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My bestie from nursing school

This past week I went to Edwardsville IL to see my best friend from nursing school. I suppose I am getting older because as I was driving home and later when I was walking, I was thinking about how we met and what a good blog that might be.

So it was August 1985 when I started nursing school at Deaconess College of Nursing. It has since been bought out by Chamberlain College and it is a horrible nursing school. Back in the day Deaconess was one of the best and also one of the most expensive. I was originally going to attend Lutheran School of Nursing but they stopped accepting financial aid and since I qualified for financial aid, I changed schools at the last-minute.

I moved in on a Sunday afternoon and I met Gena in the bathroom. She looked like Mare Winningham (Wendy from St. Elmo’s Fire) and I told her that. She told me she heard that all of the time. She told me her name was Gena and was spelled G E N A and that her mom spelled it that way because Gina was too close to vagina and her mom didn’t want people calling her that. This is actually hilarious since I work on Women’s Health AKA the vagina floor. So that night we also met Leah Lerbs who was from Herman MO and we all went to Jim Buck’s party at the boys house. This was in 1985 so the five or six male students had their own house down the street and guys were checked in and out of the girls dorm and all boys had to be gone by ten pm. Anyhoo the party was absolutely stupid and Jim was a dork to put it nicely. He would eventually flunk out of nursing school our last year for leaving an uncapped needle in a baby’s bed. So we left the party early but became friends really quickly.

About two weeks later, I caught Gena and Leah outside on the commuter parking lot smoking  cigarettes. I asked them why they didn’t come and get me and they said because they thought I would be mad at them for smoking. Side note, when I was younger I most definitely had the I don’t smoke or drink holier than thou attitude. I said give me one of those suckers and that was the beginning of smoking during nursing school. I would eventually get busted because my friend Tim from high school had written me a letter saying he would quit drinking when I quit smoking and I left it on the living room floor like an idiot and my mom read it.

That May was our first nursing clinical’s. It was a four-week rotation and we were at Delmar Gardens North. I believe all three of us were together and we had the strictest instructor. She had actually gotten pregnant at the age of 40, five years after having a tubal ligation. I was just a hot mess convinced that I would fail. I hated it and I wanted to quit. During my clinical evaluation I was told I relied to heavily on my fellow students and I needed to be more independent. I took that to the extreme and have to be almost drowning before I will ask for help at work. Anyway, I passed clinical’s but I wanted to quit. My mother being the smartest person around refused and said I needed to go back one more semester for hospital nursing and then if I still hated I could quit. So that summer I worked at Hardees and drove my dad’s orange Nova and then back to nursing school I went.

I think I had Margaret Acre that semester and I loved it. I will never forget my first IM injection, I was so nervous and hesitant that she finally just grabbed my hand and jammed it towards the lady’s rear end. All worked out well. I will never forget she smoked during pre and post conference as well. During our first year we had microbiology and our lab teacher was awful. I will always remember the day Gena told him off because he was of no help on the unknown. She does not remember this but I do and I thought to myself I love how she is able to speak up and say what is on her mind with no bull shit. Eventually I would adopt this trait but I certainly didn’t have it back then. One of my all time favorite stories was our first nursing check outs which was on temperature, pulse and blood pressure. I had zero self-confidence and I just knew I was going to fail. Gena and I were partners and I had myself so worked up, I couldn’t even feel a pulse or read the glass thermometer. I start crying and she starts laughing because of my lip quivering. We both got sent to the bathroom until we could compose ourselves. Somehow I managed to pass that mess after we returned. I was always a stressed out mess for every check off after that.

After about the first week of the second year, Leah was so overwhelmed with all the stuff we had to do that semester, she decided nursing was not for her. She dropped the nursing classes but stayed in the others and finished the semester. She left and went on to become a teacher, starting with special needs and then history or she may have done history then special needs and then history again. I just know she has remained in Herman all of these years and has also coached basketball. I had a patient this week from Herman and she knew exactly who she was. It’s a small world.

Gena and I both worked as student nurse assistants. She worked on mother baby because she originally planned on being a pediatric nurse and was going to get her pediatric nurse practitioner degree and move to Colorado. I worked on the isolation floor and this was right at the time that AIDS was starting. I will never forget my first AIDS patient. Although I cannot remember his name, I still remember what he looked like. The day he finally died about three hours later his call light went on. We all felt like he was telling us good-bye. I thought I wanted to be a OR nurse. I spent two days in the OR and had enough of that. The patients couldn’t talk and it was BORING.

At the time Deaconess was a three-year diploma program with an additional year to receive a BSN. However the BSN program was not accredited by the NLN (National League of Nursing) so Gena and I decided to attend SIUE. Her dad had a bunch of rental property in Edwardsville so we moved in together at the property on M street. We lived together for a year until she and Eric got married and I then moved back to St. Louis and commuted to SIUE until March when I was finished. Deaconess was finally accredited but only back until the year after we would have graduated. I had planned to get my masters degree so I needed the accreditation. However after all the stupid busy work for a bachelors I said forget that. I would end up working at Deaconess for two years on a medical/surgical floor before I would then go to work at Mercy for good. Gena ended up at Anderson hospital and has worked on the medical floor for twenty-nine years. She never did pediatric nursing and I could blame that on the mean clinical instructors. They were tough as nails and told me I had no business being a nurse and I should consider a new career. I almost failed clinical’s but I called my mom for advice and then used my Gena voice and told them I had never been around kids, I don’t like kids, I was never gong to have kids, and I would never be a kid nurse. That word never, I ended up having kids and when I worked in the burn unit I actually took care of kids.

Gena has three boys who are all doing wonderful. Her oldest is 26, middle is 24 and youngest is 22. None of them are married or have kids, just like my girls. We both agreed the best part is we are not grandmas so we are still 25. I just realized that we have been friends for thirty-two years. I am not sure how that happened, but somehow it did.

We get together about three to five times a year. I always drive to her house because she does not like driving in St. Louis. I don’t mind as it is a nice forty-five minute drive. She always buys me lunch or cooks because I drive over. She did come to my house twice. The first time she and Eric came when her oldest was a baby to see my house and the second time was a total surprise. My nephew Andrew had been born and died six hours later and that night she showed up with a precious moment (we started collecting them in nursing school) that said safe in Jesus arms with a baby on a cloud. That meant the world to me. I don’t think I ever told her just how much that meant. She came all by herself just because she cared about me so much. Emily was learning how to rollerblade and I’m pretty sure we were smoking out on my front porch. I still have the precious moment in my cabinet given to me by a very special friend for a very special baby.

 

Mole Moral ~ A bathroom, a lame party, and cigarettes led to the very best friendship ever! So whoever said smoking is bad for you is cray cray!

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21 Day Food Detox

Before I left on vacation, a friend from church had posted on Facebook about her 21 day ultimate reset experience. I knew she was a beach body coach so I looked it up to see what it was all about. It intrigued me and sounded like something I wanted to do so I ordered it, knowing it would be at the house when I returned from vacation.

For the last year I have eaten nothing but crap as in highly processed and junk food. It was to the point nothing tasted good or interested me besides junk. I had put on about ten pounds which I could afford but had I not been training, it would have easily been twenty and then I would once again be ten pounds away from my heaviest weight. It was time to do something. I arrived home on Saturday and Monday was my start date. I always tend to start things on Monday. It’s the day of the week I joined weight watchers almost 21 years ago. I have been a lifetime member for almost twenty and have lost the weight three times. I didn’t want to have to do it again. It gets a little harder each time but I needed something to get me on track.

About six years ago I saw the movie Forks Over Knives and I really wanted to switch to a plant-based diet or even vegan. The way meat is raised in this country is disgusting and I am not sure when it went from a luxury item to a staple but somewhere along the way it has. I was all set to take it on after my hysterectomy but that was a disaster and then it never happened. The reset I did went like this, no meat after the second day. No dairy after the first week and no grains after the end of the second week. Therefore by the last week it was all fruits and vegetables. About three days into it I watched What the Health and Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. Both of these documentaries also focused around plant-based diets and of course shock value regarding the meat industry. I wasn’t even five minutes into the health one when I said I was never touching lunch meat again. The fat guy did nothing but juice for two months and all his health problems disappeared. He said he juiced vegetables because it was way too much to eat. He also did not recommend people doing this for that long. Most of the people did it from 3-14 days and all raved about how much better they felt. So that was motivation to stick out the twenty-one days.

It was a lot of cooking and food prep, both of which I hate and try to avoid. I tried all of the recipes and even the bizarre ones and I liked all of them except the coconut greens. I could not choke those down and actually almost hurled them. But many times during prep I was cussing and thinking to myself it’s so much easier just to go to McDonald’s or to open a box of macaroni and cheese. I say the convenience of food has led to the diabetes epidemic in America. Since all of the food was pretty much fresh and dairy was gone I pretty much stayed in the produce section of the store. I did wander around looking for stuff for the two other people in my family. I refused to cook for them because all they did was make fun of my sticks and twigs diet. The amount of yummy sugar treats called my name but I stayed strong. I only cheated one day and that was at work when there was leftover cake and I couldn’t take it and had some of the icing. Icing has always been my favorite. It was really interesting as it was week three and I could totally taste the coconut flavoring in it. I don’t think I would have noticed if I was still eating sugar by the pound.

Yes I lost weight. I dropped about eleven pounds but keep in mind my weight was up about four pounds from vacation and totally enjoying myself and eating out all three meals for ten days. The best part about the weight loss is my work pants no longer feel like I am going to bust out of them. I was to the point if I didn’t drop weight I was going to have to buy a bigger size. I feel so much better and food tastes good again. I am still cooking and freezing the extras which will cut down in the long run on how much food I have to make. I realized I have a freezer in the basement and I may as well use it. I still have not had meat or dairy but I did add back in brown rice and quinoa. I am hoping to keep this up as it is so nice not having sugar cravings and just wanting junk all of the time.

Today was the first day I have run since the race. There was no exercising during the detox except for walking. Detoxing off of food was awful. Day four I had full body aches with hot and then cold and then hot and then cold. I actually napped under a comforter with jeans on and was still cold. Please remember I live in hot flash hell and have barely slept under a sheet for months. I was thinking during this time, if this is anything what coming off of drugs is like, I am grateful I never tried them or used them. It was horrible! I even took Motrin for my legs which was a no-no. However, they hurt worse than the day after the fifty mile run. I was also not suppose to take anything for headaches during this time. I didn’t follow that either, I had Excedrin when I felt a headache coming on. There was no way I was risking going back into a five-week headache for this twenty-one day program. I did not have one single drop of coffee for three weeks. It’s the only thing I really missed and up until about day eighteen I wanted to kiss anyone who was drinking it, just so I could taste it. Unfortunately, Brian hates coffee or he would have been kissed a lot.

The twenty-one days wasn’t easy but it wasn’t nearly as hard as doing fifty miles. When I make up my mind to do something, I am all in and this was no different. I won’t recommend the program only because it is not cheap at all but if you have money lying around the difference is amazing. Oh yes there are all these supplements and detox drink that goes along with it which is the cost factor. But if you are rich or have spare change look up the twenty-one day ultimate reset. If you need a coach, I know a great one and she will get part of the profit because its pyramid beach body but it’s still good. And no, I did not drink one single shake of theirs either. They are actually not really recommended during the detox. I have found other vegan shake recipes, the first two I have made have been good. So who knows maybe I can keep this up, only time will tell.

 

Mole Moral ~ I love the show The Hulk when growing up and it is so nice to no longer feel like I am going to hulk out of my work pants!

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Beauty Beyond Bones

This is the name of a blog who has been following me for quite some time. At first I thought maybe it had been a year but then I get to thinking back and it seemed like she found me right after Big Stuf the summer of 2016. I remembered this because her blog is about recovery from anorexia and there was a girl at camp that summer that was struggling with it. I actually had preconceived notions about her dad (nothing related to the eating disorder) and he came to camp to keep an eye on her. I spent some time with him and God was like bam you idiot stop looking at people through your eyes only. I meant to start reading her blog back then but I never got around to it.

One of the reasons is I’m lazy about reading. I use to love to read but now given the choice I will waste time playing stupid games on my phone. The other reason is my sister has battled an eating disorder off and on since she was 18 years old. It is always very easy to tell how she is doing based on where her weight is at. So maybe a week or so ago I decided now was the time and started at the beginning. I think she has been writing for 2 1/2 years so I am no where close to being caught up. I haven’t even finished the first year. All of the posts are so good that I have been taking my time reading them and reflecting on them.

I think by about the fifth or sixth blog a light bulb went on in my head and I understood why my counselor told me that I could easily slip into an eating disorder. (That conversation with her also showed up on time hop a month or so ago). I remember telling her at the time I enjoyed food too much. I also remembered that was back when I was running a lot. Ok I know I just trained and ran a fifty but I did this much slower and walked a lot of the training. Back then I could run a half marathon with no walking. And i was super focused on nutrition and what I was eating. The last year I have managed to eat all junk and highly processed food and if I hadn’t been training I would have easily been right back to my starting weight (170) for the fourth time in my life. However food and nutrition is my next blog post. I don’t even know this girls name but so much of what she has written I have totally related to. I remember studying eating disorders in nursing school and telling Brian I had all the signs and he told me that was the stupidest thing he had ever heard. Back then I thought wow maybe I am stupid but I learned a long time ago when he cannot handle something he says stupid things.

So yes this girl went to inpatient for recovery but she said her recovery did not start there but actually with Jesus and when she realized he died on the cross for HER. She relates a lot of her life to bible stories which I love because it’s like reading the bible. I told you I just don’t read like I use to. It’s also like being in church while laying on my couch. She is not preachy or over bearing or obnoxious, she is just awesome. So today at church my favorite young adult sang my favorite song. I heard it first when she sang it and she sings it better than Steffany Gretzinger. While we were singing it I thought of Beauty and I hope she has heard it. Here are the words and as you read it, imagine Jesus saying it to YOU only.

Come out of hiding
You’re safe here with Me
There’s no need to cover
What I already see

You’ve got your reasons
But I hold your peace
You’ve been on lockdown
And I hold the key

‘Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave

Now rid of the shackles, My victory’s yours
I tore the veil for you to come close
There’s no reason to stand at a distance anymore
You’re not far from home

I’ll be your lighthouse
When you’re lost at sea
And I will illuminate everything

No need to be frightened
By intimacy
No, just throw off your fear
And come running to Me

‘Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave
Now rid of the shackles, My victory’s yours
I tore the veil for you to come close
There’s no reason to stand at a distance anymore
You’re not far from home
Keep on coming

And oh as you run
What hindered love
Will only become
Part of the story
Baby, you’re almost home now
Please don’t quit now
You’re almost home to Me

She has over 5000 followers as of February 2016 so this post certainly isn’t about blog promotion because she doesn’t necessarily need that. But if you want to read something that is God focused and really good then click here.

 

Mole Moral~ Sometimes putting off till tomorrow what you can read today, leads to a really nice surprise.

 
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My mom writes a book!

My mom has had a book in her head for many years and after she retired she wanted to write it. However she ended up with a Mac computer because Windows 8 came out and she couldn’t figure it out. As we all know Mac does not have Microsoft office. Although my mom swore she couldn’t figure out the latest version of Word anyway so it didn’t matter. She looked at Pages and then said forget it. A few years later she mentions this to Emily who introduces her to google docs and the writing commenced. I’m not sure how long it took her to write it but then the time to publish came to light. In reality let the nightmare begin.

I contacted my friend Rachel since her husband wrote Suburban Junky. She told me what site they used and said it was simple and easy. That should have been my first clue because then the nightmare began. This all occurred maybe a week before I was to leave for the race and she had hoped to have it published before I left. So we uploaded her book to the site and it was all messed up. None of the pages lined up, the chapters were mid page and all kinds of stuff. So after talking to Rachel again, the site needed the pages written in 6×9 to fit the print size of the book. Why there isn’t a simple conversion program is beyond me. However, Google docs wouldn’t let us change the page sizes to 6×9 and neither would Pages. Trying to convert it to PDF and upload it didn’t work either and if we wanted different page sizes it would cost money for that program. I didn’t want to spend money on something I didn’t think would work. This probably went on for two or three days. Rachel told me her husband wrote his book in Word so then I found a way to pay for Microsoft office month to month since we would only need it for a couple of months. I have a work project that I need PowerPoint for so it was a decent investment.

If you think I just opened word and it was obvious how to change the page size, dream on because 6×9 is not your standard page size. I actually had to Google it and then switch it. I then uploaded her book to the 6×9 and emailed it back to her to work on it. She had to rearrange the words and move paragraphs around but finally it was finished. So she came over again to pick out a cover. I had to leave for work so Allyson helped her finish it and she sent it off to be published. I left for my run and vacation.

So after about two weeks of total and utter frustration my mom is now published. Her book came while I was in South Dakota. It is called  O’ Heavenly Father Show Us A Sign  and you can click on the link to read about it and buy it.

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I have not read it yet but Emily and others have said it is really good. One of these days I will read it but I haven’t read much of anything the past few years. If you do buy it and read it please let me know how you like it.

 

Mole Moral ~ Sometimes it takes years to achieve a dream but I am sure my mom will tell you it is totally worth the wait!