Sunday, April 21, 2013

Nursing School is Over!

Well, nursing school is over.  Kind of.  I am done with all of my classes, I have turned in all of my assignments and now I just have to take finals.  Then boards.  I don't care much about boards, I will pass them, I just need to put in the time to study.  My finals are currently occupying all of my time and attention now.  I have 6 of them.  I have 4 of them this week and 2 the next week.  I started studying for them about 6 days ago.  I go to the library every day for a few hours to study.  I can't get anything done if I stay home, I would just stop and play with my cute daughter every 5 minutes if I tried staying home.  I'm doing my wife a favor by leaving too, so she doesn't have to keep the house quiet while I'm home studying.  

When I started nursing school 2 1/2 years ago, I was in a state of shock for some time.  I couldn't believe the amount of quizzes we had to take, the amount of reading we had to do, the amount of big papers I would have to write, the amount of big projects that I would have to do, the amount of clinical hours I would have to spend in the hospital, and how hard the tests could be.  It was quite apparent to me that my life was about to change significantly.  After my first semester, I guess that state of shock just became my new normal, everyday life. 

Nursing school kind of feels like you are doing 2 majors at once.  You spend A LOT of time in lecture taking vigilant notes and a lot of time in the nursing lab.  On top of that, you spend a countless amount of hours in the hospital working as a student nurse (not getting paid of course).  On top of all that, you spend more hours at home studying than I even want to talk about.

If you are going for your Bachelor of Science in Nursing like I did, you get the whole grand slam of nursing courses.  Going for your bachelor is the best choice, you don't get paid any more, but you are much more educated and you open up your chances of working in management or grad school should you desire.  

You probably didn't know this, but most nurses are only Associate degree nurses.  Only 30% of nurses have their bachelor in nursing.  The American nurses association has a goal to have 80% of nurses with their bachelor degree sometime in the future.  

Here are some funny things I found online about nursing school, there is some truth to all of them:

A few weeks ago, my wife and I took a trip with some friends to southern Utah to stay in a cabin in Zions National Park.  It was a nice quick little get-a-way from nursing school and we had a great time. Here are a couple of pictures taken at Zions:

We took a trip into nearby Springdale to get some groceries, and on our way back, we were escorted off the road by a police officer to make way for the oncoming Springdale parade.  It was quite the interesting parade.  We were very entertained for the entire hour.  My favorite part of the parade was this hippie guy driving his beautiful John Deere tractor:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Accept This Truth, It Will Never Be The Same...

Last semester, I went over to the University of Utah with several of my fellow nursing students to attend a lecture on the topic of grieving.  It was very fascinating to me, and I learned a lot.  I wanted to share some of what I learned with you.  Maybe you are currently grieving, maybe you have grieved in the past, but certainly at some time in your life you will find yourself grieving and I hope something here will help you cope with your grief.

"Accept this truth, it will never be the same."

You need to lower your expectations and try to find peace in your grief journey.

Grief is sadness on steroids, it is a bunch of messy emotions.

Very important:  There is NO WRONG WAY to grieve.

No loss is more or less painful from another, it is just different.

To loose a parent is to loose the past...
To loose a child is to loose the future...
To loose a spouse is to loose the present...

You should not make any important decisions while you are grieving, you will have what many people describe as "brain fog," and you just need to get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other.

To give yourself a gift does not feed self-pity, it prevents it...and is a wonderful thing to do.

To be in denial is not unhealthy, as long as you consciously make the decision to be in denial.

Do not try to triumph over grief, just survive it, because that is just as honorable.

Grief will eventually go away, but the emptiness and yearning for those we love does not ever go away, nor should it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Violence Against Women

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  A friend of mine inspired me to make a post on it.  I just recently finished my Community/Public Health nursing course this month and it was quite timely as indicated above.  

First off, here is a quote that many of you may have heard from Martin Luther King Jr.

This quote especially applies to IPV, or intimate partner violence.  Intimate partner violence is primarily violence against women.  I attended a very good lecture that lasted a couple hours long a couple weeks ago where a physician from the State of Utah brought her team and discussed with us nursing students the topic of IPV.  Did you know...
  • 1 in 3 women report being victims of IPV
  • Females between the ages of 20-34 are at the greatest risk of IPV
  • 4-8% of women are abused during pregnancy
    • 37% more likely to deliver preterm
    • 17% more likely to deliver SGA infants
    • 30% more likely to have neonates requiring ICU care
  • Homicide is a leading cause of death for pregnant and post-partum women
  • Domestic abuse & IPV go together in most cases

So, obviously IPV is a very big problem in our country.  I'm not sure you or I realize what a problem it is in our society, at least I didn't prior to hearing this lecture.  The problem about IPV in the past is that it is something that most people are afraid to talk about, it is a topic swept under the rug and only spoken about in hushed tones behind closed doors.  That is partially why it has become such a big problem.  WE need to bring it out in the open, and discuss it as we would discuss any everyday item.  Only through IDENTIFICATION and ACKNOWLEDGMENT of abuse will we be able to end the cycle.  It is such a tragedy that there is a 33% chance that any woman you randomly run into in this country has been a victim of IPV.
  • 1 in 3 women report being victims of IPV
  • Females between the ages of 20-34 are at the greatest risk of IPV
  • 4-8% of women are abused during pregnancy
    • 37% more likely to deliver preterm
    • 17% more likely to deliver SGA infants
    • 30% more likely to have neonates requiring ICU care
  • Homicide is a leading cause of death for pregnant and post-partum women
  • Domestic abuse & IPV go together in most cases

If you are from Utah like me, you might be thinking to yourself "Well we live in Utah, this is happy valley, that kind of stuff might go on out there, but hardly ever here..."  Well, I am sorry to report to you that is wrong.  There was an emergency room physician at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City that did a study a few years ago.  He interviewed every woman that came into the ER over a period of time and received the following results when his study had concluded:
  • 36% of Utah women presenting to LDS hospital had been a victim of IPV at some point in their lives
  • 13% of Utah high school students were also victims (from their dating partner)
  • 29% of Utah women had experienced a sexual offense
  • Since 2000, domestic violence-related homicide accounted for 40% of all adult homicides
So it's very much a problem here in Utah, actually it is slightly higher here in Utah than it is nationally.  So listen up!  IPV is about power and control, a man will use behaviors to establish and maintain control over his partner.  It can be emotional/psychological, physical, or sexual abuse.  And yes, some men are victims of IPV as well.  A woman does not just leave a violent relationship, she has to ESCAPE from one, for their own safety, and the safety of her children.

In conclusion, I GUARANTEE that you know people that are/have been victims of IPV.  Maybe you are aware of it and maybe you are not.  IPV should not be a 'private matter' and it is not just a law enforcement or criminal justice concern, it is a concern of all of us. 

So if you are a victim of IPV, know that you have resources in the community that can help you get restarted after you escape.  Please do not be afraid of leaving, but do it with intelligence and caution and remember that NOTHING that happens as a result of you leaving is your fault, it is ALL ON THE PERPETRATOR.  ALL!  And if you know of someone that is currently a victim or has been one in the past, you need to be genuine, nonjudgmental, and supportive.  If you suspect a friend or family member is a victim because of something you witness, ask them about it--because if you don't ask, they won't tell.  

To report abuse or share with someone what you are going through, you can call the numbers below.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

1 Month Until Alzheimer's Cure?

We're about to find out within 1 month if 3 new drugs being tested will yield any results in slowing the onset of Alzheimer's.  We will know within a month about 2 of the drugs, and later in the year the results of the third drug will be posted.

These 3 drugs are practically the "last men standing"  in late-stage trials after more than a decade of failed attempts to halt the mind robbing disease.  If these drugs don't work, experts say drug companies may pull out of the field in frustration and leave the 35 million world-wide with dementia with little hope.

Neurofibrillary Tangles                                  Beta-amyloid plaques

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia.  5 million people have it in the U.S., and 27 million have it worldwide.  The cause and progression of the disease are not well understood, but are thought to be related to neurofibrillary tangles and beta-amyloid plaques.  There is rapid degeneration of  the brain that eventually leads to death.  The average life expectancy after you have been diagnosed is 7 years.

Comparison of normal-aged brain (left) with the brain of an Alzheimer's victim (right).

The interesting thing about these drugs is that they are not drugs in the traditional sense, they are antibodies (proteins made by the bodies immune system) designed to clear amyloid plaques in the brain.  Scientists aren't even sure that amyloid even causes Alzheimer's, or that by removing it, symptoms will improve in those who have the disease, but there have been some hopeful signs that they are on the right track.

Everyone in the field is holding their breath in anticipation that something good will come of these results.  Even a small effect will mean huge success, because that will mean the drug is working.

There has not been a drug made that has even helped symptoms in the past 9 years...let's all cross our fingers!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Health Alert: New Sunscreen Guidelines

Sorry for the weird colors, blogger is messed up.

Now trust me, this is something you all need to hear.  If you like your skin, and don't want cancer, then your going to want to pay extra close attention.  The FDA has been after sunscreen companies for a while now.  Why?  Because sunscreen companies have not been honest.  They have not been honest concerning the degree of protection that their sunscreens claim to provide.  

The FDA ordered that changes be made by this month (June 2012), so that we don't all get fried with cancer-causing sun rays this summer.  Well, the sunscreen manufactures came crawling back complaining that they were having a hard time meeting the deadline, so last month in May, the FDA granted them a 6 month extension until this December 2012.  Perfect timing, right as the world ends right?  Some smaller companies have even longer, until December of 2013.  The FDA worried that holding companies to the original deadline would result in sunscreen shortages this summer.

What is it that the FDA wants to be made clear about sunscreens?  Here you go:

The sun emits rays in 2 different wavelengths.  A and B.  There is a big difference between these two.

  • UV-A rays:  Causes premature aging&wrinkling. Contributes to and initiates skin cancer
  • UV-B rays:  Plays key role in skin cancer

Don't believe that the sun causes premature aging?  Here's the picture of the trucker who always had the sun on the left side of his face (without any sunscreen).  The wrinkles were caused by UVA rays.

What else?

  • Sunscreen companies can no longer claim their lotions to be waterproof or sweatproof, only water and sweat resistant.  This is so people know that sunscreens have to be reapplied frequently when you are sweating or swimming (the protection washes off quickly). 

What is the FDA is not asking these companies to do is to reformulate their sunscreens.  What they are asking them to do is to change their labeling about the real protection their sunscreens really offer.  The delay is due to the time it takes them to revise package labeling, especially on smaller packages that now will have to fit extra information about just what protection is offered.

What will the NEW regulations mean for us?

You want protection against both UVA and UVB rays.  Once the new rules are in place, any sunscreen labeled "broad spectrum" will offer both, but until then, there's no guarantee behind that wording.

Once the new rules are in place, sunscreens with less than an SPF of 15 or that aren't "broad spectrum" will have to carry a warning label: "This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging."

If it still says "waterproof," it was bottled under the old rules. Once the new rules are in place, the sunscreens will have to say how long they're water-resistant.

So, what sunscreen should you get?

Sun bathers and outdoor enthusiasts should beware of harmful ingredients found in many sunscreens. According to recent CNN article, only "25 percent of 800 tested sunscreens" are safe.  That means that 600 out of 800 sunscreens tested were NOT safe.

 To make that safe list, sunscreens had to be “free of oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate (a type of vitamin A), not have SPF above 50 and protect against UVA and UVB sunrays.

According to Experts, you need to get:

  • An SPF of 25-30, but nothing below 25.  Always use less than SPF 50.
  • Sunscreens that contain either zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or both. Those are the two safest ingredients,  they are physical barriers, not just chemical barriers, and they block both UVA and UVB rays.  Don't get any other active chemical ingredients.
  • Getting a true SPF coverage means making sure skin is getting completely covered, which often takes 2 coats of sunscreen.  (It can be very easy to miss a spot, and that's all you need for cancer to start.)
  • Avoid oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate (a type of vitamin A)
  • Avoid direct sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. That's because the most significant amount of UVB hits the U.S. between these times.
If you weren't paying attention, here's a little something to scare you into wearing sunscreen:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Sex of Your Baby

Few things in my life have been more exciting than finding out the sex of my baby.  Am I going to get a little guy to show all the ropes of manhood too?  Or am I going to get daddy's little girl?  Most people think that they will just play whatever cards they are dealt when it comes to the sex of their baby.  But do we actually have a say in the matter...???  Read On...

There are books out there that tell you all sorts of things you can do to help sway the odds in one direction or another, but when it comes down to it, the most important factor in determining the sex of your baby is TIMING

What is it that determines the sex?  It's the man.  The woman always gives one X chromosome, maybe hoping that she will get a little mini-me, but the man has the final say in the sex and can give either his X or his Y.   There are two kinds of sperm, sperm that call for a male, and sperm that call for a female.

So what can you and your spouse do to put in your two cents with the guy upstairs?  

First, you need to understand this concept:  male sperm swim faster than female sperm.  

Secondly, the woman needs to know what day of her cycle she ovulates.  If you don't know this, don't worry, your not alone.  You can buy tests that you pee on that can confirm whether or not your ovulating, but here is another fairly accurate way to tell:

  • Take your temperature BEFORE YOU GET OUT OF BED.  If your temp goes up (even 1/3 a degree Fahrenheit) and STAYS up, over the next two or three days, you are ovulating.

So, once you know the day you ovulate, you can make it work in your favor.

IF YOU WANT A BOY:  Have intercourse about 2 days AFTER ovulation.  That way, the egg is just waiting for the first sperm, and since the male sperm swim faster, they will be first to arrive and fertilize. 

IF YOU WANT A GIRL: Have intercourse about 2 days BEFORE ovulation. That way, the male sperm have already come and mostly died off, and by the time the egg presents itself, the female sperm are just arriving to fertilize.  

ANOTHER TIP:  Some people think that having intercourse everyday increases their chance of getting pregnant.  It can take up to 11 days for sperm to fully mature and be ready to fertilize an egg, so by having sex everyday, you can be releasing lots of immature sperm that will not fertilize the egg.  A better method might be to wait until your fully potent with lots of mature sperm, and then follow the guidelines up above in trying to determine the sex of your baby.  If you don't care what sex you get, then disregard everything and let chance do its thing.  As you know, almost nothing in pregnancy, labor, and childbirth is exact.  However, this method did work for me and my wife, and look what we got:



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I bet you didn't know this about childbirth...

Did you know:

  • There are 6 million pregnancies every year in the U.S.

  • 50% of the 6 million miscarriage.  Some don't even know they are pregnant.
  • 3% of women have twins.
  • 13% of women in the U.S. have postpartum depression.
  • Postpartum depression is primarily due to hormone changes.
  • The "blues" usually only last 2 weeks after giving birth.  If it goes longer, it is known as post postpartum psychosis.
  • Fewer than 10% of babies are born on their due date.
  • 50% of babies are born within one week of their due date.
  • 14 million adolescents become pregnant each year throughout the world
  • Each day 1,600 women die giving birth
  • 99% of those deaths occur in developing nations.
  • The closer you live to the equator, the more likely you are to have a girl
  • A healthy male ejaculates 7,200 times throughout his life (7.5 gallons)