Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Getting ready to "go under the laser"

I've thought about it for years, and finally have scheduled to have laser vision-correction surgery...tomorrow (May 31st). The shape of my cornea and correction needed precludes me from having Lasik, so I will be having PRK instead. Lasik is where they make a small incision into the cornea, flap it back, correct the cornea & lay the flap back down...relatively painless recovery, and your vision is near perfect right away. PRK is older, but safer for my cornea shape and damage...they have to cut off the epithelial tissue off the cornea (the outside layer of skin), correct the cornea, place a contact for protection for 4 days, and I spend the next few days on Percocet and Ambien "trying to sleep as much as possible" while I grow my epithelial skin layer back. It is a bit more painful, and takes a bit longer before my vision will be perfect, but once the recovery period is over, I feel confident that I will love it.

I am relatively calm going into it. My biggest fear is actually being awake and looking into the laser while they do the procedure. I have a reflex that makes my eye dart around or my eyelid close when something is coming directly at my eye. I hope to overcome that fear with relaxation techniques, and Valium. :-D It should be entertaining!

The things I will be able to do after I fully recover, which I cannot do easily now include WEARING SUNGLASSES, swimming and playing at water-parks without a personal guide, snorkeling without having to find a weird mask to correct my vision, and traveling without worrying about if I lose or break my glasses in a foreign place. Those are just a few... :-)

I will keep you updated on the progress (once I'm well enough to read my computer screen again)!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Summer School...and buying golf clubs

After being out of school for years, I decided to take some summer school classes. The first which I am currently taking is Beginning Golf. So, now that we are a week into the course, I've decided I need Golf Clubs. I shopped around a little before I found the girliest set of golf clubs I've ever seen. I actually liked them (I know... embarrassing) so I bought them. As I tried to get them in my car, I discovered the box was bigger than I'd imagined, and I had a hard time fitting them in the trunk which tells me one thing...I might need a new car. I'm sure it won't be a problem once I get them out of the box, though.

My second class starts in a month or so, and it is Beginning Kayaking. I'm excited about that one as I've never kayaked before, but I think it looks fun. I'll be learning in a swimming pool. I'm sure I'll have more to say about that later.

:-) Wendy

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Thoughts on being a nurse...

I love being a Nurse! In between the "blood and guts" side that most people think about (or have an aversion to), I have had many experiences that have left imprints on my life, and in my heart. I have been a nurse for just over 6 years now. In that time, I have worked in many different areas of nursing...burns, plastics (gone bad), pediatric trauma, post-partum, newborn nursery, labor and delivery (as the newborn nurse), general pediatrics, special care nursery, and emergency room. All areas have been very different, and I can't choose a favorite. I've enjoyed them all, and for different reasons. Here are some of the things I've been able to do:

In Burns/Plastics and Pediatric Trauma, I have set up toy trains on the floor of the playroom with a 3-yr old for an hour. I have "gotten high" on nitrous oxide (laughing gas) with a patient while I looked into his eyes, and tried to keep him laughing through a very painful procedure (taking 200+ staples out of his legs and torso)... while it is not legal for a nurse to take in nitrous oxide, I find it difficult to not breath a little bit when you are that close to someone's face for so long, and they are breathing it...and it really only gave me a between the laughter... ;-) I have played with leeches, placing them on a man's face after reconstruction from a bear attack in Alaska (hardest part is keeping them out of all the facial orifices), placing them on an 18-month-old's finger after it had been re-attached, and basically trying to keep them from crawling all over the place while I directed them to their target. I have taken up a collection from co-workers to get a bag of popcorn for a man who was alone, nervous and depressed about going through surgery the next day...that's the one thing he wanted before he couldn't eat or drink anymore for the night (I'm sure the surgeons loved me for feeding him popcorn). I have held and rocked babies to sleep when their parents couldn't be there. I have watched as 2 teenagers with similar severe burns (one white and one black), found a friendship as they walked the halls all night, unable to sleep. I have been pulled in a "little red wagon" (I helped) by a 5-year old with his 3-yr old brother pushing...their parents were severely injured in a car accident, and they didn't have anyone they knew available to be with them...through the universal language of play, we discovered that they really did speak English. :-) I have saved locks from a baby's hair when we had to shave his head for the first time (his first hair-cut at 18 months old) after a bad burn, while his mom held him and cried. And I have watched a little boy (6-7 yrs) who had lost his foot, give one of his roses to two little girls in the next room who had lost their parents.

In Post-Partum/Newborn Nursery, I was often able to attend deliveries of babies, as the nurse for the baby. This gave me a whole new outlook on life. As I don't have any children of my own, it has allowed me to experience the miracle of childbirth from a different angle. I have felt the presence of angels in a room as a new little one comes into this life. I have helped stimulate and ressucitate (when necessary), babies who just don't start off "vigorous" on their own, for whatever reason. I have scrubbed in and "caught" c-section babies...the dr. pulls them out, clamps and cuts the cord, and passes them to the nurse, who whisks them away for a moment. I was able to "catch" the first of triplets in that manner, who were delivered at 32 weeks. I have talked into the late-night hours with a mom who had delivered a Down's Syndrome baby...knowing before-hand that her baby was going to require special care, she had taken the time to prepare everything for that little one to give her the best life possible. I have taken a picture of a dad cutting his baby's umbilical cord, with mom watching. I have, in the process of giving a baby his first bath, entertained a dad by teaching him the many styling options of baby's wet was in the recovery room after a c/section, and dad was with baby and me...after we had styled it into a mohawk curl down the middle of the head, we learned that it sometimes doesn't "un-style" very easily...that's what the baby hat is for. ;-)

In Emergency, I have really stretched myself. The learning curve is really something, but the fast-pace can be fun and the experiences very rewarding. I have watched a beating heart inside a chest cavity (looks just like on TV), but the more amazing part to me was what the lungs look like as they expand and contract with each breath...and I have felt the presence of angels as someone teetered on the edge of this life and the next. I have held the hand and looked into the eyes of an accident victim, as I've talked him through very painful procedures (after giving morphine of course). I have talked with women who are in very difficult situations, as they learn that they are having a mis-carriage. I have washed the face and picked the blood out of the nose of a Marine who had been in an accident, and was afraid that his family would only want to know if he had been drinking to cause the accident (he hadn't, and that was their first question). I have run down the hall pushing a gurney with a patient who was having a heart attack, to get her to the cath lab as soon as we could (this looked just like it does on TV, and really made me feel like an ER nurse!) I have listened to and encouraged a girl who was homeless as a result of leaving a very abusive relationship. I have cared for the dying, the sick, the weak, the injured, and their families, and have given a part of myself in the process, but have gained a part of heaven in return.

I have learned much about life and death, about loving people even when we don't know them, and especially when we do. I have crossed paths with many people who were having life-changing events (some planned, some not), and have been blessed to be a part of that. I have received far more than I have given in the process. I was surprised to discover that the presence of angels and feeling in the room when a baby is born, is very similar to the presence and feeling when someone leaves this life. Life is a miracle, a gift, and I am so thankful to be a part of it play such an active role at times (and sometimes a very passive one), as we are all on this road of life together.

:-) Wendy

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Starting a Blogspot

So I have finally decided to start a blogspot to keep friends and family up to date on my life and my travels. I enjoy travel, and have added pictures from some of my recent trips. I will try to keep them up to date. :-) So I'm still single, and accepting applications. I also am enjoying working full-time as an ER Nurse in Salt Lake City. It is challenging, but usually entertaining. I live closer to my family since I moved to Utah last June (2006), and as they tell me, I need to move back to another state so they can see me more often. But I enjoy it. :-) I currently serve in church as the Ward Music Director, which involves leading the music in church every Sunday. That has been a challenging assignment for me, and different from anything I've done in the church before, but I am almost starting to enjoy it...almost.

I have much in my life to be thankful for...good health, a testimony of Jesus Christ, and the ability to live on my own and support myself, and especially for good family and friends. In that area, I have been terrifically blessed, and I am truly thankful. I love you all!