Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Quality time with Friends

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to San Diego to visit not only my Nursing mentor, but an amazing friend.  It took a lot of coordination, and cooperation with visiting family, but I made the trek to California and had an amazing time.  It was on this trip that I finally had a comprehension of my mom's importance of spending quality time with her friends that I didn't understand as a child.  The people I'm lucky enough to call friends, are such an integral part of who I am, and I am thankful for the roles each one has played in my life.

We had great adventures at:

Cabrillo National Monument

Afternoon tea at The Aubrey Rose Tea Room

Air & Space Museum at Balboa Park

The Museum of Man at Balboa Park

Exploring Balboa Park

Meeting up with one of my friends from High School for a great dinner downtown.  

 Breakfast at Sunset Cliffs

Hotel Del Coronodo 

and Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial, which ended up being our favorite place.  We had planned on staying 30 minutes, but ended up being there for 90.  We slowly walked through each section, gazing at the pictures, and reading the names and stories of our brave men and women in uniform.  There were many famous people who were mixed in with everyone else, and the Nurses and couples made my heart smile.  There were many tributes to our soldiers in Iraq & Afghanistan, which again renewed my appreciation for the 0.5%.

We had such a good time being goofy, talking, and feeling like old times.  I truly love my Peds ED family at Cape Fear, and miss them all horribly.  Spending this time with LoLo brought back such good memories and I'm thankful we were able to make it happen!

As we prepare for our next adventure in Texas, I am overjoyed at the number of friends that are already there, and the ones that will be joining us soon.  Although the Army is often on my Dead to Me list, it has afforded us many opportunities that we wouldn't have had with any other career.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mommy Fears

This week the boys started Kindergarten, and they were so excited.  We are fortunate to live less than a mile away from the school, so this is a great excuse to walk and get some exercise in.  As the school came into view, Cooper said, "I'm about to get a little nervous."  We reassured him that everything was going to be okay and as he saw the playground, all was well.

The morning routine for the school is to drop off the kids at the main playground, which has teachers/aids present.  The Kindergarten classes all line up their back packs in their respective teachers lines, then when the bell rings their teacher meets them and walks them in lines to the classroom.

Most parents wait until the kids are out of sight and then leave, since the parents aren't supposed to walk them to their class.  This has worked out fine until today.

I stood at the back of all the lines, and tried to keep my eye on both boys, in each of their lines (they are in separate classrooms).  Once they started walking away from the playground, I put in my earbuds and started to find an exit (they lock all the chain link fences at different times so my exit is never same).  I saw Carter's teacher and looked down the line and didn't see him.

I thought, "don't panic, I must have overlooked him."  So, I continued to walk next to the line and also stopping to survey the line in search of him...but he wasn't there.  I quickly walked to the front of the line and made eye contact with his teacher and said, "Carter isn't in line!"  She said, "thanks for letting me know.  The aid took some kids to the nurse's office, or he might just be in another classroom.  I put out an all call."  I tried to stay calm and walked to the nurse's office and found the aid and asked if Carter was with her.  Her eyes got huge and she said no and immediately started making calls to try to find him.

It was the longest 30 seconds of my life.  She came back and said they had found him and all was well.

I wanted to cry!  There is so much chaos in the morning, and we all know how well 5 year olds follow directions.

I can't help but wonder how my parents were never worried.  Is it that there is more danger now than almost 30 years ago, or are heinous acts more televised and accessible?

Needless to say, I did a very short run this morning because my nerves were shot.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Why not?

I had the pleasure of reconnecting with an amazing friend from High School today, and we both agreed that eventually we figured out that being "weird" was just fine.  I accepted this more as an adult but some struggle with not fitting the mold for their entire lives.

The amazing profession of Nursing opened my eyes and helped me throw away a bias that I never knew existed, until I started caring for people outside of my normal circle.  People come from all walks of life, having individual experiences that shape their views and their future.  This has helped me show love and compassion to people, without bias, and I am grateful.

Tonight as my Sexy Beast and I were watching a military documentary, Cooper walks into the room and whispers, "can I tell you a secret?"  Of course I have taught them that they ALWAYS tell mommy secrets, and he whispers, "can you put color on my feet right here (pointing to his toes)?"

I was a little shocked, but immediately tried to keep a straight face and asked, "you want me to paint your toenails?"  He smiled and said yes.  Quickly I started running through phrases in my head and searching for the write wording to encourage, educate, and validate him in his request.  After all, he had been playing Lego Marvel Heroes on the Xbox with his brother for the last hour and I didn't know where the request was coming from.

I told him that if he wanted me to paint his toenails I was happy to do that.  I also said, "just so you know, most girls like to paint their toenails, and most boys do not.  Some people might tease you, but if you want them painted, I'm delighted to do that for you."  He then said that he wouldn't show them to anyone, and immediately started asking me what colors I had, and decided on red for his Right foot and blue for his left.  I looked at my Sexy Beast and asked if I handled that well, and he nodded in agreement.

After locating my polish I went to the living room to begin.  As I started tearing paper towels to place between his toes, Carter said, "what are you doing?" I told him and he said, "only girls paint their toenails!" Cooper said, "we don't have to show anyone, and can keep socks on around other kids."  Carter smiled and said, "I want black!"

Here is the final result, and they are both thrilled.

While I'm not campaigning for boys to wear skirts or girls to play in the mud, I want to let my boys know that their home is a place that they will always be loved and accepted.  I want to instill a trust in us, as parents, and always feel comfortable telling us the truth and any secret they need to share.

I love being a "boymom" and look forward to watching them grow and mature!

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Change Gone Come

There are a few things that I truly take pride in outside of being a mom & wife, and precepting is my pride and joy in the Nursing profession.  I was able to log over 750 hrs in the last year precepting new graduates and new employees.  My love to teaching others stems from a specifically awful experience when I was in Nursing School, and again as a new graduate.

I was in the middle of my 3rd semester and after almost a year and a half on the same unit, we had learned which Nurses would teach us and which to avoid like the plague.  I had gathered my information about my patients the night before, and the next morning when I saw which floor nurse  was assigned to my patients my heart sank.  Not HER! Anyone but her!  I was worried but quickly decided that I would be the BEST Nursing Student she had ever seen and things would be different.  While at the Nurses Station another RN had noticed who I was assigned to and wanted me to relay a message.  I jumped at the opportunity and went on a search for her.

Seeing her about 20' down the hall, I smiled and said, "Oh, did you" but was quickly cut off as she declared, "I just got here and I haven't even gotten report yet so I don't have time for our questions."

I stood flabbergasted with my mouth still open as she walked past me towards the Nurses Station.

I wanted to cry.

Quickly, I found my fellow students and told them what happened.  I was given words of encouragement and we all went back to our assigned patients.  Later that morning, one of my friends came to tell me the nurse who I was assigned to had apologized to her.  This Nurse couldn't even recognize who she had yelled at!

We heard many times that "Nurses eat their young," and this incident fueled my fire.  I never wanted someone else to feel the way I did.

I continued to hold fast to my optimism and was excited to start my career in Pediatrics!  My orientation on the floor consisted of an insane amount of reading and learning the flow of the department.  Eventually I would be on night shift but initially was trained on day shift. Every time I encountered the Nurse I would be working with, I was either ignored or glared at.  After two weeks it finally took a toll and I ended up sitting in my car, crying and wondering what I had done wrong.  I always smiled, had a welcoming posture, and a positive attitude.  I had been warned that many new RNs had been "run off" in Peds, and finally I decided I wasn't going anywhere.  This is where I wanted to be and I had earned a right to try.

As my first shift on nights drew closer, I started giving myself little pep talks by restating that I was going to excel and was NOT going to be run off!

My first official night shift had me so worried that I was trying not to puke.  We received report and as soon as the day shift RN left the unit, this Nurse lit into me.

She said, "New grads have no place being in pediatrics because you have NO experience and you are putting the whole unit at risk by being here!"

I smiled and said, "I understand that I have no experience, which is why I'm so excited to be here, and I hope to learn everything I can to become the best Nurse I can."

She had no retort but continued to have a less than favorable attitude towards me for quite awhile. Later, she even gave me the nickname "hateful heifer," which I'm still not sure if it was a joke or her true perception of me.

After almost 2 years we were moving, and I had the pleasure of orienting a nurse (who had worked there previously) to new changes and procedures.  At the end, she told me how great I was at orienting and thanked me for welcoming her.  That was the best compliment I had ever received and it gave me the confidence I needed while venturing into my next job in a Pediatric Emergency Department.

After 18 months at my new job, I was able to start precepting and it brought me so much joy.  There is no better feeling then seeing others take the knowledge you have given them and watch them grow. I had the privilege of precepting many of the new staff in our unit, and especially the "baby nurses" (new graduates).  I cherish all the hugs and thank yous, and credit it all to the staff that trained and welcomed me!

I truly hope "a change gone come" in the Nursing profession.  Instead of "eating" our young, we will watch proudly as our baby birds soar and excel in a career that we hold so dear.