Pediatric Rotations

Many think that pharmacy isn’t like the rest. We, as pharmacists, are often thought of as lesser, unnecessary individuals, at least until they need us. When they need us though, they love the knowledge that we have. I’m in the midst of one of my rotations and this one is with pediatrics at a large hospital. Yes, pharmacists are necessary and needed here. Below is what I wrote after the first day there.

“Day one of peds rotation and its after 10 at night and I’m crying already. The patients I have today are sick, really sick. I was assured earlier that most of our patients aren’t like these because these are in a special ward. But these are still these. I’ve never known DiGeorge syndrome and I’m grateful that I haven’t. Three of the 8 kids on my list are DNAR and they’re just babies. DNAR means “do not attempt resuscitation”. How do people do this day in and day out? How can I? So many medicines! Such little bodies! The slightest error on a med could cause serious damage, permanent damage or even cause them to die. And yet, many of these will die early anyway. I don’t question God, not tonight, but I feel for the parents and the kids who have never known not getting poked or prodded. Who’ve never had a chance to fly. But I am not one to know that they don’t fly somehow. Each person has their place, even these. Life is short but for them? So much shorter and yet it feels so long when they suffer.

I’m going to get my boat tomorrow night. I’ll drive up there and spend the night and then we will set sail on Friday morning, early. I’m excited, scared, and wanting to wait but I NEED this now. I NEED to get out there and recharge for next week. I’ve gotta take care of me or I’m not going to make this. Time for bed.”

I did go and get my boat. I love it. I stayed on it for three nights and three days as I learned from the previous owner how to sail. We sailed it down a little closer than it was, yet it’s not yet to its home… I have to take care of myself when life gets hard and I’m glad to have the boat to do that. I’ll be writing more about her later.

Today, though, was another hard day on rotation. Today we learned that one of the babies, really she’s two, will be removed from her life supporting ventilator in the near future. She has no hope for recovery and her parents have been holding on for a glimpse, a sign, anything they can. They’ve decided it’s time and despite what you think, they may be right. It’s not my place to judge them. I have not lived in their shoes and God am I grateful! I nearly cried when I heard the news but I held it in. Then when it was time to go home the tears began to flow on my drive. Even now they threaten to fall.

All of these children! It’s different when you get to grow old and die after having lived a long and fruitful life. That’s different, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. But when you’ve just barely had a chance and that chance was never one out of the hospital? What is life for? What is their purpose for being here? What can we learn? What can they show us?

There’s really a lot we can learn. We can be reminded that life is indeed short, whether you die at two or at 102. Life races by. We can learn to live our lives to the best of our abilities. We can learn to be grateful for our own problems. I’ve heard that if we were given a chance to trade problems with another we’d beg to have our old ones back.

We can also learn that when we have a chance to make a decision that many of our decisions don’t affect only ourselves. We might, and often are, affecting others. Some of these children wouldn’t be in the hospital if their parents had taken charge of their health. Some of the children are recovering from addictions that their parents have. Some of them are suffering from malnutrition and abuse. Some of them are there because of a genetic malfunction. There are so many things to learn!

Even our genetics are things we have some control over. Have you heard of epigenetics? What you do, whether you exercise or not, what you eat, what your mother ate, whether your father smoked? These all change how OUR genes are expressed. So even some of these can be better controlled and prevented. We are barely learning the tip of the iceberg.

Do me a favor. Go love on your babies, your mothers and fathers. Go hug your friends and kiss your spouses. Life is what we make of it. I vote we make it good!

thanks for reading,

me

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Thoughts? A book…

Lately, my life has made some extremely wonderful turns. I’m newly single, building a life that I love; yet already in love with life. I’ve traveled through hell and back and I’ve survived. I’ve done more than one person ought to do and I’ve made life happen despite it all. So, I did something. Like many of you who read this, I’ve decided to write a book. A book about my journey so that I can set it out there for others so that they maybe can believe in themselves again. I’ve decided to be vulnerable, letting it all out. Trusting that there are those around me who need me to stand up and stand out. Trusting that there are many out there who need someone like me to start it all.

I remember being alone, feeling alone, feeling hopeless. I was alone. I didn’t have someone to stand up beside me until I made that giant first step. What if there is another person just waiting to make the step to freedom but is too scared to stand alone? What if that person just needs to know that she (or he) is not alone? What if everyone knew? This world could change, it would change. Abuse would not be a dirty little secret any longer. What if a woman could stand up in her church and tell the truth? What if the church told her more than to pray for her husband? What if?

So, the truth is, dear readers, I have written my book already. I’ve been open and vulnerable and honest about my journey. I have friends reading it now. At first to see if it was worth putting out there, and now to see how I can make it more readable and with fewer mistakes. The feedback so far is that I must put this out there. I wrote it like my life depended on it. I wrote every morning before the sun rose and each evening past when the house was quiet. I wrote daily for weeks, months really, until this past summer when I finally finished it. My journey is not over but I ended the book so that I could bring it to completion. I look forward to putting it out there soon. Be waiting. It has a trigger warning in the beginning and yet I hope that does not stop you. It is my path to freedom, my journey, yet it is also yours who have no voice yet. It is for you.

thank you for reading,

me

Small world

Yesterday I met a lovely lady at Juice Plus Live in Indianapolis.  She’s a side line team member and we were just asking normal questions about our businesses. Things like how did you get started? What level are you? Who signed you up? Who’s your up line? Common questions.  But! She said a name that I recognized.  My head began to spin.  How can this be?! Is it even possible?

I began to pour through my contacts on my phone, looking for a single person. I couldn’t find it. I texted my father with a single question. What was her name? I stayed in the conversation some but I felt like I was being rude. Dinner and I’m on my phone? Yup, rude. So I gave up my investigation and asked her about this same person.

My mother died several years ago, in 2009. I still think of her often. We had our differences but I think I understand her more now than I used to. Over these last couple of years I’ve had to become stronger than I’ve ever been. In the process, I’ve begun living into my dreams despite those around me. I’m a new, whole, person now. I’m in a place in my life where I love life, all of it.

I asked her to describe to me the lady who had helped her become interested in Juice Plus. When I heard this lady’s name it was the same as the name of the lady who started my own mother as well, a friend of my father’s in a history more than twenty years ago. The coincidence was not lost on me. I’m currently a resident of North Carolina and my side line is a resident in Minnesota, and we were sitting in a small TGIF in Indianapolis. We lived in Minnesota when I was a child of 8, 9, 10, and 11 years old. My parents were friends with the same lady.

Small world. Not only is this the very same person that we knew, but this new lady (my sideline) was a good friend of my mother. Tears came to our eyes. I, with one hand shake and a hug, had introduced myself to a friend of my mother’s; and in a short dinner course had gained a small piece of who my mother was. I had gained a part of my mom back. My mother lived on in this woman and for this lady, my mother lived on in me. Two of my children were there with us and were witnesses to this unusual reunion. We had both lost someone precious to us and we have now gained just a small piece of her back. It is a small world; a giant, beautiful, small world.

thank you for reading,

me

Being Weird

Weird – out of the norm; state of being that allows unique and unfamiliar traits to be represented; not going with the status quo; being true to oneself; living an abundant life…

I like that word, weird. It’s very useful when you experience an emotion you’ve never experienced before. It’s useful when trying to describe something that is good but completely new. Weird.

I have found that I use that word frequently lately to describe where I am. As I come closer to graduation I am confronted with the fact that I get to choose my life. Weird. I get to decide whether to relocate or to stay local, whether to keep in touch with some people or not. I get to decide if I want to work in a hospital, or a clinic, or a store, or on my own. It’s like I have a multiple choice game, a choose my own adventure kind of life ahead of me. I can decide for myself whether I like the ocean or the mountains or the plains or whatever. I don’t have to do what I’ve always done any longer. The only word for it is weird. Weird.

Why is there no word for being able to choose your own life? Why is it that people typically fall into a place and just make the best, or the worst of it, rather than change the place? Why is it that all of the decisions in the past were based on what other people thought, or did, or didn’t do… why did others pave my path instead of myself? Weird. Seems it’s more common than not that we don’t actually choose which direction we go. Why not?

Why is it we are constantly trying to prove ourselves to people we don’t know or don’t like? Why do we try to do things that we know we don’t care for? Why do we work in places we hate, live in cities we can’t stand, and never ever dream? Weird.

Who is it that decided we would grow up and be a doctor, nurse, teacher, lawyer, game designer, architect? Did we decide it? Did we really choose? Or did we ‘take the advice’ of our parents, our teachers, our peers? Did we try something and fail and decide with only one failure to just give up? Did we decide we weren’t good enough? What a terrible loss! How did we decide to give power to others on how we live our own lives? Why didn’t we just do what we felt best? Why didn’t we get out our hatchets and carve our own path instead? Weird.

I love the word weird. I love being weird. I love creating my own life how I feel is best. I love the fear that comes with the unknown, the knowledge that if there’s a twinge of fear that it’s good, that I will be challenged. I can feel the fear, the excitement, physically. Now that I am learning to listen to myself, my own feelings, now that I am doing that I am beginning to use my body as a measure of which way to turn. If there is a crushing feeling in my chest, if I cannot breathe and my heart begins to break, then I know that is the wrong direction. If the fear is there, the anticipation, the opening of my lungs, the breathing deeply and enjoying the breath then I know that that is the better choice, the better path to follow. All of this time has been wasted listening only to my head, listening to the lies others have told me, and not listening to my heart. Weird.

Maybe we could all be a little more weird. Weird in our own individual ways. Maybe we can actually step up and into who we are meant to be. Maybe we can actually tell it like it is, speak truth in love and let others know how we feel. Maybe we have to start with ourselves. Maybe we need to learn to listen to our dreams, our own individual purpose. There is hope, there is peace but to get there you have to believe. Believe in yourself and trust in your power to accomplish more than you’ve ever knew possible. Let fear be your friend and your guide, who knows what’s on the other side of the bend? It may be a life that you love.

thanks for reading,

me

Ambulatory Rotation

Another month of pharmacy school has gone by, this one at a doctor’s office where I was able to work with an amazing team. Each day we had new people come in to ask questions about the meds, to find out how to get healthy again, to find out how to stay healthy… these people, patients, needed time to digest what their doctors have told them. They needed time spent face to face to go over their conditions and to know that someone was listening to them. We would often spend an hour or more talking with them, getting to know them, finding out their likes and their dislikes, finding out how we can help them take charge of their health. It was humbling.

They would look to us because we understood their conditions and because we understood their medicines. They would trust us when we told them they needed to change something because their kidneys were bad, or because if they stayed on it they’d mess up their hearts. We would help them understand how to take their blood thinners and how to measure their sugars. We did all of this and so much more.

One man came in with blood pressure to the roof and we put him directly with a doctor and recommended what would help right away. An hour later his blood pressure was back down and he understood a little better how dangerous that could be.

One lady came in and just happened to mention she felt like an elephant was sitting on her chest a few nights before, she was there to check her blood thinner. We sent her back for an ECG to make certain she would be OK to go home.

Another couple came in because his blood work didn’t look good, they were scared, they thought this must mean the end is coming quicker than they thought. We were able to give them comfort and reassurance that all he needed to do was change his diet some, drink more water, and have an evening walk every night. Simple things that every one can do to prevent the fears they had that day. His wife began to cry she was so relieved that this was something they could handle.

Another man came in to make certain he wasn’t bleeding internally because of his blood thinner. He had started it because of a blood clot of unknown origin. I see him sitting there and I wonder quietly like the rest why it happened and pray to myself it’s not an early sign of cancer.

Real people, real blood, real dreams, real lives. Dozens of them over the last month. And to think a pharmacist does nothing but count pills? Nonsense.

thank you for reading,

me

Life is for living

Live dangerously. Take chances. Dream. We all come into this world the same way. We all leave it the same way too. We are born and we die. We know how it begins and we know how it ends, why not make the middle more interesting? That’s the living part.

I’m tired of living vicariously through others. I want my own adventures, my own chances to fail. I want to live for the sake of living. It’s interesting, coming to the end of my school career. I’ll be a licensed pharmacist by this time next year. So what am I going to do with it? Who am I going to be? How do I want my life to look in ten years? five? three?

It’s easier to know what I don’t want than to know what I want. I don’t want where I’m at. I don’t want to get up, go to work, wish I was off, go home, go to sleep, and get up and do it all over again. I can hear my ‘friends’ saying, “but that’s what growing up is all about”. I can hear them saying, “get over it.” But I don’t care what they say. I don’t want that and so I am not going to put up with that either. I can hear them again, “you’ll learn” and totally discounting me, thinking I’m naive and that I just don’t know anything.

But I do know. I do know a lot. I’m not a kid, I’m in my 40s. I’m not naive, I have an incredible grasp of life. Maybe that’s the problem? Because I have such a grasp of life and because I understand how amazingly fragile it is, maybe that’s why I refuse to let it slip away unnoticed. I refuse to give up or give in. Not ever, never again.

I will not let my life go unnoticed. I will not let the days slip by without recognizing the love and the pain around me. I write. I write to save my memories and to remember my dreams. So what do I want in the next few years? Freedom, peace, adventure, love. I know something others around me don’t realize. I know that people do live lives they love. I’ve met them and I want to be like them. I’m not saying I don’t love my life now, I’m saying that I am not content to let it be this way forever. I am content that today I will go to work to learn and that I will be challenged and tired. I am happy to do that today. Even tomorrow and so on for weeks, months, maybe even years. What I am not content to do is allow my work life to be my only life. I will play and I will live.

thank you for reading,

me

Silence – The Dark Side

I have a theory… silence kills. I’ve experienced it. Silence can be a very terrible thing. Silence keeps people from sharing their stories for fear of being chastised, punished, beaten, ostracized and made into villains. Silence? What keeps society from knowing how their neighbor is being beaten each night? What keeps friends from knowing that their best friend is being bullied? Or their best friend is beating his wife? Why is it that abuse is so quiet? Silence.

I wonder what would happen if people quit keeping secrets. I mean, what if you actually knew how much your coworkers were getting paid and they knew how much you were getting paid? The business would have to be more fair in its payment schedules. What if you knew what other students grades were and they knew what yours are? Would you work harder? Or would you work less? You would have a better idea on how the teacher graded. What if, instead of lying, what if a woman could tell you that her husband shoved her into the wall? What if you already knew that he was dangerous because when he was mean to his girlfriend she told the world? Would you be there still?

What would happen if men would treat women as human beings and not pieces of meat? What if women took pride in themselves and only accepted men who treated them well?

I’m trying to form this one thought that’s been bothering me for a long time. I feel like if there were a community discussion where women and men could speak freely about what is going on at home, that we would find out that abuse is rampant. I think we would be able to see the depths that this goes.

These are some statistics from 2015 in the USA, when I left my husband. I can guarantee you that each and every individual who was in an abusive situation felt alone, felt that they had no choice, and felt scared of telling others. Take a look. 1 in 3 women? If it’s not you then take a closer look at your friends. *this is from ncadv.org

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetime.1
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience severe physical intimate partner violence in their lifetime.1
  • 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.1
  • On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.9
  • The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.10
  • Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.2
  • Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.2
  • 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.2
  • Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.2
  • Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.2

This is epidemic, it’s not sporadic. Women and men and children are scared for their lives, and they have the right to be. What doesn’t have to happen is the silence. What if we started asking questions? What if we started listening? What if we, the survivors and victims, had room to speak? What if we began screaming from the rooftops? What if we stood up in our churches and demanded they step in? What if we quit being silent?

Abuse continues because we put up with it. It continues because we allow our friends to be treated poorly. It continues because there are too few who are willing to speak up and when they do speak they are punished. Their friends don’t know what to say and so say nothing, or quit being with them. Their family refuses to believe them and so they do nothing, and instead question their truthfulness. Their co-workers blame them. Others think they are whining, and still others think they need to toughen up. What very few actually do is believe them and provide them with a way out. Even when a woman calls the police for help she will very often not press charges.

What can we do? What if we started a revolution? What if we always knew when a man hit a woman? What if we always knew when she is threatened? The reason this continues is because people get away with it. It continues because of the secrecy. What if victims were no longer blamed and no longer felt the need to be silent? What if a man knew, absolutely knew, that if he hurts his wife that the world would come crashing down his door? What if?

thanks for reading,

me