Reset and The Nursing Process

Reset and the Nursing Process

Reset is a word I hear often. The high school marching band that my son spent four years with and that my daughter will enter her second year is a field show marching band. Each year they have a different theme, music and show. It is exciting to see the creativity of the show play out onto the field as the band comes together and evolves throughout the season. They begin band camp in the worst heat of late July. They spend long days marching on the field and playing music to rehearse the show over and over again. When the band director determines they need improvement on something, he calls, “Reset”. Last year, every time the band director called reset, one of the senior boys would respond with great enthusiasm, “I love reset”. At first it got on my nerves but then it began to resonate with me. I realized that it was his way of being positive to do what he needed to do to help the band get the show right.

With that said, what exactly does the word reset mean? According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “RESET” is defined as, “To set again or begin anew”.

So, how can we apply the word “reset” to our daily lives? How do we reset our attitudes when work days are often shit shows due to staffing, family life is so busy you don’t know if you should identify with the energizer bunny or Judy the Hyperactive Brownie (played by Gilda Radner on SNL) or both.

I have a coworker who posts funny things on social media when her feisty three-year old daughter has a meltdown. Recently she posted that during one of her meltdowns her daughter said, “I just can’t deal with it”. I snicker to myself every now and then about that post because it’s so true. I know that when I feel like throwing myself on the ground because I, “just can’t deal with it”, it’s time for a reset.

Ironically sometimes it’s nursing that plays a role in my need for a reset yet it’s nursing that helps implement the reset. The American Nurses Association describes the Nursing Process as “the essential core of practice for the registered nurse to deliver holistic, patient focused care”. So as nurses who care for patients, why not use the nursing process to care for our selves? Self care is essential for every human being.

  1. Assess: collect psychological and physiological data about yourself: I’m tired and crabby. My temper has become short and I become anxious when something unexpected arises and I have a problem to solve. I need a lot of self talk to be able to accomplish daily tasks. My body is demonstrating signs of stress; heartburn, neck and back tension. Sometimes I wake up during the night and worry about things.
  2. Diagnose: I need a break. I need a reset.
  3. Planning: What things can I do to put a smile on my face again, to feel at peace and to get myself out of this rut?
  4. Implement: Carry out your plans
  5. Evaluate: How did that work? What would you keep? What would you do differently?

I usually require a reset twice a year; after the school year and after the holidays as the new year approaches. This year was no different. By the end of June I knew my attitude was in the toilet and it was time for a reset. I held on by a thread until we left for the lake.

I didn’t just use our lake vacation to be away from home, work and the challenges of daily life. I used it to reset. I spent time with my family doing fun activities. We ate all of our favorite lake foods. I ate ice cream everyday. I dug my feet into the earth for many minutes at a time to clear my Root Chakra. I meditated. I wrote. I read. I slept. I took vitamins. I got my 10,000 in steps each day in a new scenery that wasn’t sterile hallways of a hospital. I sat outside just to “be” and listened to boats passing by and birds chirping. We hiked. I didn’t think about our life at home, I only focused on recharging my battery and not what I had to go home to or what my fall is going to be like. I made a conscious effort to be present. I am at peace. I am now reset.

I highly recommend a reset to anyone who feels like throwing themselves on the ground and having a temper tantrum like a toddler because they “just can’t deal with it”. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us. Take care of yourselves. Everyone needs a reset. Reset. Reset. I love reset.

Just in case your are curious, the ice cream flavors I ate were: Cake batter, grape sherbet, black raspberry, chocolate, maple walnut. cotton candy, berger cookie.

 

 

 

My Grandmother’s House

My grandparents bought their house when my dad was a kid. My grandfather lifted the house off the ground with a crane to dig the basement and gutted the house with his bare hands, to make it their own. My grandmother’s house hasn’t been her house for over 20 years. The house is still in the family and has been remodeled with as much hard work and love as my grandfather put in to it all those years ago. I’ve brought my husband and children to the house, after it was no longer my grandmother’s house. It looks good. Different. Many years later I still remember how it looked though, when I was a little girl.

The house had an L shaped porch with a nice size front window. I remember running up the steps to get to the door. The screen door had a nice metal design. Woven in the metal was the first letter of my maiden name. The door had several dead bolt locks. My father used to call it Fort Knox. The front hallway had a hollow sounding floor and I often wondered if I stomped hard enough if I’d fall through the floor. The front hallway let out into the dining room. There were two bedrooms off the dining room. The living room was in the front of the house. Straight through the dining room from the front hallway was the kitchen. Behind the kitchen was a bathroom, another bedroom, the basement steps and the back door. The top floor had a little apartment where my grandmother’s sister and brother lived. The house smelled as every other Italian household does, like sauce, like home. I adored my grandparents and I loved being there with them.

My grandmother was the fourth child born to Sicilian Immigrants. There were five boys and three girls. My grandmother as the oldest girl was the matriarch of her family. Her house was always open to family so naturally her siblings congregated at my grandmother’s house. Even though I called them Aunt or Uncle, they were like having more grandparents and that was really cool. Several of my grandmother’s siblings were serious card players. They’d gather on Friday nights and some Sundays after dinner at my grandmother’s house to play cards. My grandmother never played in the big complicated, competitive card games. She only played the smaller card games with her sisters, my cousins, my brother and I. My grandmother would whisper in our ears not to laugh when one of them had a bad hand or announce what cards everyone had in their hands. We had to quietly observe. Sometimes we’d snicker though. My grandmother’s brother’s wife liked to instigate and egg the card sharks on and they’d get annoyed at her and all of them would start bickering. I begged them for years to deal me into that game. Finally I was allowed to play at age 15.

As the years passed, the card game began to shrink as my grandfather died and my grandmother’s siblings began to die. My grandmother died in 2005 and was the sixth of her siblings to die. Her youngest brother died four years later. Yesterday, the final sibling, my grandmother’s sister passed away at age 97 peacefully of natural causes. I have no doubt that when my aunt got to heaven yesterday, her siblings were there to deal her into their favorite card game once again.

My grandparent’s generation of our family represents the first generation of American born Sicilians and they played a significant role in helping shape my generation, the third generation grow into who we are as American born Sicilians. They are now all gone and the simplicity of life as we knew it back then, no longer exists.  Even though I’m an adult and married with children, part of me is still that little girl who couldn’t wait to get to her grandparents house to watch those card games and be with that generation and part of their world.

If you picture it like a scene on a stage where the lights are shining on one particular setting, that setting would be of my grandmother and her siblings in her dining room playing cards. It is one of my favorite memories,  frozen in time, in my heart forever. Those card games not only represented a favorite past time, but a gathering of family, the love they had for each other and how they enjoyed spending time together. As for the passing of my aunt. Sure I miss her but I’m happy she’s reunited with her family and able to rejoin the card game.

Christmas

Luke 2:9-11

An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified,

but the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.

Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord’.

This is what I’ve been looking forward to throughout this Christmas season. I’ve endured the greed of others on many levels, traffic that makes me crazy, the rushing around, the insanity at work, the non stop go go go, knowing that I would attend Christmas Eve Mass with my family. To listen to the Priest read these words from the Scripture, use them in his beautiful homily, and to sing, rejoice and imagine the birth of Jesus Christ.  This is my gift to myself and my true meaning of Christmas.

It is now Christmas morning. We’ve opened presents and enjoyed one of our favorite Christmas breakfasts. At this moment I feel discouraged. I am trying to get past the silence and disappointment that one of my children is displaying. Each kid got things they asked for plus things they didn’t. I spent equal amounts of money on them but did not indulge them. No Red Ryder Bee Bee Gun type of gift this year. I made the mistake of telling this child I had one last thing for them in my car and gave it to them unwrapped. My husband made the mistake of wrapping the expensive item that the other child saved their money for and purchased themselves and saying it was from Santa when it really wasn’t. I think this disappointed child feels they haven’t gotten enough when in reality between my husband and I, our siblings and our parents, they have. My husband and I raised our children to be grateful for what they are given and to work for what they want so when they do get the Red Ryder Bee Bee Gun type gift, it is meaningful for them whether it was given to them or they purchased it themselves. We discourage greed. Yet sometimes this child never feels as if they never have enough and that makes me feel like I haven’t done enough as a parent to teach them.

So, I’ll carry on and relax for a few more hours before it’s time for me to shower and cook dinner. Hopefully this child will do a self check and change their attitude or it will be a long day.

I wish all of you peace, love and joy on this Christmas Day.

When Pictures Speak 1000 Words

Yesterday, we drove to the county north of us where there are winding roads, rolling hills and miles of beautiful countryside. We ate a huge brunch a.k.a major chow down at Cracker Barrel and then we were off to chop down our Christmas tree.

My husband and I often walk behind the kids when we are places where a lot of walking is required. The kids walk fast and sometimes we don’t care to walk that fast. We aren’t in as much of a hurry as they are. This picture was taken by me as we were heading towards the entrance to pay for our tree and head home.To me it represents so much more than two kids dragging their Christmas tree down a hill, to tie up to the top of a car, get it into the house and onto the stand.

Them walking together symbolizes the bond they share as siblings. They are friends and they have each others backs. I have no idea what they were talking about when this picture was taken. I don’t want to know. I don’t have to know. My brother and I talked about plenty of things our parents never knew about and still do.

Typical of many long walks we take as a family, the faster they walked, the further they got away from us, illustrating their eventual flee from our nest and the hurry that they are in to do so. When my son was a little boy he’d say, “Mommy, I’m growing up fast”. Tell me about it. The years are flying by so quickly with these kids, my head is spinning. Each new life lesson they learn is a brick in the foundation of the young adults they are becoming.

When our kids were babies, instead of mourning over the phase of life they’d just grown out of, we’d focus on embracing the phase of their lives they’ve just entered. For our son, it’s college life, being supportive of him as he tackles new adult situations and chooses a major for his life’s work. For our daughter it’s all about high school; social groups, activities and earning academic achievements that is going to take her into college.

After I snapped the picture I told my husband that we won’t have many more occasions where all of us will be present to to things like this. He agreed. It is inevitable that some day the kids will come home for Christmas dinner and admire the tree that we’ve chopped down for them. For now though, they are in college and high school and I will spend the next few days reflecting on how perfect yesterday was.

Holiday Series Part 2: The Gators bring it in

Despite the cold winds and low temperatures, the streets were lined with a large crowd. Families and friends bundled up in coats, hats, scarves, mittens and blankets. People standing, sitting in chairs or even sitting on the ground, holding coffee or cocoa to keep warm. People of our community watching each group march by. Finally, Santa’s sleigh arrives and the crowd began to cheer. I didn’t come to see Santa though. The highlight of the parade for me was the last group to march down the street.

I spotted her immediately. The Santa hat was secured to her head, allowing her hair to flow down. Her clear blue eyes were focused forward. She looks so sharp in that navy blue uniform. Her lips were pressed to the mouthpiece of her trumpet. The trumpet, decorated with red and white tinsel was aimed high, demonstrating discipline and confidence. Last year my daughter refused to even go to this parade. She said she needed a break before it was her turn. I think she just didn’t want to walk in my son’s shadow.

Walk in my son’s shadow in this marching band, she has not done. This was his marching band for four years. Yes’s she’s marched with some of his remaining friends but this is her marching band now. This year, this marching band marched in five field show competitions and scored higher than they ever have. As the underdogs, they competed against twelve other bands for the state championship and came in second place putting the band, the band parents, and the band directors on a huge emotional high. The following week they went to Mid Atlantic Regional Championship and became the first band in our county to qualify for the final round. I’d say my daughter has blazed her own trail in this marching band. My son, the awesome big brother that he is, simply showed her the way to the field and stood on the sidelines to cheer her on and enjoy her triumph.

Each year, this parade is the final event of the marching band season. By this time, the band’s competition season has been finished for a few weeks. The kids enjoy decorating their instruments with cheer, playing holiday songs and letting their hair down for one final march of the year. This is the fifth consecutive year my husband and I have had a child march in this parade. For us, it hasn’t gotten old. Standing in a shopping center in the cold with my husband and our band parent friends waiting for our kids to round that corner to complete the parade after Santa passes by always makes me smile.

Why Adult?

Why adult when you can go hiking? I am hiking as we speak. I am sitting in the woods on a log as I draft this in my journal. A lady and her two dogs just passed by me on the trail. She gave me a puzzled look as if she wondered why I was sitting on a log writing in a notebook. Hasn’t she ever seen a writer trying to get her thoughts on paper?

Aside from a few minor annoyances at work Monday and Tuesday, I’m having a decent week so far. Monday afternoon my surgeon was running two hours behind. As I walked down the hall past my patient’s room on my way to the desk I heard my patient’s simple assed family member summon me. “HEY MISS, she’s hungry when is the surgery”. I froze. I felt as if I was in a torture chamber room listening to someone repeatedly scrape their fingernails down a chalkboard. I despise being called miss really I do. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and turned around to walk into the room. “Nurse, you mean”, I replied. Now I know that woman knows I’m a nurse because I introduced myself as her daughter’s nurse when I went to the waiting room to retrieve her. I apologized to the patient for the delay and explained the situation, which I had no control over. I turned around and left the room having felt like all of the empathy had been sucked out.

Yesterday I was pulled to a preop unit to preop the patients of a surgeon who’s types of patients I simply don’t enjoy taking care of. Unfortunately while I was at lunch, one of my coworkers was screamed at by my patient’s mother, demanding pain medication for her son as he demonstrated drug seeking behavior. So the surgeon came to consent the patient, I got a pain medication order for something “extra stronger” than he takes at home and all was right in their world, but not in mine. Sometimes even something as small as being called “miss” and being yelled at by a drug seeker take their toll on a nurse’s humanity.

So here I am in the woods on my day off. I have adulting to do today but it’s going to have to wait until being in the woods has cleared my head and re-energized me. I’ll be busy this evening and tomorrow evening with something at my daughter’s school. If it doesn’t get done today, it wasn’t meant to be. With one kid in college marching band and the other kid in high school marching band I make it a top priority to hit the trail during my weekdays off because there’s no guarantee I’m going to have time on the weekends in the fall.

My husband and I look forward to hiking longer and different trails in the future but right now it will have to wait. My daughter is a freshman in high school and in her first year of marching band. It has been a thrill to see the experience and all of the firsts through her eyes. Her beautiful clear blue eyes that look as blue as a Caribbean Sea when she puts on that navy blue uniform. She’s so happy and we are at her marching band events, we are there with her, in the now and not on the trail.

The Appalachian Trail continues to call for us and remains part of our subconscious minds though. Whether it be day hike, a section hike or a thru hike, we want it all. We do research, read trail journals and I’ve read several books about people who have thru hiked. Now is not the time for us to thru hike but we will have time to section hike soon. Our kids need us. It’s ok.

On a positive note, I’ve learned a few things about myself as a hiker. I’ve learned that I need to eat and hydrate after each three miles I hike. I’m learning to use a compass. I’ve learned that I can carry more weight on my back than I originally thought I could. I’ve learned to follow a trail alone and how to find the trail again if I wander off trail to look at something. I’ve learned to hike my hike and enjoy my hike. I try so hard to let time limits go when I am in the woods. When I leave the woods my mind is in a much happier place.

 

 

 

A Silly Card Game

There is a card game called “Bullshit”. The object of the game is to simply get rid of all your cards first. The deck is dealt evenly among each player. During each turn, cards are put down clockwise in ascending order beginning with the player who has the Ace of Spades. When it’s your turn to play, you put your cards face down and announce how many of that card you are putting down. If you don’t have any of the card you are supposed to play or you want to get rid of more cards, you can try to bullshit and put down cards you are not supposed to. If you get away with it, great! If one of the players thinks you are lying, and you are, then they call bullshit and you have to pick up all the cards in the pile and put them in your hand. If you are not lying when someone calls bullshit on you, then they have to put the pile of cards in their hands. The winner is the person who plays all of their cards first.

Last night, my husband and I played a few hands of Bullshit with our teenage son and daughter while we were waiting for supper to finish baking in the oven. Playing Bullshit with people you live with isn’t as easy as it sounds. My husband and I have been together 29 years. I know he knows when I’m bullshitting and I know when he is too, or so we both think. There were parts of the game I found myself having to put my cards over my mouth when I was trying to pull off a Bullshit maneuver because I couldn’t control myself. Some I got away with it, some I didn’t. It was interesting watching each of my children trying to pull off a bullshit. They pulled off some slick maneuvers themselves and I enjoyed watching them nail each other for a bullshit as they are close siblings. The games were heated and intense as we all bullshitted and hoped not to get busted. In one move my husband accused my daughter of a bullshit and she wasn’t bullshitting so he had to pick a large pile of cards. “Oh yeah, there’s lot of bullshit going on here” was all he could say. All we could do was laugh and laugh and laugh and keep playing and keep bullshitting until someone lays down their final card and declares themselves as the master bullshitter of this hand. It was beautiful and I am still laughing to myself about it.

There are moments of life, like snippets of film that we wish we could pause because we never want them to end. This silly game of Bullshit was definitely one of them. When your kids are babies you enjoy each new stage of their development and each milestone they master. It’s so far away you can’t possibly imagine what it feels like when your first born is nine days away from high school graduation and three months away from moving into his college dorm or that your second child, your little girl is just three months away from beginning high school. It’s real now. The milestones and achievements hit you faster and faster now like a freight train and their transition into young adult hood is blatantly obvious. Change is coming to a theater near you.  When you look back, you realize there are rolls and rolls of paused film all over your life.

Our son thinks his life is the only one with uncertainty in it because he’s the one going off to college. In reality it’s all of us. How’s it going to feel for my daughter to come home to an empty house after school each day and have no one to routinely agitate on a daily basis? How is it going to feel when I walk by my son’s bedroom at 0530 each morning and he won’t be there for me to kiss his forehead before I leave for work? How will it be for my husband when he won’t have his daily dose of male bonding moments with the boy? How often will the boy come home? Will he be able to come home to watch the girl’s high school activities? Will his future summer jobs interfere with our family vacations? The boy doesn’t like us reminding him that he’ll be leaving soon so we just pause the film and enjoy each moment we have left of a household of four.