2011/02/26

Late night, early morning

Last night was my favorite night of the week to crawl in to bed because Philip & I usually stay up late watching a movie & we generally stay up late because we can sleep an extra hour or so on Saturday morning.

This was partially true this week - we stayed up late but Annie was up by 2 AM which meant no extra sleep. After realizing she was not going back to sleep the two of us moved to the couch. She and I spent the next 3 hours in the living room with me trying to get her to rest & her making random trips (with her not so quite diaper waddle) down the hall to the bedrooms to check & make sure her dad was still asleep & to bring random toys & household articles back to show me.

Eventually the little thing tired out & laid her head down on me while we both dozed off to The Little Mermaid in the background.

Regardless of the fact that I didn't get my extra sleep it was still my favorite night of the week.

2011/02/25

Hair today - gone tomorrow

I am fortunate to have a job & even better a profession that I love. This job allows me to interact with people of all ages & share in very important moments in people's lives. During these moments some funny things can unravel & here is one such story from early in my nursing career.

I had only been an official RN for about 2 months which brought with it a certain naivety in addition to my above average for my age ignorance about the facts of life in general. Anyway, I had been taking care of this poor man in the hospital who had been dying for two weeks. During this time I had gotten to know a couple of his family members. However, I worked nights so I had missed the majority of family members & guests during the day.

Well, this night started much like the others had that week with me going in to assess my patient at the beginning of the shift and finding the same grim results as the shift before me had which was that this patient was quickly approaching his celestial discharge. I was hopeful though that it would not happen this evening & I spoke with his daughter about the TV show she was watching & the events of her day. I straightened up the room & re-positioned my patient like a good nurse but headed out of the room hoping this would not be his last night with us.

An hour or so later I went back in to check on him & his condition had deteriorated greatly. I spoke with his daughter & encouraged her to call any family members who wanted to be near the bedside. In a short period of time his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and a family friend had arrived. I left the room after explaining that it could be quick or over a few hours but death was imminent. I had barely closed the door when the daughter came and got me saying he was not breathing. I went to the room in disbelief & took the patient's blood pressure 4 times & listened for his heart for at least a minute while the family members watched me. I finally told them he had in fact passed away & told them they could go to the waiting room while I got him ready for the funeral home to pick up & then they could come & wait with him.

As a new nurse nearly every experience is a first-time one & this was no different. The family had been expecting this death & were weary from two weeks of a beside watch which was notable as they quietly and stoically walked to the waiting area through the dim halls. I on the other hand was teary thinking about how this was the last thing I had thought about dealing with when I started my schooling as a nurse.

I found my nurse's aide down the hall & we headed back to the room to prepare the body. Now in nursing school we had been taught VERY basic post-mortem care which was in a nutshell - take out all the lines, clean them up, & make them look like they were when they were healthy, so we began our work. I removed every line (catheter, IV) and we changed the patient's gown & linens.

Unfortunately if one is in the hospital for very long they begin to lose muscle tone all over their body & this is especially true when a patient is dying. The body simply isn't profusing so one begins to look sunken in and ashen. This patient was no different but I was determined to have him looking a healthy as possible.

I found his dentures on the sink & began the work of putting them in. As mentioned above muscle tone fades while in the hospital and upon death it is completely gone. This would include the tone around the lips & in the mouth which help hold dentures in. I was not thinking about this at the time though & slid the dentures in to place as best I could but quickly noticed they were protruding like those of a chipmunk but thought they looked better than his mouth looking drawn & actually came to the conclusion they were suppose to look like that.

The patient also had a prosthetic eye which I brilliantly decided would make him look more peaceful & less sickly if it was in place. Due to the fact I had no experience with inserting a glass eye it is no surprise that as soon as I put it in it fell back in to the patient's eye socket with an actual "thunk!" I did not remember at the time that most prosthetic eyes are held in place by the eye muscles & since this patient no longer had any use of his muscles there was no way this one was going to stay in position like it should. Try as I may I could not retrieve it & only managed to wedge it in a way that was bulging at the top of the eye & completely sunken in at the bottom lid.

This was the best the aide & I could do and we hurriedly straightened up the room so it would be neat when the family came back in. Hospital experiences are strange for everyone. Especially when you come in with a patient who will not be leaving with you. Families & friends have a tendency to kind of "move in" as they spend restless days waiting for the end. They generally become temporary friends with the staff & make themselves at home in the rooms & waiting areas. They bring in various items from home, changes of clothes, toiletries, games to occupy themselves, etc....
This family was no different with the cramped space of the hospital room having an array of clutter & personal items.

 As we were gathering linens from the windowseat I found a toupee. Kumbyyah! No one looks better than when they have their hair perfectly coiffed & in place. I rushed to put it on having a hard time deciphering what was the front & what was the back but eventually deciding I had it in place correctly. As I stepped back for one last look my nurse's aide told me, "Uhm, I don't think that is his hair." I dismissed her asking why would anyone take their toupee off in a public place?

The room was now ready and so was our patient. A once over showed a man resting in a reclining position in bed with buck teeth, an eye that looked like it had been punched by a heavy-weight belt winner, & artfully arranged hair. I felt he looked the best he had in awhile & even thought to myself he probably even looked like he did before he was ill (mind you I had never seen him in a healthy state). I went to get the family.

As they entered the room to view their loved one I stepped in behind them and I heard the son speak first saying in a questioning quiet voice, "why is Dad wearing my toupee?" to which the mother/wife replied in a slightly wistful tone "he hasn't had hair in years." I then angled myself over to the body, removed the hair piece & handed it to the son saying, "I'm sorry for your loss." Before making my escape I told the family the funeral home would arrive in less than an hour and walked out of the room completely mortified.

Lessons learned:

1. Good intentions go a long way & leave a positive impression. While that family had every reason to be angry at the state of their loved one from the past experience they had with me they were grateful & could see that a great deal of care that had been taken with their family member and even left a thank-you note.

2. Never assume fake hair is anyone's unless you see it on their head.

2011/02/23

Sharing the fun

I am the middle child of three girls.  My sisters are two years ahead and behind me on either side.  I really don't have middle child syndrome though from my view because my parents did a very good job making each of us feel important in our own special way and facilitated our interests.

However, my moment of birthday glory each year was quickly swept away by the fact that my little sister Jenny's birthday was the very next day!  My happy day was over and the streamers and balloons were now up to celebrate Jenny's.  The funny thing is it's always been fun sharing birthdays.  We had parties together as kids which made for a bigger party and as we have grown older we have enjoyed celebrating two days in a row. Anyway, today is Jenny's birthday so happy day to her!  We enjoyed dinner out last night to celebrate mine and cake and coffee today to celebrate hers.


(Last year's cake my mother had made for all of us during our birthday weekend celebration, putting the ages on it was a cruel joke at this point. :)


Being in the middle has had many advantages the main one being the relationships built with both sisters over the years and I wouldn't trade my spot for another.

2011/02/22

George Washington's birthday

That is what today is and it also happens to be my birthday!  Now I have always been one that is fond of birthdays and I have always emphasized the fact that my birthday was shared with the father of our country.  (See below, isn't he noble? Yes, I put a picture of George Washington on my blog because I like having a picture in the postings.)

Traditionally as one gets older people tend to not look forward to their birthday but I have to say I enjoy the day that people take a few seconds out of their day to greet me with a happy birthday and thanks to the technology of texting, emailing, and Facebook I hear from tons of people and am fond of the greetings.  I was also privileged to have "Happy Birthday" sang to me a couple of times today and each time I clapped and giggled during it because of the fun of having a song sung in my honor.

There are many pros to growing up - you can eat cereal for every meal, you choose your own bedtime, you  don't have to hear "not today" when you want a new toy, and many more but unfortunately there are cons too and the loss of birthday parties and excitement are one of those things that kind of fade away.  However, well wishes and remembrances of my happy day go a long way in keeping the fun in birthdays.  (Cake helps too!)

2011/02/16

Rodent weathermen

So last year in Oklahoma on Christmas Eve we had a crazy winter (record breaking for OKC) storm that left us snowed in at Philip's grandparents for a good 36 hours.  Annie was around 6 weeks old and the five of us had an enjoyable time staying warm inside watching the snow blow outdoors and enjoying a quiet Christmas evening.


That was the beginning of a winter that included about 2 other snow storms that left us housebound with our new baby for a couple of days.  During one of them my mother was snowed in with us so we got to enjoy time with her too.

Annie out in the snow (January 2010)

Anyway, I remember thinking that was the worst winter we'd had in a long time and was oh-so-happy to see spring when it finally arrived.  


Annie Snow Day (February 2011)

Well, winter 2011 was really pretty mild (we picnic-ed on the OSU campus in 70 degree in late January) until 2 weeks ago where we had two large winter storms, that dumped record amounts of snow (up to 6 foot drifts), roll in to Oklahoma in 2 consecutive weeks.  Personally that is enough snow to make me yearn for spring regardless of the fact the previous 8 weeks had been relatively pleasant.  I have said this many times but after December 25th I have no use for winter, snow, or cold and I begin counting down the days to when I can get back outside every evening to walk with my family, plant flowers in terracotta pots, smell the fresh damp air every morning, and relish in the many other joys that spring brings.

Annie out in the snow February 2011

This brings me to the groundhog who for years Americans have looked to in a comical way but also with hope to predict an early spring.  Punxstawney Phil generally sees his shadow which scares him into hiding for another 6 weeks meaning we'll have a late winter.  This year many of us had a lot riding on his prediction.  The Northeast has had a horrible winter with record snowfall and the South had also had many storms roll through. Maybe he'd had threats on his life and that was a factor but whatever it was, he knew better than to cower away from his shadow and because he did not see his shadow we are in for an early spring!  Yay!
Annie searching for spring (February 2011)

Do I believe in a rodent weatherman's prediction?  Yes, if it's what I want to hear.  Oklahoma weathermen are predicting another cold front to roll through and more than likely we'll get some cold snap in March, but we're well on our way out of the thick of winter and this makes me happy.  Here's to an early spring and enjoyable weather on the horizon!


2011/02/14

St. Valentine's Day

There are all sorts of horrible things said about Valentine's Day but I personally enjoy the day not because I have an incredibly sweet forever Valentine but because it's a nice break from the monotony and length of winter.  By the time we have trudged through a long January without any breaks or special occasions I'm tickled pink to have a day meant to show those you close to you that you love them.

I believe since I have just begun blogging (and since I'm doing this to log memories) this post will consist of a rundown of past Valentine's between Philip and I.

Year one we were both working two jobs so the day was marked by a cap and card left in his car at 6AM before he left for his first job and flowers sent to my work.  At that point in our lives our time together consisted of meals enjoyed together at restaurants before each of us headed to one of our jobs and a few moments of sweet conversation before falling asleep after midnight each night.

The next Valentine's we were newlyweds of just 11 days so we had a meal of Belgian waffles with strawberries and whip cream using one of our new cool toys we had received through wedding gift cards.  Yes, it was dripping with romance.

The second year of our married life Philip was out to sea so our gifts came to each other at a distance - exotic truffles in a heart shaped box with a beautiful cashmere sweater that had a heart on the sleeve was my gift and Philip's was opened on the USS Ronald Reagan which was a card with candy of some sort attached (you can tell who's better at this).

The next year we celebrated traditionally with a meal out together and relished the fact that we weren't apart that year.

Last year was a Sunday meal after church with Jenny and Dustin and our baby girl.  Not exactly full of romance but lovely nonetheless because of the precious new sweetheart we had.

2-14-10

This year we celebrated over the weekend with a family candlelight dinner and Annie gave us the greatest gift of all by sleeping 5 solid hours. Philip once again came through with truffles and a heart shaped box and Annie and I supplied him with cheesey cards I picked out for the both of us that really say what you mean but aren't ever really able to put in to words.

Regardless of whether or not this holiday is one that is just made up for florists and card companies it still brings joy to me to have a day that celebrates the love we have in our live.





2011/02/11

Nostalgia

Probably the reason I'm doing this blog is mainly because since the birth of Annie I am always thinking about how fast time goes and looking back at memories wondering how those fun moments passed so quickly.  I am thankful that I can say I really have no regrets.

I enjoyed my early twenties going to college, completing my Bachelor's and beginning a career in nursing.  I spent those years having good times with many friends and beginning a fun career that introduced me to many interesting people and unique situations (more on those later).  At 25 I met the love of my life which opened another chapter of my life that was full of fun new experiences and brought true meaning to the term "time flies when you are having fun." As I entered my thirtieth year I was a new mother, had completed my Master's, and as I was able to look back and appreciate my twenties I realized that time was flying by.

Nearly a year later I realize that as time marches on there is a good deal of joy glancing back with fondness but the greater pleasure is living with contentment in the moment and looking forward with excitement.

2011/02/09

Baby feet in my back

Is a full-sized bed too small for two adults and a baby? Yes.  However, I have never greeted a new day in a more pleasant way than to wake up curled against my husband with sweet baby feet in my back.  Fifteen months ago Philip and I were blessed with our precious girl Annie and due to the fact she inherited very poor sleeping habits from her mother and has yet to sleep through a night (or for even five consecutive hours) she somehow ends up in our bed each early morning.

I have been told by numerous people how it is not good for your child to sleep in your bed.  I can totally see where they are coming from but when I think about how fast she has grown in the last year and how fast our time with our little girl will go I'm sure these will be some of the good times I'll miss the most.



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I'm blessed with fun days, happy moments, & precious memories...this is where I store some of them.