Monthly Archives: December 2011

When Nurses (Try to) Diagnose

This week, my left foot and ankle swelled up. Naturally, I took a picture with my camera phone, which I do anytime I experience any observable physical symptoms. Hey, I like to document things! Why the eff else do you think I like blogging?!

I was showing a nurse I work with a picture I took of my swollen foot with my iPhone. To the top of my foot was a noticeably large red bump, which was quite evident in the picture.

Nurse: Oh wow, that’s a DVT! (i.e. “Deep Vein Thrombosis” or a blood clot occurring in the “deep veins” of the lower extremities)

Me: It’s not a DVT…

Nurse: No, that looks like a classic DVT!

Me: It’s not a DVT. (OK, sure I have two of the classic DVT symtoms… Foot pain and edema, but those symptoms could be many, many things. NOT A DVT!)

Nurse: Well, it could be a DVT. It could be one that formed in the foot. Rare, but it could happen.

Me: It’s not a DVT. DVT is “deep vein,” not superficial. It can’t occur in the foot. Why are you trying to diagnose me?! It’s quite obviously a running injury!

Excuse me, nurse… Do you have an “MD” behind your name? No? OK, then stop trying to diagnose me via iPhone picture!

There are plenty of times I’ve seen ailments in patients and known exactly what they are. Oh ya, that’s a stroke! Definitely pulmonary embolism. Classic atelectasis!

I get texts all the time from friends listing off their symptoms. 100% of the time, I’m not sure what their deal is. Friend says she has heartburn… Well, ok, that could be a million and one things from dehydration to peptic ulcer. Or, you know, it could be a symptom of first trimester pregnancy… Just sayin’!

But you can bet your bottom dollar I don’t try to diagnose them. And most of the time I tell them to go see a physician or a nurse practitioner who can properly diagnose. Because I am neither of those things… Yet.

My scope of practice is that of a nurse. I don’t try to play doctor, and I’m certainly not amused when someone else with the same credentials as I tries to diagnose me. #GTFO!

I believe medical students are taught something along the lines of “when you hear hoofbeats, look for horses, not zebras.” Meaning, consider the most common diagnosis FIRST. (Duh.) In my case, I’m a healthy young woman who runs long distances, has no history of heart disease, and has not recently embarked on any long duration flights (which can cause blood clot formation. That’s why they encourage you to get up out of your seat on long flights, people!).

On Wednesday, I saw a doctor who, after thorough examination, diagnosed me with a running-related ankle injury.

And low-and-behold, the physiotherapy he referred me for seems to be working quite well.

So, definitely not a DVT.

End of story.

My Trader Joe’s Run Recap

Last night I finally made my way across the border to Trader Joe’s. Normally I try to get down to Bellingham, WA once a month. Sadly my last TJ’s run was a couple months ago.

Sad because it’s less than a hour’s drive one-way. OK, that’s a bit of a ways away round trip, but totally worth it for cheap delicious gluten-free goodness and cheese.

Here are a few of the goodies I picked-up, including a couple new TJ products:

Cocoa Almond Spread

New TJ product! I bought 2 jars. I mean, how can you really go wrong with chocolate nut spreads?!

21 Seasoning Salute

I’ve seen this product throughout the blogging world. Go figure I buy it, yet have no idea what to use it for. Help!

Eggnog Almonds

New TJ product. These are yummy. I can’t get enough of eggnog right now! Starbuck’s (light) eggnog lattes, Booster Juice eggnog smoothies, and now these. 

Any bets on when I will eggnog myself out?!

Vanilla and Cinnamon Black Tea

Haven’t seen or tried this before. Might be a new TJ product?!

Dark Chocolate Roasted Pistachio Toffee

I tried a bite of this, and found it to be super sweet. I’m not really a fan of sweet, so I will probably pass this on to someone who likes toffee. 🙂

I also picked-up some pantry essentials, like a variety of canned beans (i.e. Garbanzo, black beans), gluten-free brown rice pastas, polenta, and Peanut Butter Panda Puffs cereal. And cheese, of course!

I think my roommates are a bit overwhelmed with the amount of food I added to their pantry, but a gluten-free girl has to stock-up when she gets the chance! Or I may need to add some shelves…

~~~

Question:
Do you like to keep a fully stocked pantry? Or do you prefer to keep just the bare minimum?

Why I Went Into Nursing

Most of the references I’ve made to my job so far on this blog have been, well, not exactly positive. I’ve focused on a lot of the negatives. How frustrating I find my job somedays. How much I want to pull my already untamed hair out by Friday afternoon. But there was a time I had high hopes for a career in nursing.

While getting organized to move, I came across the letter I wrote 5 years ago when I was first applying to nursing school. Obviously some of the wording has been changed. I did not graduate from “The Raddest University,” although close to it.


To the Absolutely Stunning Group of People on the Admissions Board,

Please accept my application to your awesome school of nursing at The Raddest University I’ve come across. I am extremely interested in pursuing my nursing degree at your institution as I find both the high quality of education and small campus atmosphere characteristic of your university to be very appealing. I am excited to take on an active role in the academic community while preparing myself for a successful future within the workforce.

I have been interested in pursuing a career within the health sciences since middle school. During the 9th and 10th grades, I was a candy striper at my hometown’s hospital and at a care home. It was through this experience that I found I had an innate desire to help others. I carried out various duties such as feeding patients, performing basic housekeeping, and engaging in casual conversation. I also saw what an intricate role registered nurses play within the care setting. Their job includes caring for patients, administering medications, and educating people on managing their health challenges, among many other tasks.

I’ve also had the opportunity to coach a high school girl’s rowing team since my 12th grade. I thoroughly enjoy teaching these young women new skills and watching them grow in their confidence and abilities. In my coaching role, I am responsible for the safety and well-being of the entire team, much as a nurse would be responsible for the individuals under her care.

Throughout high school, I balanced academics with a part-time job as a cashier at a grocery store. One of the important aspects of that particular job was having exceptional customer service skills. As a result of this job experience, I am comfortable working with people of all ages and from all walks of life. I particularly enjoy working with the public and accomodating the needs of each individual. I am presently working as a traffic control person, where I’ve gained the ability to make critical decisions in a timely manner. In this particular job setting, one must use their experience and critical thinking skills to ensure the safety of those working on the job site, and the general public using the traffic system.

I feel I possess many characteristics that will be beneficial in becoming a Registered Nurse. I have a great deal of experience working with the public, and am confident in that capacity. I’m organized and detail-oriented. I’m hardworking, energetic, and able to work well under pressure.

I believe there are many interesting avenues to explore within the nursing profession as it’s such as varied field. I’m not sure where my strengths will lie yet within this vocation; however, I’m excited and open to the many areas this field encompasses.

An area of nursing that interests me would be a position in a northern community of our country where there is a great need for Registered Nurses. I’m aware that nurses working in these areas take on a great leadership role, where they are often responsible for running health care centres. Along with completing my baccalaureate, I plan to continue pursuing education in the health science field. One of my greatest goals in life is to take part in “Doctors Without Borders,” and offer medical assistance to areas where those services are inadequate.

I truly believe the nursing program at your Truly Radical University is going to provide me not only with the essential skills to establish a successful career, but also skills that are going to assist me in life. Thank-you for your time and consideration, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerly,
Wannabe Nurse Rachel

Words right from my 18-year-old self. Funny to think it really wasn’t that long ago that I was dreaming of entering the career I’m in now. I know nursing (especially my field of nursing) has it’s hardships and frustrations, but the truth is, the majority of th0se frustrations are because of bureaucratic and political issues affecting my job.

It’s not the patients. Being a part of their journey, and seeing their progression from sickness to wellness (most of the time), or from dependence to independence is one of the most rewarding aspects of working in health care.

Being a guinea pig for an IV start.

When I get down because of workload issues, or because I’m being dragged down into the dungeon of despair by other nurses, or just because I feel like I’m going to lose my friggin’ marbles somedays, I have to remind myself there was a time that I was dreaming of being where I am today.

Whether I’m in this career for another 2 years or another 10 years, I want to be the best nurse I can possibly be. Not for myself, but for my patients. At the end of the day, caring for patients is what got me into this, and caring for patients is what gets me through the toughest days.

Flashback… Like hitting the jackpot to a nurse!

~~~

Question:
What drew you to your job or career?

Deceptively Delicious

Can’t believe another weekend is over already! Boo. 😦

As of today, I’m exactly 5 weeks away from starting full-time school again. The countdown is on! I honestly can’t wait!

My first college experience.

Somehow I don’t think my “mature student” experience this time around is going to involve late nights and Smirnoff Ice coolers…

~~~

Last night, my roommate and I were both in a baking mood and decided to tackle some relatively healthy treats from a cookbook that’s been collecting dust in the cabinet above the microwave. Isn’t that where all neglected cookbooks are kept?

Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. Yes, that would be Seinfeld’s wife.

I’d heard of this cookbook several years ago when I was ill and couch bound, and had all the time in the world to catch episodes of Regis & Kelly. I remember thinking “oh, that’s neat,” and then (honestly) forgot all about it. I love that I ended up coming across it because I really love the whole concept of this book!

Basically this cookbook is full of sneaky ways to get fruits, veggies, and legumes into homecooked foods, like macaroni and cheese and cookies, that might otherwise not be so healthy. It’s written mostly for young families, but hey, us adults can always use some sneaky ways to get our 8-10 servings of fruits and veggies too!

First off, we tackled the Brownies (with Carrot and Spinach) recipe, which includes pureed carrots and spinach in the batter. We substitued the all-purpose flour with gluten-free all-purpose flour (for me). I wasn’t a huge fan of these brownies; whereas my roommate loved them. They tasted a bit dry and not sweet enough to me, and I don’t even like my desserts super sweet! On the upside, unlike most gluten-free brownies I’ve tackled, these ones actually held together.

Just OK.

Next we tackled the Chocolate Chip Cookies with Chickpeas (no recipe). I was a little skeptical that cookies with chickpeas could actually turn out to be edible, but we were eager to give it a shot! We debated whether to add the chickpeas in whole (as called for in the recipe), but decided to puree them instead. We weren’t brave enough to stomache eating whole chickpeas inside cookies!

I was the official cookie dough taster, and my verdict was the dough was the bomb dot com! I knew these were going to be delicious little baked gems.

We were both in agreeance this time. These cookies turned out so well! They were perfectly soft and not too sweet, but had just enough sweetness from the chocolate chips. Plus, they’re packed with protein from the walnuts and chickpea puree.

Overall, our Sunday night baking fest was a success! I think the chocolate chip cookies were some of the best I’ve ever made, and it’ll definitely be my go-to cookie recipe in the future. The rest of the recipes in her book seem pretty easy, and I’m eager to try out a few more… Like the Coffee Cake with Butternut Squash. Yum!

~~~

Question:
Have you ever tried sneaking fruits or veggies into your baked goods?