September 1, 2014

Sometimes it is Hard

Happy Labor Day!
Labor day is defined by Wikipedia (which I will admit is the furthest thing from bible...) "is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country."

I will be celebrating by continuing my pursuits of personal wealth. ;-)
Which is code for: I don't have a choice. I am a nurse.
Also prepare for the longest post in the world...

I have blogged about being a nurse many times before, describing the loveliest of patients and the most tender of moments spent with them in their last hours. But I want to tell you about the other days – the days spent with the worst side of people, and the violent of situations we encounter. I want to tell you about the shifts when you get to your car after a long day, and all you can do is cry or sit there emotionally drained. I want to tell you why we sometimes have a tendency to lash out at the first person who annoys us when we get home as we walk in the door exhausted.
We are nurses because we love people. We are nurses because we have compassion. We are nurses because we want to help others to either maintain their health or return to good health. We are nurses because we believe no one should die uncomfortably or alone. We are nurses because we do not like to see people suffer. We are nurses because we want nothing more than to hold your hand, or the hands of your loved ones, as you make a necessary, but difficult decision. We chose this profession because we want to make sure people die with dignity and without pain, and if we can facilitate having your loved ones hold your hand while you pass, that’s a good day for us. Each of us has hundreds of stories. We never forget out patients.

Many of us have personal experiences on the other side of the veil. Many know what it is like to watch someone you love suffer. Many of us have health issues of our own and see a physician regularly. Many nurses I work with have gifted myself and others with the graciousness of their service in a branch of the military. Some of those nurses have come back home without their friends because they were killed in the war. Some have buried their family members and returned a few days later to work. And all of us have sore muscles after a shift.

We really do love our patients. Often, we love their families as well. We know them for long periods of time, sometimes months or years. Trust is established. Friendships are formed. We are happy when they do well. We are sad when they die. We call or text on our days off to check on them. We can’t help it. We’re nurses. That’s just what we do.

And for all of these reasons, when we experience the opposite of this experience...words escape me.

I have had a gang member physically charge at me. I have had a criminal call me names I wouldn't call my worst enemy. I have tried to break up fights between patients and their family members. I have had people pull out lines in anger or confusion that will lead to them bleeding to death. I have had many people lie to me. I have had patients threaten my life. That is scary. I have a family that I want to make it home to every night

I have been told that I have no compassion (because I was unable to share results of labs that I truly did not know the results to.) I have been scratched, kicked, punched, slapped, spit on, poop thrown at me (by a family member actually, not a patient), hair pulled, boob pulled, and the like. Not daily but almost, but verbal abuse...that is part of my everyday. (I do work in an environment that probably has a slightly higher incidence of this though, to be clear...)

It gets worse.

I had one patient whom died after he made the conscious choice to go hospice and have care withdrawn. His family came in and called me a murderer.  I have also had people threaten to sue. I have dealt with seeing abuse inflicted on others as well. Read here for my story dealing with an abused child.

We listen to the DEMANDS of family members who INSIST we turn their 500 pound loved one hourly, which takes every nurse on the floor, and we often wonder, who turned them when they were at home?? We stand there while we are accused of causing those multiple stage 4 bed sores, the same ones we had documented when they arrived on the floor from their home.
We listen to family members speak horribly about our colleagues, which is like messing with our family.

We know that some of our patients are going to die. We would just PREFER to not do CPR. I don't like knowing that I might have to jump on my patient's chest, break all of their ribs, and then call the family back in to see them when it is much too late to hold their hand. We’re nurses. We’re compassionate. We don’t LIKE to do that.  Also, I don't often wear a ring to work because if I have to do a code I don't want to cut my hand viciously like I have in the past..
But if you want to be full code terminally, that is absolutely your right patient. Just remember I am here to be your advocate. But sometimes it is hard to do what is asked of me as stated above. But ultimately it is about you.

After all of this, sometimes all we can do is come home and shower and crawl into bed. We are physically and emotionally SPENT……

We’re compassionate, all of us. We all love people, and we love helping people return to good health. We also love food, if you ever want to bring some! :-)

August 29, 2014

My Dear, you Have the Grim

Do you have a journal?
What is a journal?

I think a blog can be one so I have that. It is a combination of thoughts that I place down on a piece of "paper" 

The reason I was thinking of these was because I randomly watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban the other night and then blogged about Harry Potter...

P.S I use Amazon Instant Video! Anyone out there with me?!?

Emma Thompson's character Professor Trelawney reminds me of an experience with journaling in the 10th grade. 
Back then I thought a journal was only a journal if you said it was. 

My 10th grade English teacher made us keep a dream journal. She wanted us to record all the crazy things that go through our head during the night before they disappeared every morning. She also wanted our interpretations along side the facts.

Harry Potter DWELL on DREAMS Quote modern by modernhomeprints

I never remember having dreams, but she wanted something written, so I would make dreams up. Every time my dream would interpret to my teacher that I was going to die or that bad things were going to happen to me, etc... I could come up with the happiest dreams and for some reason her "interpretation" would be a sad, horrific one. 

Needless to say since I would interpret a made up dream about finding gold at the end of a rainbow as a happy dream of me feeling lucky and loved and rich with my surrounding heritage (I am Irish), I got bad grades on all my dream journals. I think she said that dream indicated poverty I could never get out of and had false hope to do so. And that when I got to the end of my "rainbow" I would die. 

Terrible right?!?

So since then I think I have never wanted to call anything a journal, but realize that this blog is a combination of many types of journalistic efforts on my part. Here are a list of some of the "types" of journals I keep.

Commonplace book via this blog
I have a common place collection of inspirational bits. Quotes, song lyrics, passages from books or speeches, etc. find their way onto these pages. When you need some motivation, an emotional boost, or whatever else, you can flip back through and find what you need. I also do this on Pinterest and back on paper during years of angst in middle school. Now it is fun to look back and see what songs or quotes spoke to you during a certain time of life.

Scripture/prayer journal
Probably one of the most well known types of journals, scripture or prayer journals are a great way to dive deeper into relationship with God. They can help you work through hard times in life as well as remember your blessings. You can examine your conscience, record your spiritual struggles, or just thank God for the happy moments. Writing down your prayers also enables you to recognize when you receive answers. Some people use this type of journal to help them study or memorize scripture, too.

Gratitude journal
It’s always easier to turn to a journal when things are hard—for some reason, adversity awakens our desire to confide. But it can be a little depressing if all you have to look back on are pages and pages filled with your struggles and complaints. A gratitude journal counters that negativity by helping you acknowledge the positives of daily life, however small they may be at times. Set a goal and, as regularly as works for you, write down a certain number of things you’re grateful for. 

Daily log
I mean this is the definition of a lifestyle blogger right? We right down what has happened in our daily lives. 

Travel journal
I love writing about when I travel here on the blog. Most recently about my Alaska Trip! Not only does this create a unique, personal record of your trip, it allows you to savor those moments in a more in depth way. 

Photo journal
Sometimes photos can just say it all!

Anniversary or birthday journal
I have a paper journal of Kevin and mines celebrations and cards and continue that here on the blog writing down what we did to celebrate as well as several highlights from the year.

List journal
I love making lists, and my blog has lots of them.

Journals I don't keep but could one day or used to back in middle school angst years:

Pregnancy journal
Those nine months of carrying your little one are drastically different from other periods of life. You’re going through a lot of physical, emotional, and lifestyle changes in a relatively short period of time. Journaling can be a great way to both work through those changes and create a record of memories to look back on when your wee one is grown. Be sure to write down the basics (when you found out you were pregnant, your thoughts when you found out the gender, the lists of potential names you and your partner make), but also include the things you’re sure you’ll never forget (Exactly how bad was that morning sickness? What did your husband say the first time you sent him to the grocery store in the middle of the night to satisfy a craving?). Because you probably will forget them over time unless you put them in your journal.

Motherhood journal
A motherhood journal can take several different forms. You can write to your children with the intention of giving it to them one day or you can simply record your thoughts and emotions about being a mom. You can include things your children say or do, or you can write completely from your personal perspective.

Reading journal
I see other bloggers do this and used to keep one myself back in middle school. You can write down your thoughts and reactions to the books you read. You can write down your favorite passages, your thoughts on different characters or scenes, or general observations about the book.

Random Crap Journal
Another journal I used to keep in middle school! I collected scraps from my daily life. I would put everything in there: receipts, leaves, candy wrappers, ticket stubs, etc. Now I think the OCD and minimalist in me would have a cow...

Bucket list journal
If you have a bucket list, you might like to keep a journal documenting your experience each time you cross an item off the list. This will be great to look back on later!

Are you drawn to any of the journal types on this list? 
Do you know of or keep another type of journal?

August 28, 2014

I Don't Like Thinking of Titles For Blog Posts

Seriously, sometimes isn't it the hardest to come up with blog post titles?!?
I also don't like...

The bra I am wearing
That chocolate has so many calories
That I never have time to do my nails
When people say "Wow your hair is so long!" every 10 seconds
All the junk emails I get
That it isn't quite the weekend yet

Blogging slumps
That no one else can do my job
Google Plus
Wasting water
Inconsiderate people
When my phone freezes
Summer temperatures in Arizona
That as soon as I hit publish I will think of something else.

August 27, 2014

Two Years

Two years of work. I feel like these years have absolutely flown by.  I have done, seen, and learned so many things; too many to name, but here are a few things I am so happy that I've experienced along the way:

I have learned how to get what I want from doctors.
I have learned to listen to the older nurses, even if they aren't nice.
I have learned to go with my gut, always.
I have learned to check, double check, and recheck my meds.
I have learned that two hands are better than one, and four are better than two.
I have witnessed families coming apart, and families coming together.
I have cared for people who have no one in the world.
I have cared for the alcoholic, the drug addict, the illegal immigrant, and the mentally ill.
I have had days where I questioned myself on end, and days where I didn't.
I have received praise for my work, and reprimand for my mistakes.
I have learned that it's okay when you don't know everything, and it doesn't hurt to ask.
I have cracked ribs.
I have learned what teamwork really means.
I have pushed meds.
I have been called names, good ones and bad ones.
I have seen people who are at their worst, still give their best.
I have had people lift me up, when it should have been the other way around.
I have called codes, called ambulances, and called families.
I have held patients as they took their first breaths, and others as they took their last.
I have learned that I love what I do.

August 26, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie.
Always a staple in my opinion. 

I have never wanted to invest the time to make my own pie crust for it and I have been using biscuits as crust since I could cook. I think because of that I prefer it to a more traditional crust.

Others may disagree, but no doubt that using canned biscuits make Chicken Pot Pie something attainable for a weeknight meal!

Traditionally this would be a recipe I am most often making/sharing in the fall or winter months, but here in Arizona we really only have summer as a season, so you are getting in on the recipe now!

In pulling up this recipe I smile. I have this one compiled in my OneNote on my computer.
Anyone remember OneNote?! I used it almost exclusively like I use Pinterest/my blog.
Darn I could have made millions with this Pinterest idea ;-)

Chicken Pot Pie

1/4 cup of margarine or butter
1/3 cup flour
1 can of chicken broth (or bouillon) I use about 10 oz
3/4 cup milk
1.5-2 cups of mixed vegetables (or however much you want!)
Chopped Chicken (however much you want)
Dash of Pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large skillet, melt the butter, stir in the flour and pepper. Cook, stirring consistently, until smooth and bubbly. Gradually add chicken broth and milk. Cook until mixture boils and thickens stirring consistently. Add the chicken and then the vegetables and cook until hot and bubbly. Empty mixture into your casserole dish.**
3. Flatten out your biscuits and lay on top of mixture.
4. Place in oven and bake for 17-20 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.

**I like to use a smaller casserole dish because I love lots of thick flavorful pie, but you may use your judgement there.

I have never met someone who does not like Chicken Pot Pie.
Are there any of you out there?

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