life distracts

No apologies, just acknowledging that living life day to day sometimes will distract.

Doctors’ appointments and wondering what pediatrician’s office doesn’t have these germ encrusted toys that our kids always want to play with? Sorry, some things micro preemie moms just never let go even when their extremely premature baby is now a teenager.

Road trips…for more doctors’ office visits.

Exhausting they are…completely.

Back to school adventures begin and we pause wondering how in the world can she be in SECOND GRADE??!!

And how can she possibly be hundreds of miles from home starting college which includes a class studying Orange Is The New Black? She better ace that class. I mean it.

Then there’s work…

and laundry…yes, still…

Life distracts from taking the time to sit down and write about life and I offer no apology because life distracts…and because I have several loads of laundry waiting to be folded.

One would imagine that with only 2 of my 5 children remaining here under The Big Top that there would be so much less to juggle. One would be wrong.

Give me a sec to adjust this juggling act.

this moment

This moment.

So many feels right now as I capture this moment. I’m not the only one either.

This moment we can’t help but be even more thankful for. This moment we wish that we could have shared with more…side eye at some who might not have bothered to check and perhaps respond to text messages. This moment that just five months ago might not have been possible. This moment that will not be a possibility for a dear, old friend whom we have known for as long as we all have been much too young people having babies. This moment we shake our head in shock that someone we share so much history with is gone. This moment we wonder why his family and why not ours. This moment we cry and share our love because life is just too tenuous. This moment we pray for our dear friend, his amazing wife and his wonderful children.

This moment. This moment we give thanks. This moment we celebrate.

thinkers and dreamers we are

And just in case I have not been paying attention to what’s in the news in and around the Central Valley over the last couple of weeks, I have acquaintances to remind me…especially if it is news that might indirectly affect me, is indirectly about me or what might be important to me…bonus points if it is perceived to be news in a negative light.

Aren’t some acquaintances and friends good for things like that?

Yeah.

In the news recently here in the Central Valley was a recent article that suggests certain hospitals in the Valley are price gouging. Of course some people I know want to know how do I feel about being a price gouger?

Um…

Because while caring for critically ill babies, I am jacking up the prices of the care and services that I provide?

Here’s the thing, even the authors of this recently released study concede that they are not including discounts offered for care and services to the uninsured and insured patients. Factoring in these these discounts would have had a significant effect on the cost-to-charge ratio reported, and therefore the implications of the study’s results. Which goes to show you that one can not and should not just accept a study, any study as valid and absolute truth based on its conclusions…“Dr.” Wakefield’s study linking autism to vaccinespatients’ perceptions of nurses with tattoos and body piercings immediately come to mind.

For what it’s worth, as a nurse at the bedside, I am not setting the prices for the care I give, the medications I deliver, the equipment I use while doing my job. I’m too busy saving lives, providing healing care, providing education to my patients’ family members of their babies diagnosis, condition along with how the medications I administer and the care I give will help their baby and how to take care of their own baby while in the NICU and after discharge.

My workplace is the only hospital in the community of Modesto and Stanislaus County to provide care for everyone, regardless of ability to pay; that’s millions of dollars of uncompensated and charity care provided rather than charged. My workplace employs over 2,100 people, contributes well over $250 million to the local workforce annually as well as contributes over $3.7 million in local taxes every year. Our hospital and employees this year have provided over 50 educational seminars for local schools and community groups, participated in more than 70 community events and regularly contribute to over 50 local non-profit and charitable organizations.

Thinkers. Dreamers. That’s us.

It is what drives us all to serve our community the way that we do at the bedside directly and in and around the community and out-lying areas. It is being thinkers and dreamers that inspires us every day to do what we do and even do it better.

Our hospital continues to receive top grades in patient safety including our overall performance on safety outcomes, including preventing errors, accidents and infections. The unit I work in has had more than 6 years of ZERO CABSI incidents. It was thinkers and dreamers in our unit who dared to imagine that it was possible to have absolutely no catheter line associated bacterial infections. Such strong work has been recognized nationally and even within our hospital as the staff who cared for my darling husband talked about what we are doing in the NICU and how they are hoping to implement the same. Lucky for them, and other local agencies in the valley, one of my colleagues will be providing education next month on our journey to zero and how it is possible. Fellow employees at my workplace provide the type of trauma, stroke and cardiac care that is literally the Gold standard of care here in this Valley which Silver and Bronze awarded local facilities strive to emulate…something I am proud of and most definitely thankful for, you know, since they saved my darling husband’s life.

Yes, one study might contort and twist and suggest less than favorable things about where I work but, dear acquaintances and friends quick to point that out, I would counter do your homework and check the facts especially when you decide where you want to be when you need to be in the hospital. Me, I’m choosing a place with thinkers and dreamers who are providing the very best of care and often times making the impossible possible.

80 days later…

Two weeks ago, Bill was working it up on a treadmill literally wired all up for sound.

Wired all up for ultrasound that is…a stress echocardiogram along with a 48 hour monitor and cardiac labs all to determine if he was healthy enough to return to work and play and basically normal life…or at least a new normal life not smoking, taking multiple cardiac and cholesterol medications twice daily, exercising more and eating better.

And the verdict is labs are still a bit off but his heart is strong enough to return to work and ease slowly back into his Krav Maga workouts. Oh, and the cardiologist commends the wife, that’s me, because the diet changes are working. The diet changes that basically I have done all along but someone might not have been eating…AHEM!

And so 80 days later, after the STEMI, the 100% right coronary artery blockage that could have been, should have been fatal according to Bill’s cardiologist, my darling husband has been here the last three days.

Believe me, he is smiling on the inside. He’s back to work. He’s at a job site on a project that he was hoping to be working on because, like the Levi’s Stadium project that he was a part of, this is kind of cool.

At our dinner celebration last night, he shared with me just how awesome this is because back to work…and alive…and celebrating another year together…

The conversation went on as he reflected on a coworker, age 46, who died from the same type of heart attack the same week Bill had his…and an old friend the same age who also passed recently…and a younger, former colleague…and the father of someone we’ve known for the past 10 years who was not that much older than we are. I’ll confess the last one shocked me because I did not know what he died from, just that, sadly, he died very unexpectedly. But Bill is friends with our friend on Facebook so he was privy to the details. The loss of all of them was sobering, very sobering. Sitting beside my darling husband right now I can not imagine the pain and grief their families must be feeling even though we came so close…much too close 80 days ago.

Bill agrees.

So much has happened the last 80 days or so. We can’t help but think about life, fate, luck, grace and how close we came to not being here now more than 80 days later.

And what happened to these two kids from 1982 because if you look past the damaged heart and grey hair and no hair and creakier limbs and worry lines and laugh lines, they are still there…somewhere.

Thankful.

So very thankful.

Heart Attack Warning Signs

Chest Discomfort- Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain

Discomfort in other areas of the Upper Body- Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

IF THESE SIGNS ARE PRESENT CALL 911!!!

Learn CPR!!!

Your actions can help save a life…perhaps the life you love most.

adventures in pet sitting

When you regard a mother of five healthy, bright, engaging children, ages ranging from 28 to 13, you might imagine that this person certainly can manage the care and feeding of someone’s beloved fur-baby…

especially a cat, because, it’s a cat.

Cats do what they want, where they want. Your job is to keep the food bowl full, the litter box clean, share your lap and, if they so decide, offer a little bit of affection…not too much though…they’re not needy, pet-me-all-the-time dogs.

This can’t be hard.

Heh!

True, Albert is comfortable enough under The Big Top now to TAKE OVER our bed; but he is also relaxed enough to open doors and possibly turning on the water in the kids’ bathroom and letting it run for at least an hour or more during the night…severe California drought and family circus water conservation efforts be damned. Don’t argue with the whole he has no opposable thumbs thing because he can literally open doors!

Still he seems to be settled. He even let me pet him…once…and he is quite happy to curl up next to me when I am sleeping during the day when I am Vampira, the Night Shift Nurse. Yes, Zelda is curled up on the other side and I am waaay over-heated.

Even Zelda has settled into a playfully antagonistic almost sibling-like relationship with him…or perhaps younger auntie/older nephew relationship which seems awfully familiar as I recall my first born and my youngest sister’s relationship as they grew up. At least Zelda and Albert haven’t drawn blood…yet.

That doesn’t mean that there has not been blood.

Being the nurturing pet-sitter that I am, I gifted Albert with a lovely collar  He wears it well and I can hear him when he stalks me. Zoë warns me that it won’t last.

Of course I don’t listen or ask why.

I’m having fun pet sitting.

Easter Sunday evening came the blood. Albert decided that he had had enough with the fancy blue collar with the bell and tried to take it off getting it stuck partly in his mouth and choking him. Such a bloody mess…and a very angry, scared cat.

Naturally the 24 hour pet hospital is closed because it is Easter Sunday and this is my family and we only do things like this over holidays, vacations and out of town travel.

So Bill and I corral the frightened, angry, choking, bleeding cat, remove the collar and try to clean away the blood to figure out just how badly hurt he is and if he needs to see a vet. After a time, the blood is washed away revealing a cut nose and a lop-sided, swollen mouth…and a very angry cat piercing us with his Zoë warned you angry eyes!

Yes, she did.

This girl. This cat. This girl’s cat. This girl’s cat just might be the death of me. Thank goodness he is okay because he is this girl’s everything. Of course he makes no apology because he is a cat…and an asshole.

No one ever ask me to pet sit.

I’m serious.