Life Update

As always, I’ve been pretty darn busy. Currently, I’ve stepped down as the PAC Secretary for my daughter’s school because working casually just doesn’t afford me the luxury of planning ahead. Casual work is essentially getting a phone call a few minutes before the shifts start and being asked to come in at 7:00 AM, 3:00 pm, or 11:00 pm for 8 hour shifts… Usually. Sometimes the shifts are 5 hours long (short shift). It’s very hard to swing if you haven’t slept appropriately for the indicated shift. Especially those night shifts. And especially on night shifts where there is a one hour commute home after you’ve finished working them. Dangerous without adequate sleep.

Sometimes I will go days without getting a call and sometimes I’ll get a call and not have any daycare available, so work is at times very sparse. Very stressful. Especially when your BCHydro bill quadruples without any warning. Thanks, BC Hydro. Thanks for thinking of us little guys while your top earning executives are bringing in around million dollars per year. I’m looking at you, Thomas Bechard, the Managing Director.

If you missed that link, it’s a publicly available PDF file outlining the compensations of their executive members. Click here to view.

Okay. Mini rant out of the way! I’ve also started bridging in to earn my Bachelor of Science in Nursing through North Island College’s LPN to RN bridge program. In completing the two bridge-in courses, I will be able to enter their BSN program half way through the second year. If I get a seat in the program next winter (it largely depends on if other students currently in the program do not continue on with their education for whatever reason), I will be set to graduate in 2017. Coincidentally, this is the year that the new VIHA hospital will be opening for the Comox Valley. Sweet!

Working, school work, keeping a semi-active social life, and managing extracurriculars for the kids… I’m running on fumes, but enjoying it regardless. Life is good.

I just have to try and earn $3,000 within the next few months. No biggy… D:   (new tires, Rx glasses, BCHydro bill, and course fees). Odd jobs and working more shifts ought to cover it. Just a big price tag hanging over my head lately.

Onto happier thoughts! I will likely be starting work on CVFishing.com soon as the trout season looms for freshwater anglers. I also hope to start working on the practical nursing subsection of this website. Review, review, review :)

I might even get motivated to make a new knitting pattern… What should I knit? I’m thinking maybe a beer cozy since slopitch baseball season is almost upon us here on Vancouver Island.

Until next time! Cheers :)

 

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VIHA “Replacing” LPNs with Care Aides?

What is everyone’s thoughts on this? I remember preceptoring and having my practicums in a VIHA hospital and the nurses were already understaffed and overwhelmed with work load. A lot of the work entailed RCA work, however, a lot of it also entailed head-to-toe assessments that were ongoing; Urinary catheters, dressing changes, medication administration, monitoring patients for reactions to said medications, IV maintenance, hanging fluids, pulling drains (if so delegated and trained), communicating with the doctors, transcribing orders, picking up blood for transfusions… All things that care aides do not have within their scope, nor are they licensed to do so.

The biggest difference between LPNs and Care Aides is that one pays for yearly licensing and undergoes continual education in order to keep their license. LPNs take a national exam then apply for licensing through a regulated body. In BC, this regulated body is the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of British Columbia.  Care aides take a course and apply for registration through a non-regulated body.

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Comox Valley Fishing and Other Updates

About a month ago, I was running during a baseball game and crunched something inside my knee when I landed with my foot… I don’t remember my knee twisting funny or anything of the sort, but I managed to tear my meniscus. For three weeks, I could not straighten my leg and could only bend it so far.

Stubbornly, I went to work for three night shifts and one half day shift before I came to terms with the fact that something was seriously wrong with my knee. It was painful, swollen, and I did not have normal range of motion. I finally went in to see a surgeon and the next day, I was booked and undergoing arthroscopic surgery. I am not very happy about having a meniscectomy, but I ended up having one. I don’t know the details of it, because my surgeon did not speak with me after word… I cried when I was told I had a piece of my fairly important meniscus cut out. I had previously researched PRP and PRM therapy and wanted to opt for that rather than surgical removal. Part of me just wanted it over with, so I didn’t speak up for that… I digress. I was secretly hoping it was a tear that could be sutured while he was in my knee for the exploratory arthroscopy, but the simple arthroscopy turned into a meniscectomy and I was warned of that being a possibility, so I can’t be upset with anyone but myself.

My surgery was 10 days ago. I’m walking mostly normal, I can almost straighten my leg fully and my extension is about 100 degrees right now, 90 degrees comfortably.

Onto better things! I started a new website that I will be pouring myself into. A new hobby of mine is fishing, though I found it really hard to start fishing without knowing all the legalities, ethics, and so forth. It’s really hard to learn without having a guide and not many people can afford to charter a guide when all you want to do is cast out a line and just reel it in… Which is illegal without certain licenses. Hence the dilema! Hop on over to my new website to check out how you can launch yourself into this relaxing and at times exciting hobby:

Comox Valley Fishing, CVFishing.com

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Christmas Gifts for Nurses

It’s hard to buy for some people, so I’ve compiled a list of items those nurses in your life might appreciate, whether they are male or female.

Number 1: A Foot Bath!

Oh yes. Us nurses are on our feet for hours straight with no breaks and no time to sit down. Even with the best of shoes, this can make our feet ache so bad that it feels like our bones are disconnecting from each other.

You visit one of those superstores or warehouse stores and see all of the foot baths. They’re pretty cheap and they claim to warm the water, but the truth is… They suck. They suck so hard. I’ve used at least 5 foot baths bought in-stores. Even in speciality health stores and they all just suck. The water gets cold fast and the “pedicure” portion doesn’t move, though on some unites it vibrates which is a great way to accomplish nothing.

best foot bath for nurses

The God of Gods. Best Foot Bath Ever.

May I present to you the Helen of Troy foot baths? Warming the water until it’s almost too hot. Vibration and bubbles for the ultimate relaxation of your feet. The pedicure centre of the foot bath even spins around so you can give yourself a pedicure without having to reach down and use your hands.

The controls are also water-proof so you can use them with your feet. Foot baths can’t get any better than this. Unless your significant other has placed the warm water into the bath for you and empties it as well. That makes everything ten times more awesome.

Since this is a professional product, you can use products inside of it, such as special salts and fragrances. There may be other foot baths out there like this one, but I have yet to find it. This is the best one I have found, by far! Do not buy a Conair. Those ones are terrible. 

 

Number 2: Hand Lotion

No, seriously. Do you understand how much we wash our hands? It’s terrible… Especially when the budget calls for cheaper hand soap. Oh man. I know my hands break out in some pretty gnarly rashes from cheap soap, and when you’re washing your hands literally hundreds of times over an 8-12 hour shift… That hurts. A nurse needs a good hand lotion that will hydrate as well as protect their skin.

My first recommendation is BeautiControl‘s Extreme Hand Repair Cream, which sells for $15.00 per 3.4 oz tube. You can easily get one from a local BeautiControl consultant (visit the BeautiControl website and use the “Find a Consultant” link. Consultants generally are more than happy to help you fill a single order. BeautiControl is a “Home Party” company.

That’s just my recommendation. Hand creams are awesome in general.

 

Number 3: SleepTracker Watch (For Shift Workers)

SleepTracker Watch

Wake up refreshed

A little pricey, but so worth it. The SleepTracker Watch monitors your sleep and will wake you up within a half hour of your set time. So if you are waking up at 6:00 am, it will monitor your sleeping patterns and then wake you up anywhere between 5:30 and 6:00 am, depending on when you are most awake.

As you may know, we sleep in cycles. These cycles are easily monitored by this watch as it monitors your heart rate, movement, and so forth in order to determine when you are in a deep sleep and when you are in a very light sleep. It wakes you during your light sleep moments, which allows you to wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed!

This particular watch (which is a newer version of the one I own) tracks all of the sleep data and allows you to download it onto your computer so that you can recognize trends in your sleep.

 

Number 4: A Basket Tailored to Night Shift Workers

Sometimes it’s less about the price and more about the thought that goes behind the gift. Being a night shift worker, no matter how long you do it, can be a total drag. The quality of sleep is generally poor, you sleep your social life away, and at times the shifts can truly drag on. Then again, for every quiet shift you are gifted in life, there are two or more busy-as-all-heck shifts :)

Some things that you can include in a tailored basket:

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Feeling Down Because of the Weather?

Here in the Valley, the weather changed so fast that there wasn’t even the slightest chance for us to acclimatize to it. One day, it was a blistering 30+ degrees (Celsius), the next we were barely breaking 10. From not a cloud in the sky to rain everywhere.

And I love it.

I love it because I focus on the positives of this change in weather. Close your eyes for a moment and think of all your favourite memories surrounding this particular season. We’ve entered autumn, though technically the Autumn Equinox for 2013 isn’t until September 22nd. The weather is cooler, the leaves are changing colour, and the rain is abundant here on the Island.

Think positive and I’ll share my favourite things about this season:

  • Soups and Stews. The smell of a house as it marinates in slowly simmering soup or stew. Not to mention how cheap it is!
  • Cozy sweaters, scarves, socks… Time to snuggle up into warm clothes. Lounging around the house is sweat pants. Can I get a “heck yeah!”?
  • Snuggling up to your loved one for extra body heat. Last night, I damn near burned my back on the heat emitting from my guy.
  • Fires. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, ’tis the season to fire it up on those cool evenings. I love sitting by the fire and listening to it crackle. Feeling the heat coming off of it. The smells it creates. It envelopes all your senses… And you should let it. It’s the small things we need to remember how to enjoy.
  • Pumpkins. Pumpkin pies, little kidlets dressed as pumpkins for Halloween, pumpkin seeds, carving pumpkins… Which brings me to…
  • Halloween. Oh heck yes!
  • Halloween Candy. On November the 1st. $$$
  • The smell of pavement after a good rainfall. Reminds me of my childhood :)
I could write a longer list easily, but I’ll leave you with that.
Try to remember that it’s the small things in life that we need to appreciate. Time is not our ruler. Birds do not have watches. Dogs have no schedule. Cats do not worry if they are late for bed. They don’t get sad if they are five minutes later to their destination because they took a moment to check out the smells along the way.
Step outside. Close your eyes. Feel the temperature against your cheeks. Breathe in the smells of the season. Listen to the rain as it falls. Relax. This moment is your life. Live it!  
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I received my Bzz Kit!

As luck would have it, I had just finished applying an organic honey and redmond clay mask to my face (just mixed the two ingredients together), and an attractive young man knocks at my door to hand me my bzz kit!

Included in the Bzz kit is…

Toothpaste: Crest Pro-health
The package states that with regular use, Crest Pro-Health provides benefits including fighting cavities, fighting plaque, fighting gingivitis, and building protection against sensitivity.

I’d like to take a moment and admit something. I did my first shoe slam on Monday. You see, my ladies slo-pitch team awards shoe slams to people that hit infield pop flies, strikes out, fouls out, and so forth. A shoe slam is when you pour your drink into your cleat and then slam it out of said cleat. Just my luck that the drink was a degree away from being ice, so I had to stop mid-way and let my teeth rest. It’ll be interesting to see if this tooth paste helps with my um… My shoe slamming abilities. Taking a break during a shoe slam isn’t too fun.

Back to the tooth paste… It also claims to give you fresh breath with “profresh” for hours. Coolio!

Onto the toothbrush: Oral B Pro-Health (soft) 
The package claims benefits including removal of hard-to-reach plaque, reducing gingivitis, cleaning along the gumlines, stain removal via polishing action, removal of odour causing germs on the tongue (has a tongue scraping pattern on the back of its head), stimulates gums (Important for re-vascularizing the gums to promote gum health), and is gentle on the enamel and gums.

Features include the CrossAction Bristles, Tongue and Cheek Cleaner, Soft Gum Simulators, PowerTip Bristles, and Indicator Bristles (to let you know when you should change the brush).

Lastly, the kit included three sample sized mouth rinses:
Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection
This mouth wash is alcohol-free and its flavour is “Refreshing clean mint.” The directions are to use after brushing and flossing your teeth then rinsing with water. After that, rinse with the mouth wash for 30 seconds, and avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes after use.

The company, Proctor & Gamble have a host of sub-companies listed on the WikiPedia entry. I had no idea they owned both Crest and Oral B amongst many other personal care products.

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Getting Out of Debt…

When I was younger, I got a great paying job without having finished high school. I was bringing in $3,200 a month at one point. When I was 18, I applied for a credit card with the full intentions of paying off the balance each and every month. This, of course, isn’t how it played out.

After buying a car for $400 cash, then having to replace the clutch disk, the master cylinder, then the slave, then the master, then the slave (silly mechanic), after spending all my savings I broke down and used my credit card to pay for the mechanic and supplies. Eventually, my card became too easy to use and my bank continued to increase my spending limit.

I bought a brand new car, and things just spiralled out of control. By the time I was 20, I was already $20k in debt. My grandma passed away when I was 23 and left behind some money which I immediately put onto my credit card after reserving a small amount for a washer and dryer. Shortly thereafter, I was accepted into nursing school and immediately dove back into debt in order to pay for daycare, my car insurance, gas money, food, text books, and so forth.

Now with a car loan and consumer debt, I am starting to slowly climb back out. At this rate, I should be able to be debt free in… Six years. That is if I am to make minimum payments and not use any of my credit to accrue more debt. I have “misplaced” my credit card on purpose and avoid using my bank card. It’s all cash from here on out.

I thought I’d post about this so that I can hold myself accountable for the small purchases I make. For example, the other day I bought a bag of chips and a pop for my drive home from dropping the kids off with their dad. haha

I haven’t spent much on myself at all lately. The last item of clothing I had purchased were bras back in June because I had weaned my youngest and no longer fit my bras. He weaned in February, yet it took me until June to finally spend money on something that was relatively needed. Then I spent the whole summer wishing and pining after dresses and finally for my birthday, I spent some birthday cash on four dresses for $90. And now it’s raining. :P

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I take it back

So, after I posted that update, I segued into a pretty bad week, emotionally. Had a bit of a tiff with my mom that left me second-guessing my parenting, my approach with my ex, and my general lifestyle; then my room mate sent me a long (Looooong) message about the cleanliness of the house (I’m not dirty. I just have two children to look after, a busy life, and not nearly as high standards as roomy), which came at a terrible time, then my slopitch team was upset and asked that I come thirty minutes early to the games to help set up. I have no problems helping with set up, but I busted my ass that particular evening to try and get there early with my kids, yet only managed to get there ten minutes prior to game time.

I tried explaining that with two kids of very different difficult age groups–a toddler who can’t get ready by himself and needs items packed, and a 7-year-old who sticks her heels in and refuses to help out or get herself ready…seriously, it took me 15 minutes of asking for her to get her shoes on because I was too busy to hover over her while she did it–I am not able to come thirty minutes early for the 6:30 games on the days that I have my children. I tried to explain on deaf ears that I would be more than willing to help with clean-up and to come in early for set-up when they are at their dad’s. This didn’t suffice and I received the response “We all have kids.” Fair enough, but these people also have husbands or partners that live with them, parents, sisters, brothers, good friends, babysitters… I have nothing. No help. I’m on my own, so it’s hard to keep the house clean enough to meet my room mate’s standards, feed my kids dinner, work, pack up, etc. and make it to the early games on time, never mind being early. I just can’t do it. I’m not even close to being superwoman.

I am defeated. I shouldn’t have joined a team sport.

I guess the worst part of it was not receiving a single word of understanding from these other women. These fellow mothers. I don’t expect the world to bend for my inability to get my shit together, but I do expect a little understanding from other parents. I guess they don’t realize how lucky they are to have a good network of family or friends. And to the lucky ones who are with partners, they are even more lucky. Parenting can be really hard…Especially without support.

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Personal Update

I don’t get to blog as much as I should. I started blogging when I was 12-years-old, right after I built my first ungodly Geocities website, complete with hundreds of animated gifs. I wrote the HTML code meticulously by hand and kept a journal on the website. Back then, there was no term for it, though now “blog” has become a well-known word.

I turned 29 last week. I’ll be 30 next year, and although a lot of people see it as a pivotal birthday, I don’t harbour any feelings of nostalgia over my impending birthday marking three decades on earth. I’m 29. I am in the process of a divorce. I am a parent to two children who both live with me ninety-some-odd percent of the time. I work as a nurse, a traffic control person, and an occupational first aid attendant. I have more debt than I care to admit to. I’ve lived and am living a very busy life and none of that will change because of a birthday.

I haven’t sat down to write about myself in a while, so I just kind of felt like pouring out some random text. I rarely sit at my computer any more, especially since my laptop died a few months ago.

In June, I moved into a new place where I now live with a room mate and his daughter whom he has fifty percent of the time. He and his girlfriend are awesome people and I enjoy hanging out with them. The house is set up in such a way that we both have our own personal space so the kids and ourselves aren’t overwhelmed with the shared space.

I also have a boyfriend who is just amazing. Kind, attentive, and a good person. A really good person. Genuine.

I’m in a happy place.

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Toy Time Outs

My seven year old doesn’t have a strong concept of responsibility. She has been pushing boundaries lately, which I can’t fault her for. Not only is it part of her development as a kiddo, summer brought on a lot of changes. No more school, no more schedule, and in the interest of trying to find time to take work shifts, she had been spending more time with her dad and her grandma.

Although her father and I separated almost two years ago, it is still and forever will be an emotional struggle for her to cope with. Fortunately, as time goes on, her father and I have begun building a good co-parenting relationship.

As she pushes boundaries, I have to remain firm and try to guide her. That’s my job as a parent. My job isn’t to be her friend and she has demonstrated that by making it difficult to discuss things with her. Becoming angry and upset over small semantics. Tomato vs tomahtoe. I’ve learned well not to force talks with her. She doesn’t want to talk; she wants a strong leader. Organization.

Long intro short, each night at 7:30, this mom will march into her room to grab all the toys on the floor and throw them into a one week time out. If this does not encourage responsibility, the time outs will extend to two weeks. Then three.

Last night, I implemented this for the first time. By the end of the night, her room was spotless, I had two large bowls filled with toys to be put into toy jail for a week, and before hopping into bed, she straightened her slippers ever-so-slightly so as to avoid me removing anything further from her room.

Let’s see what happens tonight…

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