Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Downhill Slope

We're in that weird time between Christmas and New Year. Usually this is the time when I sit back, sleep a lot, and generally do whatever I want to do before the bustle of the new year starts. This year is no different from previous years, except for the fact that I'm doing a lot more knitting and less sleeping. I got to see both sets of family this Christmas, which hasn't happened since I started working. Being off work has its advantages - but I'm looking forward to the extra paycheck starting the middle of January.

I finished the Irish Hiking Scarf.

When mom saw it, she casually mentioned that her birthday was coming up. So, I've cast on for another one. This is my first knitting project with a deadline, and I'm not taking it too well. Especially since the last one took me longer than I have left to make this one and I spent a fair daily amount knitting it. I'm sure she'll love it though, which helps a lot since this scarf is not the most intellectual of projects, so I'm focusing on putting a lot of love into it. I know mom will appreciate it because she used to crochet. She 'gets' the stuff that's behind a yarny gift.

The knitting gift I got myself for Christmas is the On The Town Knitting Bag by Silver. This is the Abracadabra version, and I absolutely love it. It was big enough for the 2 skeins it took to make the IHS, but wouldn't hold much else. It'll be perfect for the millions of socks I'm planning still to make.

The January Knit-In is this Saturday, and I had planned originally to take some of the newly perfected Carmel Pies (see a future post!). But, since it'll be the new year and no doubt everyone will be trying to eat more healthy (including me), I've decided instead to take some fruit salsa with cinnamon chips. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Well, I actually did it! I had a straight-A semester, my first since junior year of high school. Interestingly, I also haven't worked this hard since junior year of high school. Told you I was masochistic.

I've found that studying is a lot like losing weight. Everyone knows what to do: read the assigned reading, do as many NCLEX questions as you can, and don't ever get behind. Just like everyone knows to eat right and exercise to lose weight. The tricky part comes with actually investing the time and effort it takes to do what you know you need to do. This requires a whole load of self-discipline and willpower. You've got to be motivated to do well in school. Unfortunately, there's no way to induce yourself into being motivated, it's just something that happens. You have to just plain want it, and that's where I get tripped up sometimes with losing weight.

Don't get me wrong, I really want to be healthy and beautiful, but sometimes I just want a quarter pounder more. I've gotten much better at 'just saying NO' to those nasty things. Just like I've gotten better at just sitting down and studying. The tutoring I do in nursing school has really helped me stay on the ball and keep up with the readings a lot better because you never know when someone will ask you a question about it. Likewise, the meetings for WeightWatchers have also been a huge help in keeping me on task. Even if I don't speak much in the actual meeting, I like to have something to be proud of for that week - even if it's just that I still haven't had a quarter pounder (13 weeks now, and I used to have one every day).

I really wish I'd taken "before" pictures of the weight loss. Maybe that would help me be able to notice little changes that are bound to have happened since I've lost 23.4 lbs. I'll make sure to get one soon though - I mean to go all the way this time and want it documented!

On the knitting front (which is actually nothing like losing weight or studying, thank God), I finished Sock the Second!

Then I figured out I had nothing to knit.

After bothering the hubby until he got to the point where he'd let me do anything as long as I shut the hell up, I went to buy 2 hanks of Cascade 220 (reasonably priced, I'll add) and cast on for the Irish Hiking Scarf.

I decided I wanted to try cables, since I love their look and they look really hard to master. Unfortunately, they're butt easy (Completely Skippable Technical Explanation: All you do is take the stitches for the cable that winds in front, put them on a cable needle or DPN to chill for a minute, knit the stitches for the cable that goes behind, then go back and knit the stitches that are chilling on the cable needle/DPN. Duuuh). So the scarf is rocketing along and it needs to last me until I get some Christmas money! So I'm treating it like the fine wine I picked the color of the yarn to match: taking it a few rows at a time instead of having a 4 hour Buffy watching knitting marathon.

In other news, Ross and I have finally decided it's time for another dog. We put in an application with American Boston Terrier Rescue on Tuesday, and hopefully we'll hear something back soon. In the meantime, it's time to do some major cleaning since ABTR does a home visit to see what kind of conditions you live in, and I have to bleach everything that can be bleached of Sophie's just in case she had a virus or something. Then, Ross and I are going on a marathon shopping spree with his bonus from work and will replace what we had to throw out. It's going to be fun, but a little bittersweet as well. I haven't seen Sophie's stuff since Ross put it away after she died, and it's bound to trigger some memories for me. But, I'm ready to love and spoil a new dog, especially one from rescue and give it a second chance.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It Gets Bloody

Never expect knitters to be quiet and submissive. And never expect not to get hurt when there's yarn on the line in a game of Dirty Santa. The Knit-In last night was fantastic - I'm so glad I got up the courage to go! Everyone there was very polite to me and I didn't feel like an outsider at all. Nor was I the only one my age there. My gift wasn't opened until towards the very end, but it did get a good reception :) The gift I got was a "Fiber Travel Guide" that has the listings of all the yarn stores in each state. I know Paula, my stepmother-in-law, will absolutely love it since she travels all over the US whenever she comes across the pond from England. And, since she's the one responsible for getting me into knitting in the first place, I think it's appropriate I give her a knitterly gift.

Still not done with Sock the Second, but did make some good progress on the gusset last night at the Knit-In.

My Nursing final is Tuesday, and to make an A I have to get an 80% or higher on it. My average for all of the previous exams is around an 86, so theoretically this shouldn't be a problem. I'm still nervous and will study anyway, though.

In lab we finally did venipunctures. The cool part was we got to practice on each other! This lead to some hilarity, as you might imagine (all photos are by Sarah Shurtz, not me):

I am so proud of myself after getting blood!

Needle goes in...blood comes out! We're little vampires-in-training.

Sarah, me, Ali, and Shelby pose after our blood draws.

The Smurfs invade CiCi's after our last lab of the year.

I have to say, after all that I had heard about some nursing instructors in general, I was afraid I would get a 'bad' clinical instructor that never taught, only criticized. I'm so glad I got who I got for clinicals, and that she's the same one who will be teaching Med-Surg next semester. Despite the fact that I felt I already knew the 'Foundations' of nursing, I have unexpectedly learned a lot this semester, and not all of it was curriculum-related. I've gotten exponentially better at working in a group, as well as found out that I like teaching and helping my fellow students in tutoring. I also learned that I haven't lost my studying ability, I had just chosen not to use it since Junior year of high school.

Nursing school is a challenge; one that is occasionally painful. But I guess I'm masochistic enough to love the fact that I've been challenged academically for the first time in a long time, and that I'm rising to the occasion. We'll see how I handle next semester!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Semester One of nursing school is winding down, and that means we've reached the point where I start doing a ton of math to figure out how much I can slack off and still pass. Now, normally I'd be ecstatic that I only have to make a 25% on the final exam to pass, but for some reason it's important to me that I shoot for the A. When I was doing prerequisites before getting in to nursing school, getting A's was nearly mandatory since nursing school is so competitive. But with the prereq's, I didn't give a crap. Now that I practically have free license to get all the C's I can stand, I find that I want to be better than that.

I'm not saying that C students aren't good - there's certainly some I know that will be running circles around me in clinical - it's just that I love nursing and, despite all the crap and hard work it throws at me, I love nursing school too. I also feel like the bar's set high for me, not just because my mom made (mostly) A's in this same program, but also because I feel the instructors expect it from me since I am a tutor.

So, instead of taking Christmas vacation early, I guess I'll have to make use of my ATI study guide and the practice exams. At least until Tuesday :P

I'm also knitting like the wind (compared to my previous knitting endeavors) trying to get Sock the Second to the point where all I have to do is knit around and around so I can take it to my first Knit-In at GYC on Saturday and not have to be thinking too hard trying to pick up stitches and such. The heel's turned, I just have to spend tomorrow working on the gussset.

I'm a little nervous about the Knit-In. I don't know anyone and I'm horribly afraid of feeling out of place because I'm relatively young as well as childless. But, I've spent the past two days racking my brain trying to find the *perfect* Dirty Santa gift so I make a splash. I'd heard tell that Starbucks is selling a cable knit looking coffee mug, so I made the trip and lo and behold, I found it. It's so perfect for a knitterly get-together I could just die! The limit's $15 tho, so I had a little more cash to spend, so I got a Starbucks gift card to go with it. Then the dilemma became the presentation, and I had a stroke of genius:

I knit a little pouch to put the gift card in! I have now officially made my own design, since making a gift card pouch is apparently so mind-numbingly simple that no one bothers to post patterns on Ravelry. I bought Wal-Mart cotton yarn for it (sorry MG) and let me tell you, I have now gained an appreciation for the 'good' yarn at GYC. Cotton is horrid to knit with - it's just...sticky. I'll keep it around for little projects like this though (does this mean I have stash now???), it does come in handy.

Some lucky GYC knitter will be taking this home Saturday:

Don't you wish it was you? Hell, I do!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen....

I give you...

The First Sock

Yes, it is finished! It's far from perfect, but me and this sock will always have a special relationship.

Side note: if you want to get a lot of knitting done, go to East Texas. I went from where the ribbing ends at the cuff to being halfway down the foot in a single day. There was a scary moment when I started thinking for myself (instead of just following directions) and put the heel on three needles instead of two. But, I figured out how to fix it, carried on, and was rewarded for my patience today. I made a midnight run to WalMart just to get a yarn needle to graft the toes because I couldn't possibly go to bed when I was THAT CLOSE to being finished.

Pattern is from Silver's Sock Class, yarn is Regia 4-ply Landscape in the colorway Caribbean.

So now, without further ado, I must say...

Newbie knitters CAN knit socks!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Getting it Right

One of my favorite things about knitting has to be the ability to completely fix mistakes. This has come in especially useful with my first sock attempt. I started knitting it with size 0's (which is tiny, like slightly wider than a toothpick size) because the smaller the needle, the more durable the sock. Well, since I'm a tightish knitter anyway, the sock would barely go over my toes, and wouldn't go past the ball of my foot. Considering that was the cuff of the sock, I decided that it was a lost cause and ripped the whole thing out to put on size 3 needles (slightly smaller than pencil size). This has proven to be one of the better decisions I could have made. I can knit much faster on the size 3's and they don't make my hands hurt. I have no effing clue if I'm getting gauge or not, but it is definitely a hell of a lot bigger sock. Can fit up my whole foot and around the heel no problem. What's freaking me out is that I'm just about to the point where I'll have to start the heel. The heel is the hard part. Considering it's been frogged twice already, I'm not wanting to shoot for 3 (or 10). Oh well, I freaking love the yarn - the striping is fantastic:

Ross said yesterday that it actually looks like a sock now. I have to agree!

Thanksgiving's coming up, and I have to say I don't much feel thankful. This could partly be because I have final exams coming up the second week after the break. I'm thankful I'm in nursing school, but the exams are a part I could do without. Especially the ATI nationally standardized exam. Although in my (extensive, with an SAT, 3 ACT's, 2 AP exams, aTEAS, and numerous public school EOI's under my belt) experience, the word 'standardized' means 'dumbed down', I have the feeling that this one will actually be a challenge. It's built to mimic the NCLEX, and even my brilliant mother had her butt kicked by the NCLEX. Also, it's over a massive amount of material compared to what I've taken in the past. It's just over the foundations of nursing, but when I think over all the chapters I've read this semester and that all of that will be on this exam I get a little woozy. Hopefully my test-taking abilities will not fail me. But I'm still going to study.

After Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 10, 2008


This is an ironic topic for me, considering that if you judged me by my blog you'd probably come to the conclusion that I don't have just a whole lot of it. However, just because I'm not quite as dedicated to my blog as others seem to be to theirs, that doesn't mean that I lack this important virtue. So, in order to prove this to myself and to you, here's a list of things I'm dedicated to:

1) Nursing School

It's impossible not to be dedicated to nursing school and still pass. It's just not one of those slacker-friendly majors like philosophy or art history (
sorry to those of you with those majors - but I've seen the workload of those majors from close friends and they are nothing compared to the first semester of nursing school). If you still doubt me, here's my textbooks for this semester:

Take that. Used, they were about $1000, and I have several more on the list for next semester as well. Tell me you wouldn't be a little intimidated by that. I know the bejesus was scared out of me and I was prepared for a massive workload.

2) Knitting
As has been discussed in previous posts, I like knitting to get away from all those books up there.

As an update on the sock situation, I did actually go up to the GYC and pleaded for help (those that know me will realize what an effort that was for me). The incomparable Margaret only had to rip out half of my progress so far to fix it, and it is now as perfect as
it can be. Beats the crap out of my considering to start all over. It's taken me a week to get back to where I was before, but that's not all the sock's fault. Nursing school seriously cuts into sock knitting time. Good thing I have more than enough dedication for several things at once.

3) OKC Thunder
Okay, they're not great. I get that. But it's a big-name team for OKC and we've nee
ded that for a long time. I cannot express in words how tired I am of OU and OSU football (my feelings run more to the form of wailing and gnashing of teeth). I went to my first game last night, and I have to say that I thought it was a good one, even though they lost. Also even though I don't know a damn thing about basketball. Apparently I forgot this when Ross called and said he had free tickets from work if we wanted them. After seeing the game, basketball is something I could get into, even if only freakishly tall mutants can play it well.

The Ford Center looked outstanding, and the place was packed! It made for a great crowd - it's a lot easier to figure out what's going on when you have boos and cheers to go by.

Fellow Okies: this is what a real NBA floor looks like. Add people for all the empty seats (we got there early. I have inherited the Pepper if-you're-not-half-an-hour-early-then-you're-late gene), and you have a smashing time. The Sam Adams my darling husband bought me probably also contributed to my level of fun-having. It was a close game, and we were ahead for some of it, so I won't complain about the loss too much.

So there you go. Three perfectly noble pursuits that I am dedicated to. However, I always meet people that have just a little more dedication sometimes than I do:

She's so dedicated, she's wearing a trash bag so she can walk in the pouring rain to class. I'd have skipped.

Monday, November 3, 2008

We're not mentioning my inconsistency

The first introductory nursing class I took at UCO was taught by a wonderful woman whose most enjoyable quality was her penchant for honesty. Since pre-nursing students take her course, naturally there were days when the class would ask her a lot of questions about what nursing school is really like. As I'm finding, she was right about 100% of what she said, but there's one thing in particular that really stuck with me:

"The secret to getting through nursing school is not studying every hour of every day, it's not being able to think critically, it's not the rapport you have with your patients, and it's certainly not sucking up to us instructors. The secret to nursing school is having a hobby that has nothing at all to do with nursing."

And she's been completely right. Nursing school saps your will to live, and I won't lie about that. Studying for three weeks straight only to get an 86 on a test is soul-stealing. Getting up at 5:00am for clinicals where you are yelled at, kicked, hit, bitten, and spit on by the residents you're trying to help would make even the most devoted nurse-to-be have second thoughts. Having a hobby that doesn't involve reading anything is priceless. It's like a vacation. My first attempt at a hobby, the glorious pink bike, fell through when I developed back issues that prevent me from riding it for now. So, I took up a nice, sedentary hobby.


I can see the image you have in your mind now: something like a fussy old lady with clicking knitting needles in her arthritic hands knitting an atrociously ugly sweater. And I don't blame you. That's exactly what I thought of knitting, too. Until my knitterly stepmother-in-law (that's like a double negative, isn't it? But I promise, she is extremely nice) visited from jolly old England and purchased a copy of Interweave Knits and left it strategically on the coffee table. I think she did this on purpose - I cannot resist reading anything that is on a coffee table. In it, I saw the most amazing stuff. Sweaters I'd actually wear. Cute, sexy little tank tops.

Here look:

Isn't that stuff that looks like you might actually wear??? It looks like it for me, I have a love of nice sweaters and anything warm.

And most of all: socks. Oh the socks. How my heart pines for thee.

So, to that end, I used my trusty Internet to track down a local yarn store. Paula (the contagious knitterly stepmother-in-law) in tow, we went and checked out this enigmatic little shop. Wall-to-wall yarn, I kid you not. The place was amazing. I may have begun to develop the knitter's disorder of yarn addiction, which is something you just won't understand until you've gone to a yarn shop (NOT the yarn section in WalMart, guys) and petted some quality wool. Paula bought tons of yarn, but I was still a little leery of this whole knitting business. Still had the mental image of the fussy old lady, I suspect.

Then, I found the Yarn Harlot. She is amazing. She's witty, creative, and everything opposite of the old lady image in my head. Reading her blog (and yes, I read every entry from Jan 2004 until now), makes knitting a lot less intimidating. It does not require perfection, and mistakes can be fixed (mostly).

The next day, I took a beginner's knitting class and, two months later, I have this:

Knitted it myself. I am so damn proud of it! I just sit and pet it sometimes, feeling smug. Since I do not have a sufficient yarn stash (or cash stash, for that matter) to buy enough yarn to knit a sweater, I started on that most abmbitious of knitting projects: the sock.

This little bit (less than an inch) took me most of the day yesterday to do. I had to learn how to put the stitches on the special double-pointed sock needles and then teach myself to pay attention enough to do the different stitches required for the ribbing. I'm trucking along, making sure my joins are nice and tight so I don't get gaps, when suddenly:

Gigantic hole from what I assume is a slipped stitch. Hopefully I can find a website that says how to fix it so I don't have to rip everything back and start again. :/

Despite the minor (and major) setbacks, I enjoy knitting because it is so unlike nursing school. You can go at your own pace, you're not comparing your knitting progress against others', and you don't have to read anything (unless you slip a stitch and have no clue how to fix it). My favorite part is that it's creating something tangible. After all these years where most of my life has been in one form of pixels or another, that's important to me.

So, my nursing friends, get a hobby, enjoy it, and take a step back every once in awhile to just enjoy life.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Human Balloon

It was one WILD weekend at work. We weren't totally full, but the patients we did have were sick enough to require a little extra care than our usual acuity patients do.

There really wasn't such a thing as a "good" assignment of patients this weekend. Not for the nurses or for us aides. If it wasn't a patient having frequent bathroom trips, it was confrontational family members or vomiting episodes.

However, there was one group of patients that was universally considered a really demanding assignment. And guess where I was Saturday? Yup, with that group.

The highlight of this group was a man whom I will call the Human Balloon. He had a unique condition, subcutaneous air (air under the skin). He literally looked like someone had inflated him. His face was all puffed out, his eyes were swollen shut because of the air under his eyelids, his hands and feet were puffed up; this guy had air all over the place. Actually he kinda looked like this:

Yes, I know I'm bad! But he looked a LOT like that (only with a midline incision on his chest from his CABG and 2 chest tubes). He actually would have been a cool patient to take care of except for the fact that he was a total dickhead.

I don't know if he was actually mentally challenged or just stupid, but this man would NOT listen to any instructions you gave him. You'd say "okay, step to your right towards the chair", and he'd go to the left and not listen when you'd say "okay....your other right". The nurse and I would literally have to shove this guy around to keep him from falling on his ass. But he could hear, definitely, because the second you said he had to get out of bed he'd throw a hissy fit. Then, the second you left him alone sitting in his chair, all fluffed up with his breakfast right in front of him, he'd throw said breakfast to the floor and immediately stand up and go into the hall, disconnecting his chest tubes in the damn process. Anyway, he was a trip and so was his family, but I persevered.

Then there was the very heavy lady who needed a lot of physical assistance to move around, the bedridden pooper, and the little old lady who was lonely and wouldn't stop talking long enough for you to gracefully leave the room. Now, I understand that none of these people could really help it and weren't doing it just to make my day bad, but all of them together made for a really busy day and left me wishing I could have done more for them, especially the lonely old lady. I hate days where I go home thinking of all the things I could have done if only I'd had more time, which is why I got out of Long-Term Care.

Requested a different group for Sunday (we're rotating this bad group around to different people), and the day was a ton better. Not nearly as soul-destroying and I got to do a lot of extra care on a lady who needed it.

The Human Balloon went to the ICU Sunday morning - apparently his respiratory issues got the best of him and he had to be intubated. I do genuinely hope he's okay, even after all the crap he put me through on Saturday. The ICU is probably the best place for him really, where he can be watched the whole time he's there. I get this funny feeling he'll be back soon, though...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Work Ramblings

You know how lately I've been ranting and raving at the MRSA epidemic, right? Well, the hospital administration, in all their wisdom, has decided to join the other hospitals around the country and do something about it. Now, every patient admitted to a floor has to be tested for MRSA infection. Sounds cool, right? Surely if we catch it right when they come in we can isolate them right away and they won't infect anyone else, right? Sure, it sounds that way if you don't know anything about MRSA (and I didn't either at first, don't feel bad). I have a few problems with it though:

Firstly, many people are infected with MRSA but cannot spread it to other people easily. Usually, the MRSA has "colonized" and isn't virulent. I would be willing to bet a large sum of money that myself and my coworkers would all test positive, yet are not able to transmit it to any of our patients. This is why healthcare workers aren't being screened. We'd all test positive, they'd have to forbid us from coming to work and they'd find themselves with a very small number of working employees.

Secondly, and I've said this in previous posts, superbug infections have no place on a postsurgical cardiac floor. Period. End of discussion. Yes, it's nice to imagine working in Fantasy Memorial Hospital where every doctor, nurse, housekeeper, maintenance worker, and visitor washes their hands between rooms, but it ain't happening. We have to start allowing for some human error here.

Thirdly, it completely trivializes something that is deadly serious. I can't name all the times I've heard in report, "Oh he's on isolation for MRSA, but it's just a positive screen for the colonized stuff in his nose". Now, I'll still wear gloves when entering the room, but I'll be willing to bet that there's a bunch that won't at that point. The habit of treating isolation precautions seriously is now broken. You get some dumbass aide that assumes the isolation cart now means "colonized MRSA", and won't glove up for a shingles or actual MRSA patient. Congratulations, you've now spread the disease.

Yes, MRSA is serious business. Yes, I agree with the fact that sometimes the infection is hospital acquired from the "error" of someone not washing their hands and the hospital and employees should be held accountable for that. But this seriously isn't the way to do it.

However, nobody listens to me (unfortunately) and I fear that this is the way of the future. Medicare has stuck its greedy little nose into the situation and is making its money talk. "Beginning October 2008, hospitals will receive lower Medicare reimbursement if their inpatients suffer from 'hospital-acquired conditions' which were not documented as 'present on admission'." (article HERE). Okay, fine, this is understandable. It's the "you break it, you buy it" principle. Only here it's "you infect it, you pay for it". Again, good and right and fair in Fantasy Memorial Hospital. In reality, it has a few problems.

Most of the postsurgical cases my floor gets are open heart surgeries (CABGs.) They're given strict instruction during their stay (as well as constant nagging) to NOT use their arms to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for six weeks after their discharge. This includes using their arms to move around or assist with sitting or standing. Obviously, we get some noncompliant patients. They go home, don't bathe, and use their arms for everything they did before the surgery. Well guess what. They come back with MRSA infections nine times out of ten. It's their on stupid fault and no one can say they weren't educated constantly while they were in the hospital. Well, now they get a free 3-4 week hospital stay!!! Woohoo! NOT. There goes my yearly bonus. And the next 50 years' bonuses too. But Medicare damn sure won't pay for it since they didn't have MRSA when they entered the hospital before their surgery.

Healthcare theory and policy today and in planning for the future relies way too much on the intelligence of people. Politicians, including Clinton and Obama, spout that the only way to reform healthcare is educate people! No way people will get Type 2 diabetes if they KNOW they can get it!!! Bull fucking shit. There's not a smoker alive that isn't educated about what smoking does to them. The fucking warning's on the fucking box. But they do anyway! People today (and yes, I do actually include my obese self) see no reason to make sacrifices for their health. Educate all you want, they will still eat that Twinkie and get diabetes, smoke that cigarette and get COPD, drink a bottle of vodka a day and go into liver failure, and sit on their ass all day and get heart disease. Education is NOT the cure-all these idiots are spouting it to be.

Just because the patient didn't do what they were taught doesn't mean it's the hospital's responsibility when they very thing we said would happen, happens. It's a good start, but people need to start taking responsibility. And I think and exit MRSA swab in addition to the entrance swab is a really good place to start.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Okay, this made me laugh and I think I have to buy one to stick at the nurse's station at work:

Do ya get it?? It's the "superbug" (hence the cape) MRSA. I'm a nerd. I love the little ThinkGeek disease plushies, what can I say? :P

Just had to share that, you may return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Old Solutions, New Problems

Shut up. So I named my bike. Get over it.

Turns out (not surprisingly) that my problem with my bike was not my weight, but the fact that I am a total retard :P

Everybody on BikeForums kept telling me I needed to raise my seat. Well, I thought I was, but I quit raising it when it became impossible to get on the bike with it standing straight up and down. Apparently this is wrong. Get it that high, raise it 3 more inches, and develop some acrobatic ability to mount the thing and you're there! Actually it's not that hard. Retardedly easy, in fact. Tilt the bike sideways. Who knew?

And, the old adage is indeed true, but I have an addendum: as long as you know what the fuck you're doing, riding a bike is easy once you've learned once. Took Pinkie for a spin around the block and was absolutely fine! So tomorrow will be my first real ride. I have an Excel spreadsheet all ready fixed up so I can start counting the miles and the pounds!

Next up on the Obstacles to Overcome to not be Obese (OOO) list: Diet. I've got the exercise thing taken care of (at least I have no more excuses to NOT do it), so the next step is diet, because either one on its own will never be enough. So, I've dusted off the old WeightWatchers points counter and will be keeping close track of caloric intakes from today on.

Hmm. I should get some "before" photos taken of myself.

Nah - if I wanted to see my fat ass any more I wouldn't be losing weight, now would I?

Suffice to say, and I want to get this written, I DO love where I work. It has many flaws but the nurses I work with have taught me a lot and I'm not only a better person and employee, but I'll be a better nurse in the long run from having worked there.

HOWEVER, and this seems to be a pattern with any healthcare job, but my unit is going through a period where the scheduling just sucks. Most of the time it's good and you can work when you want and be off when you don't, but eventually there'll be a period of time that, for whatever reason, you must work on a Sunday on your weekend off.

That's fine, I don't mind pitching in if it's needed, in moderation. But please, PLEASE do me the courtesy of telling me instead of releasing the new schedule one week before the start of it and then not telling me that you're changing up my routine. I get irritated. What's more, I look bad because I have to be called at home at 7am that morning and get the wonderful news that I'm on the schedule.

So I have to go in and be all assertive to my boss tomorrow. And I really hate doing that because I'm not any good at the whole assertive business. At least not to those I'm intimidated by and boy does my boss intimidate me. But this has to stop, and it won't if I don't take a stand - that's been made obvious enough.

Anyway - I'm focusing on the bike ride tomorrow morning and then I'll get the unpleasantness over with when I'm feeling good about myself for having done something productive.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Off the Wagon

Work Ramblings
Working Christmas was rather odd. Since most of the ancillary staff weren't there (Clinical directors, educators, therapists, case managers, etc.), it was really just like a weekend day. After Thanksgiving, I wasn't surprised to find that we were mostly full. What DID surprise me was the acuity of the patients. My theory is that everybody who the doctors could even stretch to send home, had gone home, and we were left with the sickest ones.

The really ridiculous part, though (there always has to be one, you see. It's a corporate environment, after all), was that we had an astounding SIX patients with MRSA (a "superbug"). Okay, remember my oft-cited fact that we are a postsurgical cardiac ward? There is just no reason for this highly infectious, difficult-to-treat infection to be anywhere near patients recovering from open heart surgery. I mean...DUH. Yes, we wash our hands religiously. Yes, we gown and glove up when entering the room. But that does not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean that these patients are absolutely protected. Case in point, one of the MRSA patients was actually a patient that had been recovering from a CABG when she got MRSA in the chest wound. You know what they have to do if that chest incision gets infected like that? They take out your entire breastbone and you're in the hospital for weeks. It's unreal, and I'm sure the expense is mind-boggling.

But, God forbid we have a low census because that means we're not making as much money, so send us those infections! Hell, give us a round of tuberculosis patients while we're at it! The more shit we have flying around here the better!

What do you wanna bet next month we have to have a meeting to discuss our high rate of MRSA contamination to other patients?

Fitness Ramblings
So I got a bike for Christmas:It's a Raleigh Detour 4.0. Brand spankin-new for 2008. Yes it's pink. Is it weird that I love the fact that it's pink? If you knew me, you'd be saying What the fuck? Since when does Kris like pink? However, it works for this bike. Haven't ridden it yet. Couldn't really tell you why - it's all shiny and new and sitting in the dining room right by the door saying, ride me, ride me. It's been years since I've been on a bike, though. Yes, I know "x is just like riding a bike". But it's really big. And shiny. Not too big for me, just a good deal bigger than the last bike I was on when I was 12. And I suppose I'm terrified that I won't be able to get into it as much as I want to cus it's just not going to be nice the first few rides. Bikes hurt your ass. Everything I read for beginning bikers says that. And I'm afraid it'll take, like, months to go away because I have a very big ass.

I'm also not sure what to expect of myself. Can I ride a mile? Can I ride 50 feet? I just don't know. With walking I have a very good idea of how long it takes before my shins can't take any more (bout a mile at chihuahua walking speed). Riding - zippo. I so very much want to do this, though. Riding a bike is like flying, and I always had fun doing it. It's so much easier long-term than walking or jogging because the pressure on joints is minimal. I'm afraid I'll let myself down.

But I suppose the biggest letdown of all would be seeing that beautiful pink shiny bike sit there and gather rust and want to ride it but don't have the guts to. My whole thing with being off school for a semester (besides the money and the no prerequisites to take and the working more) is to do some personal improvement (PIMPing, if you will). Things like cooking more, reading more, AND getting exercise. All those things I'm usually too burned out to put any energy into. And I'm ready to put energy into something. The last couple of days have been really long because I'm bored, and I think now would be the perfect time to really jump into something new with both feet, and with it being riding, well, the exercise and fitness will just happen naturally then.

I got on Google Earth the other day and mapped out the distance around the track at a park VERY close to where I live. The track is about .75 miles around and the distance to it another .25. How perfect is that? With a track I wouldn't have to worry about cars, I could see anybody else there for safety reasons - it would be so perfect. God, I want to. I drove by it today and the track looks so safe and fun for me. Okay, okay, enough, I know :P Just fucking do it, Kristina! God!!

Can I just say that I love blogs? Can talk about myself all day long and don't feel bad because you can stop reading whenever you want ;)