Thursday, December 06, 2007

Make every minute count...

I saw a clip advertising a TV movie playing this weekend and the words kinda jumped out at me: (paraphrasing as usual) "What if you could have one more day with the one you love...." I found that kind of ironic, as it touches a little too close to home right now.

I am sitting at home right now in bed, with my beagle, Molly, sleeping in my lap. 24 hours ago I was a total wreck and at a complete loss. I was supposed to be cramming for my big exam today, but couldn't even look at a book. After one week of watching my dog in pain, not knowing what was going on, I finally took her to the vet yesterday, and had to leave her behind. The vet told me today that she was pretty worried about her yesterday, but thankfully Molly eventually responded to the pain medication.

She's sort of been diagnosed... suspected Beagle Pain Syndrome (a type of non-infectious meningitis that dogs get) and/or a "cervical issue." She is on some pretty good medication right now, "flying high." She has a fentanyl patch on, and every 24 hours I am to give her a dose of Metacam. We're going to see how it goes for the next two weeks. She's not allowed to run and jump, even though she feels like WonderDog right now. I'm sure she is feeling relieved to be pain-free, but right now we have to hope that she heals, or goes into remission.

It was pretty scary there for awhile. She had a stiff neck and could not turn her head, but rather had to move her whole body to look to the side. I thought is was just one of those "achy days" we all get, and thought she would be fine, but then on Monday/Tuesday, she took a turn for the worse, but I couldn't get a vet appointment until Wednesday :-( When she laid down, she really struggled to get back up again, and one side was worse than the other. One way she would lay down, she would scream in pain to get up; if she happened to lay on her other side, she would scream in pain and wait for me to get her, as the pain was too much for her to get up on her own. It was heartbreaking. Her appetite was good, although I was hand feeding her as she couldn't move her head to her bowl. And once she was up walking around she was fine, as long as she didn't have to move her head too much.

The vet believes she will recover - these next two weeks are kind of a test. Hopefully the pain meds will help her recovery go smoothly.

Back to my theme: right now, I am so thankful for every minute I have Molly back home with me. She just turned 5, so seems too soon for her to be taken from me. Currently am going to enjoy every moment I can with her, and hope to make her happy and comfortable.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Kids Say the Darndest Things... aka "If Only..."

I read something online last night that made me a little sad and nostalgic. Thinking back to some of the many lapses in judgment I made over the years, I caught myself doing the “if only…” Had I made different choices at certain crossroads in my life, my life would be totally different right now…

I happened to have Kid Nation on a few minutes later, and one of the kids summed it up nicely. (I’m relying on my memory so my quote might not be 100%) “If I had to do it over again, there’s no way I would have [done that]. But I don’t own a time machine so I can’t go back and do it again.” I guess if a kid gets it, it’s about time I did too!

UPDATE: Another thought on this as I think back to a movie I saw a few years ago, The Butterfly Effect:

Even if you are not satisfied with the choices you have made in life, how can you be sure that if you hadn't made them things would have turned out any better?

Just another one of those things to think about…

Change of Shift

Another change of shift is up at Emergiblog.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Are we really that busy???

One of my biggest “bitches” in life is how supposed “friends” can so easily lose touch – it always amazed me how “friends” can’t seem to be bothered to take a few moments out of their busy lives for a quick email or phone call. This is supposed to be the “information age” with so many means of communication within reach and at our fingertips… telephone, cell phone, email, even snail mail! Yet how often do we use these to make a sincere inquiry as to how our friends are doing. It has always frustrated me that generally I am always the one to reach out and make an effort to keep in touch with people, but after awhile, when seeing how one-sided it is, the effort slowly starts to die. Why bother? You start to feel that “if they don’t care enough to keep in touch, why should I?” That attitude, on top of a busy schedule, time slowly ticks away…

And then I had a wake-up call…

I happened to check out a blog of a friend that I haven’t had the opportunity to visit with in awhile, rationalizing in my head the usual BUSY excuse! I read an entry that momentarily sucked the life out of me. Her mother had a heart attack; she had to perform CPR on her own mother; momentarily revived, only to lose her in the ambulance ride on the way to the hospital. Tragic enough of a story right there. This happened 3 years ago next month – I found this out by reading her blog! I have known her for maybe 7 or 8 years. I had no idea she went through any of this? And she lives in the same city? We go to the same “church.” I call her a "friend." How can I have not noticed or heard about any of this! I am just so ashamed and in shock and awe.

I have readjusted my attitude, and I don’t care how busy I get – I am motivated again to start making the effort to keep in touch. Never again do I want to miss out on the opportunity to be there for a friend in need.

I hope all of you reading this will make an effort to do the same.

If you can spare the few seconds/minutes to peruse a blog – perhaps you could use that same amount of time to whip up on email, write out a card, or call up a friend? You never know when they may really be needing you and could be waiting for YOU to reach out to THEM.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Something to Talk About

I haven't been on my blog much lately, so thought I should write a quick entry - not that my life is too exciting lately!

Today I hit the 2000 visitor mark :-) So I guess I better find something to say ;-) I'm supposed to be doing homework right now, so of course, am trying to find any excuse to get out of it.

My mom is up visiting me right now. I was supposed to go home Thanksgiving weekend (last weekend) but I put my back out early in the week so didn't want to make that long drive and make it worse. So, my mom decided to come up here for Thanksgiving... but then she hurt her knee, and didn't want to make the long drive and make it worse! Instead, she came up yesterday and is here for a week!!! So this way it worked out better in the end as she gets to stay longer.

I'm still insanely busy as usual. By Friday I thought my head was going to explode! But I had a dentist appointment Friday afternoon, and after about half an hour of the nitrous oxide, I suddenly didn't have a care in the world ;-) Even now I'm not as stressed as I know I SHOULD be ;-)

School is a real struggle this year. I am enjoying the classes I am taking, the mental health nursing class especially, but I am falling behind SOOOO quickly I am starting to get a little nervous! Hopefully I will catch up quickly, as I really want to remain in the advanced standing class (it will cut an entire year off my schooling).

To make up for the lack of excitement in my blog entry today, I'll end with a corny bilinguial joke:

A young Canadian lad canoes across a river and buys three cats and names them Un, Deux and Trois.

Heading back home, his boat capsizes. He arrives home, half-frozen, but still alive, sadly crying «Maman! Maman! Un, Deux, Trois cats sank!»

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Change of Shift

Change of Shift is up at Emergency Room Nurse.

Another creative edition. It always amazes me how the host(ess) always manages to tie all the links together. The theme this time is "To Bob Barker - Thanks For the Memories." I even got my feet wet this time and made a submission.

Check it out here.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Surmising Sunday

Welcome to another edition of Surmising Sunday... to me a humorous edition.

Praise the Colo-Rectal Surgeons by Bowser & Blue (Canadian comedians)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Update (on life in general and dieting!)

Well, school is in full-swing. I am surviving so far, but now assignments are starting to be due, and I’ve fallen a little behind on my reading, so panic is S-L-O-W-L-Y setting in.

My dad is doing well – thank you for your comments and emails! His surgery went well – they removed all the tumours, and a tissue growth in his bladder that was preventing the bladder from properly draining. This created an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, etc, and they believe it is why the cancer came back. So now that it has been removed, it is hopeful that it won’t come back – now it’s just the waiting.

The work/school balance is going better this year. Sounds like I have run out of chances to be accommodated at work to allow for school, so thankfully I only have day classes this year. Thursday’s and Friday’s are HELL, and I usually spend most of Saturday sleeping to make up for the lack of sleep on Thursday’s and Friday’s. (Shoot – which reminds me, I have to be at a party in 2 hours!!!) Anyways, I am adapting so far. Except for the fact that an old wrist injury has flared up making most tasks at work very painful. I’m actually supposed to be off work for 2 weeks, but can’t afford it, so am on “modified duties” for awhile. I have tried to adapt my tasks at work to prove that I am not useless to them – thankfully I have minimal computer work right now, so what I have to type, I type with my left hand and have gotten quite good at left-hand mouse handling ;-) I just have to watch not to overcompensate too much. I’m hoping to start physio soon and get myself back to normal ASAP. So my blogging will be very minimal over the next little while, as left handed typing on a laptop is not easy!

I am still sorta “dieting”, but more of my own creation than following anything specific…. More or less low-ish carbs, higher protein, high fiber, high calcium, and attempts at fruits and veggies. Plus I am still walking 45-60 mins a day (on my coffee breaks and lunch hours at work), swimming about once a week, and taking the stairs almost everywhere I go. For almost a month, despite all my efforts my weight was barely moving – I am always seem to be gaining and losing within the same 5 lb area, but all of a sudden the weight has started falling off. I have FINALLY gone down another dress size (took almost 20 lbs to reach another dress size! – so much for the 10 lbs loss = 1 dress size). As of yesterday, I have lost 37.2 lbs! I was pretty excited, as this is the lowest I have been since October 2003! Now to keep at it. I have really been making an effort, and am still motivated, so I think this time, it’s for real, and I believe this time I will be successful.

My biggest downfall was the amount of fast-food/take out/Chinese/pizza/convenience foods I was eating, and I was in total denial as to how bad the food was that I was eating! With such a crazy, hectic schedule, the thought of cooking for myself exhausts me. But, I stumbled across a website a few months ago that totally woke me up, and now the thought of fast food almost disgusts me! The craving is still there once in awhile, but it has now been months since I’ve had fast food. This website gives the nutritional analysis of the more common restaurants/fast food places in North America. I looked up my favourite foods, some of which I thought were HEALTHY choices, and got a rude awakening!

For example – my favourite fast food place is Arby’s, and any time I needed an ego boost, I would go there and flirt with the manager (my friend Lindsay says the two of us are embarrassingly pathetic to watch together!) I always ordered the same thing, a SANDWICH, (NOTE: not a burger, a SANDWICH) curly fries and diet pop (sometimes diet pop….). I thought it was a healthy choice. I’ve been eating it for years. When I looked it up: 1400 calories!!! In ONE MEAL! Never again! The sandwich alone has more calories than the advertised artery clogging Baconator Burger at Wendy’s!

Another example: Timbits from Tim Hortons. I used to work in a bakery, so now don’t even LIKE donuts. Yet anytime someone brings a box of timbits, I dig in. Well, I used to! 1 Timbit alone is 100 calories. And who eats just 1 Timbit!?

And fast-food burgers, salads, dessert – almost every item is loaded in fat, sodium, and calories. I LOVE poutine, but always knew it was bad so RARELY allowed myself the indulgence. Poutine actually had less fat and calories that many of the burgers, salads, and deserts! I still argue that at least when you are eating the salads and (some) of the burgers, at least you are getting some veggies, while things like greasy French fries and poutine is nutrient-less.

Anyways, thankfully I stumbled across that website, and it took the desire of fast food away. To solve the fast food problem, once a week I stock up on grapes, bananas, bags of lettuce, yogurt cups, cheese sticks, V8 juice and fruit-to-go bars. They are perfect for on-the-go at work and school. My at home eating still needs improvements, but thankfully I am not at home much ;-) I eat a lot of lean cuisines and packaged foods, but, that’s my next thing to work on. 15.8 lbs to reach my next goal.

Wish me luck!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Change of Shift

Change of Shift is up at Emergiblog.

Check it out here.
One of these days I will submit a post ;-) The deadlines keep sneaking up on me!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Out of Town

I'm currently out of town right now. We just found out my dad is unexpectantly full of cancer and is undergoing emergency surgery, right now as a matter of fact. So I am on compassionate leave for a couple of days so I could be there for his surgery. It's frustrating as just a couple weeks ago he got a clean bill of health, and after all the cancer treatments he has gone through, it doesn't make sense to me. Just frustrating!

Please send warm and fuzzy thoughts our way during this crazy time!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Change of Shift

It's back to nursing school at Change of Shift.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Surmising Sunday

Welcome to another edition of Surmising Sunday.

Today I have found an animated clip of what happens in the brain during a stroke.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Aw....." Moment of the Day

Otters Holding Hands

I think this is cute - as if them holding "hands" isn't cute enough, watch through to the end for the bonus "aw" moment :-)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Surmising Sunday

Welcome to another edition of Surmising Sunday.

Today's entry is being changed from what I originally had prepared to post for today, as an at home incident made me decide to post on the topic of personal interest.

How to save a choking small dog or cat.

(click above link if currently experiencing a dog/cat choking incident)

Literally, a few minutes ago, I was just forced to save my dog's life.

Story: I was sitting upstairs on my bed with my laptop, playing around on facebook, when my beagle, Molly, came upstairs carrying her water dish. I filled it with water and she took one gulp. Suddenly she started pawing at her mouth, and then finally threw up the little bit of water. She tried again. Same thing. I assumed she couldn’t swallow, but otherwise she seemed fine. And was obviously breathing.

Next, I tried one of her treats, same result. I also had some free Caesar dog food I received in the mail for small dogs – teeny tiny dog food kernals. I gave her one of those, and she caught on to chew it thoroughly then swallow it. It was taking her quite an effort though.

She was obviously still breathing, but every now and then she would paw at her mouth. So I went to grab the phone to call the emergency vet (thinking perhaps she had ingested something toxic). Before I had a chance to make the call, she ran for a drink again, managed to get some gulps down and seemed momentarily fine.

All of a sudden, she really started pawing at her mouth, her eggs bugged out, and she thrust her nose into the air (all the classic signs of a dog choking). But then she ran away from me and wouldn’t let me catch her. She ran downstairs and onto the couch but then practically collapsed, as I guess she had trouble breathing by then. I grabbed her and gave her a couple chest thrusts (thankfully didn’t break any ribs) and reached down her throat. She fought me and fought me but I grabbed ahold of this white clump and yanked. Out came about a 6 inch long impacted white soft lump that looked like bread dough. And then she was fine.

(Later I discovered a torn open box of instant potatoes on the floor that she somehow managed to knock off the shelf!) So now I have made sure all food items are only on the highest shelf where there is no way she could get at them.

Scary! Thought I was going to lose her there for a moment!!

So, I thought today I would post a few links to websites with information on what to do in a pet emergency, so if something similar happens to your pet, you'll know what to do. I didn't know what to do, and just applied what I knew from first aid/CPR classes to my dog. I was partially right...:

One of the best sites I have come across so far, although you have to scroll through a few advertisements, but is step-by-step, so I good one to keep book marked:

Dog First Aid 101

A Simple website: What To Do When Your Dog Is Choking

And a bonus article for fun:

Dog Performs Heimlic on Choking Owner

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sneaker's O'Toole

Considering this seems to be the most common reason people come to my blog lately, I thought I would update this entry....

Here is the famous Sneaker's O'Toole clip:

Tell me that tune doesn't rattle around in your brain for days afterwards!

Background information that I have researched on Sneaker's O'Toole:

Sneaker's O'Toole is a Family Guy original. Unfortunately, there is not a Sneaker's O'Toole cartoon out there somewhere.

Sneaker's O'Toole even had it's own Wiki entry for awhile, but now it just redirects to the "Boys Do Cry" Family guy Synopse page, (scroll down to almost the very bottom of the page). Now there is only a brief sentence about Sneaker's O'Toole in the trivia section.


Sneakers O'Toole: I'm not taking my sneakers off, I am Sneakers O'Toole!

Man #1: "Hey! Take those sneakers off!

Sneakers O'Toole: No!

Man #1: Take them off, I said!

Sneakers O'Toole: No!

Sneakers O'Toole runs away

Man #2: Ahh, let him go, we'll never catch him. Not in these shoes.

Sneakers O'Toole: I didn't take my sneakers off, I'm still Sneakers O'Toole!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Change of Shift

Horray - I am finally home to get the email on time this week!

Another fabulous "Change of Shift" is up, this time hosted by Nurse Ratched's Place. I loved the way she managed to attach one of her novel covers to each link. So creative!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Surmising Sunday

I have been pretty busy again lately, but yet want to be more active on my blog site. To ensure this, as of today, I am introducing Surmising Sundays, a weekly blog entry featuring an informative medical topic of interest.

This week, I have found a video on what happens in the heart during a heart attack.

For more information, please visit The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada's website.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Simpsons Movie

Just got back from seeing The Simpsons Movie. If you enjoy watching the Simpsons at all, you have to go see this movie. It is really cute. It really is like watching one long Simpson episode, but one of the best episodes

I recommend you see this movie :-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Personal DNA

My personality profile according to Personal DNA. I'd like to think it's pretty accurate :-)

You are a Realist

- Your attention to detail, appreciation of how things function, and awareness of the world around you make you a REALIST.
- Routines are reassuring to you—you feel safer and more at ease when sticking with familiar things.
- You like to stay close with those around you, seeking comfort from familiar faces.
- You are interested in processes—how things work, what they do, and why—not just how things look.
- Sometimes you doubt that you can find solutions to problems, although you have a good sense of why things happen, and can use that knowledge to find the best way to do something.
- You are down to earth, concerned more with practical, detail-oriented things than with dreamy or ambiguous ideas.
- You have a good sense of your abilities and weaknesses, and don't let your ego get in your way.
- You're not one to force your positions on a group, and you tend to be fair in evaluating different options.
- You're not afraid to let your emotions guide you, and you're generally considerate of others' feelings as well.
- You prefer to have time to plan for things, feeling better with a schedule than with keeping plans up in the air until the last minute. (describes me 100%!)
- Never one to be found in chic boutiques or trendy clothing stores, you take an extremely practical approach to getting dressed. (ouch!)

You are Considerate

- You trust others, care about them, and are slow to judge them, making you CONSIDERATE.
- You value your close relationships very much, and are more likely to spend time in small, tightly-knit groups of friends than in large crowds. (dead on again!)
- You enjoy exploring the world through observation, quietly watching others. (meh)
- Relating to others so well, and understanding their emotions, leads you to trust people in general, even though you're somewhat shy and reserved at times.
- Your belief that people are generally well-intentioned contributes to your sympathy regarding their problems.
- Although you may not vocalize it often, you have an awareness of how society affects individuals, and you understand complex causes of people's behavior.
- You like to look at all sides of a situation before making a judgment, particularly when that situation involves important things in other people's lives.
- Your close friends know you as a good listener.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ah, the wonderful world of facebook! (AKA another fabulous vacation)

Last weekend was a long weekend here in Canada, and I was fortunate enough to scoop up the 4 days following the long weekend as vacation time at the last minute. My plan was to spend this time off working around the house. On the Saturday I worked in the yard and made it all neat and tidy and presentable again. I probably spent a good 5 hours outdoors. Then I went out for supper with my friend Sari whom I haven't had a chance to spend time with in about a year and a half. We stayed until the closing of the restaurant catching up & munching on appetizers.

In the middle of the night, I got so sick, I thought I was going to die! I had such a headache I couldn't think straight, had such a stiff neck I could barely roll over in bed, and then get violently sick. I kept waiting for a rash to appear telling me I had meningitis! I suffered through by blaring my TV as loud as it could go and watched about 5 back-to-back Law & Order episodes to distract myself from the pain. By Sunday afternoon, I was pretty much over it, other than the headache, so to keep myself occupied I played around on facebook for awhile.

I perused my cousin Donna's facebook page, and her status line stated that her and her family had gone to Neys Provincial Park. I LOVE it there, and it is my favourite park to visit. It has a beautiful beach several miles long, with one mile alone dedicated to people with dogs! I wanted to camp there this year, but it is so far to go, and I had no one to go with. As soon as I read that my cousins were at Neys, I decided I was going to join them. Thankfully by Monday I was feeling better, and I threw all my camping equipment into my SUV and headed off to Neys! (As a side note, I am the most non-spontaneous person you could ever meet. I am a fanatical planner, and like to know plans days, preferably weeks in advance before I will agree to do something new. This was very new for me!)

So, off I trekked to Neys and met up with my cousins. I had not seen my cousins for over 9 years! The last I saw them, I visited the hospital when the twins were born, and they are now 9. Sadly, they only live 2 hours away! This turned out to be an excellent opportunity to catch up and get to know the family a bit better. It was a wonderful way to spend time together, doing many of my favourite activities. We went hiking and swimming during the day, and later sat around and played cards and did shooters into the wee hours of the morning. One night, we were giggling away about who-knows-what, and just as she was slamming back a shooter, my cousin Donna laughed and ended up inhaling the entire shooter into her lung! Talk about sobering everyone up in a hurry! She ended up being ok, and we continued on with our evening. Thankfully she had a paramedic, a nursing student, and 2 CPR trained men at the table with her ;-) She couldn't have been in safer hands!

To see some of the pictures of my trip, go to:

More pictures will follow as I get more energetic. I am so sunburnt right now it hurts to move! I have a second degree sunburn on my face, chest and back, and third degree burns on my scalp! (Not very smart, I know, but day 1 I was having so much time swimming, I lost track of time and was sunscreen-less in the lake for 6 hours straight!) I'm paying for that now!

I was supposed to go camping again this coming week, but I cancelled my reservation. I think I will be staying out of the sun for awhile, and am happy to be in my own bed again. This week off, I plan to finally get back to working on my house (Yes I have been saying that for 2 weeks now, but I think this time it is for real.) I have to work tomorrow, and then I am off for a week. My cousins are headed to my parents next weekend so there is a CHANCE I may head down there, but I will see.


To my faithful nursing readers: I realize now that I have missed 2 weeks of Change of Shift, and I apologize for not having the links ready. I will either try to set up an entry linking you to the two Change of Shift carnivals soon, otherwise, will just await the next one.

Also, I will try and get back to a more medical focus again soon, instead of it being all about me ;-)
Schooling update: Well, my leave of absence from work this year fell through (long, miserable story), so I will be continuing as I have in the past, working full-time, continuing in nursing part-time. One change though; I am now enrolled in the advanced standing fast track program, and as long as I keep my grades up this year, this will allow me to chop an entire year off the program. So my plan now is to finish this last year of working full-time, and then go back to school full-time to finish my last 2 years. So that's the lastest.....

Hope all is well with the rest of you :-)


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Update (modified August 4th)

I'm still here!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am still around, just busy as usual. I just came back from holidays last Sunday. I went to visit my parents for five days, and although the weather was insanely hot, averaging around 110, we still went blueberry picking, worked in the garden, worked on the wood supply, and worked in the yard! So it was a working vacation, yet I still felt refreshed. I had the opportunity to visit with people I haven't seen in years! My best friend Wendy from high school came down for a visit too, which was nice, as I hadn't seen her in at least 2 years. She had a baby girl 2 years ago, and this is the first time I got to see her! There were also several couples that I had grown up with and spent a lot of time with that I got to see again. One couple I hadn't seen in 12 years, another 14 years! So it was nice visiting and catching up.

Visiting the country is always a pleasant experience, and I forget what a country girl I am at heart (except for the bugs - I always forget how much the bugs drive me insane!) I really do miss a lot about living in the country - the peace and quiet, the closeness of friends and neighbours, etc. There are a few things I don't miss, though - as already mentioned, the bugs, snakes, bears, DIAL-UP INTERNET, stores closed at 5 pm (no 24 hour conveniences), most stores being closed on Sundays. Amazing how you get used to the conveniences!

I took quite a few pictures out at my parents place to show some friends at work. Apparantly Molly was in almost every one of them. One coworker pointed out: "I swear you are the only person I know who goes on vacation and takes pictures of her dog instead of the scenery." Ah huh....and your point? ;-)

So I just put in a week at work, and now I am on vacation again! My plans this time are to work around my house as I have so much yard work I would like to get done, plus I may go camping a couple of times. I am off work all next week, have to go to work Monday, August 13th, and then am off for the rest of that week (bummer to have my vacation broken up like that, but, that's the way it works out!) I had planned a road trip either to the maritimes, into the states, or to BC, but another time. I'd really like to get some work done on the house, and am content with that.

My blogging will probably still be very minimal over the next few weeks as I will continue to be pretty busy.

I just wanted to make sure everyone knew that I am OK and all is well.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

How Happy Are You?

As seen on Oprah, psychologists claim it is possible to measure your happiness. This study was created by Ed Diener, a psychologist from the University of Illinois.

You may find this eye opening! I sure did!

To each of the 5 statements below, decide whether you agree or disagree using the following 1-7 scale:

1. Strongly disagree
2. Disagree
3. Slightly disagree
4. Neither agree nor disagree
5. Slightly agree
6. Agree
7. Strongly agree

And begin:
  • In most ways my life is close to ideal. ___
  • The conditions of my life are excellent. ___
  • I am satisfied with my life. ___
  • So far, I have gotten the important things I want in life. ___
  • If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing. ___

Total up your score, and your result will be out of 35.


If you scored between 31-35 you are considered extremely satisfied.
If you scored 15 or below, you are considered dissatisfied with your life.

So, how happy are YOU?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Change of Shift

Now that I have the honour of having my humble little blog listed among the other student nurses and medical professionals of the renowned Emergiblog, I have to share the link love of advertising this week's Change of Shift, this time hosted at Nursing Another great edition.
Every time I receive a notification that it has been updated, I will advertise it on my blog. Just click on the above Change of Shift Banner to go directly to the updated entry.
Change of Shift is still a little new to me yet, as I am a little behind on reading my subscribed blogs. I recommend checking it out, as it's a great way to get a snapshot of various nursing blogs and topics. Some are serious and informative, some will have you laughing until your sides hurt; still others will make you bawl like a baby (well, ok, maybe just I will bawl like a baby, and you will be inspired!) Some are regulars that you may recognize, yet frequently there are new bloggers sharing.

Perhaps next week I will attempt to get my feet wet and jump in with a submission....

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Time to lose weight again.....

Diet time again! I've been surprisingly motivated lately. February 3rd I will be turning 30, and I have decided that I want to live my 30's at my ideal weight. I want to be able to not have to worry every day about being self-conscious of my weight, constantly focus on every morsal of food that goes into my mouth, and just be healthier and have more energy, especially while trying to go to University and work full-time! Everyone I talk to says that around 30 is when they slowly started noticing changes in their body, indicating they are getting older. I've never been one to worry too much about my age, but for some reason, my approaching 30th birthday is scaring the hell out of me.

So a few months ago, I mentioned joining a swimming class (aquabics) and was just loving it! I had a blast! Unfortunately about a month ago I got super stressed out and even swimming didn't appeal to me any more and I stopped going. And that class was over as of the last week of June. But I just found another class starting up this week, across the city, but on Wednesday's it is at 1:00 so it is perfect! I still get to sleep in, can go for my swim, and then still have time to go home, shower and get ready for work! Timing is perfect. So will start that this week. There is also swimming on Tuesday's & Thursday's at 11:00 so I might occasionally go to those too, if I can get to bed before 4:30! Some days I am still wide awake at 6 am! It's getting so frustrating!

I've also been walking with a co-worker on all my coffee breaks and supper hours at work, which adds up to an hour a day. Unfortunately she is on holidays next week so will either have to find another walking partner, or find an hour in the day to make up for not walking at night. I would go by myself, except it is not the nicest neighborhood to be walking in, especially that late at night.

I've also started up my walking videos again. I have pretty much every DVD of Leslie Sansone's walking videos. She has the most annoying laugh and is a little too hyper for me some days, but I really do enjoy the workout. I've done them faithfully everyday for over a week now, except today, as it is SOOOOO hot outside, and I can't seem to cool the house off enough. So maybe tonight. One nice thing about the warmer weather is how it supresses my appetite! I am eating less so hope to start losing more weight soon.

One tool I use to track my progress is called Weight Commander. I have added a banner at the top of the page to link to the site (no worries - I don't get paid or get any bonus perks for recommending this site - it's just me sharing a site I really like!) There is a free online version, and a downloadable version for $9.99. I actually bought the downloadable version about 5 years ago and love it! I used it faithfully every day until my computer got struck by lightning. And I'm pretty cheap when it comes to buying programs online, considering how many freebies there are out there, but this is one time I gave in and bought a program, and have no regrets. The online version is very similar, but I just find the downloadable one a little easier to use with more features. I do recommend checking it out - if nothing else, try the online version. It's free! My mom uses the online version and really likes it.

I have calculated it out, that if I can lose 10 lbs/month every month until my birthday, I should reach my ideal weight by then. So think good thoughts for me :-)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Comparison of Beauty

I received some neat pictures recently from the late 1800's/early 1900's of the city I currently live in. I thought this was an amazing one:

Below is the modern day version of this same waterfall. Today it is not quite so majestic, but I still think it is beautiful.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Online Nursing Degree Review (Sponsored Post)

About a month ago, I stumbled across this website that I thought looked interesting, and now have the opportunity to take a few minutes to blog about it. It is an American site, however the majority of the information is applicable to anyone interested in nursing.

If you are someone interested in becoming a nurse, take a few minutes and check out this site. You can probably read the whole site in about 15 minutes, as it gives clear and concise information, and covers all the basics, from types of nurses and programs, to pursuing that dream career of becoming a nurse. It also links out to other resource sites that you may find beneficial.

One aspect of the site is beneficial for those who are torn between taking the community college nursing program or the university program. I personally have many friends who are considering nursing who are going through this dilemma right now, as it is a common concern. Here in Canada, they have attempted to amalgamate the University and College degrees, yet you still have the option whether you want to take it through the college or the university. My personal decision was going the University route, but in my case I need to for the 3+ years University credits to apply for medical school. If you are not in the same position that I am, this site does help you weigh your options.

I actually found the Online Nursing Degree website to be quite informative, even as a nursing student. For current nursing students and nurses already practicing, you may find beneficial the link on Continuing Education which discusses the life-long learning aspect.

If you are at all interested in the field of nursing, whether already a nurse, a current nursing student or prospective student, or are just curious about the nursing field itself, I do recommend taking a few minutes and checking out the site (insert hyperlink) The best part, no annoying ads to skip past and sort through!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Reminder (poem)

The story that came with the poem is as follows:

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Tampa, Florida, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

What do you see nurses? .What do you see?
What are you thinking......when you're looking at me?
A crabby old man, .....not very wise,
Uncertain of habit ........with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food.......and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice....."I do wish you'd try!"
Who seems not to notice .....the things that you do.
And forever is losing . a sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not...........lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding ....... the long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes,'re not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am ....... as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of Ten......with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .......who love one another

A young boy of Sixteen .with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now. ..........a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty .my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows........that I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now .......... I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . and a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other ......... with ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons ........have grown and are gone,
But my woman's beside see I don't mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .......... babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children ......... my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me .......... my wife is now dead.
I look at the future I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .young of their own.
And I think of the years...... and the love that I've known.

I'm now an old man.........and nature is cruel.
Tis jest to make old age .......look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles..........grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone........where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass ...... a young guy still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys.............. I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and over again.

I think of the years .all too few......gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact........that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .open and see..
Not a crabby old man. Look closer....see........ME!!

Author unknown

Thursday, June 14, 2007

You Just Can't Make This #$% Up!

This evening I was at work, typing away, deep in thought. Suddenly I feel like someone is watching me and look over and my friend Lindsay is staring at me.

"You know what - I've finally figured it out... whenever you are around a man, you become stupid!"

"What do you mean by that?" I ask, momentarily offended.

She starts listing off a few examples, then cites the best and most recent example from earlier in the day:

Scene: I'm standing around with a group of co-workers, and I'm talking away a mile-a-minute, the center of attention, and having an attentive audience. Suddenly one of the male managers walks up as I am mid-sentence, and then this pops out of my mouth: ". . . only 76 out of 100 employees attended the meeting. That's like 50%!!"

***awkward silence***

Finally Lindsay pipes up, "Actually I think that would be closer to 76%!"

Ok.... it is true - I really do become stupid around men...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Life With a Nurse

I thought this was cute - someone forwarded this to me and I had to share it :-)

My life with a nurse:
By Rick Williams

Ah, such mysterious, wondrous creatures are nurses. What treasures lurk beneath those crisp, white uniforms…..what young man doesn't have fantasies of discovering those secrets for himself?


Reality check!!!!

I've been married to a nurse for a quarter of a century, and let me tell you, nurses are not what you expect (and I don't even care what you expect, because you are wrong!)

Let's begin by tearing down some of the more famous assumptions about nurses right off the top:

The nurse as a sex kitten: Any man who lived through the early seventies or has made it a point to rent such famous videos as "night Duty Nurses" or "student nurses" or "Night duty student nurses" or any one of the several dozen nurse-centric flicks will immediately believe that all nurses have heaving bosoms, just millimeters away from popping out of skintight white uniforms. You will also believe that nurses always wear white garters, fish net hose and stilettos. (This of course is a handy dress code because movie nurses spend *a lot * of time hopping in and out of patient's beds.)

The reality is that most nurses wear scrubs-- Shapeless, draping hunks of cotton that could cause you to breeze past Pamela Anderson without a second look.
Shoes are white and chunky with blobs of things on them better left unexplained.
Socks replace the white hose and garters and when is the last time anyone saw a nursing cap? Right that was at graduation!!

Now as far as a nurse hopping into your bed to relieve your "problem"….Get a life! If you aren't sick they don't have time to mess with you. If you are sick, you probably look, feel and smell sick, not to mention they've seen…."better." I don’t care how good looking you are, they have seen better and it was probably a doctor making lots of money or at least someone who didn't smell bad.

As I said above, nurses have almost always seen "better" and that includes "personal anatomy." Any male foolish enough to think that he ranks among the Gods when it comes to endowment will quickly be dismayed to learn that his sweet, little dear has seen MUCH bigger. Just bring the subject up and you will most likely hear about the head injury case she saw in nursing school (while she holds up her arm and grabs her elbow with her hand to put things into scale) If you think your "little Willie" is king, you're wrong! In fact I've never met a nurse that didn't have a BIG WILLIE story, so be forewarned. (***Side note from Jen: some day you have to ask me about the conversation myself and a fellow student nurse had on this topic ;-) ***)

The nurse as an angel: If you want to hear the latest gross joke, just find a nurse. Some uninformed males seem to think of nurses as angelic creatures: demure and loving, a cross between a nun and their mom. Well I hate to burst your bubble guy, but as a group, nurses are some of the rawest folks you will ever run into. I don’t care how sweet and demure they may look on the outside; inside is someone who has seen things that would gag a maggot, break your heart or drive a normal person nuts. So most nurses develop a very wicked sense of humor squarely lodged in the black to sick side of the scale.

Also, in case you are looking for angelic sympathy for the little boo boo you had in the shop, forget it! Let's say as a typical male klutz, you manage to saw your finger off. You go running to your nurse wife who is on the phone with a nurse friend of hers. As she continues to talk to her friend she gives the stub a good eyeballing, slaps a towel on it, takes out a baggie to put the severed digit in and tells you to get some ice while she is explaining to her friend that her dummy husband just sawed his finger off. As you stand there bleeding for 15 minutes she calmly finishes her conversation as though nothing is going on until she finally says, "well I guess I better get him to the hospital." She hangs up the phone, looks at you, sighs and calmly says, "let's go." You have just learned an important lesson. On the nurse scale of emergencies, yours is about a minus 9! As my wife has told me, "when you are on a ventilator, with six drips running, your head down and your feet up, then you're sick. Anything less than that just isn't worth getting excited over!"

The nurses mutual benefit network: As a male either dating or married to a nurse, you should realize one important thing: There are nurses everywhere. That, in itself, is no big deal. The fact is, every nurse knows other nurses who know more nurses, so that by the time you are finished, a nurse in Cuba who observes you doing something you shouldn't has the immediate capability of getting word to your wife/girlfriend. This system is way more reliable and efficient than the Internet and has existed for much longer. Take it for granted that your nurse wife/girlfriend will know about anything you have done, good or bad, before you get home!

Your social life with nurses: Nurses hang out with other nurses and soon you may find that all your friends are married to nurses. The reason this happens is because in situations where a nurse mingles with non-medical folks, things can get ugly.

For example, you are out to dinner with your nurse wife, another nurse couple, and two civilian couples. The nurses sit and chat, discussing fun things like bleeding bowels, open sores and how much fat was sucked out of some patient, projectile vomiting, traumatic amputations, etc, all over a nice pasta dinner. The nurses carry on talking as the civilian couples turn funny colors, make faces and suppress their gag reflexes (and this is if the nurses don’t have any really gross things to share like the homeless guy with maggots in his bleeding sores.)

After several dinners and gatherings like this, you will soon find your circle of friends has shrunk significantly. The key to avoiding this is to do the following: Never go out in mixed groups with more than one nurse. A lone nurse is ok. The trouble starts when you have more than one, and when that happens, keep the regular folk away. Also get used to the idea that some friends and neighbors will take advantage of the fact that your wife is a nurse by calling at all hours of the day and night for advice. This may include male friends "dropping by" to show your sweetie his rash. The best advice I can give is to just deal with it and hope it isn't contagious.

The health ramifications of a nurse: Most nurses have been described as having the constitution of horses, which isn't true because I've been around horses and they get sick more often. The reason for this is pretty simple. After 3-5 years on the job, nurses have been exposed to so many bugs that they either end up dead, or full of every antibody known to mankind. If you want the ultimate booster shot, just get a blood transfusion from a nurse who's worked in a hospital for 20 years! Oh, and if you are the least bit squeamish, don’t even think about the bugs she brings home on her clothes. It will mess your mind as she talks about her resistant TB patient, the patient full of body lice or the one with poison ivy in his mouth! So don’t ask!

Conclusion: Ah such mysterious wondrous creatures are nurses. You know, they really are and I thank god everyday for my nurse!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Tragic School Incident

Very sad article about a freak incident that happened at a school where my mom was supply teaching. She left a few hours prior to the incident so thankfully never saw it happen. She emailed me about it last night and then I found the article online.

Soccer practice had been cancelled on Wednesday due to a thunder storm, and while a few of the kids were waiting for their parents to pick them up, they went onto the soccer field to kick the ball around. One grade 8 student was struck by lightning and died. The two students that were beside him were thrown a ways but otherwise were ok.

Quite tragic.

Friday, May 18, 2007

In shock and awe....can't....type....

my dog ate my stethoscope.... my $300 fancy Littman stethoscope.... couldn't eat the $100 stethoscope..... or the cheap one that came with my blood pressure kit .... Noooooooooo. ..... had the eat the $300 stethoscope!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Calmness in Our Lives

I am passing this on to you because it definitely works, and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives.

By following simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace. Dr Phil proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started and have never finished."

So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream, a bottle of Kaluha, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos, and a box of chocolates. You have no idea how freaking good I feel right now.

(A friend passed this on to me - I thought it was cute ;-)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Snipet of my life...

I decided to create an update entry for my “non-nursing” friends and family as I have been receiving email complaints again about my lack of keeping in touch. And things aren’t even as busy as they usually are for me!

Back to school on Tuesday! Was a nice break while it lasted! I had all these plans of things I was going to accomplish while I was off school, but spent so much time catching up on sleep, and actually going out with friends on the weekend (!), reintroducing myself to the wonderful world of alcohol, that time just snuck past me again. I actually didn’t do that badly in school this term. Microbiology was what I was most worried about! I started out in the 90’s in that class and kept dropping and dropping and was getting really frustrated!! Then our final exam was worth 50% and I failed it!!! It was SOOOOO hard! Even if I had studied for an extra week, I still would’ve failed it! But I just got my marks back yesterday and I ended up with a 73%. I should be ashamed of that mark, as it is not medical school worthy, but it is actually better than I expected! Going to try and work my butt off for my spring classes to get a good mark and raise my average again.

I can’t recall if I had blogged about it or not, but I am seriously considering taking a leave of absence from work this fall. I’m trying to figure out how to do this without losing my house! At minimum I would like to take September to December off, but ideally I would like to be off until April to put in a full year! I don’t think I will be able to do that though. I already checked into things and I don’t qualify for any bursaries or student loans. There is still a chance that I MAY have a room mate in September, but I won’t know until August. I know my friend Rob has been hinting as well that he would be willing to be my room mate, but I’m not sure about that….. we’ll see how desperate things are getting by September! I haven’t really advertised that I am looking for a room mate, cuz I’m not all that sure that I want one, but yet financially it would be a big help…… decisions, decisions….. If only they would be offering overtime at work, that would be a big help right about now!! I have almost 2 weeks in a row off in August and a week in July that I was planning on using for a road trip or camping, but even that is up in the air now as I have to consider whether I want to use that as "me time" to relax, or if I should apply it towards the time I will be off to have almost 3 more weeks of pay..... hhhmmmmmmmmm.

My parents are up here right now and staying at the cancer clinic. My dad started his radiation treatments a week ago Thursday. So he has now had 7 treatments with 29 to go. I think he may have a rough time, as they said it usually takes 15 treatments before you experience any side effects, and Friday he was starting to have a few issues. My mom is heading home on Monday, and will be back and forth off and on. She is currently teaching a class while another teacher is awaiting back surgery, and since Provincial Testing for the students is coming up, she can’t miss very many days, so I will take over helping out with my dad. The cancer clinic has a beautiful place for out-of-town cancer patients to stay, so it has been really convenient for them. My dad literally just has to walk across the driveway to have his treatments. Every few weekends he will fly home, but otherwise, stays at the cancer clinic.

At the advice of a few fellow blogger friends, I am slowly trying to transfer over to wordpress. So currently I have 2 blogs on the go, both with similar content, just different formatting. Until I can figure out how to set up wordpress the way I like it (having a little trouble formatting it), I will continue here on blogger and just upload to both sites. (To any wordpress experts, if you have any tips or suggests, please comment or email me! I’d appreciate any input!)

My two current blog sites are and This does not include my facebook account, one of my new addictions. How can something so simple, get so addicting!! Thankfully the initial excitement is over and I only check it maybe once or twice a day now, as opposed to when I first signed up….. take the dog outside…. Better check facebook….. drive to work…. Better check facebook…. Study for 20 minutes…. Better check facebook….. study for 10 more minutes…. Better check facebook……. Those of you on facebook understand…. Those of you who have never heard of facebook, or THINK they are not interested in joining… HA I DARE YOU to sign up! You’d be surprised!

The weather here has been so beautiful! Unfortunately right now I am sick with a cold so am unable to fully enjoy it! But I am so happy to see the sun and feel it’s warmth again! And the days are pleasantly longer which makes working the night shift a lot easier to bear, especially as my desk over looks the marina! All winter I drove to work in the dark so never had much of a view. Now I have a view of the marina and the mountain until almost 10:00!

Off to join my parents for supper! One great bonus of having my mom up here is experiencing her fabulous cooking again!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Scraps of nursing information...

I have technically only completed my first year of nursing (and part of second and part of third, but that’s irrelevant), and I have already learned many lessons about nursing school, and see many things I wish I had done differently. As technically I am out of school for the summer (other than a couple online classes), I thought I would blog here and there on topics of what I have learned this past year, as well as advice to new nursing students. I realize that I don’t exactly have years of experience behind me, but I do recall when I was about to start nursing classes, the fear of the unknown and how I would grasp at any scrap of information nursing students and nurses would throw at me.

I hope to toss out a few scraps to other future and potential nursing students, and to my current nurse readers who possibly could give advice on what got them through it all/what they would have done differently, etc...

To be continued shortly….

Fun times had by all? Well, maybe not all ;-)

Last Monday I joined aquabics and will be going every Monday and Friday until the end of June. I absolutely LOVE it! It's a great workout, and yet relaxing at the same time....if that makes any sense whatsoever!

The entire group is older, so I am the youngest in the group. Knowing that is the main reason I was willing to put on a bathing suit and exercise in public; only a small group would see me - a group whose body is now less than perfect due to advancing years in age, so I wasn't afraid of being too self-conscious.

Friday, my second day of aquabics, my mom decided to come along, as well as one of my closest friends (L.) from work. L. is my age, has a body that women starve themselves to try and look like, and she only had a bikini so was feeling a little nervous about going. I talked her into it, stating exactly what I had mentally said to myself, "Who's going to see you, other than this small group of people?"

(Can you feel the theme I'm building here? Can you guess what will happen next? Wait, there is NO WAY you could POSSIBLY guess what actually happens!!...)

So my mom, L. and I change into our bathing suits and head into the pool area. Most of the group is already sitting waiting for the class to start. Our instructor walks over to the group and starts handing out clown noses and says, "I have these left over, and thought it would make a cute picture, and it's for a good cause [names local charity nose purchase is for]" L. gives me a death look as she puts on her nose. I remind her that no one but the instructor will see this picture. Of course, that's when the instructor chooses to mention that the picture is being taken for [the charity]. {after thought: Great, now we'll be appearing in some newsletter!}

But wait, it gets better..... ok, worse.....

So we all jump in the pool, gather around, and many pictures are taken. Once again, I would like to remind you the scene - we are in our BATHING SUITS with CLOWN NOSES on! Sexy!

The class starts and I have a blast. I love to swim and just enjoy this class so much. The earlier traumatic picture event has left my mind. I'm unknowingly receiving death glares from my friend L., and she spends the whole class plotting her revenge against me, but I'm too busy having fun to notice.

Class ends, and as we are climbing out of the pool, I overhear the instructor saying to one of the ladies, "I'm sure no one has any objection to me putting this picture in the paper!" The expression on L.'s face was priceless!!

The only thing that has kept me from freaking out that my picture will be in the paper, in a BATHING SUIT, with a CLOWN NOSE on, is seeing how freaked out my friend L. is over the whole thing! I'm sure as soon as I see the hideous picture for myself, I too, shall freak out!

The only time I make the paper, has to be while in a bathing suit, with a clown nose on..... Nice!

Friday, April 06, 2007

My clinical homies

Left to right: Kayla, Angie, Nicole, Maggie, and up top, Me

Missing from photo: Matt & Christine
Update: Apr 13/07: I just noticed today, in the background, is my dog Molly, shooting lasers at us with her eyes ;-)

Monday, April 02, 2007

One tiny moment in time....

One thought from my final clinical day on Friday:

Just before clinical was over, I did my last round of cycling through the rooms to see if there were any last minute tasks that needed to be done, and I came across a fellow student who's elderly female patient had been throwing up for quite some time. The student had been by her side for awhile, not wanting to leave her, therefore, she was behind on her charting, and it was almost time to go! So I offered to stay with the patient so the student could go finish her charting.

It was so sad to see this bedridden elderly patient being sick - how every ounce of effort it took for her to hold her head up to allow her to be sick into the bowl. Other than ensuring she was propped up on her side, there wasn't a whole lot I could do. So I just kept getting clean faceclothes to wipe her face and mouth and gently rubbed her back. She spoke very little English, but had very little energy to speak, so the few words she would say, I really had to strain to hear her.

In between bouts of heaving, she would reach out and sqeeze my hand and whisper a few Finnish words. Finally, after about 15 minutes, a nurse showed up with a gravol injection for her, so I was able to leave and join my fellow students, as they were all waiting for me in the conference room to wrap things up. Just before I left, she reached up and stroked my face with her hand, and just kept repeating, "my Angel, my Angel!" One of those little moments that I know I will never forget! At the time, it felt like I wasn't able to do much for her, but it reminded me that making the effort to show compassion really does help to comfort the patient. I hope to remember this when I someday am a "real" nurse, in a "real" hectic setting so that I will still take the time to do the little things and not become "too busy" to truly care...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

It's OVER!!!!

Last week was CRAZY busy! I had 3 assigments due for my final clinical, I found out last minute I was going to be getting a roomate by the weekend, and I had a post-clinical party planned for the weekend, (and my house was a disaster)!

Survived my last clinical - things went amazingly smoothly. I think every student commented on that! We learned alot, and it was a great experience, but I am so happy it is over!

Roomate plans fell through, maybe in September, but well, my spare bedroom is still empty. All that extra stress for nothing... oh well... kept me on my toes.

My post-clincial party was a blast. It was a great group. I had a lot of fun, and I believe everyone else did too. (even Molly!)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

In memory of Mr. _________

DISCLAIMER: from a nursing students' perspective - please do not read if you have recently lost a loved one...

Friday's clinical did not start off very positively. In fact it has taken me almost a week to be able to blog about it.

During our briefing we found out that a resident had passed during the night. There have been a few times that I had heard of a patient passing in between our clinical visits, but this was the first recent one. As soon as I heard that the body was still in the patients’ room, I totally broke out in hives, and KNEW somehow we’d be involved. I realize that this was an excellent learning opportunity, but I just didn’t feel ready, but at the same time, I knew one is probably never ready for such a thing.

Sadly, I was at the disadvantage that this was the first person I had ever seen after they had died. Becuz I am such an emotional person, I have purposely avoided any situation where I would have to go near an open casket, even for family members, and my friends and family all know this about me. Unfortunately, this did not help my situation for Friday.

The walk to the patients’ room seemed too short so I didn’t get the chance to overcome my panic! Then, I mistakenly was one of the first students in the room so I was right up front. Glad I wasn’t expected to help cuz I would’ve been useless! Everything just seemed wrong…the waxy coloring of the body – his eyes being wide open; dull and lifeless – the mouth half open in a struggling breathless gasp. Was just too much and I didn’t know whether I was going to throw up or faint so had to get to the back. What I surprisingly found to be the worst part, was the tagging of the toe, and then the body getting tightly wrapped in the plastic, and that image haunted me all day. It was just so final, so unnatural and so obvious that a human body does not belong wrapped up in plastic. I kept expecting to see him struggle to get out of the plastic.

One thing that did impress me was how everything was done quietly, with dignity and respectfully. That was great to see. Overall, this was a great learning opportunity, and I am just thankful that this was an elderly person, whom I had never met, who had been suffering but now was at peace. Probably made this learning experience a lot easier than it could have been!

Later, when I was getting my meal ready for my patient, I chatted briefly with the RNA who gave me her experience with her first dead body, with advice for next time, which I have already passed on and will continue to pass on to other nursing students. She told me her teacher advised her to touch the body, as it helps overcome any fears we may have and then you realize there is nothing to be afraid of. She said it totally worked for her, and others she has talked to. So I will try and remember that for next time. As it was, I was unable to have my afternoon nap becuz the images would not leave my mind, and I was a wreck at work that night, as it did not seem right that I had witnessed a body be tagged and wrapped up like a mummy to be shipped off to a funeral home, and yet a few hours later, there I was sitting at my desk doing paperwork…

Friday I actually had a good day with my patient. Our time together was totally upbeat and went fairly smoothly. We even chatted about her family and the weather! I have to admit, I actually think I will miss her when clinical is over! Also, I was happy that I successfully cared for 2 clients before break with time to spare. I realize that I still have a long way to go yet, but I have come a long way in the past few weeks.

Only one more clinical to go…. having a BBQ this weekend to celebrate surviving the whole ordeal!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Another one down, three to go...

Well, I survived another clinical on Friday – I stressed all week – gained 5 lbs from stress eating all week – had nightmares – researched switching degrees for next year (was seriously considering a biology degree) – was just one hell of a week! A couple friends gave me some good pep talks a few days prior which did help a lot. Lindsay with her tough approach: “Tell me you didn’t let a PATIENT make you cry, oh come on!” And Jackie with her focused compassion: “You know Jen, you have so many options in nursing; you don’t HAVE to work in geriatrics. This is your way of realizing that this aspect of nursing isn’t for you. Don’t give up on nursing becuz of this experience.” So between Jackie & Lindsay straightening me out, I went in with a totally different attitude! I decided I wasn’t going to take my patients’ crap (literally!) – I was there to do my job, to HELP HER, and I was just going to do it. I still barely slept…got about 2 hours sleep prior to clinical this time (it is amazing what a difference that extra hour of sleep makes though!) I was kind of excited knowing this was the last week I would have to deal with her, and it would only be one more hour out of my life.

First my fellow students gave me a quick little motivating pep talk, then I jumped right in. I told her firmly how things were going to be. I took control of the situation and didn’t let her boss me around (quite as much), and in the end, instead of yelling at me, she just muttered at me, “I wish you would do this….I wish you would do that…” rather than “DO THIS… DO THAT…” So at least my confidence wasn’t crushed the first 2 minutes I walked in the door this time, so I was able to get things done competently….pretty much. Once again, I started struggling with her depends. I just couldn’t figure out why I was having trouble. Finally I had to swallow my pride and I went and asked my clinical instructor for help. Would you believe all this time I have been putting them on backwards!!!! I had memorized “stickers to the front, stickers to the front”, and really, it was stickers to the back!!!!!! I had been lucky with previous patients; their depends were always a bit too big for them, and I struggled a bit, thinking I just needed the extra practice, but this time, my patient fits in her depends perfectly, so there was no slack room to force fit them! Only me! Then the outfit she picked out was the most bizarre thing I had ever seen – there were flaps and holes and buttons and straps everywhere! Between my clinical instructor and I, we finally pieced it all together, but next time, I’M picking out the outfit ;-)

We had a 30 min time-limit, and well, I took an hour and 10 mins :-( At coffee break time, our clinical instructor asked us how we think we did… I said, “Shamefully, I know I am the worst…is there a prize for last place?” Apparently I wasn’t the slowest, I was actually one of the fastest! Shocking! Then I was told I have my patient for yet ANOTHER week, sigh…. Oh well – since things went a lot smoother this week, I won’t need to stress as badly for next week.

I always prefer the after-coffee shift. We are basically little gophers running around helping out where we are needed. Every little thing we do is appreciated by the staff and the patients. Seeing how excited the patients get when we walk into the room to help them with whatever little request they are asking makes you feel good, and reminds me why I really do like working with the elderly. Their faces just light up with joy! Later, I assisted with a tub bath for the same elderly man that I had helped a couple of weeks ago. It went so much better this week – it really has showed me that experience does toughen you up.

I also realized what a great group of students I am with. My clinical instructor may think we are a bunch of incompetent morons, but I think we are a great group. We work well together and help each other out when we can. I think these students are going to be great nurses and build a great rapport with their patients. I actually think I am learning more from them than the support workers who trained us! I just wish I could continue on with this same group – at least I will be with them for part of next year, but then I fall behind again as I continue on part-time.

So, only 3 more weeks of clinical! YAY!

And, spring is on it’s way – this evening it was +10!!!! I’m sure it was even higher during the day! I am so excited for the warmer weather and the coming bright sunny days :-) The little snow we had is almost gone and just giant mud puddles everywhere. And the smell of spring is in the air (FYI – the smell of spring here is the smell of melting dog poo)

Oh, and one more thing... amazing Leafs/Senators game last night!!! Toronto still may make the playoffs!!!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

1000 visitors!

Yay! I reached the 1000 visitor mark today :-)

Only 87%???

You Are 87% Burned Out

You are extremely burned out.
You work too hard, and you're not getting the results you deserve.
It's time for a life change, as soon as you can manage it.
You're giving away most of your energy to something you don't even enjoy.

The Official Canadian Temperature Conversion Chart

The Official Canadian Temperature Conversion Chart

50° Fahrenheit (10° C)
New Yorkers try to turn on the heat.
Canadians plant gardens.

40° Fahrenheit (4.4° C)
Californians shiver uncontrollably.
Canadians Sunbathe.

35° Fahrenheit (1.6° C)
Italian Cars won't start
Canadians drive with the windows down

32° Fahrenheit (0 ° C)
Distilled water freezes
Canadian water gets thicker.

0° Fahrenheit (-17.9° C)
New York City landlords finally turn on the heat.
Canadians have the last cookout of the season.

-40° Fahrenheit (-40° C)
Hollywood disintegrates.
Canadians rent some videos.

-60° Fahrenheit (-51° C)
Mt. St. Helens freezes.
Canadian Girl Guides sell cookies door-to-door.

-100° Fahrenheit (-73° C)
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
Canadians pull down their ear flaps.

-173° Fahrenheit (-114° C)
Ethyl alcohol Freezes.
Canadians get frustrated when they can't thaw the keg.

-460° Fahrenheit (-273° C)
Absolute zero; all atomic motion stops.
Canadians start saying "cold, eh?"

-500° Fahrenheit (-295° C)
Hell freezes over.
The Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup. (hey... wait a second......!)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Clinical experience illustrated in cartoon format...

Click on to enlarge....

This next one has absolutely nothing to do with me... just wanted to clarify... I'm not quite this bad....

Not so much funny; more like, sounds familiar....

Ok.... I admit, this one is TOTALLY me!!

And here I am again - always the student that gets the extra "learning opportunities" - lucky me!

And one more...

All cartoons were found at

Friday, March 02, 2007

What am I DOING?

To continue on with another negative post, I HATE CLINICAL!

Today I met my new patient and she made me cry :-( As you've read from previous posts, it really doesn't take much... but still. She didn't want me touching her - she told me I was incompetent - She was SO uncooperative and all she did was yell at me. While feeding her, first I brought her the ONLY juice out of the 4 that she doesn't like, (her chart said it was her favourite!) then her porridge wasn't sweet enough so I had to go get her sugar, then she wanted all the raisins picked out, then it was TOO COLD after I did all this racing around making everything JUST RIGHT! I was so flustered by the time I got to giving her bed bath that everything started going wrong! I put on her wrong blue sweater, she wanted the NAVY blue sweater not the dark blue sweater (after struggling for 5 mins to get in on her) You couldn't tell me that BEFORE I put it on you? At one point she even flung poo at me!!!

Later, when changing her depends, when putting on a new pair I pulled too hard, trying to prevent having to roll her on her side again and have her yell at me once more, so of course the depends ripped right in half!!! Then she screamed, "Can't you do anything right? Why don't you get someone in here that actually knows what they are doing?" So of course I got upset and had to get one of the nurses to help me. 3 weeks ago, I got such a glowing report from my clinical instructor telling me I was doing a great job, and that she could tell I have what it takes to be a good nurse, and then this week I hear how incompetent I am... bit of an ego crusher.

Then after clinical, our instructor lectured us for 45 minutes on how disappointed she was in us - there's no excuse as to why we are taking so long with each patient - her OTHER group of students does _______ better than us (she listed literally 20 things) Then she started reading out assignments from her other group, cuz apparantly they write essays better than us too! What a day - at least that part didn't bother me as much considering none of our assignments are marked, just a pass/fail... so whatever.

Thankfully I just have this patient for one more week, and we only have 4 more weeks of clinical.

Today is the first day that I am really questioning what I am doing? Why am I paying all this money in tuition, taking up so much of my time in school which is not allowing me to have any time for fun, not to mention I'll be taking a pay cut in the beginning when I leave my current job to become a nurse - makes me wonder why I bother - especially if I don't make it into medical school and my only option is nursing. But then I just have to remind myself that it was just a bad day...

So now I'm going to attempt to have 1 more hour of sleep before I have to go in to work tonight!

Tomorrow's another day.....


I'll bet I am the only person in the world who hates Friday's!

7 am clinical - after a snow storm - on 1 hour of sleep - plus not feeling well.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

A time to laugh, a time to cry, and a time to get your butt in gear and get your job done....

A while ago, I came across a great blog entry by one of my favourite nurse bloggers where she reminisced about her training to be a nurse, more specifically, the three H’s in nursing; Head, Heart, Hands.

I’ve thought about this entry a lot ever since I read it. I mull it over in my head a lot during my clinical practice, as I try to establish my balance of: “knowing enough, caring enough, and doing enough.”

I’ve always considered one of my good qualities to be my empathy for people, which is one of my main reasons for wanting to be involved in health care – so I can HELP people. But, I have also learned that too much empathy can be a hindrance as well. I’ve always known that I am an emotional person – I know there are certain movies I refuse to go in public to see, cuz I know I will bawl like a baby all the way through it; and yes, I have even gotten teary eyed during a commercial! But until you are placed in an environment where you see that being overly empathetic/sympathetic affects your work, you don’t realize the possible negative effects that are resulting…

For example, I suppose I could accomplish a lot more in a day if I didn’t stop every 30 seconds to ask my patient, “are you ok”, “I’m not hurting you am I”, “are you warm enough”, “cool enough”, or when giving an elderly patient a tub bath, I suppose it would go a lot faster if I wasn’t constantly checking the temperature of the water to make sure it is still warm enough, or ensuring my patient is draped in towels on their upper half of their body while I am washing their lower half of their body – I suppose if I just picked up the pace and got the job done, my patient would only be cold for a brief moment. Still, the thought of even a moment of discomfort for my patient compels me to do these little things. Thankfully this hasn’t held me up yet in my routine, and I am still able to get everything accomplished in my set time frame, while still having time left over to help the staff out, but in a real live setting when it is my job to “do it all”, I could see it becoming a problem.

My other issue I am dealing with is the great difficulty I am having in caring for elderly male patients. I did go through this briefly last year, but I am really struggling with it this year. Every male elderly patient is reminding me of my father, and knowing that he is the age of the people I am caring for, and this could be him any day. Perhaps it is guilt…I am just so busy with work and school, trying to better my life, that time is ticking away from me, stealing those moments away from me that I should be spending with my family. They only live approx 5 hours away, but when working full-time and attending University, those 5 hours may as well be a 5 hour flight away. But it is just another one of those things that I need to overcome. As soon as I walk into the patients’ room, I choke back the tears, take a few deep breaths, and try to focus on why I am there. I have learned that I need to keep busy and distracted, cuz any lull in tasks and I am short of breath and blinded by tears. Yet I have absolutely no trouble with the female elderly patients (so far) – I seem to establish a great rapport with them, am totally comfortable with them, and do my best to bring some sort of momentary joy in my brief time with them.

I already know that I need to get toughened up, cuz if I can't handle seeing suffering of old age, there is no way I can handle what the future of nursing holds, and I acknowledge that this is something I have to work on every day. One thing I am dreading in my medical experience is dealing with my first patient death. All I can hope for at this point is that I can gradually learn to emotionally grow in this area, taking baby steps in "toughening up" before I get thrown to the wolves in the bigger and more serious cases.

FYI: Today my dad turned 74...

UPDATE: February 18. 2007:

I discovered a new blog today that I have subscribed to, and ironically there is an interesting entry along this same line, but from a different perspective.

Which reminds me, since I am plugging so many blogs today, I must throw in babycatcher. This blog has brought tears to my eyes on numerous occasions (surprise, surprise!). When I first stumbled across it, I spent hours reading it from the beginning, but after awhile I had to stop reading it as I realized it was starting to make me depressed and feeling guilty for my comfortable lifestyle. I still like to refer back to it once in awhile for a wake-up call. It is about a nurse/midwife helping out in Malawi. Very eye-opening! One entry in particular was especially moving for me: "...I cried for the emptiness of her arms and for the other women at Bottom who arrive with expectations and large bellies, and return home with a small bundle to place in the ground." Heart-breaking...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Wow....looks like I am heading in the right direction...

I love doing little online quizes & surveys when I am bored (or trying to get out of studying for an upcoming exam) and I came across this one about "What Should You Study." I found the results interesting :-)

Your Learning Style: Competent and Cooperative

You have a great head for facts and figures. You can remember and use any fact you've read.

You Should Study:

Environmental Science
Nutrition Science

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Happy Cordova Ice Worm Day!!
(The annual march of the ice worms in Alaska)

Oh yeah, and I’m 29 today!

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