Saturday, October 26, 2013

An Adventure

It started with a text on Thursday night from my co- worker Sarah. She asked if I remembered her talking about workshops her mom did with the trauma nursing students at UT where she needs people to come in and be pretend patients. Of course I did. I thought it sounded like lots of fun. She said that her mom was in kind of a bind because someone had called and couldn't make it this Saturday and she asked if I wanted to do it. Something came over me and I immediately said yes! I said something came over me, because this is way, way out of my comfort zone. I would love to be an actress, however the logical part of my brain takes over and I immediately cause myself to back out of anything remotely close to acting! But I said yes to this and there was no backing out!! I immediately called my mom and told her what I had committed to. She said that it sounded like what Stanton (my brother) had to go through when he was in medical school. So, I immediately called him and he knew all about the training and the actors that were brought in to play patients. We talked awhile and he said he wanted to know what my ailment was and wanted to see pictures. By the time Friday rolled around, I was starting to get nervous and wonder what I had signed myself up for, but convinced myself that the worst that could happen was I go and they didn't need me to do anything and I would just turn right back around and go home!

Today, I woke up and was really nervous. Again, I was really wondering what I had gotten myself into :) But it turned out to be the most fun thing I have done in a long time!! It was a blast!!!!! I had so much fun. I got to the hospital at 12:30 pm and they had lunch for us. There were going to be two groups: one group would be patients of nurses and one group would be patients of physicians. I got to be in the group of patients being seen by doctors. There were 6 of us patients, 3 guys and 3 girls. We were all taken back to exam rooms and given scrubs to change into. Depending on our injury, we got scrubs to fit that (mine had a hole in it where a chest wound would be) Then we got makeup. My scenario was intially a man having been stabbed by his wife, but of course that was changed to a wife having been stabbed by her husband in the left chest with a butcher knife. I was brought to a rural county hospital (not a trauma center).

My Part:

I got an AWESOME stab wound applied to me:

All of us "patients" bonded with each other over our various injuries. I had a stab wound, one guy had a head and leg injury, one girl was shot twice, another guy got in a motorcycle accident, another girl was thrown from the car after an accident and the last guy had fallen from scaffolding and had injuries from that. We had lots of time to talk with each other and hang out and admire our injuries! Eventually, we each had a doctor assigned to us who was the doctor who would be administering the test to the physicians renewing their certifications. My doctor was Dr. Lee. She's 30 and she's a 5th year general surgeon. She was totally cool! She's a tiny, spitfire, ball of energy surgeon :) We went over what I was to do and how to react to the physicians coming in to examine me. My symptons behind the sucking chest wound were that I could not breathe and had distended neck veins, my BP was low and my heart rate high. I was in shock and had cyanosis. I was alert though (but I later become unresponsive). The doctors were to start with addressing my wound and making sure they covered their ABC's (airway, breathing and circulation). Then they put a needle into my left chest and then a chest tube. That makes my breathing a little easier , but does not significantly improve it. I become (acting, remember!) unresponsive and then they do an endotrachal intubation because they need to secure an airway. Eventually, a pericardiocentesis (sticking a needle into the pericardium - the sack around the heart - and draining fluid/blood from it) is needed. I'm able to breathe again! But not too much longer after that, I start exhibiting the same symptoms and they have to drain the pericadium again and get me to a trauma center stat! (OK, stat is my word, but I'm channeling my inner "ER" persona!)
Me in full make-up:

The way that the afternoon worked was two physicians would come in at the same time. One was being tested and the other was observing. There were several practice runs. Then one physican would come in at a time and be tested. In between physicians coming in and out, I asked Dr. Lee what the treatment was for my wound beyond them getting me to a trauma center. She said that it would be to get me to the operating room and open my entire chest and do heart surgery, because I had a hole in my heart. Wow - this is a lot more serious then I initially thought :)

There were some interesting doctor came in and wanted to intubate me when I was still alert and Dr. Lee said that by doing that they would have killed me because of making something else worse (and since I'm no doctor, I can't even begin to remember what it was!) Another doctor didn't know how to do a pericardiocentesis and stopped in her tracks. Dr. Lee kept telling her, "she's getting worse" "She's dying..." And I guess I would have, if I didn't get the pericardiocentesis. Another doctor kept having to do the pericardiocentesis because Dr. Lee said it kept filling up and I kept getting worse...even when I got into the helicopter to go to the trauma center - that's when this doctor said, "I'm not in the helicopter with her!" :) Thankfully these scenarios were all in the practice runs and not the actual test. I did the same scenario over and over again and I began hoping that every doctor would get it right but when they skipped something or forgot something, I would wince and want to say "No! You forgot to put the chest tube in!" Or, "Don't forget to give me a tetanus shot!" Or, "Remember to cover me up so I don't get hypothermia!" I might have started thinking I was a doctor ;) Dr. Lee told me that the pericardiom would continue to fill up with fluid/blood until surgery, so they'd have to keep sticking the needle into my heart and draining it (again - all pretend, I wasn't actually stuck with any needle!) That's not really possible because to get me from the ER to the helicopter to the trauma center, they couldn't physically keep doing that, so that's where putting a catheter into the wound would save the day. It would do the job of draining the fluid until surgery. I'm probably not explaining this all correctly, so if you're a doctor and reading this, you're probably laughing! The main takeaway was that I didn't die - although Dr. Lee said I came close a couple of times (during the practice runs!) and all the physicians passed their recertification. And in the end - that's all that matters! Of course for me, all that matters is that I had fun!!! And fun is exactly what I had. It didn't hurt that I got paid for it as well :) I met some amazing people too. There were also some cute doctors :) I was really happy the cutest doctor of all, was the one who (after many doctors before him forgot) said that I would need lots of blankets to prevent hypothermia. Hey - it's the little things and I'm all about staying warm! Of course - this was all pretend. The conditions were real and what they would do to treat the conditions were real and the physicians tests were real, but I wasn't hurt or otherwise injured and all my wounds were fake. And so my acting debut came to end. From 12:30-7:30 I was a trauma patient and loved every minute of it!! Acting is so much fun and hanging out with doctors - totally awesome! One of the doctors who was being tested said that I looked exactly like one of the doctors on "Grey's Anatomy" - that was definitely a highlight of the day :) As I was leaving, there was a doctor there (dressed in full scrubs, mask, badges...everything) that saw me walking with the walker. He asked what was wrong and I got to tell him about dystonia. It turns out he is one of the trauma surgeons at UT. He said he didn't know that much about neuro and had never heard of dystonia, but he seemed fascinated by it. I have to say, it was kind of cool telling a trauma surgeon all about my neurological problem and knowing more about it than he did! Today was an awesome adventure!!

The set up:

Saline IV:

Me with distended neck veins (the blue on my face is supposed to represent cyanosis):

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October Baby

If you know me, you know I love movies and TV. This is not a secret! I love all kinds of movies and TV shows. Some I'm not afraid to say I watch and others I'd be a bit more embarrassed to admit that I watch :) But there is one movie I'm not ashamed in the least bit to say that I love. It's "October Baby".

There are many reasons I love it; some are superficial, but others are most definitely not! If you have not seen it, I encourage you to do so. I've had this movie for a year now and I've watched it so many times that I can recite the dialogue in certain scenes from memory. I've watched it so much, that the DVD is getting worn out! I just re-watched the movie last night (after all, it is titled "October Baby" and it is October; I say it's the perfect time to watch it!) There are many reasons why I love this movie, but to break the ice, I'll start with a couple of the superficial ones :) I love the fact that this movie was filmed in Alabama (my home state!), in Birmingham (my hometown!) on the campus of Samford University (where my brother goes to college!) The funny thing about this is that I had no idea of any of that when I first watched the movie. I kept thinking that certain places or buildings looked very familiar, but it wasn't until I watched the "extras" on the DVD that all the puzzle pieces fell into place! I also love that it stars John Schneider - "The Dukes of Hazzard", John Schneider. While I never actually watched "The Dukes of Hazzard" (I knew him from "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman"), I've always thought John Schneider is cute! So, I have a few superficial reasons why I like the movie!

But - I also have real reasons I love this movie. The movie is about a girl (Hannah) who discovers that not only is she adopted, but that she is the survivor of a botched abortion. The issue of abortion has always been close to my heart. From a young age on, my parents instilled in me and my brothers that as the tag line of this movie states, "every life is beautiful". Abortion is murder, plain and simple. In this country, those who take the life of another person are either executed or spend the rest of their life in prison for their crime, but when an unborn child's life is cut short, it's said to be the mother's choice. That's not right. From the time of conception a baby is just that: a baby - a living, breathing, feeling, human life. I am not afraid to say that I am 100% pro-life. Now there is forgiveness for all sins and I do believe that with all my heart. I am not here to judge, point fingers or act like I am "holier than thou". I don't mean to preach, but this is how I feel about the issue. I will never - ever see it as a woman's choice. A life is a life is a life. It's not a inconvenience or a mistake - it's a baby, a human life. I won't back down from that. I won't pretend to know what it's like to be in a situation where a woman thinks the only option is abortion. All I can say is that there is grace and forgiveness. And now, I'll step down from my soap box :) Back to the movie.... there are two different scenes in the movie that stand out to me as my favorites. One is when Hannah (having found and been rejected by her birth mother) leaves her birth mother a note with only these words written on the paper "I forgive you". She leaves it with the hospital bracelet her mother wore the day she was born. This scene was so moving to me because not only did you see it from Hannah's perspective, but also from the birth mothers. And, the scene becomes even more special if you watch the DVD extras and hear the story of the woman who played the birth mother in the movie. And my other favorite scene is at the very end of the movie. Hannah is speaking with her (adopted) father when she tells him thank you and he asks for what. She replies "for wanting me". I get teary eyed just typing that! But how much more does our Heavenly Father want us? He gave His one and only Son for us, because he wants us so much! I am reminded again that I am "fearfully and wonderfully made". And so are you! How awesome is our God?! "October Baby" is a wonderful reminder of how messy life is, how beautiful life is, how much three simple words whether they be "I forgive you", "I love you", "I want you" can mean and most importantly how very much our Heavenly Father loves, adores and wants each one of us.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Splendid Day

I'm wrapping up a most splendid day! There was nothing extraordinary about this day; nothing special or life-changing was just a day where LIFE happened :) It was a splendid day because God chose to wake me up this morning and give me another day to enjoy. If you're reading this, that means He gave you the same gift!! Rejoice :) It's a most awesome gift indeed!

I took the day off of work (after realizing that if I don't start taking days, I'm going to lose vacation days!). Taking the day off did not mean sleeping in though! Well, OK, I'll admit, I slept in 10 minutes past when I usually get up for work :) It was a big splurge. I had a doctor's appointment at 9:20 am so before heading there I exercised. I usually exercise when I come home from work on Tuesdays and Thursdays and sometime during the day on Saturdays and Sundays. But today, I did it first thing and it definitely got me going! I went to my doctor's appointment and then decided to do the all-so-thrilling task of getting my cars oil changed. It was a blast! OK, maybe that's an overstatement, but it was a lot of fun. I went to my usual place and this time, they said I could stay in the car. I've never actually stayed in the car when they've changed the oil! I got to drive the car into the work bay and then had my window rolled down, so I just talked with the guys changing the oil. I have to say, it was one of the most enjoyable, fun experiences I've ever had getting the oil changed in my car!!

After my thrilling oil change, I headed to Aldi's where I wanted to buy some fruit. I spent a grand total of $4.70 on apples and pears. I know, I know...I'm a huge spender ;) I ran into (not literally, although that would have made for an interesting story!) someone from my church. I am my mother's child and had a 25% off coupon for the Christian book store that expired today, so I swung by there. I found the perfect gift for my best friend for her birthday. And, it's not the day before her birthday or 5 days after, so I'm doing great!! Now, if I can get it in the mail to her in time for her birthday, I'll be set!

I thought Tuesday would be the perfect day to go to the grocery store. It was, but I was very surprised at how many people there actually were there in the middle of the day. I know you're dying to know what I bought, so I'll tell you: ice cream and frozen vegetables - hey it's all about a balanced diet ;)I ran into two more people from my church. It's always great seeing people I know out and about in their daily lives. I also found a 2014 calendar on...wait for it...Outhouses!! Seriously, what will they think of next? The most ornate toilets?! But the calendar made me smile and of course I had to take a picture of it!

I came home and ate lunch, threw some laundry in the washer and then took a little nap on the couch. I love Tuesday's because House reruns come on TV. I really only thought they came on at night (because that's when I'm home), but nope they come on during the day too! So I snoozed while one episode was on. I actually own every season of House on DVD, but there's something about it coming on TV, I can't help but watch (or in this case, just listen while I "rested" my eyes). I finally made it off the couch after an hour and decided to go to the dump. I know, I live a most glamorous life :) You all are so envious of me right now, aren't you?! I dropped my trash off and came back home, only to realize that while I had turned the lights off, I neglected to turn the TV off!!! Oh well :)

I got the strangest feeling later in the afternoon: I got the urge to clean. Where that feeling came from, I do not know! It was a God thing :) It was me channeling my Mom! I had just bought some new Swiffer dusting pads and I was thrilled to clean. One thing you should know: while I love vacuuming, I loathe dusting. I blame this on my Mom and Dad (not really, but...) It was my weekly job at home growing up to dust the entire house. So naturally, now that I have my own house, dusting does not rank in my top three most favorite things to do :) But dusting is a needed thing! And I was super excited to use my new Swiffer dusting pads. So I dusted the entire house. Then I vacuumed the entire house. Then I mopped the kitchen. What has gotten into me?! And now, I am enjoying the fruits of my labor: a clean house that smells wonderful. Oh and I didn't slip, trip, fall or otherwise injure myself when I mopped. This is a huge accomplishment :) I also remembered that the floor was wet and didn't walk on it until it was dry (I've had a problem in the past of forgetting this simple fact and almost causing a huge disaster!) It's a great day people!!!!

Some may look at this and think, "Eww...what a dirty house!" But I choose to look at it and think, "Boy, that was a good clean, a very, very good clean!"

I'm getting ready to eat dinner, I'll have ice cream later tonight and I get to watch Chicago Fire!!

It's truly been a wonderful, simple, splendid day indeed and once again, I'm "happy, happy, happy"!! I hope your Tuesday was just as good, if not even better than mine!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Art of Forgiveness

My dad had a fantastic sermon today. I should point out that I know it's not his words, but the Lord's and the Lord's words really, really hit home for me today. I hope this is one sermon that I can remember all my life. The title of it was: "Warnings You Need to Heed: A Hard Heart" but in a nutshell it was all about forgiveness. I'll be the first to admit, I can hold a grudge with the best of them, but I'm determined to change my ways. I know I can not do this without Jesus and without lots and lots of prayer, but today's message really convicted me. I don't want to live with a chip on my shoulder, with a grudge, with hate in my heart and I certainly do not want to have a hard heart, but in certain circumstances I find myself leaning farther and farther that way. In my dad's sermon he outlined three steps to take in the Art of Forgiveness. I wrote them down (yes, I take notes every once in awhile!) and wanted to share them:

The Art of Forgiveness
1. Go First
2. Trust God
3. Strive to become more like Jesus

That's it! Just three steps, but those three steps pack a punch!!

Go First - Who ever wants to be first in admitting they were wrong and asking for forgiveness or on the opposite end, who ever wants to be first in giving forgiveness to someone we think has wronged us? We want them to be the first to come to us and say that they are sorry. I'm convicted. I hate being wrong. I really do, so I'll stick it out to the bitter end, determined not to cave. So, I don't know that I will necessarily remember, in the heat of the moment, to abide by the "Go First" rule, but I sure hope that the Lord will (gently!) remind me that I need to be the bigger person, put pride aside and "Go First" in asking for forgiveness.

Trust God - definitely, 100% easier said than done!! I will testify to that :) Sometimes, I have faith that could move mountains and other times, I'm not even sure I have a mustard seeds worth of it. It's something I have to daily pray about. Trust God. Trust God. Trust God. I have to say it over and over and over again to remind myself to do it. It's a muscle that I must exercise every day. Just do it - trust God!

Strive to become more like Jesus - Wow, this is just as hard as the first two!! Daily and sometimes hourly, and yes - even some times by the minute, I'm asking Jesus for forgiveness of some stupid thing I've done or said or thought. This becoming more like Jesus is HARD!!! It's a full time job. I often wonder (being human and all) how God can keep on forgiving me when I do the same stuff over and over and over again. Being like Jesus entails not always getting my way, forgiving when forgiving is the last thing I want to do, being kind, being compassionate, giving of my heart, my time, my earthly possessions. It means inconveniencing myself for the sake of others, having mercy on others, loving those I don't want to love, going places I don't want to go and the list could go on and on and on. Do I really want to do this?! YES! I'm telling you this is what I want to do. That's a scary, scary sentence to write, because now my feet need to be held to the fire. I know I will falter and fail at this, but I really, really want to strive to become more like Jesus. I need to be reminded daily, hourly, minute-by-minute to forgive like Jesus forgives, love like Jesus loves and strive in every way possible to be just like Him.

If you'd like to hear my dad's sermon, you can! Just visit the church's website at and click on the media tab and then on "Sermons and Teachings". This sermon should be up in a few days.

I also wanted to leave you with a powerful act of forgiveness as told by CBS News. My dad also had this as part of his sermon. I first heard of this in a "People" magazine article. It's worth watching. It is a beautiful story on the power of forgiveness:

The Power of Forgiveness

May you be blessed mightly this week!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Favorite Day of the Week

Today, I was thinking about what day of the week is my favorite. I was thinking this because I woke up with a song in my heart and a smile on my face. It's Tuesday which means it's "Chicago Fire" day (it's a TV show for those that don't know!) I also exercise on Tuesday. It's so many things, so I thought, maybe "Tuesday is my favorite day of the week." It was settled, until I started thinking about Wednesday and Thursday and Friday and Saturday and Sunday and Monday!! And then - I just couldn't pick one day of the week to be my favorite. I didn't want the other days to get their feelings hurt! I guess it's like having multiple children (I'm guessing, because I can't say from experience!) - you can't just pick one to be your favorite - they're all your favorite!! And here's some reasons why, each day of the week is my favorite:

Sunday - it's the Lord's day. It's a day set aside for worshipping the King of Kings, Jesus! Growing up, it was never an option and never a question where we would be on Sunday morning. And now that I'm grown, it's still not an option! The only place I will be, the only place I want to be is in church worshipping the Lord! Sunday afternoon is made for catching up with family and of course the ever important nap! My mom was born on Sunday. Sunday is a day of rest and this is why Sunday is my favorite day of the week.

Monday - it's the beginning of a school week or a work week! Yes, Monday gets a bad rap and I'm the first to jump on that bandwagon, but I have to admit that Monday is a good day. Afterall, it's a fresh start. Whether it was going to school or now, going to work - it is a day to begin anew. My dad was born on Monday. My brother, Steven was born on Monday. Monday is a good day to go grocery shopping: you have all the coupons from the Sunday paper and not all the crowds of the weekend! Monday nights are when Jay Leno has his "headlines" piece on "The Tonight Show". This is why Monday is my favorite day of the week.

Tuesday - it's not Monday!! HA - I gotcha there ;)Tuesday is when you've settled into the work week. You know for the most part what the week's going to look like work wise and it's just an all-around great day. As mentioned before, "Chicago Fire" comes on TV on Tuesdays (as did "House" in years gone by!)It's still a great day to go grocery shopping as no one thinks to go on a Tuesday :) As stated before, I exercise on Tuesday and get the endorphins going! It's an awesome day to serve the Lord and that's why Tuesday is my favorite day of the week.

Wednesday - it's HUMP DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, Wednesday is an awesome day, because it's the smack-dab middle of the work week. I've got two days behind me and two in front of me and a Wednesday to make me smile :) Wednesday is also when "Duck Dynasty" comes on TV. Wednesday is when I get to have my mid-week recharge at church. I get to see people at both work and church! Wednesday has it's own animal dedicated to it (the camel of course!) It's fun to say the word Wednesday. I love Wednesday in every way. That's why Wednesday is my favorite day of the week.

Thursday - it was my previous "favorite day of the week" (before all the days became my favorite!) because it was when "ER" came on TV. Now, "Doc Martin" and "The Michael J. Fox Show" come on TV on Thursday. It's also another exercise day for me. It's the anticipation of the weekend. I was born on Thursday (which yes, made the next day, Friday the 13th!). My brother, Stuart was born on Thursday. Lots of awesome stuff happens on Thursday and that's why it's my favorite day of the week.

Friday - it's the end of the work week! It's more "casual" than the other work days. Growing up, I loved Friday because it was my dad's day off. It still is his day off. He cuts the grass on Fridays and I love the look and the smell of freshly cut grass! Now, I have my own lawn and it's cut on Friday! "People" magazine comes in the mail on Friday. I try to stay up late on Friday, knowing that I can sleep in the next day. It usually doesn't work though ;) My brother, Stanton, was born on Friday. Fridays are fun days and that's why my favorite day of the week is Friday.

Saturday - it's the weekend!! I can sleep in (but usually don't). I can get chores done. I can leave chores to be done another day! Saturday is a day to catch up on what needs to be caught up on, or just throw caution to the wind and do whatever I want to do and that's why Saturday is my favorite day of the week.

So - as you can see, I can't pick one day as my "favorite"! I think every day that the Lord gives me breath to breathe, should be my favorite! Life isn't always fun. Some days seem to drag on, but in the scheme of things, life is all too short and every day should be and is my favorite day of the week!! I hope you can say the same.