Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Like a bonsai tree...

As a lover of all things haiku, the following caught my attention:

Like a Bonsai Tree
Your terrible posture at
My dinner table

Stolen from here. Click to read the brief but excellent blog article by Dr. Bookspan: "Is Your Drinking Hurting Your Neck?

Just one little thing that we can do to help avoid the neck pain that plagues more than a few of us! Or you can try this:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Happy Feet

I want to tell you about one of my passions...

Yuppers, I like feet. Have always liked them. There's just something wonderful about a perfect pair of feet with all the little pinkies.

Then there's the not so perfect ones... But I can't help but care for them, too. How else to care for a person's soul (pun intended :) than to wash the feet that carry them through the troubles and joys of life?

I used to sit up late and do foot care for my dad while we watched the Irish Rovers on TV. Those are some of my best memories.

A couple of years ago, the unit where I was working offered a VON FootCare Advanced Training Course for the RN's. Only a handful of us were interested (surprisingly? LOL), but those of us who did had a blast practicing on each other.

Now that I work in End-of-Life Care, I'm finding this skill to be invaluable. My favorite part of care is when I'm able to get my kit out and spend an hour cleaning, massaging, cutting nails, and filing. I hear every story in the book while I'm working. I get a much bigger picture and assessment of my patients when they feel relaxed in a non-threatening therapeutic moment. It's a blessing for us both, and for the families as well. I get more thanks for this simple care than for all the challenging, mind-numbing skills and decisions that I perform each shift.

The picture below is not for the faint-of-heart. I didn't take it.
But, yes, I do cut nails like this, and often! Can you imagine walking on these feet? Or trying to pull up socks or blankets without snagging?!

These are the tools of my trade. I feel like part dentist, part woodsman :)

And here is the finished result:

HAH! Just kidding.

Any volunteers? I promise not to tickle!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Nurse.... or Boxer??

Once again, time has managed to slip away from me and I have no clue where the last week has gone (I think I saw Time's tail peeking out from my laundry pile downstairs. My laundry is a hungry hungry beast and it eats everything in its path).

Speaking of hungry beasts and time slipping away, I know that at least 8 hours of time went into reading "The Ruins" by Scott Smith. Ugh. I don't do horror well, and now I'm deathly afraid of the hops vine that takes over my back deck each summer.

I had an incident at work last week that I refrained from posting on till I had time to work it over and recover a bit. Besides, I had already complained to high heaven about my bladder and I think that it's unfair to unload more than one major complaint per week here :) .

We got a new patient on the unit with end-stage cancer that had metastasized to everywhere... he was coming from home, where his wife was playing around with his meds "just a bit" to make him sleep (he was not a jolly green giant sort).

Any of us would have drifted happily off to the Celestial Discharge after the first dose of narcotics that she was administering...

Well, we got him onto our unit, on an evening shift, on a weekend. We gave him his meds on a schedule. His body wasn't used to that, and threw an all-out psychosis. Into other patients' rooms, mad as h-e-dubblehockeysticks. I got in his way. He punched me, then aimed for my face. I blocked, he grabbed my wrists and twisted. Dr was phoned, refused to certify, wanted to try a few sedatives first. Security guard came up, got pounded, nurse on nights got hit... pt finally went to sleep after the family came in and convinced him that this was not a "homosexual place" and that we weren't out to recruit him...

Long and short -- Dr. Oncall should have got his butt in to assess his pt. Let him face the wrath.

Our team of nurses was wonderful. I had awesome support and hugs and chocolate. I had to fill out an incident report for worker's comp if there ends up being damage (just 3 big bruises... hopefully no wrist nerve damage). My manager was amazing the next day and raised a royal pile of sh!+ for me.

But I tell you, after that night, if I could figure out any other way to pay off my student loans, I would not have gone back to nursing.

It's better now. I've had a few good shifts to remind me of why I love my job. The patients and families on our unit (end stage cancer symptom treatment, comfort care in death) are for the most part amazing and fascinating. It's such a privilege to help with this stage of life. And we do laugh a lot along with the tears.

So all in all, it's all good and I'll be fine. As long as the vine on my back deck doesn't eat me.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Dazed and Confused

Oh Drat, and Bother, as my favorite silly ole' bear would say... I've entered the twilight zone of the mind on the heels of a bladder infection.

I remember during my "spells" last summer (when new symptoms would hit), that I kind of "lost my mind" (was it ever really mine?? :-) ) I would head out on errands, and forget where I was going, or lose my way on a familiar drive. I would wander drunkenly around stores, staring at the shelves in wonder and confusion. Sensory overload would hit me hard in the presence of more than one color, sound, or fellow human being.

I started only going on errands when I had my kids to be my "brains" for me. They all thought that it was hilarious. Uh, not so much.

I made the mistake this morning of going to Wal-Mart (my very least favorite store, for another post) to get some carpet shampoo (shouldn't have bought the darn carpet cleaner there in the first place... it's the only place I can get shampoo that works right which means that I actually have to go BACK! Argh). Anyhoo, to make a long story short too late, I left Wal-Mart 2 hours later, dazed and confused. I did eventually wander across the vacuum cleaners, and actually remembered to get my carpet shampoo.

I think that most everything else in the store went home with me, too...

It's an awful feeling, knowing that somewhere in the recent storage boxes of my mind, I have had a thought, but just can't find it. I wanted to just stand in the middle of the store and cry for my Mommy. I felt so lost, so overwhelmed, so drunk without the fun.

Is it just me, or do any of you have mind-less moments??

I would be more concerned if I wasn't getting a flare up of bowel, bladder, leg pain, breathing pain, and fatigue with this silly bladder infection. I would be worried about manic depression...

But it all fits. As much as MS fits any patterns.

Silly me. I was thinking to myself the other day "I'm so glad that my bladder has gotten better. No spasms, no accidents, no running to the bathroom all shift/all night." Then I realized (too late) that I was going 10 hours at a time with no bladder signals *at all*. And getting overflow. And getting lower back pain and fever.

It never rains but it pours!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sock it to me...

It's Laundry Day... Always laundry day...

cartoon pinched from here