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If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal.

Dance

Lately, I feel like my mind is in this constant “GO! GO! GO!” mode. It feels like, I barely have time to sit down and take a breath. If I catch myself relaxing, I get this gut-feeling that I should be planning something, organizing something, or creating new ideas to do something. I start re-doing my savings plan, I re-calculate how much I need to save for a future house, plan trips that I want to go to, donate items I don’t need anymore, etc. Since I have already done that… here I am.

In nursing school, I learned that journaling helped me the most when it came to handling my emotions and thoughts day-by-day. If not, I felt overwhelmed from the emotions of yesterday and end up replaying moments in my head when I’m driving to work, on my breaks, or laying in bed at home. I guess if I don’t write/type it out, they stick to me. There are moments at work that shake me to the core and help me re-evaluate what is important to me and remind me why I love doing what I do.

“Human beings are the only ones in nature who are aware that they will die. For that reason and only for that reason, I have a profound respect for the human race, and I believe that its future is going to be much better than its present. Even knowing that their days are numbered and that everything will end when they least expect it, people make of their lives a battle that is worthy of a being with eternal life. What people regard as vanity-leaving great works, having children, acting in such a way as to prevent one’s name from being forgotten- I regard as the highest expression of human dignity.” – Paulo Coelho

We all have “bucket lists.” Things we want to do at least once in our lifetime. Whether these to-do’s are big or small life events, we will say something like, “I’m glad I did that – at least once!” or “I can finally cross that off my bucket list!”

When I look through surgery planning sheets, I focus more on equipment, instrumentation, correct procedures being picked a week or two in advanced, and confirm that implants will be available. I google (yes, I used google as a verb) articles of procedures to get a better understanding of them. I get caught up in the craziness of coordinating that I forget the bigger picture – the patient.

A young girl came to the OR to have bilateral hip osteotomies. She had several other medical and physical ailments, including chronic kidney disease, that made her ineligible to be a candidate on the transplant list. With no chance to have a transplant, the choice is to try to improve the quality of life and to simply live life to the fullest.

So, why hip osteotomies? She wanted to dance. *cue tears*

Life can be unfair and I feel like I experience that every day, but it definitely makes me count my blessings often and tell the people who I love, “I love you.” It is moments like this that nudge my shoulder to remind me to live. To dance in the moment. To love every chance I get. To not get caught up in routine, but to be happy to be alive and well. It also reminds me that the work I do, is for something and someone that is so much bigger than myself… and because of that, I will always put in 100% ❤

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Nurses Week

As a nurse, we experience life touching moments with our patients. We rejoice together about new life, we too feel the pain of an unfortunate diagnosis, & we respect life that is lost. We are nurses, but we too are human.

I was practicing my senior practicum on an antepartum, labor & deliery, and postpartum floor. I got to the floor at 1830 and was faced with a sobbing nurse who I was to relieve. Her patient, a mother of 39-weeks had just delivered her stillborn baby. I started to feel nervous, anxious, depressed, & a million other emotions cycling within myself. The nurse had already gave the baby’s first bath & made footprints side-by-side with the baby’s big brother. My preceptor & I were responsible with contacting the morgue, putting together funeral home information for the family, coordinating follow-up appointments, & to comfort and respect the family’s time with their baby. 

I came to help the mom get up out of the bed to go to the bathroom. As I was in the room, I saw a personalized baby blanket with their child’s name on it. It made my heart sink. As she was in the bathroom, I changed the linens on her bed where she spent hours in labor. I looked at dad, who was carrying their precious angel and asked if he needed anything. He said, “No.” As mom came back into bed, she asked if I could take a family picture of them. Without hesitation, I said, “Of course.” As I was taking their picture, I wanted to sob. I gave back their camera and asked if they needed anything else before I left. I saw all three of them cuddled on the bed, grieving over their little one. 

I cried during my 0300 lunch. I also felt like throwing up because my body hated night shift. I went home around 0730 and sobbed in my car during my short drive home. I laid in bed by 0830, wide awake with thoughts racing through my head. I prayed for that family, for their little one, & I prayed to hopefully make it through another 12-hour shift by 1830. 

As a nurse, we are on our feet for 10-12 hours. We are constantly walking, standing, and running. Not only that, but we are constantly thinking. We are utilizing critical thinking skills, actively planning our day hour-by-hour, and tending to the needs of our patients. By the time we get home, we are caring for our own loved ones at home…and all of this time, there is hardly time to take care of ourselves because we invest so much of ourselves for others. This year for Nurses Week, this year’s theme is “Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit.” To all the amazing nurses out there, THANK YOU!

Btw, get your free Cinnabon to treat yourself!!!

QFC Deals!

QFC was having a Buy 6, Get $3 off deal on select items!! One of them was on Lean Cuisine frozen meals! Original price = $2.29/each but when you buy 6, Sale price = $1.78/each! 

  • Lean Cuisine x8 = $1.78/each (Original price = $2.29/each)
  • Lean Cuisine x1 (Closeout deal) = $1.70
  • Eggo waffles x2 = $1.49/each (Original price = $1.99/each)
  • Super Pretzels x2 = $1.99/each (Original price = $2.99/each)
  • Mama Sita’s sinigang mix x10 = $0.39/each (Original price = $0.77/each.. found these babies in the clearance bins!)

Before QFC card = $64.82

After QFC card = $37.88 ~ 41% SAVINGS! 

Heartache

Before nursing school, I was a volunteer on a med-surg floor at the University of Washington Medical Center. I was in the middle of taking my prerequisites to apply to nursing school and one of the requirements was to have 100 hours of volunteering. On the unit, I restocked linen and supplies, changed patients’ bedding, delivered food trays and water, and answered call lights. (Yes, for 100 hours of my life). They were simple tasks, but it gave me the opportunity to interact with patients.

One of the many busy nurses asked if I could change one of her patient’s linens while they were sitting up in their chair. I knocked on their door and was welcomed by an older man and his wife. The patient was an elderly man with a fresh, c-shaped sutured incision along the right side of his head. His wife was reading to him when I walked in. I asked if I was interrupting, but they didn’t mind my presence. I continued to change the bedsheets and realized that I recognized the words she was reading out loud.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4

She was reading the Bible to her husband as they held hands. It was the most beautiful and heartbreaking thing I have ever seen.

Today, before bringing back a child to the operating room a family asked if they could say a prayer. Without hesitation, I stepped aside and gave them a moment. It reminded me of not only my memory of the elderly couple, but made me realize how as a nurse… We experience these beautiful, yet heart-aching encounters day by day.

I’ve learned to not wallow in the sadness, but to take it as a reminder that life is precious and time is short – appreciate this crazy journey we all have a chance to embrace called life. God gives us our own battles, but He only gives us what we can bear. Although, the weight may feel overwhelming, it is all in God’s plan for something greater than you may think.

Leap of Faith

About a year ago, I turned in my three weeks’ resignation letter to start completely new. New hospital. New coworkers. New surgeons. Being the “new” person. Completing dozens of on-boarding computer modules. Not knowing where anything is. Learning new policies and procedures. And especially – a new patient population. Pediatrics. I have always loved interacting with kids and admired how resilient they are.

Leading up to my decision of leaving my prior job, I noticed how my work life was “eating” me up inside. Some nights, after my shift I would get in my car and start sobbing. I would work 16 hour shifts, be on call for the next 8 hours, and then wake up to do it all over again. I was yelled at and talked down to. As a new grad nurse, it was very hard to gain confidence in a hostile environment. However, it only reaffirmed my promise to my patients – to fight for what is right for them. I am so thankful to have coworkers I could always rely on ❤ To be honest, they were the only reason I remained sane. 

I realized I wasn’t happy. I dreaded swiping my badge in and out. I couldn’t let go of work when I was at home. The attitude I had about work only projected onto my loved ones at home. I questioned the value of my work a lot. As an operating room nurse, my top priority is to keep the patient safe and to be their advocate. However, my work felt like it was about pleasing surgeons and getting their cases done on time – when my time didn’t feel appreciated. I felt like my passion for patient advocacy and safety was diminishing and it truly scared me. I was officially burnt out.

“Burnout can lead to dulled emotions and detachment. It strongly affects the emotions and undermines motivation, leaving a sense of hopelessness. For those experiencing burnout, every day is a bad day.” – Help Guide

So, I took a chance. I applied to my dream job to not only work with kids, but to work at Seattle Children’s Hospital. I’ve only dreamed of working closely with kids and their families and to work for an organization that has done wonders for hundreds of families across the northwest. I knew it would be a difficult job having to see kids in a vulnerable state, but I have always felt a calling in being a part of their journey towards living a carefree life, as they should.

April will be my official one year job anniversary at Seattle Children’s Hospital! It is crazy how fast time goes by and how work doesn’t seem like “work” when you adore what you do. During my first few days of orientation, I received an e-compliment (an electronic way to give compliments to staff) from a surgeon and how he appreciated the work we did to get all of his cases done. That was the first time I was thanked for my work. It was something so little, but it was a huge sign to me that reassured my leap of faith wasn’t a mistake. It was a start to new beginnings.

If you are not happy, change something. If your time and talents go unnoticed to someone, find people that will appreciate what you have to offer. Make your life more than what it currently is. Aspire to do more. Create goals. Achieve new heights. You are capable of being something greater than you think you are!

Don’t Be Sad

I always admired those who cared for sick children. I believe that working with kids it is rewarding, but at the same time very difficult. It takes a lot sometimes to hold back tears that are on the rim of your waterline when you empathize with a patient and a family. There are times where I find myself stressed out about something so small in comparison to what my patient and their families deal with every single day. This realization makes me stop worrying, to take a deep breath, and to be thankful for the countless blessings that God has given me.

There was a day that I met a teenager who had a condition of recurrent venous malformations in his lower extremity. Instead of coming in and having the malformation excised, the decision was made to have a below-the-knee amputation. As I was talking to the surgeon performing the surgery, I expressed my feelings of how making a decision like this as a teenager would be not only difficult, but truly life changing. When I was a teenager, I was very self-conscious. I cared so much about what other people thought about me and was bullied about my appearance. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be in that child’s place in life when I was their age. The surgeon told me, “Don’t be sad. This kid is super excited! After realizing his options of maintaining these malformations were not definite cures, he decided why not do something that is.”

The kids that I meet every day are some of the bravest people I have ever met. It amazes me every single time that even though they are battling through their own personal battles, they are still kids who want to play, smile, jump, and laugh. Just like any kid should behave (: I have also learned throughout all of my patient care experiences that every encounter has helped me grow as a person and to become a better nurse.

Changing Your Lifestyle

During nursing school, all I would do is eat, study, and sometime sleep. I barely had enough time to hang with my friends, spend time with my family, take care of my dog, or take care of myself. I hardly exercised. My form of exercise was taking the stairs as an alternative to the elevator. It was during winter break in 2014 that I realized I was at my heaviest. I weighed in at 145 lbs, which may not seem a lot to some, but it definitely made me realize that I had gained a lot of weight since high school – at least 30 lbs (the freshman 15 is a real thing, guys).

After graduation, I promised myself to a healthier lifestyle and to be able to practice what I preached to my future patients. I began being careful about what I ate, how often I worked out, and slowly recognized a difference in not only in my weight, but as well as how I felt. I was able to fall asleep faster, I felt like I had more energy, and I learned that “full” doesn’t mean you have to keep eating until you feel completely stuffed. Of course, there are some days when I treat myself, but for something to become habit, takes a lot of will power and persistence. These changes in my lifestyle helped me begin my journey:

  • Learn what works for YOU! I first tried counting macros and it was mentally challenging for me. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is the greatest way to be on a “diet” without it feeling like you are on one since your options are not limited. However, I disliked looking at food as numbers and if I didn’t eat my caloric intake goal for the day, I would force feed myself more protein or fiber – even though I wasn’t hungry.
  • I started to make my own lunch and ate the same thing the entire week. By doing this, I save time, money, and know exactly what is in my food when preparing it.
  • Learn how to portion food. Being Filipino, I was taught more rice, the better! Cutting back on the amount of carbs (especially rice) everyday has helped. When I make my meals, I try to measure carbs about the size of my hand – or less, veggies about the size that can fit in both hands, and a protein source about the size of my palm.
  • Strive to workout three times a week. Entering adulthood and working 40 hours/week can be a real struggle, especially working as a nurse and being on my feet for hours. Whether it is  a 30-45 minute cardio session or a full body workout, the only hard part is getting myself to the gym. After my 10 hour shifts, I am physically and mentally exhausted and would skip the gym and go straight home. So, I started to go to the gym at 4:30 AM – 5:00 AM to make sure I had no excuses.
  • ALWAYS eat breakfast, even if you are not hungry in the morning. Not having anything in the morning, just made me want to eat more and more throughout the day. Even if it a protein shake, hard boiled egg, or pancakes – have a good breakfast. It really is the most important meal of the day.
  • Sacrificed going out with friends every weekend and/or every occasion. This was the hardest part for me. I try to eat out once or twice a week. If there were multiple events during the weekend, I could only choose one, especially if they all involved eating out. After getting over the “fear of missing out” feeling, I realized that I would much rather enjoy quality time with my dogs and my love ❤
  • Don’t eat until you are at the point of throwing up. This may not be a normal thing, but sometimes I struggle with learning how to control myself when I am at buffets and/or potlucks. I keep eating and eating to the point where it is hard for me to breathe. I realized that I had a problem and started to listen to my body when I would go out. Learning to control myself, learning when I was “comfortably” full, and only take what I can finish, has helped me with my problem.
  • I stopped ordering sugary drinks at Starbucks. I used to order white chocolate mochas, caramel macchiatos, vanilla lattes, etc. I didn’t realize how much sugar and fat can add up in a tall, 12 0z cup everyday until working as a barista at Starbucks. For example, who knew that frappuccinos were made with whole milk by default?! My go-to orders are now americanos, drip coffee, iced teas with splenda instead of classic syrup, and if I’m feeling pretty naughty – a pump or two of white chocolate mocha with two espresso shots over ice.

I hope sharing these lifestyles changes of mine will help you think of baby steps of your own! Until next time (:

2017

Happy New Year!

Honestly, I have been unfaithful to not only my blog, but as well as to my followers. Last year, here were some of my accomplishments:

  • Pursued my passion of helping sick children by changing patient populations working as a RN in the operating room
  • Helped my loving mother achieve the American Dream – by helping her purchase a house to call her own
  • Caught my first jumbo trout (all by myself)
  • Raised money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to run a 5K obstacle course while holding a pineapple…while running in an egg costume
  • Kayaked in Hood Canal, WA
  • Started a healthy habit of going to the gym at least 2-4 times a week (even if it means lifting/running at 4:30 AM)
  • Experienced Beyonce’s LEMONADE concert
  • Realized that if I was unhappy with something in my life, find a way to BE happy
  • Met my middle school crush – Musiq Soulchild
  • Got free tickets to see KGJ’r retirement & induction to the Hall of Fame

… and many more!

So blessed to have had such a wonderful year and can’t wait for what else 2017 has in store for me. Here are some goals to keep me grinding this year:

  • Save every $5.00 that I find/receive
  • Start saving up for a BIG trip
  • Take 1 second videos on the 1SE app – every single day
  • Save $1.00 on Mondays, $2.00 on Tuesdays, $3.00 on Wednesdays, $4.00 on Thursdays, $5.00 on Fridays, $6.00 on Saturdays, $7.00 on Sundays, and REPEAT until 2018
  • CONTINUE to pay off debt & SAVE money
  • Blog more!

Can’t wait to share with ya’ll what 2017 will bring me (:

Beyond Natural Wet Dog Food DEALS

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Such a great deal for these cans of Beyond wet dog food at Target! (:

  • Original price = $2.49/each
  • Sale price = $1.80/each
  • Cartwheel app 15% off Beyond wet dog food = $1.53/each
  • Newspaper coupon Buy 2, Get 1 FREE (x2) = -$4.98
  • Total price = $4.74 or $0.79/each!!

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