Tag Archives: nursing

Boob Voyage (Pt. 2)


The stage was set, now all we had to do was wait for our guests and guest of honor!  Everything was smooth sailing as long as those damned balloon streamers stayed put.

The first vignette people would visit would be for “Sarah’s Love Notes,” a station in the foyer dedicated to writing down some encouraging words in case she needed a little pick-me-up or as a reminder of how much she means to us.


Erin and I cut black & white baker’s twine and pink scrapbook papers ahead of time so it would be less time consuming for the guests.  Each little note was wrapped up with twine and placed in this keepsake box, decorated with 3D flowers and scrapbook paper.


We made sure to bring the papers to work too, so people who weren’t able to attend could still write a little note.  The hospital never sleeps, so somebody had to work on the night of the party.


We wanted to make sure the inside of the box was just as pretty as the outside so we decorated there too.  In case you can’t read my handwriting it says:


If you’re feeling down & blue

Here’s what you need to do:

Read a note from your crew!

We’ll stand by you tried & true,

Always there to see you through,

No matter what your boobies do!

Now it was time for food, drink and games.  As we mingled, Erin and I directed the girls to the other stations.  The next station was for the Word Game.  Each girl collected two bead necklaces to wear.  We used my old chalkboard platter to write down a list of forbidden words.  If you heard another guest using any of the words, you got to take one of her necklaces.  At the end of the party, the person with the most necklaces won.  In our haste, we forgot to take a picture of this station, so I jacked this from a friend!


It got a little violent towards the end, but they meant well!  I’m happy to report there were no injuries sustained.  Good thing because we were off the clock!  We were trying to get a picture of most of the group when the riot broke out over the word “boobies.”


The “Mad Lib” vignette was next.  In this game, you were to write down your name, the body part on the opposite sex you like the least, and the reason why.  Later we would read them out loud, replacing the written body part with the word “boobs.”  The funniest entry would win a prize.


It was quite revealing;  I found out most people hate boobs because they’re crusty, hairy, smelly, and because they hang off the body like tails.  Sounds like these girls need some soap, a razor, and a better bra.


Each of the prizes contained tons of candy, a Starbucks gift card, and a coffee coozie with a breast cancer awareness ribbon embroidered on it.  All good choices for the nurse in your life, ahem.  Sarah had some prizes too.  Lots of coworkers put together care packages that included jewelry, journals, devotionals, comfort food, blankets, Bath & Body Works stuff, robes, cards, and other “feel good” items.


All in all, the party was great and it was my “do something nice for someone else” resolution for the month of September as well as my “something new” resolution.  I’ve NEVER really celebrated a diagnosis before, and it felt really really good.  It was nice, for a change, to focus only on the good in a situation.

I know some of you have probably read these posts and still don’t get why we’re celebrating at a time like this.  And yeah, maybe it is a little weird but it just makes more sense to us to celebrate the power of knowledge and the gift of an early diagnosis than it would to succumb to the “what-ifs” and the anxiety those things cause.  We’re not saying we don’t worry at times, but we’re acknowledging that we want better for ourselves and our friend.  So, farewell!  TA TA to the ta-tas…and Boob Voyage!  Here’s to your health!

**Happy to report that our prayers were answered and Sarah is recovering!**


Boob Voyage (Pt. 1)!


First off, I want to thank you all for the incredible support of The “C” Word.  I had such cold feet when I typed that post for fear of being misunderstood or judged.  I revised it a million times, and almost deleted it more times than that before I decided to pull the trigger and just publish it already!  I’m so flattered and honored by your encouraging words, countless facebook shares, repins, texts, and the readership.  However it resounded with you, I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to put it out there.  You guys are fantastic.

There are many reasons I needed to post that.  First, nurses are paranoid and hyper-aware of generalized symptoms and ailments because those things often bring our patients too us.  They garner attention but we are plagued by the “what-ifs” at times.  Second, I had this crazy dream that I was diagnosed with cancer.  My coworkers were my nurses, and when they told me they were gonna have to look at my butt and check me for bed sores I politely declined the invitation.  That kind of rattled me.  Third, and most importantly, my coworker DID receive a diagnosis.  And while there is a lot of emotion involved in that, we’re all very thankful that it was revealed at this time.  She has been so open and forthcoming; its allowed us to support her the way she needs/wants to be supported.  Everybody’s different after all!  She wanted to have a Pre-Op Girls night and we were happy to oblige.  It was time to say “TA TA to the ta-tas!!”  All aboard for the BOOB VOYAGE!

As you can imagine, there isn’t much time for party planning when something so major comes up, so we hit the ground running.  Since I’m not in the business of throwing a bad party, come hell or high water, so I told asked my friend/coworker, Erin, to be my co-planner.

We formulated some goals: a little tongue & cheek, a little glam, and maximize on the theme.  Our pink, black, and gold color scheme looked great…despite what that naysaying clerk from Bed, Bath & Beyond said as I made my tablecloth purchase.  Just ring me up already, lady!  I’m glad we went that route though, plastic tablecloths don’t feel glam to me.  The hanging decorations came in a kit from Party City for < $11.  Before you venture down the “Make Your Own Poofs” road: you don’t save money DIYing it, and you certainly don’t save yourself a headache.  Been there, done that, learned the hard way.  Just buy the kit.


We had three pound dip with chips, chocolate covered strawberries, sausage rolls, ham & cheese sliders, cocktail weenies, lingerie cookies, Hugs sugar cookies, incredible cupcakes from a local bakery, and various beverages including our Pink Party Drink.  Our attendees brought dishes to share.


DSC_0003What’s a fabulous drink if you don’t have a pretty glass to sip from?  A waste, that’s what!  We served our beverage in wine glasses with a pink & white straw and a strawberry for garnish.  We cut a lime, and used it to wet the glass rim and apply sugar.  It works much better than water and keeps the sugar from falling off.  It’s like glue!  Since presentation is everything, we placed our glasses on this Old Hollywood-esque gold, mirrored tray from World Market.


You may recognize those lingerie cookies.  I’ve helped make these before with a heart-shaped cookie cutter, and decorated them as panties for a bachelorette party.  But they absolutely work as bras and boobies!  The pink cookie was made with regular sugar cookie dough, a small dose of Wilton’s food coloring (Rose) and a Hugs candy.  That couldn’t have worked better with the color scheme if we had tried!


We got untensils/plates/napkins on the cheap by going to Dollar Tree.  It really allowed us to spend our money on the things that mattered.  Erin dotted our napkins using a round sponge with metallic gold paint for the pink napkins and pink paint for the gold napkins.  Anything for the color scheme!  I was a pretty simple added touch, and it was absolutely worth it.

As party favors, we packaged strawberry cake pops (without the stick) covered in white chocolate and oreo truffles. Not to let a good opportunity pass us by, we placed the confections two-by-two as their chocolate coatings dried and finished them off with a pink center.  See what we did there? 😉



Erin and I bought clear balloons from Party City and used a funnel to pour metallic confetti into each one.  ALL 72 of them.  A few balloons were scattered on the floor but we had grand plans for the others.

DSC_1029Our menfolk used needle and thread, and a little backtalk (I’m looking at YOU, Dustin) to string the balloons all together by their tails.  Once completed, we taped the strands to the ceiling leading the guests from the entryway into the living room.  I won’t lie though, one strand kept falling down, and required lots of unplanned attention right up until guests starting arriving.  If you like this look, I would suggest using fishing line or something high-test so you won’t have rogue decorations to contend with.  Luckily though, the balloon strands behaved while the party was going on.  Phew!


We added some streamers here and there, lit candles, and set up veniettes for our guests to enjoy.   Come back in the coming days to hear about how the party went!  Happy Fall!

The “C” Word.


I talk about cancer ALL the time because it’s the culture I’m embedded in, but I rarely talk about how it makes me feel.  And really, as I type this, I don’t know that I want to tell you how I feel about my job.  For the most part, I have it together.  But sometimes I do feel a little buried beneath the weight of what I do.  I’m obligated to a lot of people, and I’m last on my own list.  Most importantly, I have someone’s life in the palm of my hands, and I pray every day before work that I’m guided to make decisions that are in the best interest of my patients.  But that’s a tall order.  While my faith in God is fierce, sometimes I question what’s happening around me.  Was an unexplainable outcome the thing that was the best for them?  Why did A, B, or C happen?  Did I make a mistake? Did my prayer request fall on deaf ears?  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.

Obviously, I’m happily obligated to my patient.  A patient once told me that a cancer diagnosis means you’re just going to be plucked from your regular life, but everything carries on without you no matter what’s happening with you exactly.  You go to the doctor with a generalized complaint.  Maybe you have the flu, or mono, or anything other than cancer.  You’re rushed to an oncologist, who rushes you to an inpatient unit and you’ve never even been hospitalized before.  All of a sudden you meet me, a perfect stranger who is about to get ten kinds of fresh with you.  And while I’m doing things I have to do, you feel incensed and violated.  And I don’t blame you.  I’m inspecting every inch of your body checking for wounds and bruises, putting the bed alarm on so you don’t fall in unfamiliar surroundings despite the fact that you can clearly get around just fine, counting your urine, asking when you pooped last, requesting you to recall your entire medical history with a room full of family members.  And that’s just the simple stuff.  I’m bringing you paper after paper, explaining central lines, blood transfusions and all the complications, the full body scans I’ve scheduled, talking about chemo, and hair loss, and nausea, and NADIR, and sex, and that you’re going to be with me for the next month.  WHAAAAT!?!?!  What is right.  What the hell is going on?  You haven’t heard one word I’ve said since someone told you that you have cancer.  And who could blame you?  Cue the chaos, turmoil, and preemptive mourning… and we haven’t even DONE anything yet.  It’s day one down a long row to hoe.  And here I am acting like I know what you’re going through, trying to reassure you and move you along this entirely terrifying course of action.  Have you ever really considered what all that must be like?  I can’t even swallow pills, what the heck would I do in a hospital?  I don’t even remember which girls I worked with last night much less my ONE prescription.  Checking myself and thinking about what the patient goes through always brings me back down to earth.

Over the last few years, I guess I thought maybe I would get used to cancer.  I certainly talk about it at work like it’s just one more thing.  On my floor, it is the common denominator in my patients.  But even if I see it day in and day out and can regurgitate information on everything oncology until I am blue in the face, I am not desensitized to how much cancer can rock somebody’s world.  Yeah, it’s medicine, nursing and the disease process and all.  But it’s NOT just that.  Deep down, I know cancer isn’t just one of those things.  It’s scary and awful and it takes people on a ride like no other.

Of course, I feel obligated to the wellness of the family dynamic as it defines my patient’s support system.  I spend weeks and months on end sometimes, getting to know the patient and their family.  I see people in what they would probably prefer to be private moments.  I help them bathe and use the bathroom when they were hoping parts of their body could remain a mystery, I cry with them when they get bad news, I cry with them when they get good news, I referee tense family moments when the patient’s goals don’t match the ones their family members set forth.  You, the patient, don’t know what it’s like to be the person caring for a loved one with cancer.  They are stressed out, they feel out of control, and they feel useless because they cannot help you.  You, the loved one, don’t know what its like to be a patient.  They are scared, in pain, disappointed in themselves and their inability to function like they normally would, and everyone says cliché things that don’t make anything any better.  Sometimes it rips people apart.  Sometimes it brings people together.  Cancer changes everything.  As a nurse, I’m supposed to distance myself from you to some degree so that I can maintain my emotional stability when things get hairy.  How do I do that when I’m so intertwined in everything my patient goes through?  As a nurse, I feel like I’m on the up and down roller coaster right alongside them.  So if you’re reading this, and you ever find yourself in the bed or at the beside with your loved one, believe wholeheartedly when the nurse tells you she loves you and wants to help you with whatever you need.  Don’t dub it as some disingenuous remark to smooth a rough situation.  You have no idea the amount of time she spends thinking of you, the years of struggle she spent learning her craft, the uphill battle she fights to make sure your needs are met.  She’s the eyes and ears of the doctor, and she advocates for you when you can’t do it for yourself.  And more importantly, trust that she is working tirelessly for you.  Trust her.  Don’t ever refer to her as just a nurse.

I’m obligated to the strength and wellness of my team.  Its hard sometimes to keep a grasp of reality.  In the hospital, you see the sickest of the sick and there’s a fine line between “doing alright” and “crashing” when you think about people with literally NO immune system.  We have to remember to support each other so we can be successful providers and that ain’t always easy.  I look around at my coworkers and all of their skills and know when chaos ensues, everyone will come together like a well-oiled machine to save our patient.  And I look at newer nurses, and wonder how they see me.  Can they rely on me to support them and make them confident in their work?  Are they going to be alright when the shit hits the fan?  Am I emotionally available to provide some comfort when everything is just too much?  Do they trust me to have their backs?  The team is critical, its the only way to care for each other and your patients.  How do you make sure it’s bulletproof when your goals for your patients aren’t always met?  Sometimes, everything works out and I get to watch people that I’ve become incredibly attached to go on to have wonderful lives with renewed purpose and positivity.  And sometimes, the battle is lost.  In those times, it’s hard to remember there are thousands of patients that do well in outpatient settings and never have to meet me.  It’s a very special population of patients.  From the day I started, all fresh and scared of everything, until now, with the addition of some spiffy certifications and some experience tucked under my belt…I still look at my patients and think there’s nobody more deserving of my time.  And I know I’m in the right place.  You should feel that way about the people you serve.

My unit is a lot like a family, and I think that’s because we’re shaped in the light of the family-centered care we provide.  In the last couple of weeks, cancer struck one of our own.  The unit as a whole has been shaken.  In my time there, we’ve never had a current coworker have to deal with this.  So what do you do when then unthinkable hits too close to home?  You rally behind her in support.  My friend is fearless, and she’s survived cancer once already.  She’s a fighter, and she’s not about to entertain any negativity.  And we’ve embraced it with open arms.  Get ready guys, the next post will be all about our Boob Voyage Party!  Stay tuned!

Tattoos, Tea Parties and MORE!


Hey to all you new followers out there, so glad you decided to join in on this little piece of my world!  So happy to have you :).  So, what’s been going on in my neck of the woods for the last bit?  It’s been busy and fun, so I’m gonna give you lots of pictures this post too!  For starters, I finally made it to the Lazy 5 Ranch, the local “drive-thru zoo,” if ya will.  If you haven’t been then you must go, and take me.






“You come here often?”

Then, I went to the finest bridal shower ever…a TEA PARTY for Jenni-Pho with my girlfrands!  It was beautiful!  A wicked windstorm came out of nowhere (thank you North Carolina!) and made us pack up early, but we still had a blast.





I had a major craft session/sleep over with my friend Katie.  I sassed up my kitchen and gave a naked wall that’s been bothering me a little something to say.  I would post a tutorial but I feel like you guys know how to trace, cut and glue ;).


Basically, that took me twenty minutes so it left plenty of time for me to micromanage Katie as she tried her hand at the Scrapbooked Frame.  Awesome results!  This is for the new niece or nephew she’s expecting in the months to come!


She also dropped off my cookie jar I painted many moons ago and I love it!  Now I just gotta make some cookies!


Soooo, while I’ve been sprinklin’ glitter and playin’ with my pretty papers…my friend, Jenn, has been preparing for war.  Okay, not war, but a long-fought battle to become an IRONMAN.  She blogs about it too: the charity, the training, and the motivation to do tha damn thang.  She’s pretty spectacular, but she didn’t have to swim 2.4, bike 112, and run 26.2 miles to prove it to me!


I’m so proud of her and I wanted to pay a little respect and talk about how we celebrated!  She had been talking about how eager she would be to get her M-Dot tattoo after the race, the official signature of an IRONMAN.  So with help from Jason, her husband, D and I made a secret appointment with her tattoo artist.  Coincidentally, I had made the perfect Sauce Jar without even knowing it.  I love it when a plan comes together!


A VT Maroon-colored lid to honor her Alma Mater and charity, a cute knob with a vintage bike printed on it, atop a jar filled with candy and her appointment card tied to the rim.  Surprise!  We’re takin’ you to get your tattoo!!!!


I killed two birds with one stone here in fulfilling my New Year’s Resolutions for August.  The tattoo surprise is my “something nice” for the month as well as my “something new” as I had never even stepped foot in a tattoo shop before.  It was a good first experience, didn’t hurt me one bit!


We contemplated a table full of options and little by little she narrowed her choice down to this fine number:


And this is how it turned out…awesome tattoo.



I hope yall have a fantastic weekend.  The Charlotte 49ers are about to make history and we’ve got front row seats.  Talk soon!

I saw that on Pinterest!


I don’t know about you, or if you’re as obsessed with Pinterest as I am, but we are gonna talk about it today.  I get real pissed off when I find an idea on Pinterest and I expect miracles to occur and the Earth to move based on how much stock people put into said idea.  I mean, if you tell me its the best thing since sliced bread…I expect it to be true.  But sometimes it just ISN’T and you sit around wondering if you actually did it right.  So, let’s dive into a couple of these ideas and I’ll tell you if they’re worth it before you invest your energy.

So did you see the whole “soak your shower head in vinegar” to improve water flow and rid the shower head of any moldy gunk with minimal effort on your part?  Yes?  Ok, I let my shower head get as disgusting as I could stand for the sake of this post.  This was difficult for me since I’m pretty anal retentive about my house being clean.  I have been in living situations so cringe-worthy that I have LITERALLY been reduced to tears in my past.  But that’s just a whole other thing all together.  So here is the before picture:


Don’t JUDGE me, I did this for you!

And here is the during picture:


And here is the after:


So basically, not worth your time.  Obviously, I need my shower head to be spotless.  So I still ended up having to clean it with the old toothbrush like I always have.  Not to mention the fact that I left the vinegar bag hanging for way longer than the post instructed me to just because I wasn’t getting any of the desired effects.  So my whole bathroom smelled like stanky vinegar for over a day.  And if you’re having trouble imagining what that must be like…think about a locker room occupied by a gym class full of sweaty boys knowing they barely place enough value on personal hygiene to be considered “good human code.”  That ought to do it.  Pass on this pin.

Another post that sang to me was the “Sharpie Art Mug” because I think on the whole, nurses consume ungodly amounts of coffee and there are statistics that prove it.  We’ve made the top ten list and when someone brews a fresh pot of coffee at about 3AM this is what my coworkers look like:


So of course my nursing buddies could appreciate a thoughtful coffee mug.  I got a mug at Dollar Tree and used some sharpies I had on hand.  I do suggest using a fat-tipped marker, not a skinny one.   I think the handwriting just looks better!


I wrote a real sweetsie note to my friend and baked it in the oven at tree-fiddy for 45 minutes.  Simple as that.  I let it cool off and wrapped it up with all kinds of coffee and coffee-themed snacks.  This pin was totally worth my time.  And It can be worth yours too!  I wish this idea was mine originally, but it ain’t.  I never would have thought to bake a mug in the oven because I wouldn’t want it to shatter in a fiery inferno ball and burn my house down.  But people bake in ceramics all the time so I don’t know what I was afraid of.


I hope you all have a great week.  Maybe you can actually make something you’ve pinned for once if you’re feeling up to the task!

Creative Pay it Forward


I’m not the chain letter type, but this year I got sucked right in.  A friend of mine posted this on her facebook and I couldn’t resist:

“Creative Pay it Forward!  The first five people to respond to this post will receive something from me during 2013.  This gift can be anything: something crafty, a book, a homemade treat…whatever it is, it will be a surprise that  hits when the mood strikes!  There will be no warning, it will just be there.  The catch?  The first five responders must post this on their own page and do the same for five of their friends.  You up for it?  Let’s do this!”

So I posted that at 0551 one morning (I know right, why the HELL was I awake?)  By 0752 I had my five:  A girl I don’t TOO well, the wife of a far away Army friend, a former coworker, a friend from high school and…a BOY!  None of these people were necessarily the people I thought would reply and none of them has ever received something from me that was intended solely for them.  

My friend from high school went to college with me too, but we weren’t studying for the same career so we drifted a little.  She has since moved back to our hometown, started studying to be a nurse, and started working at the same hospital as me so we see each other every now and then.  BUT I only like to see her when she’s on her break and she comes to see what’s going on in my neck of the woods.  Otherwise, I see her when my patient needs a STAT EKG…and those shituations ain’t fun for any party involved.  Anyway, she’s almost done with nursing school and she’s going to work in cardiology.  If you’re reading this, congratulations girl!

Now, I have often claimed that I am “emotionally unavailable” and called people dumb when they get all sappy and cry.  In fact, I think I did that when I left Nashville after the bachelorette party.  HA!  But  D says that’s all a big fat lie, and he knows better than to believe that I’m not sensitive.  Truthfully,  I am sentimental, way more than I would dare let on.  So since I’m tapping into my thoughtful side, I was pretty inspired to start my first gift.

Nursing is highly rewarding and insanely stressful.  Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I had done something differently at work.  I mess up the schedule.  I say the wrong things to the wrong people at the wrong time.  I remember at 0300 that I had a 2300 medication to give. I disappoint someone that trusts me to deliver care.  I make mistakes every day, and it literally hurts my feelings.

But I do things right too.  I can be the reassurance you need when you have a “feeling” something is wrong with your patient.  I can stick by your side when you have to troubleshoot something unfamiliar. I have been the hand to hold when you’re scared of what lies ahead in your treatment course.  And I have been the person you shed a tear with if things don’t go the way we all had hoped.  Its up and down all the time and it’s easy to get discouraged.  But every now and then there are bright spots that should be celebrated:

a nomination from your peers for the hard work you thought went unnoticed, 

an “I love you” spoken by your patient when you’ve done something they thought it was impossible,

a promotion you worked hard for,

a visit from a former patient with a full head of hair, a smile, and a sincere “thank you” for your care,

a letter from a patient or their family that names you specifically for something you did right,

a certification you thought you would NEVER achieve,

a box of warm Krispy Kreme doughnuts delivered to you by your boss just because…

please don’t EVEN pretend you wouldn’t be pulled to that polka-dotted box like a moth to the flame

Most of those things are only fondly recalled memories but some of these things you can protect and revisit when the time is right.  When I feel the emotional weight of my job I go straight to this box full of cards, letters, photos, certifications and other mementos.  I can hold these things in my hands, know that they are real, and remind myself that even at my worst, I am NOT a crappy nurse.  It’s a nice thing to have when you need to remember WHY you chose this profession.  I can look at those tangible things and say, “this is why.”  I want my friend to have that too.  I want to remind her that she is valuable and capable even if she doesn’t feel it right at that moment.  I want her to  be able to take the lid off of that box of keepsakes and KNOW she is doing what she is meant to do. SO I went shopping, collected all these supplies, and went to work.


For the top of the lid:  I used my fancy edger cutter to make the strips of paper a little more fun and I also ripped the chevron paper by hand for added texture.  I used Tacky Glue to glue everything down.  I had some of those flower shaped paper punches so I used those and then placed self-adhering pearls in the center.  I took the paper doilies that I got from the baking section of Michael’s to make things look a little shabby chic.  I got the spigot knob from Hobby Lobby; it’s perfect!



For the inside of the lid:  I used all the same papers and materials from the top of the lid.  I also got the fabric flower from Hobby Lobby.  It was intended for hair…but I do what I want.  I also took the opportunity to write my friend a message.




For the outside of the box:  I used a stencil I purchased for another craft ages ago.  I stippled dark blue paint all over using that stencil.  I decided the sides of the lid were too plain, so I made polka dots.


And that’s it!  I gave it to my friend and she loved it.  Apparently she’s been showing it to her friends and they love it too.  If that’s not a win win then I don’t know what is.  Happy crafting my friends, and if you’re feeling squirrely maybe you should Pay it Forward too!