August 26, 2007

Aidan and Andy Video

August 25, 2007


I have been dreading writing this post. So here we go.... my little boy Aidan (4) has been really sick over the past couple of months and the doctors thought it was a virus for a while. Last Friday we were sent to a bigger pediatric hospital in another town and they ran some tests...bone marrow aspiration specifically, and diagnosed him with Leukemia (ALL). The doctors, who are wonderful, all say that his prognosis is excellent and that it's the most curable childhood cancer. I know he will be ok, but this has been....

There is so much to report, but I don't have the time so, for right now I'll say that he's doing great. They started him on chemotherapy last Monday coupled with steroids and he's actually feeling better now than he was before. He's a little trooper and is handling everything so well. I am so proud of him for being so strong. He's such a sweet boy too. He gets to come home this coming Monday and we're so excited, but I'm also terrified because then he will be in our care. Every week he will have chemo and as time goes on it will be once a month. My biggest fear is that he will get sick while his immune system is so comprimised.

Regarding Nursing School: School started back on Monday, but I wasn't there. I wrestled with what to do. My first instinct was to put it off, obviously, but my husband wasn't having it. He developed a plan where when I am at school, he will stay with Aidan and no one else. I do feel better knowing he's going to be home and not at daycare or something, but....sigh. We were told he will be fine as long as he doesn't catch a virus or something, which is hard when you have 6 people in one house. The nurses, social workers and family members all encouraged me to get it done so then I can relax and take my time getting my liscense, but it's a hard decision to make. I've never been more torn. This is so difficult. I have 2 months of class left... In an instant our whole lives changed, our paths redirected and plans put on hold. We're overwhelmed, stressed, devestated...every emotion you can feel. Most of all, we just want Aidan well. His well-being is all I care about.

I decided to give it a try, but if it doesn't work then I will withdraw. At this point, it's a now or never thing, because I could care less about school now.

This last week has felt like a nightmare, but as the shock wears off and we're more informed I feel a little more in control of the situation. I'm not weeping every 5 miniutes now, but can make it past 20, so that's a good sign. I know God is watcing over our whole family and has brought us down this road for a reason and we are putting all of our faith in him and giving him our pain and fears because they are sometimes too much for us to handle alone. He will bring us through this stronger, I just know it.

On a happier note...yesterday Aidan had a special visitor in his room, just my luck I wasn't there, but at home taking care of my other boys....if you've read my blog before then you'll know how much I admire this person for all his does and how inspiring I think he is. Plus I really think he's hot. :-)

It's Andy Baldwin the Navy Lieutenant/Doctor/Humanitarian/Triathalete/Last season's Bachelor on ABC. He and some people from the Navy came to the unit and visited the kids. He made Aidan an honorary sailor. :-) I have a video of the meeting and will post it when I can. Life is really crazy now.

August 16, 2007


On someone asked about the "highlighter system" and how to use the different colors. I know this is a biggie for all new nusring students. Some may scoff at this,think it's stupid and it kinda is, but keeping organized is key during school. So this is my reply for anyone who may need some ideas. This has always worked for me:

I always have one color for what the instructor reads from the book, sometimes it's a lot, sometimes it's one sentence from a paragraph. From my experience at my school, our tests are from the instructors lectures, not from the book necessisarily. I use another color for items pointed out that they "said" would be on the test. This doesn't always mean they'll put it on there, but you can never be certain. I use another color for key terms, lab values and meds etc... that we are told to know.

I always record lecture on my digital recorder and I listen and write down almost every word they said in a set of notes that I mix with my book highlights (above) and any handouts. Once I have all of my notes made from handouts, lecture (recorder) and my book notes/highlights I ONLY study that. I also put it in the order in which it was taught. This repetition helps me remember and recall info. During tests I've actually visualized the page and where on the page I had certain info (top, middle etc..) If you're a visual learner than you'll find you will do this as well.

Helpful Hint:I know this sounds cooky, but I will sometimes draw some silly something at the top of each page. (Smiley face, stars, etc..). It also helps me recall the page during a test and remember what content was on the page. (It works for me!) There have been countless times where I will have 30-40 pages, front and back, of hand written notes for one test, so anything that helps is good. My friend and I also made characters (drawn-horribly-ha!) for people with certain illnesses, mosty for the neuro section because all of the diseases started to run together. Ex: Parky Parkinson . When we took the test and we had questions on that particular illness we would think to what they looked like (shaky hands, shuffled gait etc..) I know it sounds like rubbish, but this helped us distinguish between the different illnesses. It's no different that making up silly ways to remember lab values etc...

Back to the notes: I put all of my notes in ONE place so when I start to study, it's all there, organized, in my notebook and I don't have 14 different things to study from. I also highlight the main topic of every section and put 3 stars next to anything I know to be highly important. This system has always worked for me, hopefully it will work for me this semester as well...

I know everyone has their own style, and you should find what works best for you. These are just some things that has always helped me to remember, since I don't have a mind like a steel trap . Good luck to you!!!

p.s. As for your calendar of events, keep it all on a planner or on a calendar. Highlighting test dates in one shade and another shade for skill tests always worked well for me. Believe me, you won't forget when you have something important due or to do, highlighter or no.

This stuff about the characters that my friend and I made up it totally true. Weird, but true. I remember one specifically and her name was Britney Brain Abcess. This was right after Britney Spears shaved her head so we gave our character a shaved head and she had a big ole lump on it. Ha! I remember during the exam thinking back to the picture we drew and the story we made up about Brit being dizzy and it helped me answer a couple of questions. I'm very much a visual learner and have used those tools countless times during tests. So far, so good.

Good luck to all who are starting their nursing school journey and congratulations!

August 14, 2007

One More Week--BLAURGH!

Before I get into the whole nursing school chitty chat I want to share something, or someone rather, that I found on You Tube. I heard this song "Umbrella" played on a tv show tonight, but it wasn't Rhianna singing it and I must say I didn't like the song before, but I really like this girl's voice and her version of the song. Her voice is bea-u-tiful. Her name is Marie (pronounced mar-ee-aye)Digby and she sings cover songs, posts them on You Tube and I think she's awesome. I'm addicted to her voice already. I smell undiscovered talent..... Funny, she's singing in the loo. Take a whiff:

Is she awesome or what? I think I'm her new biggest fan. You tube is a good thing.

Nothing new to report on the school front other than I ventured up to the hill today and finished buying my books, paying for my insurance, testing fees and what not. Just being on campus made me feel a little sick. I ran into a few of my classmates who all seemed excited and ready to get back to school. I think they're smoking crack. They should get help.

I still have a lot to do before Monday and I hate that I procrastinated and didn't do these things BEFORE NOW. Tomorrow night I'm attending a prenatal class for one bonus point. One. I'll probably need it, that point. Atleast they have a cheese and fruit tray there. Incentives.

I ran into a few of my teachers was good to see them. I feel so comfortable around them, which I suppose is because you're around them more than your own family. Let me repharase that...I feel comfortable around some of them. ;-) I did run into Nurse Ratchet from Nursing 101 in the hall. She pursed her lips and wrinkled her nose, as she always has, giving off the air of smelling something putrid as she said "hi". Lady has some serious stick up her arse if ya ask me. Sorry. Some instructors loathe students, which makes me wonder...why? Why teach if you don't like your pupils or other members of the human race? I remember having her during lecture and I couldn't focus on what she was saying because I was too busy watching her snarling smile through gritted teeth. Shiver. If she'd look my way I'd hastily seem overtly interested in my textbook. Hmm...interesting photo of a man's enlarged spotted testicles. Speaking of...who are these people that allow their private areas, most of the time horribly mangled and diseased, to be a part of our books? God love em for their contribution to our education, but good gravy no!

I cannot reiterate enough how happy I am that this is my last semester of school, or that I'm dreading it something fierce. Perhaps when I'm closer to the end I will feel better. Hopefully it will go by quickly. I'm ready to be DONE. OVER. I'm ready to work again and get my freakin' head out of a book. I want to get my hands dirty and to feel productive and useful. It will be nice to have a normal existance. Working 3 days a week and being able to have play time on my days off instead of study time. What I'm looking forward to the most about not being a nursing student anymore is the fact that I won't have to study!!!!!!!!! Of course I'll always be reading up and continuing my knowledge, but oh the joys of not having an exam will be like heaven. No more skills, no more books, no more instructors smarmy looks.

August 7, 2007


I Have My Legs!!!!!!!!!!

Damn, it's hot out. It feels like an oven outside. You know it's hot when you can't even cool off in a swimming pool. Ugh. I hate the heat. It makes me feel tired, lazy and irritable, but I won't complain, because atleast I'm alive and can feel heat. I'm trying to think more positive these days, it always makes a bad situation seem not as desperate. As my girlfriend Heather always says when I complain... "Atleast you have your legs." She's right. What can I possibly complain about when I have legs? We do tend to take a lot for granted.

I actually have a lot to be thankful for this week. My son is recovering after a long bout of illness. My youngest son has been really sick. We took him to the doctor and they've run about a gazillion tests on him and didn't know what was wrong. They started throwing out some possibilites that we definately didn't want to hear, which got me so upset that the last few days I've walked around in a depressing funk, worrying, crying, feeling terrified. BUT, the latest bloodwork shows it's improving and the word now is that he caught some nasty, unknown virus that managed to change the nature of his cells, mainly his WBC's that dropped way below normal. But they are slowly and steadily climbing and the possibility of him having a life changing illness has passed. He is now eating, having bm's, being active and has practically returned to his old self. We are so thankful that he is getting better. He has more bloodwork to do next week just to follow up, but the doctor says he's in the clear. They did an Epstein Barr Virus test(chronic mono) on him to see if that might be what he contracted, but we won't find out until a week. If it is mono, i'll be glad, it's better than other things. Never thought I'd be happy to hear that my child had mono before, but I guess when the possibility is something worse, anything else sounds good. So, thank you Lord for watching over our family and being so gracious.

I am really blessed. My children are all healthy, we have a nice home, I have a good marriage, we have bright futures and many great things to look forward to. So what if we cannot afford all of the things we want, so what if sometimes we argue about stupid crap, who cares if the trash didn't get taken out...Life is good and I think we forget how lucky we are in the midst of all of our chaos. There are many families who have sick children and I will never understand why God would put them through such trials. The feeling of finding out that you have a terminally ill child must be the worst news a parent could hear. I can't imagine, or even pretend to.... I just know that I am thankful every day when I wake up and hear my kids voices and see them squabble about silly things. At least I have the ears to hear and eyes to see and the legs to walk over to them and tell them to hush up. LOL So the next time you find yourself getting upset about something trivial just remind yourself that atleast you have your legs and it will make it all better.

August 1, 2007

Constellations & McGraw's Balls

Follow this link to see Faith Hill berate a fan who grabbed Tim balls at a concert! You go girlfriend!

My FAVORITE Jack Johnson song with some odd dude who made a video, but still a chill song nonetheless: Constellations~Check it out: