Saturday, October 29, 2011

You Know You're Getting Old When....

...You start thinking about retirement, how soon you can take it (years, months,
weeks, days) and what you'll do when it's upon you.

...You color your hair to cover the gray, not because it's fun!

...You start calling popular music "noise".

...You begin to appreciate and understand all the things your parents said and did
for you when you when a teenager.

...You recognize less than five people featured in an issue of People magazine.

...You no longer think it's fun to go out to the bars and get drunk.

...You wonder "What the hell was I thinking?" when you remember the years you were
going out to the bars.

...You begin to look forward to menopause rather than dreading it.

...You realize you are closer to your death than your birth.

...You begin to wonder how you'll pay for your child's marriage instead of
their schooling.

...You notice your health care provider is young enough to be your child (or
grandchild) YIKES!

...One of your coworkers is pregnant and you think "I'm glad it's her and not me"!

...You realize you could become a grandparent at any time now but you pray it
won't happen for years.

In case you're wondering, I've been thinking a lot lately about how old I am! It seems only yesterday I was still young!

Big thanks to DH for fixing my laptop so I could get online again!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

An Apology

I was just reading over some of these posts, and have found numerous spelling and grammar errors. I'd like to blame this on this notepad computer I'm working on, but truthfully it's more my editing ability. I've recently been reading what I think are some self published books on Kindle. (Mainly because they're cheaper. DH isn't too happy with my Amazon/Kindle addiction) A lot of these writers are pretty good, but the editing of some of these books leave a lot to be desired. Obviously I should take my own advice (which I commented on someone else's blog today) to not throw stones in my own little glass house.

So bear with me until I figure out how to work this notepad better, or get better at typing with two fingers. I better not try to publish any books myself until I get this down!

Oh, and by the way, I'm due to go back to work to morrow night for my 7 day stretch, so I may not have time to post again for a week. Not that there are hundreds of folks out there waiting with bated breath for my next installment!

Technology Today; Positive or Negative?

As DH and some of you out there may know, I'm not particularly tech savvy. I know enough to muddle through this blog, use email, surf the net, and order things online, but that's about it. DH, of course, is a tech genius, writing his own code (whatever that is) for his web site and others, seems to be able to do all sorts of sneaky things online, and has two degrees in electronics thanks to the US Air Force. DH has also learned through his job in a hospital that nurses and doctors are about as dumb about computers as a box of rocks. If I go to him with a question or a problem, I have to have him "dumb down" his explanation to about a first grade level.

So that's my question today: Is technology today really worth it? There are some things that I couldn't do without. I LOVE my Kindle e-reader and wouldn't leave home without it. How else can you carry around hundreds of books in the palm of your hand? (I have 800 and counting on mine currently) I also really like my android phone, now that I can actually do more with it than just talk on it. I keep up with the Facebook stuff a lot better than I did when I had to get on the computer to do it, and I've become obsessed with Twitter.

BUT...we recently switched from satellite internet to cable internet. (I think that's what happened, but I could certainly be wrong) Now for some reason when I go to get online with my laptop I get some weird messages preventing me from getting to Google. But if I use my tablet (which I'm using now) I can get right on. What's up with that? Okay, logic says it's probably a problem with the laptop, right. The problem with the tablet, though, is that the keyboard is right on the screen, so it's not easy to type on. ( in other words I'm back to the two finger style of typing) And with the tablet you can't be as precise with cursor placement as you can with a mouse. So for instance, if I find a spelling error at the top of this page, it's really hard to go back and fix it. Maybe this is a problem with the operating system more than anything. This tablet doesn't run on windows, it's android. See my frustration?

In any case, I'm sure when DH reads this he'll have an appropriate detailed explanation for these issues, most of which I won't understand. *sigh* What's a computer-retarded nurse to do?
By the way, does anyone else think that computer companies are crazy like foxes because as soon as you buy a piece of electronics, they become obsolete within a year when the "next best thing" comes out? I'm on my second Kindle since they originally come out (maybe 3 years ago?) and the Kindle Fire releases in November. It's now going to have s color screen for TV, movies, magazines, and books. I've started to lust over it, but DH is also talking about a different kind of tablet with a REAL keyboard you can use with Bluetooth.

Never fear. Even though I've thrown out all these fancy words, I still don't really have a clue when it comes to this kind of stuff. I can only hope that my hospital will someday get a computerized charting system so I don't have to triple chart everything when I get a new patient admission. It's still hard to believe that the little 40 bed hospital I worked for before this was more advanced than my current employer. I guess you can never win!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Buckingham Palace to become a hotel?

Buckingham Palace to become a hotel?

Wouldn't this be fun? I'd love to stay in a palace!

What's New With You?

Let's see; what day is today...It's Tuesday, isn't it? That's kind of funny because part of what I do at work is assessing my patients. One of the main things is to find out if they're oriented. I.e. do they know where they are, what day it is, who they are, etc. Half the time I'm not even sure what day it is, and I'm trying to find out if they know! This happens if you work nights. You're never really sure what day it is, and if you're trying to pass something on to another nurse, it's hard to remember what day it happened on! Oh joy *sigh*.

It's also a challenge to keep up with relationships. I work nights and DH works days. On the days we both work, we see each other for about an hour per day. He leaves for his job at about 5:30 am and I get home about 8:00 am. Then he gets home about 4:15 pm, and I leave for work at 5:15 pm!
But maybe that's one thing that holds the relationship together. We don't see much of each other so there's no time to fight! Sometimes we talk more in texting than we do in real life!

It's getting on towards Halloween. I have to work Halloween night so it will be up to DH to pass out candy. Somehow I suspect the light will remain off and we'll have a lot of candy for ourselves! Besides I think our dog would probably scare off all the trick or treaters. Mainly he just likes to lick you, but at 70 pounds he is a bit intimidating, especially to little kids!
Speaking of Halloween, I put a link to a video on my Facebook just a little while ago. It's a great light show for Halloween. Go check it out. I think you'll enjoy it!

There was an interesting link on Twitter today. According to the Wall Street Journal, something like 86% of working Americans are obese and/or have some type of chronic medical condition that causes them to lose time from work, be less productive while at work, plus cost billions of healthcare dollars. It was interesting to see it in print, but I have to say I'm not surprised. The majority of patients I have seen in the hospital in the last 10 years are I'll due primarily due to some type of self-inflicteddisorder. Lung disease from smoking, liver disease from drugs or alcohol, multiple side effects from obesity, etc. This is not to say that I or any nurses are blameless. There are a whole lot of obese nurses, a lot of respiratory therapists that smoke, etc. It's the usual "Do as I say, not as I do" kind of thing. I've often thought, though, that the most effective way to keep young kids from smoking or drinking would be to show them someone in the last stages of lung or liver disease. It's not pretty, believe me!

Anyway, I certainly don't mean to be so preachy....

So to end today's post, let me share with you a picture.

This is another photo I took in China in May 2008. It's funny how you can take literally hundreds of pictures, and you get probably less than 10 really good shots. This is one of mine!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Trip To China

In very early May 2008, I spent about 10 days in China. I'm sure you're wondering why on earth would a person go to China? Well, it was more of a fluke than anything. I was browsing various travel sites on the web that I had seen in the magazine "Budget Travel". I was basically trying to find a trip to go on that wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg. I also knew that I wanted to go on a group tour, since I'm not THAT brave to try and go to a foreign country completely by myself! Anyway, I ran across a company based in Seattle called China Spree. I knew absolutely nothing about them, but they seemed to have overwhelmingly positive reviews from people who had taken their trips. They included airfare, hotels, full-time guides, and ALL meals in the cost of their trips. So after finding a relatively short ten day trip, I took the plunge and booked a trip. This was before the 2008 Summer Olympics, which took place in Beijing. At the time, I knew NOTHING about China, and I was basically only going because the trip was affordable! (Yep, since marrying DH, I've become amazingly thrifty with my money. Hard to believe, but true.)

It was a grueling 13 hour trip to Beijing, but somehow I managed to get a row of 3 seats all to myself. Anyone who has traveled in the last 15 years knows how rare that is! However, I was kind enough to agree to share my three seats with a nice gentleman who was traveling with several other people and was a bit more cramped.
Arriving in Beijing was pretty overwhelming for someone who has lived most of the last 15 years or so in very small towns. Beijing as a population of about 12 or 13 MILLION people. I don't know that they have any air quality standards, because the sky there was literally brown.

Oops! That's not Beijing! *giggle* Let's try that again.

Now, if I did that right, you see how brown the sky is in Beijing. Not all of Beijing is as poor looking as this, however. This is one of the very old neighborhoods called "hutongs". Most of Beijing is very modern, high rise skyscrapers. The other main parts of Beijing are Soviet-era cement buildings that are pretty ugly. I don't think I took any pictures of them, because believe me, they are not much to look at.

Just as a side note: Another good think about the company I took the tour through is that they cater to very small groups. I think our group had 18 people total. This is very unusual for group travel. Most companies drag around groups of 40 or more.

I will admit that while in China I did a very American tourist-type thing. I went to McDonald's! Hey, you have to see how cultures are different, right? The menu in China is mainly centered on fish and chicken, but they did have Big Macs if I remember correctly. It's also very difficult to find diet soda in China; I think I had one diet soda the whole time I was there. And if you like ice in your soda, don't plan on getting it. It just isn't served that way there!

The highlight of the trip, though, was the visit to the Great Wall. There are portions of the wall all over China, in varying degrees of upkeep. Of course the sections near large cities are very well restored for visiting tourists.(Especially at that time, just before the Olympics) Here is a (the only) picture of me that was taken on the entire trip.

I can't stand to see myself in photos; sue me. *sigh*

Rather than turn into that annoying relative or friend who bores you with their 500 photos of their vacation, I'm going to stop there. Suffice it to say, visiting China was a once-a-lifetime experience. I'd recommend it to anyone. It's also one of those things that would be next to impossible to arrange on you own; I strongly advise you to go through a tour company. The language barrier alone makes a tour company worth their weight in gold (or yuan, as the case may be). It may take you a few days to get used to the food. Chinese food in China is NOTHING like Chinese food here in the states. But I guarantee that even with the stress of the travel, the changes in culture, the squat toilets (thankfully not in the tourist hotels), and even the food, you'll be glad you visited China!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Can't We All Just Get Along?

I know that sometimes the internet can give us a false sense of knowing other people; people can reinvent themselves with no one the wiser. Even before I started writing this blog, I read blogs by other people, including some with which I have very little in common with. (I suspect the grammar of that last sentence is very wrong *sigh*) I find it fascinating to get a little peek into another person's life, seeing what they are experiencing, how they handle it, etc. I wish I had had something similar when I was in my late teens and early twenties. Perhaps I wouldn't have felt so strange and alone at times.

But that isn't what I'm meaning to talk about. One of the blogs I read frequently was written by a young man 19 years old who is just finding his way in his adult life, dealing with his first (and hopefully long-lasting) love, living on his own, exploring what he wants to do with his life. Recently he had evidently been having problems dealing with members on another online community which is SUPPOSED to be dedicated to people interested in books and reading. He didn't go into any details, but by reading between the lines I got the impression that these people were not being kind to him. He had started counseling and while this may not have been completely related to this other group of people, it appeared to be at least pertially related. Today I went to his blog and found that he posted his "last post", again referring to the people from this other site. No further details were given, but I can't help feeling sad and also a bit worried about him.

What has our society come to that we feel free to be mean to, or even blatently attack people whom we don't know? I don't know about you, but I was raised according to the "If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all" school of thought. (Thanks Mom and Dad) Maybe I take this to the extreme; DH frequently says I should speak up for myself more often. Has the anonymity of the internet given us permission to say and do all the nasty, rude things we are too afraid to say in our real life? Has the freedom of reinventing ourselves allowed us to forget decent politeness and kindness? I certainly don't have any answers, but I wish I knew who some of the people are who have been so unkind to thus young man such that he feels that he can no longer be himself, or share his life safely with others. It's strange to me, because all of the comments on his blog were overwhelmingly positive. The people who read his blog seemed to genuinely like him and found his blog funny, thoughtful, heart-warming, and loving.

I think we have to go back and look at our values and morals. Maybe I don't stand up for myself as much as I should, but at least I don't feel I have the right to tear someone else down to make myself feel better.

Thorny, you may never see this, but we'll miss you. I hope someday you'll come back and try again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

To Every Thing There is a Season

Most of you who are reading this are now experiencing the changing of the seasons. Here in Nevada, we basically only have 2 seasons. Brown & Hot or Brown & Cold. About the only time we have any green is early in the spring when the desert is just starting to come back to life again. Before too long everything is back to it's normal brown sagebrush and dirt.

I have to admit I've often said I don't care to ever go back to live in Michigan because of the 6 month winters. But I've found that I actually do miss having an actual Fall. I remember the changing colors, the smell of burning leaves, crispy cold temperatures in the mornings, the smell of fresh school supplies, and of course the excitement coming up to Halloween. (I've heard that the sense of smell is the strongest for 'sense memory'. Hmmm)One of my very favorite parts of fall was the huge caramel apples I could buy at an orchard near Grand Rapids. They only sold them during September & October, and possibly into November before Thanksgiving. Here you can only get caramel apples if you make your own, or if you go to the Rocky Mountain Candy Shop and pay $5.00 apiece for them! Of course not only do they have your 'regular' caramel apples with and without peanuts, you can get apples covered with M & Ms, cookie crumbs, chocolate chips, and all kinds of stuff.
But anyway, I better quit while I'm ahead; I'm giving myself a craving!

About a week ago (Oct 5, to be exact) I came out of work at about 7:15 in the morning and looked up to see fresh snow on the hills west of Reno! I can see getting some snow around Halloween, but at the BEGINNING of October? I was pretty upset about that! The next day I saw a photo posted on Twitter from someone in Colorado at about 7000 feet elevation, and they had what looked like a good six inches of snow on the ground! I better stop my complaining; things could be a lot worse.

On the positive side of the Nevada winter, generally we don't get a lot of snow. (As I keep my fingers crossed that I haven't jinxed us...) Most of the snow seems to fall in the Sierra Nevada Range to the West of Reno, and it's mostly depleted by the time it gets to us. (We live about 40 miles east of Reno) Occasionally we get a few inches of snow, but it generally melts within a day or two. We'll continue to hope we have a mild winter again this fall since both DH and myself drive back and forth to Reno for work.

A more interesting note; I hope to go on a short cruise in January. I'm surprised to see how affordable cruises are, even including airfare. Of course all your meals on the ship are included as well, so that saves quite a bit of money also. Alcohol isn't included, but I rarely if ever drink anyway. If anyone is interested in coming along with me, let me know. DH is not interested in going; "I couldn't take that much time off work!" (a week). It must be great to love your job so much that you don't want to be away from it that long! Actually, I think it's more of not wanting to see how much work piles up while he's gone! For those of you who don't know, DH is retired from the Air Force, and has had his fill of waiting in lines, crowding into airplanes and being surrounded by strangers all the time. But that's okay; he doesn't care if I want to go places so we're both happy!

I know this hasn't been a terrifically interesting blog, but I guess that just goes to show that life isn't always full of fascinating or funny things to pass along. But I wanted to get one more entry in before I head back to work for my next stretch of working six of the next seven days! While you're sleeping, think of me busily at work pushing drugs (:-) and answering the ubiquitous (oooh, big word!) call lights!

By the way, I was shocked to hear at work the other night that the Lions and Tigers are actually doing well this year! (Oh My!) Is the Silverdome still there, or have they torn it down yet? How about the old Tiger Stadium? The last time I was back in Pontiac, it was sad to see just how poorly Pontiac and the surrounding area is doing. It's beginning to look like a ghost town.

Take care all, and I'll try to come up with a more interesting blog for next time!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

10 Secrets Your Nurse WILL Tell You!

I got the most recent Readers Digest yesterday, and the cover story is "50 Things Your Nurse Won't Tell You". I'm sure I can't re-write the story here, but it was actually pretty accurate. So since no one from Readers Digest called to get my take on the subject, I thought I'd share my secrets with you.

1. Yes, this shot IS going to hurt. I'm going to jab you with a sharp metal object, what do YOU think? (Sorry, DH. I had to use it! *hee hee*)

2. When you go to the ER, your nurse might very well be thinking " Hi, I'm your nurse. What stupid fucking thing did YOU do to yourself today?"

3. When you push your call bell and the person who answers asks what you need, they're NOT trying to get into your business. They're just trying to find out who is the best person to send in to help you. You don't necessarily need the nurse to pour you some water or get you a snack.

4. Speaking of snacks...this is a HOSPITAL. Not Denny's or your local Holiday Inn. It's not our job to feed your family or find accommodations for your husband and two kids. THEY need to go home, and YOU need to get better.

5. And by the way, no it's NOT appropriate to have your girlfriend stay the night with you in YOUR bed. *eewwww* (if you're feeling up to that, you shouldn't be in the hospital anyway!)

6. We realize that being in the hospital is scary and it's nice to have a friendly face available or to speak with the doctor with you. Sometimes that's a good idea. BUT...keep in mind that the staff still needs to work and in order to help you, we have to be able to reach you. That's why visiting hours were invented.

7. If you're a frequent visitor to your local hospital because of your liking for drugs or alcohol, we WILL take care of you. But the more often you visit for these same self-inflicted illnesses without attempting any changes in your lifestyle, the less likely we are to have any sympathy for you.

8. We know it's no fun being sick in the hospital. However, WE didn't force you to come here. If you're angry at your wife for making you come to the hospital or angry at the doctor for admitting you, PLEASE don't take it out on the staff. We just work here. However ill-advised (STUPID) it may be, you DO have the right to refuse to be admitted. If you're going to be rude and abusive, we'd just as soon you stayed home and annoyed your wife. (No offense, but this type of patient usually IS a guy)

9. If it takes longer than 5 minutes for the nurse to come to your room when you call, it's not because they're all sitting at the desk having coffee. Chances are, your nurse has 5, 6, or more other patients besides you. If there are any nurse aides, THEY probably have 10-15 patients to care for. Try to be a PATIENT patient. We're running as fast as we can!

10. Remember those magic words 'please' and 'thank you'. They'll get you a lot further when it comes time for pain medicine, fresh ice water, or a clean gown.

Seriously, though, for the most part I enjoy my job. I know everyone expects a lot these days because of the high cost of health insurance, drugs, and limited benefits. The average hospital staff, however, has no control over any of those things. We're just trying to work within the system to help you get better the best that we can. Believe me, we don't like hearing the horror stories of how hospital stays go wrong any more than you do. The LAST thing any person working in health care wants is to be involved in a situation occurs in which a person is injured or, god forbid, dies.

One last thought..."'s our job to SAVE your ass, not KISS it!"