Sunday, December 30, 2007

My little after-Christmas Massacre...the story of my tree.

The tree turned out beautifully!

This is how I take it down without dragging it out and making a HUGE, sappy mess all over!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Working Christmas…part 2 – Christmas Night

The second night of my adventure started with a planned pot-luck. One of the doctors was providing the meat, and everyone else had to bring all of the other things to add to our Christmas dinner at the hospital. In the past, they have provided hamburgers and hot-dogs or steaks and we’ve barbecued (yes, the ER has a department gas barbecue that we keep right outside near the ambulance bay). I was curious to see what the meat would be this night. Imagine my surprise to learn that she had brought two 20-lb turkeys, and someone else brought the deep-fryer – my first time to have deep-fried turkey! They do this is the south, but here there’s six inches of snow on the ground outside and the temps are in the 20’s!!! And yet, the dinner must go on!

The Turkey...

The Warning...

At least we're a Burn Center!!!

Ryan is one of our EMT's...

...and he's a pyro!

Safety First!

Our Charge Nurse, Brad...

Second Turkey...

One of the Airmed guys there to watch...

Do I look as cold as I feel?!

Now THAT is a beautiful bird!

Christmas Dinner!

This was one of the best turkeys I've ever had!

Our resident Pharmacist, Erin carves the bird with a scalpel...

She can do anything!!!

What would Christmas be without presents? Our Unit Secretary and EMT brought/made white-elephant gifts for everyone!

Everyone enjoyed the gift exchange.

Brad got a Family Home Evening Manual from 1977!!!

Overall, it was a fabulous Christmas, and a very memorable one for me! I'm not sad that I was working it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Working Christmas…part 1 – Christmas Eve Night

Many people I have talked to these last couple of weeks have felt sorry for me because I’ve had to work Christmas, and was scheduled to work the nights of the 24th, 25th and 26th (7pm-7am). I get comments like, “Can’t you just get ONE day off?” or “How can you work Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day?!”, and my personal favorite, “Is it because you don’t have a family and children?”, as if it’s a tragedy in modern day life. Forget the fact that I had 8 days off around Thanksgiving, another 8-day off stretch in the middle of December, and I have 6 days off over New Years! Forget the fact that people still get hurt and injured and sick even during the holidays, and in the middle of the night. To these people, I have to say one thing – I appreciate your concern, but do I really look like I’m having a horrible time at work?! Judge for yourselves…

Christmas Eve night was a slow night, with a big snowstorm that dumped a few inches. The few people getting out to the Emergency Room tended to be those who either had life-threatening illnesses or conditions and those who are lonely without family/friends to be with at Christmas. Given the recent fresh powder-snow that fell that night, and the small number of patients we all had to treat, a couple of us were able to dress up in our boots, coats, and a few other creative things to keep us warm and dry and protected, and we headed out to play in the snow!!! I am finally thankful that my hospital is located on the top of a hill in the Salt Lake Valley, as we had some fantastic sledding options!

We’ve talked about how fun it would be off and on, to take the “slickers” or flexible but hard plastic back-boards that we place under patients, and ride them down the hill in the snow. Well, we finally had the perfect opportunity to try it! We got our slickers, and found some “trach-tie-tape” which is a very strong, ribbon-like cloth tie that we use to secure breathing tubes in people who can’t breathe for themselves. This we tied to the front of the slicker, both to help steer, and to keep the tongue out of the snow. It was incredibly effective, and I quickly learned that the only thing that limited how FAST these slickers really do go down the hill was my ability to stay on it! For this, the handles on the side were quite effective. While it’s been a few years, I can’t remember riding a sled that goes faster than these did! I used a pillow (hospital pillows are covered in plastic) to protect my tailbone from further re-injury, and splash-guard goggles to protect my eyes, as they had been sensitive earlier in the day. We also wore Tyvek suits (little bunny suits that we would put on patients in a decontamination-emergency) to keep our scrubs dry – another little idea that worked quite well (our charge nurse wouldn’t let us wear the real hazmat suits – only these disposable ones)! And finally, I placed the plastic hospital gloves over my own cloth gloves to keep my own gloves dry. In the final minutes at about 5:00 Christmas morning, I had chosen my own nurse and doctor from among my co-workers, should anything bad happen… and with all the preparation in place… we went and played!!!

As I was at the top of this hill about to ride my slicker down for the first time ever, the last thing I yelled out to those watching at the bottom was, "Are you SURE this is a good idea?!" Then we ALL laughed hard, knowing that that is what many of our patients tell us were their last thoughts before doing something that landed them in the ER!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Several days ago, I was whining to a good friend about how “difficult” my December has been this year. I have had such a bah-humbug attitude, and have not wanted to do Christmas shopping, or dinners or anything. I was even reluctant to decorate my tree (yep, the tree I worked so hard to get)! This dear friend came over and helped me decorate it, and so it got done. I even had a hard time getting my Christmas cards! I’d ordered photo cards this year, and was excited to send them out until in the process of having them shipped to me, they ended up in California first, and I got them about 7 days later than I’d planned. Everything seemed to be more difficult this year.

This same friend encouraged me to go home and make a list of the things I am grateful for. I figured it would be easy since I’d done it last month as part of my Thanksgiving tradition, and yet I found a whole different set of things on this list. It did help me to focus on all the things I’ve been blessed with, and so I share that list with you…

I am thankful for…
1. Hot showers!
2. Water in every form – oceans, lakes, swimming pools, etc…
3. Palm trees!
4. Warm, tropical places, even in the winter.
5. A great job and the chance to work with fabulous people, whom I love!
6. My medical knowledge and the ability that I have to bless the lives of others with it.
7. Flexibility with work in hours, days and time off, as well as travel. I LOVE not being tied to a desk in a 9-5 job anymore!!!
8. My family.
9. Travel – something I love dearly!
10. Good health.
11. Good friends!
12. The computer / internet, which makes it so easy to connect with people and find information so easily!
13. TV.
14. Modern conveniences like plumbing and electricity, and the heater in my car!
15. My car!
16. The different places I’ve lived and people I’ve met along the way.
17. Religion – and the peace and direction it gives me in my life.
18. Sunshine!
19. Massages!
20. My driving skills, and the many times I’ve spent “playing” in my car on dirt roads and in the snow. Those things have taught me much about how to handle my car when it really matters!
21. My independence and all that I’m able to accomplish when I set my mind to it.
22. Creativity, and the many ideas I have in my multiple mediums.
23. Hot cocoa from Starbucks!!!
24. Common sense (most of the time!).
25. My sensitivity to the feelings of others, and especially my ability to “read” others at times, and see things in their hearts that are not obvious on the surface.
26. Afternoon naps!
27. A dear friend who cared enough to listen and then encouraged me to sit and write this list.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas with the Sisters...

This year, since I was working Christmas, I got together with my sisters and nieces on the weekend of the 16th to celebrate Christmas. We had a lot of fun!

Makaela and Makenzi with their new puppy, Baby.

Makaela is such a poser!

Opening presents...

Makaela playing with her new camera! She learned this from her Aunties - Wendy and Polly!

Polly, Brenda, Wendy (me) and Megan

Brenda with her girls, Makaela and Makenzi...

And finally, Makaela and I have so much fun doing our "faces" pictures together!

We always end up laughing SO HARD!!!

What a great time we all had!