Photos from SuperBloodMoon

Here are a couple of photos from #SuperBloodMoon. Taken by me, no tripod (I should buy one). Camera was NikonP510.

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Review of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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I recently finished Tartt’s ” The Goldfinch” from a friend’s recommendation. I am normally put off by size but decided to give it a shot.

It is about a young teen, Theo, losing his mother in a museum blast in NYC. From there he is lost-looking for placement and purpose. Traveling from NY to Nevada, to NY to Europe.

Midway thru, I read reviewed for the book. I was somewhat hesitant in finishing based on the mixed reviews. Most did not like it because of the length. Well, I can understand but I tried not to let that determine whether or not to finish it.

Some complained that a lot of it could have been edited but at the same time made praise of the detailed expressions of the written word. I don’t know, I think that’s somewhat an oxymoron comment.

Some stated that they disliked Theo, the main character but liked Boris. I didn’t dislike Boris but I liked Theo more. I though Boris was somewhat of a user scumbag. I was confused as to why he was preferred over Theo.

Overall, if you like general fiction with great details-I say go for it. If you dislike length-you should just skip it and save the author a low star review.

My favorite passage from the book: “That life – whatever else it is – is short. That fate is cruel but maybe not random. That Nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it. That maybe even if we’re not always so glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open. And in the midst of our dying, as we rise from the organic and sink back ignominiously into the organic, it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch.”~ Donna Tartt in The Goldfinch

I gave it a 4 out of 5 star review on Goodreads. (mind you, I rarely ever give 5 stars. I don’t bother much with 1-2 star books. Most of my ratings fall to 3 or 4 stars).

Why Don’t We Listen to a Loved Ones Wishes?

If your loved one made a wish-do you abide by it? Do you listen to it? Do you approve of it?

If you don’t agree. Do you resend it with excuses? Do you excuse it based on your own perceptions?

As a nurse, we are greeted with a lot of differences. It could be a different belief from a patient to a nurse, from nurse to nurse, from doctor to patient. But it can also be a different belief and wish from patient and their family. I am talking about end of life discussion.

Some people do not want to talk about it. Everyone should talk about it. Some believe, that maybe if we don’t talk about it-maybe it will not happen? But we all know, we are guaranteed two things in life 1) birth and 2) death. Everything in-between is not set in stone.

If a person is of sound mind and the make a decision that they do not want any extraordinary measures-why is it morally okay for a family member to come into the picture and reverse it when the person loses consciousness.

Even with written documentation, it appears to happen every single day in healthcare. I wonder how this can be okay? How can this be legal? How can it be changed? ::it is often legal because family members will say “they were not of sound mind when they agreed to that” even if they were::

I will tell you, my best friend is my healthcare proxy. She is in the medical field. If there is a point in no return, don’t keep going. Just let me go. I will tell you-if you (my best friend, my family, etc) go against my sound mind wishes…when I’m dead-I will come back and haunt you.

I understand hoping for more. I understand wanting more. I understand guilt, regret, sadness, grief. But is it okay to put your wishes ahead of your loved ones?

Enjoying the Moment

Where I’ve Been:
I had deep thoughts of suicide when my grandmother died (I was 9). I remember a couple of incidents where I probably came home from school, after being treated horribly, going into my room and crying. And looking at a bottle of pills. It could have been something as simple as a bottle of Aspirin or Tylenol. I was ten at that time-I thought it may work. Looking at the bottle and thinking about my life and what it was or will be. How can I continue if people keep treating me like this? I did not want to endure it. I also remember another time, taking a sharp kitchen knife and going into my room. Self cutting was never my thing because I knew it would just create more pain but I do remember thinking of holding it up and aiming just to the left of my sternum and thinking about jabbing it into my heart. I figure that is where the blood pumps, that probably would be the fastest way to go! If I slit my wrist, I think I probably would have stopped as soon as it hurt, never going deep enough to make a difference. I never thought about hanging myself, as I thought that would be a slow death and I did not want to suffer anymore. And though my grandfather had guns-aside from the BB gun, I did not know how to work them and not to mention I did not know where my grandfather kept them. My mother never owned a gun.

But I never went thru with it. I am not sure why. I do not know if I felt, deep down, maybe I will have a chance later in life or not. I do not know if I saw the light deep in my thoughts when my eyes closed and tried to envision the future.

In the early 1990s, I remember watching Free Willy and watching the music video before the movie started. It was called “Will You Be There” by Michael Jackson. I watched him move. Of course, everyone knew who Michael Jackson was but I never really paid much attention to him or his music. Prior to this realization, I did not think about him or what he represented-including Thriller, Billie Jean, Bad, Smooth Criminal, the moonwalk, the sequined glove.

I saw the Will You Be There video and I was just mesmerized by his movement. So much so that I rewund the tape after the (music) video and watched it again. I, again, did not really pay attention to the lyrics but just the man himself. At the end of the music video, I had to rewind it again and again. I was finally paying attention to what the song was and the lyrics. I was hooked right there. It was before the 1993 allegations and I knew that I was a forever fan. I actually listened to the lyrics of “Will You Be There” and they spoke to me. I was like “WOW! He understood where I was coming from!”

“Hold me like the river Jordan
And I will then say to thee
You were my friend.
Carry me like you were my brother
Love me like a mother
Could you be there?”
These lines describe my life that all I want is a friend to count on. Or a mother to be able to soothe my hurt and pain. A guidance for a young child to right a wrong. For anyone to love me. The way that I am. For all that I am. For anyone to listen to me. For anyone to protect me. For anyone to hug me.

“When wary, tell me will you hold me
When wrong will you scold me
When lost will you find me?”
My mother was there physically but mentally she had her own issues. She could barely guide her own life and well being much less ours. This was not her fault. I was very intune as a child to know that the guidance was not there. That she could not help it. It was an illness. She indeed loved us the way that she knew how. Inturn though, I missed a lot. I did not understand why people were the way that they were. I did not understand why I was born different. I did not understand why people treated me different. I did not have a teacher to say it’s not me, it’s them. I did not have an authority figure to step in and say “you are fine the way you are. You are perfect”. In part, when it came to my mother. I did not let this happen because I often did not tell her what I was going through in school, with my peers. It was partially my fault because I did not want to worry her. She had enough problems of her own. Often times she was working two jobs. She was trying to raise kids. At the same time, I felt that “how could no one NOT know? Hello, I was physically different? You are supposed to know that people are not kind in the world to those that are not normal.” Again part of this was my fault because even during the all day facial clinic when I had to talk to a therapist/social worker-I pretended that life was good. It was not. I was depressed. I felt embarrassed of myself. Of ME. I felt like I was alone in the world. I understand that people cannot and should not assume.

“But then they told me
A man should be faithful
And walk when not able
And fight ‘til the end but I’m only human”
This struck me because you are supposed to go through life pretending life is good. Your world is good. Everything is fine even if deep down you’re hurting. Everyone is supposed to continue life like everything is peachy, even if it is not. You’re not supposed to talk about the bad. You’re not supposed to air your “dirty laundry”…life is full of rainbows, lollipops, and happy unicorns.

“Everyone’s taking control of me
Seems like the world’s got a role for me
I’m so confused will you show it to me?”
You’ll be there for me and care enough to bare me.”
For me it seemed like people had control of me. I was an emotional and verbal punching bag for me peers. That was their role for me. In my mom’s world, I was quiet and perfect. I did not do much wrong. I did not step on toes. In my sister’s world, I was the smart one. Always getting the good grades because I did not have a social life and my life remained in books. In everyone’s eyes-they have their own role. In my eyes, I was a lost soul. I did not know what to do with myself. I did not want to endure daily teasing. I did not want to avoid school. I did not want to avoid people. I did not want to stay inside my room because that was the safest place to be. It was lonely.

“Love me and feed me
Kiss me and free me
I will feel blessed.”
“Lift me.
Lift me up slowly
Show me you care.”
Show me that I mean something. My peers often disregarding me. Someone that didn’t appear to have feelings or a heart. I was no one. I was a void in a human body.

“Need me.
Love me and feed me
Kiss me and free me
I will feel blessed”
Guidance. Life. Love. Hugs. Pat on the back. Security. Those are the important things in life. Those are the things that matter to the human soul.

I watched this video over and over again. I listened to the lyrics. I decided to figure out what album it was on and purchase it. And I did just that. I fast forwarded it to “Will You Be There” of course and then I listened to the song right after. It was “Keep the Faith” in the USA (it’s my understanding that other pressings had a different order for songs). I listened to that song too. It was a bit edgier. But the lyrics were strong and powerful. A song with a great message. This song following Will You Be There-I felt like Michael Jackson was talking to me. Not really but in a sense. Like he knew how some people felt in the world. Lost, alone, not being able to trust-with the lyrics of WILL YOU BE THERE. To a song of hope, triumph, you can do it attitude with KEEP THE FAITH. It was a gift that it was in order in that manner. It made me, who was struggling with who she was, to listen and understand. In return it opened his life to me.

The song KEEP THE FAITH:

I started paying attention to him and his life. He was not a perfect human. Who is? He had flaws. He had self doubt. He clearly did not like the way he looked, perhaps from his upbringing of his father Joseph Jackson. But did that constitute people criticizing him? Did that mean he was fair game for names and jokes and digs? Did that mean that he was not human? Did that mean he did not care? Did that mean he did not have feelings? Granted he was so rich and secluded (because he had to be) that did not mean that he still did not have the core that was in all of us. That still did not mean that he was untouchable emotionally. That did not mean that his soul could not be broken either.

The behavior and treatment of others towards him just made me want to follow him even more and understand him even more. I believe this was the case for a lot of his fans-which is why he had such a great following. He was no more of a freak than anyone else in this world. His treatment by others just made me want more of him.

Where I Am:
Because of my self reliance, I have come along way. This journey could not be made possible without people in my life. From my mother-who taught me not to give up. I saw that in her because no matter how many obstacles life gave her (either her own doing or others) she continued on the best she could. My best friend during my adult years. Without her, I wouldn’t remain sane through Nursing School. My therapist & now friend-without her I wouldn’t have been able to bounce things off and she taught me the way life could be, not just the way life has to be. My friends/co-workers-without them, I couldn’t have made it through nursing school either. Coming into work after a test that I practically failed, cheering me on that I could do it. My clinical instructors and teachers-“C equals RN” is the motto of Nursing School. I remember one clinical teacher saw my test score and was going to take me aside from the rest and say “what’s going on?” Instead she said it in front of my other peers and continued “what I am seeing in clinical is NOT what I see in those tests scores. So much so that I went to the director.” That made me feel good and encouraged me. Not to leave out my patients through the years-teaching me that life is short. Teaching me that I am a good person. Teaching me that we shouldn’t take life for granted.

Where I Am Going:
Who really knows? All I know is that I am enjoying the moment. Preparing for my medical mission trip to Madagascar. Than who knows? I know that I am enjoying traveling and seeing other cultures. Something that I never got to experience growing up because we just couldn’t afford it. In 2013 I went on an African Safari. 2014 Inca Trail, Machu Picchu in Peru. 2015 Japan and Mt Fuji. Not to mention the career that can take me throughout the country in America and perhaps even further (I’ve talked with American nurses working in Australia).

I am lucky. I know it can be taken away at anytime. Life is not promised. Life is not meant to be all rainbows and unicorns. I’m now just enjoying the moment.

Photographs of Strangers

Jeff Bell of Planet Bell blog recently blogged about taking photos of strangers, as well as “street photographs”. I find it sometimes uncomfortable taking photos of people. This is why most of my photos are of animals and nature. But I did manage to take some in my travels and I have no doubt I will take some more on my medical mission trip at the beginning of the year.

Here are some of the ones that I have taken. hope you enjoy. From Africa 2013, Peru 2014, Japan 2015.

On a dugout canoe in Maun, Botswana-Africa

On a dugout canoe in Maun, Botswana-Africa

On the ride to the Rhino Sanctuary. I didn't even realize there was a boy in the doorway until I uploaded them.

On the ride to the Rhino Sanctuary. I didn’t even realize there was a boy in the doorway until I uploaded them.

Little girl-Lake Titikaka, Peru

Little girl-Lake Titikaka, Peru

Woman doing needlework-Lake Titikaka, Peru

Woman doing needlework-Lake Titikaka, Peru

Women of Lake Titikaka, Peru

Women of Lake Titikaka, Peru

Boy flying kite. Lake Titikaka, Peru

Boy flying kite. Lake Titikaka, Peru

Mother & child, Lake Titikaka, Peru

Mother & child, Lake Titikaka, Peru

Women after ceremony. Lake Titikaka, Peru

Women after ceremony. Lake Titikaka, Peru

Little boy in Lake Titikaka, Peru

Little boy in Lake Titikaka, Peru

A couple on a cliff in Lima, Peru.

A couple on a cliff in Lima, Peru.

Workers doing some work on an historic site in Lima Peru

Workers doing some work on an historic site in Lima Peru

Locals at the town square in Cusco, Peru

Locals at the town square in Cusco, Peru

A couple after their wedding in Cusco, Peru

A couple after their wedding in Cusco, Peru

Strangers silhouette in Cusco, Peru

Strangers silhouette in Cusco, Peru

A woman leading her Alpacas back to the farm in Lima, Peru

A woman leading her Alpacas back to the farm in Lima, Peru

A boy at the town square in Cusco, Peru

A boy at the town square in Cusco, Peru

A group of band members at the town square in Cusco, Peru

A group of band members at the town square in Cusco, Peru

A local selling roadside in Peru

A local selling roadside in Peru

Taken from a distance. A farmer in Lima, Peru

Taken from a distance. A farmer in Lima, Peru

A young child whining on the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

A young child whining on the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

A local cooking up Cuy (Guinea Pig) on the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

A local cooking up Cuy (Guinea Pig) on the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

Two young girls talking. On the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

Two young girls talking. On the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

Homeless people on the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

Homeless people on the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

Geisha in Kyoto, Japan

Geisha in Kyoto, Japan

Wedding taking place

Wedding taking place

Musician in the wedding

Musician in the wedding

Serving tea at the wedding

Serving tea at the wedding

Zoomed in to a man sitting on his balcony enjoying the baseball game

Zoomed in to a man sitting on his balcony enjoying the baseball game

Players at the baseball game. Yokosuka, Japan

Players at the baseball game. Yokosuka, Japan

Two woman chatting in Kyoto, Japan. Probably waiting for a Geisha to appear.

Two woman chatting in Kyoto, Japan. Probably waiting for a Geisha to appear.

Two women passing each other on the way to a temple. Japan.

Two women passing each other on the way to a temple. Japan.

A Japanese man writing characters.

A Japanese man writing characters.

Woman visiting a temple in Japan

Woman visiting a temple in Japan

Enjoy the Local Surroundings-You Never Know What You Might See.

When you are at home, do you pay attention to what is around you? We often seek adventure away from home, but it can be found at home too. The other day a friend and I went hiking in the adjacent woods. She’s like a mom figure (she’s my best friend’s mom). She had a Gnome and on previous walks with her dogs, she noted a opening in a tree across the river. She decided that she would place the Gnome (she name him Norm) into the opening of the tree. This post is pretty much a photo post. So I hope you enjoy. When you are out and about-don’t forget to look around and enjoy the scenery.

The river is low because of the lack of rain

The river is low because of the lack of rain

Old concrete wall

Old concrete wall

Spider

Spider

Princess Pine

Princess Pine

I thought it was pretty

I thought it was pretty

Garden Snake

Garden Snake

A Gnome & his new home

A Gnome & his new home

Close up of a frog

Close up of a frog

Norm, the Gnome, in his home

Norm, the Gnome, in his home

Mushroom

Mushroom

While standing in the water I took a picture.

While standing in the water I took a picture.

Me in the river. To go back home, we decided the river was low enough that we would cross it.

Me in the river. To go back home, we decided the river was low enough that we would cross it.

Vine wrapping around the tree, notice that the vine is being in betted

Vine wrapping around the tree, notice that the vine is being in betted

Close up of the snake

Close up of the snake

Frog

Frog

Hmmm- Is Nursing a Talent?!

Is nursing a talent?

This is, evidently, the thought that went thru the mind of Michelle Collins of “The View” (according to one of her now deleted tweets). I really go back and forth on this statement. Is it a talent? If it is a talent, can’t all careers be a talent? Or are we just truly that special?

I do know that I have worked with some co-workers (nurses, doctors, techs, etc) that should NOT be in the healthcare field. They are in it for the wrong reasons. But does that mean SOME nurses have talent and others don’t? So then we think about-what classifies something as a talent? Does that vary person to person? If so, was Collins in the wrong?

I think about my first couple months off of orientation as a staff nurse. On this day I had a student nurse with me. I was showing her what I did, she gave medication with her instructor, she asked me questions. This is a teacher aspect of nursing. I remember getting a report and one of our patients was end of life.

How do you approach someone who is at the end of their lives? This is not the first time for me. I used to work on Oncology and Palliative Care units as a tech, I also worked in the Emergency Department. We dealt with death all of the time. End of life is what I seem to do fairly well-Palliative Care probably will be where I end up in the long run of my career. I think I help my patients transition comfortably.

But back to the nursing student with me. I asked her a few questions 1) how are you with death? 2) have you come across someone who has died? 3) have any one in your family passed? 4) are you okay with dealing with this aspect of the career? If not, is there anything I can do to make it better for you to process it?

Back to the patient. I knew her. I had her as a patient before. When I had her previously, she was awake and talking. I never saw family visiting her (this is common). When we walked into the room, I had the student nurse evaluate the situation. She was sitting up in the bed, but pretty much non responsive. Her family (whoever they were) decided that they wanted her on tube feedings. Why? Perhaps they were in denial? Perhaps they didn’t understand how close their loved one was? Perhaps they were hoping for a miracle? I do not judge why-if they are around, I just try to help them with the process.

The student nurse stood back while assessing. I could tell, she was not that comfortable. She didn’t know what to do. At first it was difficult for her to engage with the patient. How do you engage with someone who is not talking back? With someone who is not looking at you? With someone who is not talking, eating? With someone who Cheyne-Stokes breathing pattern? Someone who is clearly not going to make it to the end of our shift. Her legs are mottling. Even newborn healthy babies respond in some way to contact.

We step out of the room, and I asked her how she felt. She said that she was overwhelmed but okay. I reviewed the situation with the doctor and in the long run-he called the family. The family still did not come in. For whatever reason, I do not judge.

I knew the mission of this particular patient. But before I spent time with her, I wanted to introduce myself to my other patients for my shift. I did just that, quick visual assessment. Introduced myself, made sure they were not in any distress, made sure they were not in pain, etc. Basically making sure they were vital, stable, and happy.

Upon returning to the room, nothing changed much other than her breathing slowed. I reviewed this with the student nurse. It’s one of the signs. I reminded the student that, as far as we know-someone’s hearing is the last to go so it’s okay to talk to them. She did but you could tell it was awkward for her.

I approached my patient and I brushed her forehead, held/rubbed her hand and told her “it’s okay to go, everyone here is going to be okay. It’s okay to be comfortable. You don’t have to suffer any longer. Your family is going to be alright.”

I rubbed her leg and repeated that she was free to go. “Just relax.”…”Just let it all go Ms. ____.”

I could tell…we could tell- her shoulders relaxed at that moment. As if a big weight has been lifted from holding her down. Then she passed away within a few minutes. She was not alone. She was comfortable. She did not struggle. She appeared to be in no pain.

I saw that tears were starting for the student. She removed herself from the room. I stayed, turned off the tube feeding, put her head down and went out to call the doctor to pronounce. I left the oxygen on until the time of death was called.

After I hung up with the doctor, I went to the student (who was in the break room). I asked her if she was okay. I asked if it was something in particular.

She looked at me and said (as she’s wiping tears)-“you read about it all of the time but you do not expect to see it happen. You hear that it’s okay to tell them to go but to actually see it is…WOW!” And she thanked me for the experience. This did not shock me. I have had this experience many times before. As a nurse or as a tech, I had always told my end of life patients that it was okay to go and I’d witnessed them go by the end of the shift.

Is that a talent? Or just mere compassion? caring? Can compassion be a talent? Can everyone do it?

I don’t necessarily think it’s talent but I certainly don’t think everyone can do it. Be it, the end of life process or the birthing process or the psych process or the trauma process or the teaching process-one nurse cannot necessarily do another. But hear me out-I don’t think Miss Colorado was in the wrong for doing what she did. I actually applauded her and shared the clip (before this The View fiasco). I was proud of what she did. Nurses are important. Police are important. EMTs are important. Doctors are important. Teachers are important. We are all important. I cannot sing-thus I don’t have that talent. I cannot do standup comedy-thus I don’t have that talent. I can, however, help the process of dying-is that a talent (I know that not everyone can do it)? or a calling?

Is it a matter of potato, patato? Does it really truly matter? Or is it the context of how the ladies on the View (quite frankly, I was more offended by Michelle Collins and followed by Raven than I was Joy Behar) presented it?

Either way, I stand by my previous blog post-I hope this social media publicity sheds light to the real issues facing nurses and healthcare. I hope that there are adequate staffing ratios so I can do my nursing talent/calling and spend that time with my dying patient as I was able to do with the above patient.

Her, like a lot of other patients, remain with me. I think of them often. This is not a job that I leave at work.

#NursesUnite

#compassion, #joybehar, #michelle-collins, #nursing, #palliative-care, #talent, #theview

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