"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Modern Day American Vacation: Healthy style

Hello all! So this is my first “guest post” if that’s what you would like to call it. I’ve been approached by a friendly fellow internet blog-reader/blogger and asked to co-write a little bit about healthy vacationing for the modern day American family, so - here goes! 

Most of Americans seek vacations as a time to do and eat whatever they want, and vacation destinations cater right to that need. All-inclusive beach resorts, cruise ship 24/7 buffets, etc. But the consequences aren’t as desirable, for you and your family. So let’s think about some different options for the modern day vacationing American family!

I’m a simple person and have spent my childhood and what’s begun of my adulthood with both some simple vacations (beach, camping) and a little more luxurious vacations (cruise ships, Disney world, etc.) So I will try and cater my tips towards both types of vacationers.

Take Breaks for Your Health on Family Vacations
I've gone on a number of trips over the years. I've always managed to splurge a little too much and found myself dreading the scale when I got home. That's why I started planning exercise and healthy eating habits even when I'm going on vacation for my family and me. It's important to give yourself a little room to splurge, but I always want to make sure that I'm not going overboard. These are some helpful ways that I have managed to keep off the pounds when traveling. My family loves the water. Paddleboats are one of the best ways to explore and also burn off some calories. You never know what kind of adventures you'll find when out on the lake too. Kids love to feed ducks, and it's also great just to view some beautiful scenery. It's engaging for your muscles, and if you get your family into it, you'll have burned off a ton of calories from that all-you-can-breakfast you had earlier.

I luckily live near the shore and have not gone one summer without some type of beach vacation, long or short. On our beach vacations, my parents have always had a golden rule for eating: We get one meal out, and that’s usually dinner. We pack enough food for the week for the beach house to eat pancakes, waffles, smoothies, cereal, etc., for breakfast, and some loaves of bread, deli meat and some chips for lunches. We also buy lots of fruit in bulk and snack on that, with lots of water. If you choose to stay in a hotel rather than a beach house, look for a hotel that offers a fridge or a kitchen suite so you can accommodate these types of “DIY” meals on vacation rather than relying on restaurants for breakfast, lunch AND dinner. 

Find the Right Hotel
There are some valuable hotel packages out there that offer fitness centers as part of the amenities. These hotels are the best value because you can always take a break or plan an afternoon where you get in some cardio and strength training in between the amusement parks. For our upcoming trip to Orlando, it was important that we find a hotel with a quality gym. With so many places to stay, the process proved to be a bit overwhelming.  

 With all my trips to Disney, I usually come out even- weight wise. I do recommend looking into renting a time share or a hotel with kitchen suite to make breakfast yourself rather than relying on Disney hotels. Although expensive, I do recommend the Disney dining plan for the rest of your needs. For the basic plan, you are allotted one snack, one counter service (fast food), and one table service (full-service). All Disney restaurants, fast food or not, strive to always offer healthy choices for you and your children, so that’s all up to you. Perhaps strive to order healthy options for lunch at the counter service (grilled chicken, fresh fruit, water) and then order whatever you want for dinner. After all, it is your vacation J .This type of high protein lunch will keep you going strong all day, you’re going to need it in Disney!

Drink Lots of Water
One thing I have been able to do on vacations is to replace most of my drinks with water, no matter what the vacation. I bring water bottles along on road trips and try to buy a cheap pack of water for my family before we go to the hotel. This way we're not always in need of drinks and looking for something quick such as a soda. It's also important to stay hydrated, and water truly helps the best. 

As for cruise ships…..oh, boy. Buffets everywhere you turn. This puts all of the decision making on you. Perhaps discuss a plan with your ship-mate vacationers or your family before you board on what your food intake will be like. Perhaps you can pick in advance what days you plan on doing the buffet and which days you won’t. When you do go to the buffet, try and stick to a 2 plate rule. One for your entrĂ©e and one for your dessert. Try and adapt the mindset that buffet should not stuff you to the point you must roll out of the restaurant, but should merely just offer you many choices to make your whole family happy. Two plates!
Speaking of All-You-Can-Eat
I try to avoid buffets whenever possible, but when you're on vacation, it's inevitable that your family will want to head out to the nearest lunch or dinner buffet. I stay healthy by only filling my plate once, and while I may pick up a few treats, I try to stay away from the really rich foods. In addition, the next day I always go for lighter, vegetable meals to balance out the food that I eat at the buffet.


Despite these tips, it really is all up to you in the end. You probably wouldn’t be reading this entry if you weren’t at least a little concerned for your food choices and overall health. So take these tips to mind and go forth making your own smart choices!
With love,
WNB and guest co-writer, Kendra.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Never Work a Full Moon

You'd think that by now I may have learned my lesson, but alas, that is false. When self scheduling as a nurse, I always forget to check when the next full moon is and almost always find myself working over the full moons. Not just one shift, or two, but three fabulous shifts all in the spree of the full moon. And this past one was extra special, being the lunar eclipse last night. Patients were lining up outside the hospital 5 days ago for this full moon.

Now I'm pretty sure everyone knows that full moons make patients go crazy in hospitals. But it's not just that. Normal patients start acting crazy, and the crazy ones just get even crazier. It's like they all gang up and conspire with each other on how they can plan the most eventful full moon shift ever. And that's not even it. Equipment acts up. You'll hear the strangest noises come out of your machines and equipment, or all of the sudden it stops working, or all the sudden your hospital phone won't work anymore. And things come alive and get lost and walk away. You'll be looking for your bladder scanner and turns out its 4 floors down and they have no idea how it got there. And then there's other just weird stuff, like your patient comes in with one thing and you're dealing with a completely different, extremely time consuming issue. Great fun.

So, within the past couple shifts I worked over the full moon, these are the top 15 reasons  that I hate working full moons.

1) I asked my patient if she could tell me her full name. She tells me, "I'm Italian! Do you think I know not my name!?"

2) A patient on the floor tried to convince me he was legit abducted from aliens, I wasn't good enough to have been abducted, and he was looking to speak with a scientist. But I was definitely not the scientist.

3) Same guy as said above proceeded to injure staff and scream down the hall, wrestle people in the hallways, despite 5 doses of Ativan, 2 geodon, and 1 haldol.

4) My patient tells me when I get on shift, "I just had diarrhea." Me, "Ok.....thank you....for....letting me know..."   patient,-"yeah...its still in the toilet. I need you to look at it."   Me,-"why?"  patient, "I think I swallowed something. Can you tell me what those colored things are?"

5) one of my IV poles presented with "ERROR" on the screen. Despite me being tech-savvy and familiar with the IVs, I have not only never seen this error message, (or the horrifying beeping eradicating from the machine), but I couldn't get it to turn off, either. The best part is it wasn't even on in the first place.

6) Call light goes on, about 330am.  Me, "Hi, how can I help you?"  Patient-"The music! I turned on the music box and it kept ringing, and ringing, and I couldn't get it to stop, but then it stopped. Do you hear the music now?"

7) my (previously normal) patient tried to pull out her NG tube and foley. At the same time.

8) same patient, turns out her NG tube was draining poop. Because, why not?  For my fellow nurses out there, you know how rare this is, but it definitely happens. lots of fun.

9) The giving nurse tells you, "the patient came from home taking ThisWeirdDrugIveNeverHeardOF but were not giving it to him here because you can only get it from canada. WTF.

10) I take a chest pain admission and the patient speaks ONLY (literally) Italian. So does the wife. And the son is trying to order pizza to the hospital room, and only speaks Italian and is trying to ask me (In Italian) how to order pizza. I only know this because he's shouting PIZZA and the 8 year old grandson is translating into English for me. Turns out the patient has no chest pain, he's severely constipated. So you know, pizza should be good for that.

11) Same patient as above was angry that we could not get his Italian drugs imported from Italy for him to take during his stay with us. Because that is extremely unreasonable.

12) I had to explain to said patient that I had to give him a laxative suppository. Since I don't speak Italian, I tried to do this through gestures. That Involved a lot of gestures I hope to never have to use again.

13) One of my dementia patients told me he wanted his Easter bread. If he didn't get his Easter bread, God would strike me with zebras and the patient was going to leave and go to the hotel next door ( room # 745 specifically) so he could get his Easter bread.

14) Patient asks me for Morphine. I told patient she doesn't have an IV, how am I supposed to give her morphine? She told me I can inject it into her brain.

15)  Patient asks me for food at 3:30 AM. I offer crackers. He asks for an egg sandwich. I tell him kitchen is closed. He says OK how about Cornbread? Ummmm, no. I don't have cornbread. He then asks for fresh fruit. I tell him again kitchen is closed but I can give him crackers. He said he's not hungry enough for crackers but what about a Milkshake?

16) The nurse before you tells you she charted she gave medicine but really didn't and can I please call the doctor to see if he really needs it? Um no. No I cannot do that.

17) My 93 year old patient asks me what a Hookah is.

18) My 36 year old female patient tells me she hasn't urinated in the past 14 hours because she doesn't like to use public bathrooms and asks me what I can do for her.

I can't make this stuff up you guys. Seriously.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankity Thanks Thanksgivingsly Thankful

Hey everyone! So although I don't get to post much, it wouldn't be thanksgiving without my annual thanksgiving post. It has after all been....four years?

So my personal tradition annually is to list things I am thankful for each year. Just like my traditional new years resolutions, I don't really do it for others to see, more so for myself to see each year and watch myself grow.

What am I thankful this year? Where do I start?

I am so thankful to have had a very successful first year in my first house! No disasters, no fires, nothing bad so far. Just a couple ghost sightings (friendly!) and lots and lots of house improvements!

 I am thankful for having a big-girl job that pays me well enough to be able to afford all of these amazing improvements to my little humble house. Every day I thank my lucky stars that I am decently comfortable.

On that note I am also extremely thankful for a job that although comes with some drawbacks, I am so blessed to be able to have the schedule I do and go into work every weekend and see what I can truly call some pretty awesome friends. My weekend co-workers and I are a true team, we help each other out and don't let anyone drown and that truly makes the difference in hospital nursing, when someone has your back.

I am thankful for my family, all healthy, all loving! My father is absolutely the most helpful father I could ever ask for when it comes to starting up a first year house with lots of necessary home improvements! And my mom is certainly helpful when it comes to critiquing home improvements and help decide on future renovations!

I'm thankful for my healthy grandma that finally got to see my house just a week ago! Although facing severe macular degeneration and hip pains, she strives every day to enjoy life and enjoy time with family.

I am thankful for what is now my year and 3 month boyfriend, Brian.  He teaches me and motivates me every day on how to be a better person. He also keeps my house looking amazing and helps with a lot of improvements as well! What more could I ask for?

I'm thankful for my sister, we've been getting to know each other on a more adult-personal level and turns out she's a pretty cool cat, a lot cooler than when we were 5 ;) I think I'll keep her around.

Speaking of cats, I am thankful for my two most adorable kittens in the world, Ms. Lilly and Belle. Although they at times torment my house and my sleep schedule, they make me laugh every single day and are always there to greet me when I come in the door and always know when I need a hug and some love. And they are cuddly :-)

I am thankful for my own kind heart. I've been facing a lot of adversity lately. I've been feeling slightly jaded as a nurse and I hate that, and I've been going through a lot of self reflection lately. And although many in the world believe the only way to survive is to only think and fight for yourself only, I strive to believe that is not the only way. Through all this self reflection and taking a step back to look at myself, I've noticed the things I do that I consider to be very kind, and I do it out of pure reflex, or instinct. I don't do them for any monetary or personal enrichment. I just help people because that's what needs to be done. I'm trying to spread this attitude and I want others to see that if we just sprout more and more kind hearts, that maybe we can overcome the evil in the world. SO many kind hearted people out there are masked with evil actions because they feel that the only way to beat evil is to be evil themselves. I'm thankful for my acceptance that for at least the time being, I refuse to screw someone else over in any way just for my own benefit.

I'm thankful for my new side job, with Premier Designs Jewelry! Although I never would have guessed I'd be an independent business owner for jewelry (I used to hate jewelry), it has truly been a wonderful and interesting experience, and certainly worth my time!

I'm thankful for my vision, as I've seen what my grandma is going through and it makes me so, so thankful for my own. I do wear glasses and my vision is awful without them, but at least I have no tunnel vision or black spots, I have full range of vision and for that I am thankful. Without my vision I couldn't do three of the things I am most thankful for, art, writing, and reading.

I am thankful for my hearing, for without it I would not have music. Music is my therapy, the only way I know how to calm down and focus. Music Is there for me when I've had a nursing shift from hell, music is there for me when I want to just be calm, be by myself and create art. Music is always there for me and it is my love. Music can do so much more for me than any person.

I am thankful for my studio. Although I haven't had time to be a writer this year, I am thankful for my new space that is just for my studio and I have since created multiple pieces of art that I love. I am thankful for that space.

And most of all, I am thankful for this blog! Woot! I have readers from all over the world and over 50,000 views and you guys are seriously awesome for reading what I just think is my regular thoughts every day.

That's all folks,
love you, all. Miss you, all. I'll write soon. :-)

<3 p="" wnb.="">


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Life in the Middle Lane

Hello lovely, lovely readers! You are lovely because you still read this blog, even though I never post as much as I should! I really do always have a lot to say, just never the time, or balls, to actually say it.

I write this blog today because I've just about exactly hit my "Two Years" Nurse Anniversary. This is a definite bittersweet anniversary/year.

Lets discuss.

It is sweet because, hell, I've been a nurse for two years! I've SURVIVED! If I can survive this long, chances are I'll survive the entire career. I've made it past that point where I doubt myself every minute of every shift. I've made it past the point where my coworkers doubt me every minute of every shift. (Now only some coworkers do, lol). No really though, in all seriousness, I've been on two very autonomous, heart-wrenching (literal and figurative), fast-paced hospital nursing units now, and I can proudly say I've seen and done a lot in those two years where I legit feel comfortable with my knowledge base now. So much so in fact that I'm craving more knowledge. 

This is also the problem, knowledge. Now, roll with me guys. Does it make sense at all, if I tell you that despite what I just said above, hitting the two-year mark also means I'm hitting the "I've been a nurse for two years and I still don't know what the hell I'm doing" mark? I know you're confused but let me (try) to explain. Despite having a wide array of skills and a comfortable knowledge base that has grown in these two years, there is still so much I don't know. And I understand that nurses feel like that after fifty years of nursing, too. There's always going to be something new or confusing. I know enough now where my unit seems to think I'm charge-nurse quality and I'm frequently elected charge nurse to this telemetry unit, where I'm in charge of 2-6 nurses and 14-36 patients at a time. And yet when I am in charge, there are still so many times I run into a new situation that I don't have an answer to. And those times, I have nurses that need those answers from me, like I needed from my superiors back when I first started. And that's batshit crazy.

It's just, nurses are required to know the entire body system. Even though I work on a telemetry cardiac-focused care floor, the heart can affect many other organs and I must be prepared to handle anything. And there's so much to know and remember I don't think I'll have it all down by the time I'm retired, but I'll always be trying. I want to be the nurse that knows everything, that can help everyone, my staff and my patients. I want to always have an answer. But as the saying goes, the nurse that knows everything can be the most dangerous. So I have to be patient with myself. I have to accept the fact that it's okay to not know everything. But I'm finally at the point where at least I know a lot of things.

So that's where I am now. But looking towards the future, I'm still at a loss. I don't want to become stagnant In my position, I want to keep growing. I talk to my patients in their 80's that tell me they worked the same job for 50 years and I can't even fathom that. I know that generation workforce is entirely different than the one today. Not only could I not last 50 years in this position, but I feel almost pressured to move on. Like good nurses are supposed to keep growing, keep changing, keep moving to different units so their knowledge base becomes even more diverse and themselves more experienced. Like If I stayed on this unit for 10 years and did nothing else, I would feel like nothing. Like I'm taking my life nowhere, In no direction.

So now that I've hit that two year mark where I feel slightly confident in my skills, I feel that pressure that I need to do something else with those skills. I've recently successfully passed ACLS, which stands for Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support, which is a major step up from only being allowed to do compressions and airway support with just a BLS (Basic Life Support) Certification. Now with ACLS I can direct and lead a code blue in an emergency situation, even without a doctor being present. I can push life-saving medications into a patient during, just before or just after a code. I can participate in advanced airway management techniques now. So this has quenched my thirst for more self-evolution and knowledge, but only temporarily so.

So where does that put me now? Well, I want to go back to school. Not only because I just actually really do like school, but because that's the ticket to advancing my career. The only major problem is, what career?  Applying for a masters in nursing is like a senior in high school that is trying to pick a career out of all the choices in the world again. Yes I am trying to advance my career in nursing, but in what route? There are so many choices and routes that I could potentially see myself being successful in, but how do I know which one I actually will be happy in? I can't get a degree in everything (as much as I'd like to), so I have to be sure.

I've debated starting to a local program near me that is for a "Nurse Executive" degree, basically a dual-degree of MSN/MBA. It would take forever and be super expensive but would put me down the road of maybe eventually being very high up in the hospital administration pool one day. But as high-paying, important and as cool as that is, is that really what I want? To leave the patient bedside? To lose what it really is to be a nurse? To hold someone's hand and tell them they are not alone and will be okay? To instead be in an office making and revising policies, firing and hiring people and enforcing rules? Is that what I want? I don't know yet.

I've also been interested in the future of nursing informatics, but I would also completely lose the bedside nursing aspect there, too. With a degree in there I could help formulate programs and design new computer charting for nurses. I've also fantasized about working in epidemiology, where I could easily travel and investigate new diseases around the world and help stop or control them.  I'm also very interested in the route of emergency nursing, where that would keep me at the patient bedside, but in a totally different manner. I'm slightly interested in ER nursing, but even more interested in field nursing, but even that has many different routes. I could do pre-hospital nursing (riding with ambulances providing pre-hospital care), or I could go completely crazy and apply to be in a disaster relief system to travel to new disaster areas and help triage (that really is crazy I don't think I'd actually do that). I'd miss my kittens too much. ;-)

But can you see how overwhelming this could be? That is the blessing and the curse of nursing. Just because you're in nursing as your one career, does not make you limited. I can still pretty much do anything I want and that scares the shit out of me.

So that's where I am. I know a lot but am craving to know more. I've been a nurse for two years and don't know where I'll spend the next 30 years. So (too) many options.

I just try and like....meditate, and try and picture myself in the future, what am I doing and am I happy? And I just can't see it. I guess that's because I can't tell the future....makes sense I guess.

Anyway, with love.....