Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thank You, Mom

Tomorrow is my Mom's birthday (40th, of course!). We got to have dinner together tonight (cooked by my sister who is only 6 weeks postpartum), and I was telling her a story from work I was reminded of how much of who I am as a nurse I owe to her. My sister and I are lucky to have an awesome Mom and Dad, but tonight's post is about our Mom.

Yesterday at work I had a patient in his 60s, with minimal cardiac risk factors, who came in with chest pain. His cardiac enzymes (which indicate heart attack) were negative, but his Electrocardiogram (ECG) was a bit abnormal. Since he didn't have any further chest pain, I reviewed the ECG with the cardiologist and we decided to proceed with the test. The patient had sneakers which looked broken in and muddy. He was slender and fit- low suspicion for heart disease. That being said, I prepped him before the test. I told him that his ECG was abnormal and that it might be significant or it might mean nothing. I told him that if he developed chest pain, it would be an indication we needed to stop the test sooner rather than later.

The test started well...we chatted, he walked. Less than three minutes in, he developed chest pain. His ECG began to change. It became the ECG of the patient who is having THE BIG ONE. This is the "Oh S#$t" moment that I've had only once before in 6 years of doing stress tests. This is the moment you wonder how you will prep for it but you never know. I went into autopilot. I calmly stopped the test, got him laying down, gave him nitroglycerin, and called the cardiologist. Thankfully I work with an awesome team and we got this patient back to being pain free. I prepped him for transfer for cardiac catheterization (an invasive procedure to find and repair blocked arteries), called his wife, stayed with him to monitor him, and breathed a sigh of relief. I was off of work today, but apparently he called to say thank you. He got a stent in one of the arteries in his heart and was discharged from the hospital. Because he listened to his body and his symptoms, and came to the hospital, he avoided a potentially fatal heart attack.

So I was telling my Mom this story, and she told me how proud she was of me. If only there were words to convey how much of who I am as a nurse practitioner I owe to her. At 16, I volunteered in her Emergency Room. I learned from her and her coworkers. Even before then, I learned that you never know when you are taking care of the family member of a friend. To treat everyone as if they are your  matter how difficult they are. I did CPR before I was 18. I dealt with things many people don't deal with until much later in life....and I learned the lessons that stay with me now.

-Be kind
-Talk to people...explain what is happening...sometimes that means more than anything.
-Show respect
-Think critically, act calmly
-and when all else fails, call your Mom for advice

Most of all, I thank my mother for deciding at 22 (married and graduating nursing school) to work full time and embrace the daughter she hadn't quite planned upon. I am so thankful for all you and Dad have done for me.

Thank you, Mom. For being an amazing Mother, grandmother,role model, "What Would Kyle Do?" hotline, and wonderful friend.

Love, Kier

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bring on 2012

So those who know me know that 2011 came in at a relatively low point for me, and has had it's share of crummy moments. Don't get me wrong- there have been some wonderful milestones with my children and my family (including the birth of my new niece). I have also been repeatedly reminded how many wonderful family members and friends I have. Tommy has lived up to the "in sickness" part of our wedding vows a lot this year. I was telling someone the other day that all of my crazy health issues have been these "flash in the pan" things. Something crazy happens (hearing loss, allergic reaction, exacerbation of my rapid heart rhythm), I go to deal with it, and it gets better or just fades into the background. Just in time for the next issue....

Late 2010/2011 by the numbers:
ER/Urgent Care visits 3
MRIs 3
Knee Surgery 1
Heart Procedure 1
Doses of steroids 4
Episodes of significant hair loss 1
Unexplained rashes 1
Meldowns- Countless
Whining blog posts- ?about 5

So I am OVER it. I figure I'm going to kick 2012's a$$ rather than the other way around. I am going to control the things I can, and stop stressing about the things I can't. Being in healthcare, we tend to look at things as "it could always be worse". I think the lesson I have learned is over the past few months is that it is ok to think things suck sometimes, but not ok to use them as an excuse to lose sight of your goals. So my plan for 2012 is to control the things I can:

- The 15+ lbs I have gained
- My dedication to training
-Optimizing time with my family
- Becoming a morning person again (this is one thing that really bums me out..I miss my time in the mornings.....need to start getting up early)

Goodbye 2011. Some awesome things have happened, but I am O.V.E.R you. I want to race, I want to run part of the way across the country, and I want to feel badass again!!! Is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Meet My New Coach

I didn't go into the planning for my 2012 season thinking I would have a coach. I thought I would use training plans and make it work. Sometimes things just happen at the right time, and for the right reason.

Enter Sharpie/Mama Bear/Carole. MB is our Rev3 "team Mom" (of course that makes her sound old and she is anything but). She is a very important facet of the "glue" that holds our team together. She is also a friend, and one of the toughest cookies I know. A schedule that doesn't fit mine = stress for me when I can't meet the challenge. 
Sharpie top left, me bottom right.
My challenge in the past has been finding someone who understands my crazy life/schedule (full time work, kids, and husband who works shifts). Tommy's schedule is predictable, but makes a consistent training schedule require that much more creativity. 

So why Carole? Like I said, she is the toughest cookie I know. She has made the podium multiple times in 70.3 and 140.6 races, and overcome some huge obstacles. Anyone can be an awesome athlete, but to also be one of those truly good people, who makes others laugh and supports everyone around her, is an entirely different story.

So why Carole?

She will kick my butt, but do so lovingly.
She knows what the past year has entailed, so will take that into account while kicking my butt.
Her blog is one of my favorite...she can make me laugh until I snort with one post, and cry with the next. 
She is a fantastic athlete, and will help me become a better one.

Because the home page of her website says....

I'm hoping she can help me with some of that....a tall order, but I think she is cut out for it and I am ready to work!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Christmas Story

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled triathlon blog.....

Everyone has "those" gifts they remember as kids. The "must have" holiday gift that you just had to have. My sister's was the "Hundred Dollar Car". It wasn't actually $100, but she asked for it and never got one. Years later, she bought one (complete with gas pump) for my daughter.

So one of my "must haves" was a Cabbage Patch Kid. This was the year they were the hot item to have (probably 1984 or so...I was 8). Apparently my parents had difficulty getting one, so they went for a substitute. Imagine Ralphie opening a Red Rider BeeBee Gun case to find a water gun inside...I got a "Cabbage Patch Kid" who was a few shades too pale, with a soft rather than hard face, and she was a bit bigger than the CPKs that my friends were getting. So here was the kicker....she came with a birth certificate. Like an authentic, green and white, signed by Xavier Roberts himself (the guy who discovered the cabbage patch) birth certificate. How is that possible? Of course everyone else knew she wasn't a real CPK, but I played with her and at some point down the road got a "real" CPK. The funny part? I still remember the name of my "Fake" CPK, but not the real one. (As I type this I realize CPK usually means "California Pizza Kitchen" around here).

Most Cabbage Patch Kids had names like "Abbey Olivia" and "Autumn Summer". Mine was named "Vanessa Munching". WTH kind of middle name is "Munching"? But I played with her...and almost 30 years later I still remember her.

Years later, my Dad told me the story. He borrowed the birth certificate from the legit CPK bought by the neighbor for my good friend Nadia, went to the store and Xeroxed it, whited out the name, copied it again, typed in the new name, and colored it in by hand. Whew! Guess what he was drinking while he did this?

Know who the bottler is? Van Munching and Company!!!! Hearing this story years later, I so wish I had saved that "Vanessa Munching" birth certificate.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bigger Isn't Always Better........

"The best things come in small packages"....
"The best perfume comes in small bottles"....
"Bigger isn't always better"......

Perhaps it is the fact that I am an imposing 5'1", and went to a High School with a graduating class of 18 people, and left the inner city teaching hospital for the small community hospital that feels like home.....I'm all about small (if only my hips and butt got the memo). (I did follow up the 80-person High School with 30,000 of my closest friends at the University of Maryland).

Where am I going with this? This past weekend was the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K at the National Harbor in DC. I DID NOT register. The appeal of loads of chocolate at the finish line were outweighed by the idea of dealing with traffic on the DC Beltway, parking permits, etc. Apparently this was a good choice. I wasn't there, so it is all secondhand, but I did read the letter sent to participants from the race director. It sounds like there were lots of logistical issues (parking nightmares, the race started over an hour can read more about it here). The first year of holding the race in DC, and they went big with 20,000 participants. If it goes badly, it happens on a HUGE scale.

In contrast, a couple of weeks ago we held the first annual Don't Panic Foundation 5K. 196 people registered. It was a small race, but well-run, awesome sponsors (lots of firefighters, police officers, and Georgetown Cupcake, anyone?), and we look forward to growing it a bit every year.

This whole idea of "bigger isn't always better" is why I love Rev3 Triathlon and their races. Rev 3 does things on a big scale, but manages to make you feel like family. The race series continues to grow, but they keep that "small town" atmosphere. Awesome expo area (at the race site), huge finish chute, great volunteer support, and staff that work their tails off but do it with a smile and love what they do. Those are just a few of the things that make Rev3 fantastic. Finishing my first 70.3 holding my daughter's hand, one of the best memories a Mom/Triathlete could ask for.

"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog." Dwight D. Eisenhower