Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Moving day!

So, I went to bed at a really stupidly late hour last night. I just couldn't seem to get off the computer. Stupid, really really stupid, I know. So I didn't make my 0430 workout this morning. I almost didn't make it at all....I somehow keep managing to turn off my cell phone alarm instead of hitting the snooze, and I forgot to turn up the volume on the clock radio last night so it was barely a whisper when it went off this morning. But I wasn't late for work.
And today was moving day. My boss came in early (in scrubs too! she's adorable, I swear) and greeted us all as we came into the conference room (to clock in) with "Happy Moving Day!!!". We questioned her sanity, then her caffeine consumption, then went on with it. Our floor (3E) is being remodeled. So we're moving down to 1E for a while - first rumor said 4 months, second said 1 year...I honestly don't know. 1E is much smaller than 3E so we capped after so many admissions yesterday and then proceeded to move every patient, their belongings, all of our things, and anything else that wasn't nailed down to the unit down 2 floors with us. And it was so beautifully done! Could not have gone better. We had our regularly scheduled team, then several others were brought in (our own staff, but it was their days off, so they were getting overtime! Bank!) for the sole purpose of doing the move. I was "working" today so I was strictly patient care. But the unit was emptying out fast, so my job was getting easier and easier as the morning went on. It took less than 5 hours to get our entire floor down to the smaller 1st floor and start setting up. Then I just had to get acclimated to a new floor. Which wasn't easy, and I'm sure I'll still be asking where things are when we leave, but it's smaller, which makes it a little easier. And then since we had an abundance of staff, I got to go home early. Only 2 hours, so I wasn't missing heaps of my paycheck, but that extra two hours helps so much!

Working with the sunburn today didn't feel fabulous. In fact, I didn't even wear a bra today, just a snug undershirt (benefit of being flat chested: nobody notices)....my shoulders seriously hurt. And I was a little sad when the big lunch party we had in celebration of a good move consisted of all foods that I couldn't eat (but were oh so fragrant, like PIZZA!). So I took my break later when there were fewer people around. For the most part, they're all starting to get to know that I have some health issues and that I eat the same foods all the time, but when a dozen or more people are crammed into a room eating pizza and sandwiches and macaroni salad and goodies from BreadCo....I just didn't want to be the only one sitting there eating my little container of pasta that I made the night before. Especially when there are still plenty of people who don't know me or my diet and would ask questions in the middle of the group. I don't like being put on the spot about my body.

So I had lunch later with a nurse who also resigned to eat her own lunch (she's trying to lose a handful of pounds, so she didn't want the junk food.....and boy did her salad look beautiful: greens, peppers, cucumber, tomato, goat cheese, balsamic vinegar....there was a lot going on in that dish!). It was much easier for both of us that way.

And both of my knees and hips were funky today. I'll be so glad when I can get proper braces and supports from PT/OT. I don't care if I look like robocop when I'm done as long as my joints are supported!

I have some writing to do and it's getting late, so I'm gonna peace out.

Monday, May 30, 2011

*flop* And the month comes to a close

Float trip weekend. Weekend of sun and fun and pain and great thanks.

Got up at 0430 on Saturday morning to work out. Felt great. Packed the car and headed for the river. Got there early, then played the sit and wait game. I honestly have no idea why we piddle around so long. But eventually we hit the river. Not the best weather, it was cloudy and a little chilly. And the dog spent a lot of time being a pain in the butt trying to bail from the canoe all day. He loved being out there, but he didn't like being confined to the boat. So he would get antsy every time we passed land too closely.
Sunday was much better. The sun was out and it was beautifully warm. Which means we spent a lot of time goofing around on gravel bars and making pit stops. It's all good and fun until the end of the day is closing in and we're still miles from our take out point. But that wasn't the excitement of the day. No, that happened about 3/4 of the way down.
Scott and Amanda got swept up very quickly and unexpectedly in the current (the river is up and they weren't even letting people on the river for a while because of how quick it was moving). They ended up far to the left whereas everyone else had pulled right. Now everyone was far ahead and Scott and Amanda were losing control of their boat. They got sucked into a massive swift current under a tree root. Their boat went under in the blink of an eye. By the time we (me and my dad) looked back, we were too far ahead of them to get back (the current was too swift to back paddle, but if it was necessary, we were prepared to pull sideways to the bank and run back). So it was just a painfully long wait to see them pop up out of the water. My heart stopped for a long time while the water kept rushing, and their belongings kept popping up out of the tree root and they were nowhere to be found. I'm not sure how long it finally took, but they came up out of the water. Amanda was snagged on the tree and still struggling, but Scott was already making his way to her. Then my focus went to the dog, who we still hadn't seen even after they surfaced. I looked across the river though and he was already making his way to the bank, struggling with the current but holding his own just fine.
The down side? We had forgotten to turn back in a while and by the time we did, we were sideways in a swift rush and another tree root was about to take down another canoe. When we came up on it, we leaned and I felt like just maybe we were going to bounce. But it just didn't happen and in another blink, we were down too. We turned over, pulled our heads out of the water, I grabbed the dog's collar to make sure he was okay (I didn't know if any of us had gotten hurt, but I knew we had to make it to land).
And by the grace of God, there were other boaters on the water. Larger boats with motors instead of just paddles. They saw the struggle and two boats headed upstream for our friends while we pulled ourselves to shore. Both dogs stood and shook off and ran around in a daze while I rushed to catch everything I possibly could (everything was tied down except for my chair - on the off chance we did flip, I knew that one would be a hazard - and things like my sandals, the sunscreen I had been putting on, paddles, and our PFDs of course). We managed to get everything back except for my chair, drink bottle (in the arm of my chair when we went over) and the walkie talkie that was on the front of my rash guard and disappeared sometime during the crash). I had run to catch everything that got loose while my dad started untying things to dump the water. Meanwhile, one of the motor boats had pulled up with Scott and Amanda, both very shaken (and Scott was in the military not that long ago, but this was different, he wasn't going in thinking death could be a possibility or that he might lose his girl....because that's what the situation had come down to for a long few moments there). We put both of the dogs in my canoe and Scott rode with me back down the river while my dad and Amanda rode in the motor boat - we were worried Scott's dog would try to bail and chase him if he wasn't with him.
There was a lot of fear in Scott's voice as we headed down to meet everyone else (our other two canoes had heard the commotion, saw us go over, and eventually managed to pull over) but he calmed down once we were on land and he was with Amanda again (she was shaking and crying). We thanked the guys who pulled us all out and rescued our stuff and hung out on the gravel bar while we sorted through it all. Scott and Amanda lost about $300 worth of gear (fishing gear and such) but knew it could have gone worse. And Scott's birthday is next month, so now we all know what to get him :) ).
Rest of the day was pretty uneventful. Got back, unpacked a little, showered, cooked, took it easy. And today we went down to play in the river near our camp site for a while before we all had to leave. It was a great weekend. Even if I am burnt crispy (never fails....no matter how much sunscreen I put on throughout the day).

Good times, good friends and family, great weekend. And our beautiful flag flew proudly from the RV at our main camp site. What a great memorial day weekend.

And now we're home and have things mostly unpacked and we're taking it easy for the rest of the night.

Hope everyone had a great memorial weekend! I'll be around tomorrow for day one of the month of posts!

Friday, May 27, 2011

sure, it only makes perfect sense

First day back at work in over two weeks (one was vacation, the other was an injury). Clock on at 0653, print my report sheet, and at 0710, someone coded. Seriously, not a great start to the shift. You know there's going to be bad juju all day when that's how it started. (and it was a ball buster of a day, I'll tell you that much)
Plus side, I've never seen a code team move SO quick. That was incredible. I wish I could say the efforts were worth the results: the lady is 89 years old, frail and weak, it took a very long time for her to be revived and she is in the ICU on a thousand medications and breathing via intubation and vent. She probably won't live much longer, and her last days won't be peaceful and happy ones. The crazy thing is that the tech was in there 15 minutes previous and her vitals were perfect. Just goes to show how fleeting life can be. I'm sad for her, because she didn't get to say her goodbyes or die at home or anything she might have wanted. It all ended too fast.

That was my perspective for the day while I worked. That you just have to keep living and enjoying every bit of life like it's your last day. And luckily my optimism rubbed off on a lady who was thinking about giving up, and on a lady who was just a little on the crazy side and confined to her room. We had some laughs today.

And this weekend, there will be float tripping! Everything is ready to go, all we have to do is chuck it all in the van in the morning. And I'm glad dad is driving because 0500 is not my friend, especially on a day off.

Peace out all. Happy Memorial weekend to you!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Let's try something shall we

Starting at the beginning of next month (sneaking up at me at rapid pace), I'm going to try to post every day for the entire month. Just little updates or blurbs or whatever. Because I really do have a lot to say (in fact, I never shut up), but taking the time to update everything that goes on in my life between posts is ridiculous and not happening. But I would like to share with you through my blog. So prepare for Spammy Stacey!

(I'll be starting with an update on my entire month of awesome when I get started, I just don't have time tonight...it's way past this girl's bedtime).

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hope is the thing with feathers - Emily Dickinson

I had the most random fleeting thought the other day. That I was going to bust my ass to get through nursing school this time if it kills me (I've been a student on and off for 5 years, this time I'm going to get in the program for real and haul it until I'm DONE!). And then the thought came that maybe I wanted to be a doctor. That maybe I could get through a medical major and survive it and help others.

When I was young, I wanted to be a doctor. I always wanted to be in a medical field and help people. And from the impressions tv gave me, being a doctor was the best thing for me. Then I got older and realized that nurses spend more time with their patients than doctors do, and that's what I wanted, to be there for my patients.

But then it just grabbed onto my brain and wouldn't let go...the thought that maybe there was a way to be a doctor and still be the one who spends time with my patients. I realize the only way that would realistically happen is to open my own practice or work in a private practice that has more doctors than nurses. And that idea felt shiny for a moment.

I might tuck that in my pocket and see if I still find it there after I finish nursing school.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Do we get the trend yet? I suck at updating.

So, been a fun month. You know, the kind of fun that goes along with multiple health problems.

I've been to the ER for a migraine. I spent most of the last three weeks choking on an entire meal at least once a day. I walked around NYC for a day without my can or proper braces (yeah, we already established it was a stupid idea, believe me). I ended up in the ER again (for what may or may not be either a sprained knee or ACL tear). I saw my new rheumatologist.

So, the choking....comes and goes. Seems to have been in a massive "come" cycle lately. But, I don't know what else to do about it than what I'm already doing. So, I just have to pray that I can keep up with coughing frequently to keep it all clear.

Um, girls week. That was actually pretty nice. Off work for a week. But spent so much of each day going out to do things. I was pretty exhausted after two or three days. But it was still so much fun. Then Friday to cap the week, we spent the day walking around NYC. Which I didn't think would be such a major deal. I mean, I spend 12 hour shifts walking and straining everything in my body at work. However, my joints disagreed. I was feeling muscle fatigue halfway through the day, but we were taking breaks a lot, so it wasn't so bad. Then at one point, I took a step and felt a sharp pain. That NEVER went away. The second half of the day hurt. I limped. I tripped on stairs a lot, my muscles and other joints were arguing because I was using them more. I had to hold someone's hand just to take a step up onto the sidewalks. Really fun. Not. I could not move when we got home. And still hurt the next day. And after that. That was Friday, I got on the plane home Saturday. I had hoped to see my GP on Monday. But I couldn't get in so I went to the ER.
Here's what kills me: My EDS diagnosis is "pending", as in, clinically speaking, the geneticist is leaning that way, and we're STILL waiting on the skin punch biopsy (more on that momentarily). But any halfwit knows that if EDS is suspected, you treat it like it's EDS to be safe. No matter how many times I mention it to an ER doc, it doesn't seem to register (that and too many docs don't know anything about it past EDS 101: the body sucks in all things collagen). So when I went to the ER, I got the same workup and treatment as anybody coming in with joint pain. In somebody with EDS and a specific pain like this, an MRI shouldn't be considered going too big. Because you really don't know what's going on in someone with EDS, you just don't. So I got my knee wrapped, got non-narcotic pain meds (I requested the non-narcs because I would still like to be conscious more than 2 hours a day). So far, my knee still kills me, I can't walk on it, and the tramadol sucks (I swear the stuff is just tylenol).

But I saw my new rheumatologist today. She is very concerned about my knee given the likelihood of EDS. She gave me something else for pain (which I didn't get because the pharmacy computers crashed just before I got there, and this one was called in, so I couldn't take it elsewhere and they couldn't authorize to send it elsewhere with no computers), told me not to hesitate to ask for another note for work if I felt like I still couldn't use it in a couple days, and told me to call her regardless next week to update her.
Everything else went well. She agrees with the EDS I/III suspicion based on my H&P (she did a thorough exam herself!!! points for her). She is increasing my Lyrica for the fibro pain; she said that if I am benefiting from what I'm on now, I would do better with a little more (because I'm at the low end of the dosing spectrum). She has also given me a questionable Dx of Raynauds. While my hands and feet don't get blue/black or white, they're always cold no matter what the temperature is, and half the time, my hands/fingers turn red and hurt when they're cold. I'm not terribly worried about the Raynauds now though. If it gets worse, sure, but I can't do anything about it and it's not severe enough yet.
She also told me to call my geneticist again (I do about once every 6 weeks or so). She said if they still don't get back to me or give me a firm answer about the test, then to go ahead and switch docs. Because she wants to help me find PT/OT nearby who specializes in connective tissue disorders like this - not just any Joe Schmoe PT/OT who would push me past my limits. We both agree that I need specially fitted braces and support devices and exercise to keep my body as healthy as possible for as long as possible. So we're going to get the test done and then start looking for therapists.
She was reading my mind through everything, it was really incredible. And she sent me for x-rays of my worst joints. Which I hate, I just don't want more radiation, but I'm glad she's keeping track and getting a current baseline look at my joints to keep track.
It was definitely a good visit.

And in case anybody is wondering, I'm completely and totally sick of my knee brace. I switched from the wrap to the hinged brace 24 hours after my ER visit. It's more supportive. But it's not like when I usually have problems with my knee where I would wear it for the bulk of the day while I'm up then take it off when I flop in front of the computer or just to walk around the house. No, now I have to wear it the entire time I'm up. It keeps it supported and aligned and reminds me that I can't bend it (I sit on my feet without thinking about it, instinct to keep my toes warm). So my toes are cold and my foot swears it's falling asleep every ten minutes because the brace pushes on about ten nerves that head south. It's not tight, at all! It's looser than how I usually keep it for work. My foot is still protesting anyway. (I think part of it is from keeping it propped up on a pillow all day)

So, that's been my fun in a nutshell. Actually, the real nutshell is that (despite my body's protestations) this is the month of EPIC WIN! My nephew was born at the beginning of the month, I had girls week with my chicas, I am going to CA to go to GleeLive with my friend out that way this weekend (OMG! It's less than a week away!), and there's a float trip at the end of the month. All in all, the pain and tired that will come of this month will be more than worth it. That's what I have June for...sleep (or death, that's fine too, just as long as I make it to the end of the month :P ).

That's all I have for now. I've been writing and my wrist is done with the keyboard. So I'm going to work on some arts. That's easy enough.

::hugs and love::