Feeling Better 

At last I have some answers. I’ve been dealing with this for so long but the corner has finally been turned and now I can truly begin to heal, or so I surely hope I can!

My initial surgery was over a month ago and I’ve been so terribly ill since then. Many trips back and forth to the hospital as well as Pablo, the drain placed 26 days ago. Pablo was initially working well, but started malfunctioning. I began flushing him a bit more frequently. I continued having fevers and feeling terribly lightheaded and detached from the world. I tried my best to eat and not I felt the same.hing had flavor. I had 3 antibiotics.  My labs still looked the same and still showed the abscess was much smaller but remained. From a 7 cm to a 3 cm abscessed area which is an improvement for sure, but finding out that I can help this to go away faster?  What a golden opportunity to be proactive in my healthcare.

I have never in my life felt so sick.  I have never felt like I would never get my energy back or be able to once again go for a walk without passing out.  I have made one walk since my surgery.  It was a the only day I felt good.  I walked 4 houses up the street and back again.  It was to my dad’s house.  He didn’t answer the door either.  Hubs and I didn’t have our mobile phones either to give him a call, so we walked back down.  The next day, I felt just as terrible as I had previously and remained that way until yesterday.  I do listen and I do everything I’m told to do.  I’m a very good patient.  I know what I have to do and I do it.

After being in the nursing field for 29 years, I should know a thing or two about how to get better, but this has been the absolute lowest point of my existence.  Honestly, I was ready to seek healthcare elsewhere if it weren’t for Dr. Burke finally giving me the answers I was seeking on Thursday.  Hubs took me to my sinogram, where dye is placed into the drain and then x-rayed for drain placement and to see how much fluid is still present.  It’s really very cool.  What we were shown is that although my abscess is much smaller, the abscess is made up of pancreatic enzymes which is trying to eat my body instead of processing food because of where it has leaked to.  There is a small pathway which has formed which we need to help seal up.  We can do this by flushing and creating the proper pressure in there, a neutral pressure, allowing the nasty, thick drainage from the pancreas to drain.  If I gavage it with the saline 5 or 6 times a day, it will allow the thick drainage to flow more freely and therefore, it will be released more easily.

Guess what!  It’s been working great!  No more fevers, and I feel much improved.  I sure won’t be running any marathons.  In fact, I’ll have to work up to walking any great length again, but I’m getting there.  And I’m planning on more writing.  I’m able to focus a little more clearly already.  Just think, maybe, just maybe, I might get a little bit of my summer after all! Wouldn’t that just be awesome!  I know the Hubs, the kids and I would be so thrilled.  Thank you for all the prayers and good wishes.  Keep them coming.  You have no idea how much they mean to me.  Your kind thoughts are so wonderful.  They truly mean so much to me.  I can’t thank you enough for caring about little old me!

Graduation Day

My sweet girl graduated from high school today. It’s bittersweet for me. I am so proud of her and will miss her so much next year. She’s ready though. She is so smart and so beautiful. I love her so very much. Congratulations to my beautiful Bear in her very special day. And to her boyfriend, Piano Man, who luckily is feeling better after a terrible viral illness that lasted over a week, the last of his high school career, leaving him bed bound and significantly skinnier. I love them both!

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If We Were Having Coffee

daffodils and coffee

If we were having our weekend coffee today, I’d tell you this has been an eventful week! I had my meeting with my surgeon regarding my pancreatic cyst.  I finally got the results from my biopsy that was taken on April 19th!  Yes, almost a month later!  Can you believe it took that long?  Me either!  The initial results took only a week and they wanted to do more testing.  They called and told me I had many atypical cells which means my cyst was precancerous.  The best means to take care of this is to surgically remove it.  It’s a big cyst.  I’m ready.  Bring it on!

My week was also filled with working with wonderful people in another department of my new place of employment.  As many of you know, I’m a nurse and this past week was nurse’s week.  As this department is very generous, we were fed all week!  This was not so good for my diet, but my belly was kept full and let me tell you, it was very tasty! We had pasta, salad, fruit, baked potatoes,  cookies, doughnuts, sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, and more!  These people know how to feed their employees well!

I would tell you that it was my son’s last hockey game of this session and my daughter’s last high school Spring Show.  It’s hard knowing that next year, I’ll only have 2 children at home, but also kind of exciting at the same time.  I love knowing that my 2 oldest girls will be pursuing their dreams in college.  Knowing that I have 2 birds that have flown the coop and 2 that are still in the nest is a comforting thought.  I must be doing something right.  I’m proud of my 2 oldest girls.

For now, let’s just sit back and enjoy our Colombian blend coffee with our Creme Brulee creamer.  It’s delicious.  I’ve eaten so much.  I’ll stick to my small omelet for breakfast.  What will you have?

 

Happy Nurse’s Week

To all my fellow nurses, Happy Nurse’s week.  For those of you who have been touched by a nurse, tell them how much you appreciate them.  Nurses are, by nature, very caring individuals.  The reason we go into nursing is because we care.  We want to take care of people.  I’ve heard many people over the years say many things about nurses both good and bad, but believe me, we all started our careers caring.  We still care and it’s not about our paycheck that keeps up going to work.

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The future of nursing.

 

To be a nurse, it has been shown that nursing school is one of the most grueling majors in higher education.  I can certainly vouch for that!  It may have been 20 years since I graduated, but let me tell you, it wasn’t easy.  I studied all the time.  I did the eat, sleep, breathe method of studying and anyone who knew me in those years could tell you that’s exactly what I did.  I had no social life because I had a goal.  I wanted to be the best nurse I could be.  I got very good grades and I should have with how hard I studied.  It’s a very rigorous program!  Let’s not forget that once you graduate, you get to pay your state money to take your state boards! Yes, the dreaded, stressful NCLEX examination from hell! I remember taking it and coming back to my mom’s and telling her I failed.  I just knew I did, but I didn’t fail.  I passed first try.  Thank God! The joy of passing was so overwhelming I can’t compare it to anything other than giving birth to your first child!

As I say, I’ve been an RN for 20 years.  I was a CNA before that so nursing has been what I’ve done for 29 years, since I graduated high school.  My first clinical was when I was 17.  Since then, I have seen so much.  I have done so much.  I have worked in nursing homes and loved and lost residents.  I have comforted families.  I have worked in the hospital in many different departments.  I have been part of codes (when you are called to perform CPR on someone in the hospital.  I’ve lost patients.  I’ve comforted patients and families through difficult times.  I’ve worked in home health.  I worked in home health some more.  Now, I’m working in a clinic setting for the first time.  I suppose you could say I’ve done it all.  I love being a nurse.  I still love caring for people. Sometimes though, being a nurse is the hardest job in the world.  It isn’t just about caring for patients or families.  It’s so much more than that.  It’s pleasing everyone.

I have been asked to wear many hats in my career as any nurse has.  We are always having to do more with less time and resources.  It’s just a sign of our times.  Not a particularly good thing if you ask any of us, but as healthcare changes, so must we. Sometimes we get burned out too.  It’s a good nurse that can recognize that she is burned out and needs to change.  The great thing about nursing though, is that you can always find something that is different and challenging to keep your mind and skills fresh.  If you want to slow down, you can switch hours or work per diem.  Nursing is evolving too.  In my new role as a clinic nurse, I am challenged because although my hours are varied (I choose the days I’m available because I work per diem), I work in a float pool and need to know which doctor I’m working for that day.  I have to know how they like things and how their nurse runs things.  I like a good challenge and eventually I hope to be good at this. The downside to this is that I have no permanent home in the clinic, but that is okay, too.

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Lori, LaVonne and Deirdre. Friends since nursing school.  Friends for life.

What has being a nurse taught me?  I am able to do just about anything I put my mind to.  If I believe in myself, I can do it.  I even can paint a picture.  It may not be the best picture, but hey, I put it on my wall.  And I did it myself. I have faced challenging patients and families along the way.  I have faced challenging doctors on this journey too.  One such doctor had me in tears many years ago.  I was fresh out of hospital orientation and still in report.  The medication had just come up from pharmacy and this doctor was known for being a pistol.  She had a reputation for giving the new nurses a hard time.  The IV med was sitting on the medication cart because the day shift nurse brought it in and left it there for me so that I could hang it when I got out of report.  The doctor came into our med/report room and ripped me up one side and down the other because I hadn’t administered this medication yet.  I wasn’t given the option to explain.  I was so upset and then the tears came.  It was awful.  Many years later, I had learned that all that was needed with this particular doctor was to stand my ground and stand up to her.  I had done that on one particular day and she had never given me another bit of mouthy guff again.  She could actually be a nice person, sometimes.

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The end of a long day!

I can tell you that with all that nurses go through in their average day, the best part is actual patient care.  I personally love caring for people.  I have enjoyed all these years of meeting the many who have been entrusted in my care.  I have to say it has been a true blessing to be a part of their lives when things are just not going well.  I always make it a goal of mine to make people smile.  If I’ve made you smile, I’ve done a good job.  Happy Nurse’s Day and Week to all my nursing friends.  Reach out and hug a nurse and tell them you love them.

P.S. Most nurses like hugs.

 

Catching Flies with Honey

Again I am plagued with insomnia so I have been thinking about my day a d about my Mom.Mom always said you could catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Of course she was right, as usual. In today’s world, wouldn’t it be nice if more people used more honey I’m their speech and general views? I sure think so. This thought occurred to me as I listened to some of the people I was surrounded by today.

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I wish I could tell you they weren’t a jovial bunch, but I’d be lying. This group was very jovial to be sure, but their joy also had an underlying tone of something which I find distressing. They were very judgemental of others. This always makes me feel uncomfortable and put of sorts. It’s difficult to deal with at any lack of compassion for me. I’m a natural born people pleaser. I like everyone to get along and I like people to like me.

This being said, I don’t think I was the issue today. I found myself sticking up for the “little people’, the ones without a voice. I found that there were those who let the comments go like a duck ruffles the water off its back. Others fed into the negativity and then there was me. I said a few things that hopefully made them think a little differently, more positively.

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There is no winner in negativity, only losers. Why clutter the world with anything but love for our fellow human beings. We are not placed here to judge but are called to spread love and joy. If I don’t take that opportunity as I did today, I allow the negativity to take control and I haven’t lived the way my mother taught me to love? I choose love and joy. It can grow just as easily and spread like wild fire. So, today I challenge you, in the face of adversity to spread love and joy to others. See what happens in your own life.

Insomnia Strikes Again

insomnia

Well, here it is 4AM and I have yet to sleep, again!  So, to pass the time, I decided to write.  This usually helps calm my mind and lets me finally get some sleep.  I tried writing a couple poems on my other blog, but that hasn’t helped me shut my eyes and turn my brain off yet, so here I am, sitting up in my lovely bed with my lap top open and typing once again.

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I’ve decided to make a list of 25 things that bring me great joy. I think with all the negativity in this world, especially with the media always giving us more depressing news, it’s important to bring in joy and kindness into our lives.  So, just to jump start everyone off, here is my list of joy! Hope you get inspired to think about what brings you joy, be in big or small.  Sometimes the smallest things are the best!

  1. Morning cup of coffee brought to me in bed.  This is best when brought to me by Hubs or the Boy.  Yes, at nearly nine, he makes a mean cuppa java.
  2. Noosa honey or pumpkin yogurt.  It’s the best yogurt in the world.  I have to have it at least once a day.  It’s really that good. And the variety will knock your socks off!
  3.  Writing on my blogs.  Well duh!  If I didn’t love blogging, I wouldn’t do it.  Sometimes I don’t have a clue what I’m going to write until I sit and start to actually write, but it is sheer joy to me.
  4.  Likes and comments on my blogs.  This just makes me giddy.  And you should see what new followers does to me!  Ask Hubs!
  5.  Waffle Cone ice cream.  It’s just that good!
  6.  Hubs.  He is the best and puts up with me on a daily basis.  I really don’t have a clue how he does it, but I am so thankful that he does.  I’m a lot to handle most days!
  7.  My kids. Each and every day with them is a blessing.  Even when they drive me crazy, they are still unique and watching them grow up is a privilege.
  8.  Knee length black knit skirts.  They just go with everything and you can wear them all year round!
  9.  Chunky soft sweaters.  What better to wrap yourself in when it’s cold outside.
  10. Backrubs. Hubs is great at massaging those knots out of my neck and shoulders especially.  And I get them all the time.
  11.  Trips to Naples, Florida.  Can we say beach?  My favorite place on earth.  I really want to live there.  I even enjoyed their ER last visit.  I liked it way more than the one at home.
  12.  Trips to Ireland.  Family time!!!  Love spending time with my family there.  If there is a wedding then I get to see everyone.  Too bad that doesn’t happen all the time.  We all got married!
  13.  Seeing all my cousins.  We need to plan a reunion.  I miss everyone so much.  Time to talk to my big brother about that one.
  14.  Weekends in St. Louis.  More family and tons of fun things to do.
  15.  Hockey.  Especially my St. Louis Blues, baby!
  16.  Baseball.  Go St. Louis Cardinals! Love going to those games!
  17.  Seafood.  All the seafood, but especially lobster and crab.  I’m not that picky.  It just has to be fresh and tasty and have butter involved!
  18.  Family dinners.  I love when my dad and brother eat with the 6 of us.  It just feels more complete, even though mom is no longer with us.
  19.  My sister-friends.  These are the friends I choose to call sisters because I’m lacking in the sister department and I believe God just decided to give them to me a little later in life.
  20.  Fur babies.  We have currently got a houseful and I wouldn’t know what to do without all of them. Work they may be, but the love you get in return is immeasurable.
  21.  Baby squirrels and bunnies to rescue.  Although they might not always make it, I believe God places them in our hands to give them another chance at a little love and care, just in case.  If anyone can save them, we can.  We currently have Dexter who we have to give calcium supplements to in order to save his life and help his bones to heal.  Yes, he is an approximately 10 week old squirrel.
  22. My faith.  Without it, I’d never be able to get through all that I have been through, especially the last 6 months.  They’ve been the roughest, toughest months of my life. God is always by my side carrying me through the toughest times.
  23.  My dad and my brother.  My dad is the smartest and most generous man I know.  My brother is just like him.  It’s just the 3 of us now and the madness of my house.
  24. Sunshine.  Nothing feels better than sunshine on my skin.  Don’t worry, I wear sunscreen, but I love the warm kiss on my face and arms.
  25.  My garden.  My place of joy.  I’ve worked hard to make it beautiful and do something new to it each year.  This year I will plant some new roses.  One special one for my mom and one for my neighbor who passed away around the same time.  One I will plant just for me.

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So there is a list of some of my joys in life.  I could go on, but that would be too wordy and I might actually be a little sleepy.  Sleep well and pleasant dreams for those of you heading to bed.  Good morning for those of you waking up! Whatever time of day it is in your part of the world, have a great day.