Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS"

"So this is Christmas
\
And what have you done

Another year over

And a new one just begun"

The lyrics to this famous John Lennon song took me through so many reflections and 

emotions during this holiday season. I think I'm going through some deep soul searching here lately. 

From which according to my husband, is brought on by my melancholy mood during the holidays 

anyway.


Taking that into consideration, I can't help but immerse myself more into what these lyrics mean to

 me nowadays. And when I do look back as to what I've done this past year, the only thing that come 

to mind is an experience I've had with a patient of mine during one of my outreach calls.


"And so this is Christmas

I hope you have fun

The near and the dear ones

The old and the young"

I can still hear how his voice sounded over the phone. My 94 year old patient said, "I was married for 
76 years. That's more than someone else's lifetime. My wife died 7 months ago. I miss her dearly". I can't stop my tears from rolling down my face. And for a moment, I didn't think I can go on listening to him. But why can't I? He kept on living. Why can't I  listen?

"A very merry Christmas

And a happy New Year

Let's hope it's a good one

Without any fear"

And as if he read my thoughts,  He muttered, "I took care of her here in our house, up until she became like a baby. I fed her, watched over her, changed her diaper. All by myself ". His voice did not give out a hint of complaint, of regret, or  disappointment. It was a voice of someone who will do everything all over again, just to see her again.

"And so this is Christmas

For weak and for strong

For rich and the poor ones

The world is so wrong"

It was at that moment when I realized that what I was listening to was a reminder of how life can be beautiful yet, unfair at the same time. Why is that?
I don't know.
But what I learned is that, life is beautiful when you find your one true love.
Despite going through The Great Depression and World War Two together, they managed to raise three wonderful children. Each one, he said gave them beautiful grandchildren. He worked hard. And he proudly said, " I came home every night...My family is my life. I live for my family.. This is home.". . And to that, I felt his strength and determination during his younger years, trying his hardest to provide the best for his family.

How many people do you think can honestly say that they live for their family. That they have a place they can call their home

"And so happy Christmas

For black and for white

For yellow and red ones

Let's stop all the fight"

If we really did take the time, and count our blessings, do you think we'll even have time to fight and gripe at one another? We have so much to be thankful for.
And I am thankful for this.

What I have done was reach out to this gentleman, who in turn had changed me when I needed it most. So, I am not jaded after all. That I still have feelings, hope for humanity, love for myself.

Just like what he said.....This is Home.

And I say......This Is Christmas

He might not remember me or the conversation we had that one fine day. But one thing I know, I will remember him for the rest of my life.

What have you done???

Friday, October 31, 2014

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A TELEPHONIC NURSE

The five second silence on the other end of the line seemed like forever. Until my patient said, "It's nice to know that someone is willing to check on me, ask questions, and listen to me." Then I said, "It's what I do Sir. Nothing less and wish I can do more".

I started working from home as a nurse care coordinator. Armed with the company issue Blackberry, I reach out to patients and follow up on their ER visits. I check on their conditions, identify their needs, and validate concerns. Make sure they understood their discharge instructions, filled their prescribed medications, and followed up with their PCP, to name a few.

When I left the hospital setting four months ago, my biggest concern was losing the personal interactions. But I was mistaken. Yes, I work by myself in my home office, No physical interaction. Yet, the connection I have made through phone calls exceeds more than what I expected.

It's hard to make a connection to start with. I remembered working in the bedside, I came across many different personalities. In the flesh, right in front of me. For the most part, I have met and taken care of many patients that has made me the nurse I am right now. The person I am right now. Each one taught me something. No matter how small it was, it made a life long impression.

As a telephonic nurse, the nail biting challenge is not knowing who's going to answer on the other end. What mood they're in. Will they be receptive towards me. Trying to make a link by just my mere voice. My tone, the way I sound, how effective I formulate my words. No face to go by, no height, no weight, no color. Just pure and simple voice.

"My prayers are with you" Those were the words I told her the day before I called her back the next morning. She said, "I'm so glad you called. I was thinking about you and how you helped me feel good about my situation". Then, I told her, "We must have been connected, because I thought about you this morning so here I am". She said, "God is with us. He sent you to me". And from that moment, I felt goosebumps, tingling down my spine, a feeling of love and warmth. Is this God?

The love and warmth has always been there. When patients say thank you for reaching out and checking on them. When they invite me to come over their house and chat with them. When a COPD patient starts feeling better and asks me how I'm doing, without running out of breath. I'm doing very well.

When moments happen and I do make connections, reminiscence of floor nursing starts reliving inside my head. A time when an older adult looked in my eyes and said, "Thank you", because I fed her. I told myself, "No, thank you for reminding me that I do still care". Little did she know that guilt started eating me up. Because I really just want to get away from all the chaos in the nursing hallway, I then smiled and told her, "You're welcome. I want to make sure you get your dinner".

The bedridden patient who cannot talk. He looked at me and somehow, I knew he said thank you. I continued on to wipe his face with a warm washcloth, to clean him up. To give comfort and reassurance. That for this little smidgen of time, give him dignity, love and warmth.

These connections are what makes nursing extraordinary and apart from any other profession.

Each patient in person or not, touches your inner soul. Make you believe in something far more words can ever express.

I don't have a door to open and greet my patients with a smile on my face. What I have is the company issue Blackberry. A phone number and a phone ringing on the other end. Waiting for someone to answer. So I can greet them with a smile on my voice.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

NURSES ADVOCATE FOR EACH OTHER

To all my fellow nurses out there, hope everything is well. 

With the recent spotlight shining on Ebola, its hard not to get affected by the continuous blows that the news has to offer. The media photos of the horrible outbreak in West Africa is enough to make us realize that there are forces of nature we still need to understand.. Then, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, The two nurses who contracted Ebola while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan - the first person to be diagnosed and die of the virus in the United States.

Once the news broke out about Nina Pham, the response came from different sides and the blaming game started. It became overwhelming. It has been hectic.

A nurse's role in any setting is far more complicated than meets the eye. Not unless you are a nurse, especially caring at the bedside, you don't have the slightest idea on how grueling it can be out there in the clinical setting.

The high nurse to patient ratio, physician orders that you have to fulfill, tasks you need to carry out for patients, families, staff, management.....is far too extensive to fit in a 12 hour work shift.

The plot continues to thicken when caring for patients are further dictated by protocols. managed care systems and tedious documentations. Yet, nurses armed with the nursing process, follow these rules and protocols down to the last glove that has to be removed as part of the personal protective equipment needed to ensure the safety of patients and the rest of the healthcare team. 

This clearly shows how nurses being in the forefront, are placed in a very critical position of safely caring and advocating for those in need. Yet, when it is all said and done, who advocates for nurses?

Nurses, let's advocate for each other. We need to stay together, remain together. Watching out for each other is the right thing to do. 

In light of this, CDC has issued the use of the buddy system when caring for patients and when putting on and removing of PPE. Nurses do these all the time. We have an unspoken spirit of comraderie that is with us always. It's a bond we share which makes this profession stronger than it has ever been.

The recent Ebola infections here in the USA can serve as a learning process for all of us. It shows how mother nature needs to be respected and not abused. That events can turn into so many directions. Directions that I believe are all valid and worth looking into. This is how we learn. Keeping an open mind. It's up to us to choose the actions to take, To gain knowledge and prevent catastrophe.

Nursing is an integration of knowledge, values, and concepts.  I truly believe that we  nurses  realize the importance of what we do. We take patients' safety first and ours last. Society will realize that our actions are guided by our own knowledge, expertise, and professionalism. Actions do speak louder than words. 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

"The Walking Dead" Season 5 Premiere: It's The Pleasure Principle


The torturous anticipation leading to The Walkng Dead's Season 5 premiere was  satiated by what I think is the most violent and rumpus filled premiere yet. From the throat slashing, burning-zombie- necking...to  the emotional reunion with ass kicker, the show delivered its highest rating episode  to the walker fans, by far.

As much as it was gratifying, deep inside, I have this nagging feeling of disappointment with how the whole thing  turned out.

And you're probably thinking. WTF

Well. here's my thing.

It might have been the fact that the seasons in which The Governor was featured made an impression on me. His arrogance and abusive persona  held us tight for quite some time to the point that everyone felt really disgusted and  cheated when the show did not kill him at the end of Season 3. Yet, when everyone else wished he was dead, I had this inner most inclination that he stays... Just. A. Bit. Longer. A show always needs a villain.... and what a villain he was.

As I have written before, A drama simply just cannot go on without a villain. During The Governor's run, there was no other character that I thought can replace him just yet. Not unless, of course, one is in the making. Governess Carol - I'll come back to this,

 I believe that his drawn out presence made it more worthwhile for us to see Michonne's katana go right through his heart.  It was a true manifestation of delayed gratification.

This ploy was very well executed. It showed a level of sophistication in the writer's part.  As well as for all the viewers who were able to grasp the concept.  A person's ability to delay gratification shows important life skills such as will power and self control.

On the other hand, the season 5 opener offered an action packed version. It was straightforward and uncomplicated. It was instant gratification to say the least. 

Yes. It was great. While it lasted. But I was expecting more of a tactical approach by the prisoners inside Train A. Instead, the train became a gas chamber. Oh well.

Then, Macgyver was written all over. Starting off with the self constructed scrap metal weapons to how Carol saved the day by shooting a firework into a fuel tank equals flying grilled zombies all over Terminus. 

It was badass alright.

But I don't think this is the last time we see Terminus. There are a lot of unfinished business. Like when Rick told Gareth , ''There's a machete, with a red handle. That's what I'm going to use to kill you". Now correct me if I'm wrong. But don't you think Gareth will have a taste, or should I say a feel of that blade slitting his throat?

What about Michonne's katana? She cannot be without that katana. It;s somewhere in Terminus. She has to somehow reunite with her weapon.  

And going back to Carol. Yes she saved the day. Yes, she redeemed herself to Rick. But, I have always had this skepticism about her character.  She seems to have this "going the extra mile" approach for the good of everyone else. She killed Tyrese's girlfriend who was sick with this respiratory virus, to "isolate" the disease. And don't forget "look at the flowers Lizzie".  ............"sympathetic" villain. 

The writers of the show with no doubt, redeemed themselves by pacifying us with the instant gratification approach. We are hard wired to want things. And with the present society of wanting everything - NOW, the season 5 opener was altogether relevant and appealing. 

What did you think about the season premiere?




Saturday, October 11, 2014

E Is For Ebola And Enterovirus D68 :An Infographic

The Ebola Virus and Enterovirus D68 has been in the forefront for weeks now. There has been so many information that has been brought to our attention and sometimes, it can get overwhelming. I would like to take this opportunity and present them in an infographic I made. Hope this helps.



Sunday, October 5, 2014

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

 

I was listening to Tiesto's Ultra 2014 Mix  while working out and I heard him say "Expect the unexpected" a couple of times during his performance.

The commanding phrase then started  playing in my head over and over again. I decided to write about it. One idea led to the next until I stumbled upon a  "curve ball".

I asked my husband.

Is a curve ball always unexpected? He sad in life yes . In baseball no.

So my question now is, Has life ever thrown you a curve ball?

I know my life has had a few. My most important lessons learned were from hits coming from the left field. I guess, what matters the most is if you actually let it hit you straight in the face or if you manage to zap it straight out of your ball field.

Here are a  few things I learned during those unexpected circumstances.

Roll with the punches.. Life will throw you a curve ball. There;s no way around to it. Life's surprises comes in many forms. But always remember that - You. Can. Do. It. You are sharp and resourceful. If there's a will, there's a way. Answers are all around you. It;s just a matter of believing in your self that you can overcome the challenge.

Snatch that opportunity. I believe that, curve balls, as notorious as they might be, can actually present you with golden opportunities that are worth seizing. Sort of blessings in disguise. As a matter of fact, opportnties are always around you. But sometimes. we are trapped in our own comfort zones We forget that we are capable of  improving ourselves. Don't be complacent. Keep moving and learning.  won't, regret.

You have what it takes.   You've got the power. Hey, do you remember the song "The Power" by Snap.   " I got the power. It's gettin,, It's gettin... It's gettin kinda hectic !"This song just started playing in my head while writing this. You have the core strength to overcome anything. Might not be easy at first. But I found out that curve balls teaches you your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Time helps in the healing process. You grow from each experience. Thereby, giving you a better outlook and hope. 

There's always light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how long or short your travel might be inside this tunnel, that gleam of light is always there waiting for you. I know. Sometimes its hard to even think that the darkness which envelopes you will even set you free. But it will. You're not alone. Talk to your close friend, family, the higher being, God.

Have fun. Take the little moments in your everyday life to enjoy. Take a deep breath, step back and let it be. - Tweet this. 

I know as nurses, we always try to encourage our patients to engage in some form of therapeutic communication. We forget that we nurses, need time to vent and talk about our feelings too. We try to be strong for others, and we neglect ourselves in the process.

Nurses, let's practice what we preach. Take care of yourself first. 

Be safe. Don't loose your grip in life.


Helpful Links:

http://www.suicidentipreveonlifeline.org/ 1-800-273-8255 24/7

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 24/7

National 1-800 Crisis Hotlines.

National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-25-ABUSE

Thursday, September 25, 2014

THE NURSE MUPPET SHOW

Who does not love the precious and delightful muppets. Their unique personalities have made us love, laugh, and admire them ever since we were little. And for the most part. We still do.

But have you ever wondered what kind of nurses these muppets would be?
Think about it. 
Let's take that journey and let our imaginations run wild.


                                                                   Kermit The Frog
Oh so sweet Kermit. Every time I think of Kermit, the song Rainbow Connection starts playing inside my head. Kermit’s strength is his ability to be a perfect leader. He is your one and only charge nurse..  He can’t sit idly either. Especially when he knows someone needs him. I can picture him giving his patients their much needed therapeutic communication, Probably, even the nurses in his team. I can hear him humming.. the lovers, the dreamers and me.


 Miss Piggy
She is my most favorite. Miss Piggy is the diva nurse who always looks at herself in the mirror, fixing her hair and looking at the back of her scrub top. Miss Piggy is the nurse who prefer her patients sleeping or resting all the time. That way she has more time for moi and enjoy her cupcake. She cannot be bothered by anything. But, if one of her patients gives her any problem, she won't have any remorse  using her stern voice and tell that patient to Shut the hell up. If only we can do that right? Watch out for those powerful Karate chops. Ai-ya!


                                                        The Swedish Chef
I've never understood a single word the Swedish Chef had ever said.! Too freaking funny. He has no facial expression whatsoever. But every time he talks, it's hilarious. We have worked with one of this characters at some point. His presence in any nursing unit is automatically good for a laugh because the guy just looks funny. I wanna listen while he gives his patient a discharge instruction!

                                                               Beaker
I'm laughing so hard here, Beaker is a nervous ninny! He easily gets flustered! I can picture him running up and down the nursing unit hallway, blabbering away, running into IV poles and dirty linen baskets. Can you imagine him trying to miter the corners of a hospital bed? Better yet, trying to talk to the doc who wrote an order that is a whole page long and hard to transcribe. Thank God for electronic charting. But wait! Picture Beaker trying to lean EPIC, SUNRISE, PYXIS, DEBOLD and starting an IV stick.

                                                        Pepe The King Prawn
Can you hear him introducing himself to his patients. Hello My name is Nurse Pepe. He might appear to be selfish and egotistical. Somehow though, he always does the right thing. And those arms, he can definitely double triple multi task while explaining everything he's doing. 

                                                                   Mahna Mahna
This guy is just the coolest. He is not known for a whole wide variety of characters.  But his one line skit just seem to make all the difference. He just jazzes everything up! I can see him making his patients feel good just by merely saying Mahna mahna.

                                                                The Count
The Count is your know it all nurse. And, he is the nurse to go to if you need to have someone check your dosage calculations! He will make sure you got everything right. The count is the perfect nurse to do the narcotic inventory. - Tweet that.  One...one morphine, Two...two morphine...Twenty five morphines, ha, ha, ha, ha!


                                                         Cookie Monster
I haven't forgotten about the cookie monster. He is the nurse who only has one thing in his mind. Cookies! His insatiable appetite for cookies make him more fun to watch especially if he has to wait for the go signal to devour the cookies. As monstrous and messy he can be, his patience is what makes him very rewarding to watch. I can see a little bit of cookie monster in all of us nurses who wait for the right time to engorge our savory treats during a hectic work day. 

                                                                    Grover
The cute and lovable Grover. He is so much fun to watch during the early days of Sesame Street. The most memorable for me were the times when he was a waiter. He can never get anything right! Yet. he always managed to try his very best to do the right thing. He is the nurse who will try so hard to please his patients and  give them what they want. Even if he really sucked at it. 



                                                                    Animal
Need I say more?

So there you have it! . A few of the muppets who we can relate to. Each nursing unit has one or all of these  characters. The irony of it all, I feel like we nurses are not too far from being like the muppets when we are working on the floors. You feel like you are being directed in all different directions. 

But let's not forget, that no matter what, be as colorful as these muppets are.  Give yourself a pat on the back for making a difference in someone else's life. The same way like these muppets do.

Thanks to my husband. For giving me the idea to write as to what kind of nurses the muppets would be.