Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Holes in the Schedule

As a result of my injury I am on a ventilator and have 24/7 nursing to help with all of my needs and assist with my cares. There are some that work full time (36 hours a week) and some that work part-time.  Every nurse works a 12 hour shift; some work days which is 7 AM to 7 PM and some work nights which is 7 PM to 7 AM.
Over the past couple of months we have been having some shortage of nursing.  First, one of my day nurses hurt her back while trying to adjust me in my wheelchair.  She worked three twelve hour shifts a week.  Then, one of my night nurses who worked the same amount of hours a week had to leave in the middle of the night because of a family emergency.  Directly after she got really sick and ended up in the hospital. After all of this, my other full-time day nurse put in her two week notice.
Whenever we don’t have a nurse, my mom or my sister takes over and steps into that role.  Sometimes it’s nice not to have a nurse around and just have family however it’s a lot to take on when there are so many holes in the schedule.  If we have difficulty finding people to fill in my mom ends up doing multiple shifts in a row; that includes staying up all night and then all day.  My sister knows all of my cares and it’s nice when she’s able to help out.  I’m very grateful to have both of them there for me in case a nurse doesn’t show up, is late, or calls in.
One thing that’s difficult for me is when we desperately need somebody and the agency sends out people to work the shift that I haven’t met or haven’t trained.  I direct all my own cares and in those instances become the “trainer”.  I try my best but sometimes it’s hard to explain something to someone without being able to show them or have them see it first.  There are times where I get frustrated because of its difficulty.  It’s not easy to manage a team of nurses, along with figuring out a schedule that works best with everybody including me.

Although my night nurse is feeling much better and back at work, we are now searching for a full-time and part-time day nurse, as well as a part-time night nurse.  If you or someone you know is an LPN or RN in the Twin Cities area looking for hours and may be interested in working for me, please email me and let me know.  I’m also looking for backup PCA’s (no experience needed).


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Virus=Lack of Independence

Imagine being on your computer and all of the sudden an advertisement pops up on your screen.  It starts out looking like it’s checking your computer for viruses and tells you that you have 38 infections on your computer (that includes the virus).  Then it gives you an option to buy anti-spyware to get rid of the so-called “viruses” that it found.  What do you do?”  Do you try to close out of it thinking it’s a scam?  Do you click the buy button, pay for the program and hope that it gets rid of the viruses?  Or do you click the shutdown button on your computer?
The answer is the latter.  Immediately shut your computer down.  The message that popped up is actually a virus itself.  As soon as you start clicking on the pop-up itself, the farther it digs itself deeper into your computer and the more time it has to do so.  I know all of this firsthand because last week this happened to me.  The first thing I did was try to close out of it.  Then I tried to remove it from my computer start up menu, but couldn’t find it.  Luckily I knew someone who knows computers and asked him about it right away.  He told me that it was a virus and to shut my computer down.
The next day he came by and picked my computer up for me.  He took it and had to clean it out to get rid of the virus.  He told me that it was embedded in my computer really deep and it took a while to clear it out.  Because it required so much time, he had my computer for a couple days.  This was extremely hard for me because it’s the device that gives me the most independence.

I use speech recognition software called Dragon NaturallySpeaking to run my computer.  I can’t use other people’s computers because I only have it installed on mine.  Whenever my computer has to be fixed, it’s very difficult for me because of how much independence I get from using it.  I’m able to accomplish a lot by voice commands.  My computer allows me to have independence and the ability to do things on my own, without the help of others.

Independence is really important and vital for someone in my situation.  Not being able to move prevents me from doing any sort of physical activities so I rely on my mind to keep me busy.  I don’t like wasting the day away by watching TV; it makes me feel very lazy.  It feels good when I accomplish things like writing a blog or working on my resume.  This is also why I like to get out of the house as much is possible, even if I don’t necessarily have to go anywhere for anything.
Needless to say, I got my computer back and it works great now. To sum it all up, it’s very frustrating when anything happens to my computer because it is a source of independence for me.  It provides me with the stimulation I need to prevent me from getting depressed or in an unhealthy routine.  This is also why getting out of my house is so important.


Monday, January 7, 2013


One thing that I really enjoy doing is playing games.  I like all types including card, board and strategy games.  Some of my favorites are Scrabble, Sequence, and Cribbage.  I also like to play a few online like Words with Friends on Facebook.  I don’t really like individual games like solitaire; I prefer to play against somebody else. I’m really competitive when it comes to playing against others.  I usually play against my nurses, family or boyfriend Blake.
For Christmas I received a couple of new games that I had never played before.  One is called Quiddler and the other is called Qwirkle.  I like both of them a lot but lately I’ve been addicted to playing Qwirkle.  It is a strategy game where you get points by making lines of either colors or shapes using wood blocks.  Okay I just read that description back and I made it sound like a kid’s game but it’s definitely not-it’s quite challenging.
When I play games with cards in them I use a cardholder that my dad made.  That way I can have my hand spread out in front of me and not have to have anyone hold them.  Usually I’ll tell someone which card to play (or other game pieces) and they’ll help me.  As far as shuffling, dealing, cutting the deck and picking out game pieces I’m totally fine with others helping me out and a lot of times I’ll direct people how I want things done when it’s my turn to do so.
Now that I have my dog Brody, I’m realizing how much fun it is to watch him play games.  Sometimes I’ll direct my nurses to throw his toys for him to fetch.  He also loves to chase after a laser light.  Even when someone puts their hand inside the basket where the light is he instantly looks to the floor.  It’s hilarious to watch especially because he knows where it’s coming from so if they stop he will look directly at the person with the light.
I’m also finding myself going outside when it’s 10°F to take Brody for his walks.  Even if it’s just down the street and back at least he gets a little exercise.  I feel good when I know that he’s getting out; also, it’s good for me as well!  Although Minnesota winters can be very chilly, I don’t mind a little fresh air.  I’m really glad I got Brody.  He’s been great for helping me with independence and getting out of the house more.
If you have any suggestions on games you think I would like let me know.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Off the Grid

I was trying to figure out the reason why it was so difficult for me to write a blog post these last couple of months. I kept saying to myself that I’ve been really busy with school and homework. However, I can’t really say that anymore since I am done with classes at Normandale and moving on to St. Thomas in a month. I was in this cycle of starting new blog posts about things that were going on but never finished them.

I get hundreds of page views a day on my blog from people all over the world. Some people have found a link to my blog on another webpage. Some know my blog address by heart and just type it in to the address bar. Some have the address in their favorites menu. Many type something they’re looking for into a search page and then randomly click on a link to my blog, realize it’s not what they want, and instantly click the back button. However, there are those few that do the latter and instead of clicking the back button may end up getting sucked in to my story and thoughts and spend hours reading all of my past blog posts. Some people get inspired or have a similar story in which they comment or contact me.

I’ve met a lot of people through my blog, many that I can call friends and talk to on a regular basis. I’ve also helped people in different ways through the things I write about and what I share. Many people look forward to reading what I have to say and even check it every day to see if I’ve made a post. Knowing all of this, knowing how much I inspire others, knowing that people are out there waiting for me to make a post so they can relate to it or learn from it or be inspired by it or share it with their friends and family, was making me wonder why it has been so difficult for me to write a blog post.
To be honest sometimes I would feel obligated to write a post, even though I love writing all together. Whether it is about me or others it should never feel like a "chore" to do. Then sometimes I would get bothered by my feelings (which I shouldn’t be). I know I should just let my emotions free, but it’s hard to do being that it makes me so much more vulnerable than I already am.

I’ve developed my writing tremendously over the past few years. I used to dread writing classes in high school. Probably because we had to write research papers and book reports involving pages and pages of never-ending quotes from different sources. Now things are different because I can write about whatever I want; nonfiction is my favorite. I’ve thought about writing for magazines or having a column in the newspaper. That’s the reason I chose the University of St. Thomas to go to because I’ll be majoring in communications and journalism. The job spectrum for this degree is very widespread.

To some it all up, I’m not going to let it bother me whether or not I’m able to write a blog post. I’m just going to keep producing as they come. I may have moments of increased posts and I may have times where I seem to be off the grid. Whichever it may be, always remember that although one of the reasons I blog is to help myself be able to vent my emotions I always have my readers in mind.


"View your emotions in a non-ordinary way: as vehicles for transformation rather than simply as feelings that make you happy or miserable. Expect them to test your heart; that’s the point. What you go through-what we all go through-has a greater purpose. Always, the imperative of emotional freedom is for the love in us to evolve."
-Judith Orloff

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year

Happy new year everyone!
My first blog post of 2012 ended with me saying “so here’s to the new year-2012.  May it bring more joy and fulfillment to my life.  I hope to accomplish many more things and continue growing.”
Well, it brought all of the things I hoped it would and more.  The biggest thing I accomplished was graduating Normandale community college with my Associates in communications.  I also got accepted to the University of St. Thomas and will be attending this spring.  I’m excited to be moving on and starting new adventures Avenue campus.
On August 29 Blake and I celebrated one year together.  This is the joy and fulfillment I was looking for in my life.  Love is amazing and I’m happy that I found it.  I couldn’t ask for a better person to spend my life with.  Sometimes I find myself drifting in and out of dreams about the future. 
On another note, this year was also the 10 year anniversary of my accident, November 1, 2012.  I also celebrated on this day but it was my life.  I’m glad to have lived through everything I’ve been through.  I believe that all of the things that have happened to me have been for a reason.  I’m grateful to be alive and able to inspire and help others.
I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but my plan for this year is to keep on keeping on.  The way things are going now couldn’t be better, so I look forward to continuing with life as is.  I do have goals that I’ve set for myself that have to do with therapy and movement.  One is to become stronger and be able to do more at once.  It’s hard to push the limits with which my body is comfortable, but I’ve done it before and I know I can do it again.
So here’s to another year-2013.