Monday, April 30, 2012

Emerald Lake - RMNP

This past weekend I got the opportunity to go up to Estes Park with a good nursing school buddy, J and his wife Tricia, and some of their family. We spent the first night hanging out, drinking gimlets and playing Quiddler. Then on Saturday we went hiking up to Emerald Lake.

The hike was SOO amazing. There is absolutely nothing more peaceful or beautiful than hiking through God's creation. There was still snow in the mountains, which I've never hiked in before, and made the hike not only interesting at times but much more adventure-filled and beautiful in its own tranquil way. The most wonderful part of it was that because it was winter, there were less hikers on the trail, especially the higher up we got, which meant at the top we were the only ones there! To have that peace and tranquility, to be the only humans, on top of that serene mountain was wonderful.

At one point, while sitting on a rock and eating my sandwich at the top near Emerald Lake, a bird flew to the tree next to us. He was just as interested in us and we were in him. But his was so majestic. A beautiful royal blue with a breezy mohawk on top.

There are so many reasons why I love Colorado; Rocky Mountain National Park and it's treasures are one of them. Just wish I had more time to go hiking this summer!!

Here's some of my favorite pics from the day.

 Nymph Lake (first lake on the hike)
 another view of Nymph Lake
 some really cool trees :-)
 looking back on Nymph Lake after hiking up a ways
 a river runs through it
 Dream Lake (the second lake on the hike)
 Emerald Lake was frozen over!
look at the beautiful bird!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Refurbished Cradle

This past week, I refurbished our old cradle. My brother Marshall and his wife are expecting their firstborn here in ~5 weeks. Baby Thor. We don't know what they are naming their child (it's a surprise) so he will forever be my little Thor :-) Anywho, this is the cradle that my parents had for my brother's Kevan and Reece. After years of it being in storage, with the announcement of the arrival of the first grandchild, it was pulled out. This week I refurbished it. I filled the cracks on top with wood filler, sanded her down, and then stained her.

 Workin on the cradle
 That sander and I are becoming fast friends!
 Wood filler on the cracks

After hours of sanding, I thought maybe I had the finish off. Alas when I started staining I found out very quickly that I hadn't indeed taken the finish completely off (one can tell this by whether the wood absorbs the stain or rather it gets pushed around and around on top). Either way I found a technique to try to darken the stain without sanding it back down. I'd put the stain on with a foam brush and let it dry for 20 mins, then wipe it off with a clean old rag. The coolest part was that the stain wasn't absorbed well in the bigger areas where I couldn't get the finish off but the edges were well sanded and absorbed the dark stain very well!! Overall the wood looks mismatched which gives it a really cool rustic look. I love the way it turned out!! Now just need to find or make a mattress for it and await Baby Thor's arrival :-)

 The finished product
The other side of the cradle :-) you can definitely see the contrast 

The other projects that I've finished are painting a side table, doing some hand-dipped vases (which by the way, those tutorials on other blogs don't explain just how hard it is to get the paint even and looking nice), and finishing up some decorative pillows. 

Next up on my list: refurbish an old highchair, build a baby blanket, and build a vanity!

Post 1st 15 weeks of Nursing School

I sit here writing a week into my two-week break from school. The week has gone by rather too fast but it's also been a very odd week...full of a lot of plans but to be honest I was so used to only having school-related stuff that I had no idea what to do for the first day I was on break.

The first 15 weeks were long, hard, full, and busy. So jam-packed with stuff that I look back amazed at how far we came in that 15 weeks.

My first rotation was Med/Surg...and while I loved the content, I ended up hating the class and had a hard time with my clinicals. My professor ended up having a target on me from the start of my class, and she wasn't the best professor I've ever had. As a matter of fact, I rather have a personal opinion that teaching may not be the realm for her. Someone who likes to tout their credentials, has no idea what they are talking about in some classes, and who passively-aggressively targets students (all still while touting her "Christian" faith) isn't suited for a classroom, let alone one that should be safe and supportive for future professionals in the field!! Regardless, I came out of the class with a B, which is pretty damn good if I do say so myself.

I did find at the end of the 15 weeks that I really just needed a break. As someone who loves peace, calm, serenity, and positivity, I started finding myself becoming rather frustrated and aghast at the amount of stress and frazzled-ness that people in this program exert. I have a hard time being too worked up and stressed out all the time, and being so consumed in that culture was becoming overbearing. I have a hard time taking most things in life too seriously, as an end-all to everything, that I just was burnt out. I needed to get away from that scene, away from the people that became the only people who ever saw me.

On top of that, my confidence was shot at the end. Between my professor finding ways to passively-aggressively belittle me and feeling like a failure at clinicals half the time, I found much excitement in getting away from that all!!

And I have thoroughly enjoyed the past week!! I changed up my hair (I couldn't handle feeling like a stepford wife anymore in the sea that is nursing school students), I hiked, and I've worked on some projects! This next week is full of taking pictures, more projects, and socializing :-)

I refurbished the cradle for my brother's baby on the way, finished some on the docket: a baby blanket, the high chair, and building a vanity!!

I'm using these two weeks to getting back to who I am, what makes me happy, and what is important in my life. Because I'm here to tell you, being a nurse is not my defining factor! No, what makes my life important and beautiful is the people in it, how hard I work, and appreciating the simple things. There's so much beauty that I can't possibly let nursing school be the end-all and only. 

Because I'm having a hard time sitting still, this is all for this post...onward to getting more things achieved for now!

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Day Spent in the OR

Grey's Anatomy. ER. Even House.

All shows that enact surgery. All shows that more often than not get some of the most critical life-saving procedures WAY wrong!! (Don't even get me started on how they do CPR on any show or movie...) And while they do have some semblance of accuracy, I'm here to tell you that most everything in the healthcare profession doesn't happen like it does on the shows.

Ok, ok, ok...some things are accurate. Like subsisting on coffee, the opportunity for romance (though more often than not, there's not a lot of romance going on), and the bonus' of wearing scrubs can hold true. They do show some pretty schnazzy healthcare technology. But real life does not happen like it does in the movies or on shows.

However, I did get the opportunity to spend the day in the OR on Wednesday. And it was FANTASTIC!! I actually don't have very much interest in surgery in terms of I've always liked interacting with others. I love watching surgeries on but didn't think I'd actually like the surgical atmosphere. However, I can say, I thoroughly enjoyed my day in the surgical units!!

I started off my morning at 6:45am, true to normal form. I had to change into surgical scrubs. Think the oh-so-fantastically flattering blue scrubs on Grey's Anatomy. Only our scrubs are not made to fit to our bodies. They are a one-cut fits all and either your ass fits in them or not! So here I was in the OR, wearing blue surgical scrubs, blue booties and the wonderful blue hair mesh cap thing. As you can imagine, I was the epitome of surgical beauty ;-) HA! Just kidding.

Anywho, I got to spend the day in OR 6 with the same surgical team through all three of their cases. Same surgeon, same assistant, same circulating nurse, and same scrub tech. The nurse was AWESOME, the assistant was AWESOME, the scrub tech was FUNNY, and the surgeon was AMAZING!

Unlike most surgeons (for any of those of you who have spent any amount of time in a hospital and talked to surgeons, they are just a whole different breed), the surgeon I was with was very laid-back, personable, and friendly. She had a great sense of humor and was so human. You don't get that very often in surgeons!

The first case was a gastrectomy. The pt had a mass in his stomach, which was actually benign, but causing stomach problems. It's better to remove a mass if possible than allow it to sit and possibly metastasize (if it turns malignant) and cause an upset in homeostasis and comfort. So the surgeon went in and removed part of his stomach. Then she let me play with the mass. She showed me where the spleen sat in the stomach, I glimpsed the liver and the pancreas and saw the pinkish texture of the stomach. Once I opened up the part of the stomach that was removed I got to see the mucosal lining of the stomach...SO awesome!!

The entire surgery was probably about 1.5 hours. Turn over the room.

The second surgery was an explorative laparotomy. Basically the pt had presented to the ER with a bunch of pain in the abdominal area. Upon dx testing, xrays showed his intestines were partially twisted. Once opened up, the surgeon found a section of the intestines that was red and swollen (no = good, red & swollen = unhealthy tissue, close to bursting which would lead to peritonitus which would lead to sepsis = NO BUENO). She removed that part of the intestines and again I got to squish them!! So cool.

That surgery took about 45 minutes. Turn over the room.

The last surgery was a laparascopic cholectomy (aka removal of the gallbladder without opening up the pt). SO cool!! The surgeon walked me through the whole procedure. I got to see the liver, pancreas, stomach and of course gall bladder. I watched as she pointed out the common duct (which supplies bile to/from the gallbladder/liver/etc). I watched as she separated the gallbladder from it's home on the liver and extracted it via a tiny tube.

That surgery took about 45 minutes. Done by 1330!

The anesthesiologist was SO awesome and laid-back. He walked me through everything he was doing and even allowed me to help intubate the first patient. SOO amazing!!

What a great experience :-) Who woulda thunk a day in the OR would be so awesome!!

Now just need to go watch a brain and/or heart surgery and I'll be such a happy lady :-)

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Are we there yet?!

Rarely an extra minute anymore to simply stop and think anymore. Accelerated is an understatement right now of the nursing program.

I can't help but count down the days until our first break. Two weeks! Two weeks and I can sleep in and not worry about anything being due currently. Wowsers. Talk about a crazy 13 weeks it's been.

My latest adventures have been in the world of Med/Surg clinicals. Actually not so much adventures. More just crazy chaotic stress. But I will update about that in a couple weeks. For now, just a couple pictures that speak louder than words about what's going on in my world.

 My favorite part of work is watching the helis...
 Only those in my program understand this...just because I started in Med/Surg does not mean I'm any smarter!! Just the luck of the draw for my tract...
 This is becoming more and more how I feel as we get closer to our break....
 Wine is SERIOUSLY becoming my best friend and stress reliever....mmmm.....
 Just so exhaustipated...
 It's officially spring...if I've jacked up my foot it means spring has officially sprung...also think I broke my pinky toe, it no longer moves properly
 the glove of MRSA!!
 poster boards are the new notecards
just a friendly reminder on the door every morning as we head out to clinicals...Kenny Powers!!

Update to come in a few weeks!! Catch ya on the flip side!