Monday, October 17, 2011

All I needed to learn I learned...(on the job)

Did I know when I started nursing school that I would

Clean up vomit?
Change diapers on big people?
Change dressings on gaping flesh wounds?
Have to gain the ability to think 2 steps ahead of the doctor or try to read a doctors mind?

Did I know that I would:

Be exposed to TB, Hepatitis, AIDS, MRSA, and toxic medications?
Love some patients and put up with others?
Be told by my patients that I treated her like a dog (she had Alzheimer's)?

Oh and did I know that we would use leaches to treat a patient?

Nope.  I was never told that in nursing school.  (Or graduate school for that matter). 

It was only a kiss...

My 20 something year old cancer patient said to me on Sunday:
"I haven't kissed a girl since February.  Emily, What if I never get to kiss another girl before I die!?!"

I didn't know what to say.  Nursing school didn't prepare me to answer questions like this. 

The white board in all patient rooms have an area for patients to write down questions for doctors and goals for the day. 

The goals listed were:
1. Have a cute nurse.
2. Kick cancer in the butt.
3. Kiss a cute nurse.

I like the way he thinks.  Goal oriented and all.  And I'm the kind of nurse that likes to please. 

Before he was discharged from the hospital on Monday, I stopped by the 7th floor to drop off a bag of these... 

Hopefully he has enough kisses to last him until he returns for chemo in 2 weeks...or until a girl comes to her senses, which ever comes first. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A day (or week) for diabetics

When I was 10 or 12 or maybe a teenager, my dad was diagnosed with diabetes.  I never thought much of the disease-not because my dad didn't manage it or take it seriously, but because he managed it very well and never complained about it.  He took his blood sugars regularly, started measuring how much food he ate (literally using measuring cups to measure cereal and portions of other food).  He switched over to skim milk and pretty much stopped eating dessert all together.  He also started walking daily (religiously, actually, until the day my parents left on their mission).

In graduate school I get to have some very hands on experiences.  I have been in 2 different family practice clinics, a pediatric clinic, and an oncology clinic for rotations.  This past week I volunteered at the free clinic in Provo and saw patients under the supervision of one of my BYU instructors.  Additionally, as a nurse I have the hands on experiences every single day.  Chemotherapy, disgusting wounds, cardiac arrests, antibiotic drips, vomit and every other bodily fluid included in that "hands on" expereince I call my carreer. 

This week school and hands on/real life crossed paths once again. 

In the name of education, research and learning to have empathy for my diabetic patients, I am currently the participant of a research study conducted by my professor and get to wear an insulin pump for 7 days.  I prick my fingers 4 times each day to check my blood sugars.  I calculate the carbohydrates in the meals (and snacks) I eat.  I get to wear this pump on the side of my pants for 7 days. 

I changed the site yesterday on my stomach because it had been in place for 3 1/2 days.  The site hurt for 3 1/2 days straight and the tape was starting to cause and allergic reaction on my skin. 

Today it took me almost 2 hours at work to eat my lunch.  I squeezed in bites of food between dressing changes, transferring patients, tranfusing blood and administering medications to my patients.  Does that really work as a type 1 diabetic?  At work I generally graze....I eat some crackers here, a granola bar there and snack through out the entire shift.  There is no such thing as a 30 min lunch for nurses.  When exactly should I be programming insulin into the pump or checking my blood sugars when i'm not really eating a full breakfast or lunch?  Not to mention the fact that even though it takes literally 30 seconds to check my blood sugar at breakfast, lunch and dinner, I don't like having to interrupt my routine to stop and check it.  Oh and running with it is a nuisance.  And I haven't figured out a good way to discreetly wear the pump on me so I get asked frequently if I'm a diabetic.  All you type 1's out there--do you get asked this every day?!?!  

Dear diabetics--especially type 1's--I am impressed with your compliance to treatment (I cheated friday night and ate way too many carbs and cheated again Saturday when I took off the pump to go for a 4 mile run). 
Dear Dad-thanks for taking your diagnosis in stride.  I know you don't wear an insulin pump, but testing your blood sugar frequently and having to count carbs is a chore and takes some of the fun out of eating.  Thanks for taking it seriously enough that you're still alive today with good vision, good kidneys, a great cardiovascular system and an extra 20 healthy years to spend with your kids and grandkids. 

Ouch. Yes, that really is a needle on that end of that blue plastic.

Sarah and all of the supplies that will be part of my life as a "diabetic"

Dear Fall....

I have been too busy to enjoy you this year.

This week doesn't look good for me either. I have 2 tests, clinicals for school on Monday and Thursday, 24 hrs of work at the hospital and a lesson to prepare and teach for relief society.
Oh, and next week looks pretty similar to this week. 

Can you please stick around for at least another 2 weeks? I think/hope my schedule will open up by then. Does Friday Oct 30th work for you? I'm pretty sure that day will work for me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

30 years with 30 To Dos

So, I failed to post a birthday message about me.  Really was there any point?  I already knew it was my birthday and most of the people that see this blog are family members who knew it was my birthday.  To make it public and official, though, here is the announcement.  I'm 30. 

Celebrating with my nephew.  He's 3.  I'm 30. 

Our 30 minute run on the morning of my birthday on the waterfront.  We also picked 30 lbs of strawberries
So what does that mean? Not much really. Nothing changed in my life and life has continued as normal for the last two months since I turned 30. So everyone out there who fears the dreaded decade change, I survived and I actually had a great day in Portland with my family on the day. (See the previous post of how I celebrated in Portland and Seattle). Additionally I have had a fabulous 2 months since my birthday

Shortly before the big day, I was bemoaning to a friend that I wanted to go somewhere for my birthday. I didn't want to sit at home on a Thursday doing nothing for my 30th birthday. Single, gain-fully employed 30 year old girls just shouldn't have to do that. He joked that he was going to make a list of 30 things for me to do on my birthday so I didn't get bored. Ha-very funny. He knew all too well how much I LOVE my to do lists (the crossing things off, actually).

He didn't make the list.

But don't worry--I did. Kind of...

I tweaked the idea just a bit and decided to make a list of 30 things to do during my 30th year. Crazy, I know. Okay it gets worse. The list includes 30 things to do this year that all involve the #30.

Some are fun--eat at 30 new restaurants, go on 30 dates, make a fun birthday cake for some one's 30th birthday

Eating breakfast at my first new restaurant with my niece.  Isabel Pearl in downtown Portland
Some are important things I should be doing or need to do--throw 30 things away in my closet, write in my journal 30 times, write my nephew on his mission 30 times, go to the temple 30 times.

Some are educational--read about photography for 30 mins/month, sew for 30 hrs, memorize 30 scriptures.

Some are just random--run 30 miles worth of races, add 30 new friends on Facebook, etc..

I'll keep you posted on my far I'm doing my best at hitting up 30 new restaurants. My favorite place so far: the food carts in downtown Portland. I highly recommend the food pod on 10th and alder or Washington or somewhere in that vicinity. The Thai food was spicy and delicious and only $5 and the korean burrito was a fun twist on food that I love from korea.

shoving food in my mouth from the food carts.  It also great to just take a seat on the side walk while you eat

Sushi in Canda.  Sheri and I also ate Vietnames food the day before in Seattle

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Picturesque Northwest

I officially have the best family EVER.  Tuesday night at 9pm I purchased a ticket home to Portland and flew out 12 hrs later.  Despite short notice, my family in Portland and Seattle welcomed me home without complaint.  Here are a few pictures highlighting my spontaneous adventures. 
Sunset in Seattle Friday night

Vancouver Canada Temple

Ty at the Portland Rose Garden on his birthday.  After the Rose Garden we headed to the Elephant Park

another photo from the rose garden-used a funky setting, but I thought it turned out nicely

Strawberry picking.  We picked 27 lbs (not counting all the we ate as we picked).  Ty couldn't resist...neither could I.

Pikes place with Sheri.

Other highlights from the 4 day excursion include:
  • Visiting 4 new restaurants (Yumms, Isabel Pearl, Viet My, and Samurai Sushi)
  • Shopping sales tax free in Oregon, including a quick shopping trip to the Columbia employee store. 
  • Running on the water front in Downtown Portland
  • A trip across the border into Canada.  Unfortunately they do not stamp passports at the border for Americans, but for the record--I have been to Canada.  Check.
  • An 11 mile bike ride around Stanley Park in Vancouver BC.  
  • Watching Sheri finish an Olympic distance triathlon
  • Time spent with 4 siblings, and 9 nieces and nephews

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Julie and I ran the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay again this year for the 5th time and finished in record time for our team.  191 miles in 25 hrs 45mins.  Way to go blazing saddles. 

And no-I did not contradict myself from my previous blog.  The run way HARD at times (long, no sleep, cramped legs and snow at the top of Guardsman Pass) but so worth it and a great to finish with a strong team. 

Today Sheri completed the Lake Padden Triathlon in Bellingham Washtington.  It was an overcast, cold morning for an open water swim, but she did awesome.

  It was an Olympic distance...good preparation for an upcoming Ironman in August, perhaps??

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I may have killed a tree

I'm in search of someone who actually enjoys writing research papers...and I'm talking about the research and writing part of it, not the good feeling you get when the paper is finished, turned in, done and in my case submitted for publication. 

Is there really anyone out there like that?  Because I'm willing to bribe someone to help out with this little assignment called my graduate school research paper. 

It's a stretch, but I'm going to try to find a correlation to people who talk to me and hate running.  I like running (most of the time).  Like today.  Today was a GREAT run.  It was 6pm-perfect temperature.  I was on the Provo river trail and had a nice breeze coming off the river and trees that shaded the trail and I just got in the groove.  But there are days when I run, even races I run, that I hate it.  But I never regret a good run when I'm done.  Case in point: last year I ran a half marathon in July.  I felt great the first 7 miles.  It was down hill and I knew I was flying.  I also knew I was going WAY too fast and by mile 8 I was like-really why do I do this to myself?  Why would I ever run a full marathon again? When will this be over.  I had kind of given up by mile 13 b/ I walked 3 times the last mile.  At the finish line I felt like collapsing-and then I saw my time.  I PR'd, so all the pain from the previous 45 mins was SO worth it.  And the massage tables had a spot waiting for me.  The race, the run, the pain, the misery-it was ALL worth it.  I felt GREAT. 

Will I feel that way in 3 months when I am hopefully done with this paper???  Will I feel that way in 1 year and 3 months when I am graduating??  I sure hope so. 

In the meantime, I'm just killing trees (and spending some precious summer sunshine cooped up inside writing, reading, revising, oh and blogging).  I think this is my 5th or 6th topic.  I haven't printed off nearly this many articles for the other would be topics, but I've printed off my share.  On the bright side-I do get to print for free in the grad student lounge.  Thank goodness.  And I do recycle when I'm done.

Oh-and some things never change.  Just like high school and undergraduate school--I still study in my bed.  It's way more comfortable than a chair. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I hope they call me on a Mission....

When I have grown a foot or two....
What? No sign at the entrance to the MTC?

I hope by then I will be ready....
 To teach and preach and work as missionaries do!
 Can you believe this boy is 19 years old already?!?  My "little" nephew is all grown up and entered the Missionary Training Center (MTC) this afternoon.  It was great to spend the evening with him.  We talked about his mission, how he feels about the gospel, his testimony and what to expect.  He was so excited and that is a great thing to see and feel.  He's all grown up--in size and maturity.  I'm one proud aunt.
The drop off.  They have changed things a bit since I was at the MTC.  I didn't even have to lift his suitcases out of my car.  The missionaries there to welcome him did all the work.  He was so excited to finally get there. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Generations Project

Last night Dave and I watched a special on BYUtv about his family history in Pakistan, a project that his older sister has been working on during the past year. 

I rarely (ok never) post anything about my dating life, but here are 2 pictures of Dave.  He isn't interviewed in the Generations Project, but he is in the footage of the family gathering in NYC.  See if you can spot him. 
a classic emily shot with my arm in the photo

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Presidential Elections

The results of the presidential elecction that was held a few weeks ago was scheduled to be announced today after work.  A few days ago  they decided that the results would not be available until Monday after work.  The most recent update sent to NGO volunteers regarding safety during this likely period of political unrest is to stay away from political conversation and remain indoors starting Sunday. 
(I'll be home safely by Monday)

In commemoration of the would be BIG DAY, here is a photo I took yesterday of the presidential palace.  It looks like the same as it did a year ago after the earthquake. 

A small tent city is sitting on a median in the middle of the multi lane road in front of the Palace.  Does anyone else find that strange?  

This is not the best picture I have ever taken, but I realized I do not have very many pictures of people carrying items on thier heads from this trip.  It is a common sight to see as you drive through town.  People have boxes, baskets of fuits, eggs, bags, etc balanced perfectly on their heads sometimes carrying two or three baskets at a time.  And perfect posture to go with it.  I asked Lesley, one of our interpreters, today if anyone evers drops thier stuff all over the road.  He laughed.  Said No.  I'm still not sure why he laughed at the question. 

I learned though, that only the lowest class carries stuff on their heads.  People in the upper classes view this as an act that is below them.  Seems like a good use for your noggin to me. 

And the cute photo of the day award goes to this sweet little girl at the New Life Orphanage. 

Doesn't that smile just melt your heart?  This was the most impressive orphanage I have ever seen.  It was close to the airport (ie very much in the middle of town) and it had a garden with fresh producce which we ate for lunch, a chicken coop, a fish hatchery, goats, rabbits, schools for the younger kids and a guest house for volunteers who come to help.  They have 120-135 kids.  About 20 of them have mental disabilities.  The number of kids at the orphanage is always changing as they often bring in children from outlying orpahanges who are malnourished, failiing to thrive, or very sick and need increased medical attention.  We completed a care giver school for the orphanage workers on topics relating to caring for disable children. 

Tomorrow we are off to a more remote orphanage to complete well child exams and then staying elsewhere for the evening.  Most likely there will be no internet access, so no photos for a few days.  Hope you are all enjoying the posts up to this point in the trip.  Hard to beleive it is Thursday already. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another day to Serve

favorite photo of the day

Today Jordan, Kirsti, Miriam and I were assigned to clean a medical warehouse.  It doesn't sound like exciting work to be doing overseas, but we enjoyed the chance to serve where we were assigned and to make a small dent in the work that needed to be accomplished. 
* the boys dancing on lunch break and watching Jordan rip his pants
*watching how willing the Haitians were to pitch in manpower to move boxes.  they made our work go much faster
*throwing 50 boxes off the second floor in the warehouse to reload on a different palate (we used wheel chairs to transport boxes from one side of the warehouse to another)
*cold drinks during our lunch break! Much needed after sweating indoors for hours
*a naked man sitting in a tree on the side of the road
*making progress in orgnizing IV supplies, syringes, masks, gowns, ortho supplies and others equipment.
*swimming--did I mention that I love the sunny, warm weather!
*the power is currently back on and the internet is working
*we have water on the 3rd floor again!!  We now have water to shower, turn on the sink faucet and flush the toilet.

I'm sure there are a hundred more highlights, funny stories and reasons that I am thankful to be here. 

photo taken at the end of the work day after loading sheleves full of IV fluids. 

Just to show you how dirty we got, that wipe cleaned off one arm and it is filthy.  I didn't want to touch anything for the entire ride home...and traffic was horrific.  That is actually a funny story--traffic wasn't moving anywhere so I looked ahead to see why and there was a huge dump track blocking 1/2 the narrow haitian road.  They were changing a flat tire in the middle of the road, in the middle of busy streets, at a busy time of day!  Street hawkers were directing traffic.  20 cars in one direction and then 20 for the other took FOREVER.

Big Day for Big Mack

Big Mack has been trying for months to get approval to come study in the US.  Today he met for a 3rd time with the Embassy and came out grinning.  He should have his passport by Thursday!
Big Mack is one of our favorite interpreters down in Haiti.  His first name is actually Mackenton. For obvious reasons he was nicknamed Big Mack.  (remember I was the giant in the photo I posted yesterday.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Double the Haiti Experience....

More adventures from Haiti on Kirsti's blog.  More photos (many of both of us b/ we flew out together and went to the clinic together today), different stories, same great adventure.

Callebasse, markets and rainstorms in Haiti

Today the day started extra early.  Alarms off at 6am.  Sitting outside waiting for vans at 6:30 AM.  6 of us drove up the mountains to a town just outside of Port au Prince called Callebasse (pronounced Cal-Bus).  The plans for the day were a little up in the air with a gas strike going on it the city.  We weren't sure if translators would show up.  We weren't sure if drivers would be able to drive.  Also weren't sure if there would be any unrest with a van full of white people driving through the city when all the "tap taps" were on strike.  But it's 8pm and we are home safe after an eventful day.  We saw 103 patients in the clinic today.  We didn't have very many antibiotics so mostly it was giving tylenol, ibuprofen and topical creams. 

We have had rain storms each night which bring a great breeze to our 3rd floor sauna room.  My thermometer on Sunday said it was 101 degrees in my room.  Today it was 96 degrees and felt significantly cooler. HA!  The mosquitos are biting and I've got a more than a few to show.  I think I should spray down my mosquito netting, but I can't bring myself to put on repellant after showering and before going to bed so I can't complain.  I took my hand at the markets today.  After 4 years of coming to Haiti, I shouldn't surprised by how the guys hound you to come look at their products.  I hate shopping in America.  Shopping in Haiti on the streets is a whole different experience.  After 10 mins I was done.  Yup, I have about the same attention span in America.  I purchased a statue of the "freedom slave" for a previous volunteer in haiti having buyers remorse from not buying it while here.  I bartered from $25 down to $10.  Pretty proud of my efforts. 
Church yesterday was incredible.  I didn't understand a single thing that was said (I don't speak french or creole.  Also, the speakers didn't have a mircophone so anyone at the back of the chapel couldn't hear anything), but I was impressed by the number of members at church, the spirit that was present, the number of men wearing white shirts and ties passing the sacrament and how quiet the kids were during the meeting.  We had 4 kiddos sitting with us on our pew and I was sitting next to a guy that was baptized 3 months ago after meeting the missionaries.  In his own words he said--I was just searching for something more in life and was so ready to meet the missionaries.  I love hearing stories like that. 

Enjoy the pictures below.  Let me know if you have any questions that I'm not answering.  There is no possible way to explain everything I am seeing or experiencing while here in Haiti.  All I can say is I love coming back.  It feels just like home. 
Goiter on a patient at the clinic
Angioedema on a child at the clinic.  I wasn't triaging so I don't know the cause.  I was working in pharmacy and he said I could take a photo.  I hope the benadryl helps!

I'm really not a giant, but I look that way next to this sweet woman

This is a view of the terraced mountainside.  The sky was so blue today.  The hills look greener than I remember in the past.  It was beautiful to be up above the city noise and traffic of Port au Prince up in Callebasse.
Dillon.  cute Dillon.  Too bad I can't take him home with me. 
Traditionally Sunday night dinner is at the Montana.  It was destroyed in the earthquake but we drove up there to get drinks and enjoy the view and sunset.  This is me with Katie--my best traveling companion and best house mate :)
I snapped this photo.  I just think she looks so beautiful.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Haiti 2011

The crews have been working hard.  The rubble from a 4 story apartment building that collapsed during the earthquake (pictured on the left) has been cleared (pictured on the right). 

Tent cities are still prevalent on the side of streets, behind gates and built up along hillsides.   
This is just one of many pictures of the tent cities while driving from the airport to the Healing Hands for Haiti guest house.

The shanty town hillside next the the Healing Hands for Haiti property. 
Toothbrushes, toothpaste, medications, vitamins, blanekts, shoes, wound care supplies, art supplies...