Joshua

There is not many people in the world who inspire me anymore. Working in the field of healthcare, you see a lot of grumpy, mean, negative, uninspiring people. However, Joshua inspires me.

I didn’t meet him at work like you’d assume I would. I met him at the indoor soccer arena.

Joshua was born without a right arm. Where a stub could be, he has a single finger that he, through the help of surgeons has gotten working again. On this left arm he has a stub, followed by what has attempted by medicine to be an elbow and a few fingers. He makes life work, playing soccer, texting, holding his baby and even working and holding a job. Joshua holding a normal life isn’t the only inspiring thing- it is his attitude about his prediciment that makes him that much more unique- he finds ways to laugh about it. He jokes about being a better goalie than most, he calls himself the T-Rex, he even jokes that the fingers he has are ALL his middle fingers and flips the bird often.

I’ve tried to think of the things in my life that I would give up doing if I were in his shoes. When the list comes to mind and I see him doing it, I don’t feel sorry for him, I start to listen. When I first met him he was angry, a doctor had suggested that he would be a poor father due to his condition. He was out to prove them wrong, and since has many, many times.

He’s strong. When people knock him down in soccer he doesn’t lie on the ground and whine like everyone else does, he jumps right back up and keeps playing.

He’s got heart. He realizes the obstacles he needs to overcome, finds a way to do them and practices it til he masters it.

He’s going places. He’s figured out how to go out and live the life he wants.

He’s better off than 90% of us, and that, inspires me.

Stayin’ Alive – New CPR Guidelines

By far the best video I’ve seen in awhile.

Orthopedic Surgery: What You Need to Know Before You Go Under

Working Pre-Op for Orthopedic surgery is what I do when I’m not blogging for you lovely people. I absolutely love my job and love my patients, but I find quite often (think multiple times a day) that there are lots of misunderstandings about the basics of surgery. Never fear! I am here to cover as many of the bases and explain the pre-op process for you to hopefully clear up any and all questions you may have.

Lets start at the beginning; you’ve found yourself injured and need surgery. You’ve found a doctor, a surgical center (whether it be an outpatient clinic or hospital) and are ready to set a date for surgery. My best advice is this; if it is a larger surgery (ACL repairs, joint replacements, rotator cuffs, etc.), or if you have medical problems that could cause problems, schedule your case for earlier in the week. It is much easier to stay overnight on a Monday or Tuesday than it is to be treated on a Friday or Saturday, when many outpatient doctors have the day off. To ensure wonderful quality of care, schedule earlier in the week.

If you must schedule surgery later in the week for whatever reason, make sure you are going to be at a place where they can provide quality care irregardless, such as a hospital or an outpatient clinic that is open on the weekends. I advise going to teaching hospitals because they are usually big-name private hospitals or state funded hospitals.

Don’t forget to make sure your insurance covers your surgery! Believe it or not, sometimes people will schedule surgery, come in for their procedure and discover that insurance will not cover the procedure for whatever reason. It is ridiculous and difficult to work around, so to avoid all the drama, when you schedule your procedure ask to be transferred to the financial staff to have them check for pre-authorization for your case. They’re happy to do so and takes stress off of both of your minds while you’re prepping for surgery!

The week before surgery: Most people don’t think to prep for surgery this far in advance, but trust me, there is a lot you’ll want to do to make sure you are totally ready for surgery.

Make sure you have someone to drive you to and from the surgery. You’ll want someone there while you are under anesthesia so that the physician can talk to them immediately after surgery and give them any photos from the procedure (many arthroscopic procedures have lots of photos taken during them for you, the patient), go over post-op instructions and even give them your prescription to fill while you’re being woken up from anesthesia. Most places will not do your surgery if you do not have a ride home.

Make sure to pack a SMALL bag to take to surgery with you. I would include a small book or magazine (in case the surgery ahead of yours runs longer than expected or for your ride home), your medications (it is nice to have the medications in their original bottles for the pharmacy team and for the surgeons, just in case), and clothes that are appropriate post-op and easy to get into.

Obtain anything you may need post-op now. When I had my surgery I went through band-aids like crazy, so load up on them ahead of time while you can. I also purchased clothing that was easy to get in and out of ahead of time and made sure I could get into and out of them on my own. Many patients are thankful they took care of odds and ends before surgery, such as haircuts (many female shoulder surgery patients cut their hair short to be easier to style), manicures, pedicures and any waxing you may do. Not only will you feel prettier by doing these things, but you’ll feel more confident!

Consider an advance directive or a living will. Most states have a very easy form to be filled out. Consider it and your healthcare options. With Orthopedic surgery you will most likely NOT need it, however it is nice to have on file just in case. I have one and have actually taken the time to go to all hospitals in my area and drop off a copy, just in case of emergency. I also made sure my husband, parents and in-laws have a copy as well.

Odds and ends to consider: If you are having any kind of limb surgery, practice your daily activities without that limb, practice walking on one foot, dressing with one arm, etc. You’ll be so thankful when you are day one post op and realize that you’re fairly well practiced in feeding yourself.

If you are having a hand or finger surgery, get some plastic bags pre-op for showering. Your doctor will let you know when to shower, but having bags and tape handy helps. Consider buying a neoprene glove to cover over the top of your brace or sutures and to keep it clean.

If you are having a shoulder surgery consider what your limitations will be. When I was purchasing clothes I could wear post-op I went to the store and put my arm in a soft sling and practiced putting on clothes. If I could put it on with one arm, I purchased it. For me, it was tube tops and low-rise sweatpants (big and loose fitting in the waist, much more comfortable than other types). Mens sweatpants worked well also. The only thing I regret doing was not thinking of how I’d do my hair. Thankfully my family was willing to help me braid my hair every day (or ponytails, whatnot.)

If you are having a foot, ankle, knee or hip surgery you will be on crutches. Get yourself a pair and practice with them. If you’ve never used them before, call a physical therapy center, they’ll fit them for you appropriately and train you on how to use them. Some places offer crutch training preoperative, however this will take away from your time to prep for surgery, making the pre-op process go quite quickly and in a rush. If you don’t like that feeling of being ‘swarmed’, then do this the week before surgery.

If it is an ankle or foot surgery, consider a knee scooter. This scooter is quite helpful for those who need to get around easily post-op. You can order them in advance and have them delivered before your surgery by the product rep the day of. Many of my patients have them and love them. These are especially useful for those who are older (over 50 is my rule of thumb), overweight (over 250lbs is when it is quite difficult to use crutches), or if they have balance issues. Check to make sure your insurance covers them before ordering one- the rep should be able to verify for you.

The day of surgery: Try to arrive at least 10 minutes before your arrival time. Make sure that you keep your cell phone on you so that in case of a cancellation or if a surgery runs early they can contact you and ask you to get there earlier.

DO NOT EAT OR DRINK AFTER MIDNIGHT. No gum, no candy, no mints. No water, no juice, no fluids. I can not say this enough. It is imperative that you do not do this- it could postpone your surgery by up to four hours- if not cancel it completely. Anesthesia will not do surgery on you unless it is emergent if you’ve put anything in your mouth.

People question me when they come in chewing gum. Sure, you never swallowed it, but did you know gum has sorbitol in it? Sorbitol is a chemical that activates the digestive juices in the stomach, the same as food would do. This is why gum is such as fantastic diet aid.

Wear your post-op clothes into surgery. Do not wear skin-tight jeans, shoes that are difficult to put on (absolutely NO high heels), tight tops or anything that is difficult to put on.  I advise sweatpants and tee-shirts are the safest route to go. Make sure your shoes are easy to slip on.

Most places advise you not to wear makeup into surgery. This is because you will wake up after surgery looking like a raccoon, and frankly the nurses will not let you know (they’re quite busy taking care of you and your pain to worry about your makeup). If you MUST wear makeup, wear as minimal as possible. No false eyelashes or heavy eye makeup.

If you wear contacts, take them out. They’ll have you take them out before surgery anyways, so you may as well bring your glasses to surgery, which are easier for you to wear after surgery.

If you have any metal on your body, take it out. Piercings or body modifications of any kind need to be removed, jewelry need to be taken out (if a ring needs to be cut go to a jeweler- they can resize the ring while you’re recovering from surgery. If the hospital cuts the ring they may not be able to resize it or save the ring due to the poor quality of the ring cutter), and if you have any hair extensions, have them removed. If you have any metal on your body it can cause burns, infections, or can be displaced and cause more problems. Make sure to take bobby pins out of hair- it won’t necessarily cause your hair to burn, but it may make your hair to smell like it was burned- which can last for awhile (hair holds scent longer than skin does).

If you have anything loose or removable in your mouth you’ll be asked to remove it. If its easier to do it at home and leave it there, do so.

Most of all; be thankful you’re going to be feeling better soon! Enjoy the experience of being taken care of, listen closely to the instructions that the medical staff is providing you and make sure to ask any question you may have -they’re always happy to answer them!

If I could offer any last piece of advice, it is this;  feeling better is addicting- be ready to get back to feeling awesome! 

Happy Healing!

Rant: Antidepressants During Pregnancy

I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials, “if you’ve taken any of these antidepressants while pregnant, you could file a lawsuit.”

Let me begin this rant by stating a fact or two. I was on antidepressants when we started trying to have a baby, and I saw that there was a warning for my medication. I then took my medication to a pharmacist and asked about contraindications and drug interactions. I asked for studies and other information about the medication so that I could make an educated decision.

What I found was this (per a pharmacist and my PCP); If NOT taking the drug will kill you, take the drug. If it won’t, you need to find alternative methods of treatment and go off of the medication, because this medication is not safe for a fetus. With the help of my doctor I lowered my dose of the medication til I was off of it. Other methods of treatment were found and I was able to continue trying for a healthy baby.

Now some history on what happens when you ARE prescribed this medication…When you take any new medication that isn’t exceptionally safe for a fetus, your doctor will ask if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. If you aren’t pregnant at the time and want the medications still, they’ll prescribe it for you,  but will warn you about the risks and side effects. Anyone else remember the fun with accutane? EVERYONE who went on it was given a pregnancy test beforehand. Wonder why?

I have yet to find a pharmacy that doesn’t have protocol of the pharmacist checking your drugs with you before giving them to you. Even the low-level pharmacies (like Wal-Mart) do it. Once you have the meds in your possession there are these nifty little red and yellow warnings on the side of the bottle. They usually say “may cause dizziness” or “take with food,” but on the antidepressants in the commercials it clearly says on the bottle “DO NOT TAKE IF PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING.” It’s a BIG, RED warning. Impossible to miss.

So how exactly do they have a lawsuit?! I will never know.

My stance is this; If you were dumb enough to miss all of the warnings, then you got what you deserved. Let me state this again, YOU got what you deserved. Your baby on the other hand? I’ll forever feel bad for your baby, but you did that to them.

Lesson to be had? READ the warnings and labels. If you have a question about anything then ask the pharmacist or doctor who prescribed it. Drug companies cover their asses, why aren’t you?

Open Letter to @UKMedic999

Deark UKMedic,

It has been awhile since you have quit blogging, but we all knew you were out there. Between twitter, facebook, your wonderful wife and the rest of the online EMS community, it was hard for us to NOT keep stalking you. Yesterday I saw that your partner in crime and the other half of the Co-EMS bromance (theHappyMedic) posted about your last shift in EMS.

It’s been awhile since we have spoken, or heard from one another, and seeing this post on his blog was so bitter sweet.

UKMedic, I am so glad to see that you are moving on to bigger and better things. Knowing you, this is what you’ve done your whole life, you find something you are passionate about, you chase it, you become it and you obtain that goal. I am so glad to know you are happy doing things that you love, and while we will miss you as an EMS Blogger, as a writer and as a huge part of the Co-EMS movement and EMS 2.0, I am so glad you are doing what I don’t have the courage to do.

I hope to see you posting still on other peoples blogs…and I better darn well see you publishing research here VERY soon in medical journals worldwide!

All the best to you and yours. I miss you and will never forget the legacy you are leaving here in the EMS community.

Pretty in Pink – Medical Edition

Medical fashion is a field that apparently NO ONE is into. I absolutely love it, and love seeing all the options you can come up with while still staying in dress code. I have been loving Polyvore because I can play with medical fashion and share it with others!

Pretty in Pink - Medical Edition

The Story

All of these lines across my face,
tell you the story of who I am,
So many stories of where I’ve been,
and how I got to where I am,
But these stories don’t mean anything,
If you’ve got no one to tell them to,
Its true, I was made for you.

I climbed across the mountaintops,
Swam all across the ocean blue,
I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules,
but baby I broke them all for you,
Because even when I was flat broke,
you made me feel like a million bucks,
You do, and I was made for you.

You see the smile that’s on my mouth,
its hiding the words that don’t come out,
And all of our friends who think that I’m blessed,
they don’t know my head is a mess,
No they don’t know who I really am,
and they don’t know what I’ve been through like you do,
And I was made for you.

For those of you new to this blog, you have no idea that I used to blog full-time before this. I used to be an EMS/Medical blogger. I blogged about life, about being in healthcare, about the joys and struggles of doing what so many people do. For those of you who don’t know be outside of this blog don’t know I have stories to tell. I have life lessons that need to be shared, as well as the lessons I’m learning now.

After lots of tweets and discussing back and forth with others, I decided that I wanted to do both. Blogging for fun, with recipes, Things I love Thursdays and happiness and talking about the more serious issues in life. I hope you the readers will enjoy it as much as I have in the past, and can provide lots of feedback and insight.

Until next time, enjoy.

Things I LOVE Thursday

This week I have been on a medical kick, and you can tell from my tweets, blog posts and tumblr page. Let me tell you a little secret, I used to be a medical (EMS) blogger, and this week I have been missing it. Going with the theme of this week as it is, here is my medically related TILT.

  • New scrubs. Nothing makes you feel better than tossing on a pair of new, clean, recently ironed scrubs. Fresh. Non-stained scrubs. The kind that still smell good.
  • A really, really good penlight. I got mine from a friend in the military and I hang onto that thing like it is my life. I force the doctors to use a large flashlight if they loose theirs. Nobody is putting their paws on my penlight.
  • A damn good pen- another rarity in the medical field. Pen stealing is an art, and in my  hospital we aren’t allowed to have any pens with brand-names on them. Those are the best pens in the WORLD, so we all fight and steal for pens.
  • Grey’s Anatomy Reruns. They get me through a long week and a Grey’s hiatus.
  • Grey’s Anatomy textbook images. They are so freaking awesome. If I could, I would take a page out of the book and tattoo it on myself, my arm, my leg, my back.
  • Snarky doctor jokes. This weeks favorite: “Amputations are on sale, buy one, get one half off!”