Saturday, October 23, 2010

Because it's funny...

To Begin Again

I have recently (and finally!!) found a new martial arts program. It is training with people I have trained with before but who are developing a new style.

MaruDo is the style name and it most resembles a combination of traditional Japanese Karate and Ike Jujitsu. Weapons will be incorporated as well but it will be later. The Ike I knew would take forever to learn, but I still love it. The Karate I knew would be different but I thought might be easier to get on board with.
But, alas, I am wrong.

Having to retrain and unlearn 10+ years of muscle memory is a pain in the butt. It is coming along but a constant vigilance is required in order to learn and unlearn. Not to mention getting all of those muscles back in that kind of shape! Every class leaves me drenched in sweat and sore for a couple days after.
I totally love it.

I really am enjoying this new style because of how it incorporates many different aspects of the many branches of martial arts. The Karate half mandates that the body be a whole piece (very Tai Chi), moving in a continually connected fashion both physically and psychologically. The power you can generate when you “get it” is fantastic, but it is hard to do when 10 years is arguing against you! It feels so fluid and lighting fast, it is just going to take slow, steady practice to get there.

But that’s OK, as I am a patient woman. Anything requiring sweat, personal growth and perseverance matched with continually sore muscles is my cup of tea, and yes, my cup is empty.

How Hard is Too Hard?

One of the docs and I got into a discussion about the future work ethic of the medical field. He is a well experienced MD, and is a little aghast at some of the changes in medicine happening with each passing day. He told me that new MD's have mandated naps and breaks in long 16 hr shifts, don't do surgeries the day after they are on call were a few of the "changes" that administration has put into play in an effort to reduce medical errors. His research indicated that none of these changes had made any difference in error rates over the last few years.

His question was this; when a patient goes south and it's an "inconvenient time" will the new MD's being trained today be able to deal? He sees that the work ethic is just not there. Not to say these newbies aren't driven and determined, but sometimes the only way to be ready is trial by fire. Medical training is supposed to be awful and hard and difficult with sleepless nights because when it goes badly, you need to have walked that path before. Residency is when you are worked to death so you learn how to keep surviving while there is still a safety net.

Twice this week we have had patients crater at really bad times. One had to go to surgery from 12 Am to 4AM - that MD had already put in a 12-13hr day seeing patients. The other was on the unit. That MD had finished open heart surgery 4 hrs before and ended up massaging the person's heart with his hands for an hour and 40 minutes in an effort to save the patient. This had to be done with the bare minimum of resources as it was on the unit and NOT in the OR.

The only way to be able to deal in those situations is to have been forced to do it before.
Some things are supposed to be hard. Otherwise everyone would do them.

Relationships and Caring for People

A co-worked and I talked about how long it takes to develop a relationship with your co-workers and the doctors who are regularly on our unit. Taking care of critically ill people is a game not played alone. When the fecal material hits the rotary machine, it is ALL about the team. None of us could do our job without our co-workers and that includes, our fellow RN's, the MD's and our respiratory therapists.

But these relationship-this trust- takes time to develop. I have been on this unit for 2.5 yrs now and love my co-workers and my MD's. There is one MD I have worked long and hard to develop a relationship with and a few weeks ago, I gave a run down of a patient's condition when he came to assess. Of course, the patient would not do any of the things I said he did for me because I had just given the patient sedation (timing!!). When I went to pause the sedation he said, "That's OK, don't worry, I trust you."
Wow, such powerful words.
It only took 2.5yrs.

We each are responsible for our patient's well being and yet all of us are responsible together. It just takes so much time to know how your fellow teammates work, think and act, especially under pressure. Having worked with one set of MD's longer, I know exactly how each of these docs work. I know what I can do and what I have to call about. That took time, but time I happily invested.

Working in the hospital is not like other jobs, people die, and your actions can and often do improve or make worse a person's situation. It is a huge responsibility, not just the liability; but for the truly vested, it is about your conscience. We really do care.

I still make mistakes every day, I learn and go on, because dwelling on them only leads to more errors. But I know my team believes in me and supports me, just as I do them.
I relationship I gladly nurture.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kate Update

My dog Kate has settled in nicely. Her separation anxiety has subsided almost completely and she is learning her obedience dutifully. Her comic streak continues to emerge in hysterical fashion.
My favorites to date are:
-she does not like to walk on fallen leaves and watches closely on walks to avoid stepping on them
-She loves wood floors. When she chases her toy she purposefully pounces on it and slides with all four feet across the floor obviously enjoying.
-To combat her separation anxiety she still raids the laundry hamper to have some clothing with her while she is on her dog bed. (It's always the work-out gear that REEKS!)
The best part is how affectionate she has become.
Actually the best part is I have a regular, always enthusiastic running/walking/biking/hiking partner!!

Another Phase in Life

September 22, 2010 my mother passed away. Her health had declined rapidly over the last two months prior to her passing, but still, it took myself and my four other siblings by surprise.
There was just that call, "I am so sorry, but I have to inform you that your mother passed away earlier today."
In our shock, sometimes are responses can be almost comical as was my brother's, "What, you mean she didn't fall out of her wheelchair??"

I have to wave the flag of gratitude as my siblings and I were all on the same page as to what Mom wanted and what her last wishes were. One task that was largely painless.

There are many feelings I did not anticipate with her being gone. The major one is how much of an orphan I feel like. My father has been dead for many years, 19 to be exact. My mom had mentally been absent for many years what with her late stage dementia. But she's just gone now. It is different in a way a did not anticipate.

Truthfully, my family and I are grateful that her end was quick and without some extended hospital stay. Although her skilled nursing care facility was top-notch and beautifully run, it still was not her own home. We all hated that fact for her and we are certain she did as well.

At any rate, life seems to march on regardless.