The tragic death of a local teen was all over the news and social media. A few days later the organ recovery was scheduled.

The organ recovery team came in with their own surgeons, anesthetist, scrub, and coordinators.  They talked our scrub through setting up the back table with containers to receive the organs.  I helped her open instruments before pulling drugs for anesthesia.

I walked with the coordinator, anesthetist, and another nurse to ICU to transfer the patient to the OR.  Her parents were at her bedside giving all the last hugs and kisses and tender words.  They weren’t ready to leave her side and walked along with us to the last OR door.  I could hear her father trying to breathe and gulp back the sobs.  We paused once more for the parents, and then they stepped back and watched us push the bed down the hall and around the corner.

Preparing her for surgery was not different than any other case except for the unfamiliar faces in the room.  Monitors were attached.  Her body was prepped and draped.  A surgical time out was called. And then one of the coordinators read a prayer that thanked and honored the teen for her choice to give of herself one last time.

It was an interesting experience.  My role was to assist the recovery team with supplies, medications, and anything else that came up.

Once the clamps are applied, the heart slowly stops.  The activity on the monitor would normally call for a frenzy of action, but here the anesthesiologist simply turns off the monitor.

Each viable organ is removed, examined, and packaged by its specialty surgeon. At the end of the case, the patient is sewn up with a wide stitch.  The recovery team leaves with their precious cargo.  We pull back the drapes to see our previously pink patient now gray and blue.

The eye bank was there to collect the corneas.  The young man snipped and cut a circle around each brown iris and lifted the tissue.  He then pulled out the fluid in each eye with a syringe, packed the eye with cotton and a round form, and closed the lid.  It was during this process that she seemed finally gone.  Without her eyes, there was only a dark void in her gaze.

We cleaned and draped the body to leave on a stretcher to await transport to the morgue.

♥  Stepson calling me excitedly to tell me how his speech contest went Chili-rubbed tilapia Birthday dinner for my parents  Good coffee   Walking Dead is back Rolling my eyes with the scrub over the surgeon’s latest tantrum Weekend to myself  Painting my beehive Painting and staining in the kitchen Big hug from my littlest niece Hearing my other niece tell her daddy that she’d had the best day ever (after ending it with a big family dinner)   Good days at work  Dreaming with my hubby

♥  Afternoon nap in my new hammock  New sport headphones   First road run back after 2 months Puppy belly Good neighbors Perfect cheese omelette My sister coming over for lunch  Looking over cards and letters from my husband and stepkids Evening run with the hubby Building my beehive with my husband   Great co-workers  Yummy shrimp salad

hello february

Binge watch Netflix’s House of Cards

Make heart-shaped french toast

Send care package to stepdaughter

Finish the second mitten for my husband

♥  Family-approved recipe: creamy lemon chicken pasta Day off with stepson Beaming husband after fun weekend at lake with his friend  Painting class (painting our pups) with my best work pal   Mimosas, cheese, meat, and crackers with friend Haircut Listening to my husband and stepson work out together Eating lunch with my dad and stepson  Singing and dancing in car with stepson Making our favorite grilled salmon – only one more left from our Alaskan honeymoon last March ♥  Learning one of the orthopedic surgeons had complimented me to the evening charge   Quiet house in the evening  Another 3 hour lunch with my sister

I worked on a busy telemetry floor for five and a half years.

It took about a year to feel confident in my practice.

It took a few more to start to feel that dreaded burnout.  At first it felt like I was just in a bad funk.  I would shake it off only to find myself in the same place a few months later.  I’m already susceptible to insomnia and migraines.  The increasing stress in my workplace (fewer staff, greater workload, sicker patients, faster discharges) was only making things worse. In the beginning I was taking Excedrin migraine at the end of the shift.  Soon I was swallowing those pills by lunch.

It finally got bad enough that I was having to take medicine before the beginning of my shift just to ward off migraines. On top of which those pills were not working as well for me, and I was ready to ask my nurse practitioner for something stronger.

It was time for a change.

And that is a great benefit to nursing.  Your one degree can qualify you for a number of specialties.  That change can be as simple as a transfer in your hospital.  It might mean resigning and applying elsewhere.  Or it could require you to go back to school to advance your degree.

For a simpler move, you don’t have to absolutely know where you want to go so much as know where you don’t want to be.  Reflect on what you are most dissatisfied about your position and then start looking at what might be a better fit for you.  A change that involves more school may require shadowing and more research to help you decide whether the additional cost and time is worth your investment.

In my case, I saw an opening for a operating room nurse and applied.  A couple of interviews later I had my new position in the same hospital and even on the same floor.

It was definitely a culture shock for the OR is so different from the floor that I felt like a brand new grad all over again.  It was like hitting a reset button.

A year and a half later, I am so much more happier and content in my new role.  I’m expanding my scope of practice and knowledge base.  I’ve made more wonderful work friends and contacts. My schedule and pay are significantly better.  Those pesky headaches are almost nonexistent.

And who knows?  Maybe five years down the road I’ll be ready to switch it up again.

 

 

 

 

♥  Taking my brother and sister-in-law out for dinner Weekday lunch with my sister Finding someone to gift an unused toaster oven  Getting off work early   Helping my stepson put up his shockingly bright blue led lights in his room My husband’s beard Surprise birthday dinner for co-worker New pens  Organizing my desk Monopoly on a rainy Sunday afternoon ♥  Good coffee    Peppermint Bark Dark Chocolate  Parks and Rec is back

snow bunny

Build my first bee hive

Try out this Beer Chocolate Chili recipe

Painting with a Twist with my work pal

Plan ahead my Valentine’s gift for the hubby

Have a movie night with root beer floats for my stepson

♥  Secret Santa gifts at work My stepson has started saying “Love you” to me at night before going to bed. Morning cuddles with my husband  Family breakfast time Date night One mitten down, one to go   Looking at photos over the last year  Already planning next winter’s trip New family pic on the wall ♥  First night back in my own bed after a road trip   Making monthly goals    Seeing some muscles pop  Planning my garden                 

2014 2014 will forever be one of those years that I remember as a turning point in my life. I became a wife and stepmother in March.  Those two instant roles have required a lot of growth on my part – some I expected and some that surprised and overwhelmed me.  I know there is more to come. I joined the cardiovascular team in the spring (after leaving 5 1/2 years on a telemetry unit to try OR during the last of 2013) and have continued to expand my professional scope.

What did I do in 2014 that I had never done before?  Planned a wedding ceremony, got married, visited Alaska, caught a salmon, went dog sledding, went for a walk in the snow, rolled and played in the snow, rode a train, visited the most northern bar in the U.S., kept warm in a yurt, made a pie from scratch with berries I picked myself, caught bass, caught crappie, bought and drove a boat, participated in a work mentorship program, planted trees, went to a sex shop, rode on a motorcycle in the rain, tubing, wakeboarding, ate fresh honeycomb, took a jiu jitsu class, skiing, ate a New Mexican breakfast burrito, snowball fight, watched a torchlight parade and fireworks over a mountain

Did anyone close to you give birth?  Marlene

Did anyone close to you die? My husband’s mother and aunt both passed this year.

Where did you go?  Alaska, Florida, New Mexico, Colorado

One of your favorite memories?  A concert date with my husband:  wonderful dinner, Zac Brown Band, and drinks overlooking the city and learning to ski in New Mexico with my husband and stepson

What do you wish you’d spent more time doing? Spending more time with friends

What do you wish you’d spend less time doing?  Allowing myself to wallow in negative thoughts.

What song will always remind you of 2014? Happy by Pharrell and All About that Bass by Megan Trainor

What was your favorite TV program? Walking Dead,  House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, True Detective, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife

What was your favorite movie?  Maleficent, Interstellar, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

My Happiness Project

1. Set a bedtime.
2. Make my bed every morning.
3. Always be reading something.
4. Move more.
5. Toss and organize.
6. Give proofs of love.
7. Leave the past.
8. Fight right.
9. Don't expect praise or appreciation.
10. Kiss more, hug more, touch more.
11. Aim higher.
12. Find some fun.
13. Ask for help.
14. Smile.
15. Realize it's possible.
16. Don't compare;be inspired.
17. Focus on what I have.
18. Beware of drift.
19. Take a chance.
20. Listen.
21. Be mindful.
22. Cultivate gratitude.
23. Spend out.
24. Do good, feel good.
25. Show up.
26. Have the courage to be imperfect.
27. Find joy in the ordinary.
28. Work smart.
29. Enjoy now.
30. Talk to strangers.
31. Go outside.
32. Start where I am.
33. Show up on time.
34. See art everyday.
35. Love with abandon.
36. Be colorful.
37. Dress the part.
38. Revel in accomplishments.
39. Learn something new.
40. Fear less.
41. Take pictures.
42. Speak with integrity.
43. Don't be critical about small things.
44. Manage my pain.
45. Surround myself with creative people.
46. Practice, practice, practice.
47. Don't force it.
48. Deal with something once.
49. Trust my instincts.
50. Avoid gossip.
51. Choose to see the best in people.
52. Take time to be silly.
53. Throw my own party.
54. Be a mentor.
55. Lean into my fears.
56. Find the others.
57. Do the unexpected.
58. Don't break the chain.
59. Do things others aren't.
60. Slow down.
61. Be cool with not being cool.
62. Be kinder than necessary and more generous than reasonable.
63. Pretend I'm good at it.
64. Keep in touch.
65. Row my own canoe.
66. Do what only you can do.
67. If it doesn't work out, find something that does.
68. Dream bigger.
69. Notice what's right.
70. Stop talking. Start doing.
71. When in doubt, choose laughter.
72. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
73. Respect everyone.
74. Be early.
75. Delete the unnecessary.

Three Simple Rules

1. If you do not GO after what you want, you will never have it.
2. If you do not ASK, the answer will always be no.
3. If you do not MOVE forward, you will always be in the same place.

All I Need

1. Someone to love.
2. Something to do.
3. Something to hope for.

U.S. States I’ve Visited

Alaska
Arizona
Colorado
Georgia
Florida
Louisiana
Maryland
New Mexico
North Carolina
Ohio
Pennsylvania
Texas
Virgina

Countries I’ve Visited

Mexico
Colombia
Thailand
Vietnam
Bermuda (British territory)

I write about…

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