Saturday, April 28, 2012

Thats some dog

So I am sitting in my easy chair eating soy beans in the pod. My 'little" dog Christie is waiting for me to give her one. I reach into he bowl and put my hand out with the bean. I just knew she would not eat it. Well, she sat there in front of me and ate the whole soy bean, pod and all. So I gave her another and watched her do the same thing. She just chewed it up and swallowed it down.

She continued to sit there and watch me eat the soy beans. Unmoving. Always watching. Ten minutes passed and I looked down and she was still there . Not taking her eyes off me. So I gave her another soy bean and watched her. She took the pod in her mouth and chewed. I thought to my self, "Stupid dog". Then she did something unexpected. She opened her mouth and pushed the pod off onto the floor. She then picked out the beans and ate them right down.

I was floored. I thought it was a fluke so I gave her another pod. She did the exact same thing. That dog watched me eat the soy beans and learned how to eat them. Over the next hour she stayed by my side and shared the bowl of soy beans. Now if I could just teach her to put the pods in the waste bowl.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why do I keep doing what I do?

These last few weeks at work have been very stressful. We have started doing moderate complexity lab test for a procedure we now perform at our clinic. That means that we needed to get our lab accredited. It has been a lot of work to get all of the records in order. Then we received notice that we were going to get inspected by COLA.

Now add to the mix one of my nurses telling me she wants to transfer out of our clinic and back to the dialysis clinic. Our clinic has a small team and each team member plays an important role. The loss of one person means extra work for every one else until a replacement can be found and trained. Just to make it more interesting, my lead RT turns in his letter of resignation. Great, the only one of my techs that can scrub the arterial cases that the surgeon feels comfortable with on the table and the most experience.

Did I mention that this last week was also spring break so I have had one or two teammates out each day? I have been at the clinic every morning before 6 and leaving after 5 for the last three weeks. Being in a salaried position means there is nothing extra on the pay check for all of the extra hours. The added stress and extra hours really took a toll on me both physically and mentally. I was starting to think why do I continue doing what I'm doing?

Then we have a follow up visit on a patient that we saw in the clinic for peripheral artery disease. She was not able to walk around the store without having to stop and rest her legs and let the cramping go away. Two weeks ago week did a procedure on her legs and restored blood flow to her lower legs. During the visit she started to cry. The nurse was speaking in Spanish so I didn't understand much of what was said. I thought she was up set over something. The nurse gave her a hug and she started to tear up as well. At this point I really needed to find out what was going on. I was told that she is very happy. For the first time in a long time she was able to go dancing.

And that is why I keep doing what I do.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Vampire's new trick

I was at work last week when my cell phone rang. It had an unfamiliar area code so I answered it. It was the blood bank calling to set up a donation. I thought this unusual because I have their number memorized. I felt bad that it has been so long since I last donated. I said sure, sign me up for platelets for Sunday.

I arrive early just in case they have a cancellation. I get the paperwork done and kick back to read my Nook book. I no sooner turn it on and I get called into the screening room. My weight is up and my blood pressure is down. Oh well.

The first thing I notice when I get to the back is that they did a remodel. The canteen was made larger and they had computers set up for the donors to use. The next thing I noticed was all the new faces. I only saw two techs that I knew. This does not concern me as I have such good veins.

The tech sticks the 15 gauge needle in my arm and I don't even feel it at all. She took a blood sample and returned a few minutes later. I was eligible for a double platelet and a unit of red cells for 90 minutes on the machine. Sure, why not. I have nothing else planed for the morning.

I looked through the movie list to see if they have any new movies that I want to see. Nothing peaks my interest so I decide to just read my book. 90 minutes just flew by and my procedure was complete.

I'm not sure why I have been avoiding the vampires here lately. I have never had a bad experience and everyone treats me nice. I guess I just needed a break.

Well, breaks over!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tour Davita: The Aftermath

While on the tour this year my knee started to give me problems. If not for the encouragement from my team I never would have made it. On the last day of the ride my right leg was almost useless. Pushing down on the pedal when going up any hill was extremely painful. The pain in the knee continued even after the tour so I had to go to the doctor to see what was going on.
After x-rays and a MRI the problem was identified. I tore the medial meniscus. There was edema and fluid collection with slight swelling and degenerative changes as well. I opted for conservative therapy. I had my first steroid injection and the knee is feeling better all ready. I have a second injection scheduled for December and I hope it will be the last that I need.
I hope to be back on my bike this weekend and see how it holds up.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tour DaVita 2011: The Glory

The tour was awesome as usual! Backroads did an excellent job on the route and the camp sites. The food was catered out this year. I was rather disappointed with breakfast and most dinners but lunch on the road was always good.
Day 1: The bus pulled into the beautiful park like setting of Butternut Ski resort. I checked in and made my way to the bike line. Backroads fit me for a bike and adjust my helmet. I then make my way to the tents. Same as always, two people per tent. I am nervous about sharing my space with someone I have never met. I pick a side and set my things out for the ride the next day before I go out exploring the grounds. I met up with the Lifeline Vascular Access team for dinner. Then it was back to the tent for a night of sleep.
Day 2: There were two options for the ride today. The basic option was a short 53 mile ride and the long option was a formidable 86 miles. I started off with the mind set to save my self for the century ride. I arrived to lunch by 11 o'clock so made the decision to do the long ride, The country side was beautiful. The trees looked like they were trying to decide if they would start changing colors. I had a flock of wild turkeys cross the road in front of me along the way. The hills were a real challenge for me. It was just one hill after another. I did make it all the way to the finish line but my right knee was was killing me. It was dinner and bed.
Day 3: 76 mile ride for the day. The day starts off with a very long up hill segment. About 13 miles to be more exact. Not all at once but just one after another after. When lunch rolled around my knee was done and I was ready to quit for the day. My teammates encouraged me to continue so I looked for a wrap for my knee. Backroads helped me out once again with a bandage wrap. Not quite an ace but it did apply a little compression. We headed back out on the road and I was able to finish out the day. Once again it was dinner and bed. I slept much better this night as I was so exhausted.
Day 4: I have been on two other Tours and I have not been able to complete the long ride. I was not sure I had it in me to finish this ride again. The morning started off with the sound of rain hitting the tent. It was going to be one of those days. I had to make the decision by mile 53. That is where the ride split. One way was the century mile ride and the other was the century kilometer ride. Once again my teammates encouraged me to push myself like I have never pushed my self before. This day was no different than the previous 2 with regards to the hills they just kept coming. My knee was starting to hurt even more than the previous day. We finally made it to the coast line where the ride would be more or less flat. However the wind off the Atlantic ocean was very strong and of course it was a head wind. I think I would much rather have hills than a head wind. With a hill you know where the top is and the reward is the down hill. I sent my team on ahead as they will pull you off the road when it gets dark and I didn't want to be the cause of them not finishing. I road the last 8 miles on my own. I just kept pushing down on those pedals and moving forward. Then blast it all if there wasn't another hill thrown in before the end. I almost lost it right there. But then the Backroads van drove by and shouted words of encouragement. I finally made it to the turn into the camp grounds and tears welded up from my eyes. "I made it!" I kept saying to myself. As I crossed the finish line and there were so many people there to cheer me on. I am so thankful for the words of encouragement that not only came from my team but also from people that I didn't even know. This was truly an experience that I will never forget.
Reflecting back on the ride and all the miles that were logged on this tour it is quite a feat. We rode our bikes from one side of Connecticut to the Atlantic ocean. On the first day we rode through three states, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut.
WOW! What a ride. I can't wait until next year. Hear tell it will be in Denver.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tour Training

I did a 38 mile training ride this morning. We were on the trail at 0630. It was still dark but it was nice and cool. The small animals were on the move with the cool weather. I almost ran over several different critters. I was concerned because I didn't want to swerve to miss and ride off the trail but I didn't want to hit the animals either.

I had visions of being laid up in the hospital with broken bones and such. I started to have poems run through my head about the incident. I was on my bike and hit a squirrel and to the ground I did hurl. Besides the squirrels, there were several lizards, red birds and field rats that crossed my path.

It is because of these incidents that i have decided to make that my last long training ride before the tour. The evening rides are not as bad with the critters. I only have to worry about the heat. Due to the heat I will be keeping the rides to 14 miles max.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Tour DaVita 2011:in training

It is hard to believe that another year has passed and it is that time again. I look forward to September as I do Christmas. It is time for the annual Tour DaVita. This year the tour is in beautiful Connecticut. If I have my way the weather will be cool but more importantly, dry. Last year in Washington State it rain most of the time we were there. The weather broke on the final day and we were able to see the mountain. I still had a lot of fun and enjoyed talking to teammates from all over the states.

This year I am going to push myself to do the century ride. On the third day of the tour we are giving the option to do a 100 mile ride. I have not been up to the challenge in the past tours but I am training hard this year. I have been doing daily 14 mile rides and then this last weekend did a 50 mile ride. I know it doesn't sound like much but I am training on a mountain bike. Not to mention that the temperature has been triple digits for just about the last month. I was able to do the 50 mile ride in less than 5 hours and the temperature was 94 when we finished.

I will continue to do the short 14 mile rides during the week but I think I will hold off on the long rides due to the extreme heat. I think I will keep it under 30 miles a day on the weekends. That should be three hours in the saddle, more than enough to toughen the skin for the tour.

Last year my camera bit the dust due to the wet weather. I kept it under my wet weather gear but the rain was such that it soaked though the gear. I hope to have a new camera to take with me so I can capture all the memories. So check back after September for a follow up on how well I did and I hope to have some pictures posted.