Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rainy Days

My day started like this:
Super rainy and overcast. And instead of getting down in the dumps, I was....

SOOOO excited because.....

I finally got to wear my NEW


I have been wanting a pair of these bad boys for a few years, and I finally found them!! Yes, I know, it's not like its hard to find rainboots. There everywhere. But I didn't want to pay more than $25 for a shoe that would be worn just a few times a year, and are more practical than a fashion statement!

So I didn't have to! There's this new amazing thrift store near my house that I can't get enough of. I have had a few amazing....AMAZING....finds lately! Most of them happen to be in the shoe department, but they are awesome! I may need to make a post of the other great finds b/c I'm just so excited about it!

And even better, the other day Jon brought up at a party the incredible riding boots that I got! Hello, the husband is bringing up my great finds! He's just excited about my thriftiness and I can't blame him! These boots are still selling in stores and online.
Their price: $199. My price: $7!!

With all the crazy rain days we get in the spring and fall, rainboots are just so practical. But, I haven't had the appropriate time to wear them.

Until today!
So I modeled them....(yes, I'm aware, I should stay away from modeling...and perhaps put some makeup on every once and awhile!)

And I did the rainboot dance...perhaps more than once! THIS I will NOT stay away from!!

What!?!? You've never heard of the rainboot dance!? Oh, you're SO missing's fun! I promise!

Once I was all danced out, I went outside to brave the storm and walk to my chiropractor appointment. OK, that may have been a bit dramatic because the office is right across the street from me, and really, it wasn't storming...just heavy rain!

But nonetheless, I walked outside to brave the "heavy rain".....
Which had apparently gone away while I was busy doing my happy rainboot dance. Oh well! I kept them on, and was able to stay dry through my sloshy walk! Now that's what I'm talking about!

Sicky Sicky

This PICU nurse has been sick for 11 days now, and let me tell you, it's NOT been fun!!!

I don't get sick often, so when I do, I guess my body does it in style! And by style, I do not mean anything fashionable...clearly! *How pathetic do I look today!?! Sadly, this is the exact same spot that I have been in for a majority of the past 11 days...the other spot that I was confined to for 48 hours last weekend was my bed!!!

It's so different being on the "I need a nurse side" as opposed to the "I am a nurse" side. I am starting to go stir crazy, but every time I get a grand idea to "do" something, my body completely revolts and refuses!
So back to the couch, and endless tv I return.

Let me say, within the first few days of being sick I pretty much emptied the DVR. So I then had to resort to DVR'ing things you wouldn't even believe! Oh the depths I have sunk : )

But being sick has given me time to think about the important things in life. Here's what I've learned so far:

1.) When trying get pregnant again post-miscarriage (yes, that happened, that's where I'm at...perhaps more on that at a later date), there really are NO medications appropriate for upper respiratory infection symptom relief. But I have made a new best friend. His name is Acetaminophen, but I call him Tylenol for short : )

2.) I STILL don't like tea! I have always wanted to like tea! Jon makes me laugh every time he says "tea and strumpets" which makes me want to like it even more! And once, I even planned a high tea with some girlfriends where I bought china (from a thrift store of course!) in hopes to like it more. But, after over a week of tea and honey, it's true....I'm still not a fan!

3.) Jon's methods of clearing his nose and sinuses in the shower are loud and still gross me out...but now I completely understand why he does what he does! Despite the fact he said my attempts were "girly" and "weak" they DO work! Eww, gross I know!

4.) Putting your face over a steaming pot about 5 times a day really does give a dewy glow! And for free! Once you wipe the snot that's running down your face off, tres beautiful! : )

5.) TLC and HGTV have a plethora of amazing reality shows. And yes, I've pretty much seen them all. What I will not stoop to??? --> Sister Wives. EWW! Gross! Can't do it! Anything else, fair game!

6.) No matter how many days I have my flashcards sitting in front of me, it is highly unlikely studying will actually get done! Maybe the information will just seep in by osmosis since they've been sitting so close for so long!

7.) Jon is an amazing cook for the sick! He even invented "Spicy" Campbells chicken noodle soup which, "Holla!!" If that doesn't open you all up, I don't know what will. And BONUS, it was YUMMY!!!
*I can't give away his treasured recipe because this one is going to be passed down for generations to come, but I can tell you one of the 2 ingredients: Sirancha hot sauce : )

8.) I have the most amazing, incredibly comfortable couch in the world. If you've ever been on it, you'd agree. If you haven't, you are missing out!! Come on over...when we are germ free, of course!

9.) Drinking a LOT of liquids really is helpful. However, drinking 10 cups of water will guarantee at least 100 trips to the bathroom. Oh so fun!

And last but most definitely not least....

10.) I have the most AMAZING husby (no, not a typo- that's what I call him sometimes. Don't be jealous!). He has pampered me and truly taken care of me throughout this entire time. When I was holed up in the bedroom for 2 solid days, he cooked my every meal, every cup of tea, and cleaned up after me. He gave me back rubs and foot rubs. He has even told me how beautiful I was every day....even though I was looking like psycho sicko for most of it! Oh Jonathan Lerma, you are the best husband a woman could ask for! Thank you for loving me and taking care of me!! I love you so much!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

SO ready to "Get busy with the Fizzy!"

Many of you know that I am a Bzz Agent. For those of you that don't, I LOVE being a bzzagent!

It's a social marketing company that uses their "agents" to do some word of mouth advertising. AKA: I get to try new products and rave to friends and family about it! Learn more about it HERE!

See, completely up my alley right!?!?

And now I'm DYING to try the Sodastream system! Not just because of the crazy cool logo (seriously, what can compare to "Get busy with the Fizzy"!?) but because it's AWESOME! Or at least I think it is, and hence, the reason I want to try it out!

I found out about the Sodastream in a health and fitness magazine a year or two ago and have wanted to try it ever since. I ripped out the advertisement and put it up on the fridge as a reminder to look more into it. Now if you have ever seen my refrigerator, you would know that it is stocked with every La Croix sparkling water there is. I'm addicted to this stuff!!! But its expensive, and the cans take up a lot of room, and I feel like I am overworking the recycling machine with the amount that I drink!

So clearly I am in need of this Sodastream!!

With Sodastream, I can make my very own sparkling water with the push of a button! How exciting is that!? I will be saving SO much money (Sodastream is less than $.25 cents per can!), know exactly what goes into my drink, and just experiment with different all natural flavorings!

Now that sounds awesome! I am SO ready to start getting "Busy with the Fizzy!!!"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Abnormally Normal

Ask any parent who has ever spent more than a few nights in the PICU and they will tell you life can become bizarre.

Life certainly is stressful in the PICU. It is exhausting. It is horribly sad at times.

But, parents will also say it's bizarre.

Why is this??

Because things in "real life" that are so not normal, can just become the norm in the PICU.

For instance, a 7 year old still sucking on a pacifier would get laughs in the real world. And yet, a 7 year old who has already had 5 heart surgeries and finds comfort in her pacifier (only when in the hospital) becomes a little bit more normal.

*OK, I will say as a sidenote, this one still gets laughs from staff...not in front of the patient or family! BUT- for whatever reason this patient remembers how comforting her pacifier was in her past surgeries, so she was asking for it again this time.

Another example: In real life, one could not live on oreos, animal crackers, and juice alone. OK, one may be able to live for awhile on these, but would certainly NOT maintain their weight, let alone lose weight!!

And yet, a mother of a patient that I took care of last week had been doing just that...and had lost a few pounds. Yes, the stress of her sick son was getting to her. She didn't want to leave her child's bedside. But we don't like passed out parents, so it's a rule they have to eat!!

She was sustaining her energy on oreos, animal crackers and juice alone (yes, these are the few items that we stock for patients/families in the PICU). And I have to say, in the last 6+ years I've been there, she is by far NOT the only parent to do this!! Once again, not normal in real life can be normal in the PICU.

And finally, the other night I was leaving work and had just finished report to the night shift nurse. Before leaving, I always say good-bye to the patient and family, and introduce the night nurse. The mother was also leaving as I was and turned to the night shift nurse and said,

"I am going home. My husband will be sleeping here with you tonight." She paused for a second, realizing how funny that sounded, but how true it was. Then she added "I give you my full blessing!"

We just started laughing!! As she left, she said, "Oh what a crazy life we lead here in the PICU!"

And it's so true! Again, what is not normal in real life can be the norm in the PICU.

And maybe a part of this is what keeps PICU nurses going. That a slightly alternate reality can keep us coming back. Or at least keep us from taking it home every night.

That despite the stress, the exhaustion, and the horribly sad times, it is the bizarre that gets us through. Or perhaps the laughs that the bizarre gives to us.

Or maybe we are just a bizarre breed that can handle such a life.

Whatever the reason, I am grateful for the bizarre. I am grateful for the PICU. And I am grateful for the the patients and families that allow me to look on the PICU with such fondness, and laugh!

So here's to being a bit bizarre today!! Do something that you wouldn't normally do, and act like it's perfectly normal! And hey, don't forget to laugh about it!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Adults Welcome

Working in a Pediatric ICU, we don't tend to care for adults much. Its just the nature of the game : )

But lately, we've seen an influx in adult patients for the weirdest reasons!!

Some of us were talking about putting a "NO adults allowed" sign of the door. You know, like when you were little you put the "No boys allowed" on your tree house door???

Ok, well I didn't do that either. I didn't have a tree house. And for that matter, when I was in elementary school, the 2 friends that lived closest to me (AKA: the ones that I played with the most) were boys!!

But I digress...

Taking care of adults is just another world all together!!! On Tuesday, not one, but BOTH of my patients were adults!!! It was like I was in PICU twilight zone!!

The one patient was a 20 year old with a very weird medical disorder that she has had since birth. She came back to our PICU because she hasn't transitioned her care to an adult team of physicians yet and was having a crisis requiring some very specific IV fluids.

This girl, ahem, woman is in college. She can sign consent forms for herself. I don't have to tell her mom if I am doing something to her. But I DO have to tell HER when I am giving her a medication, or doing something different in her care! Such a change!!

The attitudes of adult patients are so different too! We have parents complain about different things, but it's a whole different ball game when the patient herself is the one complaining! And it's interesting to hear the patient herself complain about her care to her girlfriend on the phone.

"OMG- You have NO idea how exhausted I am! I can't sleep at all in this place. And the stupid respiratory therapist came and just woke me up! Ugh, I know! He just woke me up to give me my albuterol treatment!"

I wanted to laugh. We don't tend to have patients that are well enough to talk on the phone, let alone ones with such adult opinions (or college aged ones!).

My second patient was a 32 year old woman (with 2 children at home) who has cancer. Now what in the world would a newly diagnosed ADULT cancer patient be doing in a pediatric unit!??
She has what's called a Wilms tumor which is typically a cancer that 3-5 year olds get! Since most adult oncologists do not deal with this type of cancer, she was referred to us. And she was in the PICU because she had a severe anaphylactic reaction to her chemotherapy the day before.

Let me tell you, this woman was amazing. She was so sweet, and had such a great attitude, despite being bald from her therapies, and feeling exhausted from not sleeping for almost 30 hours!

I have ALWAYS said that I never want to work with adults! Adults are bigger babies than kids most times. And adults have such strong, adamant opinions about most things that kids don't! Dont' get me wrong...parents of the kids that I take care of certainly have their strong opininos too, but it's just different!

But I must say, this this woman may have changed my opinion...slightly. Instead of cringing when I'm told the age of my non-child patient, I may just wait to see what they are like!

That being said, I am a PICU nurse through and through!! If I never take care of an adult again, I'd be ok with it. But it is nice to know, that when those strangers do come through our PICU doors every once and awhile, it doesn't have to be a bad experience! In fact, it may even make me laugh, smile, and truly feel appreciated by my patient!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Completely Saturated

So I have been studying for boards for the past week or two.

I can't say that I've put a lot of TIME in, but I certainly have gone through my flashcards enough to fill my brain cells.

I think, in fact, that I have completely saturated ALL my brain cells. There feels like there is NO additional room for information.

Which is not ideal actually b/c I don't really know all the content of every flash card.

My mind is SO full, that really there is no capacity for anything more. I was leading a meeting at work yesterday and could not find the appropriate words about 7 times.

Later in the day at work, I was trying to answer a question another (newer) nurse asked me, and totally couldn't get the information out. I KNOW this stuff, but for whatever reason, the flash card info is on the forefront of my mind.

Ask me to describe an ASD murmur- done. Explain the difference between anticholinergic and cholinergic syndrome- no problemo. Review the process of rapid sequence intubation- done and done.

BUT- ask me my favorite color, middle name, or how to drive from here to the store....yeah, THAT is the hard stuff right now!

Something is taking over my brain!!! It's either flashcard brain, or a brain tumor. And I'm pretty sure I'm right in diagnosing with the first option. "Flashcard brain" is a real diagnosis BTW! : )

So I've decided to just not take anything additional on that involves my brain from here until boards.

No more crossword puzzles. Ok, I've never really done one, but I always wished I could get into them! Certainly no more...

OK, really WHAT is it that I do that uses my brain! OMG!!! I can't even think of THAT!!!

Either way, I will just keep chugging along with the flashcards, and hope that there is just a BIT more room for all the information!

And let me tell you, I'm sure there is a high probability that about 85% of the information spills out of my brain after boards are done, but I'm ok with that! I just want to pass, and become the Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner that I've wokred SO hard to become!

So if you see me or talk to me in the next few weeks before boards, don't expect much. And if I spout off random information that doesn't make sense to your non-medical ears, just smile & nod. Hey, even to the medical ears, I may be babbling total nonsense! I promise I won't be this way least I hope not!

Oh, and 1.) Pink
2.) Lynn
3.) drive 2 blocks south and you're there! yeah, not that hard!
**I guess I do have some of the "small" stuff still in me : )

Monday, September 12, 2011

Adventures in Vegas

As promised on Friday, pics of the Vegas trip are here!!!
Vegas is certainly an adventure...if you've been you know what I mean!

As I said in this post, Vegas was not relaxing. I did a TON of walking around, looking at all the hotels and things around the hotels. And I got in a bit of mall shopping (or window shopping at least!) which is always fun.

The one thing that we LOVED about Vegas was all the great restaurants. There were SO many to choose from, and the ones that we picked did not disappoint! What was even better was most of our meals were completely free because Jon was there for the conference!

So I will leave you with pictures to tell the rest of our Vegas adventure! Enjoy!

Ohhh, my feet were in paradise here!!! I'm obsessed with particular, red bottom ones! If only my budget was as excited as I was : ) Either way, it was fun looking!

World's largest chocolate fountain!!! Amazing!

This was my favorite meal of the entire week!!! At Emeril's Table 10. We started with maple cured bacon (which sounds great, but was even better...INCREDIBLE!!!!) & veal cheeks. We then moved on to lamb chops with brussel sprouts and my personal fav, lobster macaroni and cheese! YUM!We went to see Phantom which was amazing. We got to sit in the 4th row which was quite the experience!I loved walking by the "Eiffel tower" pretty much every night. Next up, walking by the real one!In front of the gondola rides at the Venetian. On second thought, next up Italy : )The beautiful Bellagio fountain!I won it "big" on this bad boy Panda machine! And apparently I bust out into an awkward robot dance when I win money : ) At the Foundation Room on the rooftop of Mandalay Bay. This was Jon's favorite meal of the week (lamb chops) favorite wine of the week (Louis Martini Cabernet).So there you have it! Our Adventures in Vegas!

While I thoroughly enjoyed my time off from the craziness of the PICU and grad school, it was nice to come back to the comforts of home. And while the Vegas adventure came to an end, certainly the life of this PICU nurse did not!!

Now begins the adventure of studying for boards and job hunting! There truly is never a dull moment in this PICU nurses life, and I wouldn't want it any other way!

Friday, September 9, 2011

A new era

August is gone...September is here.

The heat and long summer days are winding down, and the fall "chill" is starting to set in with slightly earlier but no less gorgeous sunsets.

And how appropriate is this change when I am ending one season of my life, and entering into another! It's actually very exciting!

Grad school is done. Clinicals are over (Thanks Goodness!!!). The ending of a stressful, crazy, isnane time of my life is here!

And the end of one era always leads to the beginning of a new one.

I love fresh starts. New beginnings. The renewing of your mind, spirit and energy.

To kick off this new era, Jon and I took a trip. Well, Jon's company "told us" to take a trip so he could attend a work conference. And I guessed I HAD to go along : )

Where did we celebrate this entering of a new era???

It began in .... Vegas!!! BTW- definitely NOT the place to go to "renew your mind, spirit, and energy!

But, it is a great place to see lots of lights, hear lots of sounds, try some amazing food, and win a bit of money (to the tune of $150...not too shabby for playing only a few bucks in penny slots!).

My initial plan was to bring these 4 books, and read them all. I planned on relaxing at the pool every day while Jon was gone to the conference.

What really happened was I finished Three Cups of Tea on the flight there (b/c I was amost done with it anyways). Then I started the first 12 pages of Mini Shopaholic (I LOVE this series...such a cute, fun, quick, girly read!). And that's where my relaxed, reading blissed ended.

Maybe it's the PICU nurse in me that is used to being busy. Or my crazy hectic schedule of the last 3 years just hadn't settled out of my system. My mind just didn't know how to turn off in Vegas. With everything going on around me, I found it impossible not to constantly walk around, see things, and do things. So while the pool didn't happen, I still had a good time.

It may not have been the relaxing trip I intended, but it was good to get away. It was the perfect crazy trip to a crazy place to end the crazy era! Now looking back, how appropriate!

I will write a full Adventures in Vegas post on Monday (I have to work this weekend) and leave you with the fun pictures then!

But for now, here's a Happy Friday cheers to the ending of one era, and the beginning of a new one!