Friday, January 30, 2009

Those who wander are not always lost

I graduated from nursing school the Spring of 1999 working my first 2 years on medical surgical units and the last 8 I have been primarily based out of the Emergency department along with several side jobs. The first 3 years I worked exclusively in the ED 32 hour day shifts. I was VERY naive when I first started in the ED but it did not take much time to realize that you cannot always be Mr. Nice Guy, drug seekers are AMAZING actors, people with personality disorders are masters of manipulation, people really DO fake seizures, NEVER trust a drunk, and a good portion of the population should have had their children taken from them at birth. This list truly could go on and on........

After being an ER nurse for a short time I experienced a tragedy that will forever be sketched in my brain. It was toward the end of a 12 hour shift when paramedics came rolling in with a young woman in her late 20's. She had been in a MVC (motor vehicle crash) while driving to a local Fair with her 2 young children. She was pale and unresponsive on arrival without a blood pressure. Not a scratch on her. Before long a surgeon determined she had an aortic dissection.
Within minutes he cut her chest open then proceeded to manually crack her ribs. He used his fingers to clear the blood that was pooling in her heart chamber. In awe I watched her heart beat after beat. We all work so hard to save her life. As blood, fluids, and medications poured into her we rushed her to the operating room leaving a trail of blood from one department to another. The surgeon and the OR staff did all they could but were unable to save her. The surgeon, OR & ER staff weeped as they told her family of her demise. Her oldest boy (I think he was 8) wanted to say goodbye so along with his family they went into the OR. The boy thought she was merely sleeping and tried to wake her. As he stood beside his Mother a tear came down her face. This would be the last memory of his Momma.

Little did I know how MANY more traumatic injuries, experiences, and deaths I would be encounter over the next several years.

You never forget the sadness of parent after the loss of a child from SIDS. The memory of a mother and father rocking their baby for the last time before handing their precious bundle over to the nurse who has the dreaded task of delivering the baby to the morgue. We had 2 of these cases in the ED when I was pregnant with Leah.

You never forget the reaction of a parent when they think you are coming out to tell them their toddler did not survive. I can vividly remember walking out into the ambulance doors to update a family on a child's condition. (10 month old near drowning in a bucket of water) The mother dropped to the ground crying and screaming unable to comprehend that he was still alive after she found him lifeless after getting distracted for a moment while washing her floor.

You never forget the blood curdling scream of a parent when they find out their teenage son was killed in a car accident while his sister was driving home from the methadone clinic and fell asleep at the wheel.

Again this list could continue on and on. As you can imagine it is the illness and death of a child deeply affects health care providers most.

When you work in the ED for any amount of time there are so many stories to tell, not just sad.

There are funny ones, the guy with an "object" stuck up his behind that does not want to share the information with the triage nurse for fear that everyone will find out. Well honey when you have to go to endoscopy to have something so deep removed the word is gonna get around.

Then there are sick ones, like the middle age man that is caught having "relations" with the families Golden Retriever. Then there was disturbed teenage boy that was caught sodomizing 2 dogs with a broom stick, his grandfather was a convicted serial killer.

These lists too could go on but these are just a few blips of the last 8 years that pop into my mind as I type. I always said I could write a book about the experiences of being an ER nurse. I journaled a bit about it but that was far as I went.

While working in the ED I was actively involved in education, attending seminars, a member of Emergency Nurses professional association, and one of the few that tested and became a Board Certified Emergency Nurse.

After a few years as a positioned staff nurse I went per diem so I could spread my wings looking for new horizons. I worked at a trauma center in the ER, as a critical care transport nurse, a critical care nurse, and as a college health nurse. Despite all my endeavors nothing quite did it for me. I always returned to working mainly in the ED until I started working in Radiology as an Interventional Nurse. It did not take me long to realize this is where I wanted to be.

It is hard to describe our role in Radiology and nobody else really knows either. It is a unit like no other. It is a combination of working in day surgery, the OR, PACU/recovery. In addition we respond to all emergencies in our department and we care for critically ill patients and our patients become critically ill after some high risk procedures which sometimes lead complications. In a nutshell that is what it is! I explain this because I have recently had to answer some annoying questions from others that do not know what goes on radiology. Like, "what do you do, take pictures all day?" or "aren't you bored". NO, actually it is a pretty busy place, always something to do!

We do TONS of procedures! Just a few examples: nephrostomy tubes, embolizations, arteriograms with stenting and arthroplasty, portacaths, thoracentisis, biopsies, peg tubes, VCUG's (yuk, we have to cath kids), bronchoscopies........and on and on.....

And NO I won't "loose my skills" working in Radiology. (excuse my sarcasm) We start LOTS of IV's, insert catheters, place chest tubes, sedate patients (that is a major role of ours), and cardiac monitoring......

Ok, so we try not to defibrillate our patients unless needed and if someone is having an MI (myocardial infarction) we do not TNK (clot buster) them in our department. But there are SO many of the skills that I have learned in the ED that I use on a daily basis and I am SO thankful to have had such a solid foundation.

I have enjoyed working in the ED and have learned SO much both professionally and on a personal level.


I will miss the acute MI's, the trauma patient, the adrenalin rush of a code, and the successful resuscitation of a patient but I will not miss all the BS that goes along with it nor will I miss working nights, weekends, and holidays! :)

I now enjoy working in a department when EVERY ONE of your patients is appreciative and thankful for your care.

I love the people I work with: the techs, radiologists, secretaries, and of course the AWESOME nurses I work with.

Lastly, I am SO THANKFUL I have this job and despite the failing economy I pray I am not on the chopping block for upcoming layoff's that are said to happen at our hospital in the next 2 weeks because I'll be back working in the ED and that will be a whole other post;)

I apologize for the long drawn out post but these are a few things I had on my mind and wanted to get out.
Anyway, with 10 feet of snow and freezing temps there is not much farm activity to report.


Monday, January 26, 2009

You Guessed It!

I didn't have you on Rona's behind but I had a few of you on the MUD PUPPY .

Many of you were correct or REAL close. MM & the kids caught it when they went out ice fishing over the weekend. Luke also caught a pickerel but I have no pictures to share because it was SO darn cold and windy. We will be going up North to my dad's in a few weeks and this photo girl will be out braving the elements (in the shack cooking and drinking cocoa) so there will some good ice fishing photo's to follow like last years pictures.

There was a great reponse in comments. I enjoyed reading them all from near and far and a few new faces. I will be checking in on all your blogs within the next couple days.

I will end this brief post with a little something MM read to me tonight from a book he is reading called If you didn't bring jerky, what did I just eat?

Do you ever find yourself thinking about deer when your mind should be on other things? Have you drifted off in a meeting and suddenly realized that everyone is staring at you, waiting for you to answer a question from the boss that you didn't hear? And so you had to wing it, responding, "Um...Maybe we're rattling to often?" You may be suffering from chronic preoccupation with deer (CPD). This is a seasonal disorder affecting millions of men, often with devastating consequences for their relationships, jobs, and self-esteem. In addition to a weak stream of thought, typical symptoms include:

* Frequent urges to go deer hunting

* A desire to go even though you just went.

* Suddenly needing to stop the car to go.

* Waking one or more times a night to go.

If you have experienced even one of the above signs, you're at risk for CPD.............

If you are not a hunter or a hunter's widow come hunting season you may not find this funny but I was laughing my tail off because that is MM ALL the way. I finally have a diagnosis!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sunday Stills on Saturday Night

Another week of Sunday Stills photo challenge this week subject was whatever so here it is.... From the imagination of an 8 year old. Can you guess what this is?

How about the pictures below, do you have any idea what this is?

Not the best shot but it gives you a better idea of size and shape.


p.s. MM didn't kill me for the last post, he laughed. Whew!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

See Why Maine Man is Our Hero

The other morning after MM arrived home for work and headed off to bed I found this list on the kitchen table. It was from a moral boosting activity they had on his unit.

This is the what John's co-workers described him as :











See I told ya he was a keeper! He will probably have my hide for writing this post but knowing him it'll be a week or so before he reads it. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Independence Days Challenge- Week 7

For the last year I have been reading Touch the Earth Farm and I enjoy all her posts but I was always entrigued by her Independence Days Challenge lists. Today as I was blog browsing I saw that My Freezer is Full is also doing this challenge and the lightbulb went on and I have decided to do it! I may not update weekly but I'll try.

Here goes..........

Plant Something: As I posted before basil (which the cats have already destroyed), dill, cilantro, lettuce, cukes.

Harvest Something: eggs? and mung bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts

Store Something: nothing unless making up my weekly jar of pickled eggs & making my monthly batch of laundry detergent counts.

Manage Reserves: Used up potatoes, squash, onions, and garlic from root cellar and from the freezer we took out and consumed chicken, deer hamburg and steak, pork chops & bacon, tomatoes, zuchhini, green beans, and corn on the cob, and bread flour.

Cook something new: I made an Angel Food cake that was "the bomb" per MM. If you have lots of eggs handy this is a great recipe to use them for and it is low in calories. I just used a recipe from Betty Crocker's cook book.

Prep Something: I am prepping an area for a pantry and MM has been prepping lots of pine boards.

Reduce Wastes: I have FINALLY started to officially recycle and my plan is to get some reusable shopping bags and keep a stash of them in the car I drive most.

Learn a new skill: I have been learning to cook and eat healthier. I also continue to do the weekly photo challenge striving to be better behind the lens.

Work on communiy food security: I recenly attended a work shop on co-ops and I hope to get one started.

Regeneate what is lost: this is a tricky one and can be answered in many ways. My piggies are making lots of poo for a future garden plot...does that count? They are regenerating the earth to grow a bountiful crop.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Stills

Over at Sunday Stills this weeks photo challenge is Color. So since there is not much color outside except white, brown, and blue this time of year in Maine here are a few indoor pictures I took over the weekend. The above picture is of some buttercup squash we had for dinner last night. We still have a reserve in the root cellar although I whined on a previous post that we had a good amount of losses in the squash stash. I think I have 3 left along with an acorn and a spaghetti squash.

We also ate some potatoes over the weekend.....baked, mashed, and home fries. We will be out by February. Next year we hope to plant enough to get us a little further into the year.

Don't you love that counter top, 1960's 70's??? Gotta love it!
Our onions are still looking good and we have a still have quite a few if they hold up. Not very colorful....sorry.
Unfortunately this is store bought corn. We froze several bags of corn on the cob that has held up but I did not put up any kernels....maybe this year. A good portion of the food we are eating now is what we have raised or grown although we are still supermarket dependent for many items. I plan on buying a pressure canner this year along with a cow so that will allow us to put up more food that is grown here on the farm. Looking back to our meals a year ago I never would have imagined we would have come this far.
I went to a seminar on co-ops this week I am very interested in starting one. For any locals that are interested let me know, I have a price list I can send you. I would like to start with 10 local families.
Luke had an idea to make some candy out of snow and warm maple syrup. He has been reading a book called, Little House in the Big woods and this is how the pioneer children made candy back in the day. So the kids did some experimenting and they were successful in making maple sugar candy.

Anxious for spring we planted a few things today. We planted lettuce, cucumbers, basil, dill, and cilantro.

I cut up a cool whip cover to use as markers for the plants. I had my hand in one of the photos but quickly deleted, I could never be a hand model that is for sure!

MM's tractor has come in handy this winter, sure beats snow blowing! He does not have a plow for it but the bucket and box blade work just fine clearing the driveway.

Thankfully it has warmed up but this week the temperatures dropped to 20 below zero in this area and and at my dad's (up north) he said it was 36 below one morning. Our animals survived, the pigs seemed to tolerate it the most and the chickens the least.

Leave a boy alone with his friend and what do they do? Well, naturally bury his sister in the snow. She loved every minute of it!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Angie's Gourd Bowls

Angie at Children in the Corn made these AWESOME gourd bowls and I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this tutorial! She guest posted at Women Not Dabling. Check out her post here. I couldn't resist and had to share this with the world and I wanted it in my archives as well so I could easily refer to it the fall. I CANNOT wait to grow and make these along with some of the birdhouses she made. What great Christmas presents!

MM has been doing some research on meat bunnies and he would like to get some in the spring. Here is a video we found tonight on how to butcher them if your interested in watching, much easier then butchering chickens.

It has been REAL cold in Maine and is suppose to drop to 40 below zero up in Aroostook County tonight...glad I am a ways from there!

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's a piggy tail!

Heee, Heee..... that was fun! I need to do that again sometime.

To answer the question about weight watchers. It is not the pre-packaged items, I think that is Nutra-system or Jenny Craig. I could and would not do this because I am slowly trying to get away from the world of processed foods. WW basically counts calories but they convert them to points. For example I can eat 23 points a day and I have thirty something extra points a week. I can use them daily or for a splurge. Last week I saved them for chicken pad Thai and a blueberry dish I made and didn't use all my extras up. This week I will splurge by eating our McCain sausage (that stuff is lots of points!) and I'll bake something sweet. WW is sensible eating. Vegetables are basically no points, fruits are low points, lean meats, healthy snacking, high fiber. I really do not feel neglected. I can even eat Leah's homemade egg bread that she has been obsessively cooking lately. One slice is 2 points. I learned quickly after the first day when I only had 4 points left for dinner to be smart about my points during the day so come supper I do not feel limited. We like to sit down and have a big meal together at night.
Throughout the day I log what I eat along with my activity, water consumption, etc.
By eating healthier I have learned to savor the flavor of the vegetables without being smothered in ranch dressing or butter. Enough about WW, it has not what I planned to ramble about tonight.

We set up a little baking cabinet for Leah this weekend. It is all stocked up with flour, sugar, salt, her little recipe basket and a few utensils. She was delighted by this.

No more posts until the weekend. MM and I are going to a local agricultural show tomorrow and then I am working for the rest of the week. In the morning I plan to attend a session about local co-ops and/or cheese making. We went last year and this is how we got involved in putting our lot into farm land for tax and preservation purposes. It cut our taxes in half and we set aside enough land for the kids to build on if they stick around.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Stills Challenge -

Can you guess what this is?

This weeks photo challenge was close-ups/macros. I must admit, I s@#! at these! Although a couple weeks ago I did take a couple good ones of a white pine with icicles and barbed wire.

I use to blame it on my camera but now I know it is the user. I realized it after asking Nita at Trapper Creek what she had for a camera and realized that it was similar to what I use. She and her daughter take amazing pictures, especially macros.

Honestly, I have never messed with my camera's settings until tonight. I went back to Ed's post and sat down with my Kodak user manual and I figured out how to change the ISO setting but what is the F3:5? Regardless the above photo I used the tulip setting only. I will strive to get better at close-up photos in 09'. BTW, Ed thanks for hosting this photo challenge it has been a fun learning experience.

New Years Goals update:

After doing some more research we have decided not to go with the solar fencing. It is said to be less effective, shorts out easier in snowy conditions, and it is double the price. Electric will cost us maybe $10/mo on our bill. Our local grain dealer is letting me give him a little extra cash each time we go in and then by spring it will be paid off and ready to install.

Weight loss was also a goal for the new year. Since moving here on the farm I've gained 10lbs that I just could not shake plus the 10lbs post baby #2 that is now 6 years old so I bit the dust and joined weight watchers on-line (the momentum program) with my buddy Melissa.
A few years ago I would have said NEVER but things change and now that I am heading towards 40, it is much harder to keep the pounds off with just exercise. Week 1 I lost 3 lbs and Melissa lost 4. I can honestly say, it has not been too hard. It teaches you portion control and healthy eating habits. So for anyone looking to loose a few pounds by summer I encourage you to check this program out!

Lastly, MM is going to pick up trim boards tomorrow for the house. Today he painted a our hallway and I cleaned and organized cupboards. We are really pushing to get our indoor stuff done before Spring because we will have no time for that nor want to be in when the air is warm and the sun is shining.
Feels so good to be making progress!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cabin Fever

Despite the cold Maine weather we still get out more than most. We have no choice, the animals need to be fed and their is always wood that needs to be brought in from the barn.
As I sit in the warm house I sometimes dread the thought of getting out but after I do I always feel refreshed. Staying cooped up all winter can make you nuts so when ever the opportunity arises we try to embrace the elements.

We took a ride outback with the kids in tow and tried to identify all the tracks that adorned our land. We came up with deer, squirell, fox, rabbit, coyote, and bobcat (maybe) tracks.

The kids ended the day with a pig ride.

In the last post there were some questions asking about moose meat. MM says there was approximately 400lbs of meat from that moose. What we didn't give away lasted us until the following fall. It was a HUGE savings on our grocery bill and money was tight that year because John was in nursing school. The meat is also MUCH healthier for you compared to the feed lot cow meat that most people eat. In addition I am SURE the quality of this Moose's life would not even compare to that store bought steak or hamburg. To describe moose meat I'd say it is lean and less gamey then deer. I actually prefer it over deer but the chances of getting into the moose lottery are slim. MM had applied for a permit for 20 years before getting one.

And to answer Joanna's question, we ate every bit of that moose and shared some with friends and family. MM doesn't just hunt for the sport of it, he hunts to put food on the table. We cherish that Moose's life and let nothing go to waste. As a matter of fact, when we eat dinner every night my children thank God for whatever animal we may be eating for sacrificing it's life in order to sustain our own. I know the photo can make you think otherwise but we honestly are not that type of people.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Angie at Children in the Corn tagged me to go to my 4th picture folder and pick out the 4th picture. Seeing how I deleted my 2008 pictures I had to dig through the archives and this is what I found. My little muffin had just turned 4 years old.

So since I was tagged must I carry on so I tag: Erica, Jodi,YD and Patrice

I thought I'd share several (many) other photos from my 2006 archive.

John's first moose.
Annual photo shot up at the college.
An afternoon at the park after walking the rail trail
My sweet MM
Apple picking, we always make it to the orchard in the fall. I cannot wait until we have our own.
Fall harvest at our old house.

Leah performing

Camping up North
The kids annual birthday party
One of Leah's all time favorite activities, painting.
Out in the boat

Yum, cinnamon rolls before school one morning.
Gotta love those pig tails. I am so happy she is growing her hair out again.

MM fishing, one of his favorite things to do.

Missing tooth and a lip laceration after chasing Momma and running into a door jam. That story is a post on it's own. Trip to the ER, screaming, papoosed by mother, stitches = traumatized child.
Muffin with Aunt Mary
We had a big garden at our old house now we just have lots of big gardens. I'd say he'll be a green thumb just like his daddy.

Mother's Day Tea