Month: December 2008

Mason Family Portrait

Merry Christmas all! I am squandering my days eating lots of dairy products on refined carbs, knitting up a storm, drooling at the yarn store, watching How I Met Your Mother with Amanda, and watching 30 Rock with the whole fam. I haven’t tracked down a firewire, so no new pictures yet. Above are pictures from my phone of what it’s like to have your ears pierced at The Retina Center. Also here are the “family portraits” that we took before Christmas to give to our folks.

Christmas joy!

Blogging to you live from my shiny new iphone. Oh, the wonders and bounty we unwrapped this morning. The biggest surprise would have to be a pair of sparkly earrings and ben’s blessing to get my ears pierced! Ok, blogging on a phone has been proven possible but slow, so I’ll be giving a proper, longer update on my laptop later. Back to app hunting for me!

Pub trivia

I went to trivia last night and have the photographic evidence to prove it. We held first for half the game and got bumped to a two-way tie for second, then lost the tie-breaker. How tall is Mt. Everest. We guessed 29,430 ft. It was 29,029, and the other team was just over 100 feet off. I guess they deserve it. But if Bob and Elle hadn’t missed the first two rounds we would have gotten at least 4 more points, putting us in first. Brian rocked the visual round – identifying images of He-man’s sidekicks. I earned my keep in the convenience snack food round, although I’m kicking myself for thinking that sponge cakes with orange jelly and chocolate are known in England and Ireland as Spotted Dick. Something about the description threw me off course and in retrospect of course they were Jaffa cakes. Funny, because I even mentioned them at one point during that round.

It’s cold!

No fooling – check out this afternoon’s forecast:

So I’m really happy I don’t have anything I need to do this afternoon except bundle up in my quilt and watch movies.

It’s been a fun but busy weekend. I hosted the Cooking Club cookie exchange Friday evening. It gave me an excuse to get the house back in order, vacuuming every floor and even mopping the kitchen. Saturday I had to do my last clinical by helping out with the Easter Seals Discovery Club program, where parents can drop off their special needs kids for the day. I was paired with a sweet freshman boy with cerebral palsy. He couldn’t do much more than gesture yes or no and smile, but we had a fun day together. Well, sort of fun. I HATE changing man-pee diapers. It’s the closest I come to barfing when I have to deal with adult urine. But it’s gotta be done so I fulfill my duty. Glad it’s over though. After clinical I quickly put together salad and deviled eggs for a little dinner with friends. We had great food and played some Rock Band. Brian has pictures up on his flickr site.

Today I gave a lesson for the YW. We just looked at various artworks portraying the nativity and talked about them. It went very well, they got really into talking about each work, the symbolism, the times, and the emotion the artist put in them. I was very impressed with their comments. We listened to soft Christmas music and ate ginger cookies while we talked. It went over so well I’m thinking about doing another similar lesson for Easter.

So then I came home and wrote how happy I was that I have no obligations, and that’s still true. I love being unfettered, no deadlines or assignments. Sure I have a ton of personal projects that need attention (organizing the basement storage, shopping errands, finishing Christmas craft projects, turning in school papers, starting the job hunt). But I only have to answer to myself! Love it. Love it love it.


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Cancerland, originally uploaded by Ben Mason.

It’s finally done. We had to make an educational tool for our pediatrics group project. They decided to make a game for a cancer patient and I volunteered to make the game because I’m the only crafty person in the group and I wanted to get out of writing the paper (for once). Unfortunately there were so many snafus along the way, I spent at least 8 hours on this game over the weekend. So please excuse my rediculous bangs in this photo.

But it’s done! And kind of cute in the end. You can’t see the playing pieces or cards well, which is too bad because those are my favorite parts. Oh, and Cancerland is just a play-on Candyland. I realize it sounds ominous, hence the subtitle.

Off to class. Two days left, then three days of clinical before winter break. Woo hoo!

Another bonus weekly discussion post

From our class discussion forum: For Week #4, compare the similarities and differences between pediatrics and your Adult I experience. Address the patients (diagnoses, ages, challenges), clinical sites, staff, and personal comfort you have experienced in these two settings.

The tone between my two floors is striking. I had Adult I at the **** – lots of old men. Some were depressed, some told riske jokes, some made racial comments, some were jolly, and some you could read their hard life experiences in the lines around their eyes. The staff was caring but emotionally distant. We were polite and cordial to these men who grew up in a different era.

At **** the mood is jolly and full of encouragement. We try to be pals with the kids and give them good experiences. Since they come in repeatedly they develop strong attachments to their nurses. The nurses reach out to make them comfortable, whether it’s extra stickers or special candy cane flavors, or even making custom toys out of hospital supplies.

One night at the **** a gentle man held a concert for our unit. Nurses, secretaries, janitors, and patients gathered around him in the staff lounge. He sat in his motorized wheel chair in his yellow gown (MRSA positive) and softly sang old love tunes from WWII. His voice was crackly and quiet but you could tell that he was a grand singer when he was younger.

This week a professional singer in a green velvet dress and santa hat popped onto our floor and sang Christmas carols. Her voice was smooth and honey-like, the rumor was that she was a relative of Amy Grant. Kids and staff poked their heads out of doors to get a better look at where the beautiful voice was coming from.

Both were a capella performances given for love of the patients and staff, but they were quite different experiences. Either way, everyone had a fresh smile on their face afterwards.

Christmas in the air

Thanksgiving post and pics to come, I promise. Been a crazy busy but good week at school I don’t want to write much, but don’t want to forget my experiences. Thus bullets!

  • Leadership is over and I think I got 100% in the class. woot. Also didn’t pass their ATI practice test – the first time this whole program. What does that tell us about the class?
  • Tuesday in outpatient dialysis. Pretty boring on the whole, but I have a better understanding of renal function and got to help set-up dialysis, blood draws, and talked about transplants.
  • Wed/Thur two GREAT clinical days. Cared for two kiddos both days.
  • First an 11 month old, hepatoblastoma, here for fever and neutropenia (FN). Tiny kid, was twin-twin transfusion in utero (both survived, he’s the small one). Had necrotizing enterocolitis, has a J-tube in place. Been vomiting up all his feeds until today, when he kept down a lot of PO as well as gavage overnight. Yea!
  • Second a 19 year old guy with ALL (a leukemia) also in for FN. Really skinny and malnourished as well. Had him eating more by the second day and doing a lot better
  • Basic care for both: give antibiotics, pain meds (dronabinol for one, or as my nurse said “the ganja pill”), get food down, measure pee and poop, vitals, and gown-up every entrance since both were on droplet isolation.
  • Also got to see a lumbar puncture – it’s like maple syrup dripping out of a tree!
  • Worked with the same great nurse as last time. She and my instructor are so encouraging and I had many chances to shine. I feel like I got the adult equivelent of gold star stickers all day.
  • It snowed today! White out conditions made my preceptor late – she lives in the mtns and it took her 3.5 hours to get here.
  • I got to work with a non-floor nurse for a couple hours (more gold stars) and do more independent care. I felt like I took the lead!
  • Kids get the coolest stuff. Marshmallow shooters that act as incentive spirometers. “Beads of Courage” that they collect for a necklace – a different colored bead for each type of procedure like transfusions, chemo treatment, etc. My nurse said while I was in my clinical conference she went in the OR to help place a broviac in a teddy bear! They let the little girl scrub-in and help the surgeon place a central line in the teddy’s chest along with a bag of fluid so she can flush and draw blood from her own toy. I told my preceptor that if the do one next week to make sure I get to assist.
  • The snow was swirly outside the windows. When I walked out to my car at the end of my shift I could see it was the perfect picture-book crystals that sparkle like glitter in the parking lights.
  • There are Christmas decorations all over the hospital and I love it! We gave one of our kids a stocking of cherry candy canes because he hates peppermint ones. A singer came to the floor and serenaded us with carols.
  • I’m dead tired after three shifts in a row (8, 12, 12) but I’m on a high from it going so well. My back is pinched and I have so much homework that tomorrow won’t be a day off at all.

  • But I came home to this:

  • Ben is so fantastic. He had decorations up, dinner hot on the stove, and Christmas swing music playing when I walked in the door. I love my man. I’m getting so excited for break and for the holiday. One week to go!

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