Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Slurper

Today I sat next to The Slurper on the parking shuttle at the hospital.



Sluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurp… aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh


That must have been one satisfying cup of coffee.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Had a Gun

“Officer! Officer! Thank God you’re here! She has a gun!”

There was never a dull moment on 5 South. As a med-surg nurse, it was one of my most demanding assignments. The unit was comprised of 33 private rooms, and on night shift was staffed by 3 RN’s and 1 nursing assistant. Each night I was extremely busy attending to my 11 patients with the not-at-all-helpful, new-grad-hating, nurses aid. She was supposed to spend a third of her time assisting my patients, but somehow was never around when I needed her. So I ran from 7 p.m to 7 a.m. taking only a few minutes to stop to chart now and then. But one night I would find myself running more than usual.

At the beginning of my shift, I went from my sickest patient to the patient who was most stable. When it came time to pop into room 511, I was greeted by a darling elderly man, Mr. Stevens, who had been admitted for congestive heart failure.

“Hey, there sweetie, come join me on the porch,” he said in a charming voice.

Yep—Just as the night shift had reported, Mr. Stevens was confused.

“Well, hi there. I’m Julie and I’m your nurse here on 5 South. How are you feeling tonight, Mr. Stevens?”

“I’m mighty fine, I was just sitting here thinking about those wonderful tomatoes that you grow. How I would like some of them right now,” he said wistfully.

Whew, yep, really confused.

During my assessment, I made sure that Mr. Stevens’ Posey restraint vest was secure. This vest was made of soft fabric and long straps that wrapped around his chest and were then tied to metal bars underneath the bed. The Posey vest would help keep Mr. Stevens safely in bed for the night.

After I settled him for the evening, I went off to care for my other patients. It was a busy night, as usual, but every hour or so I made my rounds and spent some time with Mr. Stevens.

At 05:30 in the morning, I was sitting alone at the nurse’s station while my colleagues were all attending to their own patients. We rarely saw each other on any given shift, except when we hunted each other down to help each other with tasks such as helping turn a patient in bed, or witness wasting unused narcotics.

Head down, pen to paper, I was hurriedly charting when I heard a man’s voice out in the hallway. Quickly jumping up from my chair, I stepped out… and there he stood, Posey vest hanging, patient gown open in the back, flapping in the wind…Mr. Stevens!

“Where’s my wife?” he said in an angry, raised voice, “I want to go home!”

As he spoke, his entire 6’4” frame swayed forward and backward, and was at serious risk for a fall. Despite his height, he was no hulk of a man—in fact, he was quite frail.

“Mr. Stevens, let me help you back to your room. You look like you are going to fall,”
I said as I moved in to help steady him.

Big mistake!

My reach only made things worse, as he jerked back and came extremely close to loosing his balance.

“Get my wife!” he shouted, trying to steady himself.

But he quickly tipped backwards again, teetering on his heels. Reflexively, I put my hand out again to stop his fall. This time, though, he bobbed forward and swung at me. As I stepped back, Mr. Stevens reached to his right and grabbed my clipboard from the ledge of the window to the nurse’s station.

His face was a purple rage now, and it was aimed right at me!

“Get away from me!” he bellowed, lunging and swinging the clipboard wildly at me.

I stepped back just as he swung the wooden clipboard right at my head, barely missing. I turned on a dime, and started sprinting down the hall like Marion Jones being chased by an Olympic official with a urine collection cup.

But Mr. Stevens was in pursuit, not far behind. I felt the clipboard whiz by my ear.


Jekyll and Hyde was gaining on me.


Another close one.

Just ahead, I saw a door to the utility room that would lead us into an obstacle course I thought I could win. Yanking open the door, I darted in and zigzagged around the supply-filled metal utility racks and out another door at the opposite end of the room. Looking back was not an option, I just ran.

The door led to another corridor and once again I found myself at the nurse’s station, but this time at the back entrance. I scurried in. The other nurses were still occupied in their rooms, so I picked up the phone and dialed 9-1-1.

“Hospital Security, what’s your emergency?”

“This is Julie from 5 South, I have a ‘Code Gray!’ An agitated patient is trying to harm me!”

“We’ll send someone right away,” they responded and hung up.

Looking around for a safe place to hide, I saw a table that would give me a vantage point to all doors. If Mr. Stevens was stalking me, I would be able to see him first and flee in the opposite direction.

My breath heavy and my heart racing, I hid for the next two minutes.

In the distance I could hear the distinct jingling of brass keys and rapid footsteps.

And then…

“Officer! Officer! Thank God you’re here!

She has a gun!” the demented Mr Stevens sobbed.

“It’s okay sir, I’m here now,” the kind officer soothed. “Everything is going to be alright.”

Since my presence would only further agitate Mr. Stevens, I wisely stayed out of sight. It was sad to think that, through his confusion, this poor man was genuinely concerned for his life. It was no wonder that he was trying to snuff out mine.

My charge nurse appeared in the hallway and helped the security guard get my elderly patient back into bed, easing Houdini back into his Posey and adding a couple of soft restraints to his wrists for good measure.

There were no more treatments or medications scheduled for Mrs. Stevens that morning, so I continued to observe him closely for the next couple of hours. Peering in, I could see his long, spindly fingers constantly working at the straps and knots, as he plotted his next great escape.

Thankfully, aside from the Demerol I administered to Mrs. Lawrence in 516, no one got shot that night.

Well that's my true story for True Story Tuesday.
Stop on over at Rachel's blog and join in on the fun by sharing your true story.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Good News...not so much.

The good news…Scout returned from Science Camp on Friday @ 2:30(he had an awesome adventure)…

2 hours later he was off to Boyscout camp for the weekend…
not so much.

The good news…Emma is sleeping through the night (it was like having a new baby!)…

she now thinks that she should sink her tiny teeth into everything that her mouth is near (including my flesh)…
not so much.

The good news…the steroid I was on after my anapylaxis last week did not cause me to eat like a pig…

it did however cause some strange emotional reactions (Is crying during the Hannah Montana movie normal?)…
not so much.

The good news…the princess and I had a couple of fun girls only nights this past week…

now my sweet girl is getting her HUGE asthmatic cough…really not so much.

On a not so good note: Firehubby went to Seattle to lay his brother,
Gary, in his final resting place… tough times.

Really, when you take just this last point into perspective, all of the ins and outs of my week are not so very significant.

I am looking to Paul's example.

Knowing that I have put my hope in the One I can trust, I am striving to find contentment in all circumstances.

Friday, April 24, 2009

No Longer Mommy's Little Cowboy

Scout's away at Science Camp.

The school took the entire 6th grade to the mountains for the week.

Remembering the days when we were never apart...

Missing my little boy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Our New Addition-Meet Baby Emma

Meet the new member of our family.


She's an 8 week old West Highland Terrier.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Anaphylaxis Thursday

Well, I thought that "Wordless Wednesday" and "Flashback Friday" were so awesome, though I'd try a new one, so here it is
"ANAPHYLAXIS THURSDAY"...catchy, right?!?

Yesterday I went to work and helped out some sweet ladies with complicated pregnancies. I got out of work late because I wanted to prepare for the arrival of a lovely family who will likely say "hello" and "goodbye" to their precious baby on her birthday, today. Planning ahead can really make a huge difference for my families who are the anticipating a sweet, but mostly heart wrenching experience of the birth of a critically ill baby.

(They can certainly use many prayers)

As I left the hospital, I pulled out my cell phone to call my hubby. My voice sounded odd to my own ears. The thought went through my mind, "Am I tired? I sound exhausted."

Well, within 5 minutes it became clear to me that, no, it was not exhaustion, I was going into an allergic reaction. As I was only a few minutes from my own hospital, I decide to turn the car around and head back. An Epipen is a must for my purse, so I pulled it out, just in case things worsened.

Thankfully, I had not driven far, so I arrived quickly. There were no parking spaces, so I pulled into an ambulance spot and dashed into the Emergency Room. At this point, I was in anaphylaxis. My voice was thick and raspy. My chest was tight and it was getting hard to breath.

I tell you's a good way to get taken immediately into a room. Let's just say, I caught their attention.

2 IV's+Epinepherine+Decadron (steroid),+2 breathing treatments+on H2 antagonist+and a nice big dose of IV Benadryl +3 hours=A return to normal.

My doctor said, "Do you get a skin rash when this starts?,"

"Nope," I replied.

"Oh good, you just go straight to life threatening symptoms," he half joked.

Life threatening...scary.

What had caused it? Well, you may remember that last August brought a huge change in my health, out of no where. Click her if you want you'd like, to read a brief post on my problem.

But what triggered me yesterday? Not really sure. Something in the air...maybe it was the carpet cleaner that I passed as I zipped through the halls at the end of my long day.

Well, I must say, I could title this post:

"Vanity or Breathing. A difficult choice."

You see, 2 weeks ago I mentioned to my allergist/immunologist that I thought that my light steroid was making me fat (In general, and in weird places, like my wrists). Things had been going great since November with my allergy, so I asked what he thought of going down a bit on my dose.

Two words:BIG mistake!

This may become my new look:

Do you like it?

So, please find Mr. Linky below and attach a link to your favorite anaphylaxis story. (Ha! LOL!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Different Kind of Easter

Today was different, a mixed kind of day

It was a hard night last night, thankful for my nebulizer,

had a difficult time breathing.

Didn’t go to church. That felt strange.

Had a great talk with the kids about the true meaning of Easter.

Missed Firedaddy very much!

He had to be at the station today.

Started a fun new tradition.

The Easter Bunny hid the baskets and left 20 notes hidden in eggs, each with hints that led to the next egg and then finally to the basket.

It was a big hit.

You can see the kids dashing about,

having a great time.

Felt well enough, after sleeping from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, to go see my family.

That was a real highlight.

The Princess wilted as the day progressed and now I am medicating her for a terrible asthmatic cough.

Oh darn!

But, when I keep sight on what Jesus did for us; the suffering he endured… the ups and downs of my day hardly seem important.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The secret to the cupcakes...

Cupcakes! Owl Cupcakes! All kinds of fun cupcakes!

The name of the book is Hello Cupcake!

We love this book!

My daughter got it from the Scholastic Book Fair at school and we love it.

They were actually easier than they looked.

2 ten year olds did a pretty wonderful job with the recipe.

Here are some basic decorating elements to the owls:

Mom Owl

Regular sized cupcake
White of the eyes-oreo cookie~the side with the frosting left on it.

Darks of the eyes-Junior mints

Ears-the other side of the oreo cut into 2 pieces with a serrated knife-frosting piped onto them for feathers

Nose-yellow Mike and Ike

Baby Owl

Mini cupcakes

Mini Oreos

Mini M&M for dark of eyes

Runt for nose

Frosting tip:

Put the frosting in a ziplock and snip 1/8 inch from the tip.

Spring break has been tons of fun!

I am now going to settle in and enjoy your latest posts ")

Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Stories from the Delivery Room, Part 2

(Once again, “Fire Hubby” is guest-writing this week’s blog entry while I am posting over on his site, Switch 2 Plan B. here and read the conclusion to his "Perfect Proposal".)


I wonder if it ever galled my wife that her pregnancy was so…well…typical.

First comes love…

Then comes…cravings!

In Julie’s case, it started with oranges. Had to have oranges. Big, fat, juicy ones with the NAVEL proudly pointing inside out—just like her beautiful, round, smooth belly. Then it was burritos. But not just any kind—Taco Bell green bean burritos. Had to have that green sauce. Not plain, red sauce—green. Nothing else would do. “Get in the car and get me one…Now!”

So one evening deep into the first trimester, we took a “Run to the Border” trying to placate that voracious, insatiable god-of-cravings. But as we drove away from the Taco Bell drive-up window, she opened the bag to discover they had instead given her a bean burrito with RED sauce.

She started crying.

Is it any wonder men are mystified by women?

Clueless, one might even say.

But maybe it was Mexican food (the Fiesta Platter perhaps) that helped induce labor many months later. About 1 a.m. my now-huge and restless wife woke me out of my last-ever restful night’s sleep. The contractions were still far apart but unmistakable. She took a long, hot bath, perhaps contemplating the many ways her life was about to change, while I lay in the dark, visions of little denim jackets dancing in my head—much like the Heffalumps and Woozles sequence from “Winnie the Pooh.” By six a.m. she was dressed and ready, but on all fours in the living room softly moaning, “oooh.” I felt completely helpless.

Yet an hour later, when we arrived at the hospital (the same facility where she works as an L&D nurse), Jules had her game face on. After colleagues and co-workers cheerfully greeted her, each chortling “Hi, Julie!” she saw herself to a hospital room, put on a gown, and hooked herself up to the fetal monitoring unit, adjusting the straps and sensors and examining the strip until she was satisfied the baby’s signs were suitably strong and steady. Later, following her epidural, when she felt somewhat hypovolemic she reached up and expertly adjusted her own IV hanging by the bedside, over my sputtering objections.

But there was no shortage of attention, medical and otherwise, as well-wishers in scrubs dropped by. Julie had hand-picked her doctor and anesthesiologist (for the much-needed epidural) well in advance, and her best friend even served as her nurse for the day—a day that wore on as her labor stalled out.

Sometime around six p.m. she was ready to push. More than ready, in fact. After long hours of excruciating labor, the pain breaking through whatever meds were onboard, my exhausted wife could take no more. As her doctor and nurse sat poised at the foot of her bed, my beet-red wife yelled...

“Get it out of me!”

But moments later…

…our little Scout appeared…

and slid gently into my gloved and waiting hands.

My wife has helped ease many little miracles into this world, gripped the hands of young moms struggling through labor, stroked the hands of those grieving a lost newborn, and like God’s gentle emissary, shared in the joy or sorrow of each. She is this firefighter’s hero.

And at that moment there in the hospital room, her faithfulness had been rewarded.

A moment of immeasurable joy
and perfect love
safely far away
from the full catastrophe of life.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday-Spring break fun!

Stories From the Delivery Room

You can swap stories, you can swap wives, you can swap babies at birth, you can even go to a swap meet…but can you swap blogs?

Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to attempt here: This week, and Switch 2 Plan B (AKA “Fire Hubby”) are trading blogs.

“Fire Hubby” (that’s me) will be writing this week’s posting here on, while my wonderful wife Julie will be posting over on my site—and no doubt telling some really embarrassing story about me there.

Click HERE to see what she's got to say...

I understand that baby stories are popular here at, so I’m going to tell you the ONE baby story she won’t tell you! It’s the true tale (mostly) of the time Julie delivered her own first-born.


I came home one morning after a long shift at the fire station to find my young bride obviously bursting with some pressing secret.

“I have something for you,” she said with a mischievous grin. “Close your eyes.”

When I opened them again, she was holding up a denim jacket—a really, really small blue denim jacket, better suited for a Cabbage Patch doll than her six foot-tall husband.

But if you give a fireman a moment or two, he can usually figure out the plainly obvious. See, only about a week or two earlier we had decided to start our family. Now, this was my wife’s way of letting me know that the magic stick had clearly turned blue already. The tiny Levi’s jacket meant we were expecting our first child.

It must have been strange for wife.nurse to transition to After working on the labor and delivery unit for six years by then, she would now go through the experience for herself: the barfing, the cravings, the bloating, the labor pains—the entire blessed event that, nine months later, would be swaddled in a bundle of joy and sewn up as tidy as an episiotomy.

(to be continued)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring Break '09

Guess who we saw yesterday?

Yep, Shamu!

Sea Word totally rocked!!!

Our plan for a great day Monday:

Hop aboard the Metrolink to LA Union Station

Take the Red Line (subway) to Universal City
(This mode of transportation is a first for us in LA. Just for the traveling adventure)

Take a shuttle to Universal Studios

Meet up with Firedaddy who is driving to Hollywood after his shift

Have a day of fun

Friday, April 3, 2009

You know, that TV show...

I was on "A Baby Story."

Well, actually I was not the pregnant one, just the nurse.

The gal was very nice. Had quite a few kids, including a teen.

My biggest anxiety was starting the IV on camera. So, I snuck in the room without the crew noticing (So I thought). I was just picking up the IV catheter when the crew flung open the doors, camera on, and videotaped me just as I was inserting the needle. Thank God I got it in! Talk about performance anxiety!

The patient was perfectly made up. Just lovely.
She got an epidural before she got into severe pain. Never winced or broke a sweat.

Her family left the hospital to have lunch in the middle of her labor. Sure enough, she was ready to deliver and they were nowhere to be found. Thankfully, we were able to wait to deliver her baby. After all, she had a great epidural.

The most memorable part for me was when her teenage son stood behind the doctor, at the foot of the bed, videotaping her undraped and exposed lower body.

Yep, not every teen boy gets that sort of life lesson…T.M.I.

The delivery was picture perfect “)

It was a fun experience.

I walked around town a “star” for a few weeks when it aired.
You had no idea that I was famous! Ha! LOL! ")

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Thousand Words Thursday

Cheaper Than Therapy

My Tiny Princess

My Special Gift
Time Flies
Slow Down and Enjoy Your Babies

Don't Blink

You May Miss Moments Like This

Pop on over and join in on A Thousand Words Thursday w/

the mom jen @