“The best day ever!”

The best day ever is a spongebob squarepants quote and accurately reflects my day today. I am so thankful that a couple of days ago I asked the stl250 Facebook page if they were ever going to display the 2 roving cakes (as in the two I have yet to see) before the end of the year. I really want to finish my digital scrapbook but not if I can still see those two cakes. The answer I received was better than I imagined.

IMG_0902Today the finishing touches were being put on the last roving cake and I was invited to not only see the cake but everyone that stopped by could paint dots on the cake. Ok that alone was freaking cool. Also there is a gold cake that was the prototype for the real cakes and it was going to be there too! This means the only one I have not seen is the cartoon cake. It is one of the cakes that is up for auction. Well on New Years Eve at First Night the cakes are supposed to be displayed. The gal in IMG_0899charge was not sure if the cartoon cake would be there. Trust me the room was filled with crazy cake people wanting to know the answer to that question. If the cake will be out on New Years Eve, then Emily and I will be attending First Night for the first time ever. The funny thing is, I originally signed up to work New Years Eve but was told it’s not considered a major holiday so I am working New Years Day instead. So I can see my last cake. If not, I might have hunted down the IMG_0907person that won the cake and ask to see it. Yes I am that obsessed. All 257 cakes is my goal.

While we were there I purchased the complete post card set of all 253 official cakes (the extra Ameren UE cake, the two rovings and the gold cake are not considered official) and two extra postcards for a friend of mine. I also purchased a different artist pencil drawings of zebras. They also had a contest of who took the best pictures of cakes and the winners on the wall for sale. Emily wanted the picture of The Church of the Holy Family in Cahokia IL. At the time Allyson and I went there (our second cake) my mom was writing her blog When The Church Bells Rang about our family history. She said the bells use to ring all the time and she hadn’t heard them in thirty years. Just as Allyson and I finished with the picture the bells rang and I really felt it was my grandpa Miller saying hello from Heaven. The photo is really cool and Emily is going to hang it up in her apartment since I do not believe in hanging up pictures.

I couldn’t ask for a better day. This caking my seem crazy but the family memories we have made are indescribable. I will be glad when my scrapbook is finally finished and we can all look it!

Mole moral: Mama mole worked 74 hours the past two weeks because the Shaw Art Show was going to have the last cake and she would need to purchase a few really cool things!


Never say Never

imageI may have written about the word never before and one day I will learn not to use it. It was a Christmas eve at least ten years ago when my husband decided to get me a fire extinguisher for Christmas. I went off (shocking) and told him that was the stupidest gift ever, that I worked in the burn unit and the house could burn to the ground before I would attempt to fight a fire. And this past Tuesday happened. I was attempting to make cracker crack for our work party the next day. Cracker crack is saltines crackers and then you pour melted butter and brown sugar over them. Slap them in the oven for five minutes and then put chocolate chips on top and then freeze. So as I was taking it out of the oven a flame was shooting out of the bottom hole of my gas oven. I then threw the whole RACE and PASS into effect. We have learned this every year at the hospital for fire safety who would have known I could do it without even realizing it.

Rescue-I made sure the kids were all safe

Alarm-I said holy (insert curse words) we have a fire in the oven.

Close-Suppose to close the doors but instead I said open the back door and turn the attic fan on before the smoke detector comes on and wakes up your dad.

Extinguish-I grab flour out of the pantry and throw it on the flames, it gets worse instead of better.

I soon realize I have no choice but to move onto the next acronym knowing full well I will have to eat the I’m NEVER using the fire extinguisher comment.

Pull the pin

Aim the nozzle

Squeeze the trigger

Sweep it back and forth.

And then the fire was out and fire extinguisher dust was all over the cracker crack. And next I had to google if you could use an oven after a fire and how to clean it. And so I vacuumed the extinguisher dust out of the oven and wiped it down. I then put oven cleaner in and was going to clean the next morning. Except work called and had me come in at 8 in the morning so I did it today. After self-cleaning and the smoke detector going off at least the times, the oven is back to normal.

Mole moral-Looks like I will be getting a brand new fire extinguisher for Christmas! Oh and the flour was really corn meal. I grabbed the wrong stuff.

And the next day at work I get a text from Emily saying I am trying to burn the house to the ground as I left the straightener on.


The Christmas Spirit

IMG_6422Something crazy happened to me this year and I got the wild idea to put up Christmas stockings on all the patients rooms on WH. At first I was just going to cut them out and hang them up. However, one day at the rec center I came up with the great idea to put the Christmas Story in bible verses on all the stockings so that if you started at 2301 and walked around in room order you would read the entire thing. Now with the great invention of the internet and biblegateway.com this was rather easy.


IMG_6428Women’s health has 2319 as a room so of course that required a special monsters inc stocking.  It took a while for me to figure out how to upload the pictures and what size to make them so they would all fit. But I did it and it was my favorite stocking.

Over the past three weeks every Monday when I work 2 of the stockings have disappeared. 2301 went missing twice so when I made a third one, I taped it to the door hanger because I thought maybe it kept falling off. When I came in yesterday 2319 was missing. I did learn that it was taken as a reminder of the patients stay on WH. Now I really did not think anyone would want to have these because I give myself no credit for being creative. So today I spent an hour redoing 2319 because not only did I not save any of the pictures but I had a heck of a time remembering what size. But it’s finished and will return to the room door shortly.

Mole moral: Always save pictures and the size they were printed, one never knows when they might be needed again!


A life changing event

232323232fp93232>ydnjthgqubwsnrcgu8243>nu=3235>844>978>WSNRCG=3-94445564324nu0mrjIt’s hard to believe that ten years ago today the RN strike started against St. Johns Mercy Medical Center. In some ways it seems like just yesterday, and others many lifetimes ago. It was certainly a life changing event for me. I was picket site #6 (why do I remember this stuff?) and met a lot of new people over the almost six weeks we were out in the freezing cold. I remember Christmas Day being extremely cold and since I would have worked 3-11, I did four hours on the picket line. Then on New Years Eve it was so warm we didn’t even have the fire barrels fired up. We certainly turned the medical center into shanty town. I remember that some people who lived there complaining about it. It really was monumental. I do believe we were the first nurses union in the state of Missouri and certainly the first to strike.

During this time, we created an email chain and would send out emails for support and to let each other know what was going on. Well since I love to write, you can see that I became heavily involved. It is how I became fairly well-known all over the hospital. Now this totally cracked me up because you see ever since I was a little kid, I would hide out in the corner hoping no one would notice me. I am still that way most of the time. My sister-in-law worked at Dierbergs and people would come through her line and say I know your sister-in-law Rachel. It was crazy.

The emails were turned over to management upon return to work. We eventually found out who did it and although it was infuriating at the time, as time as passed it really no longer matter. Everyone that was out on strike had to go to meetings before they could return to work. I am not sure if they thought all the people who stayed out the entire time were going to break the legs of people who worked during that time. I certainly had no intention of it. However, I was not allowed to attend one of those meetings but had a special one on one meeting with HR and my nurse manager. They had to access my level of anger to see if I was safe to return to work. I remember talking to my father after the meeting and he said he would have walked in there and told them to F off. I however played the game because I really just wanted to come back to work and resume taking care of the heart print patients. (moms who lost a baby). And so I promised to be good and stay out of trouble. And that lasted about two shifts at work. Management put a note on the dry erase board stating we could no longer chart at the main nurses station but had to chart at the pods. So what did I do? I wrote spare me next to it. The next shift I worked I got called into the office and talked to by HR like I had just sold heroin to kids on the school playground. I was informed I would be formally counseled for this to which my smart reply was great I will bring a union rep. Our secretary was a union person and she honored the picket line and never returned to work. So Holly was our new secretary. I walked up to her and said do you smoke and she said yes. I said I’m Rachel and we are going to go smoke a cigarette. So after not smoking for six weeks while out on strike I was back at it. I also made a great friend in Holly that day!

The nurses union would be voted out three years later and not return. I became involved with CNA (California Nurses Association) now called NNOC (national nurses organizing committee.) until the union was voted out. I was then finished with it and ready just to focus on nursing.  I became good friends with those representatives as well who also constantly told me I was a leader. I still don’t see myself as a leader but since everyone else seems to, I try to behave these days.

After the strike was over Laura talked me into signing up to do a 1/2 marathon with Team in Training. She ended up becoming pregnant and did not do the marathon but I did. I smoked all during the training and would actually smoke to and from the way to the track. It would be another 4 years before Erin would talk Jennifer and I into doing a 1/2 marathon. It was the Lewis and Clark half and my number was 2319. (Yep the monsters inc code which i was totally excited). Erin ended up not being able to do it because that is when our computer documentation started but it triggered my walking and then running obsession.

A lot of good things came out of the strike. I made some great friends especially Kathy, Jean, Carol, and Jane from the surgery center. I found out I am seen as a leader of sorts, no matter how scary that might be. I eventually started running and got into the best shape of my life. And I still work at Mercy despite my constant paranoia that I will be fired at anytime.


A busy week for mom mole!

The past four days I was at Mercy for a total of 38 hours. Of those, 12 I did not get paid for. Why you ask because I am crazy and went and observed surgery on my day off. I have been wanting to see Dr. Veronikis surgery for a couple of years now and since my all time favorite resident is with him this month, I finally made my way down there. It was awesome. Ok that’s probably obvious or otherwise I would have never stayed the entire time. I saw a bunch of different surgical procedures. I saw a sling release (I had that done my second surgery when I had the hematoma drained), I saw the exact same surgery I had and I saw vaginal and abdominal mesh removal. The best part is when I read operative reports I will be able visualize exactly what is happening.

This transvaginal mesh and mesh for pelvic organ prolapse has been a big interest in mine for the past year or so. It has actually taken over my heart print (moms who have had a pregnancy loss) calling. My first thought is I agree with the resident, if you can put it in, you better be able to take it out. However there are very few uro/gyn’s in the country who can take it out and even less that can do full mesh removal. Heres my opinion and my opinion only after doing a lot of reading and talking to a lot of patients. Most doctors flat-out deny that any of a woman’s symptoms is related to mesh. They blame everything else under the sun and deny deny deny mesh is causing issues. The only training most doctors have received to put in mesh is a weekend crash course. When mesh first came out some doctors were compensated by the mesh companies for each mesh surgery they did. It seems like a lot of time the statutes of limitation has run out by the time the mesh victim has finally gotten someone to say yes this mesh is the cause of your issues. It’s sad because a lot of the women are in so much pain they cannot do much of anything except lay down. Even sitting causes severe pain. This leads to job loss, loss of friends and even spouses. Yet it continues to be put in everyday by doctors who cannot remove it if the patient has issues. Ok that’s my mesh rant for the day.

After surgery was over they all asked me if I wanted to come work down there. I said no, it is not my calling. Funny enough when I started nursing school I thought I wanted to be a surgical nurse. One day in clinical’s down in the OR and I knew that it was not for me. The patients are asleep so you can’t even talk to them. Plus standing for 10 hours is tough! I did see all kinds of cool things. I saw massive abdominal adhesions, the retroperitoneal  space and the peritoneal cavity. I saw a JP put in and when Dr. Veronikis was doing the vaginal packing I told him if he thought that was lightly packed, he was crazy. I got to see a cystoscopy after the patient was injected with blue dye (can’t spell the name) and watch urine come out of the ureters into the bladder. Now that alone was worth not getting paid. And I got to give Dr. V. crap for all the staples he uses, because the resident did them and then he added more!

Last week I became a high fall risk again. I hadn’t fallen since 1/1/13 when I was running in front of Ugas. However I went with Emily to Dr. Hottie (aka Dr. Larkin) to see if she had a stress fracture in her other leg. He came in and said your x-ray was clear so its just shin splints. However when he did the hands on physical exam he got really upset because they all screamed stress fracture. So he wanted to do an MRI to be sure which would have to be done in Kansas City. So I ran upstairs to use the bathroom and on the way down I fell down the steps. My foot didn’t hit the step right and backwards I went. Emily who couldn’t even see me started laughing. I wasn’t hurt but I was annoyed because I need a yellow bracelet again.

I hope I never have to work full time. I don’t know how people do it. My house is a mess and I have zero energy to do anything today. It does not help that it is raining. Maybe just maybe I will get the ornaments on the Christmas tree this weekend. Hey at least the lights are on!