Sunday, May 30, 2010

It is raining

It is a Florida kind of rain tonight....hard rain, then soft rain, then some thunder and hard rain and then soft rain. Summer in Florida. I hurt -- shoulders, legs, and feet. But not my back, wonder of all. My bed, the kindest place on earth, beckons. College boy let me take him for sushi to celebrate his work and my work. I am sated and tired. I will struggle through work tomorrow, but for tonight, I will let my bed and linens coddle me while I listen to the rain and soft thunder lullaby me down.

Race recap to come

4:18 and some change. I haven't digested it all enough to blog about it, but I did it. No, I didn't make my pie-in-the-sky fantasy goal, but I totally smoked my realistic goal, and my kinda sorta realistic goal. And I smoked my probably not going to happen goal. I finished hard, I finished fast, and I finished upright. I thought that I finished in about 4:22 or so, but I forgot that I waited for a bit before I stepped into the stream of runners. I am 47 years old, and I haven't done a full marathon in over 4 years, and I still turned in a 4:18. I can live with that. I'll let you know when I quit smiling. Yay me.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Leavin' On A Jet Plane...

Remember that song? What a sappy song. Anyway. I am off. I have my glide, my gu, and my glasses. And my running skirt. Some new Balaga socks, too. My shuffle is all charged up and I have remembered to pack my camera. I can't guarantee remembering to use it, however. Most importantly, I have my xanax so that I can medicate my way though my fear of flying. I have my car rental info, directions and itinerary. I just have to figure out what to wear today and then I can go. It is always the details that get me.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ain't no way

I can't do this. I just can't. I am old and fat and tired and broken-down in too many places. What in the hell was I thinking when I registered to run a marathon?? I couldn't even run 5 miles today without walking -- how am I going to make it through 26.2 on Saturday? Oh.My.God. I can't do it. There just ain't no way.

When they write my obituary, make sure that it says, "Sarah was a nice girl, but damnation, was she stupid! She knew better, but she did it anyway, and now she's dead." And don't bury me with my running shoes on, because they stink.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I hate bananas.

I hate bananas. I despise them, really. I hate the taste, loathe the smell, and the consistency nauseates me. But they are quite high in potassium, and runners need that (so are oranges, just sayin'). So almost to a man, runners love bananas. Except me. They hand out bananas like government cheese at races. Bananas and brown apples. Yuk. Prolly will have lots of bananas and brown apples and all that stuff at Bayshore, which I am not talking about anymore. I hurt everywhere. No lie. I can barely walk half of the time. My back is killing me. 800 of advil 3 times a day is barely touching me. But. I will finish. I leave on Friday.

Had a patient this week who had a potassium level of 1.8 (very, very low). Yikes! Heart rate was a little erratic, but nothing major, still, I kept a close watch. I dumped lots of IV potassium into her through her little peripheral IV. And her little IV held up. Until it didn't. So I started a new one. And it held up. Until it didn't. And so I paged her doc. When he called me back, I asked for a PICC line (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter). I explained the situation (potassium is highly caustic and burns up little veins, and this patient needed tons of potassium), and he agreed that she should have a PICC. "Thank you" I said. "No, thank YOU", he said with utter grace. I understood what he meant. Three small words and I felt better about my nursing career than I have in a good long while.

Still not thinking about the marathon. Nope. Not at all.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

On judiciously calling in

Monday, May 17.

Woke up this morning at 0-dark-30, as usual. Clipped my nails to the quick, as usual (nurse thing). Showered, got backpacks ready, did all the morning stuff, and went to wake up the small people. Kissed KT once. I kiss her first, just to sort of wake her. Then I kiss Jillian a thousand times, because she would prefer to sleep rather than wake. After I manage to wake Jillie, I kiss KT again, and she is open to the day. But this morning, after KT's first kiss, Jillian feels like a branding iron, and her little cheeks are bright pink. Not sleep pink, but fever pink. She is resty, so I let her sleep. KT is not yet awake, and so I let HER sleep. I call in to work and then slip back into my sleep scrubs. 20 minutes later, when dawn was just breaking, I had both small people in my room next to my bed sobbing. They knew it was a work day, and they knew that they were supposed to be up before dawn. They thought that I had left them without saying goodbye. It doesn't take a heart surgeon to take your heart out and stomp all over just takes 2 little girls who thought they were left behind. Not that it has ever happened. Not that it ever will. But there is no reasoning with small people who feel lost.

And so I tucked them into bed with me, fever-girl closest, hand holding the other over fever-girl's head. Love can stretch over continents. But sometimes love is only encompassed in the breadth of a bed.

I ran 4 miles. Thats what the schedule said. I have a blister on my right arch....but I think those big bandaids are working. I don't seem to be raising a blister (and with it the new tissue, which is what I am really worried about). Am hopeful that I will form a callus. It is easier to focus on calluses than marathons.

Total: 4 miles

Taper. Could it suck more??

Sunday, May 16th.

This marathon is in jeopardy. I am blowing up at all the wrong times. I had 15 scheduled, and I had the legs to do at least most of it, but I was working on getting a blister in my right arch. Bandaids were helping, but they only lasted 10 of the 15 miles. I tried going further, but decided that the injury wasn't going to be worth the distance. At this point, I can go 26.2 or I can't. I will know that in about 10 days.

Blisters are innocuous, but they are still something that needs reckoning. I have damaged that delicate arch tissue, and I don't have time for repair and replacement. I have NOT, however, damaged the tissue to where the only outcome is repair and replacement. I was smart enough to stop running before I had a full-blown blister (and all the new virgin tissue below it). So, I may have enough time to form a small callus. I may be able to run with some heavy-duty taping and be just fine. Or I might just have to walk the whole damned thing. Whatever.

Other than that, I have PF in both feet, my lower back is shot, my right IT is tight, I am fat and I am generally bitchy on all fronts. I have patience for no one. I hate people who are fast and can run pain free. And I hate people who don't have to run at all. And sick people piss me off. Oh wait. I am a hospital nurse. Go figure. Taper. There is a special place in hell for whoever designed taper.

Miles for week: somewhere over 30. Who the hell cares anymore.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Appointment-Guy doesn't think that I am clinically depressed. Nope. He does not. I was working that angle trying to get some drugs. And I was doing that because I am not feeling better, even after the house closed. Even after the Judge ruled that yes, I was entitled to my nice check. And even after I deposited that check. I don't feel better. I feel....hollow. Empty. Not happy, not sad. Not hopeful. Just worn so thin that you can see through my soul. So I must be depressed, right? And if so, bring on the meds. Better living through chemistry, I say.

But no. Au contraire. I am not so much depressed as I am depleted. I have been my own little gusher of emotional giving for more years than I can count -- truly. Which, in and of itself is a good thing. The BAD thing is that for all those years of giving, I haven't, for one reason or the next, been able to put good stuff in the well. And now I am dry. I am sucking mud and trying to turn it into blue skies and lilies. I could keep it going when my feet were to the fire, but now they aren't anymore. Deepwater Horizon should consult me about how to completely shut down a well.

New marching orders. I will not precept any more new nurses. I love doing it, but precepting takes too much out of me, therefore now is not the time for me to do that job. I will not work overtime or extra shifts, unless it is to my personal advantage. I will go out to lunch with another adult every week. I will make time and make the effort to do things with other people. I will put myself first for a while. I will put myself first even before my children for a while (ok, how hard is that going to be??). I will do things that make ME happy for the sake of increasing my happiness. I will be cognizant of the need to fill my cistern so that I can again give to all the people I love to help.

Most interesting, and haunting. Appointment-Guy pointed out to me that after I left the devil, I probably thought that I would emerge with a life. Afterall, I had one in Raleigh. A fun group of friends who went places together. I had a fairly active social life, and a small close circle of friends. In FL, not so much. Abuse and DV limits interactions with others. So when I left, I had people to help me, but not many friends. And then I went to work, and was frantic for so long...not so conducive to cultivating friendships. Appointment-Guy said when I left, I found that all I was was alive, when I expected to have a life. They are different things. So Job 1 is to start making a life for myself. I started today. I skipped my 5 mile run in order to have enough time to go to the Tampa Aquarium with a newish friend and all of our kids. We had a wonderful time. Big people got to sit and chat at the splash pad while small people played. I feel guilty about skipping the run, but I think I chose wisely. I may not have put much into my well, but I didn't feel the blanket of fatigue at the end of the day, either.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Love notes

I write on napkins. I don't do it every day, but I do it a lot. I even went out and bought a huge box of colored Sharpie markers so that I could expand my napkin writing boundaries. My hearts are many-hued, but my sentiments are simple. I slip napkin love notes into lunch boxes, like a midday hug that makes small people happy. And once in awhile, like today, small people slip a napkin love note into MY lunch box, and I get that midday hug that makes Mama happy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thoughts on Nursing.

Nursing care is the reason someone is admitted to the hospital. If you only needed Doctor care, you would go to your MD's office, and be cared for. If you need more care than a Doc can provide in the office, you go to the hospital, because what you are really in need of is nursing care. It is a coin, patient care. It has an obverse and a reverse. Docs provide patient cure, nurses provide patient care. You can't have one without the other. What hospital RNs do is start the IV, draw the blood, give the meds, monitor the electrolytes and other lab values, monitor vital signs, notify the doc with lab/patient changes, provide educational and emotional support to patients and families, bathe the patient, do dressing changes, consult with social workers to make sure said patient has sufficient discharge support, call in ancillary departments should the patient need respiratory therapy or physical therapy, and if all else fails, run the code when the patient arrests in one fashion or another. That sentence alone would make you think that nurses are important. Cause when mama goes into the hospital, she will depend on her nurse. Not her RT. Not her PT. Maybe not even her Doc. But truly, the quality of her hospital stay will hinge on her nurse. I wear a stupid, goofy button that says "Nursing Excellence. I believe." 'Nuff said.

Mistake-Guy, that I recently dated, referred to nurses as "stupid nurses" more than once. That rocked my world. I am not yet over it, partially because I asked a doc that likes me tons, who respects me, and whom I really respect, about a blurb I read in a medical journal about doctors' true feelings concerning nurses (so not good). He told me that when he was a resident in NY, even the ICU nurses were severely limited in their scope of practice and therefore, docs just kind of discounted nurses. Discount the nurse. Discount the very person that is in charge of keeping the patient alive. What I do is important, and sometimes life and death important. Yet in my workplace, there are people who minimalize what I do. There are more than a few people who use the words "dumb" and "nurse" in the same phrase. It leaves me dumbfounded.

Last week was Nurses' Week. At my hospital, we were not cherished or celebrated. We were encouraged to give to several charities. No lunch, no trinket, no confirmation of the importance of nurses to the hospital. It wasn't in the budget, and nursing is always the biggest cost center in a hospital. I love what I do. I am always an advocate for my patients, in whatever form that takes. But the love for what I do may not be able to withstand the despair I am beginning to feel. I am not a stupid, expendable nurse. I may be the only one to believe that, tho. What I do is important, and what I do counts. I am one of the backbones of my unit. If I feel this way, well, how do the less experienced RNs feel?

Oh, I ran today. My foot is killing me and I am getting a blister in the right arch. Geez.

Total: 8 miles
Total for week: 11 miles.

3 mile Monday

May 10, 2010

3 miles this morning. I was supposed to do 4-5, but I didn't want to be late to work, therefore I only did 3 miles. I am glad that taper is starting. My legs are just dead. ugh.

On the bright side, I didn't have to play preceptor at work today. I got to just do my job the way I like to do my job, and not have to constantly teach, explain, direct, and all that stuff. And, I got to keep my charts all lined up in numerical order, which makes me happy. I am just like that.

Total: 3 miles

Monday, May 10, 2010

The last long run

Saturday, May 8th

I ran 20 miles. Except that I didn't. But I did run most of it, and I tried. I talked to myself, I cajoled, I made bargains with God. (Just in case you didn't know this, God doesn't bargain. I learned that first-hand.) I simply kept placing one foot in front of the next until I didn't have to anymore. I finished and it was ugly, it was awful, it was all those things. I started late, and finished later in the Florida sun. I don't think that heat really bothers me, but maybe I am wrong. My lack of fortitude is just that. I talk a good game, but when it comes down to it, I don't have much of a game to talk about. Still, I try. I hate that I have to take this last long run with me into my first marathon in years. I am a keystroke away from quitting. I can't do it. I want to make the distance in a respectable time, but I know that I can't and the thought just sucks the life out of me. What I ought to do is jettison the need to run a marathon as hard and as fast as my poor body can go. What I want, and what I really need to embrace, is running long for FUN. How many of us do that??? Why don't we do that? More importantly, why don't I do that? Time is just that. Time. This thing that I am going to do in a few weeks is important to no one but me. No one cares about my time. My result won't cap the oil well in the gulf, it won't fix the economy or the health care crisis, and it won't bring our soldiers home from the Middle East. My time in a race won't feed my family or put a roof over our heads. So, my goal has to shift to completing the distance while having a mostly good time doing it. Much more reasonable.

Miles: 20
Miles for week:46

Friday, May 7, 2010

12 miles on the mill. Intervals.

Thursday, May 7

Because I missed my run on Monday, I made myself run a little farther on Tuesday, and today, interval day, I added another couple of milesto my run. It is one of my OCD things. I need 50 miles this week. Actually, I don't NEED them (not like air or water) but I will get stuck on stuff like that. Anyway, I did 12 miles with 11 3/4 mile repeats. I ran inside because, again, I was house-bound in the morning with a puking girl. It is getting to be like shampoo directions. Lather, rinse, repeat. Get sick, get better, repeat. Anyway, I wasn't free to run until after 1pm, and man, it was already 90* and humid. So I chose wisely like a grasshopper and ran inside. 2 mile warm up, 11 repeats, and a cool down. Done. The first 6 were kind of easy -- fast for me, slow for most -- the next 2 were kind of hard, and the last 3 were no-doubt-about-it hard. I made it though, and that is what counts.

Plus for the week. On Tuesday, I had to go to court. (Again. It gets old) New judge, as the previous judge recused himself. New judge gave us a 15 minute slot. New judge made his decision in under 10 minutes. Fastest. Hearing. Ever. Immediately after the hearing, I drove to my attorney's office and received a check for a very, very, very nice amount, exactly as spelled out in the divorce judgement. I rushed said check over to the bank to deposit it, but, in my hurry, I forgot the endorsement. Long story short, the teller and I were both cheering as she deposited my nice check. I now have the down payment on my future home in my possession. Wow. It means a lot. And then more than that.

Total: 12 miles
Total for week: 25 miles

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The strangest thing

Monday, May 3.

This is the last week (well, maybe next to last) of hard running before I taper for Bayshore. I don't feel well-trained. I mostly feel well-worn. My expectation for the race is simply to finish (the fantasy is to run fabulously and come in sub-4, but really, it is a fantasy. A girl can dream...).

I had 6 miles slated to run after work, but the strangest thing happened to me. I woke up Monday morning, and my lower legs were a little bit swollen -- puffy, like I had been standing all day. The swelling worsened during my shift (lots and lots of standing and walking), and by the time I got home, I had some serious (4+) pitting edema going on. That means that I could press my fingers into my shins and leave dents that were close to a centimeter deep. Not only that, the edema extended to almost my waist. My legs were so stiff and tight that I couldn't have sat back on my haunches if I had tried. I tried to do my six miles, but I simply could not run. I just couldn't. I had dinner with a friend, and then went to bed. In the morning, my legs were a little better, maybe +2 edema, but my face was swollen, and my eyes were so puffy. It was very worrisome to me.

13 miles later (well, 12 running miles, 1 walking mile) in the sun found the facial swelling mostly gone. My legs were less puffy, but not normal. I deal with patients who have swelling like this on a routine basis. I know a bunch of reasons why I might be so edematous, and I wanted to consider none of them. I took an OTC diuretic, and went on about my business, which was to help my children shelter a lost dog for the night.

Today, I talked to my ARNP. We are not worried about me having cardiac issues. My last EKG, showed sinus brady, which was expected. I have had renal issues in the past, but they were related to pre-eclamptic pregnancies. The swelling was bilateral and was almost resolved, so she wasn't suspicious of a DVT. So the usual suspects were ruled out. What came to light, however, is that I ran 20 miles in the suddenly-summer heat and humidity. I put forth a huge effort, and followed it up with 5 hours in the full Florida sun at the zoo with small people. I tend to have waves of nausea now and again during long runs, and post-run, my gut can't handle food. When it can, I tend to eat pretzels and the like -- things that are easily digested. What I don't eat is protein. What I do is beat my body up and then forget to replenish it. I don't do recovery. At all. My ARNP thinks that my piss-poor recovery caused me to have depleted albumin, which caused me to have such bad swelling. Moral of the story? I need to eat protein the day before a long run and the day of the long run. Most people do this. I need to join the ranks of most people. Duh.

Total: 13 miles
Total for week: 13 miles

Sunday, May 2, 2010

20 miles and a trip to the zoo

Saturday, May 1

My long runs have all been hard for me. I have yet to have one of those runs where I just breeze along effortlessly and all of a sudden 17 miles are in the bag. I have struggled with each and every long run this training cycle. Still, yesterday's 20 miler was less difficult than the long runs of the 2 previous weeks. I still had a "down" period between miles 16 and 18, and the first three miles were quite gimpy, but all in all it was a less than horrible long run. I started at 6:40, when it was fairly humid but cool; I finished 3.5 hours later in the full-on Florida sun. I am hopeful that it won't be 75* and humid at the start of Bayshore, and more hopeful that it won't be 85* when I finish. You never know, tho. If it is, well, I can't say that I haven't trained for that kind of weather.

I finished the run, hopped into the car and drove home. I drank half of a beer (why does beer taste good after a long run? I don't even like beer), showered and tumbled the small people into the car. We picked up a friend and her small person, and spend the next 5 hours under the sunny Florida skies at the Lowry Park Zoo. 20 miles in the morning, followed by 5 hours of walking in the afternoon. Gotta love it. The kids had a great time. Made it home in one piece, fixed supper, drank some wine and hit the hay. I woke up 12 hours later. My feet hurt today. Ya think???

Miles: 20+ a smoot
Total for week: Kissing 50