Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Heavy Heart

Last Tuesday marked our first day in the pediatric unit. It was nothing like I had expected. I was placed at a sub acute facility but it is more than that, it is a home to each patient. A school bus comes and picks up just a few for class. The rest are, and I hate to use this term, in a vegetative state. Why? Some are from birth defects or genetics, but others are preventable childhood accidents. I left that afternoon with a very heavy heart. Here are a few reasons why:
  • As I looked at each child, I couldn't help but be reminded what they were missing out on. Here they were, hooked up to ventilators and restricted to their beds, children who should be learning to shoot a baskteball, ties their shoes, snuggling up to read a story, hugging their parents goodnight, and dreaming big for their future. But instead, they lay there, and their parents slowly stop coming to provide care and love that they so desperately need.
  • For some of them, their condition was uncontrollable. They were born with severe handicaps that are incurable. Yet, aside from that, they are children....sweet, loving children of the Lord. One girl who was 17 years old but had the body of my 4 yr old niece would turn her head to the sound of my voice. I have no idea what she could comprehend but she would look at me with these big, brown eyes and a smile would cover her face briefly, lighting her entire face up, and than it would dissapear and she would return to how she was. Some patient's faces stay with me forever....her smile is engraved in my heart.
  • My patient was a 4 year old girl, admitted to this facility when she was just under 2. She had been in her stroller out for a walk with her mom when her mom stepped off the curbed to cross the street. A car came around the corner and hit the stroller, leaving her with multiple hematomas in her brain and impairing her neurologic status forever. There were pictures covering the board in her room of her as a toddler. The day she was born. Taking her first steps. It was hard to look at those and than see her helpless & confined to a bed. I don't know if she could hear or understand me, but I stroked her head and talked to her. I wanted to read her a story but her parents didn't leave anything in her room for her. She has a problem with her thermoregulation from the accident. I had to swaddle her like an infant...adding about 5 blankets and two hats on top of that. She was a precious little angel. So tiny and fragile. But you could see everything through her eyes. Yet you could also see how lost she was.
  • Another patient I worked with was 4 years old as well, also living a normal toddler hood. However, she ate a hotdog that was not cut in half ( yes, you need to cut the first piece you cut in half) and it lodge in her throat, cut off the oxygen supply to her brain, and now she is braindead. Her childhood lost.
  • The nurses did not seem to truly care. I don't know if they are just so removed from everything or too relaxed at the facility. But, they didn't do much and it really bothered me.No matter what state of alertness your patient is in, absolute care and compassion should always be provdied.
I left the facility that afternoon to find myself in bumper to bumper traffic. I took this time to pray for each one of my twelve nieces and nephes. For their safety, their health, that they dream big and that they may expereince every joy that life brings them. This clinical is causing me to reconsider working in pediatrics. I can already see how I may struggle with becoming to attached to each patient. I had a friend tell me that if I thought this was hard I would never make it in peds oncology. I disagree though. In peds oncology not every patient passes away as most people think. But those kids have a fight in them, a will to live, and a hope that is greater than I will ever know. They are able to still live a somewhat normal childhood amongst all their treatments and hospital stays. Regardless though, I will be committing this to prayer that the Lord will lead and guide me to the area of nursing He can best use my strengths & gifts. Whether it be pediatrics, adult oncology, NICU, or L&D, my prayer is that I am able to follow the Lord's plan and reach out to offer love and compassion to each patient who comes along my way.

Go hug the little ones in your life. Squeeze them and tell them you love them. Life is just too short not too.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Previously On....

Last week was interesting to say the least at our mental health clinical. I was placed on the same unit as the week before but this time there was a whole new batch of clients.The day started out rough. After being forced to park at Cerritos College Vanessa, Irene, and I headed down the street to the hospital. While talking to us, Vanessa tripped and fell by the gutter on the curb and busted her ankle. She made it to the hospital but I ended up driving her back to her car so she could go home. Thankfully, her ankle was not broken but it is still to this day swollen and bruised.

Brooke, Rommel, and I were placed on the same unit as the previous week, EICU. We walked into an activity session where they were making bracelets. I kind of like coming on the floor during times like this because it offers a comfortable situation to approach a client. We pulled up chairs and sat down at the table. Before any of us said a word one girl started up a conversation that ended up lasting most of our time there. I pulled out of it part of the way through because there was a young girl sitting across from me, not participating in the group convo, that I wanted to get to know. Se was only 18 yet this was her 3rd time to the facility. She had previously been admitted for attempting to hang herself after her boy friend broke up with her and for a mjor depressive episode. She is a polysubstance abuser. Growing up, her brothers had her ask her father for money so she could go out and purchase drugs for all of them. Currently, she suffers from panic attacks and nightmares leaving her with insomnia. She is unable to eat and look as if she was wasting away. I asked her how she came to College and she informed me she wanted help so she hopped on the bus and admitted herself. Although she was originally on a voluntary status it's changed to a 5150 ( involuntary hold) because she became angry, threatened the nurses, and told everyone she was going to overdose on Ambien.

My heart broke for her as I listened to her life story and saw the sadness along with hopelessness in her eyes. The one time there was a hint of joy is when I asked who she was making her bracelet for. It was for her two year old niece. We started talking about being an aunt and she mentioned it was the "best". I couldn't agree more and I am so glad she has something to bring her some happiness amongst all the dark in her life. The rest of the evening on the floor was spent observing as the unit was labled "unsafe" due to new admissions who were having a hard time coming off their street drugs and/or adjusting to their new meds.

It was yet another great learning experience. Who knew I would end up somewhat enjoying my mental health rotation. It's never boring, that's for sure!!

This week was even more eventful. Want a sneak preview?!
1. EPS ( google it)
2. Little, latino, gasing men
3.A swing at the blonde

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Arizona Part 2

After the day at my sister's, we headed over to Anthem, AZ to see where my parents now reside. I love seeing new places. I wish my parents didn't live in another state but after just driving through the streets of Anthem, I knew this was the right place for them. I'd like to call Anthem "quaint". Usually when I use that word it is for some small town in the midwest or up north or even in another country. But there is something about their new city that is. Maybe it's because it is new, so everything is still up and coming. Or maybe it is because they reach out to each resident in a manner that is very similar to a small, midwest town. My parents now live at the Anthem Country is beautiful to say the least. I still had a weird feeling in my stomach as we pulled in their new driveway, because to me, home is still on 2644 N Rivertrail Rd. That feeling quickly went away when I walked inside. The house still has a familiar smell to it. The old furniture from before still fills the front room, bring a feel of the years in California right there in AZ. Their family room has all new furniture and I was shocked to see my parents bought more modern furniture than Trav and I owned! Needless to say, the house is beautiful and it totally fits them. I instantly found myself at peace with the move.

For dinner that night we headed down to eat at Chiles....definately a favorite of my parents here in Cali. BUt really, who could resist a pan of skillet queso and a Chile's margarita?! We went for a brief tour after dinner, driving by the country club and golf course. Beautiful. Let me tell you, there really is nothing like an Arizona sunset. Especially from up on the hill of the city of Anthem. It was breathtaking. My mom had to work the next morning. My dad, Trav, and I headed down to the Good Egg for breakfast. Delish! Than off to see my mom's new school. Her school is unlike any preschool-jr. high I have ever seen! The pre-school is amazing! My favorite part was the science lab ( yes, science lab. An RN who is a mom of a student came in and made it for them! Ah, in love!) and the computer lab! It was fun meeting the people she works with and getting a feel for her life in Anthem. Afterwards, Dad, Trav, and I headed out to the outlet to do some shopping! LOVE the Anthem outlets! We found a street named, "Emma's Way". Perfect! They were meant to be in Anthem! That afternoon we met up with the Lusters, who live fairly close to my parents. We had to do a Last Chance run....and did we ever! I could have stayed in there shopping even longer! Nothing like walking out with a tank top for $1 and a scarf for $2! Such a steal! We ate dinner at this place called Rock Bottom and than headed home to watch the Bachelor Pad. ( Well, Ash and I watched while Trav and Levi made jokes the whole time) The next morning Levi made us the "Luster Special"...can you guess?! Biscuits and gravy! Trav always orders them when we go out....all thanks to Levi! They were very first time to ever eat them!
 Trav thinks this is his dog...he couldn't be more wrong ;)

We spent the rest of the afternoon with my dad. We took a tour of their community center. I have to say, I have never seen anything like it! The gym, swimming pool, rock climbing, and water park were enough to sell me on them living there! There was this huge recreational park with skate parks, hockey rinks, baseball fields, soccer fields, beach volleyball, train park, and massive playgrounds! I know all the grandkids are going to be in heaven when they visit! A monsoon hit! Perfect time for me to take a nap with my puppy! That night we met up with Kristel and Zoey for dinner. Zoey is too cute out at a restaurant. Towards the end, she came and sat on my lap. I wanted to take a picture and everytime Trav would  click the camera she would make a farting noise. Thank Parker and Kody! But, it made for a cute picture still! 
On our last morning we headed down to Gilbert to take Lexi and Tessa lunch at school! We had so much fun eating and hanging out with their friends. They are both getting so old and it's happening too fast! I soak up each moment I have with them! We had a wonderful weekend away with our AZ family. I can't wait to head back out there this Friday!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Logan John is here!

On Sunday, September 12, our twelfth nephew was born!!! Heidi gave birth to Logan John Ploog and he is just about the cutest lil thing you have seen!
It was a fun day as we all anxiously waited to meet the new baby. Heidi checked into the hospital early so the boys headed over to the Hardeman's to hang out for the day. Van, Hud, and I played Star Wars all morning using the stairs as our space ship. We battled Darth, and the spikey guy, storm troopers, Zerg, and many more. I will say being Princess Leia is fun! The jacuzzi was heated up and it was swim time! Huddy thought it was hilarious to throw his toys into the big pool....or should I say, the FREEZING I would have to go in and retrieve them! Good thing I hadn't shaved my legs yet! ;) Vander is a fish and was quite content swimming around. Huddy is still a little unsure of the water. At one point he was standing on the step and took a face plant in the water. Don't worry, I was sitting right there so he was fine but his eyes became saucers and than he spent the rest of the time on the edge just scooping the water! We had a delish lunch of mac'n'cheese with hot dogs....I still love kid food! The boys went down for their naps, excited that "their baby" would be here when they woke up!

Katie came over and we ate lunch, waiting for the call that he was here. The text finally came! Logan John was here and healthy! Praise the Lord for a safe and quick delivery for Heid and Logan! When the boys got up we showed them pictures of their new bro and headed over to the hospital! It was the best experience watching them meet Logan. Vander is so sweet and caring. He immediately hugged and kissed his new little brother....and than found the suckers! Huddy approached the baby differently....with a noogie! Than he managed to find himself two suckers to the same time! I feel pretty blessed to be a part of the Hardeman clan and an auntie to these three, incredible boys. Sharing in the joy that day will be a memory I will always have!

Trav and I headed back to the hospital with Trent & Teri later that evening so they could all meet Logan. I love seeing Trav hold a newborn! Although he gets a little nervous before, he really does get excited about it.  There is something so sweet about seeing a tiny, little infant in his arms!

Logan John is just about the cutest thing! We just love him so much already and I have been having a hard time getting anything done because I just want to go over there to snuggle him! Trav and I are SO thankful for our dozen of healthy & perfect blessings! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

We found Darth!

Last Saturday we took Hudson and Vander to Disneyland. It was our first time with both the boys...and being at Disneyland with Huddy. It was a ton of fun having them there together. Van has a new found love for Star Wars. I had told him about the Star Tours ride and how Darth Vador, the Jedis, and Storm Troopers were at Disneyland. I made the mistake of promising him they would be there. ( Note to self, never promise a 3 year old that a character will be some place because that is all they can think about and the characters aren't always there!)

Vander talked the entire ride to the park. He told us all about what we would do when we were there, who we would see, and what we would say to them. We headed straight for Buzz when we got inside, until Vander saw the Star Tours ride. He immediately lit up and declared we should ride it. One problem: They are fixing it and it won't open till 2011. Darnet. Way to go promising him, Aunt Emma! Trav and I decided to run up past the Buzz ride to the hamburger spot where they do the Jedi training. We were just in time! The show was about to start! I grabbed the boys and got great seats while Trav parked the stroller. Vander was so excited he could hardly sit still! The Jedi's came in and taught a few kids how to use light savers. Than, over the speakers we heard the breathing of non other but Darth Vador! The coolest thing was the stage grew and he came up out of the ground with Darth Maul. I'm pretty sure Vander's jaw dropped and his eyes popped out! The show ended up being really great and the storm troopers made an appearance. Afterwards, Van looked at me and said, " We found Darth!!" Such a joy seeing him so excited. Like a dream had been made real!

Buzz Lightyear and Small World were our next stops. Huddy was fascinated with Small World. He tried to find the "doggie" in each country we rode through. We had a great few hours at the happiest place on earth. It is so fun sharing Disneyland with kids! 

Is it bad I dream of one day having our own double stroller to push around?!?!

Huddy laughing with his Uncle Trav in line

Van man and Buzz! He is growing up too fast!

Loved seeing Hudson so excited at Dland!

Man, I love these 3 blondies!

First one down

Although I have a stack of homework to plow through for tomorrow, I need to write down last Wednesdays clinical before I forget it all...which is likely to happen because my days are starting to all run together! Last Wednesday showed me how brutal this term will be. Class starts at 8am for lecture and than I get enough time to eat lunch before I have to report at College Hospital for my clinical shift till 11pm. Now, don't forget Tuesday consisted of a clinical, Thursday holds another class, and Friday....7 am pediatrics lecture! So by having this crazy Wednesday, it throws me off for the whole week....hints the dark circles under my eyes. :)

I was nervous when I arrived at the hospital. There is no question about that. I think we all were. In our pre-conference we took a math exam and than everyone just sat there. Silent. No one knew what to expect. We all had our own vision of what this clinical would be like and I don't think any of them were positive. Of course, my sweet professor can sense our worries and fear. She put a positive spin on everything and took us on to our units.

Brooke, Rommel, and I were assigned to EICU. ( Not the very dangerous, but not the high functioning....somewhere in the middle. A transitions unit.) When we arrived on the floor, the staff was very of the night RN's was a graduate from our school! The patient's...wait, I need to call them clients now....the clients were just sitting down for dinner. We didn't want to disturb them so we grabbed a few charts and headed into the visiting room to familiarize ourselves with their charting system. It came time to head out to pick our client. The only area we can be with them is called the day room. It's like a large family room that opens up outside to the smoking patio. When in the day room, everyone is within eyesight and they are kept a close eye on. I initially choose a young man, about 21 years old, to try and approach. I saw down next to him at the table and said hi. No response. I than asked him his name and introduce myself. One word response. I sat in silence for a minute and than tried to continue the conversation but it was going no where. He pulled his hood over his head and I took that as a sign he wanted to be alone. I wasn't going to push it! I'm glad too because later he was sitting there talking to himself, cursing up a storm, and I'm afraid if I had been talking to him I would have set him off.

I turned to look across the table from me to where a Hispanic lady, about 50, was finishing her dinner. I smiled at her and she returned it. Ok, so far so good. I greeted her and introduced myself. She did the same. Alright two for two. We may have a conversation here! And did we ever. After that she talked for 2 hours straight...I'm not kidding or exaggerating either. I've always seen the words, "pressure speech", on mental health assessment forms but I never knew what it was until that night. Some of what she said I could not make out due to her accent. But here is a snippet of what I did learn....remember, she suffers from a psychotic disorder so these are all just thoughts running around in her head.....

  • The water at the hospital is poisoned. I should only drink Sparklett bottled water because that is safe. All other bottles the staff opens up and drops in white tablets that poisons people. And, I should never touch the tap water. It may kill me.
  • I should never walk the streets in LA. ( Like I would anyways, right?!) She went into great...and I mean great...detail about what would happen to me if I did.  Enough so that if I hadn't been so completely exhausted by the time I got home I probably would have had a massive nightmare. Needless to say, I will never walk by an alley again...ever.
  • She apparently was once a cosmotologist from Mexico. She did manis, pedis, and hair. But someone broke into her shop....and later on it was her car that was broken in to....and stole her license. She than made a plan as to what she would do to pay them back for stealing her job. She also blamed it on America.
  • Don't ever get a shot. Why? Because it too is poison. When they gave her a shot ( i'm assuming when she was admitted because she was belligerent and dangerous to herself and others.) she waited till the needle was removed before she pinched her skin on her arm and squeezed all the poison out. Otherwise she would be dead. 
  • They even come after white girls like me. Who? I don't know. 
  • She thought my scrubs looked like Popeye and Olive Oil. Awesome. I usually say they are a mix between Merry Maids, Top Chef, and a sailor, but Popeye was truly genius. 
I could go on for another 20 bullet points on different things she said. One of the interesting aspects of the conversation I noticed was that while she was rambling off all of this, I could literally see how the thoughts and images were just racing around inside her head, unable to straighten them out. Her face held this blank look to it...almost as if her eyes were hollow and you could stare right through the dark, black pupils. Something I have never experienced before.

Before we left, I flipped around in her chart to gather information I would need for my assignment due tomorrow. I wanted to see her admission note so I knew why she was brought in. It was against her will, meaning she was there on involuntary status. She was admitted because in a psychotic moment, she stabbed her roommate with a dinner fork and than chased her neighbor with a kitchen knife, threatening to kill him because of "what he had done." I'm glad I found all this out after we had been talking for 2 hours!

The unit wasn't so bad....but not the field of medicine for me. I do think i will enjoy this clinical though. As long as I never let my guard down! I noticed last week how easy it can be to forget that each one is unstable so I need to make sure I am cautious of that last night. It was a good first week though and I am interested to see who I can converse with tomorrow!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Always in our Hearts

9/11 will never be forgotten by anyone who lived on that day just 9 years ago. We will never forget the way we felt as we watched the day unfold on the tv. We will never forgot the faces that spread across the newspapers and tvs. We will never forget the way our heart ached for those that lost loved ones and for those who experienced it all first hand. We will never forget the firefighters, policemen, and civilians who put their life on the line that day. We will never forget the men and woman who joined in our country's armed forces to protect each of us, to protect our freedom, our safety, and our country from something like this ever happening again.

I will never forget watching the news and seeing the 2nd plane hit when I woke up. I will never forget standing with my parents in the kitchen, praying for those that had already lost their lives and for what the day would entail. I will never forget sitting in AP World History and watching the tower fall to the ground. I remember the silence that filled the hallways and classrooms. I remember my economics teacher rushing to leave school since his sister worked in the Twin Towers. I remember my mom saying, " You are experiencing history. You will never forget today."

And we won't. Not one of us. It will always be on our hearts. We will always take Sept. 11 of every year and remember. Travel back to that day. See how we can continue to move forward as "one nation, under God."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Next Time!

This past Tuesday was supposed to be my first pediatric clinical. My group of 8 arrived at the facility first thing in the morning. We walked inside to see our teacher sitting, ready for us. It was obvious by the look on her face something was wrong. She than announced that we were not going to be able to stay at the facility that day due to a scheduling conflict. Free day!?!? Nope, we were directed back to our campus in Anaheim.

The morning was spent getting to know her, taking a pediatric med math, and listening to classmates present on their teaching topic. A lunch break to Subway was well needed....why are nursing students always so hungry?!? After lunch another professor, Prof. Murray, joined our group for a skills lab. We were taught how to set up our own peds piggyback. They had us come up to the board, calculate the concentration, mg/kg/dose, Iv maintenance rate, and what to set the pump at with volume to be infused (VTBI) and iv rate (IVR) for each part. Along with the calculations we were required to set it all up, fresh from the start, on the actual pump itself. It was nerve wrecking! I know I was shaking as I drew up my med in the syringe and pushed it through the barbitrol.

At first I was bummed that we were not in the hospital but it ended up being a blessing. I learned so much in the skills lab that will really benefit me once in the clinical setting on real patients! It was good skills practice because everything is a whole lot smaller in pediatrics! It will take some getting used to!

Time to study hard for a pediatric test tomorrow morning!

That Orange Lu Math!

I can't tell you how many times a week I hear those words come out of my husband's mouth! I am awful at math...there really is no denying it....but it still drives me nuts when Trav points it out! He always jokes that at Troy High everyone was a math scholar but that Orange Lu slacked on their math program since he claims he doesn't know a single person from there with decent math skills. ( I really have no argument for that since I really can't name anyone either!) I'm sure half of the time he asks me to calculate something in my head on the spot it really is just to see what bizarre number I can come up with for his own amusement. And, trust me, they are bizarre. My dad used to sit at the dining room table with me at night to help me with my homework. You see, I didn't get the math genes. He is a genius and passed those genes on to Lyns and Kris....Lea and I weren't so lucky. I feel bad looking back at those moments now because many were filled with tears or I got so ticked that I couldn't understand it, I would cop a huge attitude, throw in some sarcasm, and leave the room. Even after all of that he still offered to help me the next night!

Math was one of the reasons why I shyed away from being a nurse right out of high school. ( That and the fact that I have always despised science. Now look at's my world.) So when I was told that for every clinical we are in, there is a math test given that must be completed with a certain grade or higher to pass meds on the floor, I almost threw up. Even though I understand med math, I still second guess myself in the testing environment because of my lack of confidence in my math skills.

Needless to say, I have grasp ahold of the med math formulas and skills needed to be an RN. I will say, it feels like a huge accomplishment for me considering in high school I celebrated getting a C in Algebra II Trig! Those days are over! I have successfully passed all med math exams.....recent ones at 100%! What a fear faced! I no longer am nervous to calculate mg/kg/day or per dose. I no longer am afraid to whip out the information needed in my head in front of my instructor! It's amazing to see how much I have grown since just a year ago. This program moves fast and I sometimes feel behind the others since I never worked as an LVN.

The best part is, yesterday I called Trav after clinical. He asked how my math test went and I told him my grade, A+. He laughed and than asked, "Really?" After talking with him I called my dad who asked how clinical went and I gave him the good math news. What did he do? Laughed. Than asked, "Really? Wow." Ah, I will always have the reputation of having Orange Lu math. It's going to stick with me forever, I just know it! 

So, while "that Orange Lu math" was not the highlight of my high school years, I have a new found love for med math!

Monday, September 6, 2010


Tomorrow I begin my first day in pediatric clinicals! Once again I have no idea what to expect. All I know is I am placed at Newport Specialty in Tustin. We have yet to meet our instructor. She is new to the school but not to teaching pediatrics. We are to arrive tomorrow at 0645 sharp and head upstairs to receive our assignements and report...yikes! Way to throw us right in there on the first day.

I have no idea what to expect. I know I will be faced with a new fear. I know I will be challenged with med math for peds. I know I will adore working with children. But there are many more "unknowns" that tomorrow holds!

I can't wait!

Arizona Part 1

During my week off from school, we headed out to Arizona to visit the family I have there. I finished my last OB clinical and than we packed the car for our 5 hour drive. We made great time....Trav even let me doze for a leg of the trip since I was living off of no sleep that week! We of course made our regular candy stop in Blythe for a lil sugar high to push us to our destination!

We arrived at my sister Kristel's new house. Her kids were waiting outside on the driveway, jumping up and down for us as we pulled in! We immediately scooped them all up in big hugs....and than rushed inside because a monsoon was coming! The grand tour was given of the house and we both fell in love. It's a great layout. It literally feels like the home was picked up from the midwest and placed on this lot in Arizona. Parker and Kody baked us cookies. They insisted that they live them in our room for us to eat. So cute. What great hosts already! I braved what I new was coming and did bath time with all three monkeys. ( I always end up with more water on ME than THEM!) They were too cute for words! Oh how I miss giving baths!!! I loved playing with the toys and than scooping them out after, wrapping into burritos, and putting pjs on! It was a treat to do bathtime....pretty soon non of them will be taking "baths" anymore. Zoey attached herself to Trav. Literally. She wouldn't let Kris or myself take her. And, at one point, I couldn't find her so I peaked into her room and there they were, having a tea party as if no one else existed. Precious! He really is great with girls....uh oh.

Kristel and I stayed up baking and chatting. The next morning would be Zoey's baptism and afterwards a brunch at the house. It was fun cooking together and catching up. The baptism was at the 8am church service the next morning. Before leaving for church, my parents arrived! I do feel a little bad because I went to hug my dog first before my parents! Millie remembered me! My mom said as soon as they got out of the car she picked up my scent and went nuts! Oh how I have missed my sweet golden! I hugged my parents and we headed off to church!

Lyns, Ryan, and their girls met us for the service! I was shocked at how much the girls had grown since I last saw them. Lexi is just getting so old! I'm not ready for her to be a "tween". Tessa chopped her hair off into this little bob and is just as cute as a button! All of the kids did excellant in church. We were pretty amazed. Trav and sat in the back row with all five of them coloring, eating fruit snacks, and finding verses in the Bible. We headed up front for the actual baptism. Travis and I are Zoey's godparents, so we got to hold her ( rephrase, I held her) during the baptism. She did great. Until the pastor leaned forward to place the sign of the cross on her forhead. She shook her head no and than buried it in mine! Hmmm, what could happen next? Alot of things could have but she still did great for being aware of what was going on. He needed to put the water on her head and I was supposed to lean her over the basin. But she had a death grip on my arms, her head was buried in my chest, so I went down with her! Zoey Adair is now baptized and a beautiful child in the Lord's family!

Brunch was a blast with everyone! We made our Christmas breakfast quiche, bacon, fruit salad, sweet rolls, and more. And for an extra treat, Lyns brought the necessities for mimosas! We sat the kids at the kids table and we all caught up at the "grown up" table. After wards, it was time to swim! Between Trav, Ryan, and I we were constantly throwing someone, had a lil one standing on our shoulders, or taking a lap around the pool with someone on our back. We had a blast! We were tired...and sore...that night though! When we left to go to my parents, Parker and Kody declared they were going to. We thought they were just messing around until Kody went and packed his backpack with clothes! So cute! I wish we could have taken them with us!

Here are a few pictures from the first leg of our trip! To be continued......

Sunday, September 5, 2010


This morning Trav and I taught Kindergarten Sunday school. A fresh batch of kiddos, new curriculum, and a great start to a new Sunday school year! It's surprising how much WE learn from teaching the kids and taking in what they can teach us. I always leave these Sundays with a restored childlike faith because there is just something so powerful, so pure, and so eager about it that we should never loose site of it.

We came back this evening to the night service called Engage. We really enjoyed it tonight. It was entirely unexpected that we went, but a totally God thing. We took my Aunt Katie to dinner at Ricardos, which is close to church. Afterward we pulled out of the parking lot and Trav looked at the clock. He said nonchalantly, " well we could make it to Engage." I didn't even hesitate with my response of "yes". Although we were a few minutes late we snuck in the back and listened to a message that we both needed to hear. It was on rest and keeping the Sabbath day holy. Lately, Trav has been overworked and I have been crammed with school work. Sometimes we forget that we need time to not only rejuvenate ourselves but also our faith. After all, God worked hard for 6 days and than rested. It makes sense that we as Christians do the same....with our working lives and our faith. At the end of the message they passed out paper for all of us to make a commitment to rest and rejuvenate. Trav and I each wrote out ways we can rest, rejuvenate, and encourage each other each week. We sealed it off with a prayer, committing this to the Lord. Afterward, we chatted outside with some friends, leaders we used to work with in the youth department, and some new faculty. It was just what we needed. Trav was asked to lead a small group session for some of the youth males. I think he will be excellent at it. I would love to pursue that as well with the gals but my school schedule just doesn't allow time for me that works with a high school youth schedule. I also really love our church family. Being a member of the Lutheran church my whole life it really is a small world. Everyone has known me since I was a toddler and watched me grow up. They watched as Trav and I met, dated, and than began our journey of marriage. It is so comforting having people from all areas of the church and school life come up to chat with us or check in to see how we are doing with all the transitions in our life and let us know that they are supporting us and praying for us. It is such a comfort and we are pretty blessed with the church family we have.

This song was sung in church tonight and I have been humming it since we got home. I love the lyrics and hope you enjoy listening to it as well!

A little place called "Aspen"

On the morning of my 25th birthday, Trav told me I needed to sign onto Facebook. I didn't want to. I was studying for a test I was about to take and I really didn't care who had posted on my FB wall. He insisted! Reluctantly I did. This was what I found, Dumb and Dumber 

No, we aren't actually going to Aspen but we are going to Colorado!!! The first weekend in October we will venture to the mile high city and see the sites. I'm really excited because my roommate from Azusa, Christie, lives there so we will get to see her, be shown the inside "hot spots" of Denver, and maybe even head to the lake. I lived in Littleton, CO when I was just a wee thing. We moved there when I was a baby and moved back to Cali when I was three. I do have vague memories from there. I can remember the most random things such as having awful stomach flu and my mom taking away my security blanket to wash it or peeing my pants in the Denver Zoo. Hmmm, actually those are probably memories I should have forgotten. Oh well. Trav has never been to Colorado and we are super excited to be tourists for a weekend. Last spring Trav went through a series of interviews for a promotion at Target. At one session he met with the regional Target managers. The one who has Colorado in his territory immediately took to Trav, letting him know he would always have a job at one of his stores there. Ever since than, Trav has been fascinated with just visiting the state. We love to travel and will never have the money to go out of the country. So, we are excited to see what our country has to offer, to teach us, and for us to experience. We have a long list of places we want to go and what we want to see. It is really fun planning trips together! And, I will say, we are excited to experience a real season of fall!

Here are a few of our must sees on the trip!
The Denver Art Museum is free the first Saturday of every month. We may have to take advantage of the free visit!

I saw this on Bakerella and decided we had to stop! My friend Caitlin, who lived in Denver for college and work, said she used to always come for cupcakes on her breaks. She also said they were the best she has had! Done. We will be there!

The ever famous, Molly Brown, has a historical home in this beautiful city! I loved how she was portrayed in the movie Titanic, I love reading about her, and I know I will love how they have preserved her home!

Yes, we will revisit the same zoo I peed my pants at while eating an ice cream cone. However, this visit will have different memories!!!

CHRISTIE!!! My beautiful roomie who I haven't seen in a year! So excited to catch up and double date with her & Brandon!

Another referral from Caitlin to visit a dualing piano bar. The one at New York, New York in Vegas is a favorite. We are excited to try this one out and hear the talent! Any suggestions for song requests we can give?!? 

The Denver Mint. Trav has never been to a mint...actually, to be honest, he didn't know what one was. But after learning about it, it was a definite add to our list! The last one I went to was in Philadelphia and it was really cool to see! What kind of coin should we have made at the end? 

If you have any suggestions of where we should go or what we should see, let us know!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010



What: A Pity Party
When: All weekend
Where: Hardeman Hotel, Rm #2
Why: Because a party for one just is no fun!

I'll give you one guess how I am doing...keep your answer?!? Yup, crummy! I'm homesick for a home I don't have anymore. I miss my parents so much it's making me sick. I miss my sisters and their calming presence. I miss my dog and her snuggles. But most of all, I miss 9 kiddos that are my world. I don't know what it is but this past week has had me in a slump. I've been on the verge of tears 90% of the time. I can barely talk to anyone in my family without my voice quivering or blinking away tears. This never used to be this hard. Ever since I was little there was always someone in my family who lived away but it's harder now. I'm not upset no one lives in Cali. You have to go where the Lord leads, no matter what your plans are because it's His plan. not ours, and I have definitely learned that this year. And having them gone makes us closer...I know that sounds weird but it does. But I miss them....all of them.

Yesterday was a rough day. My emotions were already poopy and than I talked to Lea. She was out shopping with Maddie. I used to love going places with Mad & having her tag along with me. Maddie told Lea that she wished I was there to shop with her. Stab in the heart #1. Than, I was at the Rack and my phone had no service. A voicemail came through from Lexi. She had news for me that she had made it into her ballet company! I was so proud of her! I love seeing her dance and the joy it brings her. I could hear the smile on her face and sense that her eyes were lit up as she was talking. But I couldn't see it. I couldn't share in her joy. Instead, I stood in the Rack with huge tears rolling down my cheeks.  Stab #2. Later that evening I called my parents to say hi. They were on their way to dinner with my sister and Zoey. I used to love swinging by their house before or after class to chat and see how they were doing. To play with my puppy. To have someone to keep me company when Trav worked late and crazy hours so I didn't have to eat dinner alone. But those days with my parents are over. Stab #3. Later last night a text came from Kristel saying that Parker has declared I am his girlfriend. Should have made me smile but instead it caused big, fat tears to fall because all I could think about was how much I was missing out on his little life. Stab #4.

With an aching heart I fell asleep last night. I thought it would go away and I would wake up ready for a new day. But I was wrong. It's still here. Still hurts. My stomach still has the homesick feeling in it. I'm still on the verge of tears. I know this is a growing experience. I know that this is a part of the Lord's plan. But I wish it didn't hurt. I wish I didn't feel so sad. I wish I could run to my parents today and watch the football game with my Dad. I wish my mom and I could go run a quick errand. I wish I could pick up my nieces and nephews up from school or Trav and I could take them out on "dates" like we used to. I wish I could watch them dance, play sports, play the piano, and share in all their joys.

But I can't go down the path of " I wish" or "what if". So for now, I will cheer them on from here. I will share in their joys over the phone. I will watch a football game and talk about it with my Dad later. I will try my hardest to visit often and soak up every moment I have. 

I will finish out my weekend pity party and start a fresh new week. I will dive into my studies, using this as motivation to work hard and finish strong in school. But I will always miss my fam. And I love them so much more than they know.

Introducing.....College Hospital

For my mental health rotation I was placed at College Hospital in Cerritos. It is an all psychiatric care facility that I will visit every Wednesday. Anxious is a pretty good way to describe how I feel about this clinical setting for the next 8 weeks. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Mental Health altogether is not my forte. I am all about talking with patients in regards to their feelings or how they are coping. But, to be in an environment like this changes that and takes, throws me....out of my comfort zone. That's an understatement. 

2. In my LVN program, this was my worst expereince so I am already going into the class/clinical with a bad image in my mind. Not only was the lecture a struggle for me but clinical was than too. I made the mistake of befriending a young man at La Casa. I sat and listened to him talk as he skipped between the five different "realities" he lived in. When I returned to the facility in the subsequent days, he didn't want me to talk to anyone else. And now, I was a part of these "stories" in "his worlds". He wanted us to hangout when he was released from his hold.  Creepy? Yes. All I could think of was that he know knew my name from my name badge and wanted me in his world, what would happen if he was discharge?! 

3. The training. Last Wednesday we had orientation and it was all going swell until the last hour. Another instructor who actually works at the site came in to meet with us. She began showing us how to sit with the patients so they can't punch us or choke us. Sweet. Than how to yell for help should we be in a situation that needed it. Hmmm, great. We moved on to discuss how you never turn your back on who you are talking to, for obvious reasons, and of course, you never touch them. One of her last comments was that if you are in a conversation with a patient and they all of a sudden have a blank stare on their face, get out of there. Why? Because in their mind they are hearing voices telling them that, for example, you killed their mom so no they need to kill you. Or, they are hallucinating that someone is standing behind us telling them that we are the FBI coming to get them so they need to take us out. Oh man. 

4. We are put into groups of two for each unit....a buddy system. I am paired with Brooke who is super sweet and we are alot alike. She is blonde and tall....we are the only ones in our group....and very soft spoken. We look like easy targets. Really, two for the price of one. While we were excited to be together, we are both pretty apprensive about going on the floor. The instructor also placed the only male in our group with us. Thank you! Rommel is a great guy, a friend from last terms clinical, and I would trust him with my life...seriously. I mean,just knowing that he will be arm's lengths away at all times is comforting. He already informed us that he "has our backs". Thanks!

5. This is a very high aquity facility. Meaning, these people are very dangerous. Most have come in from police drop offs from off the street. In a few of the units we will be in, each patient in there is considered to be highly suicidal and highly homicidal. Which means, I will never let my guard down. I will never trust just can't. I will never think that they are "just fine" because that is when something will happen.

On top of all that I have a phenomenal instructor. She is a breath of fresh air! Prof. Noonan works for the Irvine Unified School district now with children who need a little extra attention and help but she also teaches mental health at my school. She is about 70 ...may a few years older....and as cute as a button. 5'2....white hair....and a smile that immediately sends out comfort, I liked her from the start. She remind me of that sweet little grandma in the movies. I half expected her to bring us homemade cookies and than tuck us in bed with a story. She is a spitfire as well though. She would say something "inappropriate" during orientation and than put her little hand over her mouth and giggle like a school girl. We all agreed that because of her we are going to have a great clinical this term! 

Next Wednesday will be our first day on the floor. Pray it goes well for all of us! I can't imagine what these patients are going through. In fact, I can't even imagine what a mental illness would be like. In that sense, my heart hurts for them and I want to help them in any way I can. As long as myself and my classmates stay safe. My biggest challenge will be caring too much. I am that nurse that will sit down at the bedside, hold the patient's hand, stroke their hair, and just listen. While the listening aspect will be beneficial in this term, the rest won't and that will be a challenge and a great learning experience for me to switch gears a bit. 

Alright mental health....I'm ready for you...I think?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A New Term!

It has arrived! The beginning of a term term. Another 9 weeks crammed with reading, clinicals, projects, new fears, papers, careplans, no sleep, too much coffee, and of course, stress. It also means that I only have 18 more weeks of nursing school left!!! Woo!!!  Here is an overview of what this term holds:

Mental Health Lecture and Clinicals: Am I excited about this? Not at all. You either like mental health or you don't I don't. I'm all about chatting with people about their feelings but Psych units are just not my thing. I am VERY anxious about this class and I really hope it flies by. And to top it off my Wednesdays now consist of class and clinical from 8am till 11pm. A full day of psych. Yikes!

Pediatric Lecture and Clinicals: Excited isn't even the word to use for this because it is so much more! I cannot wait to learn about pediatrics and than head to the clinical setting to care for them. I adore kids. I want to make them smile in this unfamiliar and uncomfortable setting. I want to let them know that hospitals aren't a scaring place but a safe place. I want to love them, befriend them. and take away their fears. I cannot wait!

Leadership lecture:  I honestly have no clue what to expect from this class. I know I will be learning about delegation, as a RN needs to learn safe practices for delegating tasks. It should be interesting though because being a leader is not my strong point so I hope to really grow from this course.

It is going to be a hard 9 weeks. 7 weeks only of class and lecture followed by two weeks of testing. If you don't see or hear from me, you know why. I am already overwhelmed by the amount of workload, assignments, and time that is needed for this term. But, it will take me one step closer to my dream so I can't complain!


6,7,8,9,10...BIG BREATH! And again!" If you had walked thru the L&D unit two Saturdays ago this is what you would have heard myself and a nursing trainee saying for a good hour as we coached a mom through her delivery!

It was our final day of OB clinical. While I was mentally "checked out" of class, I was excited for clinical since I was in L&D and desperately wanted to assist in a delivery. At pre-conference, Vanessa and I joked about how it would be our luck that no one would deliver again on our shift. But we were wrong! We both were assigned to laboring moms and one of the most incredible days began!

I was assigned to an interesting case. Our laboring mom was considered high risk for multiple reasons. First being she was AMA...advanced maternal age.This was their third time with in vitro, the first two ended in a miscarriage, and they were now preparing to deliver a baby girl. During pregnancy she developed Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, a clotting/bleeding disorder where the body has low platelets and blood is unable to clot. She was a high risk for hemorrhaging during and after delivery. Because of her platelet disorder she was not allowed an epidural. Her only choice was a natural birth and I have never seen someone handle one so well. She had a doula. That's all I will say about that. I do have stories & I could go on, but the main point I will say is a doula should not be in the hospital because overstepping a doctor who is trying to save two lives is just not going to go over well!

This mom did fabulous! She was prepared and breathed through the contractions perfectly. It really showed me that a natural labor is possible. My mom did 4 naturally and I always thought she was crazy until now! I've learned that labor is about being a team & your teammate needs to be tuned in on distraction techniques as well as working you through each contraction. As long as you have control of the pain, breathing, and contraction, an epidural free delivery is not a bad idea....this mom proved that! The baby took a long time to come out from under her pelvic bone....over an hour to be exact. I can't imagine the pressure she felt as the head was crammed under the bone. But she managed to crack jokes and smile during it all! The delivery room was full since UCI is a teaching hospital. Therefore, an intern, third year resident, and an attending were assigned to the case. An RN, myself, and a RN trainee were also involved along with the scrub tech to set up the sterile environment. 

With each push the resident and attending were watching the monitor of the baby's heart rate and how it was reacting to each contraction. After pushing for so long the baby was not tolerating labor well at all. In fact, the heart rate was so dangerously low that if she had been already born and had a herat rate of that, CPR would have been performed. It was interesting watching the attending and resident communicate with no words as to not alarm the mom. The NICU team was called because they knew the baby was going to be born in distress. The neonatologist and RN came in an instant. Finally, a sweet little girl was delivered. I have no shame in admitting that tears were streaming down my face during this time. It is such a magical experience and completely overwhelming....and it wasn't even my child! She was born blue....central cyanosis....meaning that the blood oxygenation to her little lungs was really bad as well as in all her vessels. She was whisked to the NICU team before the mom could notice she was blue as it's better to keep the mom out of the loop that something is that wrong until the mom is stable. The doctors went to work quickly to birth the placenta and stitch her up because they were worried about her bleeding out. The baby was put on oxygen and was revived by the NICU team. It was incredible to watch them work. They took this limp, lifeless, blue baby who needed much more than a pat on the back and saved her. Yes, more tears. Watching her be placed on her moms chest, than into her dad's arms was emotional for all as the staff knew how long they had been waiting for their sweet girl. I took pictures of the dad as he proudly cut the cord. 

What a day! It was a great last OB clinical. A experience unlike any other. I will carry that day with me forever! I am so thankful for the opportunity to have trained at UCI and been taught by sch incredible physicians and nurses. 

Hmmmmm, labor and delivery.....will you be my specialty?!!?