Monday, April 13, 2015

Life in General

I’m taking a break this post from writing about my weight-loss journey to share a little about life in general. I’m in my last two weeks in my current position at the hospital as a charge nurse. I have been given the job on the Family Birthing Center at the hospital and will be transferring positions in two weeks. It will be a 14-16 week orientation, classes, and night shift. I wrote this a couple nights ago while reflecting on all that I’ve seen and done since becoming a nurse. It was my goal to become a great IV starter…and that has happened (thanks to all my patients for your graciousness in the beginning when I wasn’t quite so great at poking). It was my goal to be engaged and involved on my unit and I have been the chairman of our shared governance council for the past year, I also have been a clinical practice leader and helped teach skills labs to newer nurses. It was not my goal to become a charge nurse…but God had other plans for me and for the past year I have had the privilege of being a charge nurse on my floor on the day shift. I have learned so much about leadership and what it means to be a good leader and I pray the nurses I leave behind feel as if I have been a leader and not a manager.

My heart is breaking slightly when I think of leaving my current position as charge nurse on GMU2. My home. This is where I learned to fly…this is where I learned to swim when I thought I was going to drown. This is where I learned that kindness goes a long ways. This is where I learned that practice really does make for a great IV master. This is where I learned there’s no such thing as a dumb question. This is where I learned people are broken, lost, and longing for someone to care for them without judgment and without assumptions. This is where I learned that C. Diff smells…awful…and looks just as terrible. This is where I learned people need help dying graciously. This is where I learned a smile never hurt anyone. This is where I learned to double check, triple check, and quadruple check my orders. This is where I learned that mistakes happen. This is where I learned you can get up and keep moving after a mistake has happened. This is where I learned falls suck. This is where I learned nurses, techs, doctors, pharmacists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapist, house supervisors, and even managers are some of the most amazing people you’ll meet and befriend. This is where I learned to never assume your patient has pooped, peed, or eaten. This is where I learned you can never communicate too much. This is where I learned people get extremely angry when you say they’re “NPO”. This is where I learned the importance of shared governance. This is where I learned my heart is capable of more love than I ever imagined. This is where I learned never to assume a patient is difficult just because they’ve been labeled that way. This is where I learned taking the time to actually sit down in a chair and listen is one of the best things you can do. This is where I learned you really do have enough time to sit down. This is where I learned I love my patients above my own needs…my bladder can vouch for this one. This is where I learned that even though I love my patients…I still need to take time to eat…for everyone’s safety. This is where I learned that given enough time, enough show of kindness, and enough love anyone will come out of their shell. This is where I learned to believe in myself.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Nursing is not just a job. Nursing is not just a paycheck. Nursing is not just a career. Nursing is a way of life. Nursing is who I am. Nursing is engraved in my heart, my soul, and my bones. Nursing hurts. Nursing is underappreciated. Yet, nursing is so rewarding. When you get to discharge your patient home and see them completely opposite of what they were when they came in...Or in some cases realizing there’s nothing else we can do medically…but keeping them comfortable and helping them transition in the last stage of their life is our goal. I love people. I love handling conflict. I love implementing change. I love teaching. I love learning. I love nursing.

Now it’s time for me to start a new chapter in my nursing career. I’ve spent almost 3 years on a medical-surgical floor and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The last year I have spent as a charge nurse and I’m so blessed to have had that opportunity. I absolutely recommend to every new nurse to start out on med-surg. The experience, knowledge, and practice you gain from this kind of nursing are irreplaceable. I’ve always known I wanted to go into midwifery and now is the time for me to start making the transition. I’m in the process of determining where I will go for my Master’s to become a Nurse-Midwife. In looking at schools it has become clear that all the programs require experience in labor and delivery…and so that is where I’m headed. I’m so blessed to be starting in a couple weeks at the Family Birthing Center. I can’t wait to meet more amazing nurses, be a small part in someone’s story, and hopefully make changes for the better. My brain is beyond excited when it thinks of the challenges ahead of me…of all the learning that will occur and all the growth that will come from it. I pray God will use me, guide me, lead me, and allow me to be a light as I continue on in this field. I pray to be the hands and feet of God in patient’s joy…and in their sorrow. I’m reminded of Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” Oh Lord, that you would establish my steps. That you would lead me where you want me to go. That I would follow when I hear your call. Psalm 37:23 “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.” Thus far Lord you have clearly made each step clear to me and planted me where I am. Thank you for leading me…and thank you for for continuing to lead me each step of my journey!

Prayers are appreciated as I make this transition. I’ll be going back to working night shift…so learning to adjust my workouts and eating habits again will be difficult but worth the struggle. That’s where I’m at and what has been laying heavy on my heart so thank you for allowing me to hijack my weight-loss blog with a nursing blog post!! J

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Final Stories of Dallas (part 5)

You've all been good sports...and hopefully you've enjoyed my retellings of my time in Dallas...sorry this last one took a bit to get posted...I had technical difficulties getting pictures to upload! Here's a recap of my last couple days out there!

Monday I got to spend the day with my darling sister-in-law Elise who had asked for the day off. So initially we went to uptown and took the trolley to Clyde Warran Park with Erika, Mom, and the boys, and our friend Haylee and her kiddos who had made it into town the night before!! It was the perfect day. I got to spin a bunch of random kiddos on a merry-go-round…I may have accidentally spun one or two off of the merry go round…but that is neither here nor there and they both got back up laughing so I took that as a good sign ;) After playing for a bit Elise and I went our separate ways for a sister date! We went to this place called the truck yard…it’s way to amazing to even try to describe…you should check it out here and go visit it if you’re ever in Dallas! From there we went on a scenic hike together…even though the building was closed there was a worker outside that said we could walk around…and walk around we did! It was so beautiful:

It was a beautiful day for our little hike…and a memorable one as well! :D Sometimes it’s nice to be able to walk, talk, and get things off of your chest…and that’s just what I was able to do with Elise…as well as reap some wisdom and guidance! I’m so appreciative for those who hear the ugliest about me and still think I’m beautiful. It’s so nice to know that I can be completely honest and transparent without fear of being chastised. Finding that is a beautiful thing…and keeping it is a treasure! Monday was a great day!

Monday evening David, Erika, and I decided we’d go for a 6-miler in the morning…before I knew what happened I was being awoken for our morning run and about 15 minutes later we were out the door and on our way. It was a peaceful morning starting out. As we ran my mind just wandered and reflected on how much I used to dream about being able to go out for “an easy 6 miles” with David and Erika…and I was living that dream. I didn’t have a lot to say on the run but I loved listening to Erika and David talk. I loved hearing them encourage one another, lift one another up, and just love on each other. Halfway through the run we started running through swarms of gnats…and it was nasty! Like I swallowed, inhaled, exhaled, and blinked gnats! I felt like a drama queen…but each time we’d hit a swarm they’d go in your mouth and it’d make you cough and it was so difficult to breath with them pelting your face. Well…At around mile 5 David looked over at me and I’m pretty sure his jaw skimmed the ground…and he said, “Maggie don’t touch your face!” at that point Erika glanced my way and started cracking up hysterically…I felt my face and nearly died…I fought the urge to go jump in a puddle somewhere! The rest of the run Erika would just slightly glance my way and start giggling…I knew my face was a sight to behold…I just hope the other runners saw it as they passed us and heeded my warning not to go farther! Well, after we finished our run David took my picture and I was disgusted when I saw this:

I even had gnats in my eye!!! IN MY EYE!!! Yeah, so I do not envy David and the runs he will enjoy in Dallas while trying to stay afloat in the flood of gnats. Yuck. Another one of those… “Been there, don’t want to do that again” moments!! But I enjoyed my run…and the company so I wouldn’t have traded that for anything!

The rest of the trip was just spent enjoying one another’s company and making more memories that camera and words could not capture. Before I knew it Wednesday was here and it was time for me to fly home and head back to reality. But I needn’t shed any tears…for I know I’ll have more great experiences next year!! So it wasn’t really goodbye just…until next time!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Untold Stories of Dallas: Half Marathon (Part 4)

4 days straight of posting!! :D Hope you're not getting tired of them!! Here comes graphic content this time though! 

Sunday March 22, 2015:

Sunday morning was here before we knew it…and so I got ready quickly, had some coffee, ate a Greek yogurt, went to the bathroom slightly afraid of what could happen today in the porta-potties! Before we knew it we were on our way to the Dart station to head to the start line. This year there was no official designated parking area for the half marathon…but it ended up working out for our benefit. We just took the dart railway which is just down the street from David and Elise’s place and that took us directly to the start line! We didn’t have to worry about parking so that was nice.

We made it to the start with roughly 30 minutes to spare and so we each went to the bathroom…before actually sitting on the commode I sat about 20+ feet of toilet paper in each direction of the toilet making a lovely thrown for my toosh to sit on…not wanting a repeat of yesterday’s misfortunes! Thankfully no one had a tragic porta-potty story and so we all continued on to check our bags and head towards the start line.

It was already determined that Erika was going to run with David where his goal was to run the half in an hour and fifty minutes! I was going to run with Olivia and encourage her as she ran her first half marathon!! So we all took a pre-run picture at reunion tower together…

Excited to get our run on!!

…from there Erika and David headed to their start corral and Olivia and I headed to ours!! :D David and Erika were really fortunate to be such speedy runners because they got to start almost right away…I believe they were in corral three right behind the Olympic medalist Deena Kastor! Olivia and I were in Corral 13 so by the time we actually got started David and Erika had already been running for about 40 minutes…I told Olivia that by that point they had already ran about 4 miles!!

But hey…while we were waiting we took advantage of the selfie time:

Feeling the excitement of our run!

I could tell that Olivia was nervous and she got a little emotional at the start of it all…which I could completely understand. I felt bad that we had to wait so long to actually get it started. With all of my runs I’ve done I’ve made it there in just enough time to jump into my corral and go…so there hasn’t been that extra time to think about what’s about to happen, if you can do it, and the challenges you’re going to have to overcome.

Finally, after the wait we were on our way! This years course was different from last year and I absolutely LOVED it! Initially we ran through some gorgeous buildings and the architecture was so beautiful. We got to run through the historic site where JFK was shot, we ran over a bridge and came back over the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge which is so amazing and the point where I actually took out my phone for a picture is when we were just past the bridge and had an awesome view of downtown Dallas:

Beautiful Downtown Dallas...and as you can see it was a lovely overcast day! 
A glance of reunion tower where we had started out!

At that point we were at mile 8 and Olivia was doing awesome! We had been running for just under 2 hours and we got the text that Erika and David had completed the half in 1:51:41!!! We kept on trekking and around mile 9 is when I noticed Olivia having a hard time…there comes a time in everyone’s run…especially where you have expectations for yourself that you start to struggle…all those thoughts, emotions, doubts, fear etc come rushing into your mind telling you that you can’t do it…so I just kept encouraging her and reminding her that she could do it. At one point she said, “I’m doing this so the boys can see that they can do whatever they set their mind to!” What a great reason and example to set for her kiddos!! So regardless of the pain, doubt, and fear she had she kept pushing! From mile 9-10 there was a strip where music was playing continually…it was awesome and a great way to keep the runners pumped and pushing. I was texting Erika updates and around mile 10 she said they were going to start walking towards us to run the last bit with us. At mile 11 we turned onto my most favorite scenic part: turtle creek…it’s so beautiful and it was lined with spectators.

At mile 12 we spotted Erika and David and they hopped in with us! It was so much fun to be able to have them join us so we could all finish together. At one point we were passing one of the camera mans…and in true David fashion he jumped up in the air hoping for his mad hops to be captured on film…they cameraman told him to do it again to which David obliged and the guys said, “GOT IT!” Well…he sure did…I haven’t bought the picture so there’s still the copyright across the screen but I had to share:

David has mad hops!!

With about half a mile left to go Olivia picked it up and started running…and with maybe 0.2 miles left Olivia grabbed my hand and we sprinted to the finish lines!! It was one of the most fun finishes I’ve ever done…filled with joy, pride, and excitement!!! SHE DID IT!!! :D Olivia ran her first half marathon!!

Pure Joy!!

So proud of Olivia!!

We did it!! 

We went through the finishers shoot and collected as many goodies as possible. Maybe like a dozen power bars, several Gatorades, some chocolate milk, bags of potato chip, you name it we grabbed it! We then went and collected our checked bags so we could pull out our sweaters and warmer clothing…Erika and Olivia went to the bathroom…I passed on that ;) We went and bought a couple tops to commemorate the day:

After we hit up the Dunkin Donuts tent and got some free iced coffee we then went to retrieve our free beers. After we retrieved our beverages David or Erika I can’t remember which pointed to the tent and said, “Hey it’s the girl from yesterday!” And sure enough…there she was…Annie was her name, I believe. She is the woman that took our picture in front of woolly the mammoth the day before! She was so genuine and sweet and has such an electric personality that catches you the minute you make eye contact with her. So we had to take a picture with her as well!!

Afterwards we walked to the Dart Station and waited for our train to arrive. Once on the train Erika and David told us what they saw happen on their walk to find us as we were finishing our run. Just beyond mile 12 there was a man on the ground and a woman was performing CPR on the individual. There was a band at that area and David said they didn't stop playing but they played quietly and respectfully. Although people were watching it sounded like everyone was being respectful and not panicking. Erika said she and David just held each other and prayed for the man and the woman performing CPR and at one point Erika felt the Holy Spirit leading her to say, "In Jesus Name that heart start beating again" and shortly after she said that they put a blanket over the man...people started to clear and Erika said she could see the man taking big deep breathes. As it turns out throughout the run there are individuals running uniforms called Race Guards. These are individuals who are trained in First Aid, CPR, and AED trained. The woman performing CPR on the  gentleman was Dr. Laura Dowd. Erika and David went up to her later and thanked her for what she did...she said when the man came to he said something along the lines of, "Thanks babe" to which she replied, "That's Dr. Babe to you!" :D What an awesome organization to be a part of and what a testament to the power of prayer and those who respond to the calling! Has me thinking I should look into being a part of the Race Guards! 

Well after our eventful day we went home, napped, hit up the park for a barbecue and fun evening with family and friends!! It was indeed a great day!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Untold Stories of Dallas: 5K (part 3)

Let me just preface this post by saying readers discretion is advised!! :D

Saturday March 21, 2015:

I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed Saturday morning…and no, I’m not lying about being bright eyed and bushy tailed…I know it’s hard to believe but occasionally I enjoy waking up early in the morning!! :D I quickly dressed, drank some coffee, had a Greek yogurt, tried to expel human waste and instead only had the pleasure of finding out I had just started my period. Ugh! I knew it was likely to happen…but that doesn’t mean I didn’t hope it would wait until Monday to make its bloody arrival. So I prepared myself determined not to let that ruin what was going to be a great run…and may have swallowed a couple ibuprofen just to be on the safe side! I will not apologize for being blunt about my lady business!! Yes, my uterine lining was in the process of shedding but I was about to shed the weight of this run off of my shoulders. I was ready to prove to myself what I could do.

David, Erika and I headed to the Dallas Fair Grounds and made it there with about 30 minutes to spare before the run. So we decided to hit up the lovely porta-potties before lining up for the run. We were in one line and then a lady came to us and said, “Go over there there’s no line at all”…so we went “over there” and yes, there was a line…so we waited a little more! As we were waiting Erika pointed to a stall that looked like it was open and said, “Is there anyone in there” I said I thought I had seen someone go in there but wasn’t sure. Well another lady walked out of her stall, pulled open the other stall that no one else was going into and said, “This one is open!” So Erika and David went to a couple other stalls that had opened up and I went into the open one and went about my business. I sat down, peed, cleaned up and as I pulled up my pants I felt the most horrendous feeling...

Slightly afraid I slowly drew my hand in front of my face and when I saw what was on my hand I nearly barfed…but y’all already know how I feel about throwing up. On my hand was poop…however, it was not my own poop…no it was the poop of some other lovely individual that had so graciously left a load on the toilet seat for me…and I, still adjusting the dawns early light somehow missed the fact that there was a massive turd on the toilet seat when I sat down. I frantically reached for the toilet paper (which thank heaven there was plenty in my stall) and wiped away at my hand…I then looked at my underwear and panicked when I saw the poop now all over my underwear. I cleaned it up as much as possible but didn’t want to take my underwear off since I had just started my lovely menses! Of course there was no hand sanitizer in my stall…so I had to go out and try and seek help (after cleaning up as much as possible in the stall)!

I came out of that stall slightly (extremely) fuming. I may have even said to Erika and David as I walked towards them, “I’m so pissed right now, I literally just sat in someone’s shit!” My lovely brother also brought to my attention the fact that if I didn’t realize I sat in someone else’s stool then that meant that it was warm enough that my body didn’t realize what had happened to it. UP-CHUCK NOISE …Erika and David could already smell me...I told Erika I still had my underwear on and didn’t know if I should take it off…she looked at my backside and lifted up my shirt and said, “OH MY GOSH ITS ON YOUR PANTS!!!!” I was now about to freaking lose it and so I decided I was going to take off my underwear. David went to where the finish line was set up and asked a lovely lady if he could get a water bottle…once he flashed his dashing smile her way well she melted and handed him a bottle willingly. I then went into another stall, down the way where no one was (clearly these were the stalls the prior lady had mentioned to us...because there was no one around that area) and started the process of taking off my shoes, my leggings, and then my underwear. I used the clean part of my underwear as a washcloth to clean as much of my behind that I could with the water David had retrieved for me. I washed my hand a little more but I still reeked of the foul odor. I then threw my underwear into the great abyss and set my water bottle on the toilet paper stand while I redressed. Of course, as I was dressing my water bottle fell and spilt all over my shoe and I was one more tragedy away from losing it! Once I was redressed I used about a cup of hand sanitizer but could not rid myself of the repulsive smell…so once I was outside David poured the water for me to allow me to “wash” my hands which did indeed take the odor away from my hands…but not from my butt!

I’m fairly certain even the flies stayed away from me…you may think I’m exaggerating for the sake of telling the story…but this poop smelt like sickness…it smelt completely vulgar. Well...once I was as cleaned up as I could be we had 2 minutes until the start so we snapped a quick selfie and jumped into the middle of the coral…lucky for me I stunk so bad no one had any problem clearing the way for me!!

pretty sure you can tell by David's smile he's a bit repulsed...hey on a quick side not we totally matched and didn't even coordinate that!! :D Sibling power!!!

I honestly don’t know how any of us are smiling (in the picture) at this point because up until now it had been extremely traumatic…but we were still alive and I still had a goal I wanted to accomplish!

I think in a way it was “nice” that I had that experience because I literally had no time to think about the run. I literally jumped in the line and they started letting people go in waves…so without much thought we were off! The first mile was awesome…and David looked at me and I saw the cautious look on his face as he asked how I was doing and I said, “great!” Truth is…the poop fueled my hate fire…and I stunk so bad I just wanted to be done so I could go shower! The second mile also went really well…at one point David said he was pulling in the reigns because I was a little over zealous with my pace and so we slowed it down a bit. Starting the third mile I started to question myself a little but did okay until about half way through the third mile. I started to panic and pant and freak myself out. I saw this girl that I had been watching and trying to keep up with just shoot ahead as she raced to the finish line…and then it started. The voices that said, “you can’t do this…you’re a failure…just walk…tap out now” But Erika caught on right away and said, “you’re doing great keep going Maggie!” She told me I was almost there and said I couldn't quit now. But I didn’t believe her. I started to fall behind and she said something along the lines of, “You’re as strong as you chose to be in this moment…now go catch up with David…stop panicking” I tried but started panting more and was telling myself lies and lies and more lies…and then with about a quarter of a mile left Erika came next to me and said, “finish what you started…now go…sprint…push it” and she gently pushed me and I gave it everything I had and pushed my little stinky behind to the finish line…and when I finished I wanted to puke and cry because I knew I had done it. Without even looking at my watch I knew what I had accomplished!

My official finish time: 28:54 with a pace of 9:18!! I didn’t just beat my goal of a sub 30 I obliterated it!! Ha!! Poopy butt and all I did it!! And let me tell you…victory never tasted so sweet!!

I believe that would be the face of: that just happened!

I believe that would be the face of pure delight!! :D

After we enjoyed our celebratory brewski and took a post run selfie we started to head home…Mostly because I couldn’t stand the way I smelt! I’m gagging now as I write this because I can still smell that awful, nasty, disgusting odor in my nostrils! However, before we left the park we took a group picture next to woolly the mammoth thanks to a lovely lady whose picture I took before asking her if she would take our picture…we would later meet her again!

Woolly the Mammoth!
I went home…showered…and David, bless his heart, washed my pants not once but twice…just for good measure…and I made sure to scorch several layers of my skin off in the hot water! Yuck! Well…at least I can say this: that was an experience I will not soon forget! Hahaha!

After we were all cleaned up we went to the Dallas Arboretum and enjoyed the blooming tulips and lovely scenery that the Arboretum has to offer! Here are just a few of the glorious sites we saw there:

It's tradition now that David and I take a picture
in front of the kissing couple...AWKWARD!! :D

Me and my soul sister!

After a glorious time at the Arboretum we made our way back to David and Elise’s where we had our traditional pasta dinner!! Simply delicious meal that I forgot to take a picture of…so you’ll have to use your imagination here! Pasta, with veggies, sausage, a tomato sauce, and the taste of heaven…hope that was descriptive enough for you to visualize! After dinner we started getting ready for bed since we had a strict bedtime of 2100 knowing we had to be up bright and early the next morning to catch the Dart to the start line!! However, my darling brother kept me up by forcing me to help him assemble some homemade tiramisu! Okay, he didn’t force me…he just looked at me with his sleepy, sweet, puppy eyes and asked if I wanted to help him…and I said yes! :D But after that we quickly hopped into bed…ready for what the next day had in store for us!!