June 23, 2006

Sandra's Surgery

Hello Family and Friends,

I've met so many 'friends' while traveling to Tampa with those beautiful Angel Cards for my book. From the nice lady at the gift shop where Sandra had surgery who has already ordered my book from Barnes and Noble, to my seatmate on the plane who has a relative at the same nursing home where I used to work in Zepherhills, Florida! The gentleman who is going to check on an address to send Oprah my book and another seatmate on the plane who is going to share my card with his co-workers and wife. Oh yes the lady at the Columbus airport who works at the bookstore and is a member of a book club right there in Columbus! My cards should be scattered across the United States from California to Maryland and on to Tennessee and Florida.

My sister, by the way, came through the surgery in fine shape. The doctor was able to 'fix' her back but she will be many months healing. Today she got out of bed for the first time and says the pain was a 10 on a scale of 1-10 - with 10 being the worse! She was very brave and the nurses all say she is a real sweetheart!

I stayed at the hospital almost 18 hours the day of surgery, and with only about 6 hours of sleep in 72 hours, I just about lost it at the airport in Nashville on my way home and had to call off for work tonight. (Which is why I was in such a rush to get back!) When I finally got on the the plane in Nashville for the last leg of my trip to Columbus, Ohio, I was asleep before the plane took off! I don't even remember taking off! At least there was no claustraphobia (hoping I spell that right)!

I return to Tampa next Tuesday for another couple days with Sandy and Craig as she comes home from the hospital. You can follow Sandy's blog at http://catsandsplats.blogspot.com after she gets home.

I'll write again soon.
Take Care on Your Journey,
~Linda/Mama Linda

June 16, 2006

Balcony Garden...

This is looking out the window that steps out onto our second-story balcony. Ching-Ching sleeps in the sun with her nose poking through the rails of our Balcony Garden. Jim's tomatoes that refuse to bloom are on the left. A pot of peas on the rail, and wind chimes to keep the good spirits around.

The sunset picture was taken a few hours later from the spot where Ching was sleeping.
(Click the px twice for close-up).

The good news is that my kids got their books today. The bad news is that Philip and Shelley aren’t coming to Columbus tonight. It’s a car thing. First, they were driving here to pick up the 1998 Saturn because we have the van for Jim’s work. (We love our kids.) Secondly, we decided their car might not be reliable enough to make the 300-mile trip to pick up the Saturn!

Maybe it would make it, or maybe it would play this game of overheating it does once in a while, and that wouldn’t be too much fun on the 80-90 toll road! So, Philip will fly here over the weekend, and if Southwest Airlines is on time, we may see him for 15-minutes before we have to leave for work. If not, it’s Plan C – and I’m not sure what that is…

Another bit of good news is that the Berrien Springs newspaper ran a story of my book being published this week. I noticed a flurry of hits at this blogsite from the Berrien Springs’ area, and then a few emails
from old friends there congratulating me. I haven’t seen the article yet, but some say it’s very nice.

A few book reviews have been sent to Amazon.com (Type in Dusty Angels and Old Diaries at Amazon) but they haven’t been posted yet because I have to set up the link. (Later tonight.) You can also order straight from the AuthorHouse by clicking on the link that I have posted above.

Or, since some of you have asked, order it from me and I'll autograph it for you. That would cost $12+$2 shipping USPS book rate. Email me at lindasbook@usa.com (Please tell me under comments if this link doesn't work. It doesn't from this computer and I've been toying with it for over an hour!)

Or, do nothing and just come back here to enjoy reading my blog :)

Some comments from those who have called me: (I you don’t want your quote, please let me know and I’ll remove it.)

Neil Hunt called to thank me for the book and said, “It came about four hours ago and I’ve almost finished reading it.” (I guess that means, "I couldn't put it down.")

My sister Sandra said, “It’s a tearjerker but every word is true!”

My friend Johnnie Jones left a voice message, “It’s perfect in our eyes.”

Billy (my son) commented, “There’s things about you I never knew, and sometimes I have to put the book down. It’s too hard to read.” (I told him to jump to the happy ending.)

Previously, I told Sandy I was never going to read my email again (after the book came out) because I didn’t want to read negative things about my book. It’s almost like when I WAS looking for my mother and not knowing if she wanted me to find her.

Jim is on the road as I write tonight, and this is when Philip and Shelley were supposed to be arriving. The new 18-inch air mattress is leaning against the wall and the room has that lingering odor of new plastic. The Saturn is washed, waxed, vacuumed and filled with gas. It’s kindof sad letting the car go. Jim believes the car saved my life a few years ago when a deer ran into it while I was in Michigan to shoot a wedding. It tore the car up, but I was not scratched.

Tell the gentle winds to blow Philip's plane here on time!

Take Care of the Journey,

June 13, 2006

Free Books!! & (Late Entry added)

If I am your nurse at the nursing home where I work, you can have a free book! Obviously, I’m not allowed to “sell” my books to my patients, but the word has spread like wildfire that I’m a published author and patients are asking to see or get the book, “Dusty Angels”. This afternoon, I went over to the nursing home and gave out five free autographed books to my patients who are going to be discharged before I return on Friday night.

It was quite a ‘high’ for me! It was an experience unlike anything I’ve done. Autographing, “It was a joy to be your nurse” and giving them a hug with the book.

I made sure to stop by the unit coordinator’s office to show her the book and explain that I’m not collecting a penny from the patients. Mark my word, someone will still pull me aside and find fault, but not today!

Arriving home, Jim met me at the door with some bad news. His boss (or should I say, the WIFE of his boss) had called and chewed him up one side and down the other because he brought a narcotic back to the pharmacy from his run last night. Jim didn’t know it was a narcotic – nor could he have known it was a narcotic! The nurses are supposed to know that and send them back in a sealed bag with a control number on it!

How can people be so hardhearted and cruel? She really told him off and didn't let him explain anything!

Jim just called to tell me that when he got to the pharmacy tonight for his nightly pick-up, she was still ‘running her mouth”. Actually, his boss (her husband) wasn’t that upset. He just said the narcotics have to be watched “coming and going”.

I was afraid she’d fire him on the spot tonight and I was already looking in the newspaper for Courier jobs!

I rode with Jim Saturday night and saw that he does a really great job! He was instructing the agency nurses where to sign and put their initials and was patient when they kept passing meds and wouldn’t stop to sign in the meds. (We waited almost 45 minutes for one nurse!) He is careful and polite. I was proud of him!

Well that’s news from Lake Woe-Is-Me and Jim still has a job.

(Late Entry) (Nurses do a "Late Entry" when we have to add something to a nurses note after our shift is over.)

When Jim got to the nursing home tonight he expected another scolding for accidently taking that package of narcotic pills back to the pharmacy last night.

Instead, he got an apology!!!!!

The (male) nurse who accidently returned the narcs, told Jim he tried to catch him last night as he left. He realized HE had made the mistake!!!!! He then wrote a report for the Director of Nurses, and today the DON informed the pharmacy of the nurse's error and promised extra inservices to all the nurses at the nursing home.

Tonight they thanked Jim for returning the narcotics (and not stealing them....) because it could have caused the nurse to lose his license if the narcotics had been lost.

Happy birthday to Sandy on Thursday!!!

Take Care on the Journey,


June 10, 2006

Is It Morning Yet?

This is just an everyday update and hi to my cyberweb family. I think I've worked 18 hours straight and done the work for three shifts. Now I should be sleeping but was inspired by a couple of my "favorites" who updated their blog already.

For those who were wondering, Sandy's test came out okay and she is still scheduled for back surgery on June 21. I'll be flying to sunny Florida two times in two weeks to help keep her and her doctor in ship shape! Remember, I hate airplanes and have claustrophobia (can I spell that word?) really bad. It helps to have a confident person talking me through it, but this time I'll be alone and on my own with the panic attacks. I get panicky thinking about it, so let's move on. I'm sure I'll handle it when the time comes - as I always do!

This morning when I was watching the second hand creeping around toward 6:30 a.m. "getting off time", I got a phone call that the day nurse had called off and a replacement would be late. Uggg. I pouted and fussed at no one (there's no one there at night) and resolved to have a bad attitude when 'whoever' got there.

But, in the end, nice me. I wrote out lengthy report and started passing the 9 a.m. meds so my patients wouldn't get their meds late and so no one would have to wait for pain pills. I doubt anyone realized what was going on.

Except one. A patient's husband lives close by and stays with his wife most of the time except to sleep. Well, he came in this morning and saw me still there. He stood in the doorway of her room and danced a jig! He said, "If I'd known you were still going to be here, I would have shaved!"

I wanted someone to feel sorry for me and state concern for my lack of sleep, but I think my patients would have been just as happy to see me stay all day and come back tonight.

This is the point about nursing homes (and hospitals too). Where I work now, everything is computerized. I use a laptop on my med cart to see what meds are due and I click them off on the computer as I give them. Also, all the doctor's orders and nurses notes charting (we do each shift on each patient) are also done in a computer program.

The problem is, when the nursing home doesn't have enough regular nurses to work who have been trained on the computer programs, they call a nurses' agency, and in comes a nurse who has never been there, who can't log on to the computer or the laptop and doesn't know anything about any of the patients!

This particular nursing home uses more agency than regular nurses! When I folow an agency nurse, she hasn't been able to log on to the computer to take any new orders, she can't "admit" a patient or leave notes so we know what's going on. Often I have to do all the admission work of the day admissions and "note" all the doctor's orders from the entire day because an agency nurse "worked" the previous shift.

So this morning, I'm already dead tired from working all night. Now this agency nurse is coming in who can't read any of my notes on the computer or "see" what meds I've given during the night. I have to orient her to everything from where the bathroom is to where we keep the narcotics and where the pudding is for meds. Oh by the way, I have to be sure and tell her who gets meds crushed and who's on thickened liquids.

She's already late. Meds are late. She's nervous and I'm blurry-eyed. How would you like your mother to need medical care in a place like that. Well, hello. They're all like that. If you have been reading "The Adam and Eve" articles, you already know. This morning was just a real live example of the system.

But, I degress....On the way out (finally!), I stopped to help an old lady eat her breakfast. Actually, I asked the day shift aides if they would please feed her and they said they couldn't leave the table, and since no one told them she was a "feeder", they didn't have time....

Finally, I got to the timeclock - AND COULDN'T FIND MY CAR KEYS! I was sure I took them out of my tote as I walked down the hall....Boy, I must have gone through my pockets and tote a hundred times. Is anyone reading this already ahead of me? Where did I stop on the way out? Sure enough, a half-hour later I found them on the dresser of the lady I was feeding....

Jim is taking some Saturday classes right now and was gone before I got home. I had told him I'd take the dogs out when I got home. So, I walk up the steps to get one dog. Take Sheba out and walk back up the flight of steps to take her back. Walk back down with Ching-Ching and then back up again. I counted I walked up the equiv. of 5 flights of steps after working 18 hours and being awake for almost 30 hours.

I suppose everyone is yelling at the computer screen for me to stop this and get to bed! Okay. I'm on my way. Sweet dreams. Oh Yea! Now the lady upstairs is vacuuming!

PS - (Late Entry). After a few hours of sleep, I went to the nursing to take a print-out of my Adam and Eve stories to a family who asked me if I had any ideas of how to find a nursing home for their mother who has outlived the skilled unit. (Imagine that.)

Guess what? The agency nurse I gave report to was sitting at the nurses station ASLEEP! Several items of importance that I told her in report this morning were ignored. (Like to keep a tube feeding at 30cc an hour until 4 p.m.) She had disconnected it!!!!

Some family members greeted me in surprise but happy I was "back on duty". (In blue jeans?) Nope, I'm off now until Monday night. Happy me. Oh Happy Day!


Take Care on the Journey,
(Enjoy the book)

June 8, 2006

Ohio Sunset Picture

June 7, 2006
My Adobe Program won't rotate the other pictures, so this is all we get to use tonight. This is from our balcony right after a rain storm. I'll try to get better ones on later.
Take Care on the Journey.

June 5, 2006

While I Was Sleeping..Jim Was Shopping.

1995 Plymouth Grand Voyager

Stirring awake as Sheba poked her nose through the bedroom drapes sending a blast of sunlight across my face, I couldn’t believe it was 2 p.m. I hadn’t wakened once since I crashed into bed after work early this morning. It was the last of a three-day stretch that is always hard on my system.
“Are you home?” I called out sleepily as Jim hurried into the room.
“You should be sleeping, darlin”, Jim responded.
“I’m awake now. What cha’ been doin?”
“Buying a car”, he said with a rare grin.
“A car or a van?”
“Oh, a van for sure. And I talked the guy down $950.00!”
By then I was wide awake!

We had already given a provisional word to a man for a van, so I was puzzled about this turn of events. Jim started a new job recently as a courier and we had agreed to purchase a van so as not to wear out the good car. It was also to show the company he works for that he is serious about more work! And, we had wanted a van so we could go on small trips together and not worry about leaving the dogs behind.

Seems Jim had been pouring over the Sunday paper and had gone out investigating offers while I was asleep. He hadn’t been so certain that the van we picked out was really the best deal out there.

So, arriving at a dealership early this morning, he spotted this van that was so new on the lot it didn’t have the price posted on it yet. The man was trading it in for a brand new van for his wife. Not only did Jim convince the dealership that they didn’t need to mark it up, (“It just got on your lot!”) but in the end they added new wipers, and a tank of gas!

We think it’s a beauty and a steal for $2,000! It’s clean, got A/C and a CD player. Seats 7 with three rows of removable seats. The tires are new and it recently had complete service done that included new hoses and battery. The mileage is just about what we expected at a little over 100,000 miles.

Sheba seemed to know something was up as she danced at the door wanting out. She ran to the van (mixed in with all the other vehicles in the parking lot), jumped into the passenger seat and said, “It’s time for my ride!”

Take Care on Your Journey,