Saturday, May 29, 2010

CSA Weeks 2 and 3

This post is a little belated because we actually got our third CSA box this Wednesday, but the stuff is pretty much the same except for the fact that we got strawberries (!) instead of asparagus this week. Apparently it's "stir fry season" with all the Chinese vegetables that are ready to harvest in the spring.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Learning to Chill

After my run today, submersing myself (and my burning legs... and my accidental sunburn) in cool water sounded great. The pool, however, isn't cold enough (I swear you'll never hear me say that in any other context). My legs have been burning for about 2 weeks now and desperate times call for desperate measures. I decided to resort to the old cross-country runner's standby: an ice bath. It's such a great recovery tool! So much better than just stretching (which, trust me, I do) and Advil.

I think I've only psyched myself up for 2 other ice baths in my life, both senior year of high school. I told Ross that last time I did this, I spent 20 minutes in the tub reading Boston College pamphlets and dreaming of majoring in theology. Funny how choosing a college when you're 18 really can be the biggest decision you'll ever make! My life would be so different if I'd enrolled at BC after getting that glorious acceptance letter!

Anyway, I filled the tub 1/3 of the way with cold water and then dumped about 13 lbs of ice in! It melted pretty quickly, making a uniformly icy cold bath.

Getting in was not fun. But I forgot the best part of an ice bath... after about 5 minutes, your legs get fuzzy and numb and you can't even tell it's cold! I kept having Ross stick his hand in to make sure that water was still icy enough to benefit from it.

You know you're a runner (and grew up biking and dancing) when your legs are flat on the bottom of the tub but your quads aren't covered in water. Boo. I had to keep swishing the water around because my quads needed ice the most.

Ross just had to document this even because he thought it was so funny that I'm always cold, yet I was willingly subjecting myself to an ice bath. Then he got all worried (he took whitewater kayak rescue classes in college) that the water was "wetsuit temperature" and I was going to get hypothermia. The nurse in me reassured him that my nailbeds and lips were still pink, and my torso felt plenty warm. When my arms did start to get goosebumps after 15-20 minutes, I knew it was time to get out (and apply aloe vera to my sunburn). I may have taken a cold bath, but I'm going to be burning up tonight!

I had an uncomfortable workout in the noonday sun today, but the most important part is this: today I realized that getting back into running is also helping me build character. (Corny, I know, but bear with me). I had a tough run today... not tough on paper, but tough on my mind and body. I ran 2.58 miles in 30 minutes. Hardly record-breaking, even by my own personal standards!

That poster made me smile during my "race" on Saturday, but my burning quads are reminding me I don't really want to run all day long :o) My legs never loosened up on my run today. I ran outside on an unshaded trail at 11:30am and it was already a humid 85 degrees. But despite my snail-like pace and discomfort, my negative-nelly mindset never showed up for our usual run date. Could it be that I'm *gasp* growing more mature?!

Never once did I freak out, and the thought of NOT finishing never even crossed my mind! I kind of zoned out, really. Definitely not the "runner's high" type of zoned out. More like my mind just decided, "this is really uncomfortable but it's going to last 30 whole minutes so I'm just going to think of something else entirely."

I know there are days that a full workout just isn't in the cards; I've had several of these since January. I start and I just never warm up. Instead of adrenaline, I get hit with overwhelming fatigue and I know in my heart that finishing a workout like that will do more harm than good. But most days, workouts are just hard. They push me out of my comfort zone, but I know I need to push myself and focus on my achievements instead of my unrealistic expectations.

I'd love to wake up and run an easy 5 miles tomorrow morning, but that's not something that happens overnight. Last November when I was alternating running 1 minute and walking 2 minutes, I couldn't fathom running 4 minutes at a time with just a 1 minute walking break between reps, which I've been doing for a week and a half now. Today I can't imagine running 3 miles without stopping, but I know I've done it before and I will do it again. I ran 1 mile without stopping on Saturday, so I know I'm getting closer! For me, running is JUST AS MUCH of a mental workout as a physical one.

I needed a mental and physical change of pace last week-- 2 weeks of rain was really wearing on me. I swam laps at the gym and a few minutes into my workout, I started to wonder (as I always do) why I don't swim more often! It's really quite nice, mentally. I'm always able to relax during swims and I don't count laps, I just go. When my arms start to hurt, I switch to breaststroke for a few laps and then resume freestyle. Sometimes I just kick, sometimes I do arm drills. But my thoughts are always pleasant (except when I see floating gobs of stuff, at which point I have to immediately remind myself that I'm swimming in gallons of chlorine).

Anyway, my point is that swimming is a good change for me mentally as well as physically and I should do it more often. Maybe that mindset will carry over to my running? As an added perk, I was drying off in the locker room and an older woman told me I was a strong swimmer. She said I make it look so easy! I muttered something bashful about how I splash a lot and I'm sure my face turned bright red. But then I claimed my senses, looked her in the eye, and said "thanks!" Compliments about my strength can only improve my mindset, and my mood was sunny the rest of the evening despite the pouring rain.

*We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.* —Carlos Castaneda

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Girls on the Run 5k

I didn't leave work until 9pm yesterday and I was proud of myself for not crying until I got into my car after 15 crazy hours. It's a bad day when the best thing about it was that you didn't cry in front of your co-workers! I miss the days when I loved my job. Now I'm starting to dread going to work.

Ross was certainly dreading work this morning. He had to man the door during Old Navy's $1 flip-flop sale. Last year they had to call the cops 3 times because things got so out of hand! Apparently people lose all control during this sale. Let's remind ourselves that normally Old Navy flip flops are 2 for $5, so you're really just saving $1.50 on a chunk of plastic, and this sale limits you to 5 pairs per person for a total savings of $7.50. Yes I wear and love my cheap-o flip-flops, but I don't think I'd wait in a line that wraps around the store to get them. Ross doesn't get upset about work that often. I usually ask him how work was and he says, "work-y." But this afternoon when he came home for lunch, he had a few other choice words in his answer!

While he dealt with difficult customers, I made a last-minute decision to run the Girls on the Run 5k this morning. I was hoping to beat my Truffle Shuffle time and run a sub-32 minute race, but instead I finished in 32:58. Not terrible, considering I didn't have my long-legged running buddy (Ross) with me.

I walked 1 minute at mile 1, 1 minute at mile 2, and 1 minute at mile 2.5. I ran the first mile without stopping in 9:59! After that you have to factor in the walking, but I also know I slowed down a bit. Mile 2 was 10:42 and Mile 3 was 11:01. Mile 0.14 was 1:16. I'm happy with my time because I know I was pushing myself and I also have to factor in the heat that I'm no longer used to. (But I am glad summer seems to be arriving after all... April showers lasted a good 2 months here).

The 5k "route" was a glorified 2 laps around a parking lot, so I wasn't too into the race itself, but Girls on the Run sounds like a really cool program! I may look into being a volunteer coach this fall to give me something to do on my days off.

*Running to him was real; the way he did it was the realest thing he knew. It was all joy and woe, hard as diamond; it made him weary beyond comprehension. But it also made him free.* –from Once a Runner by John L. Parker, Jr.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Keep on keepin' on

I haven't said a whole lot about marathon training lately, but I'm still running 3 times a week! My mileage ticker is slowly but surely creeping upward (see the box in the right sidebar). I'm having some issues with sore feet and extremely tight calves after standing all day at work, but I'm just happy I'm still going. Slow and steady *finishes* the race.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Crazy Days

I suddenly have less time to blog now that I'm on day shift. Working 6:45am-7:30pm leaves you worn out in a whole different way. Don't get me wrong, I'm SO glad to be on day shift! (Even though I will always have a soft spot for my night shift co-workers and they will always have my undying respect.) But day shift is so much busier. "More bang for less buck," as my friend Kate says.
My feet hurt and my legs are so stiff. I worked Friday and Saturday and Saturday was especially JPS-worthy crazy. When I got up this morning, my feet started to hurt while I was standing in the kitchen making breakfast! And I get to do it all again tomorrow. However, I am very glad that I started my nursing career in such a busy unit. I still miss it with all my heart.
I'm so UNSURE of everything here. It REALLY doesn't help that my current NICU has been divided since I got here. There's one unit on the first floor and the main unit is on the 5th floor. We get shuffled between them just enough that I've been here 7 months and I still can't find supplies when I really need them!
I miss going to deliveries. I miss having designated "admit" nurses and I hate the chaos when we might be getting a baby and no one seems to know who is even going to take the admission at first. I remember feeling so lucky that in my entire first year and a half of nursing, there was never a day I DREADED going to work. I LOVED my job. I am still undecided here. Don't get me wrong, I love my patients (most of them, anyway) but there are definitely days that the thought of going in to work really weighs me down.
Ross hates it when I complain about missing Ft. Worth, but I need to get this out. I miss JPS. Yes, the county hospital with mostly Spanish-speaking clientele and homeless people watching TV in the ER waiting room when the weather was bad. I miss my little Hispanic babies who were always born with a full head of hair. I miss having a Neonatologist at the hospital 24/7.

I definitely miss doctors who took the time to teach the nurses in the unit! (Here they're too busy teaching the residents, most of whom will never step foot in a NICU again after their rotation.) I miss being at the bedside when the doctors spoke to the infant's parents in rapid-fire native tongue. It's been 7 months and my Spanish is all but gone. I hate that.

I really hope that studying for my RNC brings back some confidence, because right now I'm no longer one of the lucky few who can say that I do what makes me happy and I get paid for it!
*A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves* -Groucho Marx

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Community Supported Agriculture Week 1

When we moved here, I researched CSA groups in the area and I've signed up to get one box of fresh, local produce per week for 25 weeks this spring, summer, and fall from Fair Share Farm. Ross graciously picked up our first week's produce while I was at work today and he even took a picture in the car.

It all looks amazing and I'm so sad I won't be able to cook with it for a few days due to work! By the way, does anyone know what the purple flower is? I have a feeling we'll be learning about a lot of new produce this summer.


A full produce drawer makes me happy! My garden is doing alright, but it's kind of at a standstill right now with all this cool, wet weather we're having.

I'm glad there are professionals out there to supplement my first gardening attempt.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

I took a quick trip to Omaha this weekend and my mom had all 4 kids under one roof for Mother's Day. How she handled 4 kids under the age of 10 I'll never know. Although she grew up in a house with 5 kids under the age of 6, so I'm guessing my grandma taught her a thing or two!

As for Ross' mom, she had to raise Ross... enough said. When his sister Emily was learning to sit and walk, Ross would walk by and casually push her over! He's still a bully.

Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful mom, mother-in-law, and my awesome grandmothers who are computer-savvy and read my blog!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

National Day of Prayer


I'd like to share a prayer that has gotten me through some tough times. I'm not sure where I found it, but it's been on a sticky note on my laptop for 2+ years now.

God, make me brave for life: oh, braver than this.
Let me straighten after pain,
as a tree straightens after the rain,
Shining and lovely again.
God, make me brave for life; much braver than this.
As the blown grass lifts, let me rise
From sorrow with quiet eyes,
Knowing Thy way is wise.
God, make me brave, life brings
Such blinding things.
Help me to keep my sight;
Help me to see aright
That out of dark comes light.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Check out this preemie's crib

All my nerdy NICU friends have been sending this video around... I'm a little behind the times. I don't know who recorded it, but it's pretty funny!

FYI: PDA means "patent ductus arteriosus" and it means that a fetal heart structure remained open after delivery instead of closing. It's pretty common among preemies and causes a heart murmur which, at times, can be turbulent enough to sound like a washing machine when you listen with a stethoscope... hence the joke.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Good morning, day shift!

Ah, day shift. It almost feels like my first day at KU all over again! When I started working back in October, they were so desperate for experienced nurses on night shift that I didn't work a single day shift with a preceptor- I went straight to nights. Now I'm going to be working with people who only know me from change of shift report.
*You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who'll decide where to go.*
~Dr. Seuss
New haircut? Check.
New work shoes that look more professional than tennis shoes and make me 3 inches taller? Check.

New scrubs? Check.

Caffeine? Check!
Truth is, I was scared out of my mind for my first day shift today. Day shift tends to be much faster-paced and you have to be on your toes to talk to the doctors when they make rounds and write orders for the day. I feel like I've lost a lot of skills since leaving JPS and I'm terrified someone will find out I'm just an expensive babysitter! Well, the babysitter part is an exaggeration. I still consider myself a good nurse. But I miss going to deliveries, admitting babies, and juggling terrible assignments. I can't believe I said that, but it's true! You feel so much more accomplished when you get through a crazy day. I'm sure I'll have my share of those, but I really miss my delivery and admitting skills.
I must keep reminding myself of the positives:
1. I went to the February staff meeting and asked our manager if we had a Developmental Care Committee. She said no, but she'd like one. And then she put me in charge of it!
2. I was in a family meeting with a mom whose baby is one of our micro-preemies, and the doctor (our head neonataologist) told her, "Therese is actually the head of developmental care here. You should be very glad she's taking care of your baby." (Prior to that statement, I wasn't sure he even knew who I was since that was my second-ever day shift).
3. Sometimes the Pediatric ICU (PICU) nurses call us when they've attempted an IV on a kid a few times without success. I was the only NICU nurse available to go downstairs and help them the other day... and I got the IV on my first stick! It's always a bigger deal when you have 3 other nurses hovering around you and the hard-stick patient.
4. My sweet lil' primary patient went home on my birthday and her mom still sends me updates!

Career goals to keep the "I'm losing all my skills" worries away:
1. Get the Developmental Care Committee up and running. We've already had 2 meetings and things are really going well.
2. Take the NICU Certification test by December 15 (my 3 year nursing anniversary). This actually scares me out of my mind, but it's something that will really help me feel like I'm not missing out on learning experiences.

*A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves obscure men whose timidity prevented them from making a first effort.* -Sydney Smith
*Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.* -Bruce Barton