Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wounds and Pressure Ulcers

I was given the most phenomenal opportunity today.   I got to shadow the nurses on wound rounds at a long term care facility in Delaware.  This makes some people queasy, but I LOVE this kind of stuff!  I was always the one who flipped ahead to the pictures of pencils jammed in peoples’ eyes in my CPR and First Aid training classes.  It’s not that I enjoy watching people suffer, I just find the process of caring for these kinds of situations fascinating. 

Most of the wounds I saw were typical for nursing home residents.  Sacral region- stages 1 and 2 (redness and broken skin that barely penetrates the dermis).  However, I was able to see one or two stage 3 wounds, which, I’ll admit, was a little alarming to see in person at first.  Pictures are one thing, real life is another.  It was still incredible to observe the damage, and the care that the nurses provided. 

Some of the wounds were easy to treat, with minimal damage to the underlying skin.  Some of the wounds were inches wide and deep, craters that bore so deep you swear it touched their soul.  (The nurses used Q-tips that they stuck in the wound to measure how deep it was).  Some wounds were hidden to the naked eye, nestled in crevices long neglected.  Others were in the healing process, weeks in the making, but on the way towards full recovery.  And here the nurses were, doing what they could to provide comfort and healing.  I never saw one of them wince.  Not once.

These physical wounds I saw today were concrete.  I could see them, touch them, care for them.  Internal wounds, however, are not tangible.  We can’t see or touch them, but they ARE there, and they can be cared for.  Some people bear wounds that have barely penetrated the surface- haven’t had too much of a negative impact on their life.  Some have wounds that feel miles wide and deep, affecting their soul even when they have done all they could to shake the memory of it.   

Most internal wounds are unknown by others.  Their owners hide them in the crevices of their folded, tucked away secrets.  Others found their wounds and have given them the care they needed, leaving them with minimal scarring and a reminder that obstacles can be overcome.  Not an easy process, they say, but absolutely necessary to living a better life. 

We may not all have excruciatingly deep wounds, but that doesn’t mean we are immune to them.  We might find ourselves with one down the road, we just don’t know it yet.  We all have the potential to acquire one.  But we also have caregivers, family, and friends that, if given the chance, will be right there by your side to assist in the healing process.  With their attention and care, you will heal faster than if you were to take it on alone.  You just have to give them the opportunity, the chance. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Words for the Wise

-- Don’t lay unfortunate, life altering news on someone at 5 AM in the morning.  They’re likely, due to lack of sleep, to lash out in anger.  They’ll want to hit something, so protect your face.

-- Things are never as great as they first appear.  It’s either better than you imagined, or much much worse.

-- Shut your mouth while at work.  I don’t care if you despise your coworkers because they were honest and told you your ideas weren’t logical.  Speak your mind, and approach all issues with sincerity.  Then, stop pissing and moaning about what happens afterwards.  You did your best and gave it your all.  Now it’s time to move on, and with a positive attitude. 

-- Be considerate of other peoples’ pocketbooks.  Don’t pressure them into doing something and then think poorly of them if they can’t participate because of money.  They are conscientious of their spending and are probably debt free, or desperately want to be in the near future.  Enjoy doing things that don’t cost a lot of money.  You might even pick up a few pointers in the finance department.    

-- If people        a) look at their watch,

b) yawn,

c) look aimlessly around you, or

d) b. and c. simultaneously

                while you are talking to them, sorry, but they are not interested in what you are saying. Stop talking.  Ask them a question about themselves.  Engagement, and their impression of you, will likely improve if you focus your concentration on them.   

-- Know when to let go.

-- Stop procrastinating.  And stop using the “I work better under pressure” excuse for it.  The only reason you use that excuse is because you HAVE to….you have waited too long, and there are no more excuses left.  Man up, set a schedule, and get your stuff done.   

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Things You Don't Miss Until They're Gone

The availability of authentic ethnic food

Dark chocolate covered anything

3 hour coffee dates

Sleeping under a down comforter

A loved one’s laugh

Long chats with childhood friends

Your favorite lounge pants

Cell phone/ technology free atmospheres

Singing favorite songs while on family road trips

Shopping with mom

Waking up to the whisper of a child instead of an alarm

Hugs from cherished ones (I’m talking about the real hugs.  Not those fake, half-assed, I’m barely going to touch you ones)

Second chances

Thank you to all my family and friends that made this 2012 holiday season one of the greatest I’ve ever had.   I love you all, and you have each held a special place in my life.  I am who I am because of you.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Listen up, womenfolk, and ask yourself this question

Are you a Twilight Zone toy? 

What is this contraption, you ask?  I’ll explain in further detail, but, according to Laura Schlessinger, it’s the epitome of what some women become when they date or long to be with a man. 

So many women lose their identity when they meet “the man of their dreams”.  They become interested in the things he likes…EVERYTHING he likes.  The girl begins watching Game of Thrones and takes up bowling, when that is the last thing she’d be caught doing before she met him. She drops everything she used to do just so she can be the perfect girl, the girl she thinks he wants.    

She’s become a Twilight Zone toy.  If someone is holding her or is with her, she changes and becomes animated and full of life. If they put her down and leave the room, she becomes an inanimate object.  The man becomes the “battery” that gives the woman life.  She has no identity without a male figure there next to her.  She feels that approval, purpose, safety, and security can only be had through him.  That she's only worth something if she is with him. 

 …My eyes are bulging.  WHYYYY!  Why do women do this?!  We’re worth more than that.  YOU are worth more than that!

Men cannot be the sole reason for our existence, nor do they WANT to be.  Men are often burdened with the task of being the source of affirmation and approval for the woman’s self-esteem. They are drawn to women who exhibit self-confidence and set goals for themselves. A man wants to share a woman’s life, not BE her life.

So please, please, please, if you find yourself acquiescing to everything your man wants and does, know that you are your own individual.  You can earn money, travel, make decisions, and have fun all on your own. I find it helps if you make a list of things you want to accomplish for yourself, even if it is the smallest of all accomplishments.   Learn a new language, take a pottery class, go to a movie by yourself.  It all works. 

Know that you are capable of forming a healthy relationship where you and your significant other have separate identities and personalities. It makes for a much better, longer lasting relationship. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Morning Fog

Morning fog.  The period when much of what lies ahead is hazy, sometimes completely indistinguishable.  

Looking at it from your bedroom window it appears mysterious, even alluring.  Standing in it is a bit different, though.  It doesn’t seem so bad at first.  But after awhile you begin to feel trapped, not knowing which way to go or what you’re walking towards.  At times you barely feel as if you’re moving because you cannot see below yours knees.  You feel stuck in one spot, even though your feet are taking you somewhere.

Sometimes my life feels this way.  I get trapped in this type of state that is so strange it doesn’t even have a name.  It just reminds me of the fog. 

That state, where your thoughts become cloudy and fragmented.  Where you think about all the things in your life that are uncertain.  That state, where you cannot comprehend the patchiness of your circumstances and how you got to where you are. That state that you know won’t last forever, but that you never thought you’d be stuck in this long.  

Stress amplifies this state.  Periods of distinct loneliness, made apparent by the miles between family and friends, amplify this state. That feeling of freedom and independence turns to fear when you know you have no one to physically run to for comfort.

You realize you’re trapped for awhile.  

But only for awhile.  Like the fog, the state will dissipate. Your days will eventually clear and become visible. 

The hardest part is waiting out the fog. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

People Watching

Baseball games.  Malls.  City parks.  All great places to watch people.  My favorite, however, has to be the airport. 

When I say “watch people”, I do not mean creepily staring them down.  It implies casually observing the everyday happenings of others.  You’ve done it, too, so don’t try to hide it.

It’s so intriguing because we want to see if other people act the same way we do.  We want to see if they handle stress in similar ways, how they dress, and if their personalities match up with the stereotypical norm. 

In airports it’s pretty easy to pick out the first time flyers.  They fidget.  Frantically tapping their foot, they can’t keep still for the life of them.  Then there are the frequent flyers, a simple briefcase and look of annoyance on their face.  The distressed parents, all wide-eyed and yelling “NO (insert child’s name here)” as their kid climbs all over the chairs and accidentally nudges an aggravated neighbor.  The beauty queen, reapplying bright pink blush and lipstick 6 times while waiting at their gate.  And, my favorite, the comfort seekers.  Dressed in sweatpants, Uggs, and a see-through tee, they can’t pull themselves away from their cell phones. 

What a mix. 

I can’t help but think about all of the people in the world when I’m awaiting a flight at the airport.  How many people pass through here every day?  Thousands.  Each with a history and a background.  Each with their own story to tell. 

I had a conversation with a wonderful woman on a short hour and a half flight this past weekend.  The beauty of these chats is that you will, more than likely, never see that person again.  So what’s the harm in sharing personal struggles and stories that you wouldn’t normally tell?  There’s really nothing to lose, and only much to gain. 

It’s pretty incredible to think how much we might learn by simply listening to another’s life story.  It happened to me this weekend, and it only took an hour and a half. 

Spark up a conversation with the stranger sitting next to you.  You’ll be surprised at what you’ll get out of it.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Appetite

Unique places, exceptional sights.  Delectable food, and new relationships.  The appeal, so great, becomes a riveting temptation.  Like a magnet drawn to its charm.  Then, dull monotony.  Not right away, of course, but over time. 

I love these new experiences.  I love being a part of it.  That is, until I find myself jaded.  The charm turns to displeasure after awhile.  No longer full of flavor, you’re left with a rather bland dish and little aftertaste.  Only can the appetite be cured with an entirely different menu, or change of scenery altogether.   

Will I ever satisfy my appetite?  I often ask myself this.  I jump from one thing to the next, only to become bored and lifeless.  How far will I have to go to find the next best thing?  Constantly yearning for more, one might call it selfishness.  Maybe it’s something more discreet, or maybe it’s something that can’t be put into exact words. 

Perhaps it’s a feeling, deep down.  An indefinable fear that is fed when one settles for something less than they deserve.  Or, maybe that appetite just wants to continue to be nurtured with established routine and contentment.