Friday, January 28, 2011

Sad Hearts

This morning at the change of shift ~ as the nurses were in the morning 'huddle' they heard a call for a "CODE BLUE, MICU".

Of course - by now we all knew where our friend Theresa's husband was.

Breaths were held
Prayers were said
Tears came to many eyes.

Then the phone call from the MICU came - asking for someone to go and be with Theresa.
Theresa works the night shift so two of the other night shift nurses hurried over to the MICU to be with her as her husband, Kevin lost his fight for life.

Sad hearts are around us today.

A week ago, Kevin had, what was thought to be a simple case of bronchitis.

Today, he is gone.

They did find this week that he had AML (Leukemia) and this was probably the underlying problem of why he got as sick as he did. But it is all so sudden, so unexpected. He was in the hospital less than a week.
Kevin leaves behind his lovely wife Theresa and 3 month old daughter Zoe.
This picture was posted early today of Kevin and Theresa in happier times...(Kevin is on the left)
Please remember them in your prayers. It is going to be a long, tough road for Theresa as she tries to figure out her life without her best friend and support. She will need to learn to raise little Zoe by herself but I know she will tell her all about her daddy.

A blood drive has been set up in their name. If you live in the Orange county area you can donate blood at the St Joseph Hospital blood bank and mention Theresa's name. She gets PTO time for every proxy that donates for her. This would sure help her so that she can stay home for awhile, and the blood will help other sick people.

Times like this remind me of how important my family is and also what great friends / co-workers I have. We are like a family and have supported each other through good times and bad. I am so fortunate to work with the wonderful people that I do. I'm not sure you could ever find a closer group of workers. Today our hearts are heavy.

I am also reminded of just how fragile life is and none of us knows the number of our days.

How are you purposing to live your life?
Do you know where you would go if your were to die today?
Do you believe in the saving power of Jesus Christ and have you claimed Him as your Savior?

"My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" Psalm 73:26

"For all flesh is like grass, And all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls off. But the word of the Lord abides forever" 1 Peter 1:24-25

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you" 1 Peter 1:3-4

Hug your family and friends closer tonight....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Full Day

Lots going on is a beautiful sunny day and I'd rather be outside!!

I have been at the hospital all morning. Found out that little Doug was going to have surgery today. His mommy wrote about that on her blog. I haven't heard how he is doing - but it is a good sign that he has made it to the point of having surgery.

I admitted a new patient this am to our perinatal hospice program. It is hard when they speak Spanish ~ we get an interpreter but I am just never sure that the family understands what we are trying to say or that they understand what the doctor has told them. I know they 'get' the empathetic touch and kind words but I just hate that I can't talk to them in their own language.

Since I was right by the MICU, I stopped in to see my friend and her husband. I didn't actually go in to his room since no one really knows what he has~ but I got to spend some time talking to Theresa and hopefully helping her to feel somewhat supported. Her husband is still on the ventilator but is making small moves to get better. He is not in kidney failure ~ this is a good thing for when you have a lack of oxygen you go in to multiple system failure and the kidneys are one of the first things to stop working.
Please continue to pray for this young family. For a miracle of healing for Kevin, for minimal deficits to the brain from the lack of oxygen. Theresa just wants him to recognize her when he does wake up. Pray for strength for Theresa as she tries to be of support to her husband and still be a mommy to her new baby. She was to have returned to work this week but obviously is not going to be able to right now. We are fortunate to be able to donate some of our own PTO (paid time off) in to her bank so that she is able to stay out longer without worrying about getting paid.

I then met a friend from church for lunch. It is always good to catch up with people and I have purposed to be more diligent about taking the time this year to connect with others and get to know them better.

Tonight I get to go to school again...I am trying so hard not to stress too much about keep it in its place yet to get the work done that I need to do to pass and to learn something. This has been the biggest challenge for me lately - just trying to find that balance. I love the school, the actual program, my professor is wonderful and the people in the class are great to work with...the hardest part is just all of the homework. Once the first project is handed in and we get our grade back, I will hopefully feel better. (first one due tonight...!!) I'll let you know how it goes.

That's my full day for you - think I'll take the dogs out for a quick walk in the sun just to breathe a bit :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In an Instant

We all make plans...
We plan where we want to go to college. We plan where we want to live, want we want to be 'when we grow up'. We give thought to who we might marry and how many kids we want to have. We go about living our life. Never giving much thought that it could change in an instant.

We bicker with our spouse, we stress about that school assignment, we stress about the needed home repairs, we don't want to go in to work in the morning. We don't tell our children that we love them, we go to bed without thinking about our friends and other family members. Never giving much thought to the fact that if could all change in an instant.

In an instant

~ a car crashes
~ the job you loved gets downsized and you find yourself homeless
~ you are handed a paper that says, "highly suspicious of lymphoid malignancy"
~ the ultrasound that you thought you were having to find out your baby's sex instead reveals a lethal diagnosis
~ the man you thought you'd be married to forever says he no longer loves you
~ your child walks away from everything good you tried to instill in them

Life can change, oh so quickly...

A friend of mine from work had one of those 'in an instant' events this weekend.

It has caused us, her friends and co-workers to take a step back and hug each other and our families just a little bit tighter. To take a moment to think about the 'what if's'...

Theresa did it all right ~ went to college, found the perfect job, met the man of her dreams, got married and a few years down the line had a beautiful baby. In fact this baby is just a few months old today. She is still out on her maternity leave. Her husband just recently back to work.
We heard the overhead 'stat' calls for physicians, the 'code blue' call.
So imagine our surprise when we got the frantic call to "Please pray - they are coding my husband!!"
Theresa and Kevin have been married almost 4 years. Life was good. She was home enjoying her new role as mommy to baby Zoe.Kevin had a minor cold on Friday. He went to urgent care. They agreed he was ill, but his lungs were clear and he was sent home. The cough wouldn't go away - not only would it not go away but it got worse.
Theresa called a brother to take Kevin to the hospital while she stayed home with the baby. She didn't want to expose her to germs in the ER. I can only imagine her shock when instead of a call to come pick up her husband she got a call that said, "Your husband is intubated and in the MICU".
She got to the hospital only to see her beloved husband deteriorate to the point of needing a full resuscitation yesterday morning. How scary that must have been. Theresa used to work with cardiac patients, she would know full well what was happening. To know that oxygen saturations of 30% cause organ and brain damage.
Kevin survived through Saturday and last night. This morning he had oxygen saturations of 90% and continued to be on life support.
The cause of his illness is still yet unknown. He is young and otherwise healthy, which is a good thing. Time will tell the extent of his deficit - if any.

Please pray for this young family as they struggle to cope with such a life changing event - he was healthy one minute and in an instant their life changed.

Pray for healing for Kevin and strength for Theresa. Zoe needs her daddy to get better and come home. And pray for us, her friends as we try to help in any way that we can.

And as you go to bed tonight remember to tell your loved ones that you love them.
Put the little things aside and concentrate on what is important - is it people or things? Family and friends or the next fancy pair of shoes?
Make changes to live a life full of good and purpose. Not a life filled with regret - for it can all change in an instant.
Live today as if it might be your last...because 'in an instant' happens...

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." James 4:13-14

Friday, January 21, 2011

Update on Baby Doug

Baby Douglas is 4 days old now and holding his own...
I just found out that his mother has a blog of her own ~ so you can go here to get first hand updates on him. I want to get her blog a button so we can link to it~
Please continue to pray for him.

Douglas's room in the NICU
If you want a high tech yet high touch job...become a nurse!!Debbie
(photos posted with the permission of the parents)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pray for Baby Douglas

When a patient is on the antepartum unit for awhile you get to know them.
Not only do you get to know the patient ~ but you get to know the whole family. You talk with the husband, as he brings food, treats and leftover birthday cake to the nursing station to share with others. You get to know who all of the grandparents are as they come to visit every day. They stop and share, ask questions and go on their way to visit their loved ones. Friends, nieces and nephews - the people who are important to the patient get to be familiar faces to the
nurses too. As much as I dislike working the antepartum unit ~ I do like forming these bonds with patients and getting to know them.

In the world of obstetrics there is always more than one patient. Not only do you get to know the patient but you also get to know the baby as you attempt to monitor the fetal heart rate and contraction pattern everyday...

One of our recent patients spent quite awhile with us. 30+ days of interacting and getting to know them. Even on days when I did not take care of the patient I would stop in to say hi. Mostly on days when I was in charge...since I like to just let them know that the charge nurse of the day is aware of who they are and why they are there.

Baby Douglas was born this week. The parents were prepared for his birth for they knew of his diagnosis even before the were admitted. They had done research on congenital diaphragmatic hernia and a plan of care was developed.
So as they went in to deliver this week they were both excited to finally meet their baby yet scared of what the future may hold.
Douglas is so precious....He could really use your prayers. His parents are so sweet - you can't help but like them. They can also use your prayers. Prayers for health for the mother and strength for the whole family. It is never easy having a sick child - even if you knew that he was going to be sick. Even with all of the preparation. Until you see your baby, you just can't imagine what it is going to be like. His parents are strong and baby Douglas has many people who are concerned about him. But please pray...
(photos and story used with permission of the the words of Doug's mom..."the more prayers the better")

Monday, January 17, 2011


We live close to Disneyland~

Buzz works for the mouse...and one of the perks of having a husband that works there is that we can get in for free. Erika had called and wondered if we could sign a few of her friends in for the day since they haven't started classes yet. I was needing a break from the real life stresses of work and school so of course I told her yes. The best part of not paying to get in is that there is no stress to 'see everything' since you know you will return again. It makes it nice because you can just take your time, do a few things and not feel like you have to 'cram' everything in to the day.

I met Erika and her girlfriends at the park, signed them in, went on one ride with them and then spent the rest of the day with Lily. We left the college age kids so that they could go on the 'big kid' rides while Lily and I had are own fun.

Here's our day in a few pictures...ok quite a few pictures...

We started the day at California Adventure, where we went on the Toy Story ride with the girls. Lily was not so fond of that ride but she did like the glasses

Lily became a toy in a toy box

She spent quite a bit of time 'talking' to this guy. There is a camera somewhere and Mr Potato Head does talk to people in the line. I ate a box of popcorn while Lily just hung out on the fencing interacting with him

Then she got to meet Duffy. She loved the fact that there were not a lot of people at the

park and she got to keep getting back in the line. She told him 'hi' more than

once :)

I asked Lily which rides she wanted to go on ~ but she mostly wanted to shop. That is a girl for

you! I think she went in to every store that we walked by. She didn't buy things in every store but she sure had fun trying things on and dreaming of the things she would like to have.

I got a specialty coffee and sat and watched the people while Lily napped in her stroller. This was a nice spot to sit, relax, and de-stress

I did convince her that I wanted to go on at least one ride. Actually we went on four rides while we were there. She was just having too much fun exploring and looking at things. She did like 'It's a Small World' though. The inside was still decorated with a holiday theme and it was so pretty.

Lily sang along with the music and stared wide-eyed at all of the dolls and decor

I used to dream about having a doll like this when I was a little girl...funny now that children have all kinds of interactive dolls and pets. Wonder if I should find Lily a dancing doll?

Of course, we went on one of her favorite rides - 'Monster's Inc'. She always wants to ride this one. She just loves Boo, Sully and Mike

And what's a trip to Disneyland without meeting Mickey?
One of Lily's favorite places to go is the new princess area. They have more than one character to see, a show, all kinds of princess dresses and toys to buy plus an area where little girls can get their hair done to look like a princess. One of these days I think I will let her get a prettied up. Here she is meeting Jasmine. She has met her before at the Aladdin theater (where Buzz works) so she ran right up to her like they were old friends. She just started talking and telling her all kinds of news.

Remember the mice that made Cinderella's dress? They sure are cute.

Bye-bye Princess Minnie

We ended the day by meeting Buzz and Jon for dinner in downtown Disney. Nice, relaxing day. It sure helped me to feel recharged.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

It has Started

School...the first night is behind me...
Class was good and I really like the people that are in my cohort. There are 18 of us who will be walking this journey together for the next couple of years. Most of the class have been practicing less than 5 years...some less then 2. I think there are 3 or 4 of us who have more than 15 years of experience so it is an interesting mix of experience.
There are people that work the ER, another L&D nurse, one mother-baby nurse, a few telemetry nurses, one ICU nurse, one rehab nurse, one outpatient radiology, two oncology nurses, and a couple of med-surg nurses. I'm sure the conversations will be quite interesting once we start to talk about our practices.
So, I like the people, I like the school, I like the actual program set up, I am excited about doing research and learning new things...but as the instructor was going over the assignments for this first class I had this overwhelming feeling of , "Oh, I'm not so sure I can do this". I turned to me classmate and said, "I sort of feel like maybe I should pull out now before we even get going - this homework is seeming pretty overwhelming". She laughed and said, "Funny, I was thinking the same thing!" We agreed to stick it out together for now. Everyone keeps reassuring me that it will be ok...I sure hope that they are right!
I am glad that I chose to take tomorrow off for I didn't get home from class until about 10:30 and it has taken me a little time to process through things. Tomorrow I plan on hitting the books.
So if I seem a little distracted lately you will know why ~ I really want to succeed at this and I know it is going to take a lot of focus and hard work.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Still Recovering

Wow - the new year is bringing lots of new babies!! I don't quite remember this time of year ever being quite so busy. The last day that I worked we ran around for a full 13 hours like crazy...patients were everywhere. I think we did 15 deliveries. I had 3 of the nicest patients, cute babies and not a single epidural. It was exhilarating to say the least. It takes more energy and time to help a mom get through her labor when she does not have an epidural ~ but my patients all successfully birthed with very little medication. Even if they had wanted an epidural I am not sure the anesthesiologist would have got to them for there were c/sections going on and just plain craziness. It was one day that I was glad I was not in charge. One day I was glad I was at the bedside and not directing things or getting stomped on at the desk!

I tried to help others when I could, sent a couple of patients home ~ and even took some time out to do a film interview on what "Magnet" means to me and how our hospital being a magnet facility has changed or helped my professional practice. Not sure how I ever got off of the unit to go do that filming piece....for those of you that don't know what "Magnet" is an award per se - a certification process and hospital site evaluation of good practice. It means we go a step beyond, we do research, we practice off of evidence and we strive to do things better.
Working in a Magnet awarded facility gives me, as a nurse, more control over my professional practice and challenges me to keep learning and trying new things.
Filming aside - I went back to the unit and continued to help birth new babies. I even met someone from Biola who knew my daughter Erika ~ small world, huh?

We had two "crash" (emergency) C/sections at almost the same time. I have always wondered how we would function if we had two emergencies going on at once. But somehow we made it work - got both moms to operating rooms on different floors and had healthy babies in the end. I decided I don't want to have to move an emergency case to the main operating room again for awhile - that elevator ride was an eternity!!! Or at least it felt like it to me....just imagine~ a teary mom, a stressed dad and 3 nurses praying the elevator doors close and we get where we need to go in time. UGH. And there is me - the most experienced nurse figuring out the plan...
"Ok - when the doors open we are going right".
" We need to move quick and go through the second door - not the first",
"You take the foot of the bed - I'm pushing from this end"
Oh and "it's ok mom - we are going to do everything to help your baby"....try doing all that and still sound reassuring -

Needless to say, we could barely walk down the stairs at the end of the shift. As we dragged our weary bodies home we shared our stories of the day. I hope my patients had good experiences despite the chaos we felt as nurses. I think they did. And now there are 15 more little people having an early January birthday!

Two days later I still feel as if I am recovering...
Yet, life moves on...
I met with a new hospice patient yesterday afternoon...she is heavy on my heart - I can't go in to the specifics (good ole HIPPA laws) but if you could just lift up this sweet young girl in prayer. It is going to be a tough delivery as she is attempting to cope with such a life altering thing. Pray we can help her, help her have a good delivery, help her make memories with her baby, help her not to blame herself, help her to go on and live well in the future. I'm hoping to meet her for coffee or something - just to talk, not talk medical but really try to gather who she is and what she needs...

Last night I also had orientation for my BSN program. Class starts next Tuesday night. I have chosen to do the program at Vanguard University. It is a bit more expensive than the state college option but I just felt it was a better fit for me. They seem to care about us as people and seem to really want to see us succeed. Our co-hort has 16 people in it. We will be doing the 2 year program together, working on projects and learning new things. I met people from 4 other hospitals and one rehab center. I am one of the oldest in the class. I think there maybe 2 other who are my age..the rest are younger, less experienced nurses - should be interesting....
For some reason I am really nervous about the whole thing. Not sure if it is the challenge of writing papers, the challenge of finding time to fit in school work, or just plain nervousness about starting a new venture. I know that I want that final piece of paper that says I have a BSN...but the work to get there is going to be hard. This much I know. Maybe if I weren't such a perfectionist it wouldn't be so bad...but I want to do it good if I am going to do it at all.
I have yet to look at the books - I just brought them home last night and set them on the table. I'm trying to gather the nerve to open them and see what is in store for me....

Our advisor also asked me to be the 'class rep'. At first I told her I didn't think I wanted to take on anything 'extra'. Then she came to me and said that the person who had agreed to do it couldn't anymore and she really felt it would be a good leadership position for me. HA! She thinks I need more opportunities to grow I guess. It really isn't a big deal - I just need to arrive 5-10 minutes early, pick up our class folder, take roll and distribute any papers, gather things at the end of the night and hand out evaluations at the end of each class. Not a big deal - right?? I'm normally early anyways and it will be a good way to get to know the people in my class. Looks good on a resume too I suppose.

I came home from orientation and spent some time searching for scholarships last night. I'd really like to find a way to fund this adventure. There sure are a lot of random scholarships out there! Just takes time to search through them!! I've applied for a couple and plan to keep on looking - you never know what might pop up. Even though I am nervous about this whole BSN school thing I guess you could say I am excited too. Excited to learn new things and grow. Excited to meet new people. Excited to finish something I started years ago. It is going to be a long road - and I will try not to complain too much along the way. One day I will have that degree - just you wait and see :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!! 2011
Here we are in a new year - 2011. Sort of hard to believe isn't it?

I worked on New Year's Eve day - we were pretty busy as people were trying to get those last minute tax deductions in! One of the fun things about labor and delivery units is competing for the first baby of the new year. All of the hospitals in the county want that status. It just gives you some bragging rights and the families get to be in the newspaper. It is a nice little PR bit and friendly competition. We had the first last year - but alas, this year it went to the hospital with the ocean views. They had a baby at 0002 and we had our first one at 0113. Regardless - our family gets a gift from the hospital whether they are the first ones in the county or not - they are recognized as the first ones at our facility.
This year has some cool birth 1-1-11 @ 0111 or 1-1-11 @ 1111 or 09-10-11 @ 1213 or 11-11-11 @ 1111. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. I don't know why us L&D nurses get in to the numerology stuff...guess it is just fun to have memorable birth times!

I think I must be getting old though. After working my 12 1/2 hour shift I came home and celebrated with Jon and Lily. Buzz was still at work and both girls had gone to parties. I didn't feel like staying up late so we watched the ball drop in New York at 9pm (1200 east coast time), celebrated with our party hats and champagne (sparkling apple cider) then promptly went to bed. I think we were asleep by 10pm. Party Poopers, I know...
New Year's Day we slept in, then watched the Rose Parade on TV. Spent some time with my parents but really did nothing big to celebrate. It was a nice relaxing day.

Today we started the new year off by spending it with a special friend.
Ever have one of those friends that you have known for years and just 'click' with? Well, Lori is one of those friends to me. Our girls met each other in kindergarten and stayed friends all the way through high school, so naturally Lori and I were thrown together. Her daughter Chelsea spent many days and nights at my house as well as my daughter spent time with them. Luckily, we liked each other. We have been together through good times and tough times (like raising teenagers and divorces) and can just be real with each other. I am so glad that I have such a good friend. I want to be more available to my friends this year ~ this was a nice start. Lori came to church with us, then we went out to lunch. Lori recently found out that she is going to be a she began practicing with Lily today. Lily LOVED her! I am looking forward to spending more time with Lori this year as well as my other special friends.
Aside from wanting to be a better friend, I did not make any New Year's resolutions. Did you?
May your year be blessed!