Sunday, March 29, 2009

What a difference a day makes

We spent our days on Tuesday and Wednesday doing yard work, and good thing we didn't wait until Thursday to lay down seed - because as you can see below, we wouldn't have gotten any of it down since it had already started snowing when I woke up to go to work on Thursday morning. The seed we chose is a combination of native grasses then we mixed in a little native wildflower seed as well. It's an experiment, so we'll see how it turns out.

This is Tuesday afternoon before we really had started anything. You can't tell very well but here we have lots of dead sod (that we purposely killed off last year), bits and pieces of green grass here and there that we had to pull up along with plenty of weeds before laying down seed, and a border of lots and lots of mulch that had to be taken up as well because we were going to be seeding all the way to the sidewalk. Also note the walkway leading up to the fence (around the bay window). There was a lot of rock bordering that sidewalk. And just as we have found everywhere else we went to pull up the previous owners' handiwork - under all that border of rock was concrete with rebar - completely unnecessary if the rocks are laid correctly - and a complete pain to pull up. As I have told Mike many times - I have no desire to see concrete and rebar in landscaping EVER again.

About 24 hours later, this is what the front yard looked like. You can't tell too well, but when compared to the first picture, there is no longer a big walkway around the bay window, rather a small one just to make sure people can get around without hitting their heads (that actually isn't very apparent in this picture). The pink marker in the corner is something Qwest came to put out while I was in Atlanta. Mike said they are going to put in new lines or something? Maybe they can replace our fence since their lines will run directly on the inside of the fence line?!? I honestly doubt it though. Also note the white sky - the snow is coming!

And this is what it looked like the next day - well technically this is on Friday because it was actively snowing all day on Thursday (while I was at work, not getting to enjoy any of it). Mike measured about 10 inches and it sure is beautiful!!

But as is typical with our spring snow, it melted off yesterday and today. So now there is almost no snow to be had. It was called a blizzard, but to me, a blizzard is like what I lived through at Christmas in 2006 (see below) - at least 2 feet of snow that didn't melt off for months! But I suppose that 10 inches is pretty good, too...

December 2006

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Love your children

I know that the title of the post probably seems slightly obvious, but hear me out.

When someone finds out what I do for a living, the first question I'm usually asked is "How can you do that?" followed quickly by "Isn't it hard to see kids so sick?". My answer is always the same - kids are amazingly resilient. I learned that from day 1 of my new grad orientation. I have taken care of so many sick kids (over 150 different kids, I would think) in the past year and a half and can count on two hands the number who have passed away for one reason or another. The days that it does happen though it usually hit me hard and I have to remind myself how many more children have come on to the unit so very sick and have left our unit in days, weeks, or even months healthy, normal children. So often, kids can come back from almost anything.

My first night back after vacation, though, was not one of those - it was an extremely difficult shift. Without going in to details, I'll just say that everyone did everything right and we worked extremely hard to save a patient who did not make it. Since I have started on the unit, there has never been a situation that I have noticed hit all of us so intensely - doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, chaplains, families of other children on the unit - everyone. And I feel very lucky to work on the unit that I do. I work with an incredible group of people and we are lucky to have one another as well.

When I was a doula, a midwife once told me that the day she was no longer amazed by the miracle of birth, she would stop doing her job. On the same token, if ever there comes a day that I am not affected by the work that I do (either in a good or bad way), I need to find another job. We are given a very special opportunity to come in to a patient and family's life at a time when they are most in need of a helping hand. We nurse not just physical, but emotional aspects as well, and in turn that can affect us. And I truly hope that it always affects me. Even after the craziest day, I can come home and tell Mike about something that happened and how amazed I am at children and their ability to bounce back.

So back to the title of my post - hug your children, tell them you love them, and be so thankful for who they are. If had one of my own already, I would have come home that morning and hugged and hugged and never let him (or her of course) go.

Crazy Crazy PICU

This is a post I have been meaning to put up for about a week but just have not had the opportunity. Since I have been home from Atlanta, I have had two and a half days off - seriously! I worked Thursday/Friday/Saturday night, got home Sunday morning by about 9:00 AM then back to work Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday for day shift (so that was approximately 21 hours at home before returning to work). Then I had Friday off, worked half a shift yesterday, and a full shift today. It's really been crazy on the unit. Just to put it in to perspective a little, I hope, we have had 9 patients almost all week and our unit is considered "full" at 8 patients. Also, for most of the week, at least 8 were patients on respirators... by I digress.

Apparently the craziness started while I was on vacation. I kept getting calls asking me to work extra until they realized I was out of town for two weeks. The night I got back to work, it was a fairly full unit with 6 patients but we admitted 2 patients over night. The next night, we started with 7 and admitted 2 more (after having an awful night the previous shift - that's another post altogether). Saturday night finally slowed down in that we didn't get any admits but it was still quite busy (again with 9 patients if I remember correctly). So anyway, I won't bore anyone with the details but after being out of town for 2 weeks and at work for the past week and a half, my husband is beginning to wonder if I really exist. This week, however, I'm taking some time for myself... after possibly taking one more extra shift tomorrow, we'll see.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Back in Denver

I'm back at home... I was really having a hard time saying goodbye to Jenni and Tilden first then Mom later as I was leaving town yesterday. I wanted to just pack the baby up and bring him back to Denver. Well, I didn't really, but if that option were to ever exist, I'd bring him to Denver! Jenni and Jon will just have to visit sometime soon so Mike and I can introduce Tilden to hiking and living Colorado style!

I got home to a house that is almost 100% done, just like Mike said it'd be. The living room has trim installed that just needs to be stained. There is a doorway with trim between the living room and front bedroom but installing the door is a 2 person job so he had to wait until I got home to finish. There is trim in the front bedroom and a closet door on the closet with just 2 pieces of trim needed on that for the room to be done. The master and kitchen are both 100% done as is the bathroom and downstairs - for the time being. My dream (that may not ever actually come true) is to renovate the bathroom down there to get the shower in the same room as the rest of the bathroom and add a wall to split the big family room in to two rooms and have a full on guest suite down there (and when not in use the guest room would transition in to an office). I'm very excited that the house is so close to done now! This spring/summer we are going to finish the landscaping (which includes repairing the fence - we've had lots of wind this winter which is wreaking havoc with the fence).

I also got to go to a shower today for a girl from work. Since I started in my job 19 months ago, there has not been one single, solitary day when one of the nurses has not been pregnant. Much of the time, in fact, there have been at least two pregnant at a time. So needless to say, there were almost more kids at the shower than adults - but we won out 11 to 9. The next baby is due in April so we were celebrating. In addition to the large group gift I went in on, I also gave 3 burp cloths. Everyone really liked them and we started talking about other things that I could make as baby gifts. We talked about the nursing covers - previously talked about on this blog - as well as pacifier holders (which apparently are useful - who'd have guessed), shopping cart covers, car seat covers, and bags used specifically to hold diapers and wipes so you can just take that (or to just keep them organized in the diaper bag) called Diapees & Wipees among other names. So apparently there is quite a market out there for these things... who knew??

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Passing the Time in Atlanta

I have been in town for just over a week now and spending as much time helping out (and bonding with my wonderful nephew, Tilden) as I can. It's funny because the stuff I'm focused on Jenni says hasn't even occurred to her yet. Today, for instance, I got the monitor out to start looking at it and seeing what we needed to make it work. Jenni said that it hadn't even occurred to her yet to look at that. One of the many ways Jenni and I are different - I have to see all the new stuff, open it up, make sure it's going to work correctly as soon as I get it.

I've also gotten to spend time with family which has been nice. It sure will be hard to leave in 5 days. But I desperately miss my husband as well since he wasn't able to come with me. I talk to him multiple times a day (obviously) and he's been doing "house work" (what else is new...) and spending lots of quality time with Trucker. They were on the way to the dog park today one of the times I talked to him. I'm sure that Trucker was in doggy heaven. Of course I definitely miss my animals. I know they are being taken care of but it's hard when you go from having two animals sleeping on you every night to having an entire bed to yourself!

So here's some pictures of how I have been keeping myself busy (in addition to sewing which I have already talked about)...

Giving gifts - Blue pants courtesy of Aunt Katie

Encouraging tummy time on the activity mat

Teaching Tilden about nap time

A couple of nights ago I was also lucky enough to attend the Bris of Zachary, my friend Lindsey's son. Lindsey and I have known each other forever it seems like (at least since middle school). We worked together at Georgia-Pacific, were in each others' weddings, and on and on. In fact, it's kind of my "fault" she knows her husband - had she not started working for my mom at GP, then she wouldn't have met Bill and she wouldn't have gotten married and have two beautiful sons... but that's another story. Anyway, I did not get to go to the Bris of her first son because I was already in Denver but when it turned out that Jenni and Lindsey were due near each other I realized I may actually be in town this time - and I was. It was such an amazing experience - much different than any circumcision I have witnessed in the hospital of course - and I also have never been to a Jewish ceremony other than her wedding. Knowing how important this is in Zachary's life, as well as his family's, I felt honored to be invited to be there for the ceremony. It was also great to see all her family who I haven't seen in ages and be able to meet Zachary while I was in town!

I'm sure there are many other things I have done that I can't write about at the moment - because really, it focuses mainly on one thing! Needless to say, I have been enjoying myself. Of course, now is the time I'd be able to finally get some overtime pay... it seems the unit is overflowing with patients and not enough staff! Can't have the best of everything I suppose.

Time for Sewing

I don't know what has gotten in to us as of late, but I think it started when Jenni made her first nursing cover. So now Jenni has recently made burp cloths and nursing covers, mom has made nursing covers, and I have made burp cloths and pacifier cases and plan on doing some nursing covers and maybe even a grocery cart cover. Much of this is coming from the fact that I have many many friends pregnant at this time and I'd like to be able to give them something special but that they will use as well. So here are some pictures of my newest creations. I think I like the burp cloth better than the pacifier holder (but does anyone really need a pacifier holder??), but who knows - I'm hoping it all gets better with practice.

Burp cloth - side #1

Burp cloth - other side

Pacifier holder

What I have done to Jenni and Jon's living room - it's my own personal sewing space!

So I have been having fun with this - maybe one day I'll be one of those people who makes all their gifts... then maybe not. I'm open to any feedback - be as honest as you'd like (esepcially if you have already received one as a gift...)!