Wednesday, April 30, 2014

#1601 to 1578 - On Zeniths

Well, I've reached mine for this year's blogging challenge.  I hope those of you that found me this year will stick around... It promises to be ever eventful with lots of trips planned throughout the summer, and the never-ending dramas of life in the ER... Grazie, thank you, et bonne nuit...!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

#1579 - On Yoda

My good friend M and I are huge Star Wars fans.  Aside from seeing the originals, we went to the theatre to see the "enhanced" versions when they came out.  Unfortunately, I was in med school when the "prequel" trilogy came out, so we weren't able to go see those together, but we have a date for December 18th, 2015 to go see the first of the new "sequel" trilogy.

If you know anything about Star Wars, you know that Yoda figures prominently in the series.  And I love this meme that has been circulating recently...

Of course the most famous of Yoda quotes is the:  Do.  Or do not.  There is no try.

But do you remember these...?

 - “Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is.”

 - “Named must your fear be before banish it you can.”

 - “To be Jedi is to face the truth, and choose. Give off light, or darkness, Padawan. Be a candle, or the night.”

Of course, my favorite tribute to Yoda is this....

2013 A to Z Challenge Post:

Monday, April 28, 2014

#1579 - On eXercise...

I was looking back through some prior posts, and I came across this photo...
St Lucia 03/2013
which is actually connected to the link that I will share
tomorrow from last year's challenge.

Fast forward to January of this year where I was actually
heavier than I am in this picture, and suffering

I made a promise to myself to never be that heavy again,
and I bought my Fitbit which I have

My lifesaver...!
And, I talked earlier as well about counting calories
and how much fun that has been... not!

But, now I am finally starting to see some results.
You see, working in "pajamas" on a daily basis
makes it real easy to gain weight and not even realize it.
You just let out the drawstring on your scrubs from
time to time, and you don't think about it
until suddenly your pants are tight across the seat
and you worry about ripping them when you bend over.

Plus, you have that set of "fat clothes" that fit comfortably
no matter what.
No problem, right?

Over the course of the last couple of months
since I've been counting calories and making a concerted effort
to get more exercise, I'm noticing that suddenly
I am sleeping better
I don't get heartburn
I can just about keep up with my dogs

Dixie encouraging me up the hill...
I am enjoying doing more with my husband
(I used to balk at the idea of going for a walk on the beach)
and now I actually want to eXercise...
on a treadmill some days

The view from my treadmill
Rainy, like most days, so easier just to eXercise inside
I had to buy new scrubs...

Smaller, actually tapered womenly scrubs
that aren't just a square with arms...

And, while on vacation, I was able to fit into some of my
"thinner" clothes.  White pants and a breezy top I ridiculously bought on sale
and never thought I would actually fit into.

But now I do...

And, I hope it will be looser soon...!

2013 A to Z Challenge Post:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

#1595 - On Workplace Humor

I get comments every once in a while about patients wondering
why the ED staff is laughing while at work.
Shouldn't you be busy saving lives..?

When you get patients like this:

You sometimes have to laugh.
Of course, I can't post some of the more
life-threatening emergencies we see,
but after a particularly bad code, you
sometimes have to let off some steam.

So, I thought I would again share some of my
favorite medical cartoons...

And the reason we continue to do what we do
is no laughing matter:

2013 A to Z Challenge Post:

Friday, April 25, 2014

#1596 - On Vivacity

I always hated that project in school, or sometimes at camp
where you had to introduce yourself with an adjective
to help people remember your first name.

What I wouldn't give at that time to be:
Darling Darla
Laughing Linda
Awesome Anna

I, almost always, had to be
Vivacious Veronica

I mean, how many other adjectives that are appealing
are there that start with the letter V?

The only thing is, I didn't feel Vivacious.
To me, at that time, Vivacious Veronicas were 
cheerleaders, student body presidents,
cute fun girls who drove convertables,
and dated football players.

I was the smart, short and dumpy looking girl
who had a lot of boy "friends" but no one
that I really dated.
(I later found out it was because most of my
male friends turned out to be gay;  I was a hag
even then and just didn't know it.)

But, Vivacious, not me...

Of course, in college, alcohol helped a lot...
At parties and at the bar, I was the funny one.
My friends attracted the boys with their looks,
but I kept them laughing while my friends
danced and enjoyed the free drinks.

I still didn't date much at all,
and I continued to be friends with guys
who later turned out to be gay, again.

But, I had fun, and continued to have fun
with my gay friends until I met my husband
and finally didn't have to worry about being a hag
all my life...
Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Still, Vivacious...?
Well, maybe just a little after all...

2013 A to Z Challenge Post:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

#1596 - On Undecidedness

I can't think of what to write tonight, so I will leave this short and sweet...
only 5 more to go... whew....!

2013 A to Z Challenge Post:
U is for Unbelievable

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

#1596 - On Triage

 I know I've written about this before, but I want to make sure that you really get the concept.  And, since I am preparing for a mass casualty exercise for my EMS group tomorrow, I thought I would share some of what I've been doing today.... plus have a good excuse for the short post...

Triage is the system used to determine in what order patients are seen in the emergency department.  So someone having a heart attack or a stroke will be seen before someone with a toothache.  And, while you may be worried about that fact that your kid fell and hit his head on the coffee table, we're more worried about the kid whose parents continue to smoke and who is on their third nebulized breathing treatment because they're still wheezing.

Now, I know you've been waiting for three hours, but I can't control what comes in the "back door;"  you know, the big one labeled "Ambulance Entrance."  Sometimes, people who are having actual emergencies come in on the ambulance.  I can't determine that until I go in and see them.  Then, when I have determined that their month long bought of abdominal pain which is suddenly worse today, isn't life threatening, I can get to you.  For your drug refill, or your migraine headache that magically appears every Friday night that needs that "dilaudid" stuff, but please be quick about it because "my ride is waiting."

And, not to sound callous, but you have to remember that we have seen the worst that can happen to someone.  So when we reassure you that the finger you almost cut off with a table saw because that "pesky plastic shield just kept getting in the way" is going to be ok, it's because we've dealt with this kind of emergency before.  You're not going to bleed to death, but that finger's going to be just a little bit shorter than the others.

2013 A to Z Challenge Post:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

#1606 - On Soup

Given that I love to cook,
I thought I would share a simple recipe with you for a
Spanish soup called "Cocido" (koh-see-do)
which essentially means "cooked."

It's a nice hearty soup that my husband enjoys
pouring over warm cornbread.
We always at it with corn or flour tortillas
and a bottle of picante.

To start, I grab my biggest stock pot

And my trusty cow timer.
The number "30" will be all you need to know.

I put about a pound of beef for stew and some soup bones,
then put in just enough water to cover them.

I bring the water up to a boil and then let them simmer uncovered for
30 minutes.  You should stir at least once to keep the meat
from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Then I skim the fat off the top.

I then quarter a yellow onion and throw it in there.
I also add about 3 garlic clove wedges which I peel and halve.
I add about 2 or 3 bouillon cubes (beef or vegetable) to 
have some salt and seasoning. 

That gives it this nice rich color.

I then add a cup of rice...

a drained can of garbanzo beans...

a large can of tomato sauce...

At this point I taste the stock to see if it needs more salt.
I might add some chili pepper flakes, or a little garlic salt
depending on my mood...
and you set the timer for another 30 minutes.

I usually take the bones out at this point and cut off any meat
which I toss back into the pot.
You're going to raise the water level as we go,
so it's a good idea to take out some bulk.
I also "pop out" the marrow from the bones 
and toss it back into the pot as well.

This is also the last time I stir the soup
before serving it.
All the rest of the ingredients are just put in
and allowed to cook.

I then peel and cut up 2 medium potatoes.
Peeled or unpeeled is up to you.  My hubby doesn't like
the peel to be left on, so I peel them, but I've made it both ways.

Set the timer for what...?
Another 30 minutes.
And, at this point, put the lid on.

Then take 2 or 3 carrots and peel/not peel
and toss them into the pot
and cook for another
30 minutes.

I sometimes at this point also add fresh corn on the cob
which has been halved depending
on the season.  I only like really fresh corn.

The final ingredient is cabbage.
Red or green, doesn't matter.
Depending on the space left, a quarter or a half
will work.  I generally half it, then half it again 
another couple of times to get some large wedges.
Cabbage cooks fast, so this is the last
30 minutes of cooking.

After that last 30 minutes your soup is done!!

The stock pot is filled to the top, as you can see.
I stir the ingredients and serve them in a bowl
with a squeeze of lemon to finish.

My hubby, as I said, likes to have cornbread and pours
the soup over the bread to eat.

I prefer mine straight with a tortilla to dip into the soup.
You can also add a dash of picante to give
the soup a little more heat.
Or add some extra chili pepper flakes earlier on
to do the same.

I'd love to hear how yours comes out!!
Hubby freezes whatever's left over and enjoys
the soup over several weeks.

Bon appétit!!

2013 A to Z Challenge Post:

Saturday, April 19, 2014

#1609 - On Quirks

We're on vacation, so another short post.  I was watching an early episode of "30 Rock" where Liz decides to break up with her boyfriend.  She's trying to rush to work and notices that he shaved in the sink (the water's softer in here), he chews with his mouth open, and he doesn't like the name "Bodie."

It reminded me of when my husband and I first started dating.  On one of our first dates we talked about the little things that had annoyed us about other people.  Almost ala Seinfield who'd broken up with so many women over different things (man hands, being a virgin, etc.)

As I sit here at the hotel watching the wave of humanity rush past, I notice little things that people unconsciously do and wonder what I could and couldn't live with.  Anything that has to do with snorting, or swallowing mucous or sniffing repeatedly would be a deal breaker.  A boss of mine did this clicking thing with his teeth and cheek unconsciously.  Any kind of tic would be hard to look past.

My hubby's got a familial palsy that I've gotten used to.  And he doesn't make any annoying noises when he eats.  So he's still a keeper.  I haven't asked him if I have any little quirks.  Maybe I don't want to know...

Friday, April 18, 2014

#1609 - On Peter

On vacation so this will be short.  Given that it's Good Friday, I thought I would share an idea that's been lingering in my head for some time now.  I've always wanted to write a musical and collaborate with a friend of mine who's a talented musician.  Many topics have crossed my mind, but the one that's been mulling around the longest is to do one on the story of Peter the apostle.

He was an older man when he was chosen.  He was close to Jesus and chosen as the first leader of the church.  He died as Christ died on a cross, but upside down.  I'm still working the direction I want to take, but I actually have the lyrics to a couple of songs almost complete.

He was a man with many faults, and he denied knowing Jesus three times.  Even so, he was the first pope, and is traditionally the guardian to the gates of Heaven.  And, on Easter Sunday, it's recognized that Peter enters the tomb and sees that Jesus is no longer there.  And, by some tradition, he was the first apostle to see the risen Christ.  I think it makes for a great basis for a play... N'est pas?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

#1611 - On Offspring

We get a lot from our parents.  Not just our genetic makeup, but our values and traditions.  Our self-esteem and our value.  They help us gain confidence an set the example for how we should live our lives.  I've been thinking about my mother a lot recently.  Especially since I started counting calories and working harder on living a healthier life style.

My mother was diagnosed with diabetes in her 40's.  By her 50's, she was suffering from peripheral neuropathy and could no longer wear the heels she so loved because of the danger of falling.  But her shoes still defined her style that was anything but sensible.  She started to develop diabetic retinopathy that caused her to quit driving for fear of being in an accident because of her sight problems.  And, around the time I was going to graduate from medical school, she was told her greatest fear.  That she was going into renal failure and should start planning for dialysis.

We talked at great length about what this would mean, and she asked me what it would take to stay off of dialysis.  I talked to her about medications that would help to remove the buildup of impurities and electrolytes (especially potassium) in her body.  I talked about low protein diets and drinking plenty of fluids.  I talked about exercise and doing whatever the doctor told her to do.  She went to her kidney doctor then and told him in no uncertain terms that she did not want dialysis, and that she was willing to do whatever he told her even if it included killing puppies, making them into milkshakes and drinking them on a daily basis. (Momma and I have a warped sense of humor)

He laid out a pill regimen (about 9 different ones) and told her that they would check her blood on a regular basis.  And so it went.  From 2003 to 2013, she continued the plan.  You couldn't get her to take a bite of anything that wasn't good for her.  She's a low meat, water-drinking, no sweets seriously disciplined patient.  And, her kidney function didn't worsen.

Over the last 6 months, however, the doctor told her that he's starting to see some changes in her lab work that concerns him again that she might be approaching the need for dialysis.  Again, we talked about it, and she says she doesn't want it.  Her kidney doctor told me to talk her into it.  And, I told him I have to respect her wishes.  I am sad to think I might lose her sooner without it, but proud and supportive that she wants to live life on her own terms.  Like she has always done.  And which inspires me on those days when I just want to throw away my salad and have a stack of pancakes, or french fries, or a Starbuck's caramel macchiato or any of the other 100 foods I love that I can't have right now.

If a woman can be so disciplined and focused that she has literally willed herself and her body into staying off dialysis, I know that as her offspring I have that within me too.  And, together we'll conquer any challenges that come along.  For hopefully many years to come.

Happy Birthday, Momma.
I love you and am inspired by you daily.

2013 A to Z Challenge Post:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

#1614 - On Navigation

I remember as a child, whenever we'd travel my uncle would hand me the map (remember maps? on paper?) and ask me to plan the route.  I remember that I would alway look for the routes that had in parenthesis (scenic route) next to them.

My uncle never complained.  He willingly took whatever route I laid out, and I have to say, we always saw something amazing along the way.  As I got older, I realized that I have what I call my "cartographic" memory.

I can go somewhere once and pretty much remember how to get there.  Even places in Europe and Mexico that I've been to, I can describe how to get there.  And, I can also generally find them on Google maps street view once I get my starting place right.  They say that women are better at finding places by landmarks rather than by directions, and it drives my husband crazy when I tell him to "turn at the market, then drive until you see the yellow house where you make a right and there's an apple tree in the front yard."  But that's how I remember places.

And, now, whenever we go on road trips, I play navigator.  Although, having a GPS is turning out to be quite the adventure in and of itself...

2013 A to Z Challenge Post:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

#1639 - On Moonshadow

Given the recent Blood Moon and eclipse,
I thought I would share this photo
which made me think of this song...

Yes, I'm being followed by a moonshadow 
Moonshadow, moonshadow 
Leaping and hopping on a moonshadow 
Moonshadow, moonshadow 

And if I ever lose my hands 
Lose my plow, lose my land 
Oh, if I ever lose my hands 
Oh, if - I won't have to work no more 

And if I ever lose my eyes 
If my colors all run dry 
Yes, if I ever lose my eyes 
Oh, if - I won't have to cry no more 

Yes, I'm being followed by a moonshadow 
Moonshadow, moonshadow 
Leaping and hopping on a moonshadow 
Moonshadow, moonshadow 

And if I ever lose my legs 
I won't moan, and I won't beg 
Oh, if I ever lose my legs 
Oh, if - I won't have to walk no more 

And if I ever lose my mouth 
All my teeth, north and south 
Yes, if I ever lose my mouth 
Oh, if - I won't have to talk- 

Did it take long to find me? 
I ask the faithful light 
Oh, did it take long to find me? 
And, are you going to stay the night? 

I'm being followed by a moonshadow 
Moonshadow, moonshadow 
Leaping and hopping on a moonshadow 
Moonshadow, moonshadow 

Moonshadow, moonshadow 
Moonshadow, moonshadow

 - Cat Stevens

2013 A to Z Challenge Post:
(on the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, 
I remember my friend who was there helping out
and all my EMS colleagues who run into danger)

Monday, April 14, 2014

#1639 - On Lent

For Catholics, and a lot of other Christians, this is the time of year known as Lent.  It's a period of prayer and reflection in the 40 days prior to Easter.  Traditionally, you fast and don't eat meat on Fridays (hence all the fish frys and McDonald's specials on Filet-o-fish), and you also give up something as well.  Something you really like... Like chocolate... or red velvet cupcakes.  
Several years back, I also started doing something which was considered a "hardship."  Like being nice to that co-worker that really grates you.  Or saying a Rosary every day.  I had read somewhere that doing things like that was more of a sacrifice than simply giving up your favorite food or even Facebook like some of my friends do. (Although for me, Facebook would be a huge sacrifice.  How can you not log on for forty days!)  Regardless,  you do it in the spirit of Lent, and you come out a better person on the other end.  Purified of mind and body and spirit on Easter Sunday.  Not to mention, after 40 days that co-worker might not seem so bad.

My mother and I give up meat for the entire 40 days of Lent (except for Sundays which are "free days" or so I was always told).  I've written before about doing PETA's "Pledge to be Veg" and also about my raw food diet, so for 40 days it's not much of a stretch to not have meat.  What I find funny is so many people ask how I can do it.  Don't I miss it?  What do you eat?  And, it's simple...

Instead of this:

I have this:

And instead of this:

I have this:

And, I replace this:

With these:

Forty days is nothing.
Like I've said in the past, I could be totally vegetarian,
but I keep coming back to ribeyes... yum!

2013 A to Z Challenge Post:

Featured Post...

The Mid 40's are in the Books

For some reason I never got around to writing about traveling to National Parks numbers 44, 45 and now 46...! Back at the end of June...