Thursday, May 7, 2015

Happy Nurses Week...

 I am a nurse.  it wasn't the plan, but life doesn't often follow a plan.  for those who have lives that do follow a cookie cutter plan, well, i feel sorry for you.  the good stuff seems to happen when life takes it's own path.  my life follows a plan called chaos.  lack of ambition, lack of goals, lack of direction...those could be terms used for me i guess. i prefer wanderer, adventurer, or just one who took the road less traveled.  i just remember the poem lines...i took the road less traveled and that has made all the difference.  they all end in the same place.  death.  you are born and you die.  those are sure things.  the stuff in between, can color inside the lines or outside the lines. i never was very good at coloring inside the lines.  i have no patience for perfection, no tolerance for competition and as for holding fast to the iron rod ( as i was taught growing up) i preferred to let go of the iron rod and let the wind take me where it wanted to.
 these pictures today are from Hatchers Pass, Gold Mint Trail and then later, Palmer Hay Flats.  the rubble before you in these is all that is left of the Mother Lode Lodge in Hatchers pass, it burned down to the ground earlier this month.
 the mosquito's and butterflies were out and the trail was still pretty slushy and a bit difficult to manage, especially for Rio.  we didn't walk very far.
 when i was 5 i knew for sure i wanted to be a Veterinarian.  i can't say that ambition beyond motherhood and being a spouse was much encouraged in those days to young women in the Mormon church.  not sure if this has evolved with the times or not really, it's been many years since i was in the church.  i have several nieces who have gotten advanced degrees and not just thier MRS degree as we joked about...we used to say girls went to Breedemyoung University to get their MRS degrees.  if you didn't marry you were directed towards more female appropriate jobs...teaching, secretarial or nursing.  i wasn't going to have any of that.
 can't recall all the majors i worked towards in my 12 years of college/university life. i have attended 6 different colleges and universities.  for all of this i am a very educated and minimally degree'd person. i have 2 - 2 year degrees.  i majored in writing, recreation, pre-vet, vet tech, marine bio and finally nursing. i'm sure i missed a few of my pathways.  i have many interests and do enjoy learning.  i really am not a fan of the whole class/test/papers/group project stuff.
 lots of snow and cool sun dog/halo
 in the end i fell into nursing.  i remember sitting in a driveway with a friend who is a vet.  we were both pondering our futures and the path we may want to take.  he was thinking of moving his family out of LA and buying a practice with his wife in a more rural area.  i was pondering nursing.  not sure why, there were jobs. vet tech was great but i'd pretty much done all i could do as a vet tech.  vet would be amazing but the truth was i just didn't have the grades.  all the flip flopping and major changing, it wasn't really a realistic goal.  i'd still have a few more years of pre- reqs and then 4 more years of vet school....
 when i went to PCC to speak with someone there about what i'd need for nursing and if it were even really an option...well, i just had a few classes to take and i'd be in. i've often felt like i haven't needed to make decisions in life. i just had to be open and the decisions came to me.  all i had to do was walk through the doors as they opened. i guess that makes for a pretty twisted and crooked path through life.  in the process i worked at a cat only hospital and then at the ER for dogs and cats in LA.  it was great work, especially the ER.
 when i went to nursing school, i figured i'd end up working ER for humans.  i had enjoyed ER for animals so it seemed like it would be a good match.  kind of funny that i've only now just started ER in the past few years.  during that time i also took a course at the LA Zoo to become a zoo add that to my list.  i bought drums and learned to play them enough to play for a gay wedding...i know they weren't legal anywhere at the time. i'm so ahead of my time, right.  i volunteered as a zoo keeper off and on through my 20's, the more hours you did that the better chance of getting hired on.
 i wanted to leave LA.  it was too crowded and i couldn't breath there any way...i just never was LA kind of material.  i can dance to anything and i can be tough when i need to be though...i have some city skills.  i'm sure they have diminished now that i watch out for moose and bears more than hoodlums. i don't mind that.
 i started in a PCU/Surgical...floor in South Dakota, from there i moved to Ketchikan and again worked a blended floor for a bit.  they cross trained me to icu.  in Anchorage i continued in ICU and then switched to PICU.  from there i created my own float pool and did both units, switching off weekly.  now, i float to critical care units mostly.
 so i am a nurse.  it wasn't something i dreampt of doing my whole life, and i never felt a calling to be a nurse as some do.  i am thankful that i am one though. i've been surprised.  nursing has for sure made me a better person. i've met some amazing people through nursing, i've become more of a compassionate,tolerant, patient and kind person. for sure i have a more warped sense of humor but that was coming just with working dog and cat ER.
 nursing reminds me every day to be grateful for what i have.  so many others have been unlucky in this life.  not just with health but also with the people who they associate with.  family and friends. each day is a gift.  there but the grace of God go so true.
 i had no idea if i could do the things with humans that i'd been able to manage with animals. the animals were innocent.  vet people always say, "i could never work with people".  in truth though most of the animals come in with people. my first rotations i found myself needing to wipe someones arse. could i? it occurred to me that having to have someone wipe your arse was far worse than being the one wiping it. i still do get annoyed by people who just won't wipe their own arse and expect you to do it...i only do it if you can't.
 they are working on the roads up there. the road to Independence Mine is what they are working on here.
 that is the road that goes beyond Independence.  not fully plowed and it's closed still. below i stopped on the way home to do this loop around Reflection Lake at the Palmer Hay Flats. it's all part of my try new places out this summer. not that i won't do many of my usuals but i want to add in some new ones. just the loop today.  it was nice, easy, cool  birds out there.  easy for Rio.
 spring birds are rapidly arriving in town and prepping for nesting.  various bird sounds filled the air.  the leaves on the trees continue to pop out...our world is least the trees are. love this week...always amazing how quickly things change here...very dramatic.
 working in Pediatrics was probably the most humbling and growing experiences for me.  fell into that as well.  my friend had fallen into it before me and i'd worked with her in Ketchikan.  she kept wanting me to come join her. i finally did. another door opens...right.
 it's funny how different personalities end up in difference areas of nursing.  there are some amazing and special folks who go for peds.  it takes extra compassion and heart. i'm no where near where my peds friends are in those areas but i know i have gained much and become a better person just having been around them and associating with them.
 i always joke that a large part of nursing can be acting.  you have to pretend to like patients that you'd really love to slap. you have to pretend that you aren't freaking out when your patients blood pressure is 40 or their temperature is 108F.  And you have to keep your composure so that you can help others who are saying good bye to a loved one.  some days you just want to cry, it's painful taking care of kids especially who you know will have no life if they live.  or knowing they are gone and trying to help people understand that.  life and death can straddle that fence for weeks, longer for kids.
 you have to pretend to be clueless when you know in your heart it was this person or that person who shook the baby and caused them brain damage.  you have to explain over and over again to people who are may have to remind some person with dementia 50x an hour that he doesn't need to get out of bed to pee, he has a catheter...or to the alcoholic. same thing.
 12 hours.  some days you barely sit down in 12 hours, you forget you had to pee three hours ago.  you come home beat up and exhausted.  it can be very hard work...even though it's rewarding.  it takes its toll on your body. all that pushing and pulling and turning and just twisting around poles and pumps.  i've had pee and breast milk get in my eyes, ive had a full colostomy bag empty out all over me.  gross doesn't even cover it. an old man reached for my hand and then hacked up his spit in it.  i've been called all sorts of things and been groped and attempts made to pull me into the bed.  i've had patients who were totally incontinent still try to hit on me (men are so confident, right?)
 i've been there for more deaths than i can remember. some stand out for sure but they all stay with you in some way.  one night i carried around a baby who had died for a few hours while we waited for the morgue to come. the mother was exhausted but couldn't bear to leave the baby in the room alone.  i promised her we would just hold the baby, she would never be left alone.  one night i sat down with an older patient and talked about how he wanted his death to go. i'd been there for his wife's death a year or so before that and he was ready to go be with her...his dang heart just wouldn't stop beating he said.  i sat down on his bed and we discussed his end of life.  i called his sons and they were with him when he passed less than 24 hours later.
 a good nurse sees the small signs.  it's in the details and the trends. i have good instincts, gut feelings.  i may not be the most book smart nurse but when a patient is crashing i can just go in that mode.  hanging and managing multiple drips.  it's like a dance.  eventually they are stable...generally when you die in the hospital it's planned.  not always though.
 not many births for me..and the ones i have seen have mostly been dead or dying babies.
 nursing is never dull.  each day is it's own adventure.  i've learned nursing from some of the best and i continue to learn every time i work.  i'm not going to say every nurse is fabulous...there are some lazy and crappy nurses out there.  There are some superb and amazing nurses out there too. many who give many more hours to caring for their fellow humans than just the shifts they work.  i remember going to this awards ceremony thing one night.  hearing all the stuff that these awesome nurses do on their days off...well lets just say i'm a real slacker to my fellow man. i'll do all this at work but out of work...well i'm more about helping the walruses or hiking with dogs and stuff.
 there is no tv drama that will ever show the reality of life as a nurse.  appreciate your nurses, if you have a good one. let him or her know it.  they generally won't hear it from the folks in the offices...many of the administrators have minimal understanding of what actually is going on in those little rooms in the hospitals they manage.  at least that is what i've found over the years.
 will have to explore out here some more...just another birders paradise.
 there are more trails than the loop.  so many awesome trail systems out here.
 breezy is curled up behind me.  yesterday as i sat she jumped into my lap. she is not my lap cat so that was pretty impressive..i think a first for her.  pogi is my snuggle cat
 there were some northern lights out last night. mostly i watched.  then i went to set up the camera in the yard.  took a few test shots and then the lights were done.  i checked a few more times and then called it a  night.
 tonight i watched, "Maleficent".  liked it.  a new twist on an old story.
 my pups...
 always more difficult to get Rio shots.
 tried to load these earlier tonight and write but they wouldn't i went to watch the movie.
 not sure if this bird is checking out it's reflection or looking for something to eat..probably food, he is quite handsome though.
 and a few more back at Hatchers.
 it's always pretty.  i debated taking a long drive today to Denali or something but instead i slept in a bit.  this worked out fine.
 Happy Nurses week to the many wonderful nurses i have known over all my years in nursing.  your patients may never remember you or your they say, they will remember your kindness though. it's the same with me.  i'm sure there are many nurses names that have slipped from my memory, but i can recall so many faces and kind acts.
 independence mine in the distance.
 road clearing. i started to drive up but didn't want to get in the way.

 cute little guy as i drove down the hill

 the sad remains of a historic building i guess. fire is the worst.

 it's nearly 3 am...i really should crash
grateful: be a nurse and for all that i have experienced as a nurse and for the person i have become because of it. B. for the cool, smart and funny nurses who have gotten me through many nights.  C.  for the nurses who have cared for me the times i have been a patient. you just want to feel safe and cared for.


  1. Happy nurses week to you, one of the best I ever worked with!

  2. aww...thanks. so miss working with you. bath time was so much fun!! "who let the dogs out?"