Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Let Go and Let God.

No...I have not started going to AA.  However, this little mantra is occasionally very helpful to me.  Today was one of those days.  I am committed to not letting 'stuff' clutter up my brain this year.  There are quite a few things that I don't need to be worrying about.  So, it's time to let them go.  There are also quite a few things that I don't need to be doing that aren't in line with my mission for 2011.  I am letting them go too.  It's amazing how liberating that can be when you allow yourself to do those things.

I am still on the mend from this stupid cold and I am hopeful that one of these days, I will have my damn voice back.  I am sick of sounding like a croaky old lady when I talk.  I am also ready for this shortness of breath to go away.  I am really missing working out and ready to get back at it.  Going to try it tomorrow with a little Jazzercise class.  Yes, I said Jazzercise.  Never thought I would do that one, but, thanks to Groupon and a fun friend, we are going to try it for a while.  Our goal is 3x/week.  I think it is going to be fun and even better with a friend.  And, hopefully, it will help get the last of these pounds off.  Amazingly, they are starting to fall off on their thanks to eating better the past 10 days.  It's amazing the difference it makes in how I feel....I do not look forward to going out to eat b/c the choices/options are difficult.

So...so far so good on progress for the year.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Seeing green.

So, this week was supposed to be the breakout to an amazing 2011.  Monday, I started the day with a bang and got a million things done that I needed to do...yeah for me....until the funk started settling in.  This nasty green snot funk has knocked me on my ass for the entire week.  No energy, feel like crap, and have a really fuzzy head.  So......so much for my breakout week this week.  However, I am hoping to be through with this crap by the weekend and to try again next week.  However, I can't complain too much....no working out and I am still down 2 lbs...oh wait, I also don't feel like eating...yucky.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hello 2011

I woke up excited this morning.  It must be about the new year and all the great things I have planned.  Or...maybe it was the staying in bed till almost noon with my husband.  I am sure that was part of it, but I think it is the new year too.  As evidenced by the fact it is 1240 and I have already have 3 servings of fruit for the day.  Yes, 3.  Thank you Vitamix for the wonderfully prepared smoothie of banana, mango, and oranges.  Yeah for me...and all my hard work to prep that fruit.  Oh yeah...and I have already picked out my first couple of yoga classes for this coming week.  Yeah for me.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thoughts on the New Year.

Hard to believe that another year has passed and that 2011 will soon be upon us.  I still remember the fun times of celebrating 2000 with a party out on a farm that involved lots of underage drinking and cartwheels with roman candles....but those of you that know me, know that I was only involved in the drinking...no lighting fireworks here.

I am more than pleased with how 2010 has gone.  I have had plenty of overwhelming moments thanks to a career change and missing my Mom.  But, I wouldn't change it for anything.  I have grown A LOT this year, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and in my relationships.  I am thankful for that growth and for moving on when necessary.

There is something everyday that reminds me of my Mom and how much I miss her.  Today it was new sunglasses and new lipstick.  She would have liked both selections.

As I look to 2011, it is time to set out the goals.  I am not much into the resolutions more into looking into the next year on the whole.  I have lots of great ideas and things that will challenge me, teach me, and enrich me.

In no certain order.

1.  More trips with my husband--goal of 3-4 trips with just the two of us.
2.  Sell 4-5 million in real estate.
3.  Continue running.  Goal of running 4-5 5ks and 1-2 10ks.
4.  Continue to improve my health by losing the last 15lbs I want to lose.
5.  Read more non-fiction.  At least one non fiction book/month.
6.  Blog 2x/week.
7.  Go on a mission trip.
8.  Go on a family trip with each of our families
9.  Take more pictures
10.  Kitchen update at the new house--see you later you POS 25 yr old appliances.
11.  Use the VitaMix daily.
12.  Continue to cook/eat at home at least 5 nights a week
13.  Take a class...in something that interests me.

So, that's the scoop.  It's going to be a good year.  Lots of good things to come...I can feel it.

Now...back to my wine.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Holiday PSA

For many, the next 6 weeks are the best 6 weeks of the year.  They love the food, the family time, the hustle and bustle, the road trips, the cocktails parties, and the ugly Christmas sweater parties.  And, in fact, many can't imagine that not everyone gets wrapped up in all of the excitement of the coming weeks.  Everyone loves all of this right?  Everyone has fun this time of year right?  Wrong.  Not to be a giant Scrooge, but there are a lot of people that are not in love with this time of year.  This time of year is bittersweet for more than you can probably imagine.  For many, it signifies another holiday without their cherished love one, their last holiday with a loved one, or their first holiday without someone special.  I am not recommending that everyone walk around on eggshells but I am reminding people to be cognizant of those around you.  

This time of year is a struggle for many.  Most of them try to put on a brave face to be just as jolly as the next person.  However, it is often a very bittersweet time of year.  So, when you see someone that doesn't seem to love it all as much as you do, maybe you should consider that maybe there is an excellent reason for that.   

Monday, November 1, 2010

The difference a year makes.

Over the past few weeks, I have been struck by the difference of this Fall from last Fall.  Of course, this time last Fall, I was just recovering from pneumonia  and winding my way through some nasty gallbladder attacks....But....that being said.  It's amazing how different it feels.

Not sure if you all noticed, but the leaves changes colors this time of year.  You are probably all saying ' no shit' in your head....However, I have to say that I completely missed that last year.  And, maybe part of that is because I was living way out in the burb land of no trees....But, most of it had to do with my own little fog I lived in.

The one thing I remember most about last Fall was coffee.  And, as dumb as that sounds, it is absolutely true.  My almost daily stop at Starbucks was worth every penny of that almost 4 dollar drink.  That stuff was therapy in a cup.  And, most days, it was the one thing I looked forward to.

As the retailers have politely reminded me, Christmas is coming.  Last year, I would have given anything for that one to pass me by.  So far, this year isn't feeling the same.  Although, I admit that familiar pain came right up in Nordstrom on Friday.  Damn the stupid lip gloss.  The Christmas gift sets are out at the cosmetics counters at Nordy's.  And, Mom always got me one.  Some silly sparkly Christmas promo...but I loved it.

So...what will the holidays bring this year.  To be honest, who knows.  My hope is that we are all actually together rather than stranded here in a blizzard.  In general, I think it will be better.  Not what it used to be.  But better than last year.

I am starting to make my lists of gift ideas.  Some are actually pretty good.  However, it just isn't the same without my buddy to bounce all my ideas off of.

As I am reminded every day, she left too soon.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Two Amazing Ladies.

I was lucky enough to go to dinner with two amazing nurses who will always hold a special place in my heart.  They were nominated (by me) for a very special nursing award.  Check out a few pictures below and of course, read their nominations.

The first entry below is about Wilma Guilbeau--on the right above.

In my opinion, there is no higher honor in the Kansas City nursing community than to be nominated for the Heart of Healthcare award.  And, throughout my professional career as a nurse, I have had the opportunity to know many good nurses.  However, I have had the privilege of working with and knowing one that is exceptional. 
                Wilma Guilbeau has been a fixture of the University of Kansas Hospital Emergency Department for over 20 years.  There, she has provided exceptional care to thousands of patients and has been part of a team that has also saved thousands of lives.  She provides a level of care that is heads above many of her colleagues and difficult to match.  Wilma expects only the best from herself as well as her colleagues.  Each shift, she models to others the ways that care should be given.  She treats each patient with dignity and respect and serves as their advocate as long as is necessary.  In my opinion, Wilma is the original patient advocate.   For those that are lucky enough to work with her, she shares her knowledge and expertise on a daily basis so that they are a better practitioner.  She is always willing to help at the triage desk, start a difficult IV, provide an extra hand with a difficult patient, or hold the hand of a dying patient so they do not die alone.   As a nurse in the Cardiac Cath Lab at KU, I often received patients from Wilma.  Many times, those patients were in grave condition.  However, I knew that if I was getting a patient from Wilma, that the patient was well taken care of and their chances were better because Wilma was their nurse.  When she isn’t teaching others in the ER or serving on a committee to improve the care that is provided there, she is teaching Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) to other professionals.   
Just over one year ago, my Mom and my best friend, suffered a massive stroke.  As I walked through the doors of the University of Kansas Hospital Emergency Department to meet my Mom who had been flown there, the first person I asked for was Wilma. Not only did I know that Wilma was exceptionally skilled and that she would give my Mom the best chance at survival but I also I knew that Wilma would  take exceptional care of  my family.  As I waited for my Mom to arrive and contemplated the unknown, Wilma was kind enough to get me the quiet room I needed and a much needed box of Kleenexes.  As soon as my Mom arrived to the ER, she was personally escorted by Wilma to the ICU where she would receive her care.  Following her shift, Wilma came to that same ICU to provide emotional support and to assure that we had everything that we needed.  Throughout that weekend, she continued to visit the waiting room with various supplies of snacks, jackets to keep us warm, and Kleenex.  While the Neuroscience team cared for my Mom, she cared for our family as though we were her patients or her own family.  I know that this level of care is not the exception with Wilma.  This level of care is the rule. 
                And, while Wilma provides excellent care inside the walls of the hospital, she provides it outside as well.  Throughout the past year, Wilma has helped one of her best friend’s lead a valiant fight against breast cancer.  She has taken her friend to weekly treatments, doctor’s appointments, and radiation therapy.  She has also provided many a meal and child care relief to help her friend ‘fight the good fight’.   She has once again given of herself to be an amazing nurse and friend. 
                Wilma Guilbeau  is a patient listener, a patient’s best advocate, a skilled practitioner, and a natural leader.  In my opinion, young nurses should aspire to be the nurse that Wilma Guilbeau is every day.  Wilma has given her life to care for others, therefore, it would only be fitting to honor Wilma with the Heart of Healthcare Award.  She exemplifies what it means to be an exceptional nurse each and every day. 

Nomination for Jennifer Medellin ( on the left above)

In my opinion, there is no greater honor in Kansas City than being nominated for the Heart of Healthcare Award.  After witnessing the level of caring and expertise that one of the nurses at the University of Kansas Hospital Neuroscience Intensive Care gave last year, her nomination for this award was not a question.
On July 10, 2009, I told my Mom that I loved her over the phone shortly before she went to bed.  That night, while she slept, she suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke.  The next morning, when she was unable to be aroused, she was examined at her local hospital in La Crosse, KS.  There, she was diagnosed with a massive stroke, one week before a proposed surgery to remove a recently diagnosed carcinoid tumor.  From the small hospital in Western Kansas, she was flown by fixed wing aircraft at my direction to the University of Kansas Hospital.  As a former  KU nurse, I knew that she would receive the best medical and nursing care available.  Over the course of her three day stay, I was overwhelmed by the level of care that she did receive.  And, while the care of her medical staff was exceptional, the nursing care that she received exceeded my highest expectations. 
Over the course of the weekend, we were able to determine that the stroke that my Mom had suffered was so massive that she would be unable to recover.  Therefore, we made the difficult decision that it was necessary to remove her from the machines that were sustaining her life.  On the evening of Sunday, July 12th, she was extubated, her last rites were administered, and comfort care measures were instituted. 
Shortly before 7am on July 13, her care was assumed by Jennifer Lewis.  As a nurse, I knew that she was going to have a difficult shift.  She was going to have a death on her shift.  And, while on a unit where that happens regularly, that is never something that is welcomed.  She began her shift by coming in to offer her emotional support, her nursing excellence, and fresh refills on our hospital coffee.  Even though she knew what her shift would bring, she was smiling.  Throughout the next few hours, she would offer many hugs, words of support, and a few tears as well.  However, one of the most poignant memories of her care was when she offered to make hand molds of my Mom’s hands.  My Mom had beautiful hands.  Her nails were always perfectly manicured and painted in the latest shade of OPI Red.  Jennifer shared with me that she had made similar molds of her grandmother’s hands a few weeks prior in her grandmother’s final hours.  She offered that she loved being able to put her hand in the mold of her grandmother’s.   I knew that I was going to miss holding my Mom’s hand as well so it was only fitting for us to make those molds of her hands as well.  At the time, I wasn’t sure how often I would take them out of their box.  Since then, however, I have been incredibly thankful to have them.  Before a routine surgery last fall, I was able to slip my hand inside my Mom’s for some much needed support.  If it wasn’t for Jennifer, I wouldn’t have had that opportunity. 
Jennifer related to me as a daughter and as a nurse.  She welcomed my questions about my Mom’s care in her final hours and let me participate as I wished.  She held my hand, hugged me, and gave me the much needed support I needed when I was struggling to be strong for my Dad.  She helped me to organize a cocktail party in the room shortly before her passing that celebrated and honored her life.  She was readily available when we needed her and respectfully distant when we needed that as well. 
Jennifer Lewis loves being a nurse and it is exhibited in the manner in which she takes care of her patients and families.  During the final hours of my Mom’s life, Jennifer provided the same exceptional care to our family that she also provided to her patient.  With her help, I was able to give my Mom the ‘good death’ that she deserved.
Since my Mom’s untimely passing, I have made multiple trips to the unit to visit, what feels like, an extended family.  Each time, when she has been working, I have been welcomed by Jennifer with open arms.  And, while I would like to think that my case is exceptional, I know it is not.  I know that each day that Jennifer Lewis works, patients and families are receiving exceptional care. 
I am honored that she was the nurse to provide care to my Mom in her final hours.  And, I can think of no better way to honor her love of nursing than by honoring her with the Heart of Healthcare Award.