Monday, April 30, 2012

It's almost nurses week

Since it's 'almost' nurses week the question arises....what do nurses want? The provincial union has granted locals $100 this year (actually last year too) and we have yet to do anything with it. What would nurses want? Other than time off, more money, respect, support hose.....tasers. Oh no, wait that was flight attendants who were asking for those but we COULD use them especially in Emerg. I could go on. Putting my thinking cap on now and open to suggestions.

On the topic of thinking and 'brain farts' I offer the following link:

So, I was booked to go to work a LN tonight but.....I am writing this from home. I did manage to make my way through last night even though I was sick with a rotten cold. The reason? I had switched a shift with co-worker so I could do nights instead of days and then fell ill. Can you imagine the optics of calling in on that one? Thank goodness a co-worker looked after me and we had a mercifully quiet shift. I crashed this morning at 8 a.m. deciding not to set the alarm as I 'needed my sleep' and came to at 5 p.m. Now of course it's almost midnight and I'm trying to get myself settled down - one of the shift work hazards of 'over sleeping' although I think I'm still not caught up yet and may sleep the night away as well. I also may actually get to enjoy a few of days off this week now.

And yes in case you're wondering about the Netflix thing, the shore captain had it all set up and almost lost his breath laughing while watching the movie Snatch (10 yr old flick with Brad Pitt and Benico del Toro so even if you aren't interested in the story it's easy on the eyes) which is set in Britain about a diamond hoist. It is hysterical. So we've decided that Netflix agrees with us (as we have so much free time to watch movies :)

Bag tags repurposed
Moving on to the topic of travel I'm including the following link:

As well as the recommendations it includes I also found the photo here on the right which (although not directly travel related) is certainly an ingenious use for twist ties. How many times have I crouched muttering behind the tangle of cords in back of the computer/printer/scanner trying to figure out which one was which. However, the following link IS travel related as I have this power strip on my list now: 

Think that I am able to crash now so will sign off with the optimistic news that I'm off to an Emergency Nursing conference the end of the week and have a list of 'city errands' that I may get accomplished along the way.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

It's been that kind of a week

Lungwort blooming near the front door

Yes, spring after a mild winter has arrived in this part of the world where the lungwort is cooperating nicely and blooming proudly. The ticks (likely from the mild winter) have ambushed with a vengeance and the poor dog is a mess - both physically and psychologically as she has begun her 'looking at her appendages intently' phase of the year as she searches for ticks - real or imagined. 

This has been my stretch of five days off and I have been sick with a gastro bug since the first day and have accomplished nothing - except catching up on my reading. Well, actually we did have a soiree on Sunday night after I arose from my post night shift nap for a good friend. Lobsters, biscuits, salad, wine and apple crisp with good conversation. One of the guests (who hadn't been doing nights) had the presence of mind to bring champagne for a toast to the guest of honor and a good time was had by all. Except for the poor life partner who called it in about 8:15 pm (I actually didn't realize he was missing until about 9 pm) and crashed in bed. He'd been battling a viral cough for the past ten days (and rethinking his decision to NOT have a flu shot last fall) and finally succumbed.

The next night we were invited to a local chef's house for supper, and I'd even dropped off the lobsters on my way to work Saturday night so he could create something yummy with them and....we didn't even get to enjoy them. Had to cancel when the bug hit after the birthday party. As the shore captain said "well, I would've gone if you'd made me but it wouldn't have been good" so we have requested a rain check and the lobsters were apparently delicious. Sigh. But to quote the Dalai Lama "With inner strength or mental stability, we can endure all kinds of adversity." If only.

The mail has brought good things this week with the first being my certificate for the Emergency Nursing Program. So I hummed Pomp & Circumstance when I opened the envelope but it just wasn't enough for the year's worth of angst. Not even a pen, tote bag and pin with a congratulatory letter from someone (supposedly) important in the Department of Health. We also had a lovely photo birth announcement in the mailbox today from the neighbour who used to babysit as a teenager for us. Apparently it didn't turn her away from her own family as she has a very handsome lad now herself.

I have been reviewing the tropical health information I've collected over the years in anticipation of the conference I'm attending the end of the month at McGill - it is definitely a new language. I rolled $20 worth of change this afternoon which I collect for the tropical medicine course I'm going to attend in Liverpool in the spring of 2014 (not 2013 as the baby daughter WILL be graduating with her BN in May 2013 and I WILL be there to see her walk across the stage). Now with the tuition, airfare and accommodation my change isn't going that far - that's why I'm starting early:

I've also caught up on all the professional journals and a book I bought while visiting my buddy this winter which had been collecting dust on my coffee table. You'd think I had my life back or something. 

In the spirit of travel planning I offer the following link for females of how to dress conservatively:

As well as these travel hints by female travel writers, including one I know!

And in the spirit of self development the 1000 Awesome Things website, you may have heard of the Book of Awesome?

We really are in the midst of a global experience aren't we? Fun fact: In a given day, Google Translate processes roughly as much text as you’d find in 1 million books

So I should be doing all sorts of things but....instead I'm sitting here in my pajamas in the middle of the afternoon preparing to watch a webinar on tropical medicine. I've also downloaded a film from the NFB which was excellent value for $5 and the western daughter has discussed with me the world of Netflix, so that is next on the list. Life is good. Speaking of happiness here is a link to a good article in The Washington Post about happiness:

Hmmm. Perhaps I should go make the shepherds pie and banana bread I've been contemplating. Or not.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mysteries Solved

So today was one of mystery solving. I found an article on the Cruise Critic website about a veteran cruiser who was giving tips on traveling. When I followed this link:

I was amazed to discover that it was in fact about the 'mystery man' who had been so attracted to my cruising partner (no, no not the shore captain) five years ago on my first "research" cruise. We did enjoy some nice perks such as the concierge serving us drinks and snacks in the private lounge, arranging for tickets to the ice show, specialty restaurant and early tender tickets, tour of the bridge, special brunch, chef's luncheon and more so it was nice to 'hang with cruise royalty'. When I sent the link to my buddy she released a LOT of endorphins from the hysterical laughing. What a blast from our past!!!
Certainly made the suggestion of a girl's getaway cruise next spring the topic of conversation. The secret to the success of such a venture is to get a large and eclectic enough collection of females together to allow for always having someone to do something with (or not) with some veteran and some newbie travelers. I'm thinking a cheaper cruise in March or April and I'm already smiling at the memories we'll make. 

The other puzzle of  'so many concerts so little time' was solved by my approaching the Artistic Director of the local music festival (who has a day job in healthcare) at the BBQ lunch held on the patio in the warm sun. Ahhh. My dilemma was that Cyndi Lauper is scheduled to play in the city on the same date as Harmony Bazaar so I asked who was playing Friday and Saturday as if Friday is a repeat of Serena Ryder (who we've seen) I might slip away to the city. Her solution to the puzzle was that Harmony Bazaar would book Cyndi Lauper in two years time. Not the least of the reasons being that the Director would love to see Cyndi Lauper herself and the festival can attract acts which the Casino books as in Serena Ryder. I do so love happy endings. 

And yes I did request the time off to see Bruce Springsteen in August - you only go this way once and he (and we) aren't getting any younger. The shore captain has been tasked with obtaining tickets as I will be in la la land between nights when they go on sale. And although he can't remember to take out the garbage I am sure he won't forget this.

As promised a couple of travel links because of course that goes along with the only going this way once part - being prepared, technology and travel and airport services worldwide in that order :


Here are some interesting facts about the airline industry that you may be surprised to learn:
  • Five: the per cent of the world’s population that has ever been on a plane.
  • Established in 1919, KLM is the world’s oldest airline. The airline stopped its operations during World War II, however, making Qantas, the Australian airline founded in 1920, the world’s oldest continuously operating airline.
  • The world’s most frequent flyer has traveled over 10 million miles.
  • At any one time, there are over 14,000 commercial flights and 3 million people in the air. 
And to wrap up -  today when I took it upon myself to inquire of the RNPDC as to where my certificate for a year's hard work was there were some back and forth emails which ran from "we're getting them out soon, we're short a secretary" to "the graduation packages are being made up" to "oh the director says that you have to fill out and return evaluations before certificates can be issued" so I responded with this message:

Your email made me smile and reminded me of last month when we were on
vacation in DR and had taken a trip out to Paradise Island. At the end
of the day the boat crew passed the empty pop bottle for tips (with a five 

dollar bill inside for bait) while waiting off shore and my husband said 
"no one gets off until you tip" while putting in a $20 bill as it didn't look 
like a very generous bunch  of tourists :) I'm not sure that it helped much
as the bottle returned in much the same dry condition.

As you can expect, I filled out the evaluations immediately when they appeared (it did occur to me to wonder how long it would have taken to start the process if I hadn't poked the bear) and faxed them back but....haven't heard a thing since. As I reminded the instructor "it's all about that piece of paper for my portfolio" so I live in hope.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I've gotten my life back

So for those of you who were wondering where the updates to this blog you are and only a month since the last one. Where have I been? Getting my life back, that's where. Beginning with a wonderful vacation - sure makes me want to go right back when I look at the photos. If you're in the mood for some photo taking suggestions here's a link to some info:
Our villa - jacuzzi too
Lion fish alert
Two weeks were spent in complete self indulgence at Blue Bay Villas Doradas near Puerto Plata, DR and it was (of course) a wonderful vacation. There were a few days of rain but those were just an excuse to order room service, watch old movies we hadn't seen and read books. Amongst the dozen volumes I completed I read Consumption by Kevin Patterson a physician who worked in the north, great story as well as culturally informative. I also read Parasites: Tales of Humanity's Most Unwelcome Guests written by Rosemary Drisdelle which was a bit unnerving to read in a developing country (I wore my beach shoes) but excellent on the history of such things and a good primer for the conference I'm attending at McGill but I digress.....We ate, we had sangria developed to our palapa, we snorkeled (even saw a lion fish in the reef just off the beach) and managed to snap a photo of him, we deep sea fished, we (I) shopped for jewelry on the beach from Cheapy Willie, we napped in the sun and generally enjoyed ourselves fully. Met some nice tourists including a cute honeymoon couple who reminded us of our own kids. I delivered some medical supplies to the local hospital which were gratefully received and have made a contact there for return visits.

We arrived home to some sad feline news as the boy captain reported that Klyde (our Himalayan cat) had had a "kitty stroke or something" a few days after we left as he was fine in the morning when he left to go lobstering but he found him dead in front of the door upon coming home late that night. Apparently it was a bit of a challenge to dig the grave with the collarbone still troublesome.The other two felines were pretty shaken up. Klyde was only 11 and hadn't had any health problems so it was a bit of a surprise but he obviously didn't suffer and we didn't have to make the tough decision if he was. Still look for him at times though.

With only ten days to study for PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) while working my shifts it was a busy return to reality. It was nice to have the teacher daughter visit over Easter, just after her birthday so we had supper at Lothar's Cafe (great as usual) and she was pleased with an Easter egg hunt. We worked on her wedding scrapbook and it is just awaiting a few final photos. Good to have it done before her second anniversary.

I took a vacation day to study before the PALS course as all that social life on the weekend took its toll and did manage to make it through the course material, complete the pretest and study some of the algorithms. The final night shift I worked did not allow for sitting down, let alone studying anything so that was it. A short nap on Friday and then off to the city for an overnight with the daughter and son-in-law.

Over to the IWK for the course early in the a.m. and it was intense. Met several students who I'd known in my 'former life' and one of the physicians from our hospital attended as well. My group consisted of a military RN who barked "understood" when asked a question, a newish grad who had memorized the book but didn't have much experience, an advanced paramedic who does Life Flight throughout the north and hadn't even read the manual as he lived the material, a Doc I'd worked with on my ENP clinical (a left over hippie) and another more intense one who does locums in Ontario and BC so an eclectic group for sure. We were pretty shell shocked when we were sent on our way at 4:30 p.m.

I headed downtown to catch the end of the Lung Run which is a 5k (first) race for the daughter. It was a beautiful warm, sunny day for the 500 + participants and she was 29/69 in her class with a time of 28:12 so not shabby at all for a first effort. She was still on her runners high so we headed home to change gears and out for supper. Enjoyed a wonderful meal at Palladium Family Restaurant in Cole Harbour which is owned by my sister-in-law's son (insert nepotism disclaimer here on the rave review) and so we caught up with him on the family news.

The quesadillas were fantastic, the Greek nachos - pita, feta, chicken, olives and more with tzatziki were wonderful and then we ordered spankopita, rice and veggies - too much food! So we had enough for lunches for three people the next day as the servings are huge. The only negative was no room for dessert and they are all homemade. Sigh.

The final course day was very stress inducing with a bit of a review then the written exam with a passmark of 84% meaning you could only get four questions wrong out of 33 - good idea I guess if you're a parent of a sick kid but nerve wracking for the PALS students. Then the exam results aren't shared until you complete the practical testing being team leader in two major scenarios of cardiac, respiratory and shock. Reconvene to find out our results (insert celebratory whoop for the 97% here) and we make a run for it.

The physician from work was heading over to the Bryan Adams concert with a group of nurses from our workplace, ensuring a good time was had by all. I however have my sights set on the Bruce Springsteen concert which has been announced for Magnetic Hill in Moncton on August 26th and there is always Cyndi Lauper in July - so many concerts so little time.

I stop at the Frenchy's near my daughter's place in Dartmouth which is a pretty good one and score lots of great stuff while I get myself calmed down enough to be sociable. I make it back as her mother-in-law and sister-in-law arrive and we catch up on the news and enjoy a BBQ supper in the warm spring evening. I set out for the trek home making it by 8 pm. finding.....the life partner sick in bed. Welcome home.

Both the boy captain (who has enough sense like his mother to just go to bed until he gets better) and the shore captain (who feels he must be the center of things and responsible for the universe and parks himself in the middle of what is going on) have been ill with the viral illness making its rounds. It even afflicted the electrician daughter out west putting her off work for a week. HOW I have escaped it after being trapped in triage last week with so many suffering from it and then the men folk I'm not sure but...fingers crossed.

The mailbox yesterday yielded a charger from Kowloon, Hong Kong for my iPod shuffle - thank you eBay for both of those purchases. Whether the shuffle is hot or not is uncertain - it is pink - but it does have a rather eclectic collection of music downloaded which I discovered when I charged it. Adding my own playlist (which I've been developing) of 500 songs which it will hold or removing the 'pants hanging off the buft' so-called music will be a task for the youngest daughter when she visits next.

Today I mailed my income tax return as the shore captain finally picked it up from the company and I was unimpressed to find they had not claimed for any of my travel expenses to do with education. Apparently the medical travel is no problem but you must keep a mileage log, gas receipts, insurance and maintenance bills if you wish to claim education costs. The only problem with reconstructing that list would be the gas receipts and so as I had made 8+ trips to the city associated with the course I kissed $600 goodbye. Not as if I don't pay enough taxes so I was significantly displeased at not being given a heads up on that one last year. Not the least with the questioning as to why I had done the course if my employer required it but hadn't funded it -already a bit of a sore spot with me! The suggestion that I could do it next year is not helpful as a) we are already at the end of April and no gas receipts have been saved yet b) I have done the hateful course and don't plan to repeat such insanity. Good thing I was on my way to a massage appointment after that phone conversation.

In ending my 'me day' I'm readying myself to go out to a scrapbooking session this evening - working on the album from fall 2009 so just a wee bit behind but with the regaining of the life situation I will be rectifying that.
Back to work in the a.m. for my four shifts. Likely going to be a struggle as it's the first complete set of shifts I've worked in a while. Gotta make that retirement plan as I don't want to fall in to the Five Regrets as in this link:

Or perhaps I will find a volunteer situation that works for me - this link was in one of the books I read on vacation called The Bear Ate My Pants which was the story of volunteering in an animal rescue organization outside of Quito, Ecuador:

Gotta leave something for the next post, so a promise to share some travel info sites. Hasta leugo.