Chaos and Not Much Order–How to get things done

I must, on an almost hourly basis (or even more frequently!), remind myself that planning my work day is neigh unto impossible. Not only is it impossible, but even after starting on a project or task that being interrupted too many times to count is to be expected.

Take for example a normal shift. Today, I was expecting to arrive at our main base and travel by ground (get in a car and drive for you land lubbers) to our second base after meeting the rest of the crew. Normally, the aircraft is left overnight at our second base and we meet it there.

Today, however, the aircraft was at our primary base. And the weather is crap. (Or IFR for you air lubbers). So, instead of being in a quiet office with space to work and expected interruptions like shift briefings and flight requests, I found myself discombobulated, without quiet work space, and constantly pulled in so many directions I was feeling like rubber girl. (get your mind outta the gutter) Yup, I am working out of our primary base. Read–work plans foiled.

Did I get a lot done? Arguably. Am I straight exhausted from the chaos? Absolutely.

And my presentation is still not getting done. Now I am so overwhelmed I am having difficulty concentrating. Oh, yeah. I was planning on arriving at our second base, doing my daily flight nurse duties and sitting down to about 8 hours of book/computer work.

Heh, even my post is disjointed and chaotic.

How does a girl who has a bunch to do, but works in disorder and chaos get anything done? Heh, and to think I am here to FLY!!! 🙂

I need a nap.

Instead I am going to work on my PowerPoint presentation while hiding on our mezzanine with the intubation heads and stretchers.

peace and quiet

A Flight Nurse’s Dream Product: SwabFlush Receives FDA Clearance

So many times when flying a very ill or injured patient, finding the alcohol swabs is monumentally difficult. As with everything else we do, how incredible when we are able to remove steps from a simple, but essential process.

Hmmm, but what I really wonder about is the cost. And if they can figure out a way to use these things on the absolutely worthless IV tubing that still requires some sort of needle-less whatcha-ma-jig to pierce a membrane.

My solution to part of the healthcare money crisis?



But I digress, as I so often do.

See more on Medgadget.


Excelsior Medical has received FDA clearance for its SwabFlush IV catheter flush syringe. 75hdtg.png

It is basically a standard syringe pre-filled with saline for flushing IV lines after delivering medications. However, in the plunger it features a disinfection cap (the SwabCap) for needleless IV connectors. When applied, the cap covers the connector, protecting it from contamination. Furthermore, as the cap is twisted onto the threads, a foam pad inside the cap is compressed, releasing 70% isopropyl alcohol bathing the connector’s top and threads. The integrated cap should make it easier and more convenient to follow protocols and reduce IV catheter related infections. It comes as a 10mL flush syringe pre-filled with 3 ml, 5 ml or 10mL of saline. Video explaining the SwabCap mechanism:

I think I have Information Deprivation Disorder

While doing a clinical rotation in OB last week, which is required for my position annually, I was bordering on a minor anxiety attack. For the first time in a very long time, I was without my cell phone.

Today, while working on all of my social media accounts, surfing the web and watching Twitter simultaneously, I came across a Tweet—

@LaurenCandito: New on the SMS Blog: Many show withdrawal symptoms after 24 hours without technology

During brief period standing in line at the market, I have found myself reaching for a phone I left in the car, realizing that I no longer am able to just stand still and occupy myself without a digital distraction. After having it happen on more than one occasion, I thought that I may have an issue until that day last week in clinical.

I reached for an absent mobile.

I reached for missing paper & pen that is my backup distractor and battery-less blogging tool.

There was no way to distract myself.

I almost panicked.

Then the link to the above post.

I may have Information Deprivation Disorder.

I need to get over it.

brevity you are my previous post

So I attempted to start a post yesterday from the WordPress app on my iPhone. It went horribly wrong and I not only ended up with a very short blurb, but the photo I wanted to post didn’t upload.


I guess that is what I get for hosting my own version of WP on my own server. And not updating it for quite a long time.

*double sigh*

With that said, I fixed the photo, but not the text. I thought it best to leave it as is and try to explain it today.


My Domain

Over the past few years, I began to realize that the major things in my life (goals, accomplishments, to-dos) all come to a definitive point of resolution. They end, but not necessarily on my time line. Becoming an RN took me almost failing out of Michigan State, joining the Army and living all over the country before I finished with my MSN (at a much better school—read: fate!). If I would have succeeded on my timeline, I would have ended up living in Michigan my entire life and probably not gotten past my BSN.

Even with all of my accomplishments, the non-definitive point of resolution related to my maintaining a healthy weight and physical life style has eluded me. It is all about timing. I started eating a vegetarian diet (still eating eggs and cheese if you must know) the first of the year. This is not a resolution or some fad diet that I am trying out to lose weight. I don’t think eating meat is a bad thing, or that we should all quit wearing leather and fur. I want to learn to cook differently, have more of a purpose for my garden and my chickens (I have 12!) and find the desire to explore culinary variety which I would not be exposed to by eating what is comfortable and what is known.

Tonight I counted 16 different vegetables in the courses I prepared. SIX-TEEN.

My mother would be so proud.

So I sit here tonight parked in my domain (see photo). Legs sore from the Spin class I suffered through (and I mean suffered), content knowing that I am starting with the little things, hoping that the timing is right, and all the pieces have fallen into place so I can consistently treat my physical body right.

Hopefully, this is my point of resolution.

Simple changes

Sometimes, it is the small changes that make the biggest differences. Over the past two years, I have weaned myself off of plastic shopping bags (almost), recycle everything possible, stopped eating fast-food, no longer drink soda and am eating a vegetarian diet.


What a Difference A Day Makes

Why is it that the birth of a new year brings hope, plans for positive change and the feeling of rebirth?

It amazes me what a difference a year makes.

I see great happiness, change and greatness in 2011.


Great Happiness.

AirLife Denver lands top global honor

I decided that I need to actually start keeping up and writing more about the HEMS industry.

Marky, I thought about you this morning when I came across the following article. Guess your classmate will have smack to talk when you mention the Duracell commercial . . .

From EMS Flight Crew:

Airlife Denver, the emergency-transport service for HealthOne, was named the top medical flight service in the world for 2010-2011 by the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) . . .

AirLife Denver has served nearly 50,000 patients and their families over 27 years across the eight-state Rocky Mountain region. The program has made investments in such items as night-vision goggles, terrain-awareness warning systems, a better patient loading system, and painting the helicopters and ambulances green and blue for better visibility

[From Airlife Denver lands top global honor]

I’m Not Nesting

Lack of time has always been the bane of my existence.  Reacting to the next deadline, shift or due date has, historically, created so much anxiety that planning became an impossibility. 

In retrospect, this pattern of behavior began when I was in my early to mid teens.  I plainly remember being very stressed to the point of panic, lying in bed when my dad came up to wish me good night.  I had just gotten home from playing an away basketball game and I should have been studying for the next day’s biology and Spanish tests.  I was too tired to do either.

Fast forward to today, twenty short years later.

I find myself sitting at my sister’s kitchen table watching my nephew and my soon to be stepson playing in her pool thinking about things I should be doing.  Book chapters to edit, invitations to finish, knitting gifts to begin, cucumbers to pick and chicken eggs to collect. 

My priorities have finally changed.

For so many years, it seemed as though I just needed to catch up.  I would pummel myself for not meeting deadlines or exercising enough.  I replaced contentment with achievement that led to my taking on more and more projects until my ultimate failure.

It was a shock to my core the day I realized that I needed to fail.  I needed to miss an important deadline (and extensions).  I needed to not pass a exam.  I needed to, simply put, FAIL.

Although my path didn’t come to that severe of a cliff, I made subtle changes in my life over the past year. 

The first was that I stopped obsessing about writing.  Not just writing my blog, but writing period.  I no longer felt the necessity to capture every waking moment like it was my last.  It wasn’t necessary to live my life in such a public forum.  My passion for flight nursing, although intact, became more of an integral part of my core existence, versus my defining veil.

Over the winter months, I became more an more interested in things my mother held dear when I was a child.  Canning, gardening, and knitting.  During those cold, short days, Ben and I planned our garden, our hen house, and chose what vegetables we would preserve.  Mom, while undergoing chemotherapy, taught me to knit.  Each of those things takes time, planning, and a skill set I am still very novice at.  None are possible with a last minute decision or on a whim.

Each one of those things has taught me something invaluable:


I never realized how satisfying it would be to collect eggs every day.  How grateful my friends would be to receive a hand knit gift.  How much accomplishment comes in different forms.

It is no longer as important for me to reach the next Army rank, or earn the next degree for my wall.  I am happy simply being granted time to call my mom and ask her a question about brining pickles or for help tying off my quilt.

Oh, and another important thing.

I’ve learned to say no.

Living with Intention

Last spring I found myself in the midst of my normal chaos. Too many jobs, too many projects and too little balance. That was when Ben told me he thought we should plant a garden.

A garden that needed weeded, watered and looked after. He said that to the girl who could barely keep a “no one can kill this kind of plant” alive.

I think I laughed.

We were rarely home as it was. It is hot in the summer and I have an aversion to mosquitoes which happen to be Michigan’s state bird.

The pessimist in me obviously wasn’t convinced. We decided to start it late in the spring and had everything else going against us. Poor soil, a local covey of deer, and two hunting dogs that like to dig. Did I mention the mosquitoes?

I reluctantly began to buy in to his hair-brained idea and figured the act of working up the plot of yard would be exercise at a minimum. What I didn’t realize was that spending an afternoon working manure into the soil would be the beginning of my finding balance, patience and a reconnection with the many life lessons my mother taught me as a child.

I remember the day we first found plants coming through the soil. Vivid memories of green bean plants popping through the dirt in our family garden were floating through my mind as I stared at our rows in wonder. The veggies I despised as a child were now a thing of peace as I spent time determining what was growing by intention and what was growing by opportunity.

Ben and Garden 2009 Ben & our garden last spring, just after planting

I was still at war with the mosquitoes.

And the deer.

I almost cried the morning Ben walked in the house and broke the news. Our tender shoots were devoured by deer in the night. A tasty snack for them supplied by hours of our hard work. The look of disappointment on his face was something I hope to never see again. It would have been easy to quit. We overcame the odds and grew plants from seeds when everyone said we should just by plants. They were now just green stubs. Instead of quitting, we pushed more seeds into the soil.

And put up a fence.

We learned a lesson in patience. We learned a lesson in persistence and were rewarded with new shoots.

Throughout the summer, we took the time to walk around our creation in the morning and work the soil when we had time.

I learned to love the garden.

New possibilities began to present themselves as I recalled the rows and rows of beautifully preserved vegetables, fruits and meat my mother canned. I remembered the huge binder twine loop that we threaded through the Ball canning jar rings and the piles of lids which were ever present in the dishwater.

I began to ask my mother questions about when during the year she canned certain things. Her cherry jam, which was preserved in the freezer, was my favorite. Chemotherapy wracked her body during that time, but not her mind. We spent hours talking about what to plant and what we should do this spring.

As summer turned to fall, and our first garden went from beautiful plants to baskets of broccoli, peas, green beans and peppers, becoming more self sufficient didn’t seem like such an insurmountable undertaking. Instead, it became a passionate winter time conversation.

PeppersFirst of our Peppers last year

This morning, I checked on our chickens, excited about Ben finishing the chicken coop this week. I admired the beautiful dark soil we worked last night in our garden.

First Day with Chickens 003 Lucy watching our chicks the day we brought them home

My sisters express their shock at my “domestication.” I view it more as living with intention. It takes time to plan, plant, harvest and preserve. As I look forward to buying my first pressure canner and seeing shelves lined with vegetables and jams, I realize that my life has lacked intention. I grew up reacting instead of being proactive. This new found perspective on life is bringing peace, happiness and balance.

And lots of fresh vegetables.

Quote for Sunday

“Its the little things that make you happy.  It’s the little things that piss you off.”

–Dr. M.G.

I love working with Mark.  He has this amazing way of throwing a thought provoking quote into the middle of conversation.  Many times I wish I had written his words down for later contemplation.  Unfortunately, I usually have a syringe in my hand and a patient on the stretcher when they are spoken. 

Today I was lucky.