Nursing, Parenthood, & Life

Updates and musings from one momma nurse


Saturday, October 19, 2013


My patient unexpectedly developed a serious issue and was rushed off to emergency surgery. Just before he was wheeled off my unit, I caught the eye of two nursing students, who had been watching with awe as the situation developed and was handled.

"So exciting!" one gushed.

Those two words hit me like a punch in the stomach.

Exciting? I could think of many words to describe the situation, but exciting wasn't the first to come to mind.







Four years ago, however, I probably would have reacted the same way they did. Here's a chance to see something new! I can totally write about this in my clinical reflection! When else am I going to experience this particular type of case, unless I work in a particular field of nursing? Can't wait to tell my classmates and instructors about this one! Maybe he'll develop some sort of complication to make it even more interesting!

Amazing what a few years in the field can do to your perspective.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

We recently dipped a proverbial toe into the waters of pageantry, and have easily come to the decision to pull that toe back out.

Sweet Pea was asking for several months about being in a pageant. I basically ignored the request initially, since many of her passions are fleeting at this age (5). She persisted, so I did some research.

I found a local pageant that seemed to be less cray-cray than the ones you might see on cable television (no spray tans allowed, makeup/outfits are to be age appropriate, all participants get a crown, etc), so I signed her up.

Sweet Pea was stoked. She strutted around the living room blowing kisses and twirling. She talked nonstop about the pageant. She was disappointed when I told her she wouldn't be on tv.

Checking herself out pre-pageant.
And then we got there.

Sweet Pea got overwhelmed.

She was shy.

She kept her fingers in her mouth for about half of her time on stage, and bawled on the way home about not getting a trophy (despite the new tiara on her head).

Little miss apprehensive

Needless to say, we are going to stick to pursuing alternate interests, such as gymnastics and soccer. Enjoyment and aptitude go a long way!

Lined up for their first turn on stage. Spot Sweet Pea!

You can take the cray-cray out of the pageant rules, but you can't take the cray-cray out of the parents. These two were more entertaining than their toddler.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Unsolicited Advice

On the way out of Library Storytime with a tired toddler, a stranger initiated conversation.

"Before I get on the elevator, I'm going to tell you a secret."
"Chamomile tea."
...For what?
Nods in direction of the kids. "Babies."
*puzzled look*
"You can put it in anything. Milk. Whatever. I had four babies, and the last two were twins."

Elevator doors open, ending our brief conversation as awkwardly as it began.

There you have it. The secret to babies is apparently chamomile tea.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Today, I had the potential opportunity to sleep in an hour or two, because I will be going in to work a bit later than usual.

Guess who was up at the usual time?

That's right; the two girls who normally have to be dragged cajoled coaxed carried out of bed were both awake and READY TO BE UP RIGHT NOW long before the sun.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kid Stories

It's been a while since I've recapped kid stories on here. With the girls getting older, they are both giving me more blog material but less time to blog! Ironic.

Bright Eyes (14 months) moved up to the toddler room at her daycare. One major change from the infant room to the toddler room is the naptime arrangements. Cribs? History. Cots! She doesn't seem big/old enough to be sleeping on a cot, but I hear that she's doing well with it, and has taken great naps for them.

The other day, Sweet Pea laid down on the floor, and Bright Eyes toddled over and started rubbing her back, just like her teachers do for her at naptime.

We've had tear-free dropoffs up until this week; part of the benefit of starting daycare at such a young age. Well, days 1 and 2 in the toddler room broke our streak! On day 3, however, she barely waved at me as I left. The secret? I dropped her off at a mealtime, and apparently a plate of food is interesting enough to engage her so I can slip out!

Bright Eyes is also making progress with her communication skills. She often waves and says, "Hi!" She's recently added "mama" to her reportoire (though sometimes it is MAMAMAMA!) and seems to associate it with me. She is picking up signs pretty quickly now, and uses "more", "milk" (our sign for nursing), "please", and "sit" appropriately.

I asked her one night if she wanted to read, and she looked around, grabbed a book, and sat in my lap and opened the book.

When I hold up a shoe, she holds up her foot for shodding. She also likes trying to put her own socks on.

Silverware is fascinating to her! She once used a spoon to try to eat a saltine cracker.

Sweet Pea (5) has made big strides with reading since just before her birthday. She had known letter sounds for a long time but didn't seem to be able to keep all the pieces of information in her head and put the sounds together into a word. Now she can look at a word, sound it out to herself, and read it to me. So neat to see!

One nice thing about the girls being the ages they are is that the baby/toddler books that Bright Eyes likes are great for Sweet Pea to practice reading. Win-win!

Hmm, how about some quotes? Sweet Pea has had many that have cracked me up. Going to C&P from FB.

"I love you a hundred much, Momma."

(I voted early. Took the kids with me. Once I'd cast my ballot..) "But won't the other one feel bad?"

(While listening to music in the car) "If I could snap, I'd snap to this beat!"

The sun was streaming down from behind some clouds.) "Is that yellow cloud Jesus?"

"Who was the first one to think of cupcakes? You're older than I am. You should know! When were they first invented? 1968?"

(I was explaining that God loves us all the time, no matter what. She was incredulous.) "Even if you say the word 'booty butt?'"

I love eavesdropping on the girls' room at night through the monitor. One recent fussy night, I heard, "Bright Eyes, I am going to give you five chances, ok? Now GO TO SLEEP."
(While walking through the grocery store parking lot)
"...And if you step on the yellow lines, they will catch you on FIRE, and then you will have to stop, rock, and roll!"
"Do you see that orange star over there? It looks like the one they followed when Jesus got born."
"Sweet Pea, that's a street light."
"Well, it looks like a star."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Conflicting Values

"I watched my mother go through Alzheimer's," confided my elderly patient. "My dad had some form of dementia, too. I'm already fumbling for words, and that terrifies me. I'm 90 years old and realistically, I only have one or two good years left before I start battling big health problems. Stroke, heart attack, dementia; it's just a matter of time, and I do not want to go through that! Do you know of anyone who can help me with an assisted suicide?"

Well, what do you know? Four years in this place, and this is the first time I have ever been asked that question.

In the few seconds before I answer, I am doing a rapid mental assessment to determine whether this patient is at risk for self-harm. That will affect my next move. My gut says no.

How do I feel about assisted suicide? Is that pertinent to this conversation? I decide my own values and opinions need to go on a back burner. I tell the patient this is a new question for me and that I'm not sure where to go with it, but that I will do a little digging and get back to him.

First step: Document the conversation in the chart and give the charge nurse a heads-up.

Second step: Call the chaplain for ideas.

Third step: Leave a note for the physicians to pass along the chaplain's suggestion.

Fourth step: Return to the patient and let him know what steps have been taken.

Do I have opinions on the issue? Absolutely. I have some strong opinions that would fall under the category "Sanctity of Life," and assisted suicide is no exception. Did my patient ask me to share those opinions? Absolutely not. Should I withhold care, or shy away from researching answers as I would do for any other question asked, just because my patient's values do not line up neatly with my own? Again, I say, absolutely not.

My patients deserve the same level of care no matter who they are, why they are there, how they treat me, or what they believe. That is my duty as a nurse, and it is my honor and privilege as a human being providing care for other humans.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Peaks and Troughs

The normal patient load on my particular unit for my shift is 5-6 patients per nurse.

One shift, I started with six patients. Four units of blood, two blown IV sites, one home care set-up, and two late discharges later, it was an hour after the "end" of my shift and I was just beginning my charting. I clocked out about 2.5 hours after shift change.

My next shift (a few days later), I started with four patients. By a few minutes after 9, I had passed all their morning medications and charted all my assessments. When a new patient transferred to my unit, I tucked him in, charted on him, and made the appropriate calls. I had time to eat lunch. I had time to pump.

It's amazing what a difference one or two patients can make!

Another thing that made that latter shift stand out in my mind is that that was the day I was asked to precept a capstone nursing student this semester. (I gladly accepted.) Can't wait!