Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Chocolate as a Psychotropic Drug

Some people (like me) need to be dosed with chocolate every day to help with all those day to day irritations. In fact, some days I could use a double dose. Any MDs willing to prescribe out there?

I got the nicest compliment today..."A day without a laugh from Jodie is a day without sunshine." Wow. The only thing better would be "you are the most gorgeous woman who ever walked" and I'd take that from anyone but preferably from Alan Rickman (sigh, what a lovely man).

Some leftover dry ice was put in the lab sink yesterday. I was washing my hands and my nurse manager was walking by the door and saw the fog and asked "What's that?". I put on my best leer and witchy voice and said "Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble!" and concluded with (I thought, anyway) a truly evil cackle. She got the biggest kick out of that, and laughed so hard she cried. First time I've ever made anyone laugh by reciting from MacBeth.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The Joy of IVs

Today I get to do an OGTT (an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test). Not because I'm diabetic or even close to being diabetic, but because one of our studies requires a preliminary test to make sure we can do the labs correctly. So instead of hauling some unfortunate child in for this (it's a child study), I am the guinea pig. Because it involved 5 blood draws, you have to have an IV (most people don't have enough good sites for 5 sticks anyway). Of course it hurt going in, but I have these monster veins (just like all my family -- my little sister was teased so much in the 1st grade about her veins that she told the kids she'd had a vein transplant when she was a baby -- and they left her alone after that...she's funny) so really, I was the logical choice. I hate that. And then it's right in the wrist so it's hard to type. OK, have I whined enough yet? Probably. :)

I have to admit I will miss the research aspect if I leave this job. Although I did apply for one that sounds really interesting; it's called the PACT program. Nurses visit severely mentally ill patients in their homes and work with a team to make sure that they take their medication and that problems are stopped before they really get to be problems. It's being done on a Federal grant, and so far it's saved the state millions in reducing or eliminating hospitalizations. Plus I'd be out and about, which would be good for me at this point; I need more exercise and less sitting.

Only one draw left to go...hurray! I can't wait to get this thing out of my arm. Oh well. It always helps when I tell my patients that I've been through the same thing I'm asking them to do.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Atmosphere is Everything Sometimes

Work continues to be difficult. Not the work itself, but the atmosphere...too many personality clashes, and I work best in harmony. Mostly it's been discordance here for the past two months and more, which is too bad. I like the work. I like the people I work with. But people who clash seem to have a hard time putting their differences aside for the good of everyone else. Some people seem to thrive on it, though, which is why I guess it is so prevalent.

I know I am keeping my head down and hoping the you-know-what flies over me when it hits the fan.

One of my friends here is very wise; she tells me "If it's good at home and bad at work, you're OK. If it's bad at home and good at work, you're still OK. But if it's bad at both, then something's gotta give." Since home is still difficult (I hope to resolve some things this weekend), I am looking for a new job...maybe something will turn up. The nice thing about a nursing degree is that you're never out of work long. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Art on ebay

Well, I got my picture up on ebay last night after much fiddling around. Listed it for a little more this time; I certainly spent the time on it, so why not? Maybe I'll get lucky. I am certainly not the most technically proficient person painting out there, but my paintings do look different from other things I'm seeing. And I suppose if I continue to paint, my technique will get better. Bev and I are going to art class tonight; I am sure we will piss off our well-known painter "teacher" (he can paint but he sure can't teach) yet again. :)

Monday, May 17, 2004

Diabetes and cystic fibrosis

This morning, I had a cystic fibrosis study patient. One of the MDs who specializes in that disorder here at the university is studying the relationship of diabetes to CF. As luck would have it, this patient did not have diabetes...but 75% of the patients I have seen for this study DO have diabetes as well.

It has been really hard in the past with some of the younger patients (the youngest I've seen was 8); their parents are already coping with ONE difficult genetic disease, and then to be told they have to cope with diabetes as well is very upsetting.

It's a lovely day today -- sunny, warm, blue skies -- but very, very windy. When I was little I thought if I leaned back just the right way, the wind might hold me up. It's ALMOST that windy today.

This afternoon I get to work on dysplasia studies (we have 3) and make calls for my palliative care study (end of life cancer care -- my study examines quality of life). I have a love-hate relationship with that study; I enjoy the people I talk with, but it gets progressively difficult as they grow sicker and die.

Tomorrow morning I am giving a talk on abnormal psychology to a high school class, so I have to get ready for that, too.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

What other people blog

Blogging is new to me. The only time I've even journalled was when I did a foreign medical mission 3 years ago -- that was quite an adventure. It was set up through my school of nursing (yes, I'm a recent graduate; nothing like going back to school in your 40s)...I was one of 3 people who spoke Spanish (we went to Mexico) and my Spanish is, well, rusty at best. I wound up translating for everything from how to brush teeth adequately to trying to tell a very old lady that I was going to do a rectal exam. We did hundreds of Pap smears, even trained our dental hygienist to do them when we got slammed one day. Do you know you can use hair spray for fixative on those slides? Plus I managed to figure out the ancient ECG machine (it had one lead; you had to move the lead from place to place to get the equivalent of a 12-lead here) for a 16-year-old who was having chest pain. We had one MD who hardly even got to sleep he was so busy. Having been there really makes me thankful for what we have here.

After I've posted here, I look at what others have posted in the same time period (sometimes I leave a comment, although from others' blogs, it seems that usually only people who know the blogger leave comments. So maybe I'm inadvertantly being rude). I am still trying to figure out how one bookmarks blogs one likes, or at any rate, finds those blogs again. I also haven't figured out how to search for interesting blogs. It's all random.

I haven't told anyone I'm blogging. Funny, I don't mind people I don't know reading it, but I'd feel strange if someone I knew did.

Finished another masterpiece!

Well, ok, it didn't turn out the way I had envisioned it. But -- I do like it, so I'll probably list it this evening provided I can get MY computer up and running. The cats didn't turn out quite right; one is too cartoonish, one is too impressionistic, and one is, well, not catlike, for want of a better word. The impressionistic one SORT of works for me (after all, its walking through a door filled with sky) but it just doesn't go with the other two. Unless, of course, it's morphing into something else by walking through the door (the title: Another Door Opens). The ivy around the door is too detailed, and the flowers around the porch are not detailed enough. But it does have something going for it; it's pleasing to look at and I think the emotion I wanted to include (new beginnings) comes across.

My next project is probably going to be three women around a cauldron...the Weird Sisters. Not so weird as you might think; my daughter and her 2 best friends played those roles in MacBeth and I loved the energy between them (this was some time ago, when they were 10...but they're all 19 now and the energy is STILL there). So I want to try and capture that.

Painting sure does clear my head. I'm MUCH better now. Plus my son is longing for Baskin Robbins Ice Cream...sounds good, huh?!

Saturday, May 15, 2004

The shame closet

Okay, so it's not a shame closet (but that's one of my favorite phrases from The Simpsons). Today Dean and I drove out to my parents' house (120 miles one way) to fix up a closet that used to have a heater in it. Mom wanted it painted and with shelves so she could store her seasonal decorations in it.

Dad had done his best to fix it up but had gone waay overboard with the spackle. I think Dean must have sanded for a hour in this tiny closet.

Dean also put a light in it to make it easier to see everything, and even installed a switch (which he put in upside down on purpose to see how long it would take Mom to notice -- she never did, I had to tell her).

Mom and Dad are lookin' good, although I think Dad's thinking a lot about the end of life (he's 82, and has outlived all his family except for one sister, and they were mostly all long-lived). They are still busy, but Dad tires easily these days and has to take several catnaps (5-10 minutes) every day. I love them dearly and worry much about losing them.

Anyway, we drove back this evening. A nice day, all in all.

Friday, May 14, 2004

It's all good...

Okay, so the BS dropped to normal within 20 minutes. So maybe it was just lunch, Of course that means that low carb ice cream (at least in MY metabolism) doesn't raise blood sugar...not that I would ever eat it again under any circumstances...well, ok. I'm sure that if it were the ONLY thing left to eat then I suppose I would have to give in (bleah!).

Anyway, now I am just about at the end of my first day of blogging. Will it continue? Will anyone ever look at it? Will Brad Pitt drop Jennifer Aniston and decide he really, really wants a 40s-something, overweight, "plain jane" research nurse from the midwest? Only time will tell...heck, I'm optimistic!

Fingersticks! Ugh!

Well, I agreed to help with Chris' research study. She's looking at whether low carb ice cream raises blood sugar as much as regular ice cream. So I got randomized to low carb. YUCK! At least now I'll never have to buy any because I already know I don't like it. Plus now I have to do blood sugars every 20 minutes for 2 hours (with a fingerstick, those hurt more than a blood draw!). Plus it's hard to type with a bandaid on your finger. It was a little worrisome because my baseline BS was 153; high even though this was an after-lunch BS. So I may have to take one of the glucometers home and do a couple of fasting BSs (Blood Sugars for all you non-medical folks who probably will never see this blog anyway) just in case -- if I have a problem with diabetes, best to catch it early (and work a little harder on losing weight; that's probably all I would need to do in any case).

The Entry That Started It All :)

Well, this is my first entry. It's a cold day for May in Oklahoma. And it's rainy. And my "feast or famine" job is in a famine stage this afternoon (that's OK; we feasted all week).

I gave a presentation and demonstration on hypnotherapy this morning; it really went very well, and perhaps I'll have a few private patients from that. Of course, one of our research patients showed up unexpectedly while I was out, so he had to be rescheduled. Oh well.

This weekend I'm going to drive to my parents' house and paint one of their closets and install shelves. It will be good to see them, and hopefully I can fix it up they way they want it; at least it doesn't involve any power tools. :)

I've almost finished another picture for ebay; it's looking good (hopefully I can put it up on Sunday). I painted this one with the door from my first house; round at the top (like a hobbit door) with a stained glass inset of a rising sun. The door is slightly open with blue sky inside the house. The door is framed with ivy and flowers growing over creamy brick. One cat is peering inside the house from the top step, another is coming up the steps, and a third cat is peeking out of the flowers on the side. I am really pleased with it. I haven't been painting very long (although, 30 years ago I painted a lot) but the pictures have been improving greatly with each one I do.