Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bread Bombing?

The following story happened not more than an hour ago and I still can't wrap my head around it.

This morning I gathered up my shopping list and re-usable bags and, like I do on many Saturday mornings, set off for my favourite grocery store to stock up for the week.

I pulled into the parking lot in the pouring rain and rushed to collect my bags and my shopping cart and hustled inside before I could get too wet.  In my haste, I forgot to lock my car door.  I remembered at the doorway of the store but decided I didn't want to double back to lock the car.  Chances were very much in my favour that the car would still be there when I got back, and if thieves want the 27 cents in the ash tray, Holiday CDs in the console  and random assortment of candy wrappers and bits of Sunday School crafts scattered around the interior of the car they are welcome to them.

I finished shopping and headed back out to the car to load up.  After loading the trunk and returning my cart I opened my door and found four loaves of bread and a package of bagels sitting on the driver's seat.  Huh???  I looked around.  There was another family getting into their own car one parking spot over, but aside from that, there were no other people around.  Where did the bread come from?  Why do I have it??   What the heck am I supposed to do with it?  Confused, I drove home with it.

There is a discount bread store across the street from the grocery store and that is where this bread came from.  I wonder if someone bought the bread and thought they would toss it in their car on the way into the grocery store to finish their shopping and mistook my car for theirs?  Did Someone spy the rusty minivan I drive and decide I need some charity?  I do feel a bit guilty that I might have someone else's groceries by mistake, but what was I supposed to do?

Well, I guess we're having French Toast for breakfast tomorrow! (And the next day, and the next day and the next day.....)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Springtime is for Sewing

Fresh off the sewing table: Simplicity Lisette 1893.  I made view B.   This fabric was part of the stash I acquired when I helped a friend clean out her craft room.  I loved this floral print.  I looked very hard for a pattern that would make the most of the gorgeous border print.  I mixed in the plaids because I love plaid and I think the colours all play very well together. My girl is on the tall side for her age so I added three inches to the skirt when I cut it out so I may get more than one summer out of this dress.

This project taught me a lot.  I got in over my head with the pieced bodice and hand-cut bias binding, but I persevered and learned a lot from those fiddly bits.  I did not sew the zipper in as the instructions asked as I could not make heads nor tails of the directions.  An experienced friend came to my rescue and showed me I was just over thinking the process.

Next up in the queue is a simple elastic-waist skirt for me.  No fiddly bits!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Nurse, heal thyself.

It happens so often now that no one looks up when I am in the kitchen and then I suddenly yelp and run out of the room.

I have it down to a science.

Once I am in my bathroom I grab a handful of toilet paper and press it to my wound, staunching the flow of blood while I grab my supplies.  With the hand not bleeding I root through my cupboard and find the gauze squares, tape, and bandaids.  I carefully open the packages and line my supplies up on my counter, maintaining asepsis as much as I can.  I drop the TP in the garbage, flush my wound under running water in the sink and then fold a square of gauze into quarters. I press the little square to my wound, add another layer or two of gauze and tape everything up tightly.  I run back to the kitchen and finish cooking dinner as best I can, keeping my injured hand elevated.  I make sure to pick out any food I might have bled on.

The next day I will de-bulk my wound, carefully taking the gauze padding off with a little help from my trusty squirt bottle of sterile saline.  I change the padding.  Often a small square of gauze taped on with a bandaid is enough as my cuts seal up nicely overnight.

Since no one will take over cooking duties, I wear one of these when I have my big knife out now.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Nursing Moms

Nope. I'm not going to talk about breastfeeding today.  I am going to talk about nurses who are moms.  Nursing school was great preparation for the trials and tribulations of motherhood.  I know how much blood is too much.  I don't freak out when kids start vomiting or spike a fever.(although I do wish I had a housekeeping department to deal with the sheets!)  I learned how to get a baby on a decent sleep routine by working nights on a pediatric ward. (I also learned how to chart with my right hand while feeding a baby a bottle with my left--great practice for one-handed parenting!) I rarely get throw up on me since I can spot the signs a mile away and can easily dodge it.

I am sure my kids would tell you that having a mom who used to be a nurse is less than awesome.  You see, I have little to no sympathy for a booboo. No one can pretend to be sick to get out of school around here.  I need to see projectile vomit or a fever.  Sniffles?  Bye bye.  Vague complaint of tummy ache? Walk it off.

My kids love climbing on things and then falling off.  The first time Emmett did that he bit his lip.  It's a good thing I know from experience that lips tend to gush so I quickly picked him up and gave him a freezie to suck on.  The bleeding stopped in no time.  One morning Richard tripped and fell and split his eyebrow on a door frame.  I didn't want him taking up time in the Emergency Room for something not urgent  so I cleaned him up and taped the wound closed so he could wait for walk-in to open to get sutures.  When the time came to have them taken out, I did it. 

I am sure my friends get tired of me harping about the importance of vaccinating their kids, but unless you have seen truly sick people, you have no idea how crucial it is.  Also, woe is the civilian friend along on a play date with two or more nurses.  We have no filters for what is too gross to talk about.  Even though it has been years since I've donned scrubs and stethoscope, my gross filter has not re calibrated and I still love to hear a little shop talk from time to time.

So, this Nurses' week spare a thought for the brave souls who parent patients all day and then have to have patience to pull another shift with their own brood when they get home.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A memorable patient

In honour of nurses' week I am going to share with you a story that I will never forget.

Once upon a time I worked in the float pool of the hospital.  That means that when I went to work each day I had no idea where I was going to work until I was given my assignment at the beginning of my shift.  I traveled from ward to ward, wherever they needed the most help.

One day my travels landed me on a surgical ward.  General? Ortho? It doesn't matter.  All that matters is that I was visibly pregnant and my patient was a young man who still lived at home and worked on the family farm.

I had been taking care of this young man from the time he came to the floor out of the recovery room, still groggy from anaesthetic.  He was a sweet guy and very polite and co-operative with me.  A dream patient, really.   He had sailed through his operation and was recovering well. 

At one point in my shift, right before I was about to step into his room with the  BP machine to take another set of  vital signs, a nurses' aide stopped me in the hallway and asked me about my pregnancy.  She asked the usual questions: how are you feeling, any cravings, blah blah blah and then she asked how far along I was.  I was not as far along as she guessed by looking at my growing belly.  She then started to go on and on about how big I was and even had the nerve to ask me how much I weighed!  I tried to extricate myself from the situation as quickly as I could.  I walked up to my patient's bedside.  He had overheard the conversation in the hallway and could see that I was a little flustered.

He told me not to worry.  Cows show early and get big quickly when they are pregnant too.

I am pretty sure that young man didn't have a girlfriend.

It's Nurses' Week

According to my Facebook News feed, it's the beginning of Nurses' Week.  Once upon a time I was a nurse.  Some of my friends are still nurses.  Given that I am a stay-at-home-mom to three rather clumsy children, one of whom has some special needs, I still use the skills I learned every day. (Heck, I have a humdinger of a story about what happens when you give me a mandolin slicer that I will share with you later this week.  It ends with me being grateful I know how make and apply pressure dressings quickly.)

There are a myriad of reasons I left the profession.  The reason I give the most often is that I had too many babies in too short of a time span and the daycare fees cancelled out my pay cheque.  Give me a couple of glasses of wine and I will tell you the rest of the reasons. 

I am not here today to talk about that.  I am here today to tell you how much I appreciate those who could stick with a career I could not.  Unless you have done it for yourself you have NO IDEA what nurses do.  None.  Nurses handle literal and figurative shit every single day and there are few among us who could handle the level of stress they do all day every day.  I couldn't. 

I can tell you it doesn't take much to make a nurse's day.  A sincere Thank you from a patient or family member will often do it.  I am telling you this today because I bumped into a former patient yesterday.  She was my cashier at the grocery store.  As she was ringing me through she asked me "Are you Jennifer?" I said yes as I wracked my brain trying to place her face.  She went on to tell me that I took care of her in the hospital once.  In 2004. She has never forgotten the care I gave her. She made my day.  I am going to carry that glow for a few more days.  It's those moments that get you through the ones full of shit. 

Have you thanked a nurse lately?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

We can't all be Pinterest-Perfect

Charlotte turned 8 yesterday. She is in such a hurry to grow up.  She loves her birthday.  Me? I suffer anxiety at the thought of planning a party, dealing with invitations and RSVPs (why oh why do people seem to think responding to an invitation is optional??) and the cake.  The cake.  Every year I think I should just take the easy (and expensive) way out and order one from the grocery store.  Some years I do.  This year Charlotte asked for a chocolate cake with pink icing.  I thought to myself "I could do that!" Then I searched Pinterest.  Pinterest.  That mystical world where everything but preserves are put in Mason Jars and the world is carefully edited and filtered and curated into pretty little boxes.  Everything has to be home made in Pinterest land.  Everything.
Birthday girl
  A quick Pinterest search for "easy" birthday cakes shows me pictures of cakes that are far from easy.  Can beginners actually do this stuff??  If I tried to make that car or that airplane I would end up crying in a pile of cake crumbs before I knew it!! In fact, I have cried in a pile of cake crumbs.  And then a fondant-proficient friend came along and turned those crumbs into something more closely resembling the cake I envisioned.

"Easy" birthday cakes??  Really??
This looks a little more doable...

Close enough?

Well, Charlotte didn't get a Pinterest-perfect cake. The icing is from a can and  the writing looks like one of her brothers did it.  The sugar flowers came out of a box in the cake-decorating section at the local big-box store.

Thankfully my kids don't care if their world is Pinterest-perfect.  I need to stop caring a bit more too.