Saturday, September 30, 2006

Cel-e-brate Good Times, Come ON!

I just made up a song of celebration:

Abigail's coming back,

Abigail's coming back,

Abigail's coming back to Pennsylvania!

I wish you could hear me sing it to you:) I am excited! I really love that kid, and I've missed her quite a bit while she was having her big Chicago adventure!

It pains me to think that she will probably be doing it again in just a month or 2. :( But maybe that time I will get to go with her and see all of you Chicagoans!

What's that Smell?

I my line of work, it is not uncommon for me to ask "What's that smell?" In fact, nursing emphasizes that odor can be a very important part of an assessment, and to do my nose credit, I am able to sniff out MRSA urine, a lower GI bleed, C. Diff, and just plain infection. But this is not really about work...

Living in Hershey, PA, it is not uncommon for people I meet to ask me if I "smell the chocolate." The Hershey factory is right in the town of Hershey (and the Reese's factory is nearby, just outside "downtown Hershey"), and much like the mushroom factory next to WA or the General Mills factory in St. Charles, it does emit a rather distinctive odor, which is not unpleasant in small doses (it kind of smells not exactly like chocolate but kind of like a chocolate-scented body spray....) I have really only smelled the chocolate one time, so it's not like every time you walk outside you get a chocolate craving (I mean, I do, because almost everything causes me to crave chocolate, but most people don't walk outside and think "Man, I need me some chocolate!")

Anyway, so the other day I stepped out of my house around 9:00am and took a deep breath of the cool, crisp, autumn air, and thought, "What's that smell?" I continued to try to identify the odor as I walked to the dumpster to deposit my trash. I decided it wasn't related to the dumpster at all, and remained puzzled as I walked to my car. As I unlocked my door, it hit me: it was the smell of Cheez-its!

Maybe it is the earth crying out for the rich dairyland of central PA to return to making what every rich dairyland should make... CHEESE!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Addicted to love...

or the internet. I am serious. I have an internet problem. I was seriously making up love songs for the internet...

I love you internet.

Nothing else is quite like you.

When you and I are together,

I never feel blue.

Internet, I love you.

Have YOU been injured AT WORK?

You know those commercials that lawyers have where they are all "Have YOU been injured at work? Tell them YOU MEAN BUSINESS!"

Yep, that was totally me.

I sustained an injury at work yesterday. I was trying to open a glass ampule to draw up some medication for my patient. The thing about glass ampules is that they are "scored" across the neck and you are supposed to just be able to break them open. Yeah. Right.

I always open an alcohol swab and put the metal/paper portion over the neck of the ampule as I break it. It was a suggestion that my nursing instructors gave to help decrease the risk of getting cut by the ampule should it break unevenly or should a small piece of glass go flying. Anyway, that is what I did, but the darn thing was so difficult to break, my hand holding the ampule rebounded and the "breaking" hand ended up getting cut right along my nail line. Oww.

It bled profusely. By the time I had put everything down, blood had run down my hand, all the way to my forearm. Being well-versed in first aid, I washed it well, cleaned it with alcohol, applied pressure, and put a bandaid on. By the time I had finished giving the medicine to the patient, I had bled through the bandaid. I spent the rest of the day "dressing my wound."

This would not have been a big deal- everyone gets cut by an ampule at some time- except for the fact that last week I took care of a medic who had gotten cut by and ampule... and ended up HOSPITALIZED! It got infected and she had to have it cut open and stuff... YIKES!

Maybe I will need to sue...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Today I signed my lease, tying me to Hershey until October 1, 2007, at least. It will be interesting to see how I feel about that commitment when it ends. As for right now, I don't know if I can say how I am feeling... I did a lot of anticipatory feeling about this move, and now I think I am just emotionally exhausted.

I would also like to note that Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of this blog (although only on Blogger since April.) When I started this blog, I didn't know if it would make it a whole year, but it looks like it has. This blog has played a big part in my life over the past year, receiving my venting and connecting me to people in ways I didn't anticipate. This is one commitment I don't regret.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

When the small stuff becomes the big stuff...

Maybe I celebrated too much yesterday.

Today I almost killed a patient... well, not killed, but I did do something that had a huge potential for harm, and in a less stable patient could have been potentially lethal.

Thank God, no harm came to the patient. In fact, when I told him what had happened, he thanked me, saying he had more attention today and got to talk to a pretty girl longer today than any other day of his hospitalization (he is so sweet!)

But the fact remains that I did something completely terrifying to me, and worse, potentially harmful to my patient. I know we all make mistakes, but I guess I just expect more of myself.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Celebrating the small stuff....

Today I did not kill anyone (patient, family member, friend, or stranger), intentionally or unintentionally.

Today I consumed high protein, low fat foods.

Today I got to work early enough to enjoy getting a Soy Chai Latte from the Starbucks in the lobby.

Today I did not have anything bad happen to my car despite driving on a very flat tire for a very long time.

Today I did not mispronounce the majority of the words used to describe the significant medical history of my patients.

Today I received a picture message from my daughter (she is in IL now.)

Today I packed a small but measurable number of boxes for my move.

Today I did not spill any food on myself.

Today I helped a woman with her breastfeeding technique.

Today I did not holler "Way to drive... or NOT!" to the person who cut me off at 70 miles an hour. In fact, I did not yell anything at all.

Today I did not cry in public or in my car.

Today I said hello to one of the nurses on my floor who recognized me from church (I didn't see him, but he saw me and said hi. Plus, he has a kid Abigail's age... he has 7 others besides her, so he really knows about 4 year olds.)

Today I did not steal Todd's home decor items (almost, but not quite.)

Today I did not over-eat at dinner. Or lunch. Or breakfast, but mostly because I didn't eat breakfast.

Today my pants were on the bigish side.

Today I blogged despite being tired.

Today I hit the snooze button 4 times.

Today I said "thank you" frequently.

Today I received a nice compliment from a patient.

Today I did not kill anyone, intentionally or not. (This is on here twice because I am really scared I might accidentally kill someone at work sometime. I need to stop worrying about that, but then again, worrying about that is part of what makes me a good and thorough nurse.)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006


Her voice sounded anxious... excited, confused, colorful. Even in the haze of sleep that surrounded my tired body and my exhausted mind, her voice cut, even before her words.
"New York- it's on fire- something happened- go turn on your TV!" Eryka screamed into my cell phone.

I stumbled into the living room of an apartment that wasn't mine, turned on a television that wasn't mine and sat on a couch that wasn't mine. Without my contacts in, I quickly moved to sitting on the floor in front of the TV. There was smoke pouring out of the side of a building- a building that had no particular connection to me. "... World Trade Center..." said one of the voices from the morning news broadcast... I think it was Diane Sawyer. I sat, dumbfounded, and tried to process what was happening. By the time the second tower was struck and the word terrorism had been spit from the mouths of the newspeople, I was on the phone with Sean. Corporate had closed every branch of Rand McNally retail stores, and after calling the staff, he came to pick me up. Before he got there, I watched the towers fall.

I got a call from the airline where my roommate worked saying she was safe and grounded in Houston. I stopped worrying about her and started worrying about Michelle, my friend who loved so many in New York City. I got ready and put some food together, and Sean and I went to sit with Michelle so she would not be alone.

When we got to her house, she had already take 3 Valium. My memories of that day are of her; seeing her mourn for the city she loved, watching her worry over friends and family who she couldn't contact, uniting with her in anger and confusion over the "who" and "how" and "why" of the day. She laid down in front of the TV, alternating between sleeping, watching the unending newscast, and caressing the photo of the twin towers in her coffee-table book of NYC. The rest of the day is a blur- I got my period... none of us ate all day... I got home and was scared to be alone.

The next day the US State Department would buy out the entire stock of Rand McNally maps of the Middle East and Afghanistan. Within a few weeks, the globe in the front of the store would have a worn spot over the country of Afghanistan. Rand would produce a special edition map showing Afghanistan, India, and the Middle East. The "Flags of the Nations" display would be vandalized, and we would be sold out of everything and anything with an American flag on it. We would sell maps and road atlases galore to those trying to find their way home while all of the air travel was shut down, and globe sales would shoot up well before Christmas as our world became a little smaller.

But that night, I was sad, just as I am now. I recognized that just as the assination of JFK would be the defining moment of my parents' generation, 9/11 would be the defining moment of my generation. And I have no words for how disenchanting that was.

Today I remember those who were killed, innocent victims of an act of hate and terror. I remember those who lost their lives in their intuitive response to disaster- trying to help other people. And I remember that no matter what your role was in that day: observer, escapee, victim, bystander... even instigator of terror... we are all in the same boat, and we all need the grace of God that is new every morning.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Apple

It was firm against my teeth and I heard it crack as I closed my jaw around it. Sweet juice ran down my chin and the smell of fall drifted into my nose. The skin of the apple felt smooth against my tounge, and with a single bite I felt the coarse kitten-tounge roughness of the juicy flesh. I pulled it from my lips and saw the creamy-white wound I had made in the pink orb. I waited a moment, then continued to chew, thanking God for the apple.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I'm in the money! And other such nonsense...

Today I have received my first paycheck as Grace Kirk, RN. YEA! It is nice to finally be making a real income! Also, it is nice to know I will be able to pay my rent when I move on the 21st.

Yes, friends, for those who don't know, I am moving to a new apartment on the 21st of this month. It is walking distance to Abigail's daycare and my hospital, right in the sweetest town on Earth, Hershey, PA. It is a 3 bedroom place, which means that I will either 1) have a guest room (which would be soooo fun!) or 2) have a live-in nanny type person for when I am working PM and Overnight shifts. I have made an offer to someone, and we will see what happens...

Work has been crazy- I finally feel like I am getting into the groove of things. It is a completely different experience than the hospital experience I had in Chicago. But different isn't always bad- it is just different. Once I feel more comfortable with all the computerized charting and strange hierarchy of med student/resident/fellow/attending, I think I might really start to like it:)

My parents will be here the 16th and 17th. YEA again! They will be taking Abigail back to IL for a visit when they fly back. She will be there for 2 weeks:( I already miss her when I think about it. But I know it will give me time to get our new place organized and it will be nice for her to see her dad and his family, especially since his grandma just passed away.

Anywho, on to a more fun topic: BABIES! Or rather, baby. As in Charis Moriah Huff. Who is now almost exactly one week old. Check out my favorite newbie here. She is cute. I like her. I like her parents. And I am sad that I am missing out on her first few weeks of life:( Ironically, Moriah missed out on Abigail's birth because she was in Pennsylvania.

Anyway, have to be up at the crack of dawn, so I will go now. The thrill of the paycheck is pretty darn nice, and it delighted me to be able to have my first transaction be a transfer into Abigail's savings account. That makes the hours on my feet, the lower back pain, the mad hunt for a weekend/evening/nighttime babysitter well worth it. I love knowing that I can do that for her.

I miss you, Chicago. Come love me in PA. And bring me Portillo's. And Culver's. And Chiggy's.
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