

I will also be getting surgery on July 22nd (nothing major, just hand surgery) and will be out of work for a month so I will probably be bored out of my mind the entire month of August. I don't think I have had that much down time since I graduated nursing school in 2009.

Still, I am looking forward to having some time to do some work projects and catch up with friends and house projects. Sleeping during normal hours will be absolutely divine too. Anyone have any good suggestions for good reading? I just finished "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini and I loved it. I have a few on my list... Unbroken, Game of Thrones... but I am wondering what you all have been reading these days?

Hopefully, I will get some time to do some photography too... especially since I will be a new honorary auntie any day now! :) Can't wait to meet this little one! I will have baby shower pictures coming soon. I swear in my other life I was an event planner... okay not really but I do love hosting parties at my home.. which is honestly strange considering how crazy introverted I am. I think it just gives me a reason to be crafty.

Alright, I'm pretty sure I have 5 Candy Crush lives waiting for me so until next time... send me your book recommendations! 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Art and Science of Nursing

When I was in nursing school my teachers would always talk about the "art and science of nursing". The marriage of scientific knowledge and the intuition we have as caring professionals. Back then I understood it on an intellectual level, and I saw it in the experienced nurses who, due to years of hands on nursing, had this way of balancing their care with scientific precision and  compassion that drove everything they did. Over the years I have learned it more myself but it wasn't until last night that I realized just what my teachers meant all those years ago.

When I walked into work last night and saw my assignment, I knew there was a potential to have a rough evening. My patient was a young man I knew well. A guy who had been diagnosed with ALS many years ago... a disease that slowly takes away all ability to move, eat, go to the bathroom and breathe on your own... eventually even takes away the ability to speak. It is fatal and it is characterized by this "trapped syndrome" where your mind is completely alert and aware and yet your body is a hollow shell of what it used to be. In all honesty... ALS is my very worst nightmare.

I had been told that my patient was at a point in his disease process where he was not willing to participate in nursing care. No turning, no bathing, no suctioning... basically we were there to give pain medicine and offer sips of water and such... but only when he asked. He was still able to talk through his trach, despite being on the ventilator and he would let us know what he did and did not want. Oh great.... I thought to myself... this is gonna be a fun night.

If I had been given this assignment four years ago when I began my nursing career, I would have had a large amount of anxiety surrounding his decision. As a nurse who knows the implications of not turning your patients (bed sores that go down to the bone) and not suctioning your patient (pneumonia that could kill you) and the list of other things that this guy won't let us do... how do you just not force it on him and take care of him the way I know I should? I remember having these dilemmas as a new grad.

Now... four years in, I realize that I have begun to understand that age old wisdom my nursing instructors were trying to impart in each one of us. This man that I cared for last night is a man who is dying... not only that but he is dying from a horrible disease that leaves you completely paralyzed. You can control nothing. Not your body, your environment, your position... everything in your life is in the hands of a health care professional that doesn't know you from Adam. And sadly... most of the time, with chronic patients... nurses and doctors avoid them because they can come across as being needy and demanding... all in an effort to cope with the loss of autonomy they have had. So... you are left with a grumpy, isolated patient who tries to demand even more as a reaction to his surroundings and refuses to do the things we know need to be done... and often times you have a nurse who just wants to get in the room and get out.

So, last night I knew that this is where I needed the art of nursing. Instead of explaining to him why I needed to turn him, I asked him when he wanted his pain medicine. Instead of running out of the room at every chance and trying to just get my work done and get on with my busy day... I sat in the room and watched Ricky Lake and chatted with him about his time in the service. We watched the news and talked about the recent CIA scandals and the depressing state of our government. We laughed over remembering the taste of dimetapp as a kid and I told him about the time I puked all over my poor grandma when she made me drink theraflu when I was sick.

The funny thing is that I can't remember the last time I had such a good night at work. It was peaceful and slow and it felt good to actually connect with this guy. At the end of the day I was really thankful for him and our time together and I could tell that he was thankful to have a nurse that didn't force him to have his sheets changed or try to convince him that he was getting too much pain medicine. In the end I have a feeling that our time together did more for the both of us than my turning him ever would have. He actually looked happy when I said goodbye to him this morning... and I think it was because someone sat and treated him like a person instead of a patient for once.

So... four years in I am finally getting it. I'm still learning it and will probably continue to fine tune that artful skill of knowing what lines are hard and fast and which can be blurred around the edges a bit. I will say one thing though... my nursing instructors would be proud :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Gluten Free Peach Cobbler Recipe

Over the past two years I have noticed a decline in my lung capacity. My running just hasn't been the same since I had a bout with chronic bronchitis back in late 2011. Despite the many rounds of antibiotics, steroids inhaled and in pill form... nothing has seemed to work and till this day I still have this obnoxious wheeze at the end of my cough. I am slower than ever and my inhaler is my best friend whenever allergy season is here. 

All that to say... my doctor recently told me to go gluten-free thinking maybe it was a gluten or a wheat allergy that was the culprit of my debilitated lungs. I have now been gluten free for a few months and I'm not sure if I'm truly noticing a difference. However, Chris does indeed have a gluten allergy... I have yet to be tested. So, we might as well go down the rabbit hole together and thus the new gluten-free kick.

This week I was really craving a cobbler of some sorts... and lets be honest... who doesn't love a good cobbler? Well, since I came across the most wonderfully ripe and brightly colored peaches I couldn't help myself but to buy up 3 pounds worth in hopes of making a gluten free recipe work. I looked up a few gluten-free cobbler recipes and decided I didn't like any of those... so I made my own.

You could also probably very easily make this recipe work with regular flour if you didn't want to make it gluten free. I used sorghum flour because it is on the sweet side and works well with desserts. 

Gluten Free Peach Cobbler

6 ripe yellow or white peaches ( I used a mixture of both)
1/3 cup sorghum flour (could also substitute with all purpose gluten free flour or regular flour)
1/3 cup gluten free oats 
1/2 cup brown sugar 
1/3 cup butter 
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Slice up the peaches in relatively thin slices and line the bottom of your Pyrex or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the white sugar onto the peaches along with the vanilla and almond extract. 

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl except 1 tablespoon of the white sugar that is already on the peaches. Cut small tabs of the butter into the dry ingredients and mix together with a fork .
You want it to get crumbly in the bowl so it has that cobbler consistency when you layer it on top of the peaches. 

I cooked the cobbler with the lid of my dish on top. It kept the flour moist but it also made the cobbler pretty runny. If you left it uncovered it might be better but you just have to be careful because many gluten free flours brown very easily. 

Let the dish cook at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Check periodically to make sure the top is not burning. 

When you see the juice from the peaches bubbling up, you know it is done. Serve with a side of your favorite vanilla ice cream and voila! Beautiful gluten-free cobbler for dessert. 


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Note to Self: His mercies are new every morning...

Right now I am supposed to be reading “Ladies and Gentlemen, to the Gas Chamber” and every time I switch my browser to my school's page I just can't seem to get up the mental fortitude to go there. I keep thinking about the week that I had... four very long twelve hour shifts in a row. Lots of homework and lectures and tests and papers in between. Death. I am tired.

I have been a nurse in the ICU for four years now come this July. I still remember when I started this blog as  a new grad about three years ago. It doesn't feel like it has been that long but the weariness in me reminds that it has. 

I thought yesterday was going to be a good night. It has been a really rough week and my stress levels have been physically impacting me and I feel at my wits end. I needed it to be a good night. It started off with a perfectly wonderful conversation with my patient's family members about the perils of quitting smoking. We laughed over the crazy things we would all do during our peak addiction days just to get a cigarette. Laughing over things only an ex-smoker would be able to laugh about. It was nice to connect with the family, you could see that despite the severity of the situation... there was an ease. A trust that they felt things were moving in the right direction and knowing that their loved one was in very good hands. It was nice and despite my exhaustion I was thankful. 

Then not an hour into the shift I hear his wife yell out, "He's bleeding!" and immediately the flood gates open. Ruptured esophageal varices that eventually found its way out of his mouth and nose with force. The next four hours were a furry of attempting to get the bleeding under control with massive transfusions of blood products and a procedure to clip the bleed in his GI tract. His poor family was ushered out to the waiting room and I felt horrible. 

No, this is not a good night. Not for me... and definitely not for them. What is so difficult sometimes is knowing that despite how hard you work and all that we do to save lives... sometimes it fails.
Sometimes people die of lung cancer, probably from the 40 years of smoking a pack a day.
Sometimes people die from a GI bleed from years of binge drinking and a failing liver as a result. 
Sometimes death is peaceful and wonderfully fitting.... and sometimes it is not.

This week it was not. 

So for now, I just don't have it in me to read "Ladies and Gentlemen, to the Gas Chamber" or anything else that talks about death and sadness. Right now, I will stop and say a prayer for that family and I will spend some time here and I might also need to give these girls a call... their smiling faces and silly laughs always make the world a little better. 

Maybe tomorrow will be brighter and the world will feel a little less heavy and burdened...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dickies Scrub Top Review and Coupon Code to Uniformed Scrubs!

A while back I was contacted by a rep at about testing out one of the Dickies scrub tops for their new spring line. I love Dickies so I had no problem with that. :) They sent me a brown, scoop neck top that had some interesting little details to it. Most of the time I tend not to pay too much attention to my scrub tops. I figure as long as they don't make me look huge or like I work in a quilt shop I'm okay. I will admit though that this top was of really good quality (no surprise with Dickies) and it felt nice to wear a soft, comfy material that actually had some tailoring in the design. Everyone at work noticed it and was like "Oh, Andi you're actually looking girly and cute today!" haha 

Don't mind the pictures. I wore the shirt twice just to get a good feel for it and I remembered on the way out the door to work the second time that I should probably snap a few photos to post on here. To make it easy I'll do my pro con list (which I do for almost every decision of my life) ...
Super Soft Material
Tailored to not look like a box (unlike most scrub tops)
Quality make that feels like it will last 
Huge front pockets that fit a ton of stuff
Cute details that people actually notice

Scoop neck is wide enough that a sports bra will show through (see above photo)
Capped sleeves feel constricting (see photo below) and a little too girly for my taste


All in all any Dickies Scrub Top is a solid investment for any nurse. I have always loved their brand and this was no exception. My only issues are related to the style of the top and that would be more in my control if I was the one doing the shopping... which I might have to do because Uniformed Scrubs gave  me a coupon code to hand out to all of my wonderful blog readers!
A couponer like me gets way too excited about such things...

If you are looking for some new medical scrubs head over to uniformed scrubs and check out their Dickies line... 
at checkout enter in "trueblue" which is 15% off until July 31st 2013.

Happy Shopping Friends!