Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Your drugs or your baby?

After a CFS investigation of one of our new moms, the choice was presented to her to either give up her meth and her child-molesting boyfriend or lose her baby. Well she certainly could not give up her drugs and to ask her to leave her boyfriend....the love of her life......unthinkable! After making her decision, she was told she could be discharged that afternoon but, alas, the "love of her life" wouldn't come pick her up..........what is wrong with these women?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Southern Oregon

Ahhhhh, nothing like a spontaneous, carefree weekend getaway! We left friday evening for Ashland and caught the opening night performance at the outdoor Elizabethan theater of Henry VIII. Yes, it was raining and there was a touch of lightning, but our "cheap" seats were under the balcony so we stayed completely dry:) I don't know who I felt more sorry for...the patrons who paid top dollar for their rain drenched seats or the actors in their heavy rain-soaked period costumes? Saturday we went to Jacksonville and caught their parade celebrating Oregon's 150th birthday. Great parade, streets lined with people who all knew each other, complete with a HILARIOUS outhouse race. The winners...... the local sewer service company of course!
Sunday morning we slept in and watched the start of the Nascar race, then headed back to Ashland where we finished watching the super exciting race (congrats to Mark Martin!!) over burgers and chicken strips at Louie's Bar before catching another play (Macbeth). Obviously too much Shakespeare in one weekend for Bubba, who tortured me on our walk through Lithia Park afterward by speaking in mock Shakespeareanese! hee hee Still, nothing can spoil walking through Lithia Park while eating a carmel chocolate apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory! Next time we will go to the cabaret dinner theater.....and maybe see a non-Shakespeare play;)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Can you help?

Jeremy and Leah Tuggle are expecting identical twins, Carson and Jason. However, doctors have diagnosed Jason with anencephaly. This condition is incompatible with life. Every effort is being made to keep the babies in the womb until 32 weeks gestation to allow Carson to develop. Carson is expected to be a healthy baby boy. Jason may survive for a few days, or only a few hours. Both parents work minimum wage jobs and times are difficult. Leah will be hospitalized in Sacramento for a considerable amount of time and Jeremy wants to be there at Leah's side to support her. Lawncrest Chapel in Redding will donate a major amount of costs associated with burial, but approximately $1,100 will not be covered. If you can help, please send contributions to N&N Inc. (for Tuggle twins) PO Box 494730 Redding, CA 96049

To The Child In My Heart
O Precious tiny, sweet little one
You will always be to me
So perfect, pure and innocent
Just as you were meant to be.
We dreamed of you and your life
And all that it would be
We waited and longed for you to come
And join our family.
We never had the chance to play,
To laugh, to rock, to wiggle.
We long to hold you, touch you now
And listen to you giggle.
I'll always be your mother.
He'll always be your dad.
You will always be our child,
The child we had.
But now you're gone.....but yet you're here.
We'll sense you everywhere.
You are our sorrow and our joy
There's love in every tear.
Just know our love goes deep and strong.
We'll forget you never-
The child we had, but never had,
And yet will have you forever.
author: Carol Parrott

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Now that I am home, I have more time for family and fun:) We headed up to Oak Run for a family BBQ at the home of John Henry and Kansas Simonis.
Aunts and uncles traveled from Martinez to Redding for a weekend of catching up on the family stories, looking at old pictures and enjoying each others company.

We toured the Snow Mountain Spring Water plant located nearby....600 gallons an hour of pure spring water.....WOW! Fun day, great people, beautiful country.....it's good to be home!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good-bye Clearlake

To end on a positive note, these are the things I will miss.....
nice deliveries with Dr Fordham, Dr Shepherd and Sharon CNM......
my trailer park friends....
waking up and looking out my window at beautiful Clear Lake......
driving through all the gorgeous vineyards......
some very sweet patients.........
Leslie's big heart.........and her yummy food:)......
being entertained by Bill........
Tiffany's positive attitude........
Karen's beautiful eyelashes and personality to match......
Kathie's energy.........
Alecia's sense of humor...........
the always kind words of Chris and Kariann..........
Sherretha's sarcasm (oh we do think alike!).....
Penny's raunchy stories.......
the smell of lavender when Debby enters the room......
Leeann's ability to find ANYTHING on the internet......
heart to heart talks with Darlene.........
"squirt gun" fights with Sharon.......
I will miss all the laughs, but I will always have the memories:)

Last night.....

Well, I just had my last delivery in Clearlake and it was one of those really good ones where mom's teeth are all rotten from years of meth use and her other three children have been removed by CPS, but she's "going to try to keep this one". NO coping skills whatsoever.....swearing like a sailor......slamming her hand against the bed rail....holding her breath.....all while her 12 family members who are packed in the room with us just stand there and stare at her while they tell stories of their own deliveries. Of course one of them has a toddler with her that she is letting crawl around on the NASTY hospital floor, crying because he is tired and it is 10 o'clock at night! Get me out of here!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Final Week

This is the last week of my assignment in Clearlake. The ending is always bittersweet.......I'm glad to have a break for the summer to just work my part-time job, but I will miss the wonderful new friends I have made here. The staff here have made me feel so welcome, just like I am part of the family. I plan to spend some time blogging about my hometown and my job at home over the summer. Redding is such a beautiful northern California town with so much to offer. I am also anxious to use my RV for some true recreation, not just to live in while I am working! Of course that will have to wait until I get my water leak repaired which I have temporarily remedied with some duct tape and a large ziplock baggie:)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My heart is full..........

This week I was nominated for and won the 2009 Values in Action Award at Mercy Medical Center. This is among the highest of honors bestowed upon CHW employees and leaders for their contributions to CHW's health care ministry. Tears filled my eyes as I listened to all of the nomination stories about the 32 employees considered for this award. I am proud to work in a place where I am surrounded by such caring, giving people and I am touched to be recognized in this way.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


The following is an excerpt from a patient satisfaction survey elicited by the hospital where I work in my hometown.......What do you feel needs to be improved at our hospital? "Nothing! My nurse Wendy was the best! I have had 5 children & she is the nurse I will always remember. She is wonderful."
Thank you,

This is why I do what I do! Having that kind of impact on someone's life fills my heart with joy:)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Travel Nurse's Bible

I just finished reading this invaluable travel nurse guide written by David Morrison RN who has been a traveler himself for over a decade. It's like having a best friend who is a traveling nurse and shares all of his secrets with you! I wish I had read it BEFORE taking my first assignment, as it may have saved me a lot of anguish dealing with the agency I was contracted with. He covers every topic you can imagine from choosing an agency to housing issues to tax tips to how to get out of a bad situation. If you are currently a traveler, or think you might travel someday, get yourself a copy NOW. TravelNursesBible.com

Thursday, April 30, 2009

AWHONN conference

I had planned on booking my plane tickets today to San Diego and registering to attend the AWHONN conference to be held there in June, but after listening to the Vice-President's warning about public transportation and the swine flu on the TODAY SHOW, I just don't know. I don't like to live my life in fear of the "what if's", but it seems sort of irresponsible to "fly in the face of danger".......pun intended;) Considering San Diego's proximity to Mexico and breathing shared air with all those people on the plane, I think I might have to sit this one out.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I have decided that after ten weeks of a 60 hour per week schedule, a little pampering will help me survive these last three weeks. Therefore, I have scheduled weekly indulgences at Urban Retreat Spa http://www.urbanretreatspa.com/ at home in Redding, CA. I started today with the Metropolitan package..... a one hour massage and foot wrap followed by a one hour facial. You experience instant relaxation upon entering this inviting oasis. After being greeted at the reception desk, you are led to a lounge area where you can sip your cocktail (I chose a delicious appletini) and admire the beautiful decor. I recieved a fantastic massage from Shelly, followed by a facial from Taryn that was so relaxing that I actually fell asleep! I can hardly wait until next week:)

Monday, April 27, 2009


I have worked with two different nurses in the past two weeks who have YEARS of experience, but can't seem to function on their own. They manage to get other people to do things for them either by manipulation, or because they are so sweet and nice that people just want to make things easier for them. This is ENABLING people!!!! This doesn't help them in the long run and it certainly doesn't help the co-workers that they are supposed to be backing up! Sure you can help them, but do it in a way that teaches them skills and critical thinking. Everyone benefits from this....the nurse grows....you feel good about teaching....patients are safer.....co-workers are happier! .........I will step down off my soapbox now, thanks for listening.


I set off on my own today to Kelseyville for a little wine tasting and a lot of shopping! Shelly's Quilt Shop was adorable and had a nice slection of fabrics. I picked up three more bottles of wine at the Wildhurst Vineyards tasting room along with some unique finds from their gift shop. Yummy tacos from the stand across the street filled my tummy as I headed of to the Ployez Winery on my quest for Lady of the Lake pear champagne. Alas, the Lady still eludes me as she is bottled, but not sold there. Now, I really need to get to work and make some more money!

Wine Country Weekend - Day Two

After a VERY lazy morning, we headed up the hill on High Valley Road to Brassfield Estates Winery. High Valley is breathtaking and apparently the perfect appellation for a vineyard. The wines were so fantastic that I joined their wine club! They have big plans for expansion....lodging, conference center, restaurant, picnic grounds, etc. Definitely a must see if you are ever in the area. After another late lakeside lunch, we headed back to the RV park to sit in our lounge chairs by the lake until it was time to say good-bye.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wine Country Weekend - Day One

I don't know if I have mentioned that while I am on a travel assignment, I continue to work my part-time job at Mercy in Redding, CA. This does not allow for much time off for fun, but this I have this weekend off while I am in Clearlake. My boyfriend drove down and we headed off to do some exploring. Our first stop was the Ceago Winery, the only "boat-in" winery on the lake (we drove in). The grounds were gorgeous and the wine was spectacular! Bubba tasted the whites while I sampled the reds. We left with three bottles. We drove past Tulip Hill Winery, which of course had a field of blooming tulips out front, but decided we better eat lunch before doing any more tasting:) Lunch/dinner (lunner?) was at the Blue Wing Saloon next to the Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake. We shared fish and chips and beef sliders with sweet potato fries...... with a wine selection from Tulip Hill. It was all delicious and we enjoyed dining out on their patio by the fountain. We continued our drive all the way around the lake (100 miles of shoreline), checking out the little towns as we passed. We made our way back to the fifth-wheel, after a brief stop at Walmart to buy a bucket...the hot water tank valve has started leaking:( After watching a movie, snuggled up in front of the fireplace, we fell asleep for 10 hours!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What's up with Dilaudid?

This week I have had three different post-op c/s patients who had poor pain control. I spent the first half of my shift knocking myself out trying to get their pain under control.....giving Toradol to supplement pain relief, adding comfort measures, encouraging more frequent doses, increasing their dose, etc. When I was finally able to switch them to po pain med's, their pain relief improved dramatically! All three were on IV Dilaudid. Has anyone else noticed this? Very frustrating!!!!! I also find myself frustrated with some nurse's and physician's attitudes regarding pain medication, especially for people with a history of substance abuse. We all deserve adequate pain relief regardless of mistakes we have made, or are currently making for that matter. I have had a patient for the last two nights who is in a rehab program and is now recovering from an emergency c/s to deliver her first child at age 38. When I first met her she was in quite a lot of pain and had been receiving stingy doses of pain medicine. I added the Toradol that had been ordered prn (that she had not been receiving) and made sure she was medicated regularly through the night. That, combined with a little empathy and kindness was rewarded with the sweetest, most heartbreaking look of gratitude through moist eyes that I think I have ever received. We should never underestimate the impact we have on people's lives and we should strive to always use that power for good.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Medical Solutions

I am very happy to report that I love my new travel nurse company, Medical Solutions. I used Preferred Healthcare Staffing (AMN) for my last assignment and it was a nightmare! I opted to extend my 8 week assignment and ended up working without a contract for a while due to poor communication and multiple errors on the part of my recruiter and other members of her company. I spent countless hours on the phone and e-mailing just to get paid! In the end, they neglected to pay me the completion bonus that I was promised and after 2 months (yes, I gave them 2 months) of more phone calls and e-mails, I was forced to file a complaint with the labor board. Working with my Medical Solutions recruiter, Jeremiah Zech, has been delightful. I was placed in my first assignment quickly and seamlessly. My paychecks are always deposited on time and they are for the exact amount promised. In the middle of my assignment, I received in the mail a canvas tote bag and an electric foot massager:) They also have great tips on travel nursing at TravelNursingBlogs.com

Sunday, April 12, 2009

8 weeks and counting..............

I feel sort of like I have "hit the wall" this week. I am tired, but can't sleep....I miss my family and feel like I am neglecting them.....and I am trying to remember why I thought this was such a good idea. The experience has been good and the extra money is nice, of course, but I am ready to be done with this assignment. My biggest issue with the hospital is no central monitoring. Their reason?..."the nurses won't spend enough time in the patient's room". Not a reason to risk patient safety as far as I am concerned. I am nervous wreck when I can't see my monitor strip. I have met some fantastic, interesting people while I have been here.....a lovely nurse who has worked in every area from med/surg to OB to critical care (was even the DON) and is now starting her own staffing/education company, a single OB nurse who moonlights as a massage therapist named Venus at a "clothing optional" resort and a brilliant, dynamic nursing supervisor who doesn't like to wear jewelry because it "slows her reaction time"!:) I have also had my first experience with a mid-wife delivery (loved it, loved her).
The area is not what I expected either, I was thinking quaint wine country town and have actually found it to be very non-touristy with a lot of crime and drug use. It is sad because it is really gorgeous country and should be an affluent community on a beautiful lake surrounded by vineyards. Ah well........five more weeks to go..........

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Level One?

I have to say I am very impressed with the quality of care the staff at St. Helena Clearlake provide. They are very good to their patients. Last night was interesting, we had a 29 weeker present in PTL and 4cm dilated! Remember, this is a level one unit!!! Since there is no pharmacist here at night, the supervisor had to hunt down some Magnesium Sulfate partial fills in the ER so I could give my bolus.....crazy, I know:) Unfortunately, we couldn't get her stable enough to transport so she had to deliver here! Lucky for us, the UCSF NICU transport team arrived here before the baby and everything went well. I have been spoiled working at a level three facility all these years. Tonight.... a nice full term labor patient for me, yeah!

Monday, February 16, 2009

St. Helena - Clearlake

Today I started my new assignment at St. Helena Hospital in Clearlake, CA. It is a small, 25 bed hospital that does about 20 deliveries per month. Clearlake is a beautiful area surounded by mountains and vineyards. I have parked my fifth-wheel at the Island RV Park in Clearlake Oaks right on the shore of Clear Lake. I wake up to fantastic views of the lake and Mt. Konocti. The park is a little noisy, but the owners are very nice and there are several other traveling nurses staying there as well.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Big Four-O

I knew turning 40 wasn't going to be easy, so I thought I would soften the blow by doing it in Kauai:) Excellent idea!!!!! We spent a glorious week exploring the beautiful island and relaxing on the beach. It was a little rainy (we "chased" the sun around the island a few days), but it was warm. Bubba took me to dinner on the night of my birthday to "Tidepools" at the Grand Hyatt resort in Poipu. The service from the staff was the best I have ever experienced, the food was incredible and we had the best corner table in the open-air restaurant that was so close to the water of the koi pond surrounding the building, we could feed the fish from where we sat! I honestly don't think we could have found a better spot. I wish I could spend every birthday there....hint, hint;)